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Getting a new router: functionality and options?

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Hi, I am trying to decide what router to get. Below i list all the minimum requirements of a modern mid-range router
it will just be used by 2-3 people for for video streaming and moderate gaming

Minimum requirements for modern router
*MU-MIMO or support for 802.11ac Wave 2,
* AC1200 or above
* AES encryption and WPA2
* Dual-band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
* Cores: No lower than a single-core running at 800MHz
- it's minimum requirement to deal with load from a small smart-home.
*Ram: no less tan 128MB. 256MB if money is not an issue
*USB: 3.0
* Can be hooked up with VPN


All i've used a router for is making Wifi, but what else can be smart to have with a router? What else do you use it for? do you hook it up with a external harddrive?
would you recommend getting one with an app for remote control? Anything that is worth considering other than basic good build quality and hardware in todays modern world?
 
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For me personally I'd lool at AX/WiFi 6 routers. Tp-link already announced cheap $150 ones iirc.

MU-MIMO is atm exclusive to AC. And AC is limited to 5 GHz, which has poor penetration through walls.

AC1200 etc. and more are all 2.4 GHz N @ 300 Mbps + 5 GHz AC @ whatever bandwidth. Since AX also works in 2.4 GHz I've seen the specs of AX routers having more than 300 Mbps 2.4 GHz.

Like I said AX works in both bands. While AC works in 5 GHz and N in 2.4 GHz.

Idk why you'd need USB 3.0 on router. Maybe a torrent box or media server alternative?

Even my basic 300N router can do VPN via L2TP. Paid vpn providers and even free vpn like VPNgate offer PPTP or L2TP/IPsec options. I bet even your current router can do vpn.
 
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Netgear R7800 with Voxel's firmware. Get one while you can, as the hardware is rock solid. Never had to reboot it once. The only reason I reboot it, is because there's a new firmware. Been going strong for the past three plus years. It might cost a bit more, but the Qualcomm hardware is so worth it.
The hardware is also more than powerful to use it as a file sharing device on your network. Sorry, but I refuse to call single drive devices a NAS. It has USB 3.0 and eSATA.
I also use it as a VPN server, so I can access my home network when I'm travelling. Obviously it can be a VPN client too, but it's one or the other.
It tends to be well under $200 from time to time on Amazon. https://camelcamelcamel.com/NETGEAR-Nighthawk-Smart-Router-R7800/product/B0192911RA?context=search
I know it's a bit of an old piece of kit now, but it's easily the best 802.11ac router out there and it's not just something I'm making up https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/32958-netgear-r7800-nighthawk-x4s-smart-wifi-gaming-router-reviewed

Don't buy TP-Link if you plan on using their firmware, as they don't offer updates and they have a lot of security issues. It's fine to use their devices as range extenders etc. but not facing the internet directly. I would also steer clear of Intel/Lantiq based routers, they have poor open source support and the performance isn't great.

802.11ax is not something you should be looking at until next generation hardware arrives. All the hardware makers have released solutions that only support 2/3 of the standard and have promised firmware updates with the rest of the features. We know how often that happens with routers in the real world...

If you want to see how the latest and greatest 802.11ax routers perform, have a look here https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/33220-wi-fi-6-performance-roundup-five-routers-tested

AC1200 etc. and more are all 2.4 GHz N @ 300 Mbps + 5 GHz AC @ whatever bandwidth. Since AX also works in 2.4 GHz I've seen the specs of AX routers having more than 300 Mbps 2.4 GHz.
Sorry, but this is plain wrong. 802.11ac can do up to 800Mbps on 2.4GHz. However, you won't find client devices that can do more than 450 or maybe 600Mbps to my knowledge and both are quite rare, unless you own a MacBook.
 
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Hi, I am trying to decide what router to get. Below i list all the minimum requirements of a modern mid-range router
it will just be used by 2-3 people for for video streaming and moderate gaming

Minimum requirements for modern router
*MU-MIMO or support for 802.11ac Wave 2,
* AC1200 or above
* AES encryption and WPA2
* Dual-band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
* Cores: No lower than a single-core running at 800MHz
- it's minimum requirement to deal with load from a small smart-home.
*Ram: no less tan 128MB. 256MB if money is not an issue
*USB: 3.0
* Can be hooked up with VPN


All i've used a router for is making Wifi, but what else can be smart to have with a router? What else do you use it for? do you hook it up with a external harddrive?
would you recommend getting one with an app for remote control? Anything that is worth considering other than basic good build quality and hardware in todays modern world?
how many MU-MIMO client devices do you have? if you have more then two MIMO clients you need a 4x4 router to get MU-MIMO working.
how many overall clients? I assume most are 1x1 or 2x2?
what kind of broadband speeds is your ISP providing?
how large of a space do you have? How many floors? How far away are the clients from the router?
 
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If you can hold off a bit, then the best course of action is to wait for mainstream 802.11ax routers to hit the shelves. New TP-Link archer was announced not too long ago, so it should be in stores soon.
Ideally I'd wait for an upcoming mid-budget ASUS RT-AX66U or an equivalent Netgear device.
 
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Sorry, but this is plain wrong. 802.11ac can do up to 800Mbps on 2.4GHz. However, you won't find client devices that can do more than 450 or maybe 600Mbps to my knowledge and both are quite rare, unless you own a MacBook.
Even worse then that, virtually all mobile 2.4ghz clients us 2x2 antenna meaning you get 300Mbps in 40 MHz bandwidth mode but all routers default to 20 mhz for better reach resulting in 150 Mbps link rate tops. Some Macbooks did offer 2x3 wifi antennas but remeber that is just link rate not necessarily throughput.
 
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Even worse then that, virtually all mobile 2.4ghz clients us 2x2 antenna meaning you get 300Mbps in 40 MHz bandwidth mode but all routers default to 20 mhz for better reach resulting in 150 Mbps link rate tops. Some Macbooks did offer 2x3 wifi antennas but remeber that is just link rate not necessarily throughput.
Actually, if you have a good router, it'll auto switch from 20 to 40MHz when there's a client that needs the extra bandwidth.
The reason for the 20MHz mode is so you don't interfere with your neighbours too much and is done simply because of this.
I think all MacBooks are 3x3 these days, surprisingly and I don't know of any other notebooks that are.
You might be right that at least some more recent MacBook's are only 2x2 though, but it's hard to find a lot of info on it.

You also need to figure out the difference between than and then, they don't mean the same thing ;)
 
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As the Swede said, the netgear nighthawks are and have always been solid routers over the past few years, with a pretty fair amount of features and stability, even if they do cost a tad bit more than other lesser brands. To me it is worth it to get a better product. I currently use the 7800 too, but have had older ones dating back to the original 7000, and neveranottaproblemo with any of them.....

Personally, I would stay away from anything TP link makes, as I have had several of the over the years & had nothing but multiple, serious problems with every single one of them, mainly due to the cheap components they use which cause slow speeds, overheating, dropped connections, and outright failures.... AND their customer service & RMA process totally sux too, so there's that :)
 
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This is great feedback guys!! :D
Okay so just to recap all your golden nuggets.

*Stay away from TP link routers
* In a couple of years I can consider 802.11ax (Called Wi-Fi 6 ) .
- handles lots of connections with lots devices simultaneously.
- However it requires your devices to support Wi-Fi 6 (only modern deviced do)
* Go for Netgear R7800 with Voxel's firmware
- it's the best 802.11ac and solid!
- I can connect

Should I consider getting Smart connect? It looks like Netgear R7800 does not come with it - maybe firmware update can fix it?
it looks like a "smart" technology :)
135927


Dirtyferret: There will be 3 computers running and 1 Xbox one and some cell phone devices.
IPS is just about 120Mbit but i can upgrade to 150 mbit or 200 mbit if nessecery
There is just one floor :)
 

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in all honesty something like the Netgear R6700 v3 (same internals as the R7000) will do the job for you with just a handful of the clients you mentioned being on the same floor.
 
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smart connect just idiot-proofs the selection between the 2 bands, just in case you don't know (or don't know how to find out) the names/SSID's of your networks.....

But the thing is, older/slower devices will only be able to connect at the highest speed which their modems were designed for... so even if you have a really old iPhone or a 6 yr old lappy, aint no way in hell they will even detect a 5ghz signal let alone be able to utilize the higher speeds anyways....

But in case you are wondering, the video says it will made available thru a firmware update, at least to the more recent router models...so no worries there mate :)
 
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in all honesty something like the Netgear R6700 v3 (same internals as the R7000) will do the job for you with just a handful of the clients you mentioned being on the same floor.
Those are Broadcom based though, so not sure how they work in comparison.
There are plenty cheaper routers that would do the job just fine, but it would seem the R7800 has better than average overall reliability, which to me at least, matters the most with a router. On top of that, it has very good signal range.
My only concern is that Netgear seems to have stopped issuing firmware updates for several of their older models, all of which are still for sale, but at least some have third party firmware support, much like some Asus routers which have Merlin https://www.voxel-firmware.com/Downloads/Voxel/html/index.html
More details here about Voxel's firmware https://www.snbforums.com/threads/custom-firmware-build-for-r7800-v-1-0-2-72sf.59894/

This is great feedback guys!! :D
Okay so just to recap all your golden nuggets.

*Stay away from TP link routers
* In a couple of years I can consider 802.11ax (Called Wi-Fi 6 ) .
- handles lots of connections with lots devices simultaneously.
- However it requires your devices to support Wi-Fi 6 (only modern deviced do)
* Go for Netgear R7800 with Voxel's firmware
- it's the best 802.11ac and solid!
- I can connect

Should I consider getting Smart connect? It looks like Netgear R7800 does not come with it - maybe firmware update can fix it?
it looks like a "smart" technology :)
View attachment 135927

Dirtyferret: There will be 3 computers running and 1 Xbox one and some cell phone devices.
IPS is just about 120Mbit but i can upgrade to 150 mbit or 200 mbit if nessecery
There is just one floor :)
No worries, it's there.
Enable Smart Connect - Let the router intelligently select the best 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz WiFi band for your WiFi connections. Smart Connect requires that the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi networks use the same WiFi network name (SSID), security options, and password.
Another nice feature is that you get a free DDNS domain through Netgear via no-ip.

Some stats, since last firmware update, which isn't all that impressive, but I've had it running months on end without a reboot. The 100Mbps connection is my Samsung "smart" TV.
135980


One thing I just realised though, it would seem Netgear, in their infinite wisdom, removed the VPN client option in their firmware at some point.
However, there's a workaround, but not very user friendly https://www.myopenrouter.com/article/how-set-openvpn-client-netgear-r7800-voxels-custom-firmware
As such, it might not be suitable for your needs after all...
Although it looks like there's a UI now, if you install a few additional things from Voxel's site.

You might also want to look at the various Asus models supported by Merlin.
 
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TheLostSwede: Thank you once again!

I found an interesting feature with a firmware called DD-WRT: It can allow you to have 2 networks on one router: One that runs on VPN and one that connects through your ISP (faster speeds). So you can choose to connect to VPN network or ISP network with your wireless device.

This requires DD-WRT Firmware: Which - i heard - could potentially damage the Router if you mess it up.
I would rather get something that works out of the box than something that i could potentially break - I do often google things for learning but i can also mess them up since I would just follow instructions without knowing exactly what I'm doing and why, and I know in coding language one missing comma can mess up the whole script ;)


" With DD-WRT you can have 2 wireless networks broadcasting from your FlashRouter at the same time. One network for any devices to automatically connect through your local ISP, and then a separate FlashRouter VPN wireless network for any devices you want to automatically connect through your VPN service."

It's to bad that R7800 lost the ability for VPN (because it looks like a really good router) with the newer firmware update. Having NORD VPN or PIA would be nice, also if you want a guest network and where guests can log on and you want it to be over VPN.
The website above seems to recommed the below routers (screenshot) but that might just be for affiliate marketing

135982
 
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this is a decent one 1 x 2.4 GHz 2 x 5.0 GHz bands has 6 antennas
Guaranteed to pick up QVC network ........ Also has USB 2.0 & 3.0 jacks so you can add storage on the network
with a external; drive enclosure

About 100-130 US dollar's Linksys EA9200-AC3200
 

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TheLostSwede: Thank you once again!

I found an interesting feature with a firmware called DD-WRT: It can allow you to have 2 networks on one router: One that runs on VPN and one that connects through your ISP (faster speeds). So you can choose to connect to VPN network or ISP network with your wireless device.

This requires DD-WRT Firmware: Which - i heard - could potentially damage the Router if you mess it up.
I would rather get something that works out of the box than something that i could potentially break - I do often google things for learning but i can also mess them up since I would just follow instructions without knowing exactly what I'm doing and why, and I know in coding language one missing comma can mess up the whole script ;)


" With DD-WRT you can have 2 wireless networks broadcasting from your FlashRouter at the same time. One network for any devices to automatically connect through your local ISP, and then a separate FlashRouter VPN wireless network for any devices you want to automatically connect through your VPN service."

It's to bad that R7800 lost the ability for VPN (because it looks like a really good router) with the newer firmware update. Having NORD VPN or PIA would be nice, also if you want a guest network and where guests can log on and you want it to be over VPN.
The website above seems to recommed the below routers (screenshot) but that might just be for affiliate marketing

View attachment 135982
You might want to do a bit more research about DD-WRT, it's quite different from standard router firmwares in terms of use and it might also be a "destructive" way to install it, i.e. you need to crack the router open or you can't go back to the manufacturers firmware if it's not working well.
Broadcom routers tend to be better supported in general when it comes to DD-WRT.
There's also OpenWRT, but it has a far worse UI imho, although it's a few years since I used either.
As pointed out by @CrAsHnBuRnXp above, if you're considering that, you might want to look at the Linksys WRT AC3200, as it's one of the few routers with more or less support for DD-WRT by the manufacturer.
 
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OP you never mentioned what your budget is kinda of important.

And that interesting feature you found is easily done on a Asus router using Merlin firmware with VPN Policy Routing.

I currently have a VPN tunnel up just for my Android Streaming box then the rest of my devices on the network use the WAN tunnel. No need for separate networks which just sounds like a complicated way to achieve the same thing.
 
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Case Hot as an oven
Benchmark Scores -5 ( without chuck norris OC)
Okay I've done some More research: If i choose NordVPN as VPN They recommend ASUS for VPN. NETGEAR requires flashing.
If i want internet speeds up to 120Mbit with VPN enabled they recommend the following

Asus: RT-AC86U, RT-AC88U (AC3100), Asus RT-AC68U (AC1900), RT-AC5300
D-Link (requires flashing with DD-WRT): DIR-885L, DIR-895L
Linksys (requires flashing with DD-WRT): EA8500, EA9500 (no DD-WRT available yet), WRT1900ACS, WRT3200ACM
Netgear (requires flashing with DD-WRT): R7500, R7800, R8500, R9000

Asus RT-AC68U (AC1900) is the most affordable for me of the above 4 Asus routers, so maybe this should be my pick?
 
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The RT-AC68U uses very old hardware and doesn't meet a lot of your other requirements.
It's 2013 hardware, which even for a router is getting quite old.

Maybe look at the RT-AC86U, although it has pretty bad reviews on Amazon. On the other hand, it's only $24 more than the RT-AC68U, has much faster SoC (1.8GHz vs 800MHz), supports DFS (which may or may not be useful for you), plus everything else you want.
 
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Hmm the RT-AC86U reviews on amazon do kind of scare me :O
The RT-AC68U has quite good reviews overall, where do you think it would fall short of my requirements? :) it has
Mi-MIMO 1300 Mbps 802.11ac and Dual Band 2.4 Ghz and 5Ghz?
 
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I only use Asus and Netgear routers. I agree with other posts that a nice inexpensive Wifi 6 router from either one would satisfy your itch.
 

ixi

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Hi, you can check this out. https://mikrotik.com/product/rb4011igs_5hacq2hnd_in

You can make plenty of VPNs if you need.
Create many local networks if needed and decide what they can access and cannot. Chose your local subnets from 10.0.0.0/8, 172.16.0.0/12 till 192.168.0.0/16 range.
Easy to monitor.
Easy to bandwidth-limit your local subnets or specific hosts. And plenty, plenty more options.
 
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I only use Asus and Netgear routers. I agree with other posts that a nice inexpensive Wifi 6 router from either one would satisfy your itch.
Yes but Wifi 6 is not supported by many devices yet.

ixi: looks interesting, thank you for the link :)

Have you guys tryed Flashrouters With Preinstalled Open VPN firmware?


All the Netgear need complicated DD-WRT skills, the Flashrouters have the firmware installed.
Might be a bit more expensive?
 

ixi

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Yes but Wifi 6 is not supported by many devices yet.

ixi: looks interesting, thank you for the link :)

Have you guys tryed Flashrouters With Preinstalled Open VPN firmware?


All the Netgear need complicated DD-WRT skills, the Flashrouters have the firmware installed.
Might be a bit more expensive?
You're welcome. As well I can help you to set it up from zero.
 
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Okay I've done some More research: If i choose NordVPN as VPN They recommend ASUS for VPN. NETGEAR requires flashing.
If i want internet speeds up to 120Mbit with VPN enabled they recommend the following

Asus: RT-AC86U, RT-AC88U (AC3100), Asus RT-AC68U (AC1900), RT-AC5300
D-Link (requires flashing with DD-WRT): DIR-885L, DIR-895L
Linksys (requires flashing with DD-WRT): EA8500, EA9500 (no DD-WRT available yet), WRT1900ACS, WRT3200ACM
Netgear (requires flashing with DD-WRT): R7500, R7800, R8500, R9000

Asus RT-AC68U (AC1900) is the most affordable for me of the above 4 Asus routers, so maybe this should be my pick?
The only Router you have listed there from Asus that Support AES for VPN is the AC86U none of the other models do as they are older.
 
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