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Looking for a dual WAN router

Discussion in 'Wireless Buying Advice' started by ruri tanian, Feb 26, 2020.

  1. ruri tanian

    ruri tanian New Around Here

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2020
    Messages:
    2
    Hello,
    I'm looking for the best price/performance ratio in a router that has to meet the following criteria, in order of importance:
    - dual WAN. It may be weird to choose a routed based on that, but in my area I have very spotty coverage and even combining two providers at the same time I don't always have reliable Internet. So this feature better work well...
    - Fast and consistent wifi transfer rates in a medium sized house.
    - as many LAN connections as possible. At least the usual 4+1
    - Capable of handling up to two dozen devices simultaneously (From PCs to radios and watches, not really heavy duty load, but a lesser processor may struggle at times).
    - a game friendly QOS management would be a plus.
    Right now I'm using an Archer 2300 (TP-Link) and I'd be happy with it for the money, but it seems there's no way to use it with a dual WAN.
    I'd like to keep the budget as low as possible because with these dismal Internet connections I have no use for gigabit links etc. I'm waiting for my neighborhood to get fiber in a year or two and by then hopefully wifi6 will also be sorted out. Then I'll get a top of the line router. In the meantime I just need a cheap(ish) device to tide me over. I can pay for quality or features if I must, but I'd like to spend as little as possible.
    Any suggestions are appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  2. Val D.

    Val D. Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2019
    Messages:
    1,406
    This router's hardware and WiFi capabilities set the bar pretty high, actually. The ASUS equivalent based on the same hardware is called RT-AC86U (around $170), but I have no good experience with Asuswrt Dual-WAN implementation. It wasn't switching connections reliably in my case. I had a DOCSIS Cable Modem + ADSL2 Modem at one point. Internet was working actually better with one of the modems only in Single-WAN configuration. Fellow member @Grisu made a good collection of links with ASUS Dual-WAN issues, reported by SNB members:

    https://www.snbforums.com/threads/asus-ever-going-to-fix-dual-wan.56162/#post-482501

    I don't know what the current situation is with latest Asuswrt or Asuswer-Merlin firmware versions. I don't own ASUS routers anymore. You may have to look outside of consumer market, if you need something reliable and working properly. It won't come cheap though.

    Other option is to get one RT-AC86U from a place with a good return policy and test if it works as per your requirements. Keep it if it does, send back is it doesn't. It has the same excellent WiFi performance like your Archer C2300 (again, same hardware platform).

    Another option is ASUS RT-AC66U B1 model (<$100), but it's a budget router based on older hardware - much slower CPU, half the RAM and previous generation radio modules. It will be downgrade to what you currently have, even if you find Dual-WAN working OK on it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
  3. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,215
    Highly functional and reliable dual-WAN and SQM QoS is hard to find in a consumer all-in-one, at least on most stock firmware; equally as hard on a cheap budget.

    One option would be to try a Qualcomm-based all-in-one that's compatible with OpenWRT, which supports both multi-WAN and SQM QoS (you'll have to download and install packages for the latter).

    If you're open to increasing your budget a bit and considering separate hardware for routing and wireless, I'd look into a pfSense firewall, a separate wireless access point (AP) and optionally a PoE switch for more LAN ports and to power the AP. Netgate make pre-built appliances, out of which the little $179 SG-1100 would probably suffice. You could then wire in a fairly low cost PoE switch and an AP like the TP-Link EAP225v3.

    Either router would probably get you what you need, although the pfSense + AP option would probably be more reliable/upgradeable, albeit more expensive.
     
    L&LD likes this.
  4. ruri tanian

    ruri tanian New Around Here

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2020
    Messages:
    2
    Thanks for your input guys.
    It seems that the Archer is hard to beat for the price and like I said, it's good enough for me (at least for now).
    So one way to go would be to keep the router and add a device for WAN aggregation.
    Based on Trip's suggestion I found this:
    https://www.ui.com/edgemax/edgerouter-x/
    Similar to the SG-1100 at about half the price.
    Any comments on this product?
     
  5. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,215
    The ER-X is pretty solid on the 1.10.x firmware train (2.x is not production-ready) and will do dual-WAN with relative ease, although it's not quite as battle-tested as pfSense for that role, nor is it completely configurable via the web GUI; you have to delve into the command line for setup and tweaks, which may or may not be a deal-breaker for you. So with the pre-built pfSense box you're more or less paying for easier config and proven dual-WAN functionality, versus more manual config and potentially less reliability with EdgeOS (although it should work fine). Hope that helps.
     
  6. Grisu

    Grisu Part of the Furniture

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    Trip likes this.
  7. Trip

    Trip Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,215
    Presuming AsusWRT/Merlin haven't been able to address this, I'd stick with a more enterprise-level gateway OS, per my suggestions above.