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Is a Netgear Nighthawk AX5200 a good buy?


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Jose_49

 After 2 years and getting fantastic replies from Neowin , I'm back again with another inquiry. I just had to move the Unify AP that I got 2 years ago to another room, as the old Linksys N Router was flimsy and was not providing proper connection (sudden drops), and now I need to get a new one. 

 

The Unify Access Point ended up being OK. The signal decreased over the years as more "things" were placed around the device, and moving the AP was not feasible. I could barely get signals to my room (a 20cm reinforced concrete wall in the middle made it difficult). 

 

I learned from the excellent and trusty @BudMan that the best way to future proof your house is to purchase separate devices: your router and your access point. Although I don't know if I'll be committing a sin by going after a wireless router.

 

 

I now have a Dell XPS 15 7590 with WiFi 6 support. I've found a great deal in this Netgear Router. It seems from the specs that I would have a good range both: in my bedroom (which is on the other side of the Reinforced Concrete wall) and my balcony, plus WiFi 6. 

 

But, comments on the device concern me. Some people say that the router disconnects or present drops; others say that the WiFi speed is mediocre at best (getting bested by older WiFi routers). In addition, Netgear's website for the AX 4 makes me think about it thrice. 

 

I need to think it through before ordering it, as I can't make free returns anymore (I left the US, and returning it costs me $50 - $100). 

 

I wanted this because of 2 reasons: Great apparent coverage without a mesh and WiFi 6 support. 

 

So what do you think? Is a Netgear Nighthawk AX5200 a good buy? Or should I get something else? I don't want to spend more than $200. (Maybe Black Friday has some nice deals)

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+BudMan

Do you have AX devices?  Currently?  You have a reinforced concrete wall - hope you don't think your going to get AX speeds thru that ;)

 

If your router is flaking out - to be honest I would think that money would be better spent on an actual router - without wifi.  And then spending extra money on AP that you can connect to the network with wire and place where you need wifi.

 

$200 is a small budget for good networking gear to be honest..

 

Problem with that wifi router, forget what speeds it says it supports via wifi.. Is are they going to update the firmware after next years model comes out.  Does it support 3rd party firmware?  What is your internet speed??  Do you need something that does X wifi, when your internet is only Y?  What are you doing with wifi - you sure and the hell do not need AX wifi speeds to stream a movie, etc.

 

For a router - look to something like the sg1100, or 2100 from netgate.. Then add whatever wifi you want/need with as many AP as you need to cover your areas.. Be it they are N, or AC or AX etc..

 

I get it - you want to see the speed your paying for from the device your using.. But lets be real - why do you think you need 1gig on your phone?  The movie/song streams just fine at 40mbps, or for that matter even 20..  I like seeing 400 on my phone with speedtest as much as the next guy - but guess what, 40 works just as well..

 

Do I really need 400/40 to stream my song? Or watch my movie without buffering?  NO..

unnamed.png.daf04aaae3676cc7c61b9e7bcf3a91d1.png

 

Its nice to see that sure - but to be honest 40/4 would work just as well.

 

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Jose_49

I knew I could count on you!!! Awesome!! Thank you so much for the post! 

 

Yes, you are correct. I don't need 100% of the speed to get my things done. I recently upgraded to a 100 Mbps connection, though. (Although occasionally, downloading a game, I could benefit from it... But I could always get closer to the main router).

 

Setting all the marketing aside, I just need something that can connect wirelessly through a single concrete wall, and the balcony (about 60 FT, no concrete walls in between). I did follow your original recommendation of wiring the devices that do not change, 

 

 

I'm looking at the SG-2100. What would be the advantage of grabbing one vs another cheaper alternative? In addition, what would be a recommended access point? Would it be better to get a mesh or is there a single AP that could do the trick?

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+BudMan

Unless you have plans to upgrade your isp from 100mbps connection.. the sg1100 more than likely would be more than enough for you..

 

Do plan on trying to run IPS or pfblocker (with large lists of blocks - I mean large)?  Other than playing with IPS as a learning too - to be honest home networks rarely have any need of that.. And it is a pretty steep learning curve.. And it becomes more an more complex even letting it see traffic to trigger on because pretty much all traffic to and from the internet these days is encrypted..

 

You can compare specs here

https://www.netgate.com/resources/data-sheets/netgate-hardware-comparison.html

 

Do you want/need more ports on the router?  The 2100 has 4 switch ports - to be honest just use your switch ;) Does your current switch do vlans?  If buy an 8 port gig that does vlan for like $40..

 

As to wireless through some concrete wall.. Issue not so much that you can't see the signal from the AP through it - but the transmit power on your device prob can not reach back..   Your best option there is put an AP via a wire on the other side of the wall.  Worse case use powerline adapter as your wire.. They can normally do close to 100mbps if not a bit above (depends on your house wiring)...  Or if you need/want speed - can you use moca adapters?  Do you have cable that runs into the place behind the wall where you need wifi?

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Jose_49
1 hour ago, BudMan said:

Unless you have plans to upgrade your isp from 100mbps connection.. the sg1100 more than likely would be more than enough for you..

 

Hehe. I don't think so. Maybe if they throw at me cheaper plans for 200 Mbits... But let's be honest, 100Mbits is more than plenty (even with several people from the household streaming at <= 1080p).

 

1 hour ago, BudMan said:

Do plan on trying to run IPS or pfblocker (with large lists of blocks - I mean large)?

Nope.

 

1 hour ago, BudMan said:

Do you want/need more ports on the router?  The 2100 has 4 switch ports - to be honest just use your switch ;) Does your current switch do vlans?  If buy an 8 port gig that does vlan for like $40..

1st question: Yes.

2nd question: No available switch in the house. That was the main reason I looked over the 2100.

 

 

1 hour ago, BudMan said:

As to wireless through some concrete wall.. Issue not so much that you can't see the signal from the AP through it - but the transmit power on your device prob can not reach back..   Your best option there is put an AP via a wire on the other side of the wall.  Worse case use powerline adapter as your wire.. They can normally do close to 100mbps if not a bit above (depends on your house wiring)...  Or if you need/want speed - can you use moca adapters?  Do you have cable that runs into the place behind the wall where you need wifi?

I'd like to avoid passing a cable (even though It's literally on the other side, as I have fixed wood furniture in it). I do have a cheap TP Link powerline adapter into my room, in which I'm connecting my laptop through there (Currently netting 36 Mbits).

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Jason S.

i cant vouch for Netgear's AX routers, but ive had one of their AC routers for many years, and it's been excellent. I have the R7000. It's been rock solid. i get solid performance all over the house, including the basement.

 

i'm continually surprised at how much i've liked this router as i always attributed netgear products as low-end Best Buy crap. Not true in this case!

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Jose_49

And one other question. Wouldn't the garbage of the ISP wireless router be a limiting factor in here as well? Can't tell you the times the router crashes when 4 devices are accessing it at the same time. Fortunately, through the AP we were able to communicate without too many issues.

 

It's a huawei hg8245h, btw.

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Brandon H
12 minutes ago, Jason S. said:

i cant vouch for Netgear's AX routers, but ive had one of their AC routers for many years, and it's been excellent. I have the R7000. It's been rock solid. i get solid performance all over the house, including the basement.

 

i'm continually surprised at how much i've liked this router as i always attributed netgear products as low-end Best Buy crap. Not true in this case!

Netgear has been known to fluctuate in quality; not nearly as much as Linksys but still a fair amount. the R7000 and a few of their other AC routers were some of their higher quality time periods (Y) 

12 minutes ago, Jose_49 said:

And one other question. Wouldn't the garbage of the ISP wireless router be a limiting factor in here as well? Can't tell you the times the router crashes when 4 devices are accessing it at the same time. Fortunately, through the AP we were able to communicate without too many issues.

 

It's a huawei hg8245h, btw.

I always advise people to stay away from the ISP modem/router combo devices. they tend to be less stable, have not so good antennae, get less firmware/security updates, etc.

Best to get a stand alone modem then have a separate router for WiFi and such.

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+BudMan
2 hours ago, Jose_49 said:

I do have a cheap TP Link powerline adapter into my room, in which I'm connecting my laptop through there (Currently netting 36 Mbits).

What specific model?  And just like with wifi routers - the numbers they put on the box are a lie ;)  Never would you get what they state on the box ;)  But there are benchmarks showing them getting way above your 100mbps internet speed..

 

If your goal is bandwidth.. And you have a concrete wall - your going to need a wire.. Best would be just plain old Ethernet.. But if you have any cable (coax) that runs between rooms - moca adapters are an option and you can get gig over those.. Or damn close, etc.

 

I wouldn't recommend against the 2100 if your up for the price difference over the 1100..  But from a cost point of view and your low internet speed.  The 1100 and a 40$ 8 port gig smart switch would prob be better option.

 

If you have old wifi routers laying around - you can always leverage them as just AP with switch ports..  Any wifi router, any!  Can just be used as AP by just turning off its dhcp server, and connecting it to your network via one of its lan ports - there you go AP..

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Jose_49
On 03/11/2020 at 18:29, BudMan said:

What specific model?  And just like with wifi routers - the numbers they put on the box are a lie ;)  Never would you get what they state on the box ;)  But there are benchmarks showing them getting way above your 100mbps internet speed..

 

If your goal is bandwidth.. And you have a concrete wall - your going to need a wire.. Best would be just plain old Ethernet.. But if you have any cable (coax) that runs between rooms - moca adapters are an option and you can get gig over those.. Or damn close, etc.

 

I wouldn't recommend against the 2100 if your up for the price difference over the 1100..  But from a cost point of view and your low internet speed.  The 1100 and a 40$ 8 port gig smart switch would prob be better option.

 

If you have old wifi routers laying around - you can always leverage them as just AP with switch ports..  Any wifi router, any!  Can just be used as AP by just turning off its dhcp server, and connecting it to your network via one of its lan ports - there you go AP..

Jesus Christ! I thought I replied to you, but I didn't!!! Omg...

 

Thank you so much for the reply! Here's the default Wi-Fi modem:

huawei hg8245h

 

The TP-Link I have is:

TP-Link AV1000 Powerline Ethernet Adapter

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06WP2ZT5N/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

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Jose_49
On 03/11/2020 at 16:05, Brandon H said:

Netgear has been known to fluctuate in quality; not nearly as much as Linksys but still a fair amount. the R7000 and a few of their other AC routers were some of their higher quality time periods (Y) 

I always advise people to stay away from the ISP modem/router combo devices. they tend to be less stable, have not so good antennae, get less firmware/security updates, etc.

Best to get a stand alone modem then have a separate router for WiFi and such.

Thank you so much Brandon! Do you know where can I get a compatible standalone model? I have a Huawei HG-8245H

On 03/11/2020 at 18:29, BudMan said:

What specific model?  And just like with wifi routers - the numbers they put on the box are a lie ;)  Never would you get what they state on the box ;)  But there are benchmarks showing them getting way above your 100mbps internet speed..

 

If your goal is bandwidth.. And you have a concrete wall - your going to need a wire.. Best would be just plain old Ethernet.. But if you have any cable (coax) that runs between rooms - moca adapters are an option and you can get gig over those.. Or damn close, etc.

 

I wouldn't recommend against the 2100 if your up for the price difference over the 1100..  But from a cost point of view and your low internet speed.  The 1100 and a 40$ 8 port gig smart switch would prob be better option.

 

If you have old wifi routers laying around - you can always leverage them as just AP with switch ports..  Any wifi router, any!  Can just be used as AP by just turning off its dhcp server, and connecting it to your network via one of its lan ports - there you go AP..

Again BudMan, thank you so much. for all the help....


Edit (Before posting haha):


I've been spending some time making some research, and I've learned quite a bit. It's been many many years since I sat down and made some reading.

 

Thanks Budman. I've been learning quite a lot. The reason you recommend the SG-1100 is because it comes with PFSense pre-installed, it receives constant updates, and it does an excellent job routing < 500 Mbps connections. Something higher, I'd need the 3000 series. I don't think I'll need it for at least 3-5 years (even if it becomes available, there's no need for us to upgrade for a higher speed, when the current 100 Mbps is poorly used).

 

I just need to watch out for the UPnP, which needs to be opened per game or per console. (The Switch has special problems with it, but there are apparently workarounds... I still don't own one, but planning on buying one with the next revision).

 

I also found out that the name of the special fiber port is called GPON, and that there are routers out there that sell them as replacements. @BudMan or @Brandon H, will it be worth replacing the main router, or will disabling the DHCP server work and then we route it through the SG-1100? I do remember almost always having issues with the default router, as it has little to no RAM and CPU (thus, translating to serious connection drops). I was able to circumvent this by using external AP devices.

 

 

 

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