What do you do with your old routers? Recycle or re-use?

philb2

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I have some old Netgear and one D-Link Wi-Fi routers. Some of them don't support the latest Wi-Fi standards, and the security is lousy for bridge mode in all the Netgear routers.

What do all you guys do with your older routers?
 

GotNoRice

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Generally I put DD-WRT on mine.

It's not really a big deal that they don't support the newest standards. I'm assuming that they support at least 802.11n (WiFi 4) right? One thing most people don't understand is that 802.11ac (WiFi 5) was 5Ghz only. That meant that any 802.11ac (WiFi 5) "Dual Band" router was actually using 802.11n (WiFi 4) on the 2.4Ghz band. It wasn't until 802.11ax (WiFi 6) that the 2.4Ghz WiFi standard was finally updated. Many devices, including ISP-supplied WiFi modem/router combo devices still only use WiFi 5 (meaning WiFi 4 on the 2.4Ghz band). So really, 802.11n (WiFi 4) is still much more mainstream than most people realize.

You will want at least 3 WiFi access points in your house, one for each non-overlapping 2.4Ghz band. 802.11n (WiFi 4) devices are fine for this.
 

philb2

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Generally I put DD-WRT on mine.

It's not really a big deal that they don't support the newest standards. I'm assuming that they support at least 802.11n (WiFi 4) right? One thing most people don't understand is that 802.11ac (WiFi 5) was 5Ghz only. That meant that any 802.11ac (WiFi 5) "Dual Band" router was actually using 802.11n (WiFi 4) on the 2.4Ghz band. It wasn't until 802.11ax (WiFi 6) that the 2.4Ghz WiFi standard was finally updated. Many devices, including ISP-supplied WiFi modem/router combo devices still only use WiFi 5 (meaning WiFi 4 on the 2.4Ghz band). So really, 802.11n (WiFi 4) is still much more mainstream than most people realize.

You will want at least 3 WiFi access points in your house, one for each non-overlapping 2.4Ghz band. 802.11n (WiFi 4) devices are fine for this.
Sounds good, but I'm curious. These additional access points, are they repeaters that cut bandwidth in half?

What is a "non-overlapping" 2.4 band?
 

philb2

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Generally I put DD-WRT on mine.

It's not really a big deal that they don't support the newest standards. I'm assuming that they support at least 802.11n (WiFi 4) right? One thing most people don't understand is that 802.11ac (WiFi 5) was 5Ghz only. That meant that any 802.11ac (WiFi 5) "Dual Band" router was actually using 802.11n (WiFi 4) on the 2.4Ghz band. It wasn't until 802.11ax (WiFi 6) that the 2.4Ghz WiFi standard was finally updated. Many devices, including ISP-supplied WiFi modem/router combo devices still only use WiFi 5 (meaning WiFi 4 on the 2.4Ghz band). So really, 802.11n (WiFi 4) is still much more mainstream than most people realize.

You will want at least 3 WiFi access points in your house, one for each non-overlapping 2.4Ghz band. 802.11n (WiFi 4) devices are fine for this.
I appreciate this reply. Generally I hate to get rid of old electronics, as long as they work.

I still have some 320 GB and 1 and 2 TB drives that I use for backup. I'm afraid that I'm going to get rid of these drives soon enough. These days, you can buy a Western Digital 12-14-16 TB Easystore drive for $200+, especially on Black Friday sales. A lot cheaper than buying a NAS just to use those old drives.
 

GotNoRice

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Sounds good, but I'm curious. These additional access points, are they repeaters that cut bandwidth in half?

What is a "non-overlapping" 2.4 band?

Well, in my case I have Ethernet throughout my house, so they all function as access points (WiFi only, router functionality disabled), connected to ethernet. A repeater is not connected to a wired network at all, which is why the speed is reduced as it's having to use it's wireless radios to do two things at once. I would strongly recommend a wired backbone over using repeaters if at all possible. You could even use Powerline Networking or MoCA (TV Cable networking) as the wired backbone if needed.

2.4Ghz has 11 channels, 1 through 11. However, the nature of the WiFi signal is such that frequencies next to each other still overlap to some degree. Having one use channel 1, and another using channel 3, for example, would still overlap and conflict with each other as the frequencies are simply too close to each other. Similar to how FM radio stations have to be spaced reasonably far apart. You can't have a FM radio station on 107.7 and 107.9 at the same time. The three non-overlapping channels for 2.4Ghz are channels 1, 6, and 11, and those are the only channels you should ever use in practice.

5Ghz has much more bandwidth available and more non-overlapping channels, but 5Ghz also has poor penetration through walls compared to 2.4Ghz.
 
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SamirD

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I appreciate this reply. Generally I hate to get rid of old electronics, as long as they work.

I still have some 320 GB and 1 and 2 TB drives that I use for backup. I'm afraid that I'm going to get rid of these drives soon enough. These days, you can buy a Western Digital 12-14-16 TB Easystore drive for $200+, especially on Black Friday sales. A lot cheaper than buying a NAS just to use those old drives.
I'm the same way. :) The way I look at it, if it's survived and still works, it should be put to work. :)

I've got some smaller drives like this too. What I plan to do is use them JBOD in my nas that has some spare slots and then rotate them as off-site backups. I could even do multiple sets--quarterly, monthly, etc. And they should be readable in any linux so retrieval should be easy enough even without the nas unit. (y)
 

SamirD

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What do all you guys do with your older routers?
So if I don't use them as an access point, I'll just disable the routing and access point completely and use them as a switch. I still have some older att nettopia dsl routers running strong like this after nearly a decade in some installations--the switch in these are nice an robust. I think one of these was in 120F for nearly 10 years before I moved it from that to another site where it's still be working for a few years.
 

zandor

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5Ghz has much more bandwidth available and more non-overlapping channels, but 5Ghz also has poor penetration through walls compared to 2.4Ghz.
Also worse range in open air. Sometimes those are a good thing. I live in a house in Chicago (50x130 lot) and I can see a couple dozen WiFi networks from my house. Utilization on the 2.4GHz bands is ~40-50% and that's not my other AP. They're set to not overlap. It's the neighbors. 2.4GHz is just clogged around here. I hardly get any interference from my neighbors on 5GHz. Maybe that has something to do with all the houses around me being made of brick, including mine? At any rate 5GHz works great. 2.4, not so much.

I haven't bothered re-using old routers, though I do have one or two sitting around. I suppose I could re-use them as switches, but they're kind of big and chunky for the number of ports you get and as it is I have a switch I'm not using. Plus if I need a switch I'm tempted to get a managed one, so I guess I'm in the chuck 'em club.
 

SamirD

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Also worse range in open air. Sometimes those are a good thing. I live in a house in Chicago (50x130 lot) and I can see a couple dozen WiFi networks from my house. Utilization on the 2.4GHz bands is ~40-50% and that's not my other AP. They're set to not overlap. It's the neighbors. 2.4GHz is just clogged around here. I hardly get any interference from my neighbors on 5GHz. Maybe that has something to do with all the houses around me being made of brick, including mine? At any rate 5GHz works great. 2.4, not so much.

I haven't bothered re-using old routers, though I do have one or two sitting around. I suppose I could re-use them as switches, but they're kind of big and chunky for the number of ports you get and as it is I have a switch I'm not using. Plus if I need a switch I'm tempted to get a managed one, so I guess I'm in the chuck 'em club.
Apartments are horrible for wifi. I remember in our Chicago one there was literally more than 100 APs visible in our apartment, many stronger than our own. And all of them always auto changing channels so bouncing around endlessly. It affected both 2.4 and 5ghz because when we moved in, we had no neighbors. Then all the comcast boxes with their hidden 2aps, and stock 4 more aps start clogging the airwaves. Only solution was to double our plan to get the same speed we started with.

It's amazing how many times I've used an old router to quickly test something network based without touching my real network, or as a cheap switch where I just need another port or two. They're much better than spending $20 on one, that's for sure.
 

Vermillion

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I have some old Netgear and one D-Link Wi-Fi routers. Some of them don't support the latest Wi-Fi standards, and the security is lousy for bridge mode in all the Netgear routers.

What do all you guys do with your older routers?
Re-use for other things if I can load an open firmware like DD-WRT or OpenWRT on it. I had a mesh network made up of old routers for awhile. Worked pretty well. Have another stashed at my In-laws beach house for when I'm there as a secondary AP since the main AP sucks in parts of the house. Dire need of a mesh network there...
 

zandor

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Apartments are horrible for wifi. I remember in our Chicago one there was literally more than 100 APs visible in our apartment, many stronger than our own. And all of them always auto changing channels so bouncing around endlessly. It affected both 2.4 and 5ghz because when we moved in, we had no neighbors. Then all the comcast boxes with their hidden 2aps, and stock 4 more aps start clogging the airwaves. Only solution was to double our plan to get the same speed we started with.

It's amazing how many times I've used an old router to quickly test something network based without touching my real network, or as a cheap switch where I just need another port or two. They're much better than spending $20 on one, that's for sure.
Last time I lived in an apartment I ran just about everything wired. I had a MOCA adapter connecting my entertainment center to my router (in the bedroom I was using as an office) since the place was wired for cable TV in every room. The new 6GHz stuff (WiFi 6E) should help a good bit. That'll provide lots more non-overlapping channels, and it's even worse at going through walls.

I could see using an old router for testing or temporary purposes, but I think if I wanted to add a switch to my permanent network I would probably just get a switch. Likely a managed one.
 

LukeTbk

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Quick google gave those ideas:

  • Wireless repeater
  • Guest Wi-Fi connection
  • Cheap internet radio
  • Use the old router as a network switch
  • Adapt it as a wireless bridge
  • Convert your router into a NAS
  • Use an old router as a web server
  • A DIY VPN router
  • Sell the router on eBay
  • Set up a separate network for IoT devices
  • Learn more about home network
  • Donate it to a church or school
 
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SamirD

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Last time I lived in an apartment I ran just about everything wired. I had a MOCA adapter connecting my entertainment center to my router (in the bedroom I was using as an office) since the place was wired for cable TV in every room. The new 6GHz stuff (WiFi 6E) should help a good bit. That'll provide lots more non-overlapping channels, and it's even worse at going through walls.

I could see using an old router for testing or temporary purposes, but I think if I wanted to add a switch to my permanent network I would probably just get a switch. Likely a managed one.
I'm big on running everything wired so it didn't affect me. But the wife likes wifi and she noticed the drop from 150Mb. So finally when I upped to to 300Mb, she saw 150 again, lol.

I think the wifi6 stuff will help until everyone has it--then it will be the same problem again. Funny story--one of the apartment buildings where we were there for only 3 months because my wife got a much better ($$$) job that was brand new only had WIFI because att told them so! Even the TV was delivered over att wirelessly so everyone was going to get screwed at that place when it finally filled out. It was a nice place though--got to make time to check it out again if we're ever that way again.

I'm all about some dumb switches. They're so reliable! Uptime in years. (y)
 

philb2

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I'm big on running everything wired so it didn't affect me. But the wife likes wifi and she noticed the drop from 150Mb.

In principle I also would like to run my house entirely wired. If I could I would have Cat 5 or Cat 6 everyshere. But that would involve busting open a lot of walls, drilling through firestops and floorplates, and doing a lot of "fishtaping. Ain't ever gonna happen while I'm living in this house. :(

My wife, she doesn't care how signals are carried to the Internet. :ROFLMAO:

Once, a very, very long time ago, we did a remodel and I ran 10Base2 between first and second floors. Like 10 mbits/sec. :p
I'm all about some dumb switches. They're so reliable! Uptime in years. (y)
Yea, dumb switches are great, but if they are very old, the they may not be fast enough
 

SamirD

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In principle I also would like to run my house entirely wired. If I could I would have Cat 5 or Cat 6 everyshere. But that would involve busting open a lot of walls, drilling through firestops and floorplates, and doing a lot of "fishtaping. Ain't ever gonna happen while I'm living in this house. :(

My wife, she doesn't care how signals are carried to the Internet. :ROFLMAO:

Once, a very, very long time ago, we did a remodel and I ran 10Base2 between first and second floors. Like 10 mbits/sec. :p

Yea, dumb switches are great, but if they are very old, the they may not be fast enough
It's surprising how much stuff still uses regular fast ethernet. Most smart tvs still do and a lot of the management band is still fast ethernet so they're still good for a lot.
 
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