OpenWrt is a niche Linux distribution, which enables you to deploy a vast variety of software. Your hardware is the only limit. This guide is intended to help you pick the right hardware to meet your particular needs.
| || OpenWrt does not recommend any hardware or manufacturer!
There is no "best hardware", so stop asking. Purchase something that meets your requirements.
Inform yourself about the current hardware support on the Internet and ask other users/developers for a personal recommendation in the forum.
Avoid overhyped, overpriced products -embedded hardware can be VERY inexpensive! OpenWrt is what does the magic!
How many NICs
does the System on a chip
incorporate? Common are one
, very seldom more.
These are implemented as SoC
-blocks, which are each connected over a xMII
to a distinct PHY (chip)
Do not confuse the number of Ports with the number of NICs.
Which Ethernet-Layer-1 standard does the NIC/NICs support?
(i.e. 100MBit/s, Fast Ethernet
(i.e. 1000MBit/s, Gigabit Ethernet
Is there an integrated Ethernet switch?
Which Ethernet-Layer-1 standard does the integrated switch support? (BASE-100TX or BASE1000-T)
How many RJ45 ports are there? Most common are 5 Ports (4 for LAN
and 1 for WAN).
Is the switch manageable? Which capabilities does it offer?
Processors and Memory
The most crucial decision is your choice of RAM. If you are going to run
, a web server
and other stuff, enough RAM will make them run smoothly. Some of them tolerate SWAP pretty good, others do not. FYI: If you are considering adding more RAM, keep in mind that there are no DDR1-Modules bigger then 64MB. Also, the SoC sometimes only support so much. For example, the Marvell Kirkwood, supports a maximum of 512MB.
Occasionally the computing power of the CPU proves to be a bottleneck. To compare you should have a look at the CPU
included on with SoC
. Do not compare raw MHz
, e.g. a MIPS 34KE@300MHz is in most scenarios faster then a MIPS 24K@400MHz.
as you can see by referring to the flash layout
with a total of 8MiB flash memory, you can use about 5MiB for own packages.
: Most devices use a software random number generator. Only few are equiped with a true hardware random number generator, see TRNG
USB: connect a hub, harddiscs, ssds, usb sticks, UMTS modems, cameras, sound cards, etc. →usb.overview
Serial: very useful for developers, limited uses for end users →port.serial
JTAG: very useful for developers and also for end users →port.JTAG
: a telephone connector used mosly in Germany
You can boot your device into OpenWrt Failsafe
with a reset button, without one, this is only possible through connection over serial! Also, after boot up, you can attach functions
to the buttons, like start/stop WLAN, reconnect DSL, start/stop a daemon, mount/unmount partitions, etc.
Price comparison for currently purchasable hardware
Since Christmas 2011, geizhals offers a filter for devices supported by OpenWrt:
Note_1: You can safely ignore the filters for "3G-Router" and "BitTorrent-Client", since they apply to the OEM firmware only. Once you installed OpenWrt, the full software repository stands to your disposal.
Note_2: Do not expect the filter to be perfectly up-to-date, since it is updated manually conforming to the OpenWrt ToH!
Amazon also lets you search for OpenWrt, but you cannot filter for OpenWrt support:
Note_1: The filter is not 100% perfect, be sure to double check a router before buying
You could use the tags to quickly find the devices with your desired features. Sadly not many devices have been tagged so far.