Looking to upgrade from a "home" class router to a "business" class router

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SonjaDC

New Around Here
As the title says I am currently running an Asus RT-AC88U running Merlin-WRT 384.19 . It has been a strong performer for me up until now. As my network load and device load grows I am finding that I am "killing" the router every few days. It just bogs down to the point that the network is unusable and I have to do a reboot.

My topology:

The RT-AC88U connected to a Motorola Docsis 3.1 Modem with Cox inet.
A TrendNet 16 port Gigabit Ethernet Switch
A TP-Link Deco M9 Mesh WiFi system handing the WiFi (WiFi is turned off on the RT-AC88U)
On the network I have 12 PC's, 4 Raspberry Pi's, 6 Pi ZeroW's, 5 Android Phones, 7 Android Tablets, 7 Smart TV's, Several Roku Devices, Lots of Hue/TP-Link Smart Bulbs/Switches/Plugs, Other devices such as smart watches, fit-bits, Several Amazon Echo's, Google Mini's, a Vivint Security System, and a couple of game consoles ... In Other Words LOTS OF STUFF!!!

I run an Emby media server that I share with my family, My Wife and I stream for our Maker businesses on Twitch/Facebook/YouTube. We also have several internet cameras accessible from the net for our workshop/studio and some of our 3D printers and Engraver.

I don't have an unlimited budget, so cost IS a major factor. I'm looking for a good "business" class router that has features comparable to the RT-AC88U such as Port Forwarding, VPN Server/Client, NAT, Static DHCP assignment, UPNP. Dual WAN is a plus since I do have two ISP connections but NOT a majorly needed feature. Not having to disable a built in WiFi is a plus since the my current Mesh system is doing me fairly well.

Any thoughts, recommendations would be appreciated.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Welcome @SonjaDC to the forums.

What is your ISP paid-for speeds (up and down)? What exactly is the 'dead' part of 'killing the router'? Are the Wi-Fi clients affected? Are the wired clients affected? Both?

How many wireless devices are you trying to support with the Deco M9? How many nodes does it have and how evenly shared are the client devices on those nodes?

What troubleshooting steps have you performed so far to stop the network from going down? Have you ever reset the router fully to factory defaults after flashing the firmware you're on now? Without importing old, saved backup config files, or 'blindly' enabling features, scripts, and other options that may have worked once in the past for you?

Unless you're considering something like a pfSense build which you can set up yourself, there is no such thing as a 'business class' router. There is Enterprise-class above that, though.

What scripts, features, and options are you currently running on the RT-AC88U? Are you using ports 5 - 8 on it? If you're using amtm + Entware + swap file + scripts, have you tested with a new USB drive (the current one may be failing on you)?

When all is said and done, the RT-AC88U has been outclassed a few times already in the last couple of years. The RT-AC86U, the RT-AX88U, and the RT-AX86U (in ascending order) are all much more powerful as a router than the RT-AC88U ever was. You may consider at least testing the last two in your environment before deciding you need to go full Enterprise yet.

I am also curious about how you have discharged the TP-Link equipment from your issues too.

The answers to the above will help get you the best responses back.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture

SonjaDC

New Around Here
Welcome @SonjaDC to the forums.

What is your ISP paid-for speeds (up and down)? What exactly is the 'dead' part of 'killing the router'? Are the Wi-Fi clients affected? Are the wired clients affected? Both?

How many wireless devices are you trying to support with the Deco M9? How many nodes does it have and how evenly shared are the client devices on those nodes?

What troubleshooting steps have you performed so far to stop the network from going down? Have you ever reset the router fully to factory defaults after flashing the firmware you're on now? Without importing old, saved backup config files, or 'blindly' enabling features, scripts, and other options that may have worked once in the past for you?

Unless you're considering something like a pfSense build which you can set up yourself, there is no such thing as a 'business class' router. There is Enterprise-class above that, though.

What scripts, features, and options are you currently running on the RT-AC88U? Are you using ports 5 - 8 on it? If you're using amtm + Entware + swap file + scripts, have you tested with a new USB drive (the current one may be failing on you)?

When all is said and done, the RT-AC88U has been outclassed a few times already in the last couple of years. The RT-AC86U, the RT-AX88U, and the RT-AX86U (in ascending order) are all much more powerful as a router than the RT-AC88U ever was. You may consider at least testing the last two in your environment before deciding you need to go full Enterprise yet.

I am also curious about how you have discharged the TP-Link equipment from your issues too.

The answers to the above will help get you the best responses back.

I pay for GigaBlast internet and I get USUALLY the speeds I pay for. Speeds are dependent on my network load, time of day, that other stuff the ISP disclaims. So that is good. I average 500 at the lowest during "peak" times, 800-900 on the better side.

I probably have about 40 wireless devices on the Deco. Those are pretty stable, no issues there. I have three nodes, all are up and functional.

I've reflashed/reset between firmwares, hasn't been an update in a while. No imports of old settings. Redid the settings from scratch after reflashing/resetting. I have no "features" other than a VPN client running. No QOS, no bandwidth monitoring, no filesharing, no filtering, no parental control, etc.

No scripts are running, no entware installed, there is a usb but it is currently unused. Swap is enabled. Yes I do have some clients on 5-8, I can move those to the TrendNET switch.

At one point I had a script that was rebooting the router every morning, for a while that was working as far as keeping the router from "bogging" down but was playing havoc with some of my Amazon Echo devices, they weren't coming back online cleanly.

It all comes down to that I think I just outgrew the capabilities of the RT-AC88U and as you mentioned it "has been outclassed a few times already in the last couple of years". I believe I'm just pushing it beyond the max, so It is time to upgrade.

I guess saying "business class" may be the wrong term. Probably more of marketing baloney. So maybe just getting a newer model ASUS, or another Router would do what I need. I certainly don't need WiFi on the router since the Deco is handling all my WiFi clients sufficiently.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I don't classify any Cisco product as 'business class' when looking at their prices. Marketing, yes. :)

Sounds like it would be very easy for you to set up a new Asus router, turn off the radios and test it in your network. The RT-AC86U should be all you need for the 'router' duties you need from it.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Our experiences are definitely different then. :)
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
even with the RV32x or 34x series ?
Definitely was a step change up from the previous flakey RV models.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The 'flakey' RV models were worse than the NG routers I was using back then. No reason so far to see if the flakiness (at higher prices) is cured, today. :)
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
The only time i have rebooted my RV325 in the last 3-4 years was when i had to relocate it to a wiring closet or updated firmware.
The previous series - yeah, painful.
 

Flying Dutchman

Regular Contributor
@SonjaDC Consider a Ubiquiti EdgeMax router, like ER-12 (includes a hardware switch).
 

SonjaDC

New Around Here
I ended up building a pfsense router out of an old i7 with 2 NIC cards on the board. Been working like a champ ever since. Just dealing with the cruddy service we get from Cox and all their outages and "excuses" of increased bandwidth demand from covid. Other than that I would certainly recommend rolling your own with pfsense. I haven't rolled my own router since the 90's and early 2000's. Used to use Mandriva/Mandrake Linux with iptables back in the day.
 

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