Looking for a wireless and wired router, getting confused

smokermoji

New Around Here
Hi all,

I'm looking for a wired router and a wireless access point to share an optical fiber line at some family relatives' house. Due to how the network cabling is done in the house, these would preferably be separate units. Some switches are also needed, but those are easy to find.

Required features:
-- Decent firmware out of the box, with a good track record of updates and security
-- Web interface with all commonly needed settings available
-- Port forwarding, some sort of firewall (including IPv6 firewall) and other basic features must be available
-- Telnet/SSH/other text interface is fine, but not as the only means of management
-- A proprietary app must not be the only method of management
-- No 3rd-party cloud-based management
-- No yearly license fees or other nonsense
-- Support for 2.4 GHz Wifi, preferably also 5 GHz simultaneously, preferably with Wifi 6 and WPA3 support, legacy support down to Wifi 4 and WPA2-PSK
-- Passthrough for legacy VPN protocols like Asus routers have (client behind the router, server somewhere at workplace); doing this by firewall/port forwarding rules is acceptable if it's possible and a passthrough option doesn't exist
-- Wifi AP should have relatively long rage. Adding a second unit is possible but not prefered


This is getting rather confusing as every brand or suitable device seems to have some major drawbacks. So far I've been looking at the following options, with pros(+) and cons(-) of each. Any comments, corrections or suggestions are appreciated!

Netgate routers with pfSense:
+ pfSense looks much more trustworthy and secure than proprietary router operating systems
- Plenty of complaints about root file system corruption after power loss, at least with the lower-end models. This is unacceptable.
- Higher-end models are very expensive

Ubiquiti Edgerouters:
+ Many positive reviews
+ These look like professional/semi-professional equipment
- Edgerouter X series seems to be sold out everywhere, apparently due to high demand and/or shortage of components
- Edgerouter 4/6 series are better available but rather large. Perhaps not a big problem, but complicates installation.
- Difficulty of configuration with ER4/6? Web interface, is it good?

Mikrotik RouterBOARD series:
+ Positive reviews
+ Inexpensive
- Suspiciously inexpensive
- Difficulty of configuration?

Zyxel ZyWALL equipment:
+ These look like professional equipment
- Mostly very expensive
- Suitability for home use?
- Old/legacy hardware?
- Zyxel has some history of backdoor accounts
- Personal experience: poor experience with cheaper Zyxel products

Asus routers:
+ Personal experience: work mostly without major problems, easy to configure
+ Decent number of firmware upgrades
- Personal experience: several small but annoying bugs that remain unfixed and do not give a good impression of a well finished product

TP-Link equipment:
+ Personal experience: does what it's supposed to do, inexpensive, good price to value ratio
- Some history of backdoors

Ubiquiti UniFi wireless APs:
+ Look like professional equipment
+ Positive reviews
- No web interface?
- Cloud-based management?

HPE Aruba wireless APs:
+ Look like decent pieces of hardware
- Cloud-based management?

3rd party firmware or full DIY router (computer + network cards + pfSense):
- Probably too much hassle for this purpose, probably too big and cumbersome


Many other consumer-grade brands that I came across seem to have some history of backdoors, poor reputation or poor personal experience, or they seem otherwise un-trustworthy. At the moment I'm thinking about either buying a Ubiquiti ER-4/6 and a Wifi AP of some sort, or sticking with Asus equipment. Asus devices are not bad, but I haven't been completely happy with them and I thought about getting something above the "consumer" level.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
What network speed is expected, how many active users, how many attached devices, on what area? You are confused indeed. You can spend couple of hundred bucks or couple of thousand and provide exactly the same Internet experience to your relatives.
 

smokermoji

New Around Here
What network speed is expected, how many active users, how many attached devices, on what area? You are confused indeed. You can spend couple of hundred bucks or couple of thousand and provide exactly the same Internet experience to your relatives.

Yes. Outbound connection will be 100/100 Mb/s at first, possibly faster in the future. 1 Gb/s is enough for the local network. Number of simultaneous users will not be huge. For the wifi, range is more important than ability to serve many users at once.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Business AP's are designed to work in groups. Home routers - as single AP. Most business ceiling/wall mount AP's are slightly directional, not omni-directional like home routers. Your single AP requirement/preference basically limits you to home routers. Most can cover the rest of your requirements, starting from $100. I know nothing about your place, so I can't recommend you any specific equipment.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
That statement is false, of course. Home routers are designed for different uses and there are many options. Yes, most work best as a single unit. There are more than a few models available for multiple units to be used within a single home though. And for Asus AiMesh enabled routers, all are able to be used as single or multiple units, as the environment allows.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
3rd party firmware or full DIY router (computer + network cards + pfSense):
- Probably too much hassle for this purpose, probably too big and cumbersome
If you want secure / stable / performance then you have to get your hands dirty or pay up for it.

PC method isn't that hard to accomplish and hits all of your needs. All you need if you're not bundling tons of functions into it is a cheap $150 SFF PC with room for a 4-port gig card $50 and Linux for the OS (free).

AP's I use Zyxel and they can be either a 4x4 NWA210AX ~$160 or 2x2 NWA110AX - $130 - Stand alone (free) or web managed (fee)
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Home routers are designed for different uses and there are many options.

Asus home routers are designed to work as All-In-One devices. Afterthought solution called AiMesh has no power control on "nodes". It doesn't even have stable Guest Network to "nodes". Users are perpetual beta testers. I'm sure @smokermoji can read by himself what is he eventually getting into.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Your assumptions and erroneous statements are getting worse. Your unsuccessful attempts to get the discarded routers you're familiar with to work in your environment may not have panned out, but it clearly doesn't mean that they don't work for anyone else, either.

AiMesh is working well for most users. At least, for the networks, I've set up. Including Guest Network. The vocal minority here is not representative of what you're attempting to create a mountain out of.

All users today are perpetual beta-testers. Welcome to 2022. The difference for enterprise hardware is that you need to pre-purchase the support that will be expected to be used.

Your blanket statements leave much to be desired. No 'power control' is needed when used as designed. In a home environment.

Anyone that needs more, needs to be shopping, elsewhere.

It is possible to support a certain line/type of product that doesn't involve trashing others. Try it.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Do you have any new "customers" stories? :)

Home routers are disposable tech, including Asus latest creations. There are better "mesh" solutions on the market, if @smokermoji wants this.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Yes, all tech is disposable. Use them while they're fresh.

Better 'mesh' doesn't mean better in terms of value, throughput, price, or flexibility. Everything has its tradeoffs.
 

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