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Choosing new router

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by uriel250, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    Hi guys,
    I currently got the Dlink 6850U from my ISP (100mb download speed plan) and I want to change it as I feel like I overload it and sometimes it crashes because of that (Around 12 WiFi devices connected, including one gaming laptop and one gaming PC connected with cable), so I am going to use the router from my ISP as a bridge to the new router that I will buy soon. I came across three models that fit my budget.

    1. Netgear X4S
    2. TP Link C2300
    3. Asus AC86U

    I am leaning towards the tp link or the asus because it seems like they have the best protections when it comes to security, the asus also has WTFast even tho I dont know if I will make use of it, and of course both of them (Asus model and TP Link) has the newer Dual Core 1.8GHz Boardcom CPU, however I can get the netgear refurbished for around 120$ which is pretty good but I am not looking to save money I want to spend money for the best out of the three.

    One of the most important things that I am looking for is a router that is reliable and will last for long time and not for just a few months then fail, I read reviews that says the Asus AC86U can sometimes drop connection on the 2.4GHz band because of that it is switching 20/40MHz or something like that (I am not an expert in this kind of stuff :D) so it made me worry a bit, otherwise seems like a good router except the 3x3 mu mimo on the 2.4GHz band but 4x4 mu mimo on the 5GHz.
    The TP-Link got very good reviews on Amazon.com as well as other reviews in the internet, the Asus AC86U got decent reviews, and the X4S is also just fine.

    Can you guys recommend me which one will perform the best in Wireless, wired, and in games overall ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  2. joegreat

    joegreat Very Senior Member

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    Nowadays the routers have more or less the same hardware from Broadcom, Atheros, etc.
    The main difference is the software: I would only go for a router which has an Open Sourced the firmware AND where alternative firmware is available.

    My choice is clear (see footer): Go for Asus and use Merlin's greatly enhanced firmware! :cool:
     
  3. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    Thank you so much for your reply.

    As mentioned before, I am not an expert and dont know how to do this, also I heared Asus has very good firmware so I am not sure if it is worth to go through the hassle of using alternative frimware, and it does not void warranty ?

    Out of the three the X4S seems to be the fastest, but I am not gonna even reach 50% of the speeds (My plan is download speed between 60-100mb/s, and upload 3-5mb/s), I am buying it for future proof and because of my current router cant hold a lot of wifi devices (It was replaced about 10 times in the past 3 years by my ISP free of charge, now it has to be replaced again so I gave up on it and gonna use it as a bridge only).

    And which is the most reliable router between the three routers I mentioned ? I want something to last, not to break after a year or less.
     
  4. joegreat

    joegreat Very Senior Member

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    Merlin's firmware is fully supported by Asus as he is working closely with Asus! :)

    There is no hassle: You can install Merlin or standard Asus firmware as you want - nothing will hold you back to do what suits you best! Again: It's fully supported by Asus!
     
  5. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    How am I going to benefit from it ? Will I feel a huge difference with Merlin's firmware compared to the stock asus firmware ? I am gonna use just a few of the features of the Asus router, MU MIMO, QoS, and WTFast (I will give it a try and if it will not be good it will be disabled), other features will just be for future proofing.

    I also heared the Asus router gets a lot of firmware updates often, and it is gonna be my first "High end" router I always used the cheap routers provided by my ISP.

    And can you please answer my questions below ?
    Out of the three the X4S seems to be the fastest, but I am not gonna even reach 50% of the speeds (My plan is download speed between 60-100mb/s, and upload 3-5mb/s), I am buying it for future proof and because of my current router cant hold a lot of wifi devices (It was replaced about 10 times in the past 3 years by my ISP free of charge, now it has to be replaced again so I gave up on it and gonna use it as a bridge only).

    And which is the most reliable router between the three routers I mentioned ? I want something to last, not to break after a year or less.

    Thanks again !
     
  6. avtella

    avtella Senior Member

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    Asus does get more updates regularly, Netgear’s is around every 2 months for the R7800 with the past few updates at least. WiFi performance wise the R7800 is the better one and even without hardware NAT acceleration (ie custom firmware like OpenWRT/LEDE where hardware NAT isn’t available) it can hit over 700+ Mbps something Broadcom units previously could not. Another thing is Broadcom isn’t very open source friendly, with non-functional WiFi for many recent Broadcom routers in LEDE, DDWRT I believe however has some sort of an agreement with Broadcom for WiFi drivers, if that matters. The R7800 is pretty reliable in my experience, the 86U is pretty new so hard to talk about reliability. MU-MIMO in tests has shown Qualcomm is more reliable than Broadcom where in some cases it was a big detriment when enabled. QoS wise Broadcom‘s Adaptive QoS has improved with recent definitions to the point where it’s as good as Qualcomm’s Streamboost, at least in my testing with the R8500.

    I’d get the Asus or Netgear, not really sold on TP-Link.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  7. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    I ordered the Asus, it seems like a reliable router, and I hope it will be, I picked it because it is the latest gen released from Asus (New tech is always better in my opinion, but that's just me :D), I am sure they learnt from their previous mistakes (If there were any) so they probably made a better unit over the older units.
    I would pick the R7800 if the reviews were better, but for now the Asus seems like the best pick even tho it is a bit slower than the R7800 (As mentioned before, I won't make use of the full speed of the routers mentioned above because my internet is limited to 100mb/s, but I am buying a future proof router so once I get fiber internet it will be ready to go with my router).
    R7800 CPU is older than AU86 CPU isn't it ? How is the R7800 faster then (When it comes to CPU only) ? The AU86 has the latest and fastest Dual Core CPU from Boardcom from my understanding.
    Also I dont think that I am gonna change the firmware as I dont think it is needed, I am also not an expert so the stock firmware will be enough for me unless there is a huge performance improvement with custom firmware.
    And what is the use of VPN in a router ? What it does and what's the use of it ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  8. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    I'm no authority on range or performance and as important as reliability is it's mostly anecdotal evidence. Myself I've had good, although limited, experiences with Asus, Linksys and Netgear but those are also the only ones I've ever touched ... so far.

    I've commented on my Asus bias before ==> Asus Comments ...
    • I like their user interface.
    • I like that they have 8 SSIDs although I hope I never need that many. 4 is typical for me.
    • I love their built-in real time traffic monitor! It's been a very useful aid in troubleshooting problems.
    • I loaded Merlin because it augments the traffic monitor with traffic by device. That's also been a useful tool.
    I do wish you the best of luck with whatever you decide on!
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  9. avtella

    avtella Senior Member

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    Hey whatever suits you best, that’s what’s important. I hope you like it.

    As for your CPU question:
    The CPU on the R7800 is a Qualcomm Krait Core (Similar to ARM Cortex A15 in performance) which is around 35+% faster even if they were the at same MHz than the one in the Broadcom which uses a ARM Cortex A53 based CPU I believe. Broadcom did improve VPN performance on the new chip though so don’t really worry too much about VPN performance.


    Raw performance wise:
    Cortex A57>A15~Krait>A53~A9>A7

    In smartphones the A53 and A7 are low power cores, (though also used in some low end chipsets by themselves) usually used in conjunction with higher power A57 and A15 chips respectively in mobile chips .
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  10. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    New X4S costs 230$ on Amazon, new Asus AC86U costs 200$, refurbished X4S costs 130$.
    What would be the best choice ? Idk why I am leaning towards the Asus it seems like it has better protections also it is much newer means it will get better support in the next few years, and I am not sure if the Netgear is reliable. Please suggest me :X. There is also R8000 Netgear refurbished for 180$.
    https://versus.com/en/arm-cortex-a15-vs-arm-cortex-a53
    A53 support 64Bit and AES and A15 doesnt, what is that ?

    The Netgear is 2x2=160MHz, what is that ? Compared to asus which is 80MHz (Maybe it is 2x2 160MHz too but I am not sure) ? What's that feature ?

    If I use my ISP Dlink 6850U as bridge to the new router (It is the rotuer that my ISP gave me), it shouldnt limit the performance of the new router that I buy ? I mean, sometimes there is a delay when I use WiFi on my galaxy s7 edge, it takes a few minutes till the page show up, and it is not a download speed issue because it takes 2-3 seconds only to start the load the page then after it starts to load it, it takes less than 1s to load the page. I am afraid the ISP modem will limit it but it will be connected via wired cable. So it shouldnt cause any issue and I will get the most of my new router and there will not be any delays ?

    And what is the use of VPN in the router as a feature ?

    Thank you so much for the help.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  11. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    What is SSIDs (Sorry for the newbie question) ?

    And can you answer my questions mentioned above ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  12. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    They are the names you set up for wireless clients to connect to.
    Uh, no : -( It sounded like you had already ordered the Asus with, perhaps, just a little buyer's remorse as you continue to poke at a couple of the Netgears.

    I simply chose to mention, what were for me, a couple of tie breakers along with a Merlin feature that I needed for debugging.

    VPN (somewhere in your list of questions) stands for Virtual Private Network. Long story short it is another layer of security. Your stuff is inserted in an encrypted envelope that is delivered through the Internet. It's like having your own private wire to the other guy except the wire is made from software. Many refer to it as a tunnel.
     
  13. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    How do I use VPN then ? Is it built in the router ? It's like using Proxy which changes my IP and gives me terrible internet speed ?

    And I didnt understand your first sentence about Asus and Netgear. However I cancelled my order on Amazon right now till I decide which one shall I pick. What do you recommend considering the prices and models mentioned in my previous reply ?
     
  14. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    I never set one up. They can be quite a performance hit. Some routers provide the capability, some don't. Some users implement it with software on their PC.
    I was teasing. Often when we buy something we have second thoughts. I sensed that with you. (Apparently I was right since you cancelled your order. ) I simply sent along a few favorable points (that hadn't been covered yet) to make you feel better about your purchase.
     
  15. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    Oh now it makes sense.

    Which router would you recommend considering the prices and models mentioned in my previous reply ?
     
  16. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    <LOL> At this point you know more than me ...

    But, I would think hard before buying refurbished.
     
  17. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    Uh, I thought it's a great deal but if that's what you say, I guess I'll pick the Asus. My budget was around 150-200$, the tp link fit it perfect but I was thinking about getting the best that will last for a few years so I can maybe pay a bit more than that, the Asus is 200$ on Amazon but there 20$ shipping for me and 40$ import fees which makes it 260$ for me, the netgear x4s is around 300$ for me and listed on amazon for 230$. I will pick the Asus then because it is newer and 30$ less than X4S.

    And do you know what is 160MHz on the X4S compared to 80MHz on the Asus ? It has something to do with the channels but can you tell me what is it exactly ? And is the 160MHz much better than the 80MHz on the Asus ?

    Thank you guys for the help !!
     
  18. Klueless

    Klueless Senior Member

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    Guys on SNB forum have cautioned us before about refurbished. Sometimes an awesome deal, sometimes not. Once when I was considering a router purchase I checked online reviews and they weren't good. Then I realized the review site was selling used and refurbished. So I checked a couple other sites that reviewed "new" and the reviews were much better. For whatever that's worth.

    I don't know all the right words but we have a frequency band. Within the band we slice it off into channels much like TV; channel 1, channel 6, channel 11. That way my wife can watch a rom com while I watch professional rassling without interfering with each other.

    At 2.4 GHz I believe the channels are 20 somethings wide. If you bond two together (40) you get better speed / more capacity. Not good at 2.4 GHz because channels are so limited it'd be akin to taking your neighbor's.

    At 5 GHz I think they're 40 wide. Bonding two together would be 80 and bonding four together would be 160. I have no idea if the theoretical improvement comes close to matching reality.

    Hopefully someone will jump in and correct me.
     
  19. uriel250

    uriel250 Occasional Visitor

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    I understand.
    The refurbished X4S on Amazon got 4.1 starts which is above 80% satisfied customers. The other 20% had bad luck with the refurbished unit.
    Uhhhhh I dont know what to do lol -_-, you made me feel bad about my purchase, I could have the netgear x4s refurbished for 100$ less than new (130$ compared to 230$) while the asus is 200$ but newer (Even tho I still have a chance to cancel it before it ships).

    And yeah, I'll appreciate more comments if possible.
     
  20. avtella

    avtella Senior Member

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    Don’t cancel the Asus, you are fine with the choice either way. I just didn’t want you to get the TP-Link. As for support Netgear will support the R7800 for a long time just like it does with the R7000 even now.

    As for bandwidths:
    2.4Ghz is 20 or 40 with 20 MHz being more stable when facing interference, also you don’t end up eating so many channels in a congested area and in turn causing interference yourself.

    5Ghz 40MHz is “N” and “AC” is 80 & 160 MHz channels.

    Not much supports 160 MHz other than the latest Android phones and the newly released Intel 9260ac adapter for laptops/desktops, I’m actually considering getting the 9260ac since it’s now for sale.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017

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