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Older Routers, what do you do with!

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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
Dude, you should've seen me trying to explain CableCARD to my provider back before cutting the cord. They were factually dumb-founded because I was probably their only customer to understand my rights.

Yes, I bought a HDHomeRun so I didn't have to pay for a cable box. I am that one guy. Plus, you know, PC DVR was handy. They fought me on it to no end, but I did have a little fun explaining the (US) law to them, in which services factually cannot be tied to provider hardware. A ridiculous amount of people don't know that, especially back then when the law was relatively new. You, as a consumer, have the right to own your own modem, router, or yes, even CableCARD. And you should, for LOTS of reasons (some mentioned in this thread, but I don't like to worry people and/or get too political).

As for current routers, I'll keep waiting for the inevitable RT-BE88u (in line to the RT-AC/AX88u) or something similar. I'm sure Merlin will eventually support that branch of the firmware, just as he does ac/ax.

Like many others, I have an abnormally large collection of routers and the like I've accumulated over the years. WRT54G is my Sneak King. They are certainly e-waste, but also important history. Maybe someday I'll use them as sound baffling/decoration. :roll:
 
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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?

I should have said Broadcom AX; things were a bit rushed.

But you were right, so I stood down.

I'm stuck with two Netgear RAX10 units and a Linksys E9450
 
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(Question numbers added to keep this under-caffeinated mind straight)

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.
Sir, that's an ITIL KBA level for an answer! I am blown away! I will have to read it again today to fully understand it and thank you for making it a simple yet so informative answer!

Just a quick update :D not a big deal but you gave me the idea! I had no good coverage in my room, hooked an older router - dual band one - and configured it with the wizard - nothing fancy! - and now I got an access point! my speed went from 26 to 475 MBs! I am happy!

But what made me happier is the input in this thread; I didn't expect it to be that much and these details, TPU gurus never fail to deliver! Kudos Guys!
 

TheLostSwede

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As for current routers, I'll keep waiting for the inevitable RT-BE88u (in line to the RT-AC/AX88u) or something similar. I'm sure Merlin will eventually support that branch of the firmware, just as he does ac/ax.
As Merlin doesn't change some of the base drivers etc. he should be able to support all upcoming models he wants to support as long as Asus keeps providing open sauce code. They stopped for a while, when transitioning to a new base build and he was worried that was the end, but it wasn't.
 
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To the op's post.

I've got a workmate who's son is getting into all things i.t including repurposing old hardware so I have a perfect handoff option.
 
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Another possible use could be for penetration testing. Or sell it to someone for pentesting. Many people are in the market for old and cheap devices or off-lease enterprise equipment for home labs or other uses.

Or maybe just wait 10 years and post pics to the Nolstalgic hw thread.
 
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I have/had a TP-Link Archer AX50 Wi-Fi 6 router that's nothing but trouble. It has an always-on network logger that kept track of everything you did and snitched on you to antivirus companies (TPU even has a news article here), and for some reason the transmission was really bad, especially in 5 GHz band.

I ended up returning to my trusty ASUS RT-AC68U Wi-Fi 5 router. It's received a swanky new software upgrade from ASUS recently and it's performing better than ever. Signal's way better, and would you believe it, faster too. I don't think i'll be replacing this until I have a gigabit connection.

So... I guess I actually use my old router :D the veeery old ones (from the Wi-Fi G era) are just decommissioned and unused, though. I have quite a few that serve no real or meaningful purpose anymore.
 
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what about use them as extender? or something that don't need high speed
 
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Just recycle your old routers, like any other electronics. Unless you have an actual use for it. The main router in my house is WIFI6. I still use my WIFI5 Asus RT-AC68U (hello @Dr. Dro) as a media bridge. With three antennas it is still faster than my 500/500 fios connection, and technically speaking the 1.3Gbit link speed also beat a 1Gbit cabled connection. And it easily beat the signal strength of the built-in wifi in the devices it serves. Instead of a ping that sometimes spike to ~30-100+ms just to the main router, I get a stable 1ms with the occational 2-3ms spike.

But unused old clunkers should be recycled so they can become new "stuff"
 
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Send them back to the ISP they belong (ISP's here in UK charge you if you do not send the routers back to them when leave & not paying their prices for very basic products) to as current ISP is first that I have actually bought my own router due to not being happy with the supplied one to run properly on Gigabit Fibre (only got a Gigabit ethernet ports on it instead of 2.5gbps ones & WiFi6 on the purchased one)
 

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Send them back to the ISP they belong (ISP's here in UK charge you if you do not send the routers back to them when leave & not paying their prices for very basic products) to as current ISP is first that I have actually bought my own router due to not being happy with the supplied one to run properly on Gigabit Fibre (only got a Gigabit ethernet ports on it instead of 2.5gbps ones & WiFi6 on the purchased one)

Being from the UK and having been through multiple ISPs in the last decade. We have never been charged for NOT returning a router. But then again our contract is normally a 2 year one and by the time we've come to the end of it they have already been rolling out newer (and supposedly better) routers. If we renew our service with the same ISP we dont ask for a new router and our longest serving ISP till recently which weve been with for maybe 6-7years has never offered to upgrade us come contract renewal or expiry date.

I think its based on long your contract is with them. If youre only with them a short period of time then they might ask you to return it.

---

If its not been said already (which it most likely has) I would log in to the router and see if it can be repurposed as an access point and put in a part of the house where you need some extra coverage. I know some ISPs run proprietary firmware on their routers so a lot of options are basically deleted or locked out, In which case just take it down to your local recycling station. The 12v power adapter can be kept as spare to power other things if you have something that uses it.
 
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Being from the UK and having been through multiple ISPs in the last decade. We have never been charged for NOT returning a router. But then again our contract is normally a 2 year one and by the time we've come to the end of it they have already been rolling out newer (and supposedly better) routers. If we renew our service with the same ISP we dont ask for a new router and our longest serving ISP till recently which weve been with for maybe 6-7years has never offered to upgrade us come contract renewal or expiry date.

I think its based on long your contract is with them. If youre only with them a short period of time then they might ask you to return it.

---

If its not been said already (which it most likely has) I would log in to the router and see if it can be repurposed as an access point and put in a part of the house where you need some extra coverage. I know some ISPs run proprietary firmware on their routers so a lot of options are basically deleted or locked out, In which case just take it down to your local recycling station. The 12v power adapter can be kept as spare to power other things if you have something that uses it.
Sky, Virgin, Talk Talk, EE, etc all require subscribers to send their routers back to them (have done for past decade now at least) when they leave the service. Virgin supplied routers/modems have always been only on rental (since they took over NTL). SKY never used to want their routers back until they changed to their own designed products from the Netgear ones they used to supply for DSL (I do know that as ended up with a dozen or so of those that went to be recycled a few years back when moving house) & when you leave they ask for the last Router back (any faulty ones or ones replaced on upgrades) even if they are no longer supplied (I know this as had to return a router had for 5-6 years to them in July this year when I left else they wanted to to charge me for it if not returned within 60 days of contract ending). They also wanted back an old Wireless-G 'Booster' that somehow had been placed on my account that I never had from 2013! Obviously couldn't return something I never had & had to argue that wasn't paying for it as never had it! The paperwork they send out even asks for the supplied 2m ethernet cables to be returned as well :banghead:

I was with Virgin for best part of 15 years (from before they merged the local cable companies such as BlueYonder, Cambridge Cable, etc into NTL) & SKY from 2010 until July this year.

Every contract I have had with an ISP has been for the full duration period of it be it 12 months, 18 months or 24 months. With SKY I had been out of contract for almost 5 years (but they had sent new routers out & wanted old one returned during that time when changed from DSL to FttC or when issues arose that they automatically decide a replacement newer model router will resolve). Didn't even have to sign up for new contract when moved house in 2020 with them which shocked me tbh.

Have had to keep the Talk Talk (they are only provider for Full Fibre at my postcode) Fibre router they supplied even though I don't use it so can return it to them when/if I leave them (they won't take it back whilst providing service in case there is an issue & have to plug that one in for them to send a CityFibre tech out due to not supporting non-supplied routers).
 
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This topic got me thinking about my old ASUS router that I recently replaced. I need to get it hooked up again and update it to the latest firmware to allow it to be used with ASUS's AIMesh so I can get better connectivity on the far end of my house.

Otherwise with old routers I usually just keep the old one just in case my current on craps out on me. That way I have an immediate replacement while I wait for the newest one to go through RMA (if applicable) or I buy a replacement. I tend to have an older replacement part for almost anything in my current system, good for troubleshooting and also just getting my system back up and running with minimal downtime.
 

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Sky, Virgin, Talk Talk, EE, etc all require subscribers to send their routers back to them (have done for past decade now at least) when they leave the service. Virgin supplied routers/modems have always been only on rental (since they took over NTL). SKY never used to want their routers back until they changed to their own designed products from the Netgear ones they used to supply for DSL (I do know that as ended up with a dozen or so of those that went to be recycled a few years back when moving house) & when you leave they ask for the last Router back (any faulty ones or ones replaced on upgrades) even if they are no longer supplied (I know this as had to return a router had for 5-6 years to them in July this year when I left else they wanted to to charge me for it if not returned within 60 days of contract ending). They also wanted back an old Wireless-G 'Booster' that somehow had been placed on my account that I never had from 2013! Obviously couldn't return something I never had & had to argue that wasn't paying for it as never had it! The paperwork they send out even asks for the supplied 2m ethernet cables to be returned as well :banghead:

I was with Virgin for best part of 15 years (from before they merged the local cable companies such as BlueYonder, Cambridge Cable, etc into NTL) & SKY from 2010 until July this year.

Every contract I have had with an ISP has been for the full duration period of it be it 12 months, 18 months or 24 months. With SKY I had been out of contract for almost 5 years (but they had sent new routers out & wanted old one returned during that time when changed from DSL to FttC or when issues arose that they automatically decide a replacement newer model router will resolve). Didn't even have to sign up for new contract when moved house in 2020 with them which shocked me tbh.

Have had to keep the Talk Talk (they are only provider for Full Fibre at my postcode) Fibre router they supplied even though I don't use it so can return it to them when/if I leave them (they won't take it back whilst providing service in case there is an issue & have to plug that one in for them to send a CityFibre tech out due to not supporting non-supplied routers).


Ive been with sky and left them to join Plusnet. Sky never asked for the router back. We from Plusnet to broadband to Plusnet again and now we are withe sky again. Nobody asked for the router back Sky sent us a new router
 

davsmith0

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I have used an old router as an extender for the other end of the house for ten years. Check YouTube for a guide to configure it. Remember it may have old Wifi protection and speed,
 
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Put dd-wrt on an old modem to keep it somewhat up-to-date (security wise)
 
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