Discussion: General consensus on ASUS vs LINKSYS vs NETGEAR vs TP-link?

Status
Not open for further replies.

torstein

Regular Contributor
What can be said about the different manufacturers? What are their typical traits? What is this forums consensus on them? What are they known for, good and bad?

So far this is my impression:
  • Linksys: Expensive, less intrusive looks-wise, stable firmware, but few features and long between updates
  • Netgear: Can get very expensive, looks appealing to gamers, but firmware is unstable and buggy
  • TP-Link: Great value, top of the line hardware, but sold cheap reflected in build-quality and firmware
  • ASUS: Expensive, good performance, feature rich and stable firmware. Not family-room friendly looks.
 
Last edited:

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Asus, only. Use Better Search for more posts on this very topic.

But, off the top of my head.

Reasons:
  • Stock firmware is updated in a timely fashion and for a very long time.
  • RMerlin support for those that need the least buggy experience and extra features such as what amtm provides (in addition to the 'hooks' RMerlin firmware exposes to the user.
  • Code is built on updated components and optimized as required with each additional feature the updated components bring. This, vs. others' firmware that uses years outdated components and effectively dropping support for the model almost as soon as a new one becomes available.
  • RMerlin support offers all 'stock' features (possibly with the exception of how the GUI may look for some models), including WiFi performance and range. As opposed to others that use inferior WiFi drivers and other workarounds (even if they may have more 'features').
  • The benefits of RMerlin support are not just when using RMerlin's firmware either. Asus has been using RMerlin's code and features in Asus products for years and is constantly adding more.
  • RMerlin/Asus will celebrate 10 years of contributions to each other this year. Nothing else compares to all the above plus this in any other manufacturer's products.
Honorable mention goes to all the developers that are working in cooperation with RMerlin to produce such a great software package (the hardware barely counts at this point, but it is also top-notch).

Honorable mention to @Voxel too for his immense contributions to select NG routers too. Even if I've never had a reason to use his firmware (yet).

Every other router in the list the OP has (including many more not mentioned) is a poor attempt at what Asus/RMerlin has been providing to so many for the last 10 years.

Expensive is relative. As are good looks (I much prefer function over form. Something that works is beauty in itself). All that matters is the quality of the total package delivered, and the length of the support.

That's what makes even stock Asus routers superior. And an Asus/RMerlin router, unbeatable.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
First, there is no perfect product. Forums tend to focus on product negatives because they are where people go to seek help. So you can't judge products solely by the amount of negative forum posts.

The SNBForums audience is very skewed toward ASUS since we host discussions on RMerlin and others' firmware and ASUS router add-ons. So if you are looking for input from a broad range of product fans, you're unlikely to get it here. @L&LD's response will be typical.

ASUS Wi-Fi routers have the broadest feature set you'll find and they are decent performers. They expose more controls than any other manufacturer. Far more than the average user knows how to deal with, IMO. But if your idea of a good time is constantly experimenting with your router's settings, you like lots of knobs and switches to play with and want the ability to add features, ASUS is the one for you.

That said, NETGEAR hasn't gotten to be the market share leader by making bad product. Yes, they have had wider bricks-and-mortar retail distribution to help them get there, but, again, the products have to work.

Linksys (now owned by Foxconn) used to own the consumer networking market. But when the founders cashed out and sold to Belkin, they lost steam. And since the sale to Foxconn, new products have been few and far between.

TP-Link made a big push a few years back to try to move up a tier or two in the U.S. market. That effort failed, or at least its Taiwanese owners thought it did, because they stopped it, laid most of the U.S. staff off and circled the wagons back at HQ. That said, their Wi-Fi gear isn't the best and it's not the worst. Main weaknesses are limited feature set, outdated UI and very infrequent (if ever) firmware updates. If you're looking for good value in a switch, however, I highly recommend TP-Link.
 
Last edited:

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Basically:

Asus if you want lots of features, and long-term support (including new features getting added).
Netgear if you want a good product but don't really care about advanced features
TP-Link if you want the basics that will let you access Facebook and your emails

Linksys is no longer a major player unfortunately ever since they were sold by Cisco. There was an attempt at reviving their glory days by launching the WRT1900AC as "the new WRT54G". Unfortunately they got screwed by Marvel's poor execution in providing the announced open-sourced drivers for OpenWRT to actually be a thing. By the time it happened, the ship had already sailed, and since then I haven't seen any Linksys product that made any real market splash. Further ownership changes have pretty much nailed the coffin I suspect.

BTW, regarding Asus being seen as expensive, keep in mind that SNBForums mostly talks about their high-end products. Asus has routers available for as low as 50 bucks if you just want your basic "let's access Facebook" Internet experience, like the RT-AC53U.
 

leerees

Senior Member
I never owned a WRT54G, but definitely remember all the hype.

These days I use Asus. I've had too many bad experiences with TP Link and Netgear.

Asus takes the edge because in essence all their products are the new WRT54G thanks to the Merlin firmware.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
First, there is no perfect product.

Exactly. I have some good models from different brands in my collection. R7800 was one of the best performance AC routers, Archer C7 was one of the best value AC routers, C2300 was one of the first properly working HND routers, Slate is a good working travel router idea. I usually collect universal soldiers running OpenWRT, DD-WRT, FreshTomato, Asuswrt, Asuswrt-Merlin, etc. This is the only way to follow current developments. Linksys has very good and easy to use app for non-tech people. TP-Link Omada is perhaps the best value/performance Wi-Fi system, if we expand to SMB. Orbi and Eero are far more stable than AiMesh. There is a choice - no single best in everything model or brand.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I still have one of the old later Linksys WRT54G routers from way back with a burned-out port, lightening. Now days they don't compete as their wireless range is short and they can't handle much data.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Linksys likes to switch to cheaper hardware between different hardware revisions. It's hard to tell what you're buying and reviews of the original product don't match the current product. As an example - the first EA7500 is Qualcomm IPQ8064 dual 1.4GHz CPU; second revision is MediaTek MT7621 dual 0.9GHz CPU. Both products look the same and the price is the same. The only difference is V1 or V2 on the label. There is a V3, perhaps also MediaTek.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Asus likes to generate multiple router models with the same hardware. The same FCC ID is sometimes for 4x different routers. Some are marketed as standard model with features locked in software, some as gamer models with features unlocked. They also like to market routers with upgrade suggestion in model numbers - AC68U, AX68U, AC86U, AX86U, AC88U, AX88U, etc. This creates confusion when updating the firmware, some folks got burned.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
What can be said about the different manufacturers? What are their typical traits? What is this forums consensus on them? What are they known for, good and bad?

Keep in mind that there are many members here, so you will find everyone has their own opinion...

There's a strong Asus contingent here, so responses will be strongly biased in that direction.
 
Last edited:

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Linksys is no longer a major player unfortunately ever since they were sold by Cisco. There was an attempt at reviving their glory days by launching the WRT1900AC as "the new WRT54G". Unfortunately they got screwed by Marvel's poor execution in providing the announced open-sourced drivers for OpenWRT to actually be a thing.

As a side note - the WRT's got caught up in the Belkin purchase from Cisco, and lost their primary internal product sponsor - the WRT line was supposed to be much more extensive, including a managed Layer 2 Smart Switch, along with a multiple disk eSATA drive box. Belkin didn't know what to really do with it, but the parts were bought, contracts had already been signed, they were pretty much committed to bring the product to market.

It was cheaper to bring to market than to kill it off - they went thru a number of HW spins on the WRT1900, intro'd the WRT1200, and IIRC, they finished up with the WRT3200. I recall them also putting out an unmanaged 8 port gigabit unmanaged switch in the same form factor.

The HW itself was very good, as good as anything out there - they got into a bit of trouble with the OpenWRT folks and Marvell (Marvell wasn't terribly supportive of releasing an opensource driver as a corporate effort, but there was unofficial support with a few unofficial code drops that needed additional cleanup and community support).

Outside of Wifi - OpenWRT on the WRT's is fully supported as a Router, and one of the better supported ones out there outside of the WiFi issue I mention above.

Factory software did have good performance, and one of the better long-range devices out there once properly set up - it was a 4 radio 3 stream AC1900 unit - but the factory software did have a lot of issues, including security concerns with their cloud-based smart management solution. Disk sharing via Samba was also best of class at the time, and still does well with eSATA.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Linksys (now owned by Foxconn) used to own the consumer networking market. But when the founders cashed out and sold to Belkin, they lost steam. And since the sale to Foxconn, new products have been few and far between.

The founders sold Linksys to Cisco, Cisco ran it for a long while, and then sold the consumer business over to Belkin/Foxconn.

There's still some Linksys legacy in the Cisco SMB product lineup - the RV's where Linksys designs...
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Most, if not all the points made in post 2 above are not mere opinions. Facts, as presented to us on these forums.

For the longest time, Asus+RMerlin has been head and shoulders above the competition.

That doesn't mean it's always the best solution for every situation, of course. But it doesn't hurt to start there if the comparable competitor model is in the same ballpark.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
I still have one of the old later Linksys WRT54G routers from way back with a burned-out port, lightening. Now days they don't compete as their wireless range is short and they can't handle much data.

Up until a couple of years ago, they were still building and selling the WRT54G - not sure as to why, except that it probably was due to integration on what we refer to now as IoT.

There were a number of variants, some had small DDR/Flash and ran VXWorks, and those were horrible - but the Linux based units out there pretty much are the baseline, either directly or indirectly for most of the current crop of consumer routers.

If one goes and looks back at DDWRT, OpenWRT, Tomato, AsusWRT, the OEM BSP's, etc - everything eventually lands on either the WRT54G or the NSLU2, aka the Slug (unslung community firmware).
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
For the longest time, Asus+RMerlin has been head and shoulders above the competition.

And I agree with you, your comment above is an opinion - I will point out that RMerlin's effort, along with the community scripters make Asus an interesting platform for enthusiasts/hobbyists...
 

torstein

Regular Contributor
Most consumers have no such interests though. There are better products out there for who has different ideas of good time.
Which would you recommend?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Which would you recommend?

It depends who's asking. I have a friend of mine who doesn't like anything with more than 2 buttons. He has 100/10 Internet line with ISP router, set by ISP technicians. He needed Internet to the back yard. TP-Link Deco M4 2-pack for $100 solved the issue. It has very easy app and can do about 250Mbps with shared wireless backhaul. I would never use custom firmware and experimental mesh in a place like this. I don't want another support job.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
I would never use custom firmware and experimental mesh in a place like this. I don't want another support job.

Good point...

Which spins the original question a bit...

"Which vendors/model one would recommend for their 75-year-old relative?"

Not picking on our seniors, just recognizing that they usually have better things to do than tinker on their internet routers, they just want stuff to work - there I would recommend one of the mesh systems out there - it's hard to argue against Netgear Orbii, and honorable mentions would go to Eero and Google WiFi - those are easy to set up and generally "just work"

"Which vendor would one recommend for travel routers that support 3G/4G/5G wireless WAN?"

Small group of vendors - my preference is GL-Inet, decent quality, good factory SW, excellent OpenWRT support, very good VPN server/client support with OpenVPN and Wireguard.

Apple Airports used to be pretty high up on my list until they walked away from the Router/AP market back in 2018 - they did the whole stack, from HW to BSD based software, including writing their own WiFi drivers for QC-Atheros, Broadcom, and Marvell, which was a lot more that what other consumer brands did.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
it's hard to argue against Netgear Orbii, and honorable mentions would go to Eero and Google WiFi - those are easy to set up and generally "just work"

It depends who do you ask. Here on SNB it's very easy.

my preference is GL-Inet

Well, none of Asus routers and majority of others have WISP option. They have found the niche and the product is obviously the best.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!
Top