GL.iNet GL-MT3000 pocket-sized Wi-Fi 6 Router review – Part 1: Specs, unboxing, and teardown

GL.iNet Beryl AX (GL-MT3000) is a pocket-sized Wi-Fi 6 router running OpenWrt on a MediaTek MT7981B (Filogic 820) dual-core processor @ 1.3 GHz and equipped with a 2.5GbE port, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a USB 3.0 port.

The hardware is basically the same as the Brume 2 (GL-MT2500A) security gateway, except it adds support for WiFi 6 connectivity and as an AX3000 router more than doubles the bandwidth compared to the earlier Beryl (GL-MT1300) AC1300 router. The company has sent me a sample so I’ll start the two-part review by checking the specifications, doing an unboxing, and tearing it down to have a closer look at the hardware design, before trying out OpenWrt and testing WiFi 6 and 2.5GbE performance in the second part of the review.

GL.Inet Beryl AX router review

GL.iNet GL-MT3000 specifications

Beryl AX specifications:

  • SoC – MediaTek MT7981B (Filogic 820) dual-core processor @ 1.3 GHz
  • System Memory – 512MB DDR4
  • Storage – 256MB NAND flash
  • Networking
    • 1x 2.5 Gbps Ethernet WAN port
    • 1x Gigabit Ethernet LAN port
    • 802.11b/g/n/ac/ax WiFi 6 with 2x retractable external Wi-Fi antennas
      • Up to 574Mbps @ 2.4 GHz
      • Up to 2402Mbps @ 5 GHz
      • DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection) support
      • WPA3 security
    • VPN – OpenVPN tested up to 150 Mbps, and WireGuard tested up to 300 Mbps over Ethernet in client mode (by GL.iNet)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 Type-A port, 1x USB Type-C port for power
  • Misc – Reset button, toggle button for customized features (e.g. Wireguard on/off defined in the Admin Panel), and status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A via USB Type-C port
  • Power Consumption – <8W
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 ~ 40°C; storage: -20 ~ 70°C
  • Dimensions – 106 x 83 x 33mm  (plastic enclosure)
  • Weight – 196 grams

The router runs OpenWrt 21.02 with Linux 5.4. The firmware, mobile app, and detailed documentation are provided by the company. Note that both the system memory (512MB vs 1GB) and storage (256MB NAND vs 8GB eMMC) have much lower capacities than in the Brume 2, so some of the features may be missing, albeit the company still lists WireGuard, OpenWrt, and AdGuard Home, so we’ll find out when testing the software part. The router also consumes more and is quite heavier than the Brume 2, even than the “A” model with a metal enclosure. We’ll find out why in the teardown section.

Beryl AX unboxing

Let’s open the package to take out the router together with a 5V/3A USB-C power supply along with US, EU, and UK plug adapters, and some basic documentation, as well as a Thank You card showing coupon “THANKS10” for a 10% discount on the next purchase on the GL.iNet store.

GL-MT3000 unboxing

We’ll find the USB Type-C power input, 2.5GbE and GbE ports, as well as the USB 3.0 port on the rear panel,

GL-MT3000 portable WiFi 6 router

and if we adjust the external antennas vertically – as they should be during operating – we’ll see the reset and toggle buttons.

GL-MT3000 Mode button

There’s also a status LED at the front of the device not shown in the photos above.

GL-MT3000 router teardown

We’ll need to remove the rubber pads and loosen the four screws underneath to open the enclosure for the “GL.iNet AX3000 WiFi 6 Router”. Note there’s a depression under the sticker, but there aren’t any screws there.

GL.inet AX3000 WiFi 6 router

I had to use a tool to unclip the top parts of the case. The biggest surprise to me is the presence of a fan on a fairly large and thick heatsink as I don’t think I have ever seen a router that’s not fanless. That explains the larger weight, and it should not have been that surprising since I was told last year that WiFi 6 (802.11ax) consumes a lot of power and cooling can be challenging.

GL-MT3000 WiFi 6 router teardown

Besides two wires to the external antennas, we can also find an additional internal antenna.

GL.Inet GL-MT3000 UART console

If we turn the device around, a 4-pin UART header for console access can be seen, and the fan comes with more than two wires so it should be controlled with PWM and not always on. I tried to take out the board, but it did not come that easily, and I did not want to mess around with the thermal solution before testing the router, so I stopped there. GL.iNet does provide an internal photo with clear markings.

GL-MT3000 board

It turns out the internal antenna is for 5GHz WiFi, while the two external antennas are used for both 2.4 GHz & 5GHz WiFi. The 2.5GbE port is implemented through an MXL (MaxLinear) Ethernet PHY that should probably be the GPY211.

That will be all for today, the next step will be to connect the router and check out OpenWrt and its main features, especially WiFi 6, as the rest will be similar to the Brume 2. I’d like to thank GL.iNet for sending the GL-MT3000 “Beryl AX” pocket-sized router for review. It’s not available for sale just yet, but you can register your interest on the product page if you’d like to purchase the router at launch.

Continue reading “GL.iNet Beryl AX OpenWrt router review – WiFi 6 performance, repeater, NAS, and 4G hotspot modes“.

Share this:

Support CNX Software! Donate via cryptocurrencies or become a Patron on Patreon

ROCK Pi 4C Plus
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
The comment form collects your name, email and content to allow us keep track of the comments placed on the website. Please read and accept our website Terms and Privacy Policy to post a comment.
18 Comments
oldest
newest
TLS
TLS
29 days ago

That fan makes it a no go, regardless of specs.

RK
RK
29 days ago

All the new routers overheat under heavy loads:
https://amzn.to/3IzNO6a
https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_DEIiwF5

GL.iNet simply supplied the required cooling solution built-in instead of pretending the problem doesn’t exist like everyone else.
What I want to know is whether it’s turned on constantly, under specific heavy loads via some script or triggered by a temperature sensor.

Willy
29 days ago
  RK

The real problem is that a tiny fan costs less than a large enough heat sink but that’s no valid excuse for an infrastructure component that’s supposed to be 100% up. Plus glinet devices are often portable enough that you can use when traveling. Imagine a hotel room with this fan while you’re trying to sleep.

tkaiser
tkaiser
28 days ago

> a tiny fan costs less than a large enough heat sink

But this large heatsink will either massively increase enclosure size when placed internally or has to be on the outside as part of the enclosure. And for consumer products I don’t think anything that feels ‘hot’ when touched is an option since consumers consider effective heat dissipation being ‘overheating’ and as such their device about to die soon…

Jacobs jacob
Jacobs jacob
25 days ago

You could easily detach the fan using the header cables, no desoldering.

Then you too can pretend overheating isn’t an issue like the other manufacturers 🙂

Philipp Blum
Philipp Blum
28 days ago

I have my 3D printer in the same room with me. I doubt this tiny fan is going to be loud enough to bother at all. Besides that: When you sleep you don’t need to have your router running. Turn it off. You making it seem like a bigger issue than it actually is. I would be more concerned about dirt etc. getting into the fan. A larger heatsink doesn’t solve all issues though. Especially in the context of traveling, where you may use that router in an extremely hot environment. I guess the fan is just going to do… Read more »

Giovanni Arcari
Giovanni Arcari
23 days ago

White noise to help you sleep

tkaiser
tkaiser
28 days ago
  RK

> What I want to know is whether it’s turned on constantly, under specific heavy loads via some script or triggered by a temperature sensor.

Hopefully Jean-Luc will answer this in part 2 of the review.

We learned just recently (by monitoring all client machines as well) that the internal fan(s) of the laptops majority of our users are equipped with have a fan that is constantly on but inaudible below 2000 rpm and gets noticeable only north of 3000-4000 rpm.

Willy
29 days ago

Totally agreed.

vlad
vlad
28 days ago

Do we know if the 2.5GbE port can be used as LAN & the 1GbE as WAN?

taknil
taknil
27 days ago

in most modern consumer network devices the WAN port is more of a designation than a technical limitation. If the software allows it, you can configure it to do as you wish. From the openWRT Forum “go to WAN physical settings and detach eth0 from there, or delete the WAN network entirely. In a dumb AP, there is only one active network– lan.”

taknil
taknil
27 days ago

sneaky inclusion of the coupon code. Thanks.

Rebel
Rebel
26 days ago

Please try out, if it is usable for PLEX Server PASS.
And is the USB3 as a poor men NAS/ or even with a USB Hub usable?

Zee112
Zee112
26 days ago

Article correction: The 2 external antennas are dual 2.4 and 5 Ghz, in addition to the internal 5 Ghz antenna.

Zee112
Zee112
26 days ago

FYI: I own the Slate AX travel router, which has a quad-core SOC, and I’ve never heard the internal fan turn on.

tkaiser
tkaiser
25 days ago

Do you really think the generated heat relates to those few Cortex-A53?

BTW: Slate AX runs on the latest OpenWrt 21.02 operating system (Kernel version 4.4.60). And this crap is sold in 2023, unbelievable…

The MT7981B in this dual-core box here was on 5.4.211 few weeks ago so it seems covered by a real LTS kernel that gets security updates.

technik007cz
technik007cz
26 days ago

I hate anything with fan. I would buy it for that reason.

Weller PCB manufacturer