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House router for a hundred bucks

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Hello all,

title says most of it. I need to replace the router in my parents' house. Budget is a $100. I haven't bought network equipment in a looong time. Could you throw in some suggestions within this range. Please only give a model name, I will check availability locally and see if your idea is viable or not for me. What I don't want: - internal antennae. My current one is D-link 850 or so with internal antennae and I paid a fair amount and I am not happy with it. I am not looking for VPN protocol support or some supper special extras. Perhaps if possible higher "penetration" ? I don't know how to define it, may be antennae strength? House is 4 floors, so it would be nice for the signal to reach the top floor as well and also if after market firmware is supported. Currently I am looking at : Asus RT-AC58U AC1300. Thank you in advance.
 
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House is 4 floors, so it would be nice for the signal to reach the top floor
That's a lot of coverage that you're asking from a single router.
 
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This is one that should get the job done if it's available where you are: TP-LINK Archer A9 AC1900 Wireless MU-MIMO Gigabit Router - Newegg.com

We bought the older model/version of it last year and it's been flawless with a strong signal and good range too. I've owned a few TP links and all were good, worked well right up until they just became obsolete with age.
Have to agree though, that's alot of coverage you're asking for and you may need a relay/booster no matter what you get.
Good thing is IF you must it has wired LAN ports too.
 
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Sure, buy TP-Link IF you don't care about security or regular software updates/security patches. I have a couple of their devices as range extenders, but I wouldn't use them as my main router for sure.

The Asus one you picked looks ok to me, it's Qualcomm based, although it's their lower-end (but not low-end) quad core Cortex-A7 chip, but it's also what's used in a lot of the "mesh" routers out there, as it's affordable but performs quite well. Just keep in mind that it only has 128MB of RAM, so if your'e going to connect a lot of devices, it might slow down. Also understand that it's a 2x2 router, so even though it has four antennas, two are for 5GHz and two are for 2.4GHz, hence AC1300. Asus has decent software support and there tends to be third party software support as well.

I would consider AC1750 or AC1900, but it might be hard within your limited budget.

Maybe look at the Netgear R6400? It should be roughly within your budget and the performance is quite good https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/32867-netgear-r6400-wireless-retest

You might want to look at the older Asus RT-AC66U as well (make sure it's the B1 SKU), as it has good range, as seen in the tables in the link above. It's not as good as the Netgear when it comes to 5GHz, but if you want to cover four floor, it might be the better choice. Just be aware that you're going to get very slow speeds at the very ends of the signal.

Any idea what the floors are made of? As if it's concrete and rebar, you're screwed regardless, as you'll barely get more than one floor up and down.

This might be a good place to compare some prices https://geizhals.eu/?cat=wlanrout&sort=p&xf=529_802.11ac~547_1300

Do NOT buy the Asus RT-AC87U as it has poor support and a strange Wi-Fi implementation using an early solution from Quantenna.
 
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That's a lot of coverage that you're asking from a single router.
I know it sound a lot, but I didn't give finer details in the first post. House may be 4 floors, but its tiny. Right now they use a D-link DIR315 for 10 euro I bought years ago and on the attic laptops get one or two bars. If this little guy can do this much, I expect something that costs 10 times more to run circles around it. (I could be totally wrong though).

@Bones Yes, I have access to this one. I was reading reviews about it last night. People are 50/50 about it. Some are really happy and some are really let down. I've had previous models from TP-Link and I was from the unhappy ones. Connection stuttering, no aftermarket firmware. May be I chose a bad model, but I am having second thoughts about TP-Link. And @TheLostSwede is only making them stronger :) Thanks for the support though.

@TheLostSwede that was a very detailed answer. Thank you for the effort. When I get home from work I will check each suggestion one by one. Asus RT-AC66U and the Netgear R6400 has literary the same price here, like literary. It's a bit above what I planned, but I am willing to push it if necessary. Walls are bricks, but platter I think is what you said: concrete and rebar, but perhaps lower quality.
 
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Check Mikrotik products
 
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No sane person would buy Mikrotik people, these are not for consumers, they're for people that have way way way too much time on their hands to set up a router.
Also not easily available in most countries.
Not saying they're bad products, just complex.
 
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No sane person would buy Mikrotik people, these are not for consumers
Have you checked their product linenup for sure? They even have a super dumb router app for android/ios now.
 
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Have you checked their product linenup for sure? They even have a super dumb router app for android/ios now.
Not recently, so maybe things have changed. Apps... Not sure if that makes it easier or harder to set up a router...
 
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Look at their site. They are offering barebones with great customization for your needs and thus you described configuration complexity. But SOHO? It ain't that hard at all. People are using Xiaomi routers lately due their price, you have to use google translate by default from Chinese with chrome to do even something. It doesn't seem like a hurdle.
 
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I know it sound a lot, but I didn't give finer details in the first post. House may be 4 floors, but its tiny. Right now they use a D-link DIR315 for 10 euro I bought years ago and on the attic laptops get one or two bars. If this little guy can do this much, I expect something that costs 10 times more to run circles around it. (I could be totally wrong though).

@Bones Yes, I have access to this one. I was reading reviews about it last night. People are 50/50 about it. Some are really happy and some are really let down. I've had previous models from TP-Link and I was from the unhappy ones. Connection stuttering, no aftermarket firmware. May be I chose a bad model, but I am having second thoughts about TP-Link. And @TheLostSwede is only making them stronger :) Thanks for the support though.

@TheLostSwede that was a very detailed answer. Thank you for the effort. When I get home from work I will check each suggestion one by one. Asus RT-AC66U and the Netgear R6400 has literary the same price here, like literary. It's a bit above what I planned, but I am willing to push it if necessary. Walls are bricks, but platter I think is what you said: concrete and rebar, but perhaps lower quality.
I understand - You can only go by the experience you've had to decide, the ones I've used have been good and that's why I suggested it and never had a security problem (Yet).
Good luck, I do hope you find something that works for you.
 
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I know it sound a lot, but I didn't give finer details in the first post. House may be 4 floors, but its tiny.
The house may be tiny but it's the walls that primarily affect coverage. You can take the crappiest router out in the open and you'd probably be able to connect to it from dozen of meters just fine. If you are fine with lower signal quality and speeds it will be fine I guess.
 

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Umbrella effect you need.

Modems at top work better still but you may consider a mesh network
 
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Netgear NightHawks would be my recommendation... I have used almost every consumer brand of router out there, at many price points, and they have been the easiest to set-up & maintain by far....

Depending on how many devices you need to connect and their ages, at this point in time I would suggest not buying anything less than an AC1300 unit, which are readily available in the US for ~$100 or less, not sure about in your area though....

My current unit is a AC3200 model (2.5x your budget thought) in a 3 story, 2000 sq. ft. house with some walls being brick covered and the main floors are covered with solid Oak hardwood, connecting to 4x Roku boxes, 3 desktop computers, 2 laptops, 5 smart phones, and 2 iPads, neveranottaproblemo getting a very strong & clear signal. And this is in a part of town which is full of student housing/frat houses and tons of other wireless networks operating virtually 24/7...
 

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For a 4 story house, even a small one, I'd recommend go with one of the ASUS models that support their AiMesh. That way, if you find the signal is lacking further away from the main router, you can always add another one as a mesh node later on.

You might look at the RT-AC3100 at the main router, it can usually be found for under $100 in the US. The RT-AC66U B1 also is a decent starter router that's usually under $100. You just have to make sure you get a B1 version, and not the older version. You can tell it is a B1, because the B1 has a USB3.0 port on the front of it.(I believe the RT-AC66U B1 can be flashed with 3rd party firmware to become a AC68U as well, as they are the same hardware wise.)
 
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Best price/performance is TP-Link + Gargoyal firmware which just got a massive update a couple weeks ago.

Otherwise a small effort with extenders works too.
 
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Netgear NightHawks would be my recommendation... I have used almost every consumer brand of router out there, at many price points, and they have been the easiest to set-up & maintain by far....
I mostly use Asus and Netgear routers and I would also recommend the Netgear Nighthawk AC 1750 v3 (avoid the non-broadcomm v2 version)
Right now its just $75 on Amazon. Plug it in, update the firmware and forget it. The router has great range, good 2.4ghz performance and excellent 5ghz performance. I've used two of them within the past two years in separate homes with no issues.
 
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House may be 4 floors, but its tiny.
Tiny suggests the distance between the router and the connected devices may not be too great and that is good. But effective range involves much more than just "line of sight" distances. The number, composition, and contents of barriers (walls, floors and ceilings) play a huge role here. Number is obvious. Composition involves the materials to make the barrier. Concrete walls vs wallboard. Wood studs vs metal. And of course thickness too. Then are the barriers full of wires and/or metal pipes? I'm just saying, tiny does not matter if the signal can't penetrate the barrier without too much attenuation.

BTW, for your current router with internal antennas - sometimes simply rotating the device 90° can make all the difference needed. Or relocating it higher in the building and/or away from other devices that may interfere - like TVs, microwave ovens, or the large metal side of a refrigerator.
 
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@Good3alz the OP lives in Bulgaria, so I doubt a US discount deal is going to do him much good...
 
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@lZKoce - did you fall off the edge of the Earth? A followup post telling us what you ended up doing (and how it worked) would make us all feel we were not spinning our wheels for nothing.
 
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All those suggestions of AC high numbers ignore the fact that 5GHz signals would probably be blocked by the brick walls and the reinforced floors. Useless...
All he can hope is 2.4GHz coverage.

In his case I would really consider drilling holes in some closets and pull CAT5e wire between floors. Use routers as extenders - they need to have 1Gbps ports.
 
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All those suggestions of AC high numbers ignore the fact that 5GHz signals would probably be blocked by the brick walls and the reinforced floors. Useless...
All he can hope is 2.4GHz coverage.
AC numbers refer to speeds. They have nothing to do with coverage/range. Of 2.4GHz or 5GHz. You can, and typically will, get better 2.4GHz coverage/range from a higher AC number router. Because they're just better routers all around. Better coverage/range and faster speeds. I know this from personal experience. You get what you pay for as far as that(pardon the pun).
 
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@lZKoce - did you fall off the edge of the Earth? A followup post telling us what you ended up doing (and how it worked) would make us all feel we were not spinning our wheels for nothing.
Sorry for that, I misinterpreted the end of the thread. I voted for the Netgear one, but haven't pulled the trigger yet, I'm looking for a deal on it. I think it'll be ok with it.
 
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