What do you call routers that connect to a WiFi or wired Internet source?

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mg55

Occasional Visitor
I want an inexpensive router that can connect to the Internet by either a wired connection direct to my ISP (FIOS) modem or its wireless router, or by a WiFi connection from that router. It doesn't need to be able to connect to both sources at once, but it must be able to connect to either. I need this because I don't have a wired connection now, but will in the future.

What do you call such a router?

In the past I have used a Vonets VAP11G wireless repeater/bridge to connect the available WiFi to the input port of a wired/wireless router. If I have to do something like that I will, but maybe there is a router that can connect to the ISP by both?

But the cable integral to the Vonets device has worn out, and no longer makes good connections.

My router, a Netgear AC750 (Model R6020) WiFi Router is flakey. Specifically, it often disconnects from my ISP, and fails to reconnect automatically. Frequent disconnections are a part of using are local FIOS, because it often goes down for a few minutes or more at a time. But my prior router, a Dlink Dir 628 (which died in a power glitch, despite surge protection, which is why I bought Netgear next), would always reconnect automatically. This one often doesn't.

BTW, is that problem a characteristic of all Netgear Routers, or my unit just defective.

I need reliable automatic reconnection, because I use a MagicJack as my phone landline (which I do not love, because it is noisy and drops the first few seconds of every conversation, but I bought it and many years of service long ago.), and sometimes I use google hangouts (Google voice is much better, but occasionally insists on connecting to another phone line) as another phone line.

Other factors in my choice.

1. I need the router to have multiple wired Ethernet ports, and to support many WiFi connections for various devices. But I only vie 1 video stream at a time, the only thing that needs speed, so the router doesn't need to be fast. I do have a D-Link DES-1105 switch that can multiplex an Ethernet port to connect to the devices that don't need to be secure, but it doesn't isolate Ethernet streams from each other. I'm paranoid, so a firewall should apply to all connections.

2. All my stuff is in the same room, so it doesn't need extended range, though I admit the FIOS wireless router, controlled by my landlord, is fairly far away and doesn't have all that strong a signal.

3. As discussed in another thread,
www.snbforums.com/threads/separate-encryption-does-local-device-isolation-work.64626/#post-592400 I want to isolate local devices from each other for security. Though I sometimes need to let one of the devices connect to the PC, but I want to turn that on explicitly when needed. Everything I can wire, including my printer (on USB), I already do.

4. I do not need or want (hopefully it can be turned off) remote configuration - again, for security.

5. I might want to try DD-WRT or OpenWRT - but not if it costs too much to get such a modem.

On another topic, are the ends of some Ethernet cables more durable than others? I always buy Cat 5 or Cat 6, but the cables often wear out at the ends, after only a few connect-disconnect cycles, and need to be replaced. Typically, the lever breaks off or becomes soft.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
You're probably talking about a "travel router". They're primarily designed to connect to hotel WiFi but they usually have a normal Ethernet WAN connection as well. Maybe something like this.
 

mg55

Occasional Visitor
Being paranoid is not fishy.

The whole point of using a router instead of a switch is its firewall.

I assume the kind of info I'm looking for would be covered in any class on Network security - it's probably not secret. Even the https and WFA2 encryption techniques are not secret: they use publicly available algorithms, through the methods of breaking them might be.

And wanting to be able to connect to either wired or wireless ISP sources is not fishy either - people do it all the time.

What is fishy is trying to make it hard to find info on how to achieve basic security, because it makes it hard for people to be reasonably secure. I find the advertising literature for various security software and hardware confusing, because it rarely gives enough details to know whether it could actually work, or is just window dressing to make an expensive product sound secure.

It would be extremely fishy to discuss your own extremely-difficult-to-break encryption or route tracking techniques, that even a government can't easily break. But AFAIK, I haven't done that. I assume that https and WFA2 encryption are good enough for me.
 
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mg55

Occasional Visitor
You're probably talking about a "travel router". They're primarily designed to connect to hotel WiFi but they usually have a normal Ethernet WAN connection as well. Maybe something like this.
That sounds like a great idea!

For the most part, the router you list sounds great, and is fairly reasonably priced for what it does. I guess Asus is pretty big brand too.

I just looked at the instruction manual . I'm not clear how many SSIDs it can set up, or how many it can set up, though it does mention that it has 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi support, which suggests it can set up at least two. It says something about using OpenWRT modules. I will try to look up what that can do.

I like that it can turn on and off access to devices (which it calls clients).

I think I like that it can use a VPN. I signed up for one, but don't use it much - though now that I've lost the use of my router, I am using it more on the assumptions that it provides a little security from whatever else is on my landlord's WiFi router.

I appreciate that the manual is well organized, but I would need to do some research to understand all of what is there.

Are there trade-offs to travel routers?

E.g.,

1. I see this one only has 3 Ethernet ports - including the "input" port from the ISP (i.e., the WAN), if it is so used. That's enough for my two PCs, but not if I use one of them to feed my switch, to feed my MagicJack, Tivo, and two streaming boxes. For that matter, I would prefer to put my Roku and possibly my Android TV box on isolated Internet feeds, because I sometimes use them with Netflix, which is password protected and can also be used to purchase movies. I will look at other travel routers too, to see if this is universal.
2. Are the antennas so small that they require a stronger WiFi feed (WAN) signal than most home routers?
3. Are travel routers so small that they tend to overheat in continuous use, and have a shorter lifetime?
4. Anything else I haven't thought of?
 
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ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
Sorry, I've not used a travel router like that myself. You'll have to read some reviews of the specific models you're interested in and evaluate each on its own merits. Buying an extra switch would be a very inexpensive addition.

I can't imagine why overheating would be an issue. The thing that looks appealing about the GL.iNET device is that it's running OpenWRT. There's a pretty detailed description of it's configuration options on their website.
 

CaptainSTX

Part of the Furniture
I have used a TripMate Nano travel router and it does its job as a travel router and it does that job well, but I would never consider using it as my everyday router because of its minimal specs.

If you want maximum performance you might be better off using a two router solution. The first router setup as a media bridge and then if you need WiFi plugging another router into the first router either double NATed or setup as an AP.
 

MichaelCG

Very Senior Member
Most consumer grade routers will not route/segment each of the LAN ports. They "usually" are just part of a built-in switch. Some devices "might" allow for some isolation, but wouldn't be the norm.

The GL.iNet device was linked....I own the a smaller model from them the GL-MT300N-V2 and use it for travel. It works, but it is for sure CPU starved when it comes to the UI and VPN performance isn't great.
 

mg55

Occasional Visitor
But, given the limitations of the travel routers, maybe connect a wireless bridge like the Vonets device to the Internet port of a standard home router, like I had before, IS the right way to go...

I just looked at a non-travel router that doubles as "range extenders".

It appeared to be able to connect to either a wired WLAN connection, or to a WiFi network. I'm not clear if it could apply its own firewall to create a second WiFi network just for me, like I want, but if it can, it might work.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
The problem with most routers that can also operate as range extenders (aka repeaters) is that when in that mode you lose all of the routing and firewall capabilities. That is the advantage the travel routers have (and you stated you preferred a single device solution). Otherwise you are back to the kind of setup you had before with one device operating as a wireless Ethernet bridge being plugged into the WAN port of a "normal" wireless router.
 

mg55

Occasional Visitor
Otherwise you are back to the kind of setup you had before with one device operating as a wireless Ethernet bridge being plugged into the WAN port of a "normal" wireless router.
OK - what is wrong with that?

I only disliked there was one more Ethernet cable which eventually goes bad, in this case a non-detachable one. Which they eventually do. I ought to research whether there are ultra-durable Ethernet cables that don't go bad as easily. Usually the lever that locks the plug in place breaks, or if you disconnect and reconnect a few times, the friction electrical contact gets too loose. Sometimes even if you don't. "Cat 5" and "Cat 6" do not seem to certify durability. Also because it takes more desk space, and there is an extra power supply and connecting USB power cable to go bad too. And all those connecting cables and devices create more tangle on my desktop.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
OK - what is wrong with that?
Nothing at all.

Regarding cable durability, I don't know what you're doing with your cables. I must have plugged and unplugged hundreds of cables, some of them many many times and never had any "go bad". The only time those little tabs have broken is when that end has been lying on the floor and when I picked it up it got caught on something which bent it back.
 

mg55

Occasional Visitor
I just realized something. A lot of those "travel routers" have a battery. Which means they are not designed to be plugged in all the time - the battery will eventually go bad, as with a laptop.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Often, that feature is called "Wireless Client mode".
 

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