DIY routers and APs

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
How's your RPi4 OpenWRT project going, @dave14305? The hardware is cheaper, smaller and more power efficient than most x86 boxes around. It may turn to be the best option for more tech people. Qotom boxes are 3x the price and up, brand name x86 firewalls are 5x the price and up.
 

shabbs

Very Senior Member
How's your RPi4 OpenWRT project going, @dave14305? The hardware is cheaper, smaller and more power efficient than most x86 boxes around. It may turn to be the best option for more tech people. Qotom boxes are 3x the price and up, brand name x86 firewalls are 5x the price and up.
And it can run Pi-hole... ;)
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
I’m not likely to buy another all-in-one WiFi router again. I will do a separate wired x86 or RPi router with a modern Linux kernel, and a WiFi access point which can have all the proprietary WiFi drivers it wants. As consumer broadband speeds increase, the all-in-one paradigm shows its limitations. At least for power users.

Interesting to contemplate options here. I suppose ASUS could develop a router without wifi. Or perhaps ASUS could develop an all-in-one system where wifi is controlled by a separate firmware.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Look here folks. I don't know the price, but I like the board:


Oh, from $300. Steep. I still like the idea, Pi on steroids. :)
 

dave14305

Part of the Furniture
How's your RPi4 OpenWRT project going, @dave14305? The hardware is cheaper, smaller and more power efficient than most x86 boxes around. It may turn to be the best option for more tech people. Qotom boxes are 3x the price and up, brand name x86 firewalls are 5x the price and up.
I always enjoy running on the Pi with OpenWrt, but eventually I cave and come back to the Asus because of all my QoS interests here. So the Pi is sitting in a drawer again for now.
 

john9527

Part of the Furniture
This board must be sold bundled with case and pfSense, OPNSense, Untangle, etc stickers. This is a nice ready to go firewall hardware.
I just got the raw board....think I payed less than $200 for it....thought I got a 'steal' :)
Added case, power adapter from Amazon.....and an SSD and memory I had laying around.
Originally bought it to try pfSense/OPNsense.....but now trying my own builds of OpenWrt (tentatively calling my build 'Orion')...

Orion.png
 

JGrana

Very Senior Member
I have been playing with Raspberry Pi's since they first came out. Great little devices and run a nice Linux Debian moded release. Most of my present Pi's are Rpi 3 or now a few Rpi4's. The Rpi3 are my GPS based Statrum 1 time server (chrony) another running Piaware. The 2 Rpi4's are running a Plex Server and another just for trying new things.
It wasn't until the Rpi4 that I would seriously consider using one as a co-processor for my AX88U router. The Pi4 finally has a reasonable Gb Ethernet port! I am now thinking of moving Unbound and dnsmasq to the Pi...

What would really make this work well is an RMerlin Emulator for the Pi with hooks into Asuswrt. There is something about the elegance and simplicity of all the /jffs/scripts/***start and end scripts, triggered at appropriate times that makes me stay with Asuswrt-Merlin. Its too easy ;-)
If this could somehow be "proxied" to an Rpi, I would be moving many things over. Hey, their both Linux, both (ok most of the newer routers) ARM based.

I could see it now - ASUS acting as an AP, Rpi's running everything else. One can always dream...
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
The Pi4 finally has a reasonable Gb Ethernet port! I am now thinking of moving Unbound and dnsmasq to the Pi...

You don't need Gigabit for that. Install Pi-hole and you have DHCP Server, DNS Server, a beautiful GUI advanced Ad-Blocker, plus some interesting network stats and graphs. Add Unbound as resolver on top, if you like. You need Gigabit if you go OpenWRT on the Pi and convert the Asus to AP. You can live your dream tomorrow, if you want to. There will be some Alice in Wonderland moments, but it's worth it.
 

john9527

Part of the Furniture
I could see it now - ASUS acting as an AP, Rpi's running everything else. One can always dream...
That's my direction with my x86 build. I have an AC68U running my fork set up as an access point with 4 VLANs + the default VLAN, all fully tagged. I've added code to my fork to be able to query openwrt for IP and client names to fill in the details on the Wireless Status. Plan to add code the other way as well....let openwrt query the AC68U for the wireless client data so it's available in the openwrt gui, but that's a bigger undertaking.

One thing is that it's easy to see that OpenWrt and AsusWRT are definitely 'cousins'. I'm also thinking about @JGrana 's comment on the elegance of start/end scripts. One could also dream about making a migration utility to read /jffs and nvram data and transfer it to openwrt.

My biggest obstacle right now is getting my arms around LuCI for the gui. Doesn't seem very straight forward. Hoping as I dig and read the light bulb will finally switch on. :)
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
@john9527, if you can do your magic on RPi OpenWRT builds, your fan base will explode. The motherboard you have is awesome, but specific hardware. RPi is standard hardware available everywhere. Think about it, please.
 

dave14305

Part of the Furniture
My biggest obstacle right now is getting my arms around LuCI for the gui. Doesn't seem very straight forward. Hoping as I dig and read the light bulb will finally switch on.
I have tried to understand the LuCI javascript model (tabs, sections, etc.), with not much luck. I think it's probably simpler than I expect it to be, but it's still Greek so far.

Also, if I were to power up my AC68U, any chance a special fork build would show up in a Development folder? :cool:
 

john9527

Part of the Furniture
I have tried to understand the LuCI javascript model (tabs, sections, etc.), with not much luck. I think it's probably simpler than I expect it to be, but it's still Greek so far.

Also, if I were to power up my AC68U, any chance a special fork build would show up in a Development folder? :cool:

Glad to hear it's not just me on LuCI! Probably why in my view the gui is the weakest part of OpenWrt. In many cases it's just a collection of options without any 'function' or logical coherence.
I went looking to see if there were any alternatives, and didn't find any. It seems more like the prevailing view is along the lines of "GUI....real men don't need no stinking GUI" :)

The latest release is already up (52D1 was a quiet release). There's a new option under Tools>Other Settings if you want to try it as an AP with OpenWrt (you'll also need the 'secret' couple of commands to configure OpenWrt uhttpd)
 

john9527

Part of the Furniture
@john9527, if you can do your magic on RPi OpenWRT builds, your fan base will explode. The motherboard you have is awesome, but specific hardware. RPi is standard hardware available everywhere. Think about it, please.
I'm not doing anything hardware specific other than building for an x86/64 target. I even have another 'generic' i3 based box I plan to try it on if things go well.
Theoretically, I should be able to try backporting my changes and building as a Pi4 target as well at some point down the road.
 

GHammer

Senior Member
I’m not likely to buy another all-in-one WiFi router again. I will do a separate wired x86 or RPi router with a modern Linux kernel, and a WiFi access point which can have all the proprietary WiFi drivers it wants. As consumer broadband speeds increase, the all-in-one paradigm shows its limitations. At least for power users.

So what are you thinking of hardware-wise? I was going to go that route before I bought the AX86, but then, time got in the way.
With winter approaching, I may revisit the idea.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
So what are you thinking of hardware-wise?

There was an additional page with some options, it was moved here:

 

Jeffrey Young

Very Senior Member
Following along for the ride.

I picked up a new RasPi4 a few weeks ago for a winter OpenWRT project build on the speculation that Merlin may someday get too difficult to maintain. That and I have outgrown the Merlin platform at home.

One thing that I am trying to get my head around is the new DSA method of setting up a switch/vlans in 21.02. At least the x86/64 VM I have running in VirtualBox as a playground is using DSA vs swconfig. Have not tried the RasPi installation. Just a little twist to muck me up seeing all the reading/videos up til now use swconfig.

I am planning on using my 86U as a access point with VLAN tags using this script as a basis;


Does anyone know if ASUS stock still supports the script_usbmount nvram setting? I had heard rumors that ASUS wrote that code out of stock. Hoping it is still there.

LuCI is certainly different to learn. So is the uci stuff.

I was thinking of using just RasPi native Linux or Ubuntu for Router OS, but I am a little nervous about making sure firewall rules are up to snuff. At least OpenWRT takes most of that guess work out.

Cheers all
 

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