Which router would be suitable for my needs?

I’m going to be doing some travelling through the year and looking to upgrade a Netgear Trek N300 that I used to use many years ago working internationally.

My use case is general work, banking, gaming, streaming and general internet usage. Perhaps 4-6 devices connected maximum at any time.

Originally I was looking at the Opal or slate plus but when asked elsewhere many just said get the Beryl AX.
I’m just wondering if it’s worth the additional cost to go for one of the AX devices as none of my devices are AX so no need for that step up in my eyes. I don’t think any public places or hotels would make use of the WiFi 6 speeds.

Also, I’ve read of some of the units cannot have vanilla OpenWRT installed due to chipsets but haven’t really looked into which models can take it and cannot. A quick guess was that the mediatek units seem to be done relatively quickly?

Any thoughts?

I travel full time, being in hotels and airbnb for months at a time. I use an older AR750S-EXT, the original Slate, as my main travel router, and I find it is just fine. There is nothing in the newer models I need. I prefer using older GL iNet products, as it normally takes them sometime to get all the firmware bugs worked out, and just works is very important to me.

If you read through the older entries on this forum, you will see that the Opal will probably never have a generic OpenWrt version due to its chip-set. Of all the newer models, the Slate Plus (GL-A1300) probably has the best OpenWrt support right now. If my AR750S died, the Slate Plus is the only GL iNet model I would consider replacing it with, although I don’t like its bigger size and its heaver weight.

Beware! I haven’t seen any success stories with clean OpenWRT on GL-MT3000 aka Beryl AX.

It seems it will have OpenWRT support in 23.05 release:

Reasons to consider Beryl AX:

  • clean OpenWRT support coming
  • VPN performance. It provides much higher throughput with Wireguard than Opal or Slate Plus
  • WiFi 6. Contrary to WiFi 5, which only works in the 5 GHz band, WiFi 6 works in both, 2,4 and 5 GHz. Therefore it gives you better performance when you need the range of 2,4 GHz band.
  • My personal experience shows an improved range of Beryl AX compared to some other routers and access points that I own. Anywawy, it’s highly subjective and depends on particular circumstances.

That’s promising, Especially with the OpenWRT support for the slate plus!
I don’t feel that I will need the additional speed of the WiFi 6 devices and the throughput using a VPN from the slate would likely be more than enough for my needs.
I’ll have to look further into the slate plus now…

Thanks for the pointers and the warning of the Beryl currently.
As it stands, I likely wouldn’t notice the WiFi 6 for some time and I don’t think it could ever be fully utilised in hotel WiFi or whatnot.
I think the throughput on VPN with the slate plus may more than cover my needs with only being a phone or streaming TV shows.

I think GL iNet is putting too much emphasis on performance, and not enough on size/power which I find more important than pure speed in a travel router. The majority of the places I stay in while traveling cannot do 100Mb/sec, and many are in the 10Mb/sec to 30Mb/sec range. None of the places I have stayed has had better then 1Gb Ethernet ports to connect to. I just don’t see the advantage of the Beryl AX for a travel router. There have been a few times that I needed to quickly move data between two systems, using Ethernet, and having 2 Ethernet LAN ports is nice, which the Beryl AX only has 1.

You may think that you are future proofing, but in a couple years, GL iNet will probably EOL the device, and you will not receive updated firmware. The AR750S, which was mentioned in the CES 2019 Innovation Awards, was EOL in 2022. The USB150, Microuter-N300, GL-MV1000W all had relatively short lives. It is impossible to know which GL iNet routers will have long lives and which will be dropped relatively quickly.

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I agree with your observations about the typical net speeds when travelling. I don’t think you’ll use full AX often, but I like reasonable speeds even when at the edge of WiFi coverage (2,4 GHz AX) and Beryl AX delivers that in my case.

Short support periods are super annoying. That’s why I mentioned vanilla OpenWRT support. However, even that happens when your device has small flash (and sometimes not enough RAM). You could try to build OpenWRT by hand, but that’s probably too much effort if you can easily buy something with better specs.

Valid points!
I think my main aim is a bit of security. I won’t be downloading large files anyway, just general browsing and streaming.
The wireguard speed for the slate shows as 170mbps which is 3 times the speed of my home internet as it is!!

So when a product is EOL, are there many people that do custom builds for devices? Sorry for the questions, last time I used anything with openwrt was when I was on dial up internet!

Do the products here have a decent life space or sort of matured and finished in a couple of years?
I doubt I would attempt to do a build myself though.

I see your points regarding AX actually. The additional throughput on 2.4ghz channels would be nice.
My home internet only has speeds of 68mbps so nothing worth shouting about.

On a few of my GL iNet routers l have installed the OpenWrt base code and then added in the OpenWrt packages I need, depending on the function it is doing. I have not needed to do a custom built for anything I’m doing.

That’s good to hear. I’ve not really fettled much with Openwrt so will be good to get stuck in.

My concern is the dual core in the beryl compared to the quad core Qualcomm in the Slate.
Any info on that side of the things?

I don’t have any experience with the two different CPUs, as all my GL iNet routers are older products, but I will say my one router from GL iNet that uses an older MT chip-set cost me more time and frustration then any other product from GL iNet I have owned, so for me, I will not be buying any new MT based products. This is only my opinion, as on this forum, other people have been happy with their MT based routers.

Please note that the Beryl AX does not support EAP, but the Slate Plus does. See Product Comparison - GL.iNet

Ok thats a fair point regarding the CPU’s.
I think I’ve maybe spotted you passing on advice on the sub-reddit for GL.Inet as I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading on there.

As for EAP, I did notice this and someone had mentioned it before. I’m a little unclear on what it is and if its a requirement of mine but I believe its for a specific type of login which some places may use. That may actually be handy to cover all bases.

I was referring to installing OpenWRT on ancient routers from a decade ago or so. Some have small flash size and they aren’t officially supported anymore. However there’s still a possibility to make your own custom image for very basic needs. I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone unless you want to get dirty with Linux and OpenWRT low level plumbing.

I’m curious about EAP significance as well. My understanding is that it provides extra strong encryption at a cost of more complicated setup.

I don’t think I would delve that far into that as have no knowledge of Linux really apart from the odd bit of tinkering.
EAP as far as I’m aware is the ability for it to bring up splash screens for entering usernames and passwords for accessing WiFi. From what I gather is that the Beryl would have to be done in a round about way as it is not supported.

I think the Slate Plus is what I am going to go for. It can be currently had for £60 so seems a reasonable price for the features to me!

Just to conclude this thread, I’ve now purchased a Slate plus (A1300) which is due to be delivered tomorrow.
I’ll hopefully get some decent tinkering time with it in the coming days.