Right time for an upgrade?

TurboTruite

Occasional Visitor
Hi,
I'm considering retiring my good old RT-N66U and am currently benchmarking the market.
As you can see I'm not a compulsive buyer so something that will hopefully last quite some time would be cool.
I currently have a 400mbps optical fiber internet access, 7 Wifi devices and 1 wired PC. Maybe I would upgrade to 1-2 Gb Internet in the near future.

I did a quick benchmark and it seems Wifi 6E is around the corner. Although I'm not sure I will see a real benefit from it, I'm wondering if it's the right time to upgrade. Is it worth waiting a few weeks (if new interesting products are about to be released) or not?
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
benchmarking? I think you mean researching.

"Is it worth waiting a few weeks" - I'm not aware of anything significant being launched in the next few weeks.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Current Order of Recommended Routers Late 2021

At current price levels and considering how often you tend to upgrade the RT-AX86U will be a good match for you (best bang for the buck) for the longest possible time with great performance and reliability too.

All I would wait for is a possible sale over the next few weeks (it does happen). But even at full price, the other options have many compromises that (to me) do not make sense to save a few dollars for, today.
 

TurboTruite

Occasional Visitor
Thanks for your answers guys.

benchmarking? I think you mean researching.
Yes, sorry.

RT-AX86U will be a good match for you (best bang for the buck)
That was the one I was considering at first but availability is scarce where I live, and I could only find it at 300 euros. I saw the GT-AX6000 at 360 euros. From what I understand specs are a tad better (and maybe we can hope for Merlin support soon?). Do you still think the AX86U would be a better choice granted these prices?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
From what we know, right now, today, the RT-AX86U is the proven model.

The GT-AX6000 is more than just a tad better (seems to be the platform (and SDK) Broadcom will be using for the next few years), but it is an unknown performer today. RMerlin support is not guaranteed, ever, until he announces it is.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Not sure where you're located but, have you considered disabling the WIFI on the N device and adding a AX AP instead of buying a new router?

I use a NWA210AX and in comparison to prices of a router with AX it was about 50% less. On a good day you can grab them on Amazon for $160.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Not sure where you're located but, have you considered disabling the WIFI on the N device and adding a AX AP instead of buying a new router?

I think the challenge here is that he's running an RT-N66U presently - it's getting long in the tooth, and he's probably not getting the bandwidth he's paying for at present (400 Mbit/Sec).
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Wired though should be unless they're 100mbps ports. Need some testing to confirm.

IIRC WAN/LAN ports were gigabit ethernet - it's the NAT performance with the N66U that would be a concern for 400 Mbit...

That being said - it's old hardware, and sounds like he got some good mileage out of it - it's probably due time for replacement, and if OP wants to remain in the Asus brand, the AX86U seems like a good upgrade
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
I looked on Amazon and the last reviews were 2017. I don't even have PC related gear that old at this point. About to refresh the laptop with a 12700H and rebuilt my server with a 12700K. I don't do off the shelf routers anymore either and built that into the server instead for more modularity in the specs. Nice having a 5GE port to plug things into for the need for speed is relevant.

I'm a prosumer when it comes to tech / networking though. Taking an AP though @TurboTruite and hooking it up to the router would still be an option. Need to test the throughput on speeds though while wired to see where the N stands.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
hooking it up to the router would still be an option

Not an option to this router. It's was released at the end of 2011. Currently EOL product.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
It is physically possible to connect the cable, but it doesn't make sense to wait for a sale and spend $160 for an AP only attached to single core EOL router from 2011. For around the same price there are plenty of modern much more capable AIO AX routers on the market. Also, not everyone wants a DIY PC for router, switch and separate APs. Your personal preferences are irrelevant. @TurboTruite clearly wants to upgrade his AIO router to something similar.
 

TurboTruite

Occasional Visitor
Great food for thought, thank you everyone!

From what we know, right now, today, the RT-AX86U is the proven model.
Yes I admit it would probably be the most reasonable choice. The feedback I see on the GT-AX6000 seems quite promising though, and I know Eric has it so there is hope for Merlin support. I'm still tempted. I have to ponder on this.

Not sure where you're located but, have you considered disabling the WIFI on the N device and adding a AX AP instead of buying a new router?
I considered it yes. I'm in France and the specific model you are mentioning is close to 300€ from what I see so that's a bit steep but I am sure I could find cheaper alternatives.

I think the challenge here is that he's running an RT-N66U presently - it's getting long in the tooth, and he's probably not getting the bandwidth he's paying for at present (400 Mbit/Sec).
That is my current state of mind. To be fair, I'm getting close to 400 mbps on a wired connection but with only one active client - and I don't know what happens when I upgrade the bandwidth. If I go with 2Gb in the future, the 2,5Gb Ethernet port(s) would be interesting.

Another concern I have is the fact that the firmware is not updated anymore. Thanks to @john9527 Merlin-LTS I could keep it quite current until now (a lot of thanks to him!) but I am not sure about the fork's future developments. There might be Freshtomato left, but I tried Tomato years ago and was not a fan.

So as @sfx2000 and @Tech9 say: I will be shelling out money anyways, so why not upgrade the whole package for a comparable price tag?

I am not set on ASUS btw, so other suggestions are welcome!

not everyone wants a DIY PC for router, switch and separate APs.
Yes I must say it seems overkill for my current skills and usage scenario - especially the server part.
 

BreakingDad

Very Senior Member
There comes a time in everymans life, when he has to give up his dark knight :(
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
If I go with 2Gb in the future, the 2,5Gb Ethernet port(s) would be interesting.

There is a chance you are going to spend money for nothing in both hardware and ISP speed upgrade. You have a bunch of clients only, perhaps 2-3 active at a time. Web browsing experience is about the same >100Mbps; mobile clients like phones and tablets have nothing to do with >100Mbps; TVs have nothing to do with >100Mbps, UHD stream is less than that; your existing clients Wi-Fi radios will be limiting your Wi-Fi speed anyway, regardless of how expensive router you buy. ISP speed >400Mbps will give you faster download/upload only. Your ISP speed is fine and you don't need any expensive routers. Your Internet experience will be about the same with 400Mbps ISP vs Gigabit ISP and with 100€ vs 300€ router.

It will be fondly remembered.

Don't expect 10y life from new routers. They are made as cheap as possible. Your RT-N66U was made better than most modern routers.
 

TurboTruite

Occasional Visitor
@Tech9, I agree with you regarding bandwidth. I sometimes upload big files and that would be the real incentive for an upgrade, but I am really not sure the cost/benefit ratio is that interesting for now.

Don't expect 10y life from new routers. They are made as cheap as possible. Your RT-N66U was made better than most modern routers.
I did not know about that and that is definitely something I will consider before buying a 300+€ solution!
What is the reason behind this? Component quality? Subpar assembly, PCB design?
If you are telling me I cannot expect to get more than 5 years out of it I might fall back to something like a RT-AX68U.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
What is the reason behind this?

Planned obsolescence. Companies have no interest in selling durable products. It's part of engineering requirements now. Cars are made to last the expected lease period. Appliances are made to last specific number of cycles. Laptops have non-removable batteries with charge counters. In your new router every gram of metal on passive cooling will be saved and every $0.01 cheaper component will be used. Don't plan long term use on anything. Buy what you need now and upgrade when you need in the future.

I might fall back to something like a RT-AX68U.

Read this thread before you make a decision:

 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Just like you're 'making due' with your current RT-N66U, almost any of the suggested models you buy today can be used for the next decade. The question isn't if they will last or not, it is a question of what your needs and demands from your network will be so far down the line.

When I bought my RT-N66U almost exactly 10 years ago, I used the internet far differently than I do now. I know that in 10 more years I'll be using the internet far differently then too. I sold the Dark Night because the newer models gave my network a new sense of immediacy. Not because the first Asus router I bought was too old or broken in some way. The internet had changed and so had my use of it.

I agree to buy what you need now and upgrade as you need. But it has nothing to do with how long a particular model is useful, for (given it is a good fit for the network environment it will be used, in).

Sure, as individuals we may get unlucky and have one fail the day after the warranty is over, but for many, many more, today's routers will continue to work at the level they were designed to, indefinitely.

Yes, there are stories of doom and gloom everywhere. But the success stories are from people that just use their routers and don't join forums such as this to praise them either.
 

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