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DPete27
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Help Picking New Router

Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:33 pm

My DLink DIR655 is in the process of kicking the bucket. She had a good 4 year run for $55. I'll admit I'm not terribly up to snuff with routers/networking, so I figured I'd tap the gerbil collective. I would like to hop on the 802.11ac train and 4 gigabit ethernet jacks. Other than that, I just want something that's has good signal range and is reliable. It doesn't need to set the world on fire with it's speed. Can I get all this for around $100 or less?

Are there any brands that are better or that I should stay away from?
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Dieter
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:40 pm

I've been very happy with my Netgear R7000 (AC1900). It seems to meet all of your requirements, and has been on sale for around $100. It's really fast (I have gigabit internet and it keeps up fine) and has a strong Wi-Fi signal.

It's a few years old at this point, but they're still selling them because they work well, and they cost more than the other AC1900 routers I think because they do work so well. I also have an Asus RT-AC68U and it's not nearly as stable as the Netgear. The only time I have to reboot the Netgear is when updating firmware or when I replaced my UPS. I've had 300+ days of uptime on it.

Good luck!
 
DancinJack
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:44 pm

You're going to get a few types of responses. They will be as follows.

"Spend more money and get Ubiquiti stuff" - https://www.ubnt.com/

"Get an Asus RTXXXXAC or Netgear R7000 or R7800"

"Here, check out smallnetbuilder.com" - https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/

All of these are REASONABLE answers to what you've asked. If you're sure about spending less than 100 bucks, maybe look at used stuff or a Synology/TP-Link router. Routers are expensive these days.

(FWIW I run a Netgear R7800. It was cheap enough at the time, and I don't need anything more performant)
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:02 pm

I'll throw in a vote for TP-Link. I had the Archer C9 AC1900 ($100) until Prime Day last year when I replaced it with the AC3150 ($200). Would not ha200 upgrade if the 3150 wasn't half off. Crazy solid, good range and very affordable.
 
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:02 pm

I've had good luck for those on a budget for the Linksys AC1200 with DD-WRT flashed on it.
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ludi
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:08 pm

DPete27 wrote:
I would like to hop on the 802.11ac train and 4 gigabit ethernet jacks. Other than that, I just want something that's has good signal range and is reliable. It doesn't need to set the world on fire with it's speed. Can I get all this for around $100 or less?

Yes, as others have noted...but also, how much area are you trying to cover (apartment; townhome; house; the back patio as well?) and have you noticed any coverage holes or dropouts that might require a change in layout?
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CScottG
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:15 pm

DancinJack wrote:
You're going to get a few types of responses. They will be as follows.

"Spend more money and get Ubiquiti stuff" - https://www.ubnt.com/

"Get an Asus RTXXXXAC or Netgear R7000 or R7800"

"Here, check out smallnetbuilder.com" - https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/

All of these are REASONABLE answers to what you've asked. If you're sure about spending less than 100 bucks, maybe look at used stuff or a Synology/TP-Link router. Routers are expensive these days.

(FWIW I run a Netgear R7800. It was cheap enough at the time, and I don't need anything more performant)




I'll also add-in:


"Don't get a router with wireless - they are what kill your router with over-heating. Instead get a router and a more ruggedly-built wireless access point (..that you can always replace later)."
 
cynan
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:30 pm

What about a refurbished Linksys WRT3200ACM for $120?
 
DPete27
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:34 pm

ludi wrote:
DPete27 wrote:
I would like to hop on the 802.11ac train and 4 gigabit ethernet jacks. Other than that, I just want something that's has good signal range and is reliable. It doesn't need to set the world on fire with it's speed. Can I get all this for around $100 or less?

Yes, as others have noted...but also, how much area are you trying to cover (apartment; townhome; house; the back patio as well?) and have you noticed any coverage holes or dropouts that might require a change in layout?

Single family home. Two floors, approx 950sq ft each. I'm pretty restricted for router placement, but I wouldn't say I currently have any coverage issues. Only 1 bar in the master bath top floor in the opposite corner of the house, but it holds connection on my DIR-655. My main PC is on powerline, cuz WiFi sucks in general. There are a LOT of other wifi networks in range of my house (more than a dozen)
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DPete27
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:28 pm

So, brands to look at: Asus, Netgear, TPLink, Linksys. Of those brands, is it just a matter of selecting a price point and comparing features? Ranges will be similar?

Is MU-MIMO worthwhile? Might be outside my price point, but just wondering. I don't typically have a lot of devices (that I care about getting max bandwidth) on my network at a time.
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Dieter
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:47 pm

I would expect range to vary wildly. If you want to do all of the research, hit up smallnetbuilder as previously suggested.

FWIW, my house is 1 level, about ~2100 ft2, and my R7000 is on one end. I stream 1080p (and sometimes 4k) content to the other end of the house with no problems.
 
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:14 pm

Dpete27, try to keep in mind that although having a separate Access Point can be a better solution, it also just about doubles the cost of getting the house online.

It might make sense to spring for a nicer/more expensive router if it removes the need for an AP.

As far as recommendations, I own an R7000, it's a good unit.
 
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:00 pm

DancinJack wrote:
You're going to get a few types of responses. They will be as follows.

"Spend more money and get Ubiquiti stuff" - https://www.ubnt.com/

"Get an Asus RTXXXXAC or Netgear R7000 or R7800"

"Here, check out smallnetbuilder.com" - https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/

All of these are REASONABLE answers to what you've asked. If you're sure about spending less than 100 bucks, maybe look at used stuff or a Synology/TP-Link router. Routers are expensive these days.

(FWIW I run a Netgear R7800. It was cheap enough at the time, and I don't need anything more performant)



Be sure to pick a router that does not have remote code execution vulnerabilities in the OEM firmware. both Linksys and Netgear have had a really terrible two years of name brand routers that you can pop with just a bad packet or port exploit.
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captaintrav
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:41 pm

TP Link Archer C7. It just works. Bought it on the advice of two co-workers (I work in IT) that have it as well. No complaints from anyone. I think it's hard to find something better for under a hundred bucks.
 
Ummagumma
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:45 pm

I would agree with the other comments in this thread on separating the router from the wireless access point. Separate devices, while costing more to obtain, provide more flexibility in placement and unique upgrade paths for each device.

I have seen a few "retail" routers (1 WAN, 4 GigE on common LAN switch & common IP network; basically a 2-port firewall connected to a 5-port Layer 2 GigE switch) from Ubiquiti in the range of 100 USD to 150 USD. A friend of mine bought the Ubiquiti USG model (it matched his needs) and had issues with the console port & management interface when he first set it up, but he eventually resolved those issues and still likes the product.

If you have some spare PC hardware (what I did initially), or can obtain some unused hardware, then you could build your own using "smoothwall", "ipcop", or "pfSense" software packages; they are based on either Linux or FreeBSD OS. If you do build your own router/firewall, look at power consumption, heat generation, and noise requirements since the machine will be one all of the time. All 3 software packages have useful "web GUI" for managing the router/firewall and reporting on stuff. Also be thoughtful regarding what else you plan to do with that router as "more flexible and more services integrated into the router/firewall equals larger 'attack surface' and related security holes".

I like the idea of separating the wireless access point from the router because it gives you the opportunity to place the access point in an optimal location to serve the entire house. The thought being that the router might not be in an optimal location for a wireless access point; I know that my router is not optimally located within my house to support a co-located wireless access point. If coverage is still "so so" after installing a separate wireless access point in your house, then time & budget can help dictate when a second point can be added elsewhere within the house to improve coverage.

Any range & throughput issues are going to be impacted by house construction and signal interference; houses are not "RF transparent" as transmission frequencies increase (why LTE services are in the 600 & 700 MHz bands). You did say that you find external (meaning "not yours") wireless signals within your house. In cases where "RF congestion" exists, picking different channels and experimenting is key. It helps to understand how the channel positions (actually "center" or "peak" of the channel frequency) 802.11 wireless bands work, but you should still expect some "throughput degradation". Some "homework" (aka "research") might be necessary.

I like the fact that you are using the Powerline networking option. Some Powerline products can be "networked" so you can use 3 or more of the same technology & security key to create a "shared LAN" environment over the power lines. I found the Powerline solution useful in my own house, even using 2 different Powerline technologies & different security keys at the same time without issues. I did that until I found time to drag cables where I wanted them. I prefer wired over wireless; that's so "old school", right? :)

I also recognize that budget and/or "WAF" ("wife acceptance factor") also have to be considered. :wink:
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DPete27
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:57 pm

I think the hardest thing is figuring out what do I NEED. As I stated previously, the only device I really care about in terms of bandwidth is my main PC which is connected via powerline, so that's a non-issue. My HTPC sits right next to my router, so that's wired also. Everything else (wife's laptop, 2 cell phones, 1 tablet) has been handled by my current DIR-655 (N300) up until this point to my satisfaction mostly. That begs the question: Maybe a $150 ac3200 router is great, but do I NEED that? The laptop is wireless n, so is the tablet and my wife's Droid Turbo, my Galaxy S7 is ac (I think). That landscape is sure to change in the future though.

If I'm being honest, I think my biggest gripe about my DIR-655 is that it doesn't have quite the flexibility in selecting channels that I would've preferred. Since there are so many other wireless networks in range of my house I've looked into this a few times and there have been channels with much less congestion (can't remember which ones) but my router didn't have the ability to select those specific ones (it could auto-switch, just not to those channels). I think that may have made a significant improvement to my bandwidth (hence why I had to go powerline on my main PC). I'd HOPE, that most/all newer routers would have the ability to select from a broader range of channels.
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:50 pm

If on a budget you can grab an Asus RT-N66U, it still gets updates and has a good reputation as a solid router.
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ludi
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:58 pm

DPete27 wrote:
I think the hardest thing is figuring out what do I NEED. As I stated previously, the only device I really care about in terms of bandwidth is my main PC which is connected via powerline, so that's a non-issue. My HTPC sits right next to my router, so that's wired also. Everything else (wife's laptop, 2 cell phones, 1 tablet) has been handled by my current DIR-655 (N300) up until this point to my satisfaction mostly. That begs the question: Maybe a $150 ac3200 router is great, but do I NEED that? The laptop is wireless n, so is the tablet and my wife's Droid Turbo, my Galaxy S7 is ac (I think). That landscape is sure to change in the future though.

If I'm being honest, I think my biggest gripe about my DIR-655 is that it doesn't have quite the flexibility in selecting channels that I would've preferred. Since there are so many other wireless networks in range of my house I've looked into this a few times and there have been channels with much less congestion (can't remember which ones) but my router didn't have the ability to select those specific ones (it could auto-switch, just not to those channels). I think that may have made a significant improvement to my bandwidth (hence why I had to go powerline on my main PC). I'd HOPE, that most/all newer routers would have the ability to select from a broader range of channels.

Based on your description I would skip over Ubiquiti (even though I love my setup) and any other split router/AP recommendations. It will be cheaper and easier to just get another combined unit, and another one after that if it dies prematurely. Also, AFAIK being stuck in autochannel mode is not a big deal if you're only using a single AP and a handful of devices. You may get a game of channel hopscotch going against other APs in the area but your devices should be able to follow it as long as they're getting a strong signal.
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CScottG
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:58 pm

Vhalidictes wrote:
Dpete27, try to keep in mind that although having a separate Access Point can be a better solution, it also just about doubles the cost of getting the house online.

It might make sense to spring for a nicer/more expensive router if it removes the need for an AP.

As far as recommendations, I own an R7000, it's a good unit.



-that was my addition. :wink: (..to DancinJack's post.)

It depends on the resulting solution..

Ex.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... ingle.html

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... 6833704343

-of course the access point isn't as fast ..that requires more cash, though typically with a good setup involving multiple access points (properly setup) you can achieve faster speeds with stronger signals (despite having slower access points).


Note: I had a really good Asus router some time ago, but it only lasted for about 4 years. (..and numerous other wireless routers before that with the same result.)
 
DancinJack
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:39 pm

Having seen what exactly is on your network I think an Asus RT-AC66U or RT-AC68U/RT-AC1900 or a Netgear R7000 are going to be the best solutions.

Any of these are going to be able to select whatever channel you want for 2.4 and 5 at any time without issues. You're pushing your budget a bit, but seeing as how a DIR-655 lasted you this long, these should last you just as long as well.

(FWIW I have an Asus RT-A66U i'd be willing to send your way for quite a bit less than retail. I've had it for a while, but everything works fine. I had Merlin firmware loaded on it, and pretty much saw zero issues over the few years it was in service.)
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:59 pm

I too recommend an ASUS RT-AC66U because I've never seen any consumer grade router more reliable than a MIPs device running Tomato (which both factory and Merlin are based on). My uptime is currently 23 months and for the 3 years before that it was only ever rebooted for firmware updates. The caveat is its CPU is only good to routing around 85Mbps with QoS rules enabled or 125Mbps with bandwidth limiter so will bottleneck if your ISP speed is faster than this.

Note that the RT-AC66U-B1 is an entirely different animal, being ARM powered like the RT-AC68U. While things have improved greatly, Tomato or DD-WRT on ARM aren't quite as stable yet. If your ISP speed is higher or you want Wave 2 AC though, there's probably no choice better than ARM at the moment.

You could then try the DIR-655 as an extra N AP to see if removing routing duties from it makes it any more reliable.
 
Kougar
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:21 pm

Out of curiosity, what is your DIR-655 doing?

I'm still running one myself. There was one time it got really flakey and I had started shopping around to replace it, but before I did I used the hard reset button to wipe it. To my surprise it worked perfectly fine again after that, dunno if a brownout or settings I'd selected or something else had corrupted the a config file. But it's worth a shot if yours is acting up. I mention it because I reset the thing via the control interface a dozen times without effect, but whatever it was the hard reset button took care of it.
 
DancinJack
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:23 pm

DPete, I tried sending you a PM (a couple times) but it doesn't appear to be going out? Lemme talk to Bruno and see what's up. Just didn't want you to think I was ignoring you.
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ludi
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:33 pm

DancinJack wrote:
DPete, I tried sending you a PM (a couple times) but it doesn't appear to be going out? Lemme talk to Bruno and see what's up. Just didn't want you to think I was ignoring you.

A PM sits in your outbox until the recipient has read it.
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clocks
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Sun Sep 10, 2017 9:30 am

I recently pickedup a TP-Link Archer AC5400 for $160 on sale, and it works great with my 1gb docsis 3.1 connection. I'm getting better wifi speeds with it than the other routers I tried. I also like that it has built in Trend Micro anti-malware protection. Gives me an other layer of protection without bogging down my PC.
 
DancinJack
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:49 pm

ludi wrote:
DancinJack wrote:
DPete, I tried sending you a PM (a couple times) but it doesn't appear to be going out? Lemme talk to Bruno and see what's up. Just didn't want you to think I was ignoring you.

A PM sits in your outbox until the recipient has read it.


Ahh. That's an...odd behavior. I've never seen a system that acted as such.
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ludi
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:46 pm

DancinJack wrote:
ludi wrote:
A PM sits in your outbox until the recipient has read it.

Ahh. That's an...odd behavior. I've never seen a system that acted as such.

It's odd, but it does allow you to edit or delete a PM at any time until the recipient has opened it.
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DPete27
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:31 pm

Hmm. I'll try a hard reset tonight.
So far, power cycling the unit has fixed the WiFi drops, but it's still annoying to just lose WiFi randomly. To my knowledge, LAN remains active even when the WiFi cuts out. It's not a big deal to me to set up the router since I really don't have any special settings enabled anyway. I'll post back.
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lucas8
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:58 am

Consider the following factors when choosing a new router:
- Make sure your next wireless router offers 802.11ac (or Gigabit Wi-Fi) support
- Even the best rated Wi-Fi routers can have varying results, so buy from a retailer that allows returns
- Placement is a big deal. If you have a small apartment, you can likely get away with a much less capable (and much less expensive) router than someone with a large home who who also wants coverage outside as well.[/list]
 
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Re: Help Picking New Router

Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:10 am

lucas8 wrote:
who also wants coverage outside as well.

or, you know, the rest of the house :p
And now I'm no longer primarily a PC gamer. *shrug*

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