The Router Recommendations Thread (Consumer)

DragonQ

Limp Gawd
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Does anyone here use a TP-Link router? I recently bought a TP-Link Archer VR900, which is working great with my VDSL2 connection and it's nice to finally have a decent WiFi connection. I am trying to use the Bandwidth Control feature to basically ensure no single device saturates the connection if others want to use it (e.g. PC 1 downloading a Steam game and PC 2 trying to browse websites). However, I don't want to simply set aside 1 Mb/s per device, because if only one device wants to use bandwidth it should be able to use all of it (e.g. PC 1 downloading overnight with all other devices idle). I played around with it but couldn't get it to work like that. Is it possible?

I also got to the point where I couldn't get faster than 60 Mb/s on a 78 Mb/s connection after playing with the Bandwidth Control settings, even though I had all of my rules disabled. I had to fully disable Bandwidth Control for my download speed to return to normal, which suggests it's bugged in some way. :eek:
 

refraxion

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Is there a big difference between ASUS RT-AC88U and the ASUS RT-AC5300? Both seem to be exactly the same with a few less features here and there (Less ethernet ports on 5300, but an extra 5ghz band).

How is throughput of your router Mike211?

Also, in this day and age is the Netgear R7000 too old now for me to get? What if I want to use it for DLNA? How good is it for streaming content?
 

TwistedAegis

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Is there a big difference between ASUS RT-AC88U and the ASUS RT-AC5300? Both seem to be exactly the same with a few less features here and there (Less ethernet ports on 5300, but an extra 5ghz band).

How is throughput of your router Mike211?

Also, in this day and age is the Netgear R7000 too old now for me to get? What if I want to use it for DLNA? How good is it for streaming content?

Would love answers to these as well, eyeing the AC88U and AC5300. Use wifi more than wired, so think I will be going with the 5300 and its dedicated 5GHz band for my gaming PC.
 

diizzy

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What client cards are you going to use, unless you have the same standard it's going to be useless...
 

mda

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^ Adding questions to the conversation on the AC88U and the AC5300,

Throwing in these models as well, with my primary consideration being range. I just need to fill in blind spots around the house. My current repeater is conking out, and is repeating the signal from this monster. I'd rather an access point rather than a repeater, but no choice in this case, and our house power are on different circuits so a powerline adapter is out as well. Bandwidth is not much a concern since the internet sucks in my country.

1. AC55UHP - seems to be a lower model AC55 with higher powered antennas tacked on. Doesn't seem to be available in the USA but we have this in our country.

2. RT-AC68U

3. RT-66U

4. RT-87U

I've read that these new AC routers don't really bring much better range, so I'm looking at the first model with the 7dbi antennas in the hope this will be better.

Any thoughts?
 

Mackintire

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All a higher db gain antenna will do is decrease radiated power and sensitivity in some direction for an increase in another. Typically less vertical sensitivity and more horizontal.

The argument is something along the lines of you have to go through more walls horizontally than vertically. So it makes perfect sense to use a 5-7db gain omni antenna.
 

Tup3x

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Does anyone know when we'll see more LTE-A modems? The only decent one I know is Huawei E5186 but it has so dumbed down settings that I'd rather not upgrade to it from Huawei B593u. Also it wouldn't hurt to have external WiFi antennae. ASUS 4G-AC55U would be rather sweet BUT it only has LTE Cat. 4 support. It's not a massive deal breaker but Cat. 6 networks are coming fast so ASUS 4G-AC55U doesn't feel like that great buy.
 

polonyc2

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Oct 25, 2004
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22,082
can anyone give me a recommendation on a decent router...I'm switching ISP's and I want to get my own router as I hear bad things about the one they provide (Arris Touchstone DG1670)...not a crazy expensive one with all the bells and whistles but just a solid performing one with excellent range...I have my TV, Blu-ray player and PS4 which I need to connect to the Gigabit ports and I have like 4 wireless devices (laptops, smartphones)...last time I used my own router was 5 years ago when I used the D-Link DIR-655 Extreme N Wireless Router which I liked
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Personally I prefer keeping my router/firewall separate from my wireless access point, but that's just me...
 

diizzy

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If stability is prio #1, TP-Link TL-WDR3600/4300 using OpenWRT (trunk or 15.05.1) if you want it to be "future proof" in terms of software.
If you can live with somewhat unstable WIFI (at least for now), have a look at something that uses Mediatek MT7621 SoC (avoid the WiTi board however). D-Link DIR-860L (rev B1 only!), Buffalo WSR-1166 might be of interest. OpenWRT (trunk)
If you want better raw (processing) performance, go for a QCA IPQ806x based platform. TP-Link AC2600 (vendor/OpenWRT), Netgear R7500v2 (vendor for now) or R7800 (vendor for now).

I'd avoid Marvell and Broadcom WIFI based units like the plauge esp if you want to run 3rd party software in the end.

There's quite a bit difference in performance between these platforms which might be worth considering if you want to use VPN etc later on.
 
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wicked_chicken

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316
Hello [H]ard,

I've got an Asus RT-AC66U that I believe to be on it's last legs. Performance over my home network is now such that I can no longer stream Plex from my server to devices without Plex telling me my network is insufficient.

This is the second RT-AC66U I've had die. I have reset and reinstalled the Merlin firmware with no improvement, and am ready to call it quits.

I live in a 2 story townhouse. The router resides downstairs in the living room, and my office is upstairs at the opposite end of the unit. I am aware this is not realistic, but it's not my place and I'm not investing my time or effort to improve the unit for my shitbag landlords by running wire.

I would like to get something current, DDWRT compatible, that can handle PIA encryption at the router level rather than install it across devices. Any recommendations would be fantastic.

Thank you.
 

Mackintire

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Hello [H]ard,

I've got an Asus RT-AC66U that I believe to be on it's last legs. Performance over my home network is now such that I can no longer stream Plex from my server to devices without Plex telling me my network is insufficient.

This is the second RT-AC66U I've had die. I have reset and reinstalled the Merlin firmware with no improvement, and am ready to call it quits.

I live in a 2 story townhouse. The router resides downstairs in the living room, and my office is upstairs at the opposite end of the unit. I am aware this is not realistic, but it's not my place and I'm not investing my time or effort to improve the unit for my shitbag landlords by running wire.

I would like to get something current, DDWRT compatible, that can handle PIA encryption at the router level rather than install it across devices. Any recommendations would be fantastic.

Thank you.


DD-WRT is a dinosaur of a steaming turd... I'll give that that it was a viable suggestion 7+ years ago, but time has long past it by.

Read the posts in this thread. Go OpenWRT with a TP-Link device if you want soemthing DD-WRT-like.

In the meantime....load up your ASUS RT-AC66U with Merlin firmware before you do. Looks very similar to the factory firmware, but is significantly better under the hood.
 

diizzy

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You want to use LEDE (which is a continuation of OpenWRT) and anything supported that uses Atheros MIPS CPUs works pretty well, they are however getting dated nowdays. Mediatek MT7621 is a much nicer SoC, otherwise I'd have a look at QCA based ARM-boxes (IPQ****).
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Does anyone know when we'll see more LTE-A modems? The only decent one I know is Huawei E5186 but it has so dumbed down settings that I'd rather not upgrade to it from Huawei B593u. Also it wouldn't hurt to have external WiFi antennae. ASUS 4G-AC55U would be rather sweet BUT it only has LTE Cat. 4 support. It's not a massive deal breaker but Cat. 6 networks are coming fast so ASUS 4G-AC55U doesn't feel like that great buy.

Well,

I don't know where the border between pro-sumer/consumer and enterprise routers go, so if it belongs in this thread or not, but I recently built a router for pfSense using a PC Engines APU2C4 board.

It's a custom form factor low power quad core AMD Jaguar chip with 4GB ECC RAM soldered on, and is quite affordable.

I ordered it straight from Switzerland and including shipping only paid $172 for the below, which is quite good for what you get.
  • apu2c4 APU.2C4 system board 4GB
  • case1d2blku Enclosure 3 LAN, black, USB
  • ac12vus2 AC adapter 12V US plug for IT equipment
  • msata16d SSD M-Sata 16GB MLC Phison

The reason I bring it up is because, in addition to the three on board Intel 210at gigabit ports, it also has two mini-pcie slots for expansion. I'm guessing most would use them for wifi, but I'd imagine there is no reason you couldn't install an LTE card of your choice on there and use it as an LTE router.

You could either stick a mini-Wlan card in one of the slots for WiFi routing, or do what I did and use dedicated wireless access points (I went with Unifi units).

The only downside with this platform is that it is a little tricky to start getting it going. It has no video output, so you have to do the first time install via serial console. I installed pfSense on mine serially, and once installed an online it is a breeze to manage via the web gui or SSH.

Mine is up and running very stable. I have ~60 days of uptime running pfSense on it right now, and that's in a hot non-airconditioned basement. Cooling is passive (you install the case so the die (with thermal tape in between) touches the side of the aluminum case, and it serves as a heatsink.

It has AES-NI support so you can easily do VPN type stuff on it. I also tested throughput on it, and it appears to be able to handle ~600Mbit/s. So not quite ready for gigabit internet, but for most of us it should be enough. It hums along using ~6W at the wall, as tested with my Kill-A-Watt.

I'm very happy with it.

I figure if we are all building our own desktops, why not build our own routers? :p It's the [H] way.
 
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diizzy

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Slower than the Fitlets (they are slightly more expensive) however you'll be more than fine with a MIPS or ARM box which most likely will perform better. Not to forget, warranty is a concern if you order overseas.
 

Tup3x

[H]ard|Gawd
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Well,

I don't know where the border between pro-sumer/consumer and enterprise routers go, so if it belongs in this thread or not, but I recently built a router for pfSense using a PC Engines APU2C4 board.

It's a custom form factor low power quad core AMD Jaguar chip with 4GB ECC RAM soldered on, and is quite affordable.

I ordered it straight from Switzerland and including shipping only paid $172 for the below, which is quite good for what you get.
  • apu2c4 APU.2C4 system board 4GB
  • case1d2blku Enclosure 3 LAN, black, USB
  • ac12vus2 AC adapter 12V US plug for IT equipment
  • msata16d SSD M-Sata 16GB MLC Phison

The reason I bring it up is because, in addition to the three on board Intel 210at gigabit ports, it also has two mini-pcie slots for expansion. I'm guessing most would use them for wifi, but I'd imagine there is no reason you couldn't install an LTE card of your choice on there and use it as an LTE router.

You could either stick a mini-Wlan card in one of the slots for WiFi routing, or do what I did and use dedicated wireless access points (I went with Unifi units).

The only downside with this platform is that it is a little tricky to start getting it going. It has no video output, so you have to do the first time install via serial console. I installed pfSense on mine serially, and once installed an online it is a breeze to manage via the web gui or SSH.

Mine is up and running very stable. I have ~60 days of uptime running pfSense on it right now, and that's in a hot non-airconditioned basement. Cooling is passive (you install the case so the die (with thermal tape in between) touches the side of the aluminum case, and it serves as a heatsink.

It has AES-NI support so you can easily do VPN type stuff on it. I also tested throughput on it, and it appears to be able to handle ~600Mbit/s. So not quite ready for gigabit internet, but for most of us it should be enough. It hums along using ~6W at the wall, as tested with my Kill-A-Watt.

I'm very happy with it.

I figure if we are all building our own desktops, why not build our own routers? :p It's the [H] way.
It's a possibility also thought about Turris Omnia but there's one problem: if you want to attach external antenna to it... You'd probably end up drilling holes etc.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Messages
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It's a possibility also thought about Turris Omnia but there's one problem: if you want to attach external antenna to it... You'd probably end up drilling holes etc.

The PC Engines APU case has these holes (one on each side) with rubber stoppers if you don't use them.

They are the correct size for screwing in WLAN adapter antenna plugs. Not sure if LTE antennas use the same size, but it shouldn't be too difficult to figure something out.

IMG_20160801_170559.jpg
 

Zarathustra[H]

Extremely [H]
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Messages
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The PC Engines APU case has these holes (one on each side) with rubber stoppers if you don't use them.

They are the correct size for screwing in WLAN adapter antenna plugs. Not sure if LTE antennas use the same size, but it shouldn't be too difficult to figure something out.

Here is a better pic with them visible:
opnsense-software-ready-system-with-apu2c2-msata.jpg
 

Milehigh

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 18, 2004
Messages
242
I currently have an Asus RT-N56U hooked to Comcast broadband, using their modem in a pass through mode letting the router handle all ops. Are there better options out there these days for performance/speed?
 

jlbenedict

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Messages
1,744
Anyone have a Linksys WRT1200ac? What a frustrating piece of garbage! The wifi on this is horrible; I have to reboot this thing 3-4 times a week!
 

Darakian

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Apr 12, 2004
Messages
4,698
Anyone have a Linksys WRT1200ac? What a frustrating piece of garbage! The wifi on this is horrible; I have to reboot this thing 3-4 times a week!
Have you tried openwrt on it? I don't have one myself, but the openwrt forums claim the 1200 is among the best you can get.
 

jlbenedict

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Have you tried openwrt on it? I don't have one myself, but the openwrt forums claim the 1200 is among the best you can get.

haha now that you mentioned that; on Sunday, I put the "Designated Driver" build of OpenWRT on it, with the updated wifi modules/drivers and it has been almost a week without a reboot or any signs of any issues :)
 

Darakian

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haha now that you mentioned that; on Sunday, I put the "Designated Driver" build of OpenWRT on it, with the updated wifi modules/drivers and it has been almost a week without a reboot or any signs of any issues :)
Good to hear. I've been mulling over getting one of those.
 

jiminator

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so many pages. So my wifi is shit in part of the house, ok elsewhere. is there a consensus on a good but inexpensive extender? thanks
 

Mackintire

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so many pages. So my wifi is shit in part of the house, ok elsewhere. is there a consensus on a good but inexpensive extender? thanks

The general rule with extenders is DON'T use them, unless you have NO OTHER CHOICE. Extenders will cut any bandwidth you have in half as they are effectively repeating messages to and from the client and AP.



That said, I had a client whom MoCA wasn't an option. HomePlug didn't work either. This worked out to be a near ideal scenario. The signal was -86db at the client on 2.4Ghz. Connection rate was 12Mbit, measured throughput was an intermittent 1-4Mbps. I placed the extender on the second floor near directly above the AP (-58db on 2.4Ghz going through the ceiling). The Client was now connecting to the extender at 144Mbps at -64db going through 1 wall diagonally. The measured throughput was 38-42Mbps full duplex solid.

Yes this is not a small cute model...but you need those large antenna's to have range...which IS the point of using an extender.

TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Range Extender w/ Gigabit Ethernet Port (RE450)
https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-Extender-Gigabit-Ethernet-RE450/dp/B010S6SG3S/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1472443189&sr=8-3&keywords=TPlink+extender
 

Tup3x

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Does anyone know when we'll see more LTE-A modems? The only decent one I know is Huawei E5186 but it has so dumbed down settings that I'd rather not upgrade to it from Huawei B593u. Also it wouldn't hurt to have external WiFi antennae. ASUS 4G-AC55U would be rather sweet BUT it only has LTE Cat. 4 support. It's not a massive deal breaker but Cat. 6 networks are coming fast so ASUS 4G-AC55U doesn't feel like that great buy.
Just bought ZTE MF286 and I'm surprised how well this work. Gigabit ports and has all essential features (band locking, external antenna connectors, binding ip to MAC address, bridge mode, Cat.6 LTE...). But what's surprising is the WIFI coverage. I've never had a router or modem that has this good WIFI. Even the 5 GHz coverage is better than 2,4 GHz coverage with previous routers/modems.
 
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