Router for university dorm

wayner

Regular Contributor
I am helping a friend's daughter who is starting university in a month. She needs a router with wifi access - her room will have wired ethernet. Wireless clients will be a MacBook, iPhone and maybe one or two other devices.

When I look at some of the routers they have six antennas, etc - but do you need that for a dorm room?

What should I be looking for in terms of specs? Wifi6? Or does that matter? Is 2/3 antennas enough? Anything else I should be looking for?

Would an Asus AC1750 or AC1900 make sense?
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
I am helping a friend's daughter who is starting university in a month. She needs a router with wifi access - her room will have wired ethernet. Wireless clients will be a MacBook, iPhone and maybe one or two other devices.

When I look at some of the routers they have six antennas, etc - but do you need that for a dorm room?

What should I be looking for in terms of specs? Wifi6? Or does that matter? Is 2/3 antennas enough? Anything else I should be looking for?

Would an Asus AC1750 or AC1900 make sense?
Sure. RT-AC66U_B1 would be good choice. Less than a hundred bucks most places.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Wireless clients will be a MacBook, iPhone and maybe one or two other devices.

There is a better option - get one of the GL.iNet travel routers. Wi-Fi strength is good enough, they have built-in VPN, Wireless ISP mode, easy to use, small size and can be powered by 5V power bank. This is all she needs for few devices.


 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
I am helping a friend's daughter who is starting university in a month. She needs a router with wifi access - her room will have wired ethernet. Wireless clients will be a MacBook, iPhone and maybe one or two other devices.

Most likely they will have WiFi as well ethernet in the dorm rooms.

based on personal experience, most college/uni campus networks will specifically not permit routers on their LAN ports - wait until she moves in, and see what options are available.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Most likely they will have WiFi... most college/uni campus networks will specifically not permit routers on their LAN ports

Another good reason to get a router with Wireless ISP or WISP option. Asus routers don't have that.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Another good reason to get a router with Wireless ISP or WISP option. Asus routers don't have that.

Many US campuses use the EduRoam platform...


It's a very high level of control, so again - no routers allowed on the networks - there may be exceptions, of course, but the norm is that you get a wifi supplicant application, along with certificates as needed.
 

wayner

Regular Contributor
Sure. RT-AC66U_B1 would be good choice. Less than a hundred bucks most places.
At Best Buy here in Canada I don't see the 66 but the models are see are listed as AC1750(RT-AC65/CA) and AC1900(RT-AC67P).
Most likely they will have WiFi as well ethernet in the dorm rooms.

based on personal experience, most college/uni campus networks will specifically not permit routers on their LAN ports - wait until she moves in, and see what options are available.
They specifically say to bring a wireless router and an ethernet cable. So they don't have WAPs, or perhaps not enough to provide a good signal in dorm rooms.
 

Paliv

Senior Member
Many US campuses use the EduRoam platform...


It's a very high level of control, so again - no routers allowed on the networks - there may be exceptions, of course, but the norm is that you get a wifi supplicant application, along with certificates as needed.
When I was in school (undergrad and grad around 2004-2010) public wifi was pretty new. The network was wide open, no authentication. It was the damn wild west! I think they were introducing user login with school credentials near the last couple years I was there. Things have really changed.
 

degrub

Part of the Furniture
Whatever you get, turn off the 2.4 Ghz radios and lock down the wifi as much as possible. You may have to reduce the radio power for 5GHz depending on the wall construction. Plenty of reflections with concrete !. Use the maximum length wifi password allowed and WPA2/3, AES encryption. Hiding the SSID is of no use.
 

NXIL

Occasional Visitor
When I look at some of the routers they have six antennas, etc - but do you need that for a dorm room?

No, a two antenna, or even a unit with internal antennas will be fine, since such a small area needs to be covered.

What should I be looking for in terms of specs? Wifi6?

Definitely AX, because of the phones, and more available channels.
Or does that matter? Is 2/3 antennas enough? Anything else I should be looking for?

Like many here, I am a fan of Merlin Firmware, and then an Asus router to run it.

I don't think that is what she needs.

I would recommend a low end AX router, like one of these from TP Link:


The AX 50 at $100 is fine for a dorm room. Note: if you set it up for her, just shut off the 2.4 ghz band, it's going to be worthless in a dorn, and set her 5ghz band to a high channel, or low, not in the middle where DFS is an issue.

The AX20 from TP link, or the AX10 would also be fine.

Links to the AX20 in that article, AX10 here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZSDR49S/?tag=snbforums-20

Ha! Amazon shows that i "Last purchased Sep 1, 2020". it was a gift for someone, it's still in service and has worked fine for them.

Even that one would be fine at $70.

Also good and solid over the years:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079JD7F7G/?tag=snbforums-20

Fifty three bucks.

This was Wirecutter's recommendation for years. It's AC only, but it's going to be enough for a student in a dorm room.

If the student has a TV/console/desktop, need to get her ethernet cables so she can hard wire that or those devices. Anything that does not move needs an ethernet cable. (Dorm airwaves going to be pretty busy I would guess.)

Again: don't even try with the 2.4 ghz band, in her room, 5ghz is perfect, and ideally on a channel that is not saturated. In busy environments, I like to hard set the channel, not set it to Auto, and let the other routers in the area find a channel that my router is not on. (If that does not make sense, let me know....)

Good luck and that you for helping her out!
 

NXIL

Occasional Visitor
Whatever you get, turn off the 2.4 Ghz radios and lock down the wifi as much as possible.

OP, I strongly agree with this, no need for 2.4 in a dorm room these days.

And, this review:


The A7 is cheap, and is probably all she needs. Proven, reliable, etc.

They specifically say to bring a wireless router and an ethernet cable.

As others have mentioned, a lot of colleges do NOT allow student routers/wireless access points etc, they lock down the network, and arrrrg, matey, I think you know why! (Torrents anyone?)

OP, an ethernet cable should come in the box with the router, but might be a good idea to get her a 7 foot, and 14 foot Cat5e (it's all that is needed!) eithernet cables just in case she needs that to route the cable away from feet etc and get router in a safe place on desk/shelf/wall etc.

Amazon of course has a ton of them, and I like Monoprice patch cables, which amazon carries.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001TMSELU/?tag=snbforums-20

Well, cat6 for three bucks:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004HJHNJG/?tag=snbforums-20

We all know More Cats is More Better. (actually, cat7/cat8: no thank you.)

That link you can change color/length, for a dorm room I'd say black, blue, dark green or purple.

Lots of options here too.

Again, if she has a desktop or console or TV to plug into ethernet, hard wiring it with another ethernet cable is best by far.

Good luck! Can you report back what you and her and Dad decide on, and how it works?
 

NXIL

Occasional Visitor
Hi wayner, any feedback on what she ended up getting and how it’s all working?
 

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