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liquid_mage
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A good Wireless Router under $100?

Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:18 pm

Hello All,

I'm curious what peoples thoughts or which routers they have had the best experience with. My house ~1500ft^2 and is 2 stories + basement, so I don't think I need an extender. Currently we use the built in XFinity wifi, I did disable the their 2nd network as my kids ipads freaked out about which network to join. I'd like to stay under $100 since it looks like its worth upgrading every 24-30months for security and feature reasons.

I was leaning toward the TP-Link AC1900 (C9) for $80 or the Netgear R6700 for $90.

Any input would be appreciated.
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meerkt
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:24 pm

No firsthand experience here, but I've been eyeing the $60 Asus RT-ACRH13 (US) / RT-AC58U (EU).
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:48 pm

SmallNetBuilder used to be my go-to for questions like this but I haven't used them much in a while so I don't know how reliable they are these days.

That said, their router ranker is at least worth looking at, if only because it reveals some models (and companies -- Phicomm??) you might otherwise have missed.
(Note that there is a "sort by price" option that's not in the drop-downs, which seems to sort by current-price-on-Amazon rather than the as-tested list price)
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:02 pm

Honestly, you should just get the R7000/P. It's about as cheap as I'd go for a consumer router, but will net you pretty damn good range, performance, and features for that price.

https://www.amazon.com/R7000-100PAS-Nig ... B00F0DD0I6
https://www.amazon.com/R7000P-100NAS-Ni ... B01NA80JML

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireles ... s-rt-ac68u
https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireles ... o-reviewed
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:05 am

liquid_mage wrote:
..2 stories + basement..


-floors can be tough on higher freq..

I hate wireless routers, because they all seem to have a built-in life (and thermal death).. but a wireless access point connected to router seems to side-step this problem. (..plus you often get a better router as a result).

anyway.. a bit over your max budget:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... 000W-00080

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... 0005-000V6

..and there are less expensive access points available.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:48 am

CScottG wrote:
they all seem to have a built-in life (and thermal death)


When warranty expires, drill more holes.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 10:17 am

Wirko wrote:
CScottG wrote:
they all seem to have a built-in life (and thermal death)

When warranty expires, drill more holes.

Or buy one of these and set it next to the router. You probably already have a spare USB charger you can use to power it. Advantage of this over the hole drilling method is you can employ it from day 1 without voiding the warranty. Should be essentially silent on the lowest speed setting.
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:54 pm

Wirko wrote:
CScottG wrote:
they all seem to have a built-in life (and thermal death)


When warranty expires, drill more holes.



-(time it takes to) sneeze and the (consumer) warranty is gone.

Drill holes doesn't seem practical.. BUT pulling it out of it's case might work in conjunction with a fan directed at it.


I have done the fan on the router thing before and it really didn't seem to extend it's useful life much, BUT it was in its case.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Sun Dec 30, 2018 7:21 am

meerkt wrote:
No firsthand experience here, but I've been eyeing the $60 Asus RT-ACRH13 (US) / RT-AC58U (EU).


I've had one for more than a year and it does multiple content and gaming streams reliably. The ACRH13 is the most trouble-free wireless router I've run 24x7x365 since the RT-N16.

I remember having to manually reboot it once or maybe twice, no issues with updates. I did set it to alternate between the dual radios and reboot often. Here's hoping it will match the WRT54G in lifespan.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:58 am

liquid_mage wrote:
since it looks like its worth upgrading every 24-30months for security and feature reasons.

After running a WRT54GL for over a decade with dd-wrt, it was finally time to upgrade, and the Unifi route got the nod. Greater upfront costs (USG-Pro-4 + AP), granted, but perhaps not ultimately so over time.
I know that's not what you asked, but it may be the sort of route you may wish to give some consideration.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:24 am

DrCR wrote:
After running a WRT54GL for over a decade with dd-wrt, it was finally time to upgrade, and the Unifi route got the nod. Greater upfront costs (USG-Pro-4 + AP), granted, but perhaps not ultimately so over time.
I know that's not what you asked, but it may be the sort of route you may wish to give some consideration.

Seconded, although I went with the ER-X instead of the USG. The GUI isn’t as pretty as an off-the-shelf router, but you shouldn’t have any problems.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:27 pm

liquid_mage wrote:
Hello All,

I'm curious what peoples thoughts or which routers they have had the best experience with. My house ~1500ft^2 and is 2 stories + basement, so I don't think I need an extender. Currently we use the built in XFinity wifi, I did disable the their 2nd network as my kids ipads freaked out about which network to join. I'd like to stay under $100 since it looks like its worth upgrading every 24-30months for security and feature reasons.

I was leaning toward the TP-Link AC1900 (C9) for $80 or the Netgear R6700 for $90.

Any input would be appreciated.



My router path, WRT-54G, WRT-610N (DD-WRT CFW) to UAP-AC-Pro w/ EdgerouterX. I got sick of dealing with consumer equipment and opted for something more robust. The options and configuration of the equipment is trickier if you don't know networking. There are enough guides/simple setups to get you through it. I'm ignoring your price point since that is the range you get **** routers and support is dropped and require yearly replacements.

UAP-AC-xxx (Lite, Long Range or Pro)
EdgerouterX

I disagree with the premise routers are designed to fail, never had one go on me that I didn't drop on the floor from the wall and break the power input on. =) I don't think you'll need .11d, security updates will be applied to Ubiquiti stuff above for many years and it is very set and forget. I've never had to reboot mine to 'fix' it and it just works and I expect a good 3yrs+ minimum with my current setup.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Sun Dec 30, 2018 3:25 pm

I respect everyone rec'ing the Ubiquiti stuff, I know how well it works (through personal experience), but nearly every single thread where someone asks for something in networking devolves into this. We could at least TRY to give options that are closer to what the OP asked for. I'm guilty too, I've rec'd Ubiquiti stuff in other threads too, and even in this thread I suggested something over the OP's stated budget.

Having said that, my parents are still using a R7000 that was purchased in either late 2013 or early 2014. It has been, quite literally, rock solid. It still gets security updates, and Netgear has been SURPRISINGLY good about them the past couple years. It's far, far easier to set up and get working for non-networking types and works completely fine for people that don't need crazy range or MIMO flowing through their veins. It's a great (consumer) router that works pretty damn well. And FWIW, an ER-X + a single AC-LITE AP is going to cost 60+90. Not crazy at all IMO, but it's also just one AP at that cost too.

Anyway, I hope the OP finds something that works.
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liquid_mage
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:44 am

I appreciate all the feedback and I will probably stretch my budget to $150. From what I get if I buy a sub $100 router i've had others tell me to make sure I can install the open source DD-WRT, but I probably wont. Part of me leans toward the Nightwawk 7000 for ease of setting up, but if I buy the Ubiquiti router and AP will it be difficult to setup? Also i have the option to add a 2nd AP later if I choose so that's a bonus.
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:39 am

liquid_mage wrote:
I appreciate all the feedback and I will probably stretch my budget to $150. From what I get if I buy a sub $100 router i've had others tell me to make sure I can install the open source DD-WRT, but I probably wont. Part of me leans toward the Nightwawk 7000 for ease of setting up, but if I buy the Ubiquiti router and AP will it be difficult to setup? Also i have the option to add a 2nd AP later if I choose so that's a bonus.

The 7000 is definitely going to be easier to set up, but I've no doubt you could figure out the Ubiquiti stuff. There are lots of guides/info on the nets to follow.

FWIW, I wouldn't worry about xxWRT if you get the Netgear. The stock firmware is completely fine for the vast majority of people (and in general performs better than all the third party builds).
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Mon Dec 31, 2018 5:46 pm

Ubiquiti hardware is pretty easy to configure provided you stick to stuff that's been on the market for a year or two. They tend to ship the beta and iterate in production, and a lot of the 'UBNT is hard' attitude is a holdover from 2012-2013 when the EdgeRouter series was new and not fully baked yet.

Nighthawks are also really nice routers out of the box. Can't go wrong with either.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:38 am

liquid_mage wrote:
..but if I buy the Ubiquiti router and AP will it be difficult to setup?


No, as long as you use one of their templates. Update the OS first, only then use the template. Both tasks are easy. (..I actually had more problems with my AP from a different maker (Zyxel), and even that was reasonably easy to take care of. I've also heard that Ubiquiti AP setup with their router is easier.)
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:04 pm

There are many wireless routers that are offering services. I would say competition has risen. A few months ago, I had Trendnet router and it is good for beginners but sometimes, it drops the signals and shows bad performance in busy hours. That's why I decided to get a Google Wi-fi because of its better range.

Secondly, I would able to pause wi-fi on my kids' devices. However, I wouldn't available in the range of $100. You can use Linksys EA7500-EU (in the range of $100 or little more) and with this router, you can also connect different devices. My suggestion is not to compromise on quality and advanced features because of a low budget.

Here, you can see the reviews of wireless routers and their features.

https://10hightech.com/best-wireless-routers/
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:33 pm

liquid_mage wrote:
I appreciate all the feedback and I will probably stretch my budget to $150. From what I get if I buy a sub $100 router i've had others tell me to make sure I can install the open source DD-WRT, but I probably wont. Part of me leans toward the Nightwawk 7000 for ease of setting up, but if I buy the Ubiquiti router and AP will it be difficult to setup? Also i have the option to add a 2nd AP later if I choose so that's a bonus.


Just keep in mind that Ubiquiti Access Point does not do routing, it's only an AP. The routing/dhcp/etc. comes from the EdgerouterX (or other router) and while there are guides to follow to set it all up and work. It is not as simple as a consumer wireless router. You trade some simplicity for general reliability and configuration options which is great if you like to tinker. But might not be if you just want to push a button and have everything work. =)
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:54 pm

Village wrote:
You trade some simplicity for general reliability and configuration options ...


and also potentially better coverage, depending on your particular house layout. My biggest advantage of going with a router + wireless access point instead of a wireless router is that I was able to put the router in the basement where the cable comes in and put the access point on the main floor. I get a much better signal on the 2nd floor than when I used to have a wireless router in the basement.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:57 pm

Aether wrote:
Village wrote:
You trade some simplicity for general reliability and configuration options ...


and also potentially better coverage, depending on your particular house layout. My biggest advantage of going with a router + wireless access point instead of a wireless router is that I was able to put the router in the basement where the cable comes in and put the access point on the main floor. I get a much better signal on the 2nd floor than when I used to have a wireless router in the basement.


That's true, my UAP-AC-PRO covers the whole two floors of plasterboard/outdoor rooms/basements/brick etctera far better than my previous WRT-610N that I needed two of at each end of the house.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Tue Jan 01, 2019 6:22 pm

Village wrote:
..the EdgerouterX ..is not as simple as a consumer wireless router. You trade some simplicity for general reliability and configuration options which is great if you like to tinker. But might not be if you just want to push a button and have everything work. =)


It's actually pretty close to consumer wireless routers I've had in the past.. maybe consumer routers have gotten to a push-button and working condition now (..but I've never experienced that). :oops:
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:12 pm

CScottG wrote:
Village wrote:
..the EdgerouterX ..is not as simple as a consumer wireless router. You trade some simplicity for general reliability and configuration options which is great if you like to tinker. But might not be if you just want to push a button and have everything work. =)


It's actually pretty close to consumer wireless routers I've had in the past.. maybe consumer routers have gotten to a push-button and working condition now (..but I've never experienced that). :oops:

Not quite. To reserve an IP, you have to go to services, dhcp, and then you can do it there. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have found that without an online guide.
 
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Mon Jan 07, 2019 9:32 pm

I just upgraded from a D-link DIR-655 to a Netgear Nighthawk X4s and the speed and signal increases were massive. All of our clients are still wireless N, but being able to move to the 5ghz spectrum was a really nice speed upgrade.

The 2.4ghz signal is unreal. Whereas our old DIR-655 gave -65-61 dBm in our living room, the same Thinkpad X230 gets -45dBm in the same location. I'm sitting here on 5ghz getting the same -65-61 dBm, but at more than 4x the speed. Steam downloads went from 1.8MB/s to nearly 8.2MB/s.

I'm pleased with the upgrade. I can see moving to Ubuquity stuff in the future though.
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:29 am

I'll diverge a little from the other recommendations. I've just recently setup my house with three Asus RT-68 routers using their AiMesh solution and I've got to say I'm pretty happy with it. My networking has varied over the years from single WRT-54G running DDWRT to multiple random access points trying to cover the dead areas without particularly satisfactory results. This solution is the first time I've gotten full-house coverage with good/fast and reliable performance. I realize this stretches more toward the $150 end of your range but I've had very good luck with this router and the ability to add AiMesh in the future is, I think, attractive. https://www.amazon.com/Dual-Band-AiMesh ... B00FB45SI4

If you're OK with refurbished you can hit your $100 target https://www.amazon.com/Asus-RT-AC1900P- ... 07JNK1KFW/

If you have no interest in the AiMesh feature and just want a reliable router with good coverage, I've used a couple of the T-mobile version of the RT-68U and they perform identically as far as I can tell: https://www.amazon.com/T-Mobile-Wireles ... B01MYTAURW

If you want to stick to your $100 budget and still retain AiMesh ability the RT-AC66U appears to be a good option as well: https://www.amazon.com/Asus-Rt-Ac66u-Ro ... B01N08LPPP

Finally, if you can stretch the budget even further or are good with refurbished as an option, the RT-AC86U seems to be the most modern, reasonably priced option from ASUS https://www.amazon.com/Dual-band-Dual-c ... B07K1QC9FX
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Re: A good Wireless Router under $100?

Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:31 pm

I'll diverge as well. I had the R7000 and it served me well for 4 years, but then started having reliability issues (I'm guessing heat related; maybe the thermal paste drying out). I've had gigabit internet the entire time and it was able to handle the load no problem.

Last year I really started to get into home automation/smart home type stuff, and I don't know if it was the beginnings of age/heat having an effect or if the first-generation hardware didn't like it, but once I started to get a lot of devices on Wi-Fi, it just wasn't quite as stable or reliable.

I looked hard at Ubiquiti, and the idea of full control and specialized/dedicated hardware really appeals to me. But, I had a hard time with the costs (CloudKey, UAG, PoE switch, probably 2 nano APs, it was over $500 for everything).

I decided to take a chance (fully expecting to return it) and got a 3-pack Google WiFi set for $195 (and I've seen it for less since). In short, I'm surprisingly happy with it, and have no regrets. No, it can't do everything that the UBNT setup can, and I don't have full control over everything, but:

Pros:
+ It's able to handle 45+ devices simultaneously with no issues
+ I love the real-time and historical network metrics -- it's awesome to have this info available
+ It's really easy to label devices on your network so you know exactly what everything is
+ Guest network is easy to setup and control, and you can easily share items from the internal network (ie printers) to the Guest network
+ Cloud control is great, and I can easily view and configure my network from anywhere
+ I first just installed one puck, and I had a strong signal through my whole house, whereas the R7000 (known to have excellent WiFi strength) struggled to deliver a good signal in one area. That said, I didn't have any other devices on the network at the time, and I paid for 3, so I (likely unnecessarily) installed all 3
+ Very stable and reliable
+ Strong WiFi signals
+ Able to define my own DHCP reservations & DNS servers
+ Able to use the spare port on the puck to create a wireless bridge very easily (plug and play)
+ Very easy to setup and configure

Cons:
- The app reports that I average about 650MB down and 250MB up in its own built-in internet speed tests, whereas I usually had 900+ both ways with the R7000, but in real-world usage I can't tell any difference at all (Steam still downloads stuff at the same speed as under the R7000), and I'm able to run multiple HD/4k streams with no issues. Since I can't tell the difference, the numbers don't matter to me.
- Each puck only has 2 ethernet ports, so I picked up a couple of 8-port switches to give myself more wired connections. These were quasi-managed and somewhat smart, and only ~$20-25 each, so no big deal.
- Wish I could create more detailed sharing rules or create some additional VLANs, but this is minor. UBNT would have allowed this, but would be more difficult to configure and cost at least 2.5x as much.

The Google WiFi doesn't have great specs on paper, but in practice it works very well. You could probably find a single unit on sale for around $100, and that might be enough for your whole home (based upon the 1500 ft2 you mentioned, although with 2 stories and a basement you might need more). Plus, you can add more easily if needed. If you think you might need 2, get the 3 pack, as it's the same price as buying two individuals (if purchased on sale).

TLDR: Try the Google WiFi. If too expensive, go for the R7000.

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