The Router Recommendations Thread (Consumer)

Wag

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I need help choosing the best router for my setup. Right now I'm running a half-assed solution because I live in a 120yr old brick building and can't wire my house well for ethernet.

So what I'm currently doing is:

FIOS Gigabit in the closet- right outside the closet:

Asus AC68U for wifi and wired to Microtik Wireless wire host to client on the other side of the living room to switch wired to entertainment center/NAS (in closet on other side of wall).

In bedroom I have a Linksys wrt3200acm in bridge mode. Yes I know the Linksys is supposedly the better of the two routers but it's actually crap for wifi and only good as a bridge.

I have a lot of wifi AC devices in my condo, so I'm wondering if I would benefit from buying a really good Tri-Band router, or could I get away with the AC86U or 88AX? I really like the WRT-Merlin firmware, been rock solid. The 68U has been the best router I've ever owned.

My condo is one floor, approx 900sq ft, but as I said, converted brick school building. When I moved in I had to change cell carriers because I keep losing reception as I walked in towards my bedroom.
 

FNtastic

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I need help choosing the best router for my setup. Right now I'm running a half-assed solution because I live in a 120yr old brick building and can't wire my house well for ethernet.

So what I'm currently doing is:

FIOS Gigabit in the closet- right outside the closet:

Asus AC68U for wifi and wired to Microtik Wireless wire host to client on the other side of the living room to switch wired to entertainment center/NAS (in closet on other side of wall).

In bedroom I have a Linksys wrt3200acm in bridge mode. Yes I know the Linksys is supposedly the better of the two routers but it's actually crap for wifi and only good as a bridge.

I have a lot of wifi AC devices in my condo, so I'm wondering if I would benefit from buying a really good Tri-Band router, or could I get away with the AC86U or 88AX? I really like the WRT-Merlin firmware, been rock solid. The 68U has been the best router I've ever owned.

My condo is one floor, approx 900sq ft, but as I said, converted brick school building. When I moved in I had to change cell carriers because I keep losing reception as I walked in towards my bedroom.
Unifi AP. I moved from an Asus AC router as well. That thing treated me really well. But, there is a noticeable difference in all aspects improving.
 

Wag

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Unifi AP. I moved from an Asus AC router as well. That thing treated me really well. But, there is a noticeable difference in all aspects improving.
I need something that handles a VPN well. The AC68 is too slow.
 

FNtastic

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I need something that handles a VPN well. The AC68 is too slow.
You can go as cheap as an edgerouter X (won't get 1gbps over vpn) or as pricey as enterprise gear. Read this as a starting point:
https://hardforum.com/threads/guide-what-router-should-i-get.1965547/
There are plenty of guides on configuring the edgerouter X to use openvpn server. Just remember it's going to be via command line for that specific feature.
Next, consider pfsense if you want to get full gigabit over vpn (or another firewall that can run on more powerful hardware). Negate sells really nice hardware. And, you can even repurpose old hardware as a pfsense box. Or, buy brand new hardware to run it on.
 

Wag

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You can go as cheap as an edgerouter X (won't get 1gbps over vpn) or as pricey as enterprise gear. Read this as a starting point:
https://hardforum.com/threads/guide-what-router-should-i-get.1965547/
There are plenty of guides on configuring the edgerouter X to use openvpn server. Just remember it's going to be via command line for that specific feature.
Next, consider pfsense if you want to get full gigabit over vpn (or another firewall that can run on more powerful hardware). Negate sells really nice hardware. And, you can even repurpose old hardware as a pfsense box. Or, buy brand new hardware to run it on.
The Merlin wrt firmware is great in the way it handles vpns. Makes it very easy to turn on and off remotely, that's why I was thinking another Asus router would be a good choice.
 

IdiotInCharge

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You can toss WRT into a VM if you like, but if your biggest issue is building a VPN endpoint then you might consider running it somewhere other than on the edge as a function of a router? It is, after all, just a piece of software.
 

Wag

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You can toss WRT into a VM if you like, but if your biggest issue is building a VPN endpoint then you might consider running it somewhere other than on the edge as a function of a router? It is, after all, just a piece of software.
VPN is not my main concern. I basically just use it to watch Netflix in other regions so WRT is convenient for that. I want an easy way of setting up my home network.
 

FNtastic

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VPN is not my main concern. I basically just use it to watch Netflix in other regions so WRT is convenient for that. I want an easy way of setting up my home network.
You don't need a VPN server then. You want the client. You can also do that with an edgerouter X and send the traffic from only one device (or multiple devices) over the VPN connection. There's no easy toggle switch for it though. It would require you to login via SSH and issue a command. I haven't looked into it much more than that, as that's always been as far as I needed to go. But, I'm sure there are other things that could make toggling it easier.
 

Wag

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You don't need a VPN server then. You want the client. You can also do that with an edgerouter X and send the traffic from only one device (or multiple devices) over the VPN connection. There's no easy toggle switch for it though. It would require you to login via SSH and issue a command. I haven't looked into it much more than that, as that's always been as far as I needed to go. But, I'm sure there are other things that could make toggling it easier.
Too much work.

That's why I'm thinking the Asus routers are my best option. Not sure which one.
 

CAD4466HK

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So what would be the benefits of upgrading my ASUS AC68P to a Edgerouter X? Which I've heard all kinds of good things about.
 

schizrade

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So what would be the benefits of upgrading my ASUS AC68P to a Edgerouter X? Which I've heard all kinds of good things about.
I picked an ER-X few weeks back. I 1000% recommend it. Its as close to the real deal as you can get without setting up a network closet in your house and messing all that noise. I get enough of that at work, so having the familiar ent features in a $60 box is awesome. Plus it's fast.
 

trick0502

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Wow, this thread died!

Finally replaced my erl with a er4. To be honest there’s no difference for what I’m using it for. Still have a es16 and two ap-AC-pros.

I think my next upgrade will be some new aps. Wireless has taken over my house!
 

Wag

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It did.

I purchased a refurbished Asus AC86u a while back and am very happy with it. A nice upgrade over a 68u.

I use it in a bridge config with another router in my bedroom and send a signal across my living room with a MicroTik 1GB wireless link (best $170 I spent). That thing maxes out 1GB over wireless (even with some obstacles in its path).

https://www.asus.com/Mesh-WiFi-System/ZenWiFi-AX-XT8/

I'm really waiting for Asus to put out their new wifi6 tri-band mesh setup with dedicated backhaul. This thing supports 2.5GB Base-T. I really only trust Asus now for consumer grade wifi. All the other routers I've had from other manufacturers (and I've had a lot) have been crap. I have a few sitting in my closet. I plan on using 3 of them in a bridge config- I don't really need the Mesh setup.
 

///AMG

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Wow, this thread died!

Finally replaced my erl with a er4. To be honest there’s no difference for what I’m using it for. Still have a es16 and two ap-AC-pros.

I think my next upgrade will be some new aps. Wireless has taken over my house!
I bought the er4 but didn’t like EdgeOS that much and the UDM I bought wasn’t exactly what I wanted. But I saw that the UDM pro came out so I am considering getting that and a new Poe switch for the aps.
 

IdiotInCharge

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The problem I have with Unifi is that while it's 'pretty', it isn't really any more functional. EdgeOS isn't pretty, but it's more functional.

Perhaps Ubiquiti will improve Unifi. They just don't have a good track record there.
 

///AMG

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The problem I have with Unifi is that while it's 'pretty', it isn't really any more functional. EdgeOS isn't pretty, but it's more functional.

Perhaps Ubiquiti will improve Unifi. They just don't have a good track record there.
I dont really need everything that EdgeOS offers so its kind of useless for me. I don't want to spend that much time learning it either. I just need more functionality and performance than what my eero system offers but not everything that EdgeOS gives me so Unifi is the good in between. For me I want performance and simplicity. Biggest reason I even want to switch over is DPI and WAN failover.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I dont really need everything that EdgeOS offers so its kind of useless for me. I don't want to spend that much time learning it either. I just need more functionality and performance than what my eero system offers but not everything that EdgeOS gives me so Unifi is the good in between. For me I want performance and simplicity. Biggest reason I even want to switch over is DPI and WAN failover.
I love Unifi for my wireless access points, but I tried one of their routers a few years back and was very disappointed. I returned it and went straight back to pfSense on custom hardware.
 

spaceman

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I have Cox Cable. My house was built in 1904 and is 3 stories. I need a WiFi solution that is inexpensive. What I have now barely works for two phones, one laptop and a tv. Whenever we are streaming Netflix, Amazon etc the speed for anything else goes in the toilet. What is the new bang for the buck wifi router? Thanks!
 

NIZMOZ

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I have Cox Cable. My house was built in 1904 and is 3 stories. I need a WiFi solution that is inexpensive. What I have now barely works for two phones, one laptop and a tv. Whenever we are streaming Netflix, Amazon etc the speed for anything else goes in the toilet. What is the new bang for the buck wifi router? Thanks!
EERO Pro 3 puck mesh system. You won't have issues after that.
 

Vengance_01

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Yup any mesh system. Google one can be had pretty cheap. Looks like you favor stability over all out speed.
 

trick0502

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I love edge router and unifi aps. Is it the fastest, no. Do I ever hear my wife say “the Wi-Fi isn’t working!”, no.
 

Edgar

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If you have a way of installing an AP on the second floor. That would be your best bet. Centrally on the second floor would be ideal.
 

Lunas

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If you have a way of installing an AP on the second floor. That would be your best bet. Centrally on the second floor would be ideal.
I have found this is not always the best old buildings in particular were not designed with WiFi transparency in mind I work in a building that my ubquity AP have issues making it 30 ft. My home built in the 50s I have a Asus router 3 ft from my front door and it barely gets signal to the curb due to the walls. My advise is plan for 2 or 3 AP maybe 4. But start with 2 one for upstairs and one downstairs and look at rate limiting don't just let all devices go full throttle unless you have the hardware to handle it most consumer routers can barely handle 1 or 2 devices sucking down that dense of content. Look at ubiquity or microtik routers and AP dedicated to being AP the other factor is a good cable modem or dsl modem shitty ones will crash and reboot or clog and dribble your bandwidth if they get overwhelmed. Be prepared to spend around 200-300 on networking equipment alone. That will get you 1 router and maybe 2 ap find the best positions by hooking it all up and just setting the AP in general locations before final mounting you will be surprised to find how bad it is to get good signal everywhere I would start one centrally located on the first and 3rd floor see if that works if you find to covers too well you can try one on the 2nd floor or think of the 3 floors as a cube each corner of the cube has a number 1-8 1-4 are the front 5-8 are the back 4 put one at 1 and 8 that will be front left of the house 3rd floor and right rear of 1st floor. That way some of the back yard would be covered to use on the deck
 
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AeonF1

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Receiving a UDM-Pro and FlexHD AP tomorrow to replace a been solid so far ER-X and Netgear R7000 setup as an AP.

Not really a practical upgrade but I already have rack mountable switches along with some 10G gear with my FreeNAS and ESXi towers that I think it's time to throw everything into a 15U rack as I'm finally buying a house this summer. Hate the fact it's all kinda scattered around in my apartment.

Just need to find some decent rack mountable server chassis to transition the servers to
 

Wag

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I tried a wifi 6 setup in my apartment and it wasn't any faster/better than my AC setup. I think the bandwidth is too crowded where I live. I'm going to wait for 6e I think.
 

86 5.0L

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Happy with my nanoHD, set it up in a few minutes with my existing ATT router
 
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Vengance_01

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I tried a wifi 6 setup in my apartment and it wasn't any faster/better than my AC setup. I think the bandwidth is too crowded where I live. I'm going to wait for 6e I think.
Did you have wifi 6 wireless cards as well?
 

Wag

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Did you have wifi 6 wireless cards as well?
Bought an ASUS AiMesh setup with a dedicated wifi6 back channel. Tried configuring it multiple ways, AiMesh on/off, wireless bridge, etc, I couldn’t get >300mbps on wifi6 in either direction. I gave up and went back to my old AC dual-band wireless bridge setup which had faster throughout. I can see at least 15 5g networks from my apartment which probably explains why.

I’ll just have to wait for 6e I guess.
 

Vengance_01

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Bought an ASUS AiMesh setup with a dedicated wifi6 back channel. Tried configuring it multiple ways, AiMesh on/off, wireless bridge, etc, I couldn’t get >300mbps on wifi6 in either direction. I gave up and went back to my old AC dual-band wireless bridge setup which had faster throughout. I can see at least 15 5g networks from my apartment which probably explains why.

I’ll just have to wait for 6e I guess.
Thanks for the update. I am in no hurry to move to wifi 6. AC gives me plenty of bandwidth. If you truly need 1GBe speeds hardwired is the way to go. I have 3 unifi AC APs covering my whole house including front and back. Zero issue. Plenty of speed for all devices.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I have a single UAP AC Pro covering a midsize apartment, from a table top in one of the bedrooms even. I'm considering less destructive means of ceiling mounting...
 
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Recently replaced my AC-Pro with a nanoHD. No much difference tbh. But my acpro went to a needy family member.
Can I ask if you noticed any differences in connectivity for 2.4 Ghz devices at a distance from the AP? We just moved and my UAP-AC-LITE is having trouble with IP cameras and our doorbell that are at the periphery of the house. Old house was new construction, 2000 sq ft, three stories, approx 16' x 50' footprint and the new house is ~20 years old, 4000 sq ft, also three stories but on a 25' x 125' footprint (although I really just want coverage to about 75' or so). The Lite is on the second (main) floor in pretty much dead center. I am thinking about replacing it with either the Pro ($135 at MC) vs Nano ($159). Because the current cat5e drop is basically in a closet, I am leaning towards the Pro since the 5 Ghz speed benefit for the Nano could be lost by interference, and there are really only two laptop users right now anyway. Eventually I'll hardwire the cameras with POE.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I am thinking about replacing it with either the Pro ($135 at MC) vs Nano ($159).
Instead of replacing it, move it closer to the 2.4GHz consumers then put a Pro or Nano in its place and turn down the 2.4GHz transmit power. Use a separate SSID and channel on the Lite for the IoTy stuff to keep it from contending with the Pro or Nano and rock on, letting the Lite be a supplement or fallback for 5GHz stuff.

You got 4,000sqft, why not cover it well?
 
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Yes, I should have clarified the whole problem and plan. Both the first and second floors have cat5e drops at about the same location, roughly on top of one another. Both are in closets. Each IP camera is only about 20-30 feet from the Lite (in the x-y plane) and perhaps 12 feet in the z plane, but I think there must be some steel beams in between the floors that kills the signal. The Lite on the first floor will move to the second to get to the two IP cameras up there.

The Pro / NanoHD will go on the first / ground floor. The main 2.4 Ghz offenders here are:
  1. The doorbell (Ring Pro 2), which is outside and about 50 feet away from the second floor drop. Signal has to travel through a thick wooden front door, then descend about six feet along cement / brick / block steps. The doorbell itself is attached to a heavy iron gate that is covered with spring-time plants. I am strongly suspecting a hardware or software problem with the Ring itself in addition to poor wifi from the Lite.
  2. Wyze USB powered camera #1, which is also outside and about 30 feet from the drop. When funds and time allow, this is getting swapped out for a 2MP low lux turret IP POE camera.
  3. Wyze USB powered camera #2, which is outside but clear at the back of the house on the otherside of a block-construction detached garage. I think there will be no way this camera will be able to connect to any AP inside the house so it's the first one I am swapping out.
  4. Wyze USB powered camera #3, which is also out back but on the near side of the garage. This might connect with the Pro methinks.
The rest of the devices are in the basement are 5 Ghz and do reasonably well all considered, granted most are just below the AP cone in the x-y plane. Eventually I might put a third AP in the basement but since the utility closet with router and switch are on this floor I will probably just run new wire if necessary
 
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