Recommendations for a new main router - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-08, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Recommendations for a new main router

I currently have the HITRON CGN3ACR (recently swapped in from a flaky CGN3). Its in gateway mode and supplies my mainly wired home network.

(The wfi-fi is a bonus - I don't really use the wifi that much in the room the modem/router needs to be in. I do have other wireless access points in the house for wi-fi.)

My question is this - suppose I want a much more solid/reliable/flexible unit as my main DCHP router, ie suppose I want to put the Hitron in bridge mode and go out a buy a suitable DD-WRT compliant router. What should I be looking at (or avoiding). I generally like ASUS, D-Link and Netgear- hit and miss in the past -

Main goal here is consistency, reliability, performance, and keeping the door open in future to set up that new router as VPN router.

Currently checking out ASUS RT AC68U.

Last edited by Mediaman09; 2015-08-08 at 03:25 PM.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-08, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Spent the fair part of the day reading various reviews and forums. It's quite discouraging actually. So many issues reported with dropouts, speed, freezing, random reboots etc , both with manufacturer firmware and dd-wrt flashed firmware. Some addressed, some not.

I suppose most would be more stable with all the wi-fi off, which would be fine by me.

Leads to to ask this : does any one make a rock solid WIRED router these days?
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-08, 09:04 PM
 
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I'm pretty happy with my Asus routers. I use the RT-N56U as just a wired router now, and the AC66R as the wireless box on the 2nd floor.

I can't remember the last time I had an issue on the wired side. it's been happily spinning for must be 2 years now
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 01:25 AM
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@Mediaman09 I wouldn't even consider the DD-WRT reviews. DD-WRT is often beta-quality and feature-incomplete, and leads to bricked routers for a number of people. I looked into it a few years ago; the DD-WRT firmware for my router (E3200) would completely disable the 5 GHz antenna.

As far as routers go, I've never had any problems with wired interfaces, as long as (1) you have Fast Ethernet or better and you're set to "Auto", (2) you've got the latest mfr f/w, and (3) your settings are correct or you know what you're doing. Depending on your ISP, you may need to reset your modem after initial router setup.

So, if you know what you're doing, you should never have wired issues. If you go with the cheapest router from Walmart, maybe you might.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 04:10 AM
 
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I've got this one: Buffalo Americas, Inc. Online Store - AirStation? HighPower N600 Gigabit Simultaneous Dual Band DD-WRT Wireless Router

Factory loaded DD-WRT. Haven't had any problems in over a year of use. I do rarely use WiFi, however. I'm wired wherever I can be.

Being DD-WRT it's slightly more technical than a consumer friendly router, but not difficult to figure out.
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 07:29 AM
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Recommendations for a new main router

The RT-N56U is not a bad choice as an wired internet router. The wireless on it is not great but, as a wired router, it delivers very good bang for the buck compared to more recent AC routers. Just be sure to turn the WiFi off.

The ASUS RT AC68U is a very good wireless router but it's way overpriced if the WiFi is not being used. As an access point, it's a very good option due to its enhanced WiFi throughput compared to N routers. Maybe a router currently being used as an access point would be suitable for use as the wired router and the ASUS RT AC68U could replace it.
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Guys- thanks a heap for the feedback. Certainly getting closer.

Re Firmware:

Quote:
Originally Posted by tux View Post
@Mediaman09 I wouldn't even consider the DD-WRT reviews. DD-WRT is often beta-quality and feature-incomplete, and leads to bricked routers for a number of people. I looked into it a few years ago; the DD-WRT firmware for my router (E3200) would completely disable the 5 GHz antenna.
Understood. Its much easier to avoid it. The only reason I was considering it (or equivalent) is that when I checked out the various VPN services, many seem to have instructions only for dd-wrt on the router. Same when doing some light research on how to set up a VPN router. For example, here is an example, updated April 2015 titled "How to Install VPN (Client) on Your Router" ... which coincidentally notes that "The router we will be using here is Asus RT-AC68R/U which is hands down one of the best (VPN) routers on the market ...... and the very first point in the process is "Before we start the actual process of setting up the VPN, we’ll first replace the RT-AC68R’s built-in firmware: “Asuswrt” with “Asuswrt-Merlin”, a custom build firmware with various improvements, bug fixes and advanced VPN functions. To download the latest Asuswrt-Merlin firmware, click here. " But others trash Merlin. So its really a confusing choice stay with stock or flash to a modified firmware. To your point, before I buy any router, I would contact the VPN service I am using ( currently ibVPN Best VPN & SmartDNS for Unblocking Restricted Websites) and see if they support VPN on that router, and if the firmware needs to be flashed.



Re RT-N56U with radios off:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tikker View Post
I'm pretty happy with my Asus routers. I use the RT-N56U as just a wired router now... I can't remember the last time I had an issue on the wired side. it's been happily spinning for must be 2 years now
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExDilbert View Post
The RT-N56U is not a bad choice as an wired internet router. ....as a wired router, it delivers very good bang for the buck compared to more recent AC routers.
I will check it out. Almost half the price of an AC68U. Only rub point here might be if its missing some feature that would be helpful/required for a VPN setup.



Re RT-AC68U as wired router, or swap with existing access point:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExDilbert View Post
The ASUS RT AC68U is a very good wireless router but it's way overpriced if the WiFi is not being used. As an access point, it's a very good option due to its enhanced WiFi throughput compared to N routers. Maybe a router currently being used as an access point would be suitable for use as the wired router and the ASUS RT AC68U could replace it.
Well, that an interesting one that I had pondered about. I do happen to have a Netgear R7000 Nighthawk as my current main access point. I could use that as my main DCHP/VPN router and the AC68U as the access point. Those are pretty much in the same class, so the Nighthawk with all radios off may be overkill as well, but again just looking for stability. The advantage here is that if I purchase the AC68U, I keep my options wide open as to which router is best delegated as the DCHP/VPN router and which best delegated as an access point.

Next steps- I think what will tip the scales is whatever suggestions the VPN service provider comes back with. I put it a support ticket to ibVPN to ask about suitability of each router for VPN, and whether or not dd-wrt is totally optional, or highly recommended for use with their service. Granted I could always switch VPN services if I really dont like their reply, but I would like to hear what they say.

Nighthawk as the router and Asus as the access point is sounding very good so far.
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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 02:42 PM
 
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Have you considered a prebuilt pfsense device? They cost more, but they are step above consumer routers. https://www.pfsense.org/products/
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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Heard back from ibVPN. They didn't really add much to the discussion, other than to say:-
-they haven't tested those specific routers
-"if" the routers are on ddwrt's supported router page (only ASUS is), they have tutorials posted to set up their ibVPN service on dd-wrt firmware, for OpenVPN, PPTP, etc

Again, always the reference to flashed firmware.

When I do get a new router, I have every intention of sticking with stock firmware, setting up DCHP, VPN, DNS redirection, etc, and only resort to alternative firmware if what I have ends up really troublesome, ie, lost connections, random reboots, restrictive, buggy. etc. But I don't expect I should have problems with wifi off.
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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 03:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mediaman09 View Post


Re RT-N56U with radios off:




I will check it out. Almost half the price of an AC68U. Only rub point here might be if its missing some feature that would be helpful/required for a VPN setup.
no, it will not be missing something
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 04:28 PM
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I use a D-Linink DIR-827 and a wired router. It works well enough as a wired router, one of the best at time of purchase, and it was cheaper than the competition at the time. The DIR-827's wireless is mediocre but I knew it wouldn't be used. These days I would probably swap in my RT-N66U access point and replace it with a RT-AC68U or Netgear R7000 Nighthawk.

The Netgear R7000 Nighthawk has a top notch WiFi section so I wouldn't replace it as an access point. (It ranks the same or higher than the RT-AC68U.) In this case, I would look for a main router that ranks high on both the simultaneous throughput and maximum simultaneous connections charts. In my case, that would be the TP-LINK AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (Archer C5) priced at a mere US$69. If you have money to burn, the router of choice would be the slightly higher rated NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi Router (R7500) at US$206. Coming up the middle at US$138 is the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router (R7000) but it doesn't do as well as the other two. I totally ignored wireless rankings for these choices.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Many thanks for the suggestions. Lots of interesting choices.

The other thing I need to watch for is to ensure the router I ultimately use has a “static routing” feature ( to address the Netflix-on-Roku workaround), as well as VPN capability.

Yet another choice is this >> I have an old DIR-655 - which back in the day was my DCHP router ; its now being used as an access point in the basement. I had earlier issues with it when I had the Cisco 3825 cable modem, but thats long gone. I guess the DIR-655 is the running as well even it its a temporary measure. It has the static routing, gigabit ports, some VPN capability, It not dd-rt approved, so no path there, but as discussed it may not be needed or desired anyway. The DIR-655 may be an interesting option to play with for a bit, and get to me bridge mode sooner .. until I find a more permanent solution.
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-09, 06:05 PM
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I've had great performance from the Asus RT-N66U using the Merlin build of DD-WRT. I give any of that Asus line a +1.
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-10, 07:26 AM
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If the VPN is to be run on the router, that limits the choices. I would be looking for a router that also has a very stable DD-WRT implementation or a full VPN implementation. There are good reasons not to run the VPN on the main router. In order to provide maximum flexibility, I would put the VPN on an access point.
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 2015-08-10, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExDilbert View Post
.... There are good reasons not to run the VPN on the main router. In order to provide maximum flexibility, I would put the VPN on an access point.
Can you elaborate on that point?

I wanted to have the VPN on the router so that all my wired desktops (and wireless devices) could benefit from it. Currently I need to run it on a per-device basis -doable but not as convenient.

I may be missing something here, but if I installed VPN on an access point, instead of the router, how would my wired devices use VPN?
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