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Prushn

Time for a new router

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Well the router I have is now close to 18 yrs old so I'm thinking it's in need of replacing. That being said I know that there are wireless routers out there and new technology so I'd like to ask if any of you might have any suggestions?

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As a cybersecurity student, wireless routers are much easier for unwelcome sniffers and hackers to hack than a wired router. However, I recall reading there's a particular sort of paint (aluminum-based, I think) that blocks wi-fi signals from going through, so you'll want to research security tips. It won't look pretty to say you have a new router only to find out it was a major security hole, and every week I run into articles of lax security, even basic security, letting a hacker get in and cause major headaches.

 

I'm using a Netgear brand router. Dad bought it, so dunno the exact tech specs, but we've used it for more than 3 years now and it's given no problems yet.

 

However, you cite no budget nor other constraints? Like, minimum # of ports or internet connections it must be able to handle? Ease of use? Comes with effective security? It helps to be specific what needs you have for it besides simply internet connection, if more than that.

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Asus generally has some decent gaming-level wireless routers (but kind of pricy depending on the model), and their router interface (ASUS-WRT) is one of the friendlier ones out there (without resorting to 3rd party custom flashing). Just set it up, customize the security features, and go (please remember to change the default Asus WRT password). Netgear is also highly rated, while Linksys are hit-or-miss, but both also have some gaming-worthy wireless routers as well (Netgear's Nighthawk series notably, and Linksys' WRT AC routers, if you're into custom firmware for in-depth router control/management).

 

But to go more generally, any router that isn't a bargain bin router out of Walmart or Costco could work, in theory (recommended Wireless-N or Wireless-AC at minimum). You just have to make sure that the wireless standards they support are compatible with your existing laptop/desktop, though the maximum thoughtput is limited to the old standard in your desktop/laptop (so say it uses old-school wireless-G, but you're buying a Wireless-AC capable router with legacy support for A/B/G/N; your old Wireless-G device will only communicate as fast as the G standard allows). You may have to upgrade both the router and get an adapter to really take advantage of the increased transmission capability of the router (so for example, a Wireless-AC router and a Wireless-AC USB adapter). Also, depending on the internet speeds you pay for, you may not need the hottest gaming router or feature-packed router out there either.

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9 minutes ago, YamatoA150 said:

Also, depending on the internet speeds you pay for, you may not need the hottest gaming router or feature-packed router out there either.

 

:Smile_great:

This.

 

Remember that increasing your local network's data transfer speed isn't going to increase the speed at which you can upload to or download from the Internet if you are, say, on an 8 Mbps ADSL plan. That said, if you aren't getting data transfers at the top speed of your plan at least most of the time then your router might be the bottleneck. New firmware can help a router too, even an old one. Be careful about a firmware upgrade though. I've never had a bit of problem upgrading NetGear firmware. However, I had a D-Link modem/router that was "bricked" by a firmware upgrade that they provided on their site. 

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1 hour ago, Prushn said:

Well the router I have is now close to 18 yrs old so I'm thinking it's in need of replacing. That being said I know that there are wireless routers out there and new technology so I'd like to ask if any of you might have any suggestions?

Wow Prushn. Didn't know they had routers 18 years ago :cap_yes:.  Must take up a whole closet!


I use an older Netgear Nighthawk AC dual band (2.4/5ghz) router. It is a MIMO-MU (multi in, multi out-multi user) router. I have over 10 devices connecting to it at any given time and it handles them all flawlessly. 

One question though. What wireless adapters do you have? Getting a high powered router when your computer's wireless adapter is also 18 years old won't help. You need to balance your network with compatible hardware. Will be glad to help. More info is needed, though...

Edited by Khafni

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Hey there Khafni! My computer is new, about 4 months old. It's an Alienware Aurora R5 desktop and I really like it.

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2 minutes ago, Prushn said:

It's an Alienware Aurora R5 desktop

 

Assuming the Google specs are right, it should have Wireless-AC capability and is dual-band (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz). Thus, almost any modern dual-band Wireless-AC router would be sufficient; the remaining question is what is your average Internet speed you're paying for, and how many devices do you plan to connect to the router, as more expensive routers can handle multiple devices at once without degradation of the bandwidth. For example; MIMO technology or Smart/Intelligent WiFi management features. A more expensive router capable of handling multiple high-bandwidth devices may be beneficial if say, you're connecting the desktop plus a gaming console or another laptop/desktop (or both, or more), but if you're just using maybe a personal cellphone or two, a tablet, and the gaming desktop, a router with fewer features would be reasonable (and just restricting the tablet and cellphone to the 2.4Ghz band and the desktop to the 5Ghz band).

  • Cool 1

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According to what I can find you have a wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac adapter. I would say you should get a router that can use the AC protocol. As others have stated, wireless AC won't make your ISP download speed any faster. What an upgrade will give you is better security protocols. I wouldn't even know if you have any security with your existing network. That would, alone, be worth the upgrade.

Do you have a dual band capable phone? If not then you don't really need a dual band router (and probably don't need one anyway if you have very few devices connecting).

Fancy features like beamforming won't help if all components in the network arent capable of it.

The key is to match your new routers capability to your desktop adapter capability.

My favorite brands are Netgear and Asus.

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4 minutes ago, YamatoA150 said:

 

Assuming the Google specs are right, it should have Wireless-AC capability and is dual-band (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz). Thus, almost any modern dual-band Wireless-AC router would be sufficient; the remaining question is what is your average Internet speed you're paying for, and how many devices do you plan to connect to the router, as more expensive routers can handle multiple devices at once without degradation of the bandwidth. For example; MIMO technology or Smart/Intelligent WiFi management features. A more expensive router capable of handling multiple high-bandwidth devices may be beneficial if say, you're connecting the desktop plus a gaming console or another laptop/desktop (or both, or more), but if you're just using maybe a personal cellphone or two, a tablet, and the gaming desktop, a router with fewer features would be reasonable (and just restricting the tablet and cellphone to the 2.4Ghz band and the desktop to the 5Ghz band).

This^^^ well said!

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Forgot to add, if it so happens that the router is conveniently near the desktop; just buy an extra Ethernet cable and go wired (desktop to router, then router to modem). That cuts the Internet-based lag to minimum, assuming a consistent Internet connection. It also frees up WiFi bandwidth for other devices that can't connect via wire, and also avoids the rare network drop and reconnection time.

 

Alternatively, if you do want to go wired but the distance is too far, an Internet Powerline module/adapter set works too. Just be aware that a Powerline setup can be more expensive than a decently robust router if you're needing the wifi component for things such as tablets/cellphones/ultrasthin laptops in addition to the desktop, rather than just needing to solely connect that desktop (or desktop and console), as you would end up needing both the Router and Powerline and the Ethernet wires to make it all work. But if all you need is just connecting that desktop and one other wired device to the Internet and nothing else, a Powerline system is potentially cheaper (Modem to Powerline A with Ethernet cable <-> Powerline B to Desktop with Ethernet cable).

Edited by YamatoA150

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I have good internet speed as I have Charter. I believe I get 60 Megs per second. Money is not that much of an issue. I don't want to buy junk, but also not pay as if it were made of gold. The only thing physically attached would be the computer, however it would have the Tv, cellphone, and tablet attached over wifi.

 

i like the newer linksys gaming router but am Leary of linksys as I found out that they're not very secure compared to others. I've been reading good things about the asus ac3100.

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I tired a number of routers over the years (Linksys, Dlink, TPlink, Netgear and Asus).

 

  • Linksys makes poor hardware I find. Seems not to last.
  • Dlink flaw is it's slow on updates and bug fixes.
  • TPlink is very meh (software and hardware). They were great back when you could play around with MCS settings.
  • Netgear is nothing but trouble. They leave bugs in their software for years. They always seem to have wifi issues.
  • Asus makes the best hardware... They update a lot... But the down side is they some times put out bad software. If you don't like it, it's really easy to downgrade. They have gone no where with 1 advertised feature (WTFast) for 2 years however.

IMO, you'er best off going Asus.

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2 hours ago, MorbidGamer said:

I tired a number of routers over the years (Linksys, Dlink, TPlink, Netgear and Asus).

 

  • Linksys makes poor hardware I find. Seems not to last.
  • Dlink flaw is it's slow on updates and bug fixes.
  • TPlink is very meh (software and hardware). They were great back when you could play around with MCS settings.
  • Netgear is nothing but trouble. They leave bugs in their software for years. They always seem to have wifi issues.
  • Asus makes the best hardware... They update a lot... But the down side is they some times put out bad software. If you don't like it, it's really easy to downgrade. They have gone no where with 1 advertised feature (WTFast) for 2 years however.

IMO, you'er best off going Asus.

I saw a video on the WTFast system and sounded good. The ac3100 has gotten some good reviews.

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2 hours ago, MorbidGamer said:

I tired a number of routers over the years (Linksys, Dlink, TPlink, Netgear and Asus).

 

  • Dlink flaw is it's slow on updates and bug fixes.
  • Netgear is nothing but trouble. They leave bugs in their software for years. They always seem to have wifi issues.
  • Asus makes the best hardware...

 

I've had good luck with Netgear. My current Netgear WiFi router was pretty much plug and play. Also, it's downloaded and upgraded new firmware over the years without a hitch.

 

D-Link's firmware updates will sometimes "brick" their hardware and, knowing this, they still will keep said updates on their website for years. Their hardware is good though. Once I got it configured properly, my D-Link modem/router has served me well. 

 

Asus is a good company. I've used their hardware in some fashion since I started building my own systems. 

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Security, Stability, Support.

 

Using those three factors is a great start. In that order.

 

Netgear is not nothing but trouble, DLink I've had issues in the past (reoccurring), Asus never bought into their routers.

 

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12 hours ago, Reymu said:

As a cybersecurity student, wireless routers are much easier for unwelcome sniffers and hackers to hack than a wired router. However, I recall reading there's a particular sort of paint (aluminum-based, I think) that blocks wi-fi signals from going through, so you'll want to research security tips. It won't look pretty to say you have a new router only to find out it was a major security hole, and every week I run into articles of lax security, even basic security, letting a hacker get in and cause major headaches.

 

I'm using a Netgear brand router. Dad bought it, so dunno the exact tech specs, but we've used it for more than 3 years now and it's given no problems yet.

 

However, you cite no budget nor other constraints? Like, minimum # of ports or internet connections it must be able to handle? Ease of use? Comes with effective security? It helps to be specific what needs you have for it besides simply internet connection, if more than that.

 

If it's a desktop I plug in Cat-5E or Cat-6, dual band wireless or not.  It's only a 5 foot run, so that's even more reason to plug in, especially if it's Cat-6.  The only time I go wireless is if I'm actually on the go.

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Don't forget that some routers can be flashed with custom firmware (DD-WRT, OpenWRT, and Tomato to name a few); which are usually are better than the stock firmware and grant more control over the router and its features/capabilities, though they still run the risk of bricking a router (but less often than stock firmware updates).

 

Again, Asus Routers by default has their ASUS-WRT firmware, which pretty much does similar to the custom firmware, and doesn't require having to hunt down the latest 3rd party firmware for those other distributions (DD-WRT, OpenWRT, etc).

 

It's another thing to consider, if you're one to really take advantage of all the features and benefits of what your planned router can do. Also, it's a valid path for those also fed up with waiting for a router firmware update from the origin company, and again grants stronger control over the router.

 

As far as WTFast goes, it improves the connection for some, but also has degraded the connection for others. You'll just have to try it out and see how it goes; but there are other topics on it either being a boon or a bust for WoWs players. IIRC, once it even caused a false-ban from WG on the grounds of suspicious network activity, but that one was resolved quickly, if I'm not misremembering.

Edited by YamatoA150

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Prushn,

There are some great recommendations here, but you didn't really state your requirements.

To start with, what is your current router?  Do you plan to plug in, or go wireless?  Even with today's tech, a wired connection is still more reliable, and usually faster (to the router, at least).  Is your "old" router 10/100, and do you plan to plug in?  10/100 hasn't changed, so it's still faster than your internet connection, and works fine.  FYI, the only real reason to go Gigabit (10/100/1000) is if you do backups to a NAS, or transfer large files across your home network.  It may also future-proof you for streaming in full HD/4k.

If you plan to go wireless, any modern 802.11 N/AC router will work.  I personally use a Netgear R7000 flashed with Tomato-shibby.  The software that comes with routers is usually trash.  Third party is almost always better, and has been since the days of the original hobbyist router, the Linksys WRT-54G.  The Asus routers that run ASUS-WRT that YamatoA150 recommended might be good if you wish to remain stock; that firmware is based on Tomato.  Buffalo also uses a firmware based on Open Source, so that might be an option as well.  BTW, my R7000 with tomato is more stable than my ISP; I've never had to reset it (Linksys/Netgear stock firmware I've used had to be reset at least once a week).

As far as security goes, if you secure your network with WPA/WPA2, you should be fine.  At the base level, all routers use the same programs to actually do the routing, so if a large scale exploit is found, it affects ALL routers (like heartbleed).  Third party & open source based routers usually get these patched quicker, and some stock router software never gets patched.  Anyone really worried about security is running OpenBSD, anyway.

14 hours ago, Khafni said:

Wow Prushn. Didn't know they had routers 18 years ago :cap_yes:.  Must take up a whole closet!
I use an older Netgear Nighthawk AC dual band (2.4/5ghz) router. It is a MIMO-MU (multi in, multi out-multi user) router. I have over 10 devices connecting to it at any given time and it handles them all flawlessly.

The first ARPANET router was delivered to UCLA, and went online in Oct, 1969.  It looks like it was roughly the size of a refrigerator or vending machine.   A router, after all, is just a purpose specific computer, and that's how large computers were back then, as well.

Also, your "older" router is current hardware found on store shelves. 

 

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15 hours ago, Reymu said:

As a cybersecurity student, wireless routers are much easier for unwelcome sniffers and hackers to hack than a wired router. However, I recall reading there's a particular sort of paint (aluminum-based, I think) that blocks wi-fi signals from going through, so you'll want to research security tips. It won't look pretty to say you have a new router only to find out it was a major security hole, and every week I run into articles of lax security, even basic security, letting a hacker get in and cause major headaches.

 

I'm using a Netgear brand router. Dad bought it, so dunno the exact tech specs, but we've used it for more than 3 years now and it's given no problems yet.

 

However, you cite no budget nor other constraints? Like, minimum # of ports or internet connections it must be able to handle? Ease of use? Comes with effective security? It helps to be specific what needs you have for it besides simply internet connection, if more than that.

I had to replace my wireless router a couple of months ago.  While it wasn't 18 years old like Prushn's it was old enough that the plastic casing and antenna housings had become very brittle and I needed something with more speed.  

 

I replaced it with a Netgear N600 wireless router, has enough speed to handing TV streaming, you can change the preset password relatively easily and best of all, if you aren't driving a wireless device like a printer or TV you can shut the transmitter off with the push of a button and still use your computer in the hardwired mode.  It's not a top end router and does NOT include the modem in my case (my ISP provides the modem.)  Cost was only around $60.00, I was expecting to pay more. Combined Modem / Router will cost much more obviously.

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Well I went with the ASUS AC3100. Listening to you guys and checking out tech reviews I thought it was the best option. The setup was fast and easy and it’s working great. I was looking for something to handle 4 or 5 devices without degradation. I cabled the computer to the router mostly for peace of mind. I may change it later, it’s nice to have that option. 

I just want to say thanks for all the help guys. It was appreciated more than you know.

P.

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3 hours ago, Prushn said:

Well I went with the ASUS AC3100. Listening to you guys and checking out tech reviews I thought it was the best option. The setup was fast and easy and it’s working great. I was looking for something to handle 4 or 5 devices without degradation. I cabled the computer to the router mostly for peace of mind. I may change it later, it’s nice to have that option. 

I just want to say thanks for all the help guys. It was appreciated more than you know.

P.

 

Glad to have helped. That's a solid choice of router. It and its pricier, port-extensive sibling, the RT-AC88U, have worked out real well for me and the family members whose home network I had upgraded. As a suggestion, familiarize yourself with the ASUS-WRT firmware if you haven't already. Even if you may not be a power user, it's rather convenient being able to have such control over your router and protection methods (and frankly, mindblowing in my case, when I first upgraded to an ASUS router from an ancient bargain-bin Linksys/Cisco Walmart router).

 

Also, you probably may have more luck with the smart-bandwidth feature than I did. I ended up just sticking to two separate bands (2.4Ghz/5Ghz) rather than let the router auto-assign devices based on connection intensity/device type.

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48 minutes ago, YamatoA150 said:

 

Glad to have helped. That's a solid choice of router. It and its pricier, port-extensive sibling, the RT-AC88U, have worked out real well for me and the family members whose home network I had upgraded. As a suggestion, familiarize yourself with the ASUS-WRT firmware if you haven't already. Even if you may not be a power user, it's rather convenient being able to have such control over your router and protection methods (and frankly, mindblowing in my case, when I first upgraded to an ASUS router from an ancient bargain-bin Linksys/Cisco Walmart router).

 

Also, you probably may have more luck with the smart-bandwidth feature than I did. I ended up just sticking to two separate bands (2.4Ghz/5Ghz) rather than let the router auto-assign devices based on connection intensity/device type.

Thanks Yamato, I'm still trying to figure all of this out. Right now I just have the 5 and 2.4s and manually assigned devices to each. Next step is taking a closer look at the WRT.

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