• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Can today's wireless routers run on stock firmware to our standards?

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.


Apr 29, 2010
Central FL
My trusty ASUS RT-N16 is starting to show it's age so I've been shopping around for a replacement but can't quite figure out which one to use. I've always used DD-WRT on my Linksys routers and currently run Tomato on the RT-N16 but from reading over the DD-WRT forums and various internet searches the support from both is spotty. It is all in the works but not what I would call finalized. DD-WRT has support for the newer ASUS and Linksys but it seems to break some things while fixing or adding others and needs constant updates. There also seems to be a better chance of bricking than there used to be. Tomato for the most part is not supported except for a couple people working the old builds for use on the newer generation of routers. Add all that to the fact that I just don't have the time to tinker that I used to, I would rather run something out of the box if possible. I don't really use most of the extras Tomato or DD-WRT add to the router, I mainly use their firmware for the reliability factor they bring so giving up features is ok. Does anyone use a newer AC router with stock firmware that can attest to the reliability of it? For example this RT-N16 has run problem free with almost no reboots for years up until recently. Can the new wireless routers do the same?

I realize "our standards" are dependent on each person's needs but I assume for the most part we all have the basic needs (reliability, security, etc) then look for the extras so I am looking for personal opinions here. Thanks!
Last edited:
As a former network engineer (4 years, had a CCNA and CCNA-Voice), I am pretty happy with the stock firmware in my Asus RT-N66r. Has some odd issues... Randomly needs to be rebooted cause the wifi just chokes. But it has openVPN built in, and tons of other options. Been very happy with it overall.
Personally I use a Netgear N7000 Nighthawk on stock firmware that's been running solid for months. Before I moved I was using a refurbed D-Link DIR-868L that ran stock firmware and was like a rock as well. Ran for a year straight, only rebooted once when I knocked the wall wart out of the plug.

On the flip side, I ordered my parents a D-Link DIR-859 as they wanted something other than the basic router that came from their ISP. Stock F/W. Now my dad said he can maintain a good connection to the router but "will occasionally lose internet access until he reboots the modem". I'm not sure if he's mixing it up and means the router, or if he really means the modem and it is still somehow a router issue. But this is once every 2-3 months, if that.

The only time I considered putting 3rd party firmware on an AC router was on a couple of TP-Link Archer C9s. Before getting the D-Link my dad got a few C9s to try to cover the house (single story ranch) and a detached garage. He heard they were easy to set up in bridge mode, so he could use one as the main router and the other two as extenders.

Well, they weren't. Devices were only able to get web access through one router at a time, and exactly which router cycled seemingly randomly. Add in the main router needed to be rebooted daily and constant calls to CS, and it didn't take long before my dad was asking for me to pick him out a new one.
Good info thanks. The nighthawk is one of my top picks so far. It also has some of the more active dd-wrt builds so far in case I get the itch to tinker again.
I finally convinced myself to buy a Linksys WRT 3200ACM and got it up and running this weekend. So far so good *knocks on wood*. A bit more than I wanted to spend but the reviews were mostly positive and Lynksys has served me well over the years so I went with it again. It also has pretty decent DD-WRT support but the builds are hit and miss as BS and Kong work on them so I'm not going to install that right now. It seems like a viable option down the road if I feel the need though. The Linksys app is nice so I can manage and monitor it from offsite and the stock firmware is pretty simple to navigate with good information. Quite a bit larger that my old ASUS but I guess all modern routers are getting big like this.
Hope it works out well. And yes, I was surprised at the size of the R7000 too, but chalking it up as one of the reasons it runs cooler. I'd rather have a large router over a small router where they crammed everything in, causing it to overheat and need to be power cycled...
I've been running a TP-link archer C5 for about 2 years or so now. I literally have never had to reset it, and it has never not delivered the bandwidth promised. It's paired with a motorola sb-6141 and a 150 mb/sec connection.
I used to do dd-wrt on my older setups, but TP-link just has its act together.

does it have phone jack? & are the external antennas on this are fixed ones or they are replaceable?
Another vote for the R7000 Nighthawk. Ran stock firmware for a year, switched over to Merlin firmware for a month or so. Now I am back running the stock firmware. Only negative I have found is the parental controls are not great, other than that ROCK SOlID. Moved from a Linksys E4200 and couldn't be happier!
Just put merlin on my rt-n66u I've had for over a year and switched my whole network over to a vpn. Works great for a newbie and easy to setup.
Just put merlin on my rt-n66u I've had for over a year and switched my whole network over to a vpn. Works great for a newbie and easy to setup.
Got a question for you, I have an N66R (same model, just sold via retailers). Do you have any issues with the wifi crapping out? Also, do you run an open on server? Last time I ran Merlin I had issues getting the certs and VPN server playing nice.
Be warned that the base model of that TP Link is only a 10/100 port. To have a max 100 mbps connection port on a route rated for 1200 mbps is complete garbage. That by itself makes me never want to buy any TP Link product since that's so very clearly garbage marketing and false advertising.
One thing here is we don't realize what kind of switch you are utilizing, consequently we don't have a clue about the specs. You should have a switch that is fit for taking care of the accessible transfer speed. On the off chance that your switch is just ready to oversee 2 mbps, it must be extremely old or not working effectively
Last edited by a moderator:
I've been running a TP-Link C9 for about three years and love it. It's a great value IMO. The original firmware was buggy but the current update they have out seems rock solid.
Another Nighthawk 7000 upgrade here with no issues whatsoever. It replaced a very old Linksys that was dropping connections / email too often. I'm sure there are others just as good but the Nighthawk was recommended. The difference is 'night and day.'
No. Stock firmware will always be riddled with security holes, especially as it the device ages and the vendor provides no updates for vulnerable components (see the relatively recent wpad security problems), especially for the ones that AREN'T based on open source and don't get their vulnerabilities publicized. Buy something that is supported by OpenWRT/LEDE so you can get timely updates when the inevitable security bugs are found.

If you're asking what to buy, I'd suggest a WRT1900ACS or one of the WRT32 models. They have lots of RAM, plenty of Flash space for extra packages, work great with OpenWRT, and, best of all, they look like Wi-Fi routers instead of alien space destroyers :p
Last edited: