Router upgrade - too much choice!

Trebor

Occasional Visitor
Hello

Upgraded package with my isp to 500mbs. They provided a router but it has their firmware in it which isn’t great, so looking to upgrade it and then use it as the access point.

isp modem - main router.
Main router into AP (old terrible router)
Main router - wrt1900acs (express vpn firmware loaded)

I have wired the 1900acs into the main streaming device but not all and the AP just feeds the main desktop (wired and will replace with isp provided router for now) and spare bedroom.

We are a family of 4 but don’t tend to stream crazy amounts.

The router just needs to be one that I am not having to reset all the time and gives good speeds on both bands. Don’t have infinite amounts of money but willing to spend if worth it.

Also, happy to take any other advice on sensible changes to set up.

Thank you
 

BreakingDad

Very Senior Member
AX86U is the standard round these parts
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Or go AP with a NWA210AX and just plug them into the ISP router or the "old router" for the WIFI function and skip the new more planned obsolescence devices adding to the landfill.

I get 1300+ sq ft of coverage corner to corner w/ 1 of these AP's and internal speed / single client to abut 1.5gbps w/ an AX210 wifi card.
 

Trebor

Occasional Visitor
Or go AP with a NWA210AX and just plug them into the ISP router or the "old router" for the WIFI function and skip the new more planned obsolescence devices adding to the landfill.

I get 1300+ sq ft of coverage corner to corner w/ 1 of these AP's and internal speed / single client to abut 1.5gbps w/ an AX210 wifi card.

Thanks for the response. Can’t use my old router as it isn’t gigabit. Also, keeping the isp router with it’s firmware isn’t something I wanted to do.

Wouldn’t going this route also mean possibly ending up having to buy 2 devices rather than 1 if the AP doesn’t work upstairs? Going on 1300sq it will be tight.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Ideally if you're looking for speed/performance you would place an AP on each level since the signal tends to be hampered by the floor in between. However, it would probably still work with a single AP.

The ISP gateway has gigabit ports and you could run the AP to it directly. I would add a router to the mix though for more granular control on the security side of things and it doesn't need to be expensive or high end to get the job done. When it comes to routers less is more usually translates into better performance when you strip away all of the gimmicks built into the software. There are $50 wired only routers that can handle the job.

The uptime I have on the AP though is great compared to most other options. I just did a FW upgrade the other day and the uptime was 75 days w/o a need to reboot like most consumer options. Also, they have the RAM / CPU to keep some of the load off the router which increases performance and stability of the router itself.

1649427121767.png

1649427159786.png

The signal spread amongst devices is better as well.



I would do something like this:
ISP <> wired router <> 2 x AP (wired)

Total might come in around $500 which is about the same as a new router w/ WIFI6 but, get better coverage, stability, and performance.
 

Trebor

Occasional Visitor
Ok thanks will look into this. Although 1 of your suggested APs is $300 where I live. I take it the AP’s are pretty future proof?
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Future proof is just a gimmick. WiFi 6 is the best deal unless you're in a congested area that benefits from 6ghz/6E spectrum.

Netgear has a WAX630E that handles that for $360USD.

The AP vs all in one options offer the ability for flexibility of upgrading only what needs to be when something new comes out like WiFi 7. IME though they handle traffic and clients better. Troubleshooting is easier when you can isolate it to wired or wireless.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Futureproofing isn't guaranteed, but it is not a gimmick.

What is currently available today (hardware) is what is needed to get the best possible experience possible. Buying anything less (or more) is a false economy.

To me, a dedicated AP is a fairly useless purchase, long term vs. buying another router, instead. With the router, it can be repurposed for anyone with a lesser demand than we need from it (as long as it is supported, and secure, of course), including being used as a Router, AP, Repeater, Media Bridge, and possibly other modes. A single-use AP is an instant landfill candidate when you buy a better router and find you didn't need an AP at all in the first place. Not the best use of our hard-earned money. Most single-purpose devices for the home rarely are worth that kind of money (vs. the full-featured product, long term).

Just another viewpoint for @Trebor to consider. :)


I'll give the following link as one example of the 'proof' of my statements above. Note that a single RT-AX68U could easily replace the 2x RT-AC86Us (regardless of what the customer decided on). And, these are not only both routers... but also trump the RT-AC86U which was previously the go-to router too.

Report - 2x RT-AX68U upgrade over 2x RT-AC86U in wireless backhaul mode
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
Contrasting views are fine @L&LD and narrowing options down is part of the process. The complications for stacking routers on top of each other as anything other than a router complicates things though when it comes to daisy chaining them into the network. You pay more to add that NAT function in a router vs just an AP that does WIFI. Different chips being used in different routers leads to other issues as well. Stripping out the unnecessary software in a router vs AP makes a difference in performance and maintenance of the devices. Constantly messing with the software on the router to keep it performing well and be secure leads to other headaches when something gets missed in an update and you spend tons of time trying to resolve it.
 

Trebor

Occasional Visitor
Interesting and useful things to consider. Thank you.
So @L&LD , to clarify, you would suggest the ax68u as good enough for what I need?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Nobody said anything about stacking routers. And when a router is in AP or AiMesh mode, there isn't any extra stress from needless software running either (because that software doesn't get used in anything other than router mode). No constant messing with firmware either, and even if you do, it is a 5-minute process to perform a WPS reset and put it back in AP/AiMesh mode anyway.

@Trebor, the following link is what I suggest picking from for current routers. With the RT-AX86U being the most 'futureproof' of all, for a single router setup.

If your WiFi environment requires a second AP (or AiMesh node), then 2x RT-AX68Us may be more than enough too as the previous link shows.

Current Order of Recommended Routers Late 2021
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
So @L&LD , to clarify, you would suggest the ax68u as good enough for what I need?

Single AX68U can't do better than 2x AC86U in terms of coverage. AX68U can do slightly better on AX to common 2-stream client and close to the router only - 550Mbps vs about 800Mbps. Don't believe "customer" stories. This guy has no business with Asus routers. Avoid AX68U based on real feedback:

 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Skip the "customer" stories, please. Only "New Around Here" members may eventually believe you. Thank you!
@Tech9 Knock off the attacks on @L&LD. I'm running out of patience with you. We get that you don't like him. Keep any further similar comments and thoughts to yourself or you'll be banned.

And @L&LD, stop taking the bait. I have better things to do than referee p*ssing contests between you two.
 

RMinNJ

Regular Contributor
Tebor,

The networking choices seem a lot that's for sure. For myself I have a small setup of cable modem, router and few switches.. very few devices. When I upgraded my service to gigabit it certainly showed my TPlink gigabit switch could not do gigabit ..and my old laptop really could either. My R7800 router had no problem with the gigabit service except for its wireless in one far bedroom.

I really wanted to get into the whole router and access points setup..may tinker with pfsense or ubiquity... But my place and setup is small and working from home I needed a reliable setup which I already had. I got the RTAX86U and gained some speed in the far bedroom.. basically a good 100Mbit or more across my small house. I kinda wish I sprung for the GT-AX6000 but with no 2.5 Mbit devices ..not even my cable modem ..it was hard to justify the cost even though it'd be very future proof (ie over 1Gbit wan and lan)Lan.

Always good suggestions here..Let us know what setup you go with..
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
@RMinNJ

Well, the good thing about going pfsense is you won't need that over priced router anyway. Just simply add the AP's to the mix with pfsense and you're better off. With pfsense you can swap out the NIC as needed to increase beyond 1gbps easily. I run a 5gbps 4-port card in my DIY setup and it was $200. 2.5gbps cards ~$140 or the simple single port cards $45. Being able to customize things is good as you grow into them and need to increase certain pieces and not have to drop $500 on a new router each time tech changes.

Also, using more of a DIT setup you can do whole house VPN w/o being restricted to silly providers that don't perform well. The added HP of a real CPU makes a difference in being able to get line speed from the VPN connection as well. OVPN is legacy and ~50% of what you can get out of wireguard based connections.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I run separates being Cisco router, switch and wireless that way you can upgrade just one piece rather than replacing it all which saves money in the long run. I have run the same Cisco small business router for many years. I have upgraded my Cisco wireless a couple of times.
I think the Cisco small business networking gear is very stable. It runs like an appliance. You don't have to think about it much. I don't think WiFi 6E is well enough defined to be considered future proof yet.
 

Tech Junky

Very Senior Member
@coxhaus

6E is only really enticing in congested areas for the 6ghz band being clear airwaves. Sped = to WIFI6 / AX.

Beyond that it's the same thing for the most part unless you have tons of devices on 2.4/5 and need a clear path for PC's on 6ghz.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
So what would you recommend instead?

You need to provide more details about your place. I know nothing about what speeds and coverage area are expected. I work with numbers. I don't know what crazy amounts, good speeds, and willing to spend means from your point of view. I don't know what this VPN firmware is doing there either.

As you have noticed, the replies you get are based on what different forum members personally use. I can recommend All-In-One router for $50 as well as component system for $5000, depending on the requirements. I see no requirements and hence can't make any recommendations at this point.
 

Trebor

Occasional Visitor
You need to provide more details

House is 2200 sqft (current router and access point does the whole house but would like increased range in main router so the 5GHz channel works through a ceiling and 10 foot of space - doesn’t have to be max speeds at this position just in range would be good)

have max 3 devices streaming at a time we don’t use 4K yet but want to be ready for it.

want speeds that max isp of 500mbs close to the router and will be able to cope with more at a later date (cost of internet is crazy where I live). Want stability and reliability mainly.

VPN firmware - use VPN/dns for streaming and vpn for sons PS5 gaming. (This only covers our lounge/couple of bedrooms which is fine - ping is a high though 130)

spend max $300 but if a really convincing reason would go higher and happy to go much lower!
 

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