Author Topic: Good Value Router?  (Read 5057 times)

CommonCents

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Good Value Router?
« on: August 02, 2015, 02:02:20 PM »
I need to buy a new router (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/internet-cutting-out/msg714420/#msg714420)

I'm not a tech person, so I'm looking for a good value one that will reach reasonable distances.  We currently keep our 2007 router & modem in the basement and it barely reaches the 2nd floor.  We're not going to move the location of the router/modem, so a lonnger reach is preferable.  Fast is nice, of course, but we don't download movies so the top speeds aren't truly necessary.  We're more often browsing webpages and streaming hulu with the internet.  Maybe at some point we'll go back to gaming (so the lowest router is not ideal) but for now we aren't into it.

The guides I've read are too in-depth for me to really (let's be honest - want to spend the time to try to) understand them.  IP Daley's guide is too out of date (2013).

One review suggested this as a good value option at $47: http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-WDR3600-Wireless-Gigabit-300Mbps/dp/B008RV51EE?SubscriptionId=AKIAJM4NKIQGABP2PIRA&tag=thewire06-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B008RV51EE&ascsubtag=WC17176

Would you agree?  Or it's totally off base and you'd suggestion something else?  We've been living with a poor functioning one for months so I'm ready to pull the trigger and just buy something without my usual tons of research.

worms

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2015, 02:15:21 PM »
Lol, I thought this was going to be another woodworking query but I don't think DeWalt make the kind you're after!

Psychstache

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2015, 02:17:46 PM »
I'm a big fan of the wirecutter for getting good recommendations and research.

Wirecutter.com

sol

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2015, 02:18:08 PM »
I recently upgraded to this one and have been very happy:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FWYGJS

I'm not sure what you're getting with the one you linked that you're not getting with this one, other than $27 poorer.

CommonCents

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2015, 02:23:23 PM »
I'm a big fan of the wirecutter for getting good recommendations and research.

Wirecutter.com

Ha, that's actually where I found the one I posted above.
http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-cheap-router/

I recently upgraded to this one and have been very happy:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FWYGJS

I'm not sure what you're getting with the one you linked that you're not getting with this one, other than $27 poorer.

Thanks, I'll check it out.

bobechs

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2015, 03:05:06 PM »
Doesn't anyone make a router that will take care of packets and cut wood?

Now that would be a m-f'n router!

Maybe something like this:


teen persuasion

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2015, 10:59:20 AM »
I recently upgraded to this one and have been very happy:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FWYGJS

I'm not sure what you're getting with the one you linked that you're not getting with this one, other than $27 poorer.

Dual band vs single band.

sol

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2015, 11:03:39 AM »
Dual band vs single band.

Right, also a an extra router usb port.  My point is that these two routers both do the exact same thing in an average household setting.  The added features in no way actually improve your user experience, they're just added on to justify the 150% price increase.

johnny847

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2015, 11:27:36 AM »
Dual band vs single band.

Right, also a an extra router usb port.  My point is that these two routers both do the exact same thing in an average household setting.  The added features in no way actually improve your user experience, they're just added on to justify the 150% price increase.

Depends what you define as average household setting.
If the average household setting is in a single family home (as in the OP's situation) then a dual band router isn't going to offer much of an advantage unless they transfer so much data that they do want to use the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz carriers simultaneously (highly unlikely and definitely not the average case).
If the average household setting is in an apartment, dual band can offer a noticeable advantage - namely, if your neighbors' signals are on 2.4GHz but not 5 GHz, you will experience no interference from your neighbors if you connect to your router over 5GHz. Furthermore, even if your neighbors use 5GHz, there are more wifi channels allowed by the FCC at 5Ghz than at 2.4 GHz.

Here's one example. In my building, which is only 3 stories high and quite a few apartments wide (so not even that dense, it isn't a high rise), I see 13 2.4 GHz networks. all the networks except one are thankfully using non overlapping channels (1, 6, and 11). Some jerk is on channel 3.
Whereas on 5GHz, there is only one other one, and I set up my 5 GHz network to be on a different channel so I have zero interference.

I ran these tests with my phone.
At 5GHz, I got wifi speeds of about 100 Mbit/s
At 2.4 Ghz, I only got wifi speeds of about 30 Mbit/s
« Last Edit: August 03, 2015, 11:29:07 AM by johnny847 »

waffle

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2015, 11:30:32 AM »
Don't just look at the routers. Look at the devices that will be connecting to it. Don't bother getting a router with AC if your devices don't support it. Also if you don't have any devices that work on the 5ghz band then you could get an even cheaper router. Don't forget about your internet speeds. If you are in a rural area and only get 5mbs then the cheapest router will probably be just fine.

Match the router to the fastest device you have and make sure it will keep up with the bandwidth you get from your ISP

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2015, 01:22:50 PM »
I recently upgraded to this one and have been very happy:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FWYGJS

I'm not sure what you're getting with the one you linked that you're not getting with this one, other than $27 poorer.

I also just bought this one and so far so good! I couldn't really understand why I would need to spend more money on one, but I'm not a techie so I don't understand the finer points of choosing one. This was the one my ISP was going to sell to me for way more than $20, so I said no thanks and bought it online for much less.

NathanP

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2015, 02:39:36 PM »
I recently upgraded to this one and have been very happy:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FWYGJS

I'm not sure what you're getting with the one you linked that you're not getting with this one, other than $27 poorer.

I have this router too and it works flawlessly. I really like that these TP Link routers have the ability to limit the bandwidth per device if so configured. When our ISP was at risk of being purchased by Comcast (who has a monthly data cap) I limited our TV streaming devices to 2 Mb/s as a test. Our monthly data usage dropped by 60% as the streaming devices had to switch to lower quality streams.

johnny847

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2015, 08:35:51 PM »
I recently upgraded to this one and have been very happy:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001FWYGJS

I'm not sure what you're getting with the one you linked that you're not getting with this one, other than $27 poorer.

I also just bought this one and so far so good! I couldn't really understand why I would need to spend more money on one, but I'm not a techie so I don't understand the finer points of choosing one. This was the one my ISP was going to sell to me for way more than $20, so I said no thanks and bought it online for much less.

Well here you go.
Dual band vs single band.

Right, also a an extra router usb port.  My point is that these two routers both do the exact same thing in an average household setting.  The added features in no way actually improve your user experience, they're just added on to justify the 150% price increase.

Depends what you define as average household setting.
If the average household setting is in a single family home (as in the OP's situation) then a dual band router isn't going to offer much of an advantage unless they transfer so much data that they do want to use the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz carriers simultaneously (highly unlikely and definitely not the average case).
If the average household setting is in an apartment, dual band can offer a noticeable advantage - namely, if your neighbors' signals are on 2.4GHz but not 5 GHz, you will experience no interference from your neighbors if you connect to your router over 5GHz. Furthermore, even if your neighbors use 5GHz, there are more wifi channels allowed by the FCC at 5Ghz than at 2.4 GHz.

Here's one example. In my building, which is only 3 stories high and quite a few apartments wide (so not even that dense, it isn't a high rise), I see 13 2.4 GHz networks. all the networks except one are thankfully using non overlapping channels (1, 6, and 11). Some jerk is on channel 3.
Whereas on 5GHz, there is only one other one, and I set up my 5 GHz network to be on a different channel so I have zero interference.

I ran these tests with my phone.
At 5GHz, I got wifi speeds of about 100 Mbit/s
At 2.4 Ghz, I only got wifi speeds of about 30 Mbit/s

CommonCents

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2015, 09:30:56 AM »
#MustachianProblems...If I buy it, I need to find $15 more of things I need to buy to get free shipping.

teen persuasion

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2015, 11:23:58 AM »
Dual band vs single band.

Right, also a an extra router usb port.  My point is that these two routers both do the exact same thing in an average household setting.  The added features in no way actually improve your user experience, they're just added on to justify the 150% price increase.

Depends what you define as average household setting.
If the average household setting is in a single family home (as in the OP's situation) then a dual band router isn't going to offer much of an advantage unless they transfer so much data that they do want to use the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz carriers simultaneously (highly unlikely and definitely not the average case).
If the average household setting is in an apartment, dual band can offer a noticeable advantage - namely, if your neighbors' signals are on 2.4GHz but not 5 GHz, you will experience no interference from your neighbors if you connect to your router over 5GHz. Furthermore, even if your neighbors use 5GHz, there are more wifi channels allowed by the FCC at 5Ghz than at 2.4 GHz.

Here's one example. In my building, which is only 3 stories high and quite a few apartments wide (so not even that dense, it isn't a high rise), I see 13 2.4 GHz networks. all the networks except one are thankfully using non overlapping channels (1, 6, and 11). Some jerk is on channel 3.
Whereas on 5GHz, there is only one other one, and I set up my 5 GHz network to be on a different channel so I have zero interference.

I ran these tests with my phone.
At 5GHz, I got wifi speeds of about 100 Mbit/s
At 2.4 Ghz, I only got wifi speeds of about 30 Mbit/s

"Average household setting" also depends on number of occupants simultaneously using devices.  More kids means more people streaming YouTube videos, etc.  Dual band means some devices on one band, some on the other, based on specs.  I'm also interested in QOS, so that I can choose to throttle certain users (a certain little boy with said penchant for minecraft videos) so that the rest of the family's devices can also function.

I also believe that the 2 bands differ in signal strength based on distance from router and nearby materials.

JLee

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2015, 12:03:42 PM »
It doesn't matter to most people who use wireless for everything, but cheap routers don't have gigabit switching (wired network). 100Mbps network is sad (my internet is faster than that)...but I'm a tech guy. :)

johnny847

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2015, 12:10:18 PM »
Dual band vs single band.

Right, also a an extra router usb port.  My point is that these two routers both do the exact same thing in an average household setting.  The added features in no way actually improve your user experience, they're just added on to justify the 150% price increase.

Depends what you define as average household setting.
If the average household setting is in a single family home (as in the OP's situation) then a dual band router isn't going to offer much of an advantage unless they transfer so much data that they do want to use the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz carriers simultaneously (highly unlikely and definitely not the average case).
If the average household setting is in an apartment, dual band can offer a noticeable advantage - namely, if your neighbors' signals are on 2.4GHz but not 5 GHz, you will experience no interference from your neighbors if you connect to your router over 5GHz. Furthermore, even if your neighbors use 5GHz, there are more wifi channels allowed by the FCC at 5Ghz than at 2.4 GHz.

Here's one example. In my building, which is only 3 stories high and quite a few apartments wide (so not even that dense, it isn't a high rise), I see 13 2.4 GHz networks. all the networks except one are thankfully using non overlapping channels (1, 6, and 11). Some jerk is on channel 3.
Whereas on 5GHz, there is only one other one, and I set up my 5 GHz network to be on a different channel so I have zero interference.

I ran these tests with my phone.
At 5GHz, I got wifi speeds of about 100 Mbit/s
At 2.4 Ghz, I only got wifi speeds of about 30 Mbit/s

"Average household setting" also depends on number of occupants simultaneously using devices.  More kids means more people streaming YouTube videos, etc.  Dual band means some devices on one band, some on the other, based on specs. 

I specifically addressed that.

I'm also interested in QOS, so that I can choose to throttle certain users (a certain little boy with said penchant for minecraft videos) so that the rest of the family's devices can also function.

If you want QoS, you're probably better off looking into routers that are fully supported by alternative firmwares such as DD-WRT and Tomato. These alternative firmwares support many different routers out there, whereas if you look at routers that have specific software features built in, you could be significantly reducing the number of routers that fit your search criteria (I don't know if QoS is specifically one of these features that would be limiting).
Besides, DD-WRT has many features that are advantageous. You can easily do things like cut off access to certain machines at certain times of day, run Privoxy (an ad blocking service) directly on your router so ads are blocked at the router level, and quite a few more things that I don't understand.
It's even got the capability to run 3rd party scripts. If you want a somewhat obscure but useful feature, somebody out there has probably written a script for it.

I also believe that the 2 bands differ in signal strength based on distance from router and nearby materials.

Yup. In general, the higher the carrier frequency, the higher the propagation losses.


It doesn't matter to most people who use wireless for everything, but cheap routers don't have gigabit switching (wired network). 100Mbps network is sad (my internet is faster than that)...but I'm a tech guy. :)

Oh yea I forgot about that. I run a NAS connected directly to the router, and it's a ZFS system-- RAIDZ6--so it's throughput far exceeds even Gigabit. Sadly, 10 Gigabit ethernet is massively expensive so that's not a cost viable option for me. But limit that to 100 Mbps and that's just sad--that's only 12.5 MB/s. At that point, I'm better off using USB 2.0 for external storage, let alone USB 3.0.

And damn I want your internet connection haha. How much do you pay for that?

JLee

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Re: Good Value Router?
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2015, 04:41:22 PM »
I see 125Mbps right off the modem - sadly my gigabit router did die, so I'm throttled and only see ~90Mbps over ethernet.  It's Cox cable in Phoenix, $59.99/mo. I get around 24Mbps up, IIRC.