Wireless router with good coverage for a large home ?

ahmadka

Regular Contributor
Until recently, I had the Archer A7. For my use it's pretty good, however its Wifi coverage drops significantly once I'm about 2-3 bedrooms away. At the furthest distance, I'm about 30-40 feet away with about 4 walls between me and the router. So recently I decided to upgrade to the TP-Link AX11000 even though it's quite expensive for me, and even though I don't necessarily need the 'gaming' features. I just bought it for its good coverage.

The AX11000 easily solves my Wifi coverage issues, however I feel it might be an overkill. I'm wondering if there are cheaper routers available which have equally or almost equally good coverage ? Something lower than $130ish perhaps (not a hard limit) ?

My only requirements are the following:
--- Should have very good Wifi coverage, such that the Wifi signal even 30-50 feet away is quite good.
--- Should have a per-device internet bandwidth monitor. The TP-Link AX11000 doesn't have one per my knowledge, which is also why I'm thinking of replacing it.
--- Strongly preferred but not required: Support for 3rd party open source firmware.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Overkill is more easily swallowed than underkill. With the latter, every dollar spent is wasted, if it doesn't meet your current needs (let alone the future ones).

Unless you want to spend the next few weeks buying, testing, returning (and, possibly re-buying) routers you believe should be worth keeping, I say save your time, energy, and gas/shipping costs instead and be happy you found a working solution already.
 

ahmadka

Regular Contributor
You make a good point, however honestly I won't mind testing out maybe up to 3 routers. If I test upto 3 routers and they all fail, then I'd be totally okay accepting the AX11000. But if I don't do this, I'll always have a bad feeling that I spent more money on something I didn't really need, which is a feeling I don't like :) .. Plus if I test out 3 routers and they all fail, then in my mind I'd be contend that the AX11000 is the right fit for me :)

Problem is, I don't know which routers would be worthy of testing.

Also, the AX11000 doesn't have a per-device traffic monitor which I really want given the price tag, and doesn't support custom firmware (per my understanding).
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
For me to buy, test, and return up to 3 routers negates any possible savings I may get from a cheaper model. :)

Almost forgot you have the TP-Link AX110000, yes, I don't know any 3rd party support for that either (but I didn't search too).

The requirements you want (per-device traffic monitor) won't be found on cheaper models, that is a given.

The models I would be looking at are the, much better, (long-term firmware upgrades, RMerlin firmware, etc.), RT-AX88U (on 388 code base), the RT-AX86U, or the GT-AX6000 (or higher of course). I'm sure though that the cost isn't on your side on any of these models. :(

Good luck with your search.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I'll always have a bad feeling that I spent more money on something I didn't really need, which is a feeling I don't like :)

The router you already have is one of the fastest on the market with 3x BCM43684 radios, quad-core BCM4908 CPU, 1GB RAM, 2.5GbE WAN and 8x Gigabit LAN ports. It also runs HomeCare from TrendMicro - the same engine used for AiProtection/AdaptiveQoS/Parental Controls in Asus routers. It has very nice modern GUI as well and current Amazon price is $230. I don't know what else you're looking for at this price. What I personally don't like is the typical "spider" design. Everything else it top notch. Test something else, if you like, but don't expect any performance improvements.

There is no 3rd party firmware support for modern AX high-end routers. Everything new is closed source with small exceptions. The only available project is Asuswrt-Merlin for Asus routers - modified stock Asuswrt with extra features. It is still going with Asus approval and support. If you don't need all the AX11000 bells and whistles, try something more compact like RT-AX86U for about the same price, but with better/longer firmware support. There is per device traffic in Asuswrt called Statistic in Traffic Analyzer.
 

jsz

Regular Contributor
For me to buy, test, and return up to 3 routers negates any possible savings I may get from a cheaper model. :)

Almost forgot you have the TP-Link AX110000, yes, I don't know any 3rd party support for that either (but I didn't search too).

The requirements you want (per-device traffic monitor) won't be found on cheaper models, that is a given.

The models I would be looking at are the, much better, (long-term firmware upgrades, RMerlin firmware, etc.), RT-AX88U (on 388 code base), the RT-AX86U, or the GT-AX6000 (or higher of course). I'm sure though that the cost isn't on your side on any of these models. :(

Good luck with your search.


Agree.. WIFI routers aren't static devices. Stuff that performs in 1 environment might not perform well in the next when you factor interference and what not. Modems are also a factor many ignore.

For example... MY ISP gives out 4 "free to use" variants of the "same" 2.5G modem..

2 are PUMA7 based, 2 are BCM3390 based. The BCM3390 stuff has way more throughput with my paired BCM based routers at distance. The PUMA 7 stuff does better with QCA.


Testing and returning is the only valid option to figure out what you like better.
 

Going_Strong

Regular Contributor
Only just noticed this thread...

@ahmadka
I've been using the Archer AX11000 for more than two and a half years, and I cannot complain at all - it is (as @Tech9 observed) top notch; you only have to get used to its questionable looks.
In fact, I like it so much that I'm hesitant to buy the Archer AXE300 - although I do want to. ;)
 

bcm00re

Occasional Visitor
I have been reading a lot of good things about the Asus GT-AC2900. It is a RT-AX86S minus the AX radio (and a different case). If you don't really need AX then it's worth a try being you can get it for $120.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I have been reading a lot of good things about the Asus GT-AC2900.

Older model router based on RT-AC86U hardware. It may get few security updates at best on 386 base firmware. AX routers move to 388 base firmware. I would not purchase now a router 3+ years old already and facing limited support. It wasn't very successful nor popular model to begin with.
 

bcm00re

Occasional Visitor
But GT-AC2900 does have the same hardware as an AX model (the RT-AX86S) so that could help it get updates longer -- and it has Merlin support too. What does 388 firmware add?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
What does 388 firmware add?

New features and moves further development to a different branch.

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/dev-asuswrt-merlin-388-1-development.81087/page-27#post-798459

This GT-AC2900 router along with the sibling RT-AC86U may get few security updates down the road, but nothing is guaranteed. If there is no new GPL from Asus, the chances are there will be no new Asuswrt-Merlin update either. AX86S is similar hardware, but redesigned router with better reliability and much longer expected support.
 

bcm00re

Occasional Visitor
If I knew the AX86S would get significantly more firmware updates, I'd definitely spend $60 more for it.
 

bcm00re

Occasional Visitor
If I knew the AX86S would get significantly more firmware updates, I'd definitely spend $60 more for it.
So I now see that the AX86S is on the latest gen 388 firmware (and none the AC routers will be getting it). Hopefully I can pickup a nice deal on the AX86S during the holiday sales -- or maybe I get antsy and just go with $180 sale price I see now.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
That $180 price point seems tempting. What is the price for the RT-AX86U? Or the GT-AX6000?

As a main router, the 's' version is less appealing, and the price difference to the better routers is easily worth it in the long run.
 

bcm00re

Occasional Visitor
The AX86U is almost $100 more while the other one is $400. Both would likely be overkill for my needs, but it the 86U drops to $200 during the holidays I'd go for it.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
or maybe I get antsy and just go with $180 sale price I see now.

I don't know what country you live in, but AX86S is CAD200 right now in Canada, or ~USD150. I've got one recently even lower for CAD180.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
They can do better then. Don't expect miracles in coverage though. It's average for the class.
 

bcm00re

Occasional Visitor
I do expect somewhat better coverage than my old Asus RT-AC1750 (aka - AC66U) B1 unit that I'm currently using. In the long run the AX86S will be the main router and my existing one will be an AiMesh node.
 

jsz

Regular Contributor
It will be better than your old AC66U at least.

AX86U isn't worth the extra $100, unless you absolutely need a 2.5G port. They have same WIFI performance excluding tolerance range between samples.
 

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