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Brian M.

Router recommendations (another one!)

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Hi All,

 

Just a quick question - I bought a new router last month (Linksys EA6500) and it's turned out to be the biggest pile of crap I've ever used. The UI is crap, has misleading options, and doesn't support basic features. 5 of the biggest things that makes this unusable for me:

 

 - It doesn't support NAT redirection. Except it does in the UI. The option is there, it just doesn't work. It hasn't worked for about 6 months.

 

 - It doesn't honour static DNS servers. To get around the first point, I have an internal DNS server setup, which resolves internal DNS entries to where they need to go. All good. Except the router will randomly prioritise its OWN internal DNS server above the statically configured ones.

 

 - Continuing from that - there is no way to remove the router's internal DNS server from the list of servers given to DHCP clients. No matter how many static DNS servers I define, it always tacks its own IP address onto the list. Sometimes to the top of the list, sometimes to the bottom.

 

 - Want to enable QOS (or "Media Prioritisation") - expect to lose about half of all available bandwidth via HTTP.

 

 - The software. You have Cisco's cloud connect/smart wifi thing which means I can access the router admin page from everywhere. Great! Unless Cisco's servers are down - which happens VERY often. When that goes down, not only can you not log into the cloud app - due to the way in which it goes down (responds but doesn't send any content in the response) - the routers own built in admin panel will not load. So when Cisco's servers are down, you can't even to go the routers own built in admin panel.

 

The reason I picked the EA6500 was because of the wifi signal. This thing can easily push my 120Mbit internet connection via Wireless N, and it's AC for future-proofing, however I can't life with how appalling the routing capabilities are, and how annoying the software is.

 

Now, onto the overall question - does anybody have any recommendations for a router that not only has good WiFi strength - but is actually configurable when it comes to the routing side of it? Budget wise - not really fussed - I'd rather pay more for something decent.

 

Thanks!

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I don't have any suggestion in particular, but I have heard really good things about the Asus offerings.  Linksys has made absolute junk for the past few years (maybe longer).  I've had nothing but trouble with them too.

 

I personally have the Apple Airport Extreme.  It's definitely not very configurable, but it's super stable.

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I don't have any suggestion in particular, but I have heard really good things about the Asus offerings.  Linksys has made absolute junk for the past few years (maybe longer).  I've had nothing but trouble with them too.

 

I personally have the Apple Airport Extreme.  It's definitely not very configurable, but it's super stable.

 

 

My previous router was the old AirPort Extreme (which actually still acts as a wireless access point in the far end of my garden) but the configurability of that turned out to be a nightmare too - and there are massive problems with the AEBS firmware and VPN passthrough. Plus having to reboot the entire router to make the most minor of changes was incredibly annoying! 

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Now, onto the overall question - does anybody have any recommendations for a router that not only has good WiFi strength - but is actually configurable when it comes to the routing side of it? Budget wise - not really fussed - I'd rather pay more for something decent.

Thanks!

Cisco gear

00lHitK.jpg

/thread

It doesn't matter how good your consumer trashcan is it will never hold its own compared to real cisco gear that can do everything from http/https content filtering to channel changing on the fly.

Cisco's draught N and first gen N devices are well within the consumer price range on ebay now and they pretty much destroy anything in the consumer range.

they're a PITA to setup using ssh but SDM (should be run in a VM due to security issues with java) gives the familiar gui

eBay is your friend

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I would highly recommend the Billion 7800N, granted it's a ADSL Router but you don't have to use the inbuilt modem, you could just use it as a straight router.

 

It's fantastic, great wireless N coverage, ton's of options in the Admin side and in the 3 years I have been using it it's not had a single bad day, still going strong.  I can access it's interface from anywhere I need to and it's even got WOL builtin so you can wake your machines from it without needing any 3rd party software etc.  I've just double checked and it does have everything your looking for requirement wise including the QoS stuff.

 

It's a SOHO Class router with firewall functions if you need it and full support for things like SSL VPN's and DynDNS stuff etc.

 

Granted, it's not in the same class as a proper Cisco Router but it holds its own so depending on how much kit you put through it will make the decision for you, as a guide I have at home 5 Laptops, 2 PC's, 2 tablets and half a dozen phones, all being used at the same time when everybody is in and it's never even blinked, add to that they can be had for around the ?100 mark and I think you see where I'm going with this.

 

Anyway, that's my opinion anyway, if you google it or even just search the neowin forums for it you'll see it's been mentioned before by a number of people.

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Asus RT-N66U and you can thank me later...

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"does anybody have any recommendations for a router that not only has good WiFi strength - but is actually configurable when it comes to the routing side of it?"

What I recommend is you break away from wanting all your desires in one tiny little box do everything sort of solution. If you want power on the routing/nat/filter/etc side then do that with a firewall/router distro like pfsense, ipcop, smoothwall, m0n0wall, etc. And then just use the wireless router you just bought as accesspoint - to handle your wireless needs, etc.

Do you have a spare pc? Do you have something you can run VM on.. You can run your router distro in say virtualbox or esxi, etc.

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Do you have a spare pc? Do you have something you can run VM on.. You can run your router distro in say virtualbox or esxi, etc.

 

But the average home user doesn't want to do this.

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Where did he say he was a average home user? Did I miss something where he says something like why it not work, the light is blinky blinky ;)

"how appalling the routing capabilities are"

That he used "routing" and QoS as terms in his post -- I lean towards he is not your typical home average joe user..

"I have an internal DNS server setup"

That clearly states he is not average home user to me ;)

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I use a TP-Link AC1750.  It has some pretty descent WIFI performance.  I only use it for the wireless access point.  For routing I use the Roc-Box D510.  

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Where did he say he was a average home user? Did I miss something where he says something like why it not work, the light is blinky blinky ;)

"how appalling the routing capabilities are"

That he used "routing" and QoS as terms in his post -- I lean towards he is not your typical home average joe user..

"I have an internal DNS server setup"

That clearly states he is not average home user to me ;)

 

What I am saying is, he's not setting up an enterprise level setup, he can do what he wants to do using an off-the-shelf router single-box setup, without having to setup a separate computer to do so, he just needs to buy something a lot higher quality then a Linksys EA6500, the price of the EA6500 unit doesn't reflect what it can do. You can find much better setups in the same or less price range.

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I wouldn't really have a problem running my own router in a VM - however, it's something I've never done before, and I'm not sure how successful I would be at getting it up and running (or more importantly, getting it BACK up and running when things stop working).

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+1 for pfSense, and before this turns into a bashing about how you need a huge ass PC to run it on, here's my dedicated 1u itx pf box...

 

U7MJ48X.png

uACSINk.jpg

 

Dual core Atom, cheap DDR3 Corsair 4GB RAM and a random WD 80GB SATA II drive I found in the loft.

Terrible cable management I know, but there's nowhere to put it in such a small case.

 

edit:- just took them pics on camera phone (1am), came out terrible.

 

Oh and I'm not running an "enterprise level setup" ;)

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Back on topic the ASUS RT-AC68U was announced last month and should be out soon otherwise I'd recommend the ASUS RT-AC66U

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"he's not setting up an enterprise level setup,"

Running a router in a VM is not a "enterprise" anything - nor is running a "old" pc either.. Not sure what idea you have of a linux distro router/firewall - but its a web gui just like your $100 off the self router.. But free on existing hardware you have ;) With 20x the capabilities and features!

Can it support an enterprise - sure some can easy make the transition to the enterprise, but they are also great use to the non "average" user that wants features and functionality

Can run on his current pc in a virtualbox VM - can have it setup in like 5 minutes if his pc has more than 1 nic to use. Nic's can be had for $5 if he only has 1.

Virtual Machines are everyday user things now.. And if you don't want to go that route you can run a linux distro router on hardware you having laying around - say that PC you had 5 years ago sitting in the garage.. Freaking SCREAM as your router!! I use to run mine on a old P3 800mhz box with 256MB of ram, with a OLD 6GB hdd.. You couldn't get 10$ for that hardware in a garage sale - works perfect as a linux router and will blow the pants off anything your buying off the self for $200 even..

I am quite sure if he is bright enough to setup his own local dns server - he can run any of the router/firewall distro's out there that I would point him too. Now something like vyatta might be a bit much for the home user since they removed the gui from the community version, etc. But something like m0n0wall, pfsense, ipcop, smoothwall are all point and click watch the bouncing ball installs with a web gui interface to manage the feature sets. They can be as simple or as fancy as you want/need them to be.

Being limited to what the companies want to put in their limited firmware, or even what 3rd party can do with limited hardware is yesterday.. Let me use the full power of linux or bsd that is where you will find features and functionality..

Maybe your fine with being limited by what the dhcp server or dns forwarder features soho maker thinks a "home" user should need in their router.. Or you can use full features of ISC dhcp server or BIND if need be for dhcp and dns if you so desire.

Would I suggest to your typical home user - no. But again where did he say he was a typical home users? ;)

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"he's not setting up an enterprise level setup,"

Running a router in a VM is not a "enterprise" anything - nor is running a "old" pc either.. Not sure what idea you have of a linux distro router/firewall - but its a web gui just like your $100 off the self router.. But free on existing hardware you have ;) With 20x the capabilities and features!

Can it support an enterprise - sure some can easy make the transition to the enterprise, but they are also great use to the non "average" user that wants features and functionality

Can run on his current pc in a virtualbox VM - can have it setup in like 5 minutes if his pc has more than 1 nic to use. Nic's can be had for $5 if he only has 1.

Virtual Machines are everyday user things now.. And if you don't want to go that route you can run a linux distro router on hardware you having laying around - say that PC you had 5 years ago sitting in the garage.. Freaking SCREAM as your router!! I use to run mine on a old P3 800mhz box with 256MB of ram, with a OLD 6GB hdd.. You couldn't get 10$ for that hardware in a garage sale - works perfect as a linux router and will blow the pants off anything your buying off the self for $200 even..

I am quite sure if he is bright enough to setup his own local dns server - he can run any of the router/firewall distro's out there that I would point him too. Now something like vyatta might be a bit much for the home user since they removed the gui from the community version, etc. But something like m0n0wall, pfsense, ipcop, smoothwall are all point and click watch the bouncing ball installs with a web gui interface to manage the feature sets. They can be as simple or as fancy as you want/need them to be.

Being limited to what the companies want to put in their limited firmware, or even what 3rd party can do with limited hardware is yesterday.. Let me use the full power of linux or bsd that is where you will find features and functionality..

Maybe your fine with being limited by what the dhcp server or dns forwarder features soho maker thinks a "home" user should need in their router.. Or you can use full features of ISC dhcp server or BIND if need be for dhcp and dns if you so desire.

Would I suggest to your typical home user - no. But again where did he say he was a typical home users? ;)

Agreed on virtual machines becoming far more commonplace - look no further than Hyper-V (Microsoft) or Oracle VirtualBox (most Linux distributions) as examples.  Both are standard fare in each case; VB has been standard in most Linux distros far longer than Hyper-V/Virtual PC has been on Windows - however, there are more PCs out there that are quite capable of running Hyper-V than you would think, especially since the EPT/SLAT restriction on using it is only applicable to Windows 8 - Windows Server 2008 and later, which shares the identical hardware base, only requires VT-x support to run Hyper-V.  It's overcoming perceptions about virtualization that's the hard part.

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Hi All,

 

Just a quick question - I bought a new router last month (Linksys EA6500) and it's turned out to be the biggest pile of crap I've ever used. The UI is crap, has misleading options, and doesn't support basic features. 5 of the biggest things that makes this unusable for me:

 

 - It doesn't support NAT redirection. Except it does in the UI. The option is there, it just doesn't work. It hasn't worked for about 6 months.

 

 - It doesn't honour static DNS servers. To get around the first point, I have an internal DNS server setup, which resolves internal DNS entries to where they need to go. All good. Except the router will randomly prioritise its OWN internal DNS server above the statically configured ones.

 

 - Continuing from that - there is no way to remove the router's internal DNS server from the list of servers given to DHCP clients. No matter how many static DNS servers I define, it always tacks its own IP address onto the list. Sometimes to the top of the list, sometimes to the bottom.

 

 - Want to enable QOS (or "Media Prioritisation") - expect to lose about half of all available bandwidth via HTTP.

 

 - The software. You have Cisco's cloud connect/smart wifi thing which means I can access the router admin page from everywhere. Great! Unless Cisco's servers are down - which happens VERY often. When that goes down, not only can you not log into the cloud app - due to the way in which it goes down (responds but doesn't send any content in the response) - the routers own built in admin panel will not load. So when Cisco's servers are down, you can't even to go the routers own built in admin panel.

 

The reason I picked the EA6500 was because of the wifi signal. This thing can easily push my 120Mbit internet connection via Wireless N, and it's AC for future-proofing, however I can't life with how appalling the routing capabilities are, and how annoying the software is.

 

Now, onto the overall question - does anybody have any recommendations for a router that not only has good WiFi strength - but is actually configurable when it comes to the routing side of it? Budget wise - not really fussed - I'd rather pay more for something decent.

 

Thanks!

 

Recently had a customer buy a Cisco / linksys, not sure which one it was, but I was surprised in the UI I was unable to release or renew or even see the IP address settings in which the WAN obtained. Did you notice that issue with that router as well? It gave me NO information at all. All it would say is, you either have an internet connection or you don't.

 

The issue he had is he wasn't getting any internet. Upon logging into the web interface I couldn't diagnosis it at all because of the lack of information the WAN page gave me. It just said NO internet. Couldn't see an IP (169 or 192) or any of the network information. There was no spot to release or renew. Finally I just had the customer take it back and buy a netgear and it worked first try.

 

He plugged in the negear power cycled his modem and by the time the modem had reboot and he called me the internet was already working. He said "That's it?... I'm online already? ....I JUST plugged the modem back in!.....That's how easy it was?'''

 

I said.. that's how easy it SHOULD have been the entire time.

 

He probably got a bum router the first time but I was still REALLY annoyed by the lack of information the UI provided.

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I agree with Budman. If you want more advanced routing, QOS, and all that, look outside of the little box towards a dedicated Linux router/firewall distro. I don't see how there's anything "enterprise" about it other than if it CAN handle enterprise as well. Setting up a dedicated, or VM router box is incredibly easy these days, and I think most of us even have spare parts laying around that are more than capable of handling routing duties.

 

If you want to stick with an actual router device, I also suggest ASUS. I recently upgraded (finally) from my WRT54GL to an RT-AC66U and it's fantastic. I'm using Merlin's firmware which offers up a lot more customization. Check it out and see if you think it would do what you want. If not, $200 (the cost of the AC66U) is already most of the way to buying you a dedicated box.

 

I'd definitely use a router distro if I had more than the two or three computers and a handful of mobile devices on my network. I just don't need it at home.

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I agree with Budman. If you want more advanced routing, QOS, and all that, look outside of the little box towards a dedicated Linux router/firewall distro. I don't see how there's anything "enterprise" about it other than if it CAN handle enterprise as well. Setting up a dedicated, or VM router box is incredibly easy these days, and I think most of us even have spare parts laying around that are more than capable of handling routing duties.

 

If you want to stick with an actual router device, I also suggest ASUS. I recently upgraded (finally) from my WRT54GL to an RT-AC66U and it's fantastic. I'm using Merlin's firmware which offers up a lot more customization. Check it out and see if you think it would do what you want. If not, $200 (the cost of the AC66U) is already most of the way to buying you a dedicated box.

 

I'd definitely use a router distro if I had more than the two or three computers and a handful of mobile devices on my network. I just don't need it at home.

 

I have a box I can run it off - no problem. Im going to look into getting it setup this weekend - although my main worry isn't in setting it up - it's more to do with fixing it when things when it breaks (I'm more a programmer than a network guy as you can probably tell :p).

 

Warwagon - that's pretty much my issue with it - it's just a PITA to use. Like the NAT redirection box - there's a tickbox in the UI which says "disable nat redirection?". If you check it, all nat redirection requests get blocked/no response. Uncheck it, the requests just time out and never make it "back in" the network.

 

As for the remote IP - on the "Connectivity" page I can see that I have an internet connection - and that I'm connected to cable.virginmedia.com. If I then go to "Troubleshooting" and then "Diagnostics" I can see my external IP address. It's the most frustrating piece of software I've ever used!

 

One other feature I found interesting was the "Revert to previous firmware" button - which doesn't give you a choice of which one, it just rolls back to an arbitrary previous firmware. However, upon doing so and attempting to login, you are presented with a "router requires an update" message and cannot do anything!

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I'd strongly suggest making an image of the system once you get it set up as you like. That way you could basically do the same as a revert to previous firmware option. I haven't used most of the distros since I haven't had a need like I was saying, but they really don't look all that terribly difficult to work with or troubleshoot. Nothing a little Google or asking for help here couldn't help you through I'd bet.

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So you going to run it on dedicated hardware or vm? What distro you going with? I have exp with pfsense, smoothwall, ipcop and m0n0wall.

I think pfsense is hands down the winner! In the multiple years I have been running it both on hardware and as VM I don't recall ever having an issue with it.. It just runs and runs and runs!! If you run stable version 2.0.3 you should not have to touch the thing - I play with the development version 2.1 and have had some issue when you upgrade to latest snaps.

Which is why the great thing about running it as vm, I just roll it back if something is not working quite right.. Takes like 2 minutes to roll back and on version I was running before. Then wait til another snap comes out and move to that after reporting on their boards of such issues, etc.

2.1 got some nice stuff that the 2.0 line does not - one being ipv6 support, so if you want to play with that. If you really really need ipv6 to be stable then go with m0n0wall.. The 2.1 line has been having issues with ipv6 native, I changed back to using a tunnel from hurricane electric and that is very very stable.

If you go with any of the above distro's or quite a few others I have played with - just let me know if you have questions.. Happy to help you get up to speed.

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Definitely go with the ASUS. 

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Definitely look at pfSense as BudMan suggests.

Running it here also - and it  is rock solid.

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^ one of my many converts ;) And he is running it VM as well.

question for you - would you go back to your old way? ;)

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^ one of my many converts ;) And he is running it VM as well.

question for you - would you go back to your old way? ;)

 

I keep wanting to run pfSense but don't have a suitable old computer to run it with. Would you say it's worth the money to build a dedicated box for it if I'm doing okay with DD-WRT right now?

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