Are the $200+ home routers worth it?

dd0512

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
145
So, just as a general question,

I remember like..not that long ago, top tier routers were like $120 and even that was considered high (for home routers). Now, I see dozens of routers at $160-250 on amazon.

Has there been some massive change that has instigated these changes? Do these routers actually provide a decent value? Are they they much better than a $60 router?
 

Nenu

[H]ardened
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
20,075
Read reviews and forums for particular products.
Security and features are better on some.
Only buy respected manufacturers products, dont get it because it costs a lot.
 

diizzy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 6, 2008
Messages
2,602
Some are using faster platforms but given that decent 11n-platforms does 200+ there isn't a need for anything faster (throughput). 11ac (ARM or MIPS) does about 300-700 mbit depending on SoC.
Keep in mind that 11n is still much more mature and stable than 11ac which means that you might want to have a newer SoC that does 11ac because it's faster but use a 11n AP.
//Danne
 

Ocellaris

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
19,072
I had a $120 AC router and then I bought a "top tier" WRT1900AC to get better WiFi signal throughout my house and lawn. It totally worked, I can use my WiFi from my entire property and a few houses in each direction. With the previous router I didn't always have a good signal from my driveway and the corners of the lawn were dead zones.

For actual throughput I didn't notice anything since I am mostly streaming media onto mobile devices and not doing large file transfers.
 
Last edited:

SticKx911

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2004
Messages
2,509
I can use my WiFi from my entire property and a few houses in each direction.

Now to get fiber and share the bill with some neighbors. :)

Only really posting because I am curious as well. I've always bought low to mid level routers and have really been annoyed at the quality after a few months of use. I just can't bring myself to spend $200 when there is usually one with similar (important to me) specs for $50. The only thing I -want- is more stability, but is just the possibility of not having to reboot my router a couple times a week worth the extra $150..."Buy right or buy twice" I guess.

Do you guys with the higher end ones ever even have to think about your router once it's set up? The only router I've owned that I rarely, if ever, had to reset was a classic wrt54g.
 

diizzy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 6, 2008
Messages
2,602
There are a lot of concerns about the WRT1900AC given the "Open Source"-friendly marketing which still isn't true. I'm very happy with the Atheros platform (AR9344) both in terms of stability and performance. If I wanted more I'd have a look at Mediatek's MT7621A platform. So it all depends on what you need/want.
//Danne
 

Ocellaris

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
19,072
There are a lot of concerns about the WRT1900AC given the "Open Source"-friendly marketing which still isn't true. I'm very happy with the Atheros platform (AR9344) both in terms of stability and performance. If I wanted more I'd have a look at Mediatek's MT7621A platform. So it all depends on what you need/want.
//Danne

WRT1900AC has official OpenWRT builds now. Though early DDWRT support just got dropped because they DDWRT developers couldn't get some information from the chipset maker.

Though really I haven't found much of a reason to use DDWRT firmware on any router I've used since the WRT54GL era. Open source firmware used to be the only way to use certain features and get some hardware stable. Now the need for that is mostly on devices that need Merlin firmware because the ASUS firmware is terrible. And on some older spec devices where DDWRT has been working well on that hardware for years.
 

diizzy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 6, 2008
Messages
2,602
@ ocellaris
Builds yes, working wifi or stability no...
https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=50173&p=309
No sane person uses DDWRT ;-)

As I haven't been able to use the wifi much on the MT7621A platform yet I cannot comment on that much except that the open source driver for 5GHz still needs work while the vendor provided driver apparently works fine. The 2.4Ghz radio should work without issues AFAIK. As far as wired connections go it works great.
//Danne
 

voyagerfan99

Weaksauce
Joined
May 4, 2012
Messages
105
If I had it my way, I'd buy a Ubiquiti Edgerouter Lite and use that to send data to an unmanaged switch hooked up to a UniFi AP or two around my house.

But that all depends on how much networking experience you have. Otherwise a $120 ASUS router should do the trick.
 

NoOther

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 14, 2008
Messages
6,468
I know I plug this site a lot, but it has some great reviews and information on routers. I have used it for my last few purchases and have not been disappointed. I have been rocking an Asus N66u for awhile now (haven't needed the AC yet) and been quite happy with it. As for whether the more expensive top end routers are worth it, it really depends on what you are using them for. Most people can get away with far cheaper routers. The top end is more for those wanting more firmware features, net storage options, bigger range, AC spec, etc. I personally like the Asus software and I use some QoS and VLAN options, plus I like the throughput of my current router so far. It was worth the $120 I paid for it when I got it.
 

Ocellaris

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
19,072
@ ocellaris
Builds yes, working wifi or stability no...
https://forum.openwrt.org/viewtopic.php?id=50173&p=309
No sane person uses DDWRT ;-)

As I haven't been able to use the wifi much on the MT7621A platform yet I cannot comment on that much except that the open source driver for 5GHz still needs work while the vendor provided driver apparently works fine. The 2.4Ghz radio should work without issues AFAIK. As far as wired connections go it works great.
//Danne

I am pretty involved in keep up with that OpenWRT thread, the OpenWRT community blows my mind. People over there spend so much time trying to get their special tweaks working when the core firmware doesn't even function correctly. The the conversation gets overwhelmed with people discussing tweaks, one off builds, and specific kernel versions that only affect them without ever addressing the fundamentals.
 

diizzy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 6, 2008
Messages
2,602
There's much work being done as a whole though, maintaining the OpenWRT distro and it's packages. The WRT1900AC is pretty much a dead end, Turris Lite looks like a nice little box however.
https://lite.turris.cz/en/
//Danne
 
M

mls1995

Guest
I know I plug this site a lot, but it has some great reviews and information on routers. I have used it for my last few purchases and have not been disappointed. I have been rocking an Asus N66u for awhile now (haven't needed the AC yet) and been quite happy with it. As for whether the more expensive top end routers are worth it, it really depends on what you are using them for. Most people can get away with far cheaper routers. The top end is more for those wanting more firmware features, net storage options, bigger range, AC spec, etc. I personally like the Asus software and I use some QoS and VLAN options, plus I like the throughput of my current router so far. It was worth the $120 I paid for it when I got it.

that's the best site out there, smallnetbuilder. Great advice there. My favorite AC router is the R7000 Nighthawk, those things are really solid.
 
Joined
May 20, 2011
Messages
916
+1 My netgear n7000 nighthawk was worth every penny. The thing just works, great coverage in my brick house and I've only had to reset it maybe 2 or 3 times in the past in almost 2 years.
 

Zangmonkey

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 6, 2005
Messages
4,386
I went to separate appliances recently (Ubiquiti EdgeRouterX + RTN66U AP for now)
I don't think I'll ever look back.
 

diizzy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 6, 2008
Messages
2,602
EdgeRouter X has a much faster SoC than the Asus, in fact it uses Mediatek's MT7621A SoC :)
No OpenWRT suport en severely stripped down.
//Danne
 

cyclone3d

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Aug 16, 2004
Messages
14,861
I got fed up with crappy (even $150 range is crappy) wireless routers so I built my own using an old computer and a wireless card and the free version of ClearOS.

Never once had a problem with it once it was set up except I didn't have good Wifi signal strength.

Instead of buying a powered antenna, I got rid of the wireless card and got a used Cisco 1252 access point off of Ebay.

A little while ago, I switched over from ClearOS to Sophos UTM as it seems to be an overall more configurable platform and the web interface blows the ClearOS web interface away.

I have never had to restart it.. and it just works. The Firewall is a bit tricky to learn and get set up to let everything you need to get through, but it just rocks as far as reliability goes.
 

Ocellaris

Fully [H]
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Messages
19,072
EdgeRouter X has a much faster SoC than the Asus, in fact it uses Mediatek's MT7621A SoC :)
No OpenWRT suport en severely stripped down.
//Danne

I look at those EdgeRouter Xs for $50 and I want one, though I definitely do not need it. Just having some better reporting to look at may be neat. I have a perfect spot next to my cable modem (wall mounted) for an additional device, could turn my WRT1900AC into an AP... Also I have a wonky setup now where I run a network cable from the basement to the 1st floor to go from the modem to the WRT1900AC, then another cable from the WRT back down into the basement for a another switch down there... Works fine, just inefficient... And I've been thinking about running new cable anyway. Slowly talking myself into this...
 

Zangmonkey

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 6, 2005
Messages
4,386
I look at those EdgeRouter Xs for $50 and I want one, though I definitely do not need it. Just having some better reporting to look at may be neat. I have a perfect spot next to my cable modem (wall mounted) for an additional device, could turn my WRT1900AC into an AP... Also I have a wonky setup now where I run a network cable from the basement to the 1st floor to go from the modem to the WRT1900AC, then another cable from the WRT back down into the basement for a another switch down there... Works fine, just inefficient... And I've been thinking about running new cable anyway. Slowly talking myself into this...

The price sold it for me since I don't need a lot of extensive configuration on my router and I can easily separate the concerns in my topology. There's no reason for my wired clients to have a problem as a result of my wireless processor.
 

diizzy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 6, 2008
Messages
2,602
@ ocellaris
Downside is that it's very limited, no expansion parts at all and you're stick with Ubnt's firmware :/
//Danne
 

Zangmonkey

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 6, 2005
Messages
4,386
@ ocellaris
Downside is that it's very limited, no expansion parts at all and you're stick with Ubnt's firmware :/
//Danne

This is true, but it being a downside depends on your usecase.
For me, I prefer my router to be fast and dedicated. Fewer frills means less to go wrong.
 

diizzy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 6, 2008
Messages
2,602
Everything is already in the SoC ;-)
I'd go for the WITI board in that case but that's just me.
//Danne
 
Top