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Router recommendations (another one!)


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#1 Brian M.

Brian M.

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 20:58

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!




#2 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 21:03

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.



#3 OP Brian M.

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 21:12

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! 



#4 TPreston

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 21:22

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

#5 +ThePhoenix

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 21:28

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.



#6 xendrome

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 21:32

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



#7 +BudMan

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 21:55

"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.

#8 xendrome

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 21:56

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.



#9 +BudMan

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 22:06

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 ;)

#10 +Scott Hellewell

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 22:09

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.  



#11 xendrome

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 22:15

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.



#12 OP Brian M.

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Posted 15 July 2013 - 23:43

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).



#13 Crisp

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 00:21

+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" ;)



#14 JJ_

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 00:33

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

#15 +BudMan

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Posted 16 July 2013 - 03:14

"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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