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Older Routers, what do you do with!

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Hi All,

I apologize if this the wrong place to post this, but with the ongoing rapid tech advances in routers tech (Speed, coverage, features and software) what do you do with your old routers? is there any manufacturer you recommend that does a step-up or trade-in for their products for a newer one? do you just sell the older router online? how often do you update your router? do you prefer to have your own router of the ISP provided ones? thank you!

Note: I have Linksys WRT1900WCS router and just had an ugly cold conversation with their rep; I thought there was a trade-in program and he rudely said no as If I was begging for change or something :) shame on you Linksys!
 
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Just recycle them at your closest spot. Advances in router tech are freaking slow actually. The only thing that advances is price tough... you got me there.

Who needs a piece of communication tech that is insecure, often closed source and barely working?

Pick your poison.

Ubiquiti
Mikrotik

any HW that is open you compile and flash OpenWRT or Merilin and customize to your needs including X86 based soft routers.
 
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Just recycle them at your closest spot. Advances in router tech are freaking slow actually. The only thing that advances is price tough... you got me there.

Who needs a piece of communication tech that is insecure, often closed source and barely working?

Pick your poison.

Ubiquiti
Mikrotik

any HW that is open you compile and flash OpenWRT or Merilin and customize to your needs including X86 based soft routers.

YES! Iwas checking Wi-Fi7 router prices and DAMN! they are so hefty in prices! but how or what do you mean by recycling them at the closest spot?

My friend installed for me a 3rd party OS on my router - WRT - but it was WAY beyond my experties to configure well, some VPNs stopped working upon doing so, the router is now collecting dust and I thought of flashing back the OG Rom on it from Linksys and put it for sale, but it won't bring in too much?I am lost what to do! and my ISP gave me a router that's Wifi 6 but I don't trust it at all, speeds are terribly slow.
 
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but how or what do you mean by recycling them at the closest spot?

You cannot throw electronics in your closest bin. There are specialized points where electronics waste is accepted. But the seller has to grant this possibility also. You can bring it to the place you bought it and they have to accept it. In some countries recycling fee is included in the selling price already, you have paid for it already.

Wifi7? Aren't you going ahead of you? Even Wifi6E isn't established. We are living few decades on gigabit switches.... Basically all SoC solutions got stuck too long on pcie2 and 3... with no pcie4. Thus it denied any possibilities to create cheap high speed devices as a definition. We have press releases of some upcoming solutions for years, with no real products made yet. Wifi7 routers with one or two 2.5GbE and cost over 500€... manufacturers can choke on them, those are more like a lame joke.

If you are in the market for VPN, that's a different thing. Don't do things with devices that are not meant for it. If you need security gateway with great crypto capabilities it definitely will suck at doing other tasks, jack of all trades that's good for nothing. You have to dig about it, learn what crypto VPN service does and what your HW does best.

OpenWRT is easy enough.... you will need to tinker with Dude and Mikrotiks routerOS. But is pretty much set it once and forget. Merilin may be the most user friendly. If you are into it, you have to learn, if not pay up and use the pedestrian half baked solutions.

ISP routers are varying a lot. Some of them are good... some bad, most of them are bad. They are meant to provide basic services and ability to browse kitten videos on Youtube, not making VPN tunnels and mesh networking, filtering, bufferbloat etc etc. So they are crap, yes, bet they cost also nothing.
 
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You cannot throw electronics in your closest bin. There are specialized points where electronics waste is accepted. But the seller has to grant this possibility also. You can bring it to the place you bought it and they have to accept it. In some countries recycling fee is included in the selling price already, you have paid for it already.

Wifi7? Aren't you going ahead of you? Even Wifi6E isn't established. We are living few decades on gigabit switches.... Basically all SoC solutions got stuck too long on pcie2 and 3... with no pcie4. Thus it denied any possibilities to create cheap high speed devices as a definition. We have press releases of some upcoming solutions for years, with no real products made yet. Wifi7 routers with one or two 2.5GbE and cost over 500€... manufacturers can choke on them, those are more like a lame joke.

If you are in the market for VPN, that's a different thing. Don't do things with devices that are not meant for it. If you need security gateway with great crypto capabilities it definitely will suck at doing other tasks, jack of all trades that's good for nothing. You have to dig about it, learn what crypto VPN service does and what your HW does best.

OpenWRT is easy enough.... you will need to tinker with Dude and Mikrotiks routerOS. But is pretty much set it once and forget. Merilin may be the most user friendly. If you are into it, you have to learn, if not pay up and use the pedestrian half baked solutions.

ISP routers are varying a lot. Some of them are good... some bad, most of them are bad. They are meant to provide basic services and ability to browse kitten videos on Youtube, not making VPN tunnels and mesh networking, filtering, bufferbloat etc etc. So they are crap, yes, bet they cost also nothing.

I see... do you think OpenWRT is like, making full use of the router hardware, unlike the OG one that comes installed?

I have no idea about my current ISP router model, it's without any visible antennas and funny part, it's not covering my room inside - 9 meters deep - but it's covering the signal till the end of the building opposite side of the room - more than 95 meters away!
 

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Sell. If too old, scrap.
 

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An interesting idea I came across lately is using a router as dedicated hardware for Oculus VR headsets to use Airlink (ie. no physical cable required). Some people did say it works equally well as a cable.

Even if I pull the trigger on a Quest 2 in the next little bit I probably still wouldn't use Airlink due to my spare router being prehistoric, but it's an idea at least.

If you have 2 Asus routers then it makes sense to generally keep the old one for AiMesh even if it's old, but you don't so unfortunately not an option.
 
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My old routers usually become old ones for a reason and thus, I use them as decorations or prank fuel. Made a Mercedes-Benz logo off the last one 'cause plastic was surprisingly easy to work with and attached this logo to a laptop which ultimately was gifted to one of my m80s.
 
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I see... do you think OpenWRT is like, making full use of the router hardware, unlike the OG one that comes installed?

I have no idea about my current ISP router model, it's without any visible antennas and funny part, it's not covering my room inside - 9 meters deep - but it's covering the signal till the end of the building opposite side of the room - more than 95 meters away!

Have you ever looked how high gain dipole antenas shape their signal? You need to read up a bit and understand how things operate and are designed. Thus you will know how to place it and direct antennas etc.

OpenWRT ain't the holy grail for anything, it works, sometimes good, sometimes also buggy, depending on the source... I find it good as it offers transparency and tools I need and it is updated often and safe, often not the target audience for mass attacks. You have to indulge yourself more to understand what's what. I am very familiar with linux so all the openWRT shenanigans are not a issue for me.
 

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usually they make good range extenders.
 
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Have you ever looked how high gain dipole antenas shape their signal? You need to read up a bit and understand how things operate and are designed. Thus you will know how to place it and direct antennas etc.

OpenWRT ain't the holy grail for anything, it works, sometimes good, sometimes also buggy, depending on the source... I find it good as it offers transparency and tools I need and it is updated often and safe, often not the target audience for mass attacks. You have to indulge yourself more to understand what's what. I am very familiar with linux so all the openWRT shenanigans are not a issue for me.
I am so busy at work recently - doing automation and so - but that sounds so interesting! I wouldn't tinker a lot round it and reading about routers once led me to 5 digits costing ones or some people building a mini pc to act as a super router! even with mega extenders and so - this was like 14 years ago maybe! - but thank you so much for your inputs! I am doing shell scripting from time to time but into kerenal dev and so :) still you got me interested to check such solutions you mentioned.
 
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(Question numbers added to keep this under-caffeinated mind straight)
(1) what do you do with your old routers? (2) is there any manufacturer you recommend that does a step-up or trade-in for their products for a newer one? (3) do you just sell the older router online? (4) how often do you update your router? (5) do you prefer to have your own router of the ISP provided ones? (6) thank you!
That's a lot of questions - but they are all good ones.

1. I keep my most recent old router as a test spare. This way, if I suspect my current router is causing problems, I can swap in the test spare and see if the problem clears, or stays. (However - see my response to #3 for another alternative)

2. Except for some VERY EXPENSIVE (as in $1000s) enterprise/corporate level routers, I have never heard of a SOHO (small office/home office) level router maker who offers such upgrades. They could but the problem, I believe, is aesthetics. Upgrading all the components inside an old style router case makes perfect "technical" sense. But it would still "look" like an old, outdated style router. And we sure can't have that! :rolleyes: :kookoo:

3. No. As noted in #1, I keep the most recent old model as a spare. Like @Ferrum Master, I always take my old, obsolete electronics to an electronics recycling center for proper, environmentally safe recycling/disposal. The one near me ensures all hazardous (to the environment) materials stay out of our landfills and water supplies. Mine even pays the customer for the recycling of the aluminum and steel, and precious metals found in old electronics! :) It is by weight so pennies (if that) on the pound but at least it pays for the gas my truck eats up taking all that stuff out there.

Alternatively, most routers can easily be converted into a simple 100/1000Mbps Ethernet switch. This is something to consider if you want to extend your Ethernet network to the far reaches of your home, or just add additional Ethernet connected devices in or near your computer room.

4. If you mean "firmware" updates, typically I update that when it tells me there is an update available. But I ALWAYS read the change log first to see what the update does. If it does not affect me, and my attached devices are working just fine, I follow the golden rule of electronics maintenance, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Note that some updates are critical security updates to patch some newly discovered vulnerability. Those should be applied right away.

If you mean how often to I replace my router with a newer model, I have no time table or schedule. I replace it when my current one fails, or when the old one becomes obsolete. For example, my last "wireless router" only supported up to 802.11n. That was fine for years until I bought a couple new wireless devices that support newer 802.11ac and 801.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) protocols. So to take full advantage of 11ac and 11ax speed and features, I upgraded my wireless router.

5. I ALWAYS go with purchasing my own modem and separate wireless router. I do this for multiple reasons.

a. There is often a rental/lease fee included in your bill for ISP provided devices. Over time, you may end up paying 2 or 3 (or more) times the cost of purchasing your own device.​
b. Most provided devices are "residential gateway" devices. These are single, integrated devices that include the modem, router, WAP (wireless access point) and 4-port Ethernet switch in one box, integrated onto one main circuit board, powered by one power supply.​
HOWEVER, modems and routers use different protocols that are upgraded separately. This means if you want to upgrade your modem (from DOCSIS 2.0 to DOCSIS 3.1, for example), you have to replace the whole device.​
Another problem is if the router portion, for example, fails, you have replace the whole device. Or if wireless coverage is better with the WAP located elsewhere, you have to move the modem too. That may or may not be a problem, depending on where the entry point for the ISP provided cable enters your home.​
c. ISP devices are typically setup to allow guest access - whether you like it or not. So if you are a Comcast customer, for example, and another Comcast customer is on vacation 1000 miles from their home but are visiting your neighbor near your home, they can use your device to gain access to the Internet. Your device, your electricity - without your permission.​
Now "in theory" and "on paper" these guests cannot gain access to your local network or your computers. And "in theory" and "on paper", their access will not affect your available bandwidth or service. But "in theory" and "on paper" and the "real-world" don't always agree - especially when there is a whole host of bad guys out there trying their best to prove what's "in theory" and "on paper" can't stop them from hacking in anyway. And considering their success rate at hacking professionally maintained networks (see Yet another hack/breach), I have no doubts if they want to, they can do so with these devices too - when and if they feel it will be lucrative for them to do so.​
d. Some ISP provided devices have "backdoor" access to allow the ISP tech support access for troubleshooting and upgrades. "In theory" and "on paper" this is just fine. But, do you 100% trust your ISP to only access your network for honest and legitimate reasons? You probably can however, do 100% trust every employee (even the angry, disgruntled ones) to never, as in NEVER EVER access your system without your permission?​

6. You're welcome.
 
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AX routers are not supported by third party firmware such as dd-wrt, so AC routers might have the longer life.
 
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Just recycle them at your closest spot. Advances in router tech are freaking slow actually. The only thing that advances is price tough... you got me there.

Who needs a piece of communication tech that is insecure, often closed source and barely working?

Pick your poison.

Ubiquiti
Mikrotik

any HW that is open you compile and flash OpenWRT or Merilin and customize to your needs including X86 based soft routers.
Dang I used Ubnt (Ubiquiti) almost inclusively for the residential installs just over 10 years ago with my startup ISP before we sold to a bigger company. Trango and Dragon Wave for the main backhauls to Towers unless something went down. Then we'd use a high end (but still much less bandwidth) full size 5Ghz Ubiquiti dish (Right before they released the "Air Fiber" versions) as a temp fix until the bigger stuff could be warrantied. Our first towers we used Mikrotik's as a base for the Tower to web into and conrtol/monitor everything with Ubnt 2ghz & 5Ghz access points. Well, for the smaller towers obviously. Cisco switches for the main access points. Super solid stuff, even back then. The Ubnt access points are great and use them at my current facility.
 
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AX routers are not supported by third party firmware such as dd-wrt, so AC routers might have the longer life.
That's not true, OpenWRT supports several models already.

Yes, I'm aware there was something about the FCC implementing some rules here, but it appears that MediaTek and Qualcomm hardware is supported regardless.
It's mainly about not being able to jack up the transmit power, since this was possible on some older router hardware.
 
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jack up the transmit power, since this was possible on some older router hardware.

Not only that, the greater cause is not being able to transmit in forbidden regions without being DFS active there are hardware fuses and firmware locks implemented.

AX is doing well on openWRT, I can confirm Wifi 6E working also, with some tinkering. Mesh 802.11s coughs a lot depending on the device and I would avoid using it still. Also same applies to 802.11r.

I can confirm that hardware acceleration engines are working properly on latest Mediatek Filogic series. Also, keep in mind that ain't compatible with SQM if you wish to fight bufferbloat.
 
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Always remember that consumer devices are, by design, trash built down to a price. Manufacturers won't support them longer than they absolutely have to, quality is just good enough to look good in marketing material. The same goes for software - flashy gimmicks with underlying bugs never being fixed.
Personally I go with Mikrotik when I need reliability or check routers from FreshTomato compatibility list if I want ease of use. At home I use Mikrotik HAP AC2 and Netgear R6400v2 with Freshtomato when Mikrotik's quirks get on my nerves.
 
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That's not true, OpenWRT supports several models already.

Yes, I'm aware there was something about the FCC implementing some rules here, but it appears that MediaTek and Qualcomm hardware is supported regardless.
It's mainly about not being able to jack up the transmit power, since this was possible on some older router hardware.

I stand corrected
 
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My #1 rule with both routers & modems is: NEVER, EVER use the ones supplied by your ISP...

I implemented this rule years ago after I discovered that my ISP back then (in a different state) was back-dooring into my (their) network and collecting a ton of info on my online activities, so when I moved to my current location, I bought my own stuff and haven't look back since... my ISP here repeatedly cried & cringed & attempted to guilt-trip me about it, but I told them to just STFU and GTFOH....

And then, to top it all off, they tried to charge me an extra $10/mo for NOT using their stuff, supposedly for the "extra" work required by them to establish my service (total BS, since I ran all the cabling from the box outside & did all the set-up & configs), to which I again replied.... STFU and GTFOH, and promptly reported them to the local BBB, AG, and CA Depts, after which..... poof, that fee suddenly disappeared off my bill the following month :)

Anyways, Yes, old routers can be either be recycled into switches (if you need that), donated to schools, churches etc, or (properly) recycled.....

And as Bill said above, buying seperate modems & routers allows you to upgrade or replace them seperately, and also saves you the montly rental fees from the ISP, which will probably pay for the upgrades after a year or so :D
 
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My #1 rule with both routers & modems is: NEVER, EVER use the ones supplied by your ISP...

I implemented this rule years ago after I discovered that my ISP back then (in a different state) was back-dooring into my (their) network and collecting a ton of info on my online activities, so when I moved to my current location, I bought my own stuff and haven't look back since... my ISP here repeatedly cried & cringed & attempted to guilt-trip me about it, but I told them to just STFU and GTFOH....

And then, to top it all off, they tried to charge me an extra $10/mo for NOT using their stuff, supposedly for the "extra" work required by them to establish my service (total BS, since I ran all the cabling from the box outside & did all the set-up & configs), to which I again replied.... STFU and GTFOH, and promptly reported them to the local BBB, AG, and CA Depts, after which..... poof, that fee suddenly disappeared off my bill the following month :)

Anyways, Yes, old routers can be either be recycled into switches (if you need that), donated to schools, churches etc, or (properly) recycled.....

And as Bill said above, buying seperate modems & routers allows you to upgrade or replace them seperately, and also saves you the montly rental fees from the ISP, which will probably pay for the upgrades after a year or so :D
True but I use a VPN regardless LOL. They always have online activities logged incase crimes are ever committed and warrants signed for peoples history, if available.
 
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True but I use a VPN regardless LOL.
LOL - but that only addresses one of multiple reasons I gave above, and really doesn't even do that.

Your on-line activities that go through their networks (as all do) is totally different than being able to access your network - which is the point for using your own network hardware. So, sorry, but your point really isn't valid.
 
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LOL - but that only addresses one of multiple reasons I gave above, and really doesn't even do that.

Your on-line activities that go through their networks (as all do) is totally different than being able to access your network - which is the point for using your own network hardware. So, sorry, but your point really isn't valid.
I am just saying I use it for the encrypted side of things and I completely agree with what you said about them being able to access your network!

Edit: Lol wait I was only replying to Bonehead, not anything you said.
 
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And they still know which sites you visit and worse, they can tie that information to your real name, real address (actual physical location), birthdate and billing information. This is why people getting their knickers in a knot over Windows privacy is just plain silly. Microsoft does not know our real names, real address, billing information, or birthdate nor are they trying to get it. Cell phone carriers are even worse.

But that's a different discussion.
 
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And they still know which sites you visit and worse, they can tie that information to your real name, real address (actual physical location), birthdate and billing information. This is why people getting their knickers in a knot over Windows privacy is just plain silly. Microsoft does not know our real names, real address, billing information, or birthdate nor are they trying to get it. Cell phone carriers are even worse.

But that's a different discussion.
1000000%
 

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I stand corrected
You did say DD-WRT though and I haven't looked if they have support or not, but at least OpenWRT has managed to figure out how to make some hardware work. Broadcom based gear, apparently not so much, which is what DD-WRT has mainly been focused on, so could be because of that maybe?
 
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