Router recommendations

CJ133

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I think it's time to replace my older Netgear router and was hoping for some recommendations.

Looking for a router that can handle a decent amount of traffic. We often have 4-5 things streaming video at any given time.

I'm far from an expert, but I was thinking along the lines of a router and one or two AP's rather than the typical home wifi router.

What options do I have?
 

vandyman

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There are a lot of good router choices out there.
Look for one that has VPN built in and 1 gigabyte+ of Lan speed.
ASUS is a good choice. And has been proven.
I use a TP-Link router, because everything on my network is TP-Link.

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Mark_M

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I'm looking into getting a new router and APs.
I'm not an expert either but the price and reviews of Ubiquiti Edge Routers looks to be promising.

 

Wildcat_1

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Take a look at Ubiquiti as well, good selection of gear
 

CJ133

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Looks like a few votes for Ubiquiti.

I was thinking of using their APs.
I'd rather an out of the box solution for a router rather than one I have to modify etc to work good. I understand that's not always possible with things, but I'm hoping it can be avoided in this case.
 

brianegge

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Looks like a few votes for Ubiquiti.
You may want to consider the Dream Machine US$299

It comes with the firewall, router and built in AP. You can then add additional APs as needed. I suggest The AP6Lite US$99:
 

CJ133

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Get a small x86 machine with dual gig network ports, put openwrt on it. It’s amazing, better than any other consumer router you’ll buy.

Get a couple of the netgear wax610 access points (they are very good and WiFi 6).

This is what I bought:
Alright, my first and biggest beef is I want to have this down in the basement with the rest of my switches etc. But, I don't want to have a monitor, keyboard and mouse down there.
Can I remote access this once it's setup and running like a normal router?

Will it handle running with a lot of streaming constantly? One of my biggest beefs with my WNDR4500 is I have to restart it from time to time. It's easy, but it's usually at the worst time.
 

CJ133

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You may want to consider the Dream Machine US$299

It comes with the firewall, router and built in AP. You can then add additional APs as needed. I suggest The AP6Lite US$99:
Is that really considered a good router?
It looks super user friendly and made to look pretty and makes me assume it's capabilities are limited. Looks can be deceiving tho.
 

The Automation Guy

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Ubiquity is generally OK. They certainly have their firmware issues (like a lot of companies, they seem to release their firmware updates before adequately testing them), but overall they make a very cohesive system. I guess it is like Apple in a sense. While you absolutely can use their devices individually without buying into the entire system (like I use Unify APs, but not their switches or routers), most people end up buying into the entire system - routers, switches, APs, etc. Once you are in their architecture, it is hard to break away from it because of the feature set and GUI they offer. Then you end up buying more and more of their equipment which can get pretty costly in the end.

Personally I use pfSense for my firewall/routing functionality. I still use the opensource freeware version (they recently changed to a paid version and a opensource version). It works great. I installed it on a HP Thinclient that I bought and installed a Intel NIC in for a total cost of about $150. I bought a used Aruba 48 port POE switch (S2500-48P) off Ebay for about $110 (which are still available BTW) , and I have three Unify AC-Pro APs. POE wise I run a full IP based phone system (with about 8 POE phones), my camera system, my APs, and a few other random POE devices and still have power to spare. I have two VPN connections (one for remote access, and one "always on" tunnel to a family member's house for backups) and 6 VLans and 5 different wireless networks. All of this from a guy who isn't a "network guy" I simply did my research on line and worked through it a little at a time.

All this just to say that you can have a very robust network that is much better than any residential quality gear that you can buy, for not a lot of money.
 
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runraid

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Alright, my first and biggest beef is I want to have this down in the basement with the rest of my switches etc. But, I don't want to have a monitor, keyboard and mouse down there.
Can I remote access this once it's setup and running like a normal router?

Will it handle running with a lot of streaming constantly? One of my biggest beefs with my WNDR4500 is I have to restart it from time to time. It's easy, but it's usually at the worst time.
Yes and yes. It’s more powerful than any consumer grade router you can buy.
 
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Here's my recommendations:

No interest in becoming a network guru, but:
  • want reliability, consistent patching and VPN support: Any ASUS router
  • want VPN support and advanced features (VLAN's etc), with option to dig into some advanced networking, but basic UI, but with a support safety net to get you setup: Official pfSense hardware with support license
  • want VPN support and advanced features (VLAN's etc), with option to dig into some advanced networking, and cool dashboarding/UI and fully integrated network devices: Ubiquity Unifi Dream Machine / Dream Machine Pro + Ubiquity Switches/APs etc
If you are interested in really diving into networking as a hobby, want the capability to do nearly anything, and are comfortable with no safety net besides forums/google (sometimes this will be via your phone because you borked some network setting on your router/firewall):
  • OpenWRT on repurposed PC
  • pfSense on repurposed PC (doesn't require monitor or keyboard after initial setup, configuration changes are primarily done via web interface).
 

CJ133

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Here's my recommendations:

No interest in becoming a network guru, but:
  • want reliability, consistent patching and VPN support: Any ASUS router
  • want VPN support and advanced features (VLAN's etc), with option to dig into some advanced networking, but basic UI, but with a support safety net to get you setup: Official pfSense hardware with support license
  • want VPN support and advanced features (VLAN's etc), with option to dig into some advanced networking, and cool dashboarding/UI and fully integrated network devices: Ubiquity Unifi Dream Machine / Dream Machine Pro + Ubiquity Switches/APs etc
If you are interested in really diving into networking as a hobby, want the capability to do nearly anything, and are comfortable with no safety net besides forums/google (sometimes this will be via your phone because you borked some network setting on your router/firewall):
  • OpenWRT on repurposed PC
  • pfSense on repurposed PC (doesn't require monitor or keyboard after initial setup, configuration changes are primarily done via web interface).
Is that Dream Machine actually that good?!?
Maybe I really do need to ignore it's looks and dig deeper....
 
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Is that Dream Machine actually that good?!?
I don't personally have one, but Ubiquity has a solid following here and elsewhere, and all the Unifi equipment I do have (AP, POE Switch) I think their UI is top notch, I really like it. However, I did move the Unifi Controller to a PC on my network because the First-Gen Cloud key was garbage, it was basically PC-on-a-stick with no horsepower and SD card for storage.
Since those were my main complaints with the Cloud Key they seem to have addressed somewhat in the Dream Machines. If you are seriously leaning towards Dream Machine, maybe give it a day or two for some people that have used them awhile to comment.

I went pfSense-router-without-a-net because I needed site-to-site VPN, VLAN support (to learn) and to ensure my firewall/router could manage full 1Gbps up/down offered by my ISP, for consumer routers 3 years ago that was a stretch and I'm cheap/frugal. I cannot recommend pfSense for the casual networking needs of most people that surf these forums, it's a solid product but you can definitely get your home network borked bad enough that you need a different internet connection (or expert) to figure out how to fix it.
 

CJ133

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I don't personally have one, but Ubiquity has a solid following here and elsewhere, and all the Unifi equipment I do have (AP, POE Switch) I think their UI is top notch, I really like it. However, I did move the Unifi Controller to a PC on my network because the First-Gen Cloud key was garbage, it was basically PC-on-a-stick with no horsepower and SD card for storage.
Since those were my main complaints with the Cloud Key they seem to have addressed somewhat in the Dream Machines. If you are seriously leaning towards Dream Machine, maybe give it a day or two for some people that have used them awhile to comment.

I went pfSense-router-without-a-net because I needed site-to-site VPN, VLAN support (to learn) and to ensure my firewall/router could manage full 1Gbps up/down offered by my ISP, for consumer routers 3 years ago that was a stretch and I'm cheap/frugal. I cannot recommend pfSense for the casual networking needs of most people that surf these forums, it's a solid product but you can definitely get your home network borked bad enough that you need a different internet connection (or expert) to figure out how to fix it.

Honestly, the main reason I keep avoiding things like pfSense is because I'm being lazy and don't entirely know what it is I guess.
I mean worse case, if I messed up the router I'd plug a computer directly into the modem until I fixed it but I usually have multiple LTE/5G connections as well.

I think I need to look more into a PC based solution.................. Something about the Dream Machine just says I'm going to hate it.
 
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I think I need to look more into a PC based solution.................. Something about the Dream Machine just says I'm going to hate it.
Or consider something like the Unifi USG (Security Gateway), less dreamy but still the same ecosystem, good UI and decent following for (usually) unpaid support. Since I never had the USG my Unifi dashboard never had the cool firewall metrics (pfSense doesn't yet integrate with Unifi dashboard). I really like the dashboard and the network map functionality, but it doesn't exactly work when you have a mix of Unifi and non-Unifi like me. In this map picture the real-world is every wi-fi device that looks like its wired to the switch is connected to the EX700, and the pfSense firewall should really appear as upstream. Most of that will straighten out when I replace it with another Unifi AP this year. The Unifi "In Wall AP" is pretty cool, the guest bedroom has it's own WIFI network, and wired ports are all on the same VLAN (for guest Chromecasting), but my devices will still roam to it when they are close and be on the main WIFI network as the rest of the house, and the IOT devices will connect to the same IOT-WIFI but on whichever AP provides the best connection.
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eeeeesh

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Another big pfSense fan here - probably one of the best things I have done when it comes to home networking. My home network is actually divided into 4 physical subnets so I went with a Protectli 6 port device. Their 4 port is probably the most popular one though. Fanless design, pulls about 15 watts max and the one I bought is powerful enough to run other things like my home automation software. There are enough videos on YouTube that you can get pfSense installed and configured in no time. I don't have any experience with the UniFi dream machine, but I am a big fan of Tom from Lawrence System's You Tube channel and the comment about the Dream Machine being 'Limited' pretty much sums up his opinion about it also - and he is a big proponent of Ubiquiti Products

Protectli 6 Port 'vault'

2020 Getting started with pfsense 2.4 Tutorial: Network Setup, VLANs, Features & Packages (Lawrence Systems)
 
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