Next step above "gamer" routers

sniggle

Limp Gawd
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Feb 15, 2006
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For the past few years I've always bought all-in-one router/wifi/lan devices targeted at gamers. They usually work well enough and allow for some fairly advanced configuration, but they all either die after a while or have limitations in their configuration. For instance, my DGL-4500 will temporarily kill any active TCP connections when changing port forwarding rules which is really annoying when changing them over remote desktop.

I'm wondering what you guys might recommend for the next step up, which I would imagine would either be a small business type device or separating all components (firewall, wifi, lan) and having a fairly advanced core router. My requirements are:

  • Good gigabit wired throughput with 8+ ports
  • Wireless G/N access
  • Good web interface for configuration
  • All the usual networking must-haves (port forwarding rules, QoS, etc)

Would it be best to go with a firewall/router/NAT device with a single WAN and LAN port and then get a separate gigabit switch and wifi AP, or would something like the Cisco RV220w suffice?

Thanks in advance for any recommendations!
 

/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
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I personally use a Mikrotik 450G for my router along with an HP Gigabit switch and a Powerstation AP-N for my access point. The setup works great, never have to reboot anything. It's pretty hard to find a router with more than 4 or 5 ports on it though. If you need more, just add a switch. Maybe a higher end netgear with a gigabit switch? I've heard good things about the WNDR series, never used them though.
 

diizzy

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Get a WNDR3700 (with OpenWRT if you want to play around) and a decent gigabit switch?
//Danne
 

Ronco

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Draytek might have something appropriate in your range. They're fairly feature-loaded, still a cinch to configure and a step above the Linksys-levels of uptime (although nowhere near true SMB/edge routers), but are priced more like consumer routers ($2-300) instead of true SMB routers (>$500).
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
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Thanks guys. The Mikrotik routerboards look interesting, and I suppose I'd get one ready to use with the enclosure and power supply. I have no experience with RouterOS but as long as it has an active community and good web interface I'd be all for it.

External switch is no problem and I figured I'd need to go that route anyway. I have no experience with wifi access points if I end up needing those, but I would imagine those are fairly globally compatible with any router device.
 

Vito_Corleone

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The Winbox thing is relatively intuitive and there is a wealth of information out there for most needs. Look at the RB750GL.
 

/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
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With the new web interface, you don't even need to use Winbox. The community support is great and very helpful.
 

/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
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routeros.jpg


This is on my 450G. I believe the same versions are universal across all their hardware. The new web interface is quite nice actually.
 

bds1904

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/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
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Weird, mine doesn't seem to have it. I have Winbox and Webbox as options on the splash page.

I'm running 5.4 at the moment. You must be running an older version. This is called "webfig". You can then open the terminal from the webfig and do commands from there if you wish.

Also, Mikrotik (RouterOS) is nice because you have a very powerful GUI and also a very intuitive CLI. If you are familiar with IOS it's somewhat similar. (Not the commands, but using the ? for help and tab to finish commander, etc.) Rock solid too and cheap. I wish we would deploy them for our customers instead of homegrade dlink junk.
 

ccg07

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I have a Mikrotik 450g with a Ubiquiti NanoStation M access point. I have DSL and Cable internet connections running to the 450g. I route my game traffic through DSL and everything else to the Cable connection. Prevents my downloads and whatnot from affecting my gaming latency. The Mikrotik is cheap, reliable, and very flexible. I highly recommend it.
 

vraa

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I used to use Mikrotiks, I hate them all now haha

We've switched to pfsense and peplink
 

Biznatch

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A small Intel Atom box with 2+ NIC's running PFSense, connected to a GB switch. That will wipe the floor with any consumer grade router you can buy.

That mikrotic only has 100Mb ports on it, so I hope you aren't connecting to a fileserver/media storage through it or you will be hating life during large file transfers.
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
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A small Intel Atom box with 2+ NIC's running PFSense, connected to a GB switch. That will wipe the floor with any consumer grade router you can buy.

That mikrotic only has 100Mb ports on it, so I hope you aren't connecting to a fileserver/media storage through it or you will be hating life during large file transfers.

Oops, didn't notice that. Guess this would be a better option: http://www.roc-noc.com/mikrotik/routerboard/rb493g-complete.html

A pfsense box would probably be more powerful but I don't really want a full system for a router.
 

YeOldeStonecat

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Oops, didn't notice that. Guess this would be a better option: http://www.roc-noc.com/mikrotik/routerboard/rb493g-complete.html

A pfsense box would probably be more powerful but I don't really want a full system for a router.

The Mikrotiks are awesome, but don't have to worry about a "full system" with PFSense. Know what I did for many years at home? I recycled old laptops, I'd take an old IBM Thinkpad with a P3 mobile processor, say 512 megs of RAM. They come with an onboard Intel NIC, I'd slap in a PC card NIC, install PFSense, and whammo, instant potent router that could handle anything/everything I could throw at it without breaking a sweat.

Plus using a laptop for a router, not much energy consumption, small space, low noise, low heat, built in battery backup, built in KVM! Hard to beat!
 

vraa

Gawd
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Because I'm dumb as a rock. The Peplink hardware interfaced well with Pepwave, and pfSense gives you an incredible amount of flexibility and scalability

Open source is a solid ingredient to the foundations of a fundamentally solid platform in computing, storage and networking. pfsense IMO is a fantastic solution for MOST networking needs (coupled with dd-wrt on consumer grade hardware SOHO scale)
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
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I think I've decided on this model: http://www.roc-noc.com/mikrotik/routerboard/rb493g-complete.html

This should take care of the firewall/routing/switch. The only thing I'm not sure of is whether to get one of their radio addon cards or a separate wifi AP connected to an ethernet port. Ideally I'd like to run a hidden SSID b/g/n network for internal use and a separate b/g/n bandwidth-limited vlan'd network for guest use. Would two of their radio cards suffice for this, and if so, which ones would you recommend? Thanks!
 

/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
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I use a UBNT Unifi AP for my wireless and i have a guest wireless and my main network on the same controller. The regular version runs about 70-80 bucks and the long range one is ~100. I love mine.
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
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I use a UBNT Unifi AP for my wireless and i have a guest wireless and my main network on the same controller. The regular version runs about 70-80 bucks and the long range one is ~100. I love mine.

Do you use the long range or normal one? I don't think I'd need the long range since I'm in a fairly small apartment but it might be nice to invest in for the future.
 

/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
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Sniggle - I use the regular range one. I'm moving to our new house here in two weeks. It's two storeys with a basement ~ 1650 sq feet minus the basement. I'll let you know how it fairs. The house is 100 years old too. Just to give you an idea of the construction of it.

Vito - Yeah, they don't really give you a ton of info about them. They are only 2.4. They do do Auto 20/40 though unlike their Power APN. They plan on releasing a dual band outdoor version soon I believe.
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
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It says there's some sort of configuration interface for it. I assume that's how you set up the channels, security parameters, etc. This is also where you set up multiple wireless networks? How do you limit their access to the rest of the LAN?

Ehh I can probably just look all this up. :)
 
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Cerulean

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Get a Watchguard Firebox X700 and load it with pfSense + a gigabit switch. Done.
 

Cerulean

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Sounds very capable but a bit overkill for a small home network I think.
You can get a used X700 for $70-80 on eBay/Amazon. Loading it with pfSense is free. Using pfSense is free.

You can get a decent gigabit switch for $30-$50.

I'm pretty sure for the money this overkill is better than anything you can come up with. :D (Note: just my opinion ;o )
 

/usr/home

Supreme [H]ardness
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It says there's some sort of configuration interface for it. I assume that's how you set up the channels, security parameters, etc. This is also where you set up multiple wireless networks? How do you limit their access to the rest of the LAN?

Ehh I can probably just look all this up. :)

You install the controller software on PC on the network, plug the AP into the network, and it'll autofind it and you can configure it from there. If you later need more APs, plug them into the network and they'll auto config with the other ones. They'll auto change power and channels between themselves to give you better coverage and throughput and minimize interferance between themselves and other wireless networks.
 

Vito_Corleone

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Where do you guys buy your Ubiquiti stuff from? I want one. Trying to find the best place to buy online.
 

sniggle

Limp Gawd
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You can get a used X700 for $70-80 on eBay/Amazon. Loading it with pfSense is free. Using pfSense is free.

You can get a decent gigabit switch for $30-$50.

I'm pretty sure for the money this overkill is better than anything you can come up with. :D (Note: just my opinion ;o )

Good point, that is interesting. The other thing I considered though is that the X700 uses ~50watts because it's a pretty old device and essentially a full PC, whereas the Mikrotik uses ~10watts. Of course, the Mikrotik has a higher up front cost, but energy cost in NYC can be a bit pricey. Decisions, decisions...
 

Vito_Corleone

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Yea, I looked there. Didn't see Roc-Noc though. That's where I got my Miktrotik, so it seems like the best option. Thanks.
 
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