Time for a Gigabit router upgrade, any suggestions?

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Texas_Ace
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Time for a Gigabit router upgrade, any suggestions?

I know we have a lot of budget aware tech guys here, so figured it is a good place to ask.

Long story short, I was stuck with 10/100 networking up until around the start of the year. I then found a router for $20 so I upgraded to wireless AC and gigabit.

While it is a massive improvement it has shortcomings. Weak wifi coverage and slow USB port being the biggest ones.

I have an external drive connected to the router as a poor mans NAS, it works ok for a budget of zero but transfer speeds are only ~30-40MB/s. Gets me by until I can afford a proper NAS but not ideal and pretty slow for big transfers and does not like being used for media server duties.

Anyone know of a good budget option for a router?

Used is fine with me as well, what I have works, just not as well as I would like.

Something that can be flashed with custom firmware later for more options would also be nice.

Just figured I would ask around here before jumping into whatever deal I run across again.

nkresho
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I am pretty happy with my WRT1200AC. I upgraded from an old Asus with DDWRT flashed to it (converted the Asus to a target camera system, with an old foscam camera). I wanted 5ghz and it does well with that (down 2 floors to the basement and across the house (about 100’ through a few walls). I don’t use the usb port, but it has complete control of it, if needed.

The nighthawks were tempting, but I grabbed this one for under $150, IIRC. Budget, compared to the rest of the market.

It’s been running nonstop for about three years and has not had a single hiccup. I’ve got a 10 channel switch, a 5 channel switch, a plex media server, 8 channel NVR, and a bunch of other stuff connected. Wifi gives ample signal to get 1080p on 7 rokus.

Not sure if this fits the bill for you, but might be worth a look for what’s available and not bleeding-edge.

Here’s a review: http://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/linksys-wrt1200ac-performance-and-...

They are quoting 80MB/s read speeds and 45.5 writes, they weren’t so happy with the range though.

Texas_Ace
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nkresho wrote:
I am pretty happy with my WRT1200AC. I upgraded from an old Asus with DDWRT flashed to it (converted the Asus to a target camera system, with an old foscam camera). I wanted 5ghz and it does well with that (down 2 floors to the basement and across the house (about 100’ through a few walls). I don’t use the usb port, but it has complete control of it, if needed.

The nighthawks were tempting, but I grabbed this one for under $150, IIRC. Budget, compared to the rest of the market.

It’s been running nonstop for about three years and has not had a single hiccup. I’ve got a 10 channel switch, a 5 channel switch, a plex media server, 8 channel NVR, and a bunch of other stuff connected. Wifi gives ample signal to get 1080p on 7 rokus.

Not sure if this fits the bill for you, but might be worth a look for what’s available and not bleeding-edge.

Here’s a review: http://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/linksys-wrt1200ac-performance-and-...

They are quoting 80MB/s read speeds and 45.5 writes, they weren’t so happy with the range though.

Good suggestion, Linksys has treated me well in the past, if I had to pick I would chose either an ASUS or linksys. Neither has let me down.

Ebay prices on that model are pretty good as well, less then $50 appears to be fairly easy to come by, which was my target budget that I forgot to mention earlier.

If anyone else has suggestions feel free to let me know, I am not in a major rush on this, just looking for some targets to keep an eye out for a good deal on.

Searching ebay for used routers comes up with too many choices to know which ones are good and which ones are not.

mattlward
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TP-Link hands down…. affordable, fast, work well with third party firmware…

EDC rotation:
FW1A, LH351D 4000k (second favorite)
FW3A, LH351D 3500k
FW3A, SST20 FD2 4000k
FW3A, Nichia 4000k sw40 r9080 (favorite light!)
FW3A, Cree XP-L Hi 5A3
Emisar D4V2, SST20 4000k
S2+, XM-L2 T6 4C

Texas_Ace
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mattlward wrote:
TP-Link hands down…. affordable, fast, work well with third party firmware…

Any particular models?

pilotdog68
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Hey! Something I know something about! I recently upgraded my router, and per my norm I bought a whole bunch, evaluated, and then sold the rest.

In the last month I’ve owned
NETGEAR
R6400
R7000
R7900
R8000

Linksys
E8350

Asus
AC-68U

My findings are that Linksys has gone way downhill recently with buggy firmware and very short-lived support.

Netgear supports their products longer but the firmware can also be buggy in some cases.

The Asus firmware is far and away the best. All the stability of something like DD-WRT or OpenWRT, but with a fantastic interface and support.

I did not try any TP-Link. I have had good products from them in the past, but after the Archer C7/C8 they have begun to be less friendly towards 3rd-party firmware.

Right now I’m left with what is shown in the 2nd picture: the R7000 (which has the excellent Asus firmware installed on it and will be sold to a friend), the R8000 (also with Asus firmware, which works well on both), and the Asus Ac68u.

I’m happy with all of their performance, but I would only recommend something with the Asus firmware. It is just so superior to everything else I’ve tried. Both the R7000 and R8000 are decently stable, but little features like the DLNA server just would not work on the stock firmware.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

BlueSwordM
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Hmm in the PC community, we call these kind of routers “demon summoners”.

You can understand why LOL

@TA, I currently have the RT-AC66U from Asus.

In its stock form, it is an excellent router, and can provide Wi-Fi easily in any part of the house, even outside in the garden and even farther.

I got mine for 60$CA, which should translate into 45$US. If you can find it, I can highly recommend it. I’m planning to install DDWRT soon on it.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

mattlward
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I am a TP-link fan because if you open them up…. they produce their own asics, and they are really fast. Gig port to gig port the throughput is amazing and at layer 3 they are very fast. DD-WRT is in dev for the C3150.

EDC rotation:
FW1A, LH351D 4000k (second favorite)
FW3A, LH351D 3500k
FW3A, SST20 FD2 4000k
FW3A, Nichia 4000k sw40 r9080 (favorite light!)
FW3A, Cree XP-L Hi 5A3
Emisar D4V2, SST20 4000k
S2+, XM-L2 T6 4C

pilotdog68
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BlueSwordM wrote:
@TA, I currently have the RT-AC66U from Asus.

In its stock form, it is an excellent router, and can provide Wi-Fi easily in any part of the house, even outside in the garden and even farther.

I also recommend the ac66u given your budget, as Asus tends to hold theur resale value higher than others. I forgot to mention I had one of those for a week too Smile

My only gripe is that it has a single-core processor, so using the usb storage tends to slow down the router. If you don’t use the storage server function, it’s quite good. It also had better range than all but the R8000 in my tests

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

BlueSwordM
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Oh, for storage, I just use a small low power PC using an AMD sempron APU.

Extremely powerful for what it is essentially: a SATA router for housing an transmitting content from 2×3TB routers.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

Texas_Ace
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pilotdog68 wrote:
Hey! Something I know something about! I recently upgraded my router, and per my norm I bought a whole bunch, evaluated, and then sold the rest.

In the last month I’ve owned
NETGEAR
R6400
R7000
R7900
R8000

Linksys
E8350

Asus
AC-68U

My findings are that Linksys has gone way downhill recently with buggy firmware and very short-lived support.

Netgear supports their products longer but the firmware can also be buggy in some cases.

The Asus firmware is far and away the best. All the stability of something like DD-WRT or OpenWRT, but with a fantastic interface and support.

I did not try any TP-Link. I have had good products from them in the past, but after the Archer C7/C8 they have begun to be less friendly towards 3rd-party firmware.

Right now I’m left with what is shown in the 2nd picture: the R7000 (which has the excellent Asus firmware installed on it and will be sold to a friend), the R8000 (also with Asus firmware, which works well on both), and the Asus Ac68u.

I’m happy with all of their performance, but I would only recommend something with the Asus firmware. It is just so superior to everything else I’ve tried. Both the R7000 and R8000 are decently stable, but little features like the DLNA server just would not work on the stock firmware.

Long time no see PD68, course I am not around much lately either.

Good info, so the asus firmware can run on the netgear routers? That is very interesting. I have heard that the asus firmware is much better.

Are all netgear routers flashable with new firmware? Or just the nighthawk series?

The R7000 and AC68U look to be available in my budget with some looking, I will have to look into those.

Texas_Ace
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BlueSwordM wrote:
@TA, I currently have the RT-AC66U from Asus.

In its stock form, it is an excellent router, and can provide Wi-Fi easily in any part of the house, even outside in the garden and even farther.

I got mine for 60$CA, which should translate into 45$US. If you can find it, I can highly recommend it. I’m planning to install DDWRT soon on it.

Looks like an older model of the AC68U that PD mentioned? Any significant differences?

Both can run DDWRT?

BlueSwordM
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Yep.

Here is the list I used when I bought the AC66U to check if it had DDWRT capability:
https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices

Just look for Asus, and you will find it.

And yes, both can run DDWRT.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

Texas_Ace
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mattlward wrote:
I am a TP-link fan because if you open them up…. they produce their own asics, and they are really fast. Gig port to gig port the throughput is amazing and at layer 3 they are very fast. DD-WRT is in dev for the C3150.

Interesting, sadly that model looks to be going for $80+ which is more then I would really like to spend if possible. Although if there are tangible gains for the money I pay for better performance.

pilotdog68
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Asus firmware only works on a few Netgear models; most successfully on the R7000. If you’re fine with installing other firmwares, they can be had for $50. You don’t get 100% of the Asus features though.

The ac68u is the better bet imo. You’ll have to check if they’re compatible if you want DD-WRT, but I don’t have any need for it after using Asus-WRT

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

Texas_Ace
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pilotdog68 wrote:
BlueSwordM wrote:
@TA, I currently have the RT-AC66U from Asus.

In its stock form, it is an excellent router, and can provide Wi-Fi easily in any part of the house, even outside in the garden and even farther.

I also recommend the ac66u given your budget, as Asus tends to hold theur resale value higher than others. I forgot to mention I had one of those for a week too Smile

My only gripe is that it has a single-core processor, so using the usb storage tends to slow down the router. If you don’t use the storage server function, it’s quite good. It also had better range than all but the R8000 in my tests

Hmm, at this point it looks like I will be using the storage server function right now unless I find a NAS for cheap. Although they are hard to find. So I guess trying to find the AC68U might be better.

Or if those netgear models work well and can run the asus firmware (same guts inside?), that might be the way to go.

BlueSwordM wrote:
Oh, for storage, I just use a small low power PC using an AMD sempron APU.

Extremely powerful for what it is essentially: a SATA router for housing an transmitting content from 2×3TB routers.

I considered doing this but the lowest power PC I could build/find in my stable was around 50-60W idle power usage. I would be better off adding more drives to my main system instead of using another one. Which I have considered.

The issue with that is I turn my system off every night and restart at odd times, so I want a drive available 24/7 for certain functions. Right now I have my main media server setup on a drive in my main system.

Although a raid setup in a proper NAS would be superior naturally. The drive on the router is mostly a “swap drive” for swapping things between systems or serving up basic files 24/7. Not a lot of use but it can have large file transfers going through it.

Texas_Ace
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pilotdog68 wrote:
Asus firmware only works on a few Netgear models; most successfully on the R7000. If you’re fine with installing other firmwares, they can be had for $50. You don’t get 100% of the Asus features though.

The ac68u is the better bet imo. You’ll have to check if they’re compatible if you want DD-WRT, but I don’t have any need for it after using Asus-WRT

Yeah, I have no issues installing other firmware. I am almost disappointed in cases where I can’t lol.

Although with routers I am fine with good factory firmware like the asus.

The AC68U and R7000 are about the same price from a quick scan, so might as well go with the Asus it would seem if you say it is better.

Texas_Ace
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BlueSwordM wrote:
Yep.

Here is the list I used when I bought the AC66U to check if it had DDWRT capability:
https://wiki.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Supported_Devices

Just look for Asus, and you will find it.

And yes, both can run DDWRT.

So with all of this in mind the AC68U is looking like a nice sweet spot in price and performance with long term expandability in mind as well.

Anyone know of a better option?

pilotdog68
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If you’re looking at the ac68u/r/p (all basically the same), just be aware the T-mobile version takes extra work to “unlock”. It worked fine for me, but apparently not everyone is so lucky

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

Texas_Ace
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Good info, I was not even aware there was such a thing as a T-mobile version. How do you tell which version is which?

Anything else I should know about them?

pilotdog68
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The Tmobile version says “Tmobile” on it, comes in a pink box, and are about $20 cheaper… So it’s not too difficult. Big Smile

The only thing I don’t like about mine (which I’m using right now) is that you can’t really lay it down or wall-mount it. It’s designed to sit up on a desk/shelf vertically.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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I had a Asus AC66U that was a good router for the money. The hardware finally suffered heat-death after many years. I replaced it with a AC88U and don’t regret it. It was worth the money, and it was a LOT of money.
I have a full signal everywhere. I can even maintain a connection to a Sonoff switch *Through 1 interior wall + 1 exterior BRICK wall, + it’s behind a 12000 gallon swimming pool. And that little Sonoff doesn’t even have an external antenna! This routher just works. Everywhere, everyday.

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This won’t fix the slow USB, but for wifi performance, I turned off wifi on my router (~5 year old Linksys) and ran a Ubiquiti Unifi AC AP LR. I bought it for roughly $100 a couple years back and set it up using POE. Since setting it up I’ve NEVER had to fiddle with it it reboot it. Ubiquiti makes great stuff.

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pilotdog68 wrote:

In the last month I’ve owned
NETGEAR
R6400
R7000
R7900
R8000

Linksys
E8350

Asus
AC-68U

My findings are that Linksys has gone way downhill recently with buggy firmware and very short-lived support.

Netgear supports their products longer but the firmware can also be buggy in some cases.

The Asus firmware is far and away the best. All the stability of something like DD-WRT or OpenWRT, but with a fantastic interface and support.

I did not try any TP-Link. I have had good products from them in the past, but after the Archer C7/C8 they have begun to be less friendly towards 3rd-party firmware.

Right now I’m left with what is shown in the 2nd picture: the R7000 (which has the excellent Asus firmware installed on it and will be sold to a friend), the R8000 (also with Asus firmware, which works well on both), and the Asus Ac68u.

I’m happy with all of their performance, but I would only recommend something with the Asus firmware. It is just so superior to everything else I’ve tried. Both the R7000 and R8000 are decently stable, but little features like the DLNA server just would not work on the stock firmware.


I can confirm all of this, I also tested/used all of them. From listed routers AC68 is the best, and Asus firmware is the best.
I use AC87 at home.
All listed Netgear routers have firmware problems and don’t work really good. For example R6400 doesn’t do port forwarding the way it should, and that just doesn’t work. Only flashing DD-WRT can fix some probems. Netgear support is useless.

I am IT technician so I know about routers Smile

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Sofirn SF36 /// Thorfire VG10S /// Sofirn C8F /// Zanflare F1

Texas_Ace
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pilotdog68 wrote:
The Tmobile version says “Tmobile” on it, comes in a pink box, and are about $20 cheaper… So it’s not too difficult. Big Smile

The only thing I don’t like about mine (which I’m using right now) is that you can’t really lay it down or wall-mount it. It’s designed to sit up on a desk/shelf vertically.

LOL, yeah that sounds simple enough to figure out.

Lucky for me I keep the router in a cabinet so it is as centrally located in the house, vertical is ideal for me anyways.

Texas_Ace
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Joshk wrote:
I had a Asus AC66U that was a good router for the money. The hardware finally suffered heat-death after many years. I replaced it with a AC88U and don’t regret it. It was worth the money, and it was a LOT of money. I have a full signal everywhere. I can even maintain a connection to a Sonoff switch *Through 1 interior wall + 1 exterior BRICK wall, + it’s behind a 12000 gallon swimming pool. And that little Sonoff doesn’t even have an external antenna! This routher just works. Everywhere, everyday.

Do these routers have issues with dying over time since I will be purchasing used? Is this something I need to worry about?

Or was yours in an abnormally hot area?

Texas_Ace
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XXX-Man wrote:
pilotdog68 wrote:

In the last month I’ve owned
NETGEAR
R6400
R7000
R7900
R8000

Linksys
E8350

Asus
AC-68U

My findings are that Linksys has gone way downhill recently with buggy firmware and very short-lived support.

Netgear supports their products longer but the firmware can also be buggy in some cases.

The Asus firmware is far and away the best. All the stability of something like DD-WRT or OpenWRT, but with a fantastic interface and support.

I did not try any TP-Link. I have had good products from them in the past, but after the Archer C7/C8 they have begun to be less friendly towards 3rd-party firmware.

Right now I’m left with what is shown in the 2nd picture: the R7000 (which has the excellent Asus firmware installed on it and will be sold to a friend), the R8000 (also with Asus firmware, which works well on both), and the Asus Ac68u.

I’m happy with all of their performance, but I would only recommend something with the Asus firmware. It is just so superior to everything else I’ve tried. Both the R7000 and R8000 are decently stable, but little features like the DLNA server just would not work on the stock firmware.


I can confirm all of this, I also tested/used all of them. From listed routers AC68 is the best, and Asus firmware is the best.
I use AC87 at home.
All listed Netgear routers have firmware problems and don’t work really good. For example R6400 doesn’t do port forwarding the way it should, and that just doesn’t work. Only flashing DD-WRT can fix some problems. Netgear support is useless.

I am IT technician so I know about routers Smile

The router I have now is a netgear R6250 and I agree, the firmware is not the best, I can’t even allocate an IP address to devices, which is super annoying as anytime a device reconnects it gets a new IP (yes, I know I can setup static IP’s per device but I have had issues doing that in bulk in the past, too hard to remember what IP’s are used).

I have been considering flashing DD-WRT to the one I have but when I looked it up it did not look like an official version was released and people reported issues.

Looks like everyone agrees that the AC68 is the one you hunt for. Exactly what I was wanting, a good model to watch for a deal on.

What would be the best runner up model? Anything better that is worth a little extra money?

pilotdog68
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I can say that the Ac66u doesn’t have very many vents. The 68u is much better in that regard.

My Favorite Modded Lights: X6R, S8 , X2R , M6, SP03

Major Projects:  Illuminated Tailcap, TripleDown/TripleStack Driver

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gchart wrote:
This won’t fix the slow USB, but for wifi performance, I turned off wifi on my router (~5 year old Linksys) and ran a Ubiquiti Unifi AC AP LR. I bought it for roughly $100 a couple years back and set it up using POE. Since setting it up I’ve NEVER had to fiddle with it it reboot it. Ubiquiti makes great stuff.

Wifi performance while important is not nearly as big of a deal for me, I would rather a 5 port router personally as all the important devices are hard wired.

The devices that use wifi generally don’t need a lot of bandwidth (aka, we don’t really steam to mobile devices wireless unless we are fairly close to the router).

The bigger issue are dead spots in the house and dropping the signal ect. these are quite annoying in a few areas.

Texas_Ace
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pilotdog68 wrote:
I can say that the Ac66u doesn’t have very many vents. The 68u is much better in that regard.

Sounds like they learned from a mistake in that case. I like ASUS for that, they do seem to improve things if an issue is found. Thus far ASUS has never let me down and has far exceeded my expectations.

All my ASUS motherboards from 10+ years ago are still going strong, many of them ran every single day for that time and overclocked too boot.

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Location: US

I’ve had an AC68R sitting next to an outside wall since Feb 2014. The temp fluctuates a lot where it is (i’m in TX too) and I have not had any trouble. Easily the most reliable router I have ever owned.

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