New router recommendations

Discussion in 'Home Theater PC (HTPC) & Media Servers' started by pewternhrata, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. panteragstk Audioholic Field Marshall

    panteragstk
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    When it comes to networking I've gone away from the consumer stuff. I had an ASUS Dark Knight that worked well for many years until I upped my internet connection speed to 300mbps and it couldn't handle it with an aftermarket firmware. Never thought that'd be an issue, but it was. The stock firmware worked fine, but had other issues that I just couldn't fix without the aftermarket firmware.

    I now use a Sophos box (linux UMT), but I'm probably going to go with more Ubiquity equipment considering how good the Unifi WAP LR I purchased is.

    Not as cheap as the stuff BSA posted, but I've got a lot of area to fill.

    One of the good things about a lot of the routers out there is that if you really want you can change the stock firmware to Tomato or DDWRT and gain a lot more functionality. In my case Tomato actually fixed an issue I had with the 5ghz band disconnecting for a few seconds at random.

    Some good info is on SmallNetBuilder. They test tons of consumer routers.
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  2. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Overlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    Asus N66 was great device, but it's time passed. I bet Asus's AC68/AC1900 could've handled 300mbps no problem. In fact I bet more consumer/home routers on market today won't be able to hand 1gig speeds
    Sophos UTM is probably one of the best SMB firewalls available. I have one running at the client and we both very happy with it. Ubiquity is also makes great stuff, but Wifi and routers. In Fact they recently hired guy who created and founded pfsense (Chris Buechler)
    Only downsides, besides higher price, is that these devices aren't really meant for non-techy person.
    It's not as hard as cisco/juniper router, but much more than typical consumer hardware.
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  3. panteragstk Audioholic Field Marshall

    panteragstk
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    Very true. With my 1gbps connection I needed all the processing power I could get. I'm pretty happy with this setup.
  4. Chu Gai Audioholic Samurai

    Chu Gai
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    Received it today. Depending on what the wife is doing later, I'll see about hooking it up and running it through its paces over the weekend.
  5. pewternhrata Audioholic

    pewternhrata
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    No complaints on the belkin n600, strong signal throughout my place, no issues. Im at 10Mbps and will soon bump to 20, if I don't really notice a difference I will stay at 10. Not sure if it's speed, but sometimes hulu, netflix, prime seem a bit sluggish, possibly not enough bandwidth to support them?
  6. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Overlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    I won't trust ISP's promises. Test it yourself here: https://www.dslreports.com/speedtest
  7. pewternhrata Audioholic

    pewternhrata
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    I use speed test on note5 and laptop (wired) get around 9Mbps on both. Just tried that one I got around 9 on my phone, I'll check the laptop later on, thanks for that one, I like to use 2 or so to compare between.
  8. rnatalli Audioholic Ninja

    rnatalli
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    I personally like routers that run DD-WRT, but there are a lot of good options out there.
  9. little wing Full Audioholic

    little wing
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    I have been using a Net Gear R6250 for about 3 years now and it's been nothing but great. I currently have 9 devices connected to it. Wired - Receiver, blue Ray player. Wireless - cell phones, laptop, desktop, etc. When I do a speed test on any wireless PC, I get over 70mbs of download speed and 15mbs of upload speed. It may be a little dated now, in terms of specs, but it's been a great performer.
  10. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Overlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    Make sure that you have the latest firmware as your netgear model is known to have several critical security vulnerabilities :
    Google : netgear r6250 vulnerability
  11. little wing Full Audioholic

    little wing
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    there was a firmware update today. I downloaded it. Thank you BoredSysAdmin, I appreciate it.
    Earl
  12. pewternhrata Audioholic

    pewternhrata
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    Router keeps dropping WiFi, with an ecobee & room sensors and a ring doorbell its driving me up the wall. Need something reliable with WiFi, my service is 15mbps so I don't need too much on the speed side, just WiFi reliability.
  13. rojo Audioholic Samurai

    rojo
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    Which brand / model of router do you have? Have you analyzed all the wifi bands in your house to determine whether you're on the least polluted channel? Nearby wifi routers, wireless printers, and other wifi broadcasting devices in your neighborhood could be causing signal pollution, degrading the reliability and usable distance between your router and your wireless clients. This Android app seems to be a pretty good one, if you want to use your phone to determine the least populated channel and switch to it. If you prefer to use a laptop, this Windows app is another good wifi analyzer.

    But yeah, it could also be that your router has buggy firmware. Most do. Trouble is, the life cycle of support for consumer-grade routers is so short that it's not worthwhile for the manufacturers to track down the bugs and fix them. Instead, the recommended fix is to power cycle the router, and repeat until you're no longer eligible for support. If there were no bugs, there would be no need to reboot under any circumstance other than a kernel reload (during a firmware upgrade, for example) -- yet reboot is the first and most often successful advice most techs offer when clients cease connecting to wifi for inexplicable reasons.

    A few months ago I went to my neighborhood waste management facility and saw that someone had thrown away a crap router -- a Belkin N300, if memory serves. I brought it home, flashed it with the most recent firmware from 2012, and gave it to a co-worker who needed a router with the warning that there was probably a reason its previous owner had thrown it away. That router, though, had a feature I had never seen before. I believe it was called "automatic self repair" or something similar. All it was, was just a scheduled reboot -- configured weekly by default, but that frequency could be increased to daily if needed. That feature is both horrible and glorious at the same time. It's like Belkin is openly admitting without a hint of shame, "Yeah, our firmware is buggy, but we automated reboots for you. You're welcome."

    The reason BSA and I recommend Asus AC1900 routers is not only because they employ modern hardware with reasonably fast processing and ample non-volatile RAM, but also that their firmware is more stable out of the box. It was originally forked from Tomato[*], an open-source project. The difference is, when bugs were found in Tomato, the open source community was able to participate in examining the code and assisting Jonathan Zarate in fixing them. Think of it as a peer review on a massive scale. And many of the components of Tomato were in production in Linux environments long before that -- route, busybox, iptables, ntp, and the list is too vast to enumerate. In other words, the beta testing on the open source components of the Asus firmware was completed years ago. On the other hand, makers of other consumer routers using closed source firmware have been advancing the same bugs from model to model, from generation to generation, for years.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2017
    rojo,
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  14. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Overlord

    BoredSysAdmin
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    While a bit expensive and light on features, Google Wifi more than enough overcomes these limits with super easy setup and great working mesh WiFi network.
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  15. Bucknekked Audioholic General

    Bucknekked
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    I have a Ring doorbell. I also took @BoredSysAdmin advice on an Asus router. I used to have issues. After taking some BSA advice on settings and router choice I am wifi trouble free. Whatever he recommends, I can support it.
  16. mtrycrafts Audioholic Slumlord

    mtrycrafts
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    How do you like it? Did they have to rewire the door or an existing doorbell is sufficient?
    Is there an issue with wi-fi distance to the door? Did you get any other cameras from them?
  17. Bucknekked Audioholic General

    Bucknekked
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    I have a courtyard with a big iron security gate that actually faces the street. My doorbell (hardwired and part of the house) is at my front door. When we put up the security gate now we didn't have a doorbell out where people come up to the house. Our solution was the Ring video doorbell.

    You can install it either in place of a hardwired doorbell (it is a lift and replace operation) or install it on a metal frame or a post or anything you want in battery mode. We mounted it in an alcove just outside the security gate in battery mode. No wires at all. Just a simple mount to the wall. Twice a year it will tell us the battery needs recharging and we pop the doorbell on to a USB charger and its good for another 6 months.

    We left our existing doorbell in place and it still works with the hardwired doorchime. The Ring video doorbell comes with wifi chime units that simply plug in to a 115v socket anywhere in your home. It has a distinctive ring (that you can customize) so you know whats ringing. My wife is hearing impaired so we put them all over the house. I think we have 5 or 6 of the chimes installed.

    Wifi distance is no more/less of a problem than any other device. I actually have a sprinkler controller that is further away than the Ring. If you are concerned about wifi signal strength, there are wifi measuring tools you can download off the web on to your phone and you can just walk out to your proposed doorbell location and measure your signal strength before you spend any money or time on it. BSA can point you to some of the wifi signal strength tools. They were of great help to me. I still use my signal strength meter.

    I do have their "stickup cam" which looks almost identical to the video door bell but its just a camera. I also bought the solar panel for it so I never have to touch or recharge that particular unit. It will do "live view" video on demand so you can look around.

    The Ring products are well supported and they work. Two things that are handy. We have had the doorbell for going on two years and its still doing fine.
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  18. mtrycrafts Audioholic Slumlord

    mtrycrafts
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    Excellent, thanks. So the doorbell also has a camera and you can get camera units by themselves. How do you connect it to your wifi? Through the router? Or, each unit has a setup internally?
  19. Bucknekked Audioholic General

    Bucknekked
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    each unit can see wifi networks as a built in feature. You pair each unit with your existing wifi setup. I use an Asus 3100c router and Ring provides a little dance you do to pair things up.

    Depending on how you have security arranged on your router it can be as easy as pie, or, more like making a souffle if your router doesn't like new things.

    They also sell a chime unit that can be used as a wifi extender and mesh network point. I got one for free because I was part of a beta tester group. But I don't use the wifi extender function. I don't need it.
    If you can't cover the house with an Asus 3100c, your house is too big :)
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  20. panteragstk Audioholic Field Marshall

    panteragstk
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    I also like the Asus routers if you want an all in one solution, but I've gone a way from all in one type things just because where I can put my router isn't always the best place for my wifi AP to be.

    I use a Linux router, but if it were me and I didn't want to go the DIY route I'd just get a hardware router like this and get one of their wifi ap and put it wherever you need it. They have mesh products as well that allow a bit more control that the google units BSA pointed out, but I'd only go this route if you need that extra control.

    The google units are highly regarded, and you should be able to connect them to your current network without buying another router. I'd only suggest that if your router has updated firmware and all the security patches.

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