Author Topic: New Router recommendations  (Read 7013 times)

FastStache

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New Router recommendations
« on: September 16, 2013, 05:57:47 PM »
My 10+ year old router just died.

Does anyone have any recommendations? I had a D-Link DGL4300 from back in my heavy video gaming days.

4 ports is probably plenty for my use. I'm sure there are new security features available now. Anything else I should look for in a new router?

Daley

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 07:03:35 PM »
Any of the Asus routers that can support DD-WRT. The hardware is solid, but the factory firmware is crap. I can get you specific model numbers later tonight.

Jack

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 07:42:05 PM »
I'm interested in this topic too, so I'm going to hijack it just a little:

What new standards/technologies should we be looking for these days? Is 802.11ac mature and/or cheap enough, or should we still be buying n?

What should we be looking for in terms of ports, memory capacity etc. (for running open-source firmwares with full/extra functionality)?

Would it be a pipe dream to have a router capable of running a MythTV (or xbmc?) backend and acting as a PVR in conjunction with my HDHomeRun and Netgear ReadyNAS? (It would need to run the program guide and scheduler, but should hopefully just pipe the MPEG2 from the tuner to the NAS without having to transcode it.)

Also, do you have any recommendations for DOCSIS 3 cable modems? Comcast sent me a letter telling me that they're going to disconnect my DOCSIS 2 one next month for being too obsolete.

Daley

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 09:03:00 PM »
The Asus RT-N12/B, RT-N13U, RT-N16, and RT-N66U are all reasonably solid.

Jack, you can go higher end than the Asus RT-N16 on the end of things, if you really need to. The problem is, do you really need anything more than 802.11n in the first place? Unless you've got 802.11ac equipment, or the 2.4GHz bands are too congested already in your area, there's certainly not going to likely be any appreciable difference with faster spec WiFi, especially when 802.11g can still outperform most all broadband connections. Yes, internal file transfer speed can be important, but do you need much more than wired GigE? Isn't 10BT technically still enough bandwidth to stream compressed HD video these days?

The Asus RT-N16 and RT-N66U are incredibly beefy chunks of hardware when you look at the specs, and you can turn the things into absolute monsters running the Kong build with Optware (excuse the workarounds necessary with the limited NVRAM on the RT-N16). That said, I'm not really sure the RT-N66U is worth the money at $150... and these things still aren't going to really be usable for a DVR backend or anything of that nature, but thanks to the USB ports, you can do NAS storage off it, a web server, a whole slew of nifty things. Beyond that, you're talking prices and equipment that's really getting into the low-end SME equipment market which is absolute overkill for the average home.

There's Buffalo routers, too, but the benefit of getting DD-WRT installed by default doesn't outweight the lesser build quality for the money unless you're all thumbs...

The biggest weaknesses with all these routers anymore no matter the manufacturer (Asus, Buffalo, Linksys, Netgear, etc.) is the power brick. They're all shipping with flimsy, gutless, cheap Chinese DC converters. Fortunately, they're pretty easy to replace and upgrade. The RT-N16 I'm running at my primary gig has a $15 12V 4A LCD power brick with low ripple, and the thing has been dang near bulletproof running off a UPS. Complete overkill, but I like stable... and when I can get $90 worth of electronics to operate as a $700 firewall with more features and throughput to boot? Yes please, I'll even buy a backup at that price. This is hardware tailor made for the prosumer and small-medium NPO markets.

As for DOCSIS 3 cable modems? Motorola Surfboard. The SB6121 is pretty reasonably priced most places (under $80), a solid device, and should be on the approved list.

Relevant reading off my blog: http://www.techmeshugana.com/2013/03/ask-daley-cable-modems-and-routers/

madmax

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2013, 09:38:16 PM »
I know IP won't agree with me and granted, DD-WRT is awesome if you are an advanced user. However, I've had a very good experience with my (used) Airport Extreme. I got mine for close to $50 used three years and it has been the most stable router I've ever owned. Never needed any reboots and if you are a Time Machine user, you can plug in a USB hard drive into the back. Cons are closed source Apple firmware and very few configuration options.

Daley

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 10:12:22 PM »
I know IP won't agree with me and granted, DD-WRT is awesome if you are an advanced user. However, I've had a very good experience with my (used) Airport Extreme. I got mine for close to $50 used three years and it has been the most stable router I've ever owned. Never needed any reboots and if you are a Time Machine user, you can plug in a USB hard drive into the back. Cons are closed source Apple firmware and very few configuration options.

That's actually a pretty good deal if you're locked into the Apple hegemony and need to do Time Machine with NAS. I know first hand how difficult it is to get OSX to use network storage for data backup that isn't anything but the AFP protocol. Ugh, Appletalk.

Props for doing the Apple hardware thing at a sane price!

FastStache

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2013, 10:39:07 AM »
Ordered the ASUS RT-N16. Seems like a solid router! Thanks for the recommendation.

Khao

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 12:46:53 PM »
I can vouch for the RT-N16 as a really solid router. It's handling my NAS server downloading stuff 24/7, netflix streaming on the tv and many many wireless devices (phones, tablets, laptops, e-readers) without an issue! Although I'm using Tomato instead of DD-WRT as the firmware on mine, I think both support the same features and are just as stable.

The biggest weaknesses with all these routers anymore no matter the manufacturer (Asus, Buffalo, Linksys, Netgear, etc.) is the power brick. They're all shipping with flimsy, gutless, cheap Chinese DC converters. Fortunately, they're pretty easy to replace and upgrade. The RT-N16 I'm running at my primary gig has a $15 12V 4A LCD power brick with low ripple, and the thing has been dang near bulletproof running off a UPS. Complete overkill, but I like stable... and when I can get $90 worth of electronics to operate as a $700 firewall with more features and throughput to boot? Yes please, I'll even buy a backup at that price. This is hardware tailor made for the prosumer and small-medium NPO markets.

I've been running my router without too many issues but a couple time I had to reboot it because the wifi just stopped working. Do you think it could be related to a flimsy power supply?

Daley

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 01:04:21 PM »
I've been running my router without too many issues but a couple time I had to reboot it because the wifi just stopped working. Do you think it could be related to a flimsy power supply?

Possibly. Are you using any USB devices that draw power over the connector like a flash drive? If so, it could be a contributing cause. I know the WiFi chipset can sometimes run a bit hot on those things, too. You might consider dialing back the broadcast strength a few milliwatts as well (if you don't need to blanket the neighborhood) to let the chipset run a bit cooler.

I know uptime is king with folks, especially in my industry, but if 100% uptime isn't necessary I tend to prefer scheduling a reboot once every week to fourteen days in the middle of the night on my routers as well. I find they tend to behave better in general with the hardware this way, too. Had an old WRT54GL that the wireless would get twitchy on if it had uptime exceed about ten days, but it never so much as balked so long as you scheduled a weekly reboot on it in the firmware. As it's been said, never underestimate the problem-solving capability of a reboot.

Nords

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 10:10:16 PM »
I've been running my router without too many issues but a couple time I had to reboot it because the wifi just stopped working. Do you think it could be related to a flimsy power supply?
I've had that problem too, and ended up replacing the power supply.

suntailedshadow

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2013, 03:23:38 PM »
Redundant CRS-3's, fully populated of course

Its the only way to go ;-)

Of course if you find that that still doesn't fill your needs. You could always look into the 7950 XRS.

On a more serious note, Mad Props to I.P. for being willing to step in and keep Mustachians Tech-Savvy on a budget :-)
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 03:31:26 PM by suntailedshadow »

Jack

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2013, 03:28:33 PM »
Redundant CRS-1's, fully populated of course

Its the only way to go ;-)
I don't even want to pay the electric bill for that, let alone the cost of the equipment itself!

Daley

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2013, 04:56:01 PM »
Redundant CRS-1's, fully populated of course

Its the only way to go ;-)
I don't even want to pay the electric bill for that, let alone the cost of the equipment itself!

Or the SLAs for that matter! *shudder*

On a more serious note, Mad Props to I.P. for being willing to step in and keep Mustachians Tech-Savvy on a budget :-)

Thanks! That's kind of my shtick around here: helping people use technology to work smarter and effectively lower the recurring costs, which leads to a more frugal lifestyle. :)

sleepyguy

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2013, 06:51:14 PM »
Get a TP-Link cheap... this one is very good for the price.

TP-LINK TL-WR1043ND

slap on this

http://joeyiodice.com/converting-tp-link-tl-wr1043nd-to-dd-wrt

Boom, you have a pretty awesome router for very little money.  I have used this setup for a few years now without any issue... sold my crappy D-Link DIR-655 (what a waste of $80).  Multiple torrents, netflix, gigabit downloads (local server)... nothing makes it crash for the past few years.

Daley

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2013, 07:46:31 PM »
I really want to like TP-Link, but I've found their quality control to be a little... uneven. Also, the WR1043ND has multiple hardware revisions out, DD-WRT isn't supported yet on the 2.x versions shipping, and the default firmware from TP-Link on all of their equipment is a bit... twitchy - though, Asus' default firmware is almost equally lousy in my book.

I like Sleepyguy's idea because it's a great setup for the money if you win the hardware lotto (hardware revision and build quality) and you're willing to jump a couple extra hoops on flashing, but it's still worth noting the potential caveats involved. Sometimes, it's worth paying the extra for guaranteed hardware support and a bit higher build quality. A poor man can't afford to buy garbage, after all... but sometimes if you like to tinker, the cheaper option can be fun, too. :)

Jack

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2013, 08:06:56 PM »
How do you feel about Netgear as a brand?

Daley

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2013, 09:13:44 PM »
Enterprise grade? Fine.

Consumer grade? Pass.

mindaugas

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2013, 04:30:10 PM »
D-Link DIR-615-E3/E4
http://www.microcenter.com/product/412162/DIR-615_Wireless_N300_Router_-_Refurbished <-- $16!
Uptime 35 days, 22:38 (I moved which is the only reason it went down)
I use a Gb switch off the router and an airport express for wifi, so it really doesn't have to do much work except port forward and handle lots of active connections for torrents. Before this I had an expensive dual band linksys router with Gb ports + dd-wrt, but it choked on torrents. My airport express was solid until the Gb ports died. $300 in routers were replaced by a $16 router with open source firmware. And this was before I was frugal :)

dizzean

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2013, 04:45:02 PM »
Ordered the ASUS RT-N16. Seems like a solid router! Thanks for the recommendation.

I purchased the RT-N16 after doing my own independent research and I've been really happy with it.  I'm even just using the stock firmware and I don't actually find it to be bad at all!

So another +1 for this router.

Paul der Krake

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2013, 05:04:46 PM »
There's a little brother, the RT-N12 which can be had for a little less, also supports DD-WRT. Great little guy, nice look too.

Something worth mentioning is that the Asus models have a little hole on the underbelly so that they can easily be attached to a wall.

suntailedshadow

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2013, 09:10:41 PM »
Redundant CRS-1's, fully populated of course

Its the only way to go ;-)
I don't even want to pay the electric bill for that, let alone the cost of the equipment itself!

Haha, No joke...

FastStache

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Re: New Router recommendations
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2013, 09:39:03 PM »
The router is working great, except for an issue I had with the wifi.

The wifi would act up with I left the office where the router was located.  I cleared the NVRAM by holding the reset button for 30 seconds, continue holding the reset button and power off the unit, and continue holding the reset button and power the unit back on. Since I've done this the unit has been great.