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Looking at upgrading to a newer wireless router, need suggestions

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Tech Tweaker

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
So, I've had my current router (a Linksys E3000) for around 4.5 years now. It's been pretty decent, but for the past couple of years it's been having issues. It will overheat and stop allowing connections, or will stop passing packets, or shows it is connected to devices but doesn't allow internet connections from those devices, or in some cases is just really slow to connect to websites and servers. This then requires me to unplug it and let it sit for 5-15 minutes to let it cool down before it will start working again, but then once I let it cool down it's normally fine again once I power it back on.

Normally it does this 3-5 times a month, but sometimes it will do this two to three times a day, which then becomes really annoying if I'm trying to get online for some specific and/or important reason.

Really, I'm looking for suggestions for possible router upgrades as I'm a bit lost in the sea of 1000+ routers that seem to be available on most web stores.

Was looking at the Linksys WRT1200AC, mainly since I liked the reliability and performance of the WRT54G I had up until it died around 6-8 years ago. Prices of routers that appear decent sure have changed, my last WRT router was around $60-80 IIRC, now their lowest end one is $130-170 depending upon where you look.

I've seen some routers over $300, but I don't know if that would really gain me anything over a $100-150 router performance-wise or features-wise (assuming they would be performance or features I would or could actually utilize). I know that one with actually good cooling that wouldn't overheat during normal operations would be nice, as this overheating thing is getting a bit old. Why manufacturers make routers with few or no vents is beyond me, as they get darn hot when in normal operation, and especially so when doing large amounts of downloads or file transfers.

Gigabit network ports are a big point with me, and availability of both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands would be a good thing.

Not sure if this is being posted in the proper section, but hopefully it is.
 

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
This is the router I use. I have been using it for about a year now without a problem. It has been able to stand up to everything my family and I have thrown at it and came back for more. I don't know what features you are looking for in a router so I cannot say if this is the best router for your application but I can say it has served me will.

http://m.newegg.com/Product?ItemNumber=33-122-581
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
What wireless networking capabilities do you have in your home? Are your devices just B/G, N, AC? I generally would recommend getting something with AC if you plan to (or obviously already have) devices that support it. I purchased a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 for about $100 on a sale and have been very happy with it. Many others like the Asus AC87U, and others the Archer C7. Those are 3 highly recommended and well reviewed units that I'm aware of without breaking the bank.
 
OP
Tech Tweaker

Tech Tweaker

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
What wireless networking capabilities do you have in your home? Are your devices just B/G, N, AC? I generally would recommend getting something with AC if you plan to (or obviously already have) devices that support it. I purchased a Netgear Nighthawk R7000 for about $100 on a sale and have been very happy with it. Many others like the Asus AC87U, and others the Archer C7. Those are 3 highly recommended and well reviewed units that I'm aware of without breaking the bank.

Well, I've got one cell phone that supports 802.11ac and at least four other devices that support 802.11n (cell phone, couple of laptops, and a tablet). Plus a couple other devices that I think are 802.11g, though they're less important as I use them less often.

This is the router I use. I have been using it for about a year now without a problem. It has been able to stand up to everything my family and I have thrown at it and came back for more. I don't know what features you are looking for in a router so I cannot say if this is the best router for your application but I can say it has served me will.

http://m.newegg.com/Product?ItemNumber=33-122-581

I'm not looking for much as far as features really. Just something that can have connectivity on 2.4 and 5GHz bands simultaneously, not overheat preferably, has gigabit network ports, WPA2 security (at minimum, as WEP and WPA aren't that secure anymore), and a SPI firewall (which most probably have by default by now).
 

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
I'm not really sure on the firewall but the router I linked above meets the rest of the requirements. I have run 3 phones, a Xbox, a smart tv, 2 laptops, and a tablet simultaneously on both wireless bands as well as a wired computer and my home server without any issue. The router I linked is the same nighthawk router that janus mentioned above. I picked mine up on sale as well for around $130. When I get a chance I will look in my setup and see what the fire wall is.
 
OP
Tech Tweaker

Tech Tweaker

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
I'm not really sure on the firewall but the router I linked above meets the rest of the requirements. I have run 3 phones, a Xbox, a smart tv, 2 laptops, and a tablet simultaneously on both wireless bands as well as a wired computer and my home server without any issue. The router I linked is the same nighthawk router that janus mentioned above. I picked mine up on sale as well for around $130. When I get a chance I will look in my setup and see what the fire wall is.

I just looked it up at the manufacturer website. It's got two firewalls. The DoS attack prevention is also a nice feature, never really thought about a consumer grade router doing that.

Double firewall protection (SPI and NAT)
Denial-of-service (DoS) attack prevention
 

Lochekey

Senior Pink Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
Just looked into my settings a little and the firewall is there but it really does not have any settings that you can adjust. If you use 3rd party firmware though you should have more control.
 
OP
Tech Tweaker

Tech Tweaker

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
A question though, why have decent-to-good wireless routers gotten so expensive? I remember you used to be able to get good one's for $50-80, but now good one's seem to be $150+ when not on sale.

Did companies just start really cheaping out on the components and design of lower models at some point?
 
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Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
I think that depends on what you consider to be expensive. I believe I paid about $80 for my WRT54GL way back in the day, and replaced that with an Asus N66U for about $125 and then replaced that with the Netgear one that I have now. That's over 10 years of difference between the two. There's still plenty of routers that you can buy for under $100, it literally just depends on the features that you are looking for (and will take advantage of) that are available in the 50+,100+,150+,200+,300+, etc ranges. And you don't always necessarily get what you pay for, but the next step I'll take when it comes to replace my router will be to switch to a Unifi setup with a few APs around my house.
 
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petteyg359

Likes Popcorn
Joined
Jul 31, 2004
Get a WNDR3700 (under $80 currently) and put OpenWRT on it. The current hardware has 128MB Flash on it, so besides the firmware itself, you can install lots of other packages (Bittorrent client, uPNP server, OpenVPN, etc.). You won't get 802.11ac, but will your phone actually even use that kind of bandwidth?

If you decide you need 802.11ac, I don't know of any OpenWRT-supported hardware at all, so you'll be stuck with whatever firmware bugs the vendor gives you.
 

Mpegger

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2001
This is the current WiFi access point that's been getting rave reviews, though little attention in the general public:

https://www.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-ap-ac-lite/

It can be purchased for less then $100 shipped easily (NewEgg has it for about $84 with free shipping option http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0ED-0005-000V6)
It comes with a POE injector in the box, so all you would need is the network cable to place it where you want it. It'll require either a software install on your PC, Android, or Apple device to set it up, but once that's done, you won't need it for anything else. If you deploy more then 1 in your network, they can all easily be setup from the same central software, no need to remember what login information pertains to which unit.

This of course would mean you would still need a router, but this leaves your options on what router to get much more wallet friendly, as you could go with the cheapest unit sans WiFi on sale at NewEgg or Microcenter for $30 or less.
 

Janus67

Benching Team Leader
Joined
May 29, 2005
Get a WNDR3700 (under $80 currently) and put OpenWRT on it. The current hardware has 128MB Flash on it, so besides the firmware itself, you can install lots of other packages (Bittorrent client, uPNP server, OpenVPN, etc.). You won't get 802.11ac, but will your phone actually even use that kind of bandwidth?

If you decide you need 802.11ac, I don't know of any OpenWRT-supported hardware at all, so you'll be stuck with whatever firmware bugs the vendor gives you.

There are plenty of AC routers that offer DD-WRT firmware (the R7000 Nighthawk that I own being one of them).

This is the current WiFi access point that's been getting rave reviews, though little attention in the general public:

https://www.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-ap-ac-lite/

It can be purchased for less then $100 shipped easily (NewEgg has it for about $84 with free shipping option http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0ED-0005-000V6)
It comes with a POE injector in the box, so all you would need is the network cable to place it where you want it. It'll require either a software install on your PC, Android, or Apple device to set it up, but once that's done, you won't need it for anything else. If you deploy more then 1 in your network, they can all easily be setup from the same central software, no need to remember what login information pertains to which unit.

This of course would mean you would still need a router, but this leaves your options on what router to get much more wallet friendly, as you could go with the cheapest unit sans WiFi on sale at NewEgg or Microcenter for $30 or less.

Yep that's the AP that I was speaking of in my post (Unifi)
 
OP
Tech Tweaker

Tech Tweaker

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
After further research I believe I can eliminate the Linksys WRT1200AC from my list of possible upgrades, as from reading several reviews I've found that it's performance is just sort-of okay (and in the cases of some reviews nowhere near its rated speeds). Appears as though it doesn't quite live up to the WRT model line name when it comes to speed.

The TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 seems like it's positioned at the upper-end of the low-range to low-end of mid-range, as far as performance. Seems to do okay at 2.4GHz band transfer speeds in reviews I've read, but is grossly outperformed at the 5GHz band, with several routers putting out double (or more) the throughput performance. But multiple routers that double its performance only cost roughly a third more, though some of the ones that outperformed it in these tests did cost more than double its price (~$90 at present), and some are around the same price ($90). It's performance for it's price seems to be just barely okay. I'm not really sure about the product, or the company for that matter as I've never used any of their products, nor known any friends or relatives that have.