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December 14th, 2017, 17:54
When I ordered TV signals from my internet provider kindly upgraded my broadband connection to 300 mbit/sec. I tried downloading a game from Steam, and it happily delivered a bit more than 30 MB.

That was using my LAN. Wifi operates at half the bandwidth. My router is a NetGear WNDR4300 (Dual band, 802.11n), which so far has served me well. It claims to support 450 mbit/s on the 5 Ghz channel, and the wifi-cards in the machines is supposed to support that. But effective bandwidth is 150 mbit/s.

So I consider getting a new router (and probably a couple of USB wifi adapters). Any recommendations?

Some additional info: Wifi-signal has been good everywhere in the house (house is not that big, and the router is located in the middle of it). Up to three people in the household will be using wifi regularly. Rarely there will be more than that, but not so often that it's relevant. We don't stream that much, but when we do, we'd like it to run smoothly.

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December 14th, 2017, 20:31
I'm currently running an ASUS RT-AC66U.

Usually the first thing I do is put on custom firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato, but this one works so well, I haven't felt the need to do so. Having AC makes quite a bandwidth difference too. Pretty much all the dual-band ASUS AC routers you can't go wrong with.

My fellow IT workers here rave about the TP-LINK Archer C7 routers too, but i've never used any of them.

Make sure the USB WiFi adapters are top notch too. Network is only as fast as your weakest link.
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December 14th, 2017, 21:03
I have a tp-link c5400 and don't like it much (firmware is a pia). My previous router was an asus rt-n66u (not sure if that is the same as caddy ac66u) and i liked it quite a bit (firmware was great). The reason i switched to the tp-link is i run yyy on the local-net and the wired transfer rate was quite slow (well I think around 600mb/s and I wanted 900+ mb/s).
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Btw how are you determining the wifi transfer rate - are you sure the issue is the router and not the source or dst ?
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December 14th, 2017, 22:20
Originally Posted by you View Post

Btw how are you determining the wifi transfer rate - are you sure the issue is the router and not the source or dst ?
Testing the same site (internet provider) with my floortop connected to the router by ethernet cable and my laptops using wifi.

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December 14th, 2017, 22:37
Originally Posted by you View Post
I have a tp-link c5400 and don't like it much (firmware is a pia). My previous router was an asus rt-n66u (not sure if that is the same as caddy ac66u) and i liked it quite a bit (firmware was great). The reason i switched to the tp-link is i run yyy on the local-net and the wired transfer rate was quite slow (well I think around 600mb/s and I wanted 900+ mb/s).
-
Btw how are you determining the wifi transfer rate - are you sure the issue is the router and not the source or dst ?
N66U is basically the same as the AC66U except with the faster AC connections.

And if you have a dual-band, configuring each frequency for a different protocol makes quite a difference (configure 2.4 for G/N protocols, and configure 5 GHz for AC devices only), that way you don't get any bottlenecks due to switching.
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December 14th, 2017, 23:28
I've never met a consumer router that I've liked, and most are hideously insecure, running outdated buggy software that is rarely patched, on feeble overpriced hardware.

I'd recommend a small NUC-type PC, running Pfsense, with a proper wifi access point, like the Unifi range.
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December 14th, 2017, 23:35
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I've never met a consumer router that I've liked, and most are hideously insecure, running outdated buggy software that is rarely patched, on feeble overpriced hardware.

I'd recommend a small NUC-type PC, running Pfsense, with a proper wifi access point, like the Unifi range.
Wow, I've worked in the IT field all my life and din't understand half of what you wrote.
Any way to translate that into English?
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December 15th, 2017, 00:22
I'm essentially just recommending building your own router, and suggesting a setup.

Routers are just very low power PCs in a little box, and the typical ones are poor quality. An Intel NUC is a popular type of mini PC you could use instead. Pfsense is pretty much the standard as an open source router OS, used in a lot of expensive pro hardware. Unifi is a brand of wireless access points that you would connect to your mini PC to allow it to function as a wifi router. In terms of hitting the proper speeds reliably, they blow the little arials in a standard router out of the water.
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December 15th, 2017, 00:34
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I've never met a consumer router that I've liked, and most are hideously insecure, running outdated buggy software that is rarely patched, on feeble overpriced hardware.

I'd recommend a small NUC-type PC, running Pfsense, with a proper wifi access point, like the Unifi range.
My goodness. I could buy a semi to move a mattress, but a little overkill.

I think for what's being asked here, a $100 router (with or without custom firmware) will work fine.
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December 15th, 2017, 00:46
I don't consider it overkill. It is true that when building your own, you tend to end up with more power than you need, and pay more than you would for a cheapo router. But, to me that's a price worth paying for proper control of a device that can be highly secure and optimized. With the typical $100 routers, I've often found that they fail to perform anywhere near the advertised specs, lose connections regularly, and have exploits you could drive a bus through.

Cheap routers sort of do the job, but if you're a bit techie and like things to work properly, I've found it worthwhile to roll my own.
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December 15th, 2017, 01:19
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
I don't consider it overkill.
I think we are too naive on what is overkill.

Many of us nerdy techs probably have a NAS running a RAID 6 setup with a static IP or DDNS to host FTP files, an old APC rack with a bunch of ancient POE switches collecting dust, and a closet full of hardware including: an old 5.25" floppy drive we will never use (you know, in case you need to load up King's Quest CGA again during the apocalypse), Wing Commander: Privateer on 6 floppies, a LAN toner, a burned CD of a pre-Backtrack Knoppix distro, two half-assembled Lenovo T-series laptops, eleventy billion generic AC cables, an old VIC-20 with a cassette drive, 2 old droid phones you've been meaning to make a security system with, 3 AOL CDs that you've been meaning to throw in the microwave for fun, 2 UPSs that have needed new batteries for the past few years, a driver disk of an ABIT motherboard you got rid of 15 years ago, and a crate of unopened Bawls that you hope one day will be worth more than Bitcoin.

But for everyone else I like to tell them to get an iPhone instead of an Android, because I don't want to come over every week to help them setup their shit.

You hear that dad? Buy what I tell you! Stop buying other stuff I didn't recommend, then making me fix it.
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December 15th, 2017, 01:36
Yeah, and I wouldn't be advocating the pfsense route to everyone. But, bear in mind that I've been talking to Pibbur for a while now, and I know he's no stranger to the technical side of things. He might not be bothered to go with a custom router, but I could also imagine that he might like to assemble something optimal.

I just think the self-build router is a good option, if you're up for a bit of tinkering. The custom firmwares for consumer routers I found to be a frustrating game. The level of support comes and goes for various routers, and many routers have proprietary features that are not available to the open firmwares. The AC66U actually has that problem - network speeds of the custom firmwares are well below the official ones (unless something has changed since I looked at it.)
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December 15th, 2017, 02:00
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Yeah, and I wouldn't be advocating the pfsense route to everyone. But, bear in mind that I've been talking to Pibbur for a while now, and I know he's no stranger to the technical side of things. He might not be bothered to go with a custom router, but I could also imagine that he might like to assemble something optimal.

I just think the self-build router is a good option, if you're up for a bit of tinkering. The custom firmwares for consumer routers I found to be a frustrating game. The level of support comes and goes for various routers, and many routers have proprietary features that are not available to the open firmwares. The AC66U actually has that problem - network speeds of the custom firmwares are well below the official ones (unless something has changed since I looked at it.)
I haven't run into any slowdowns with the ac66u at this point and their firmware updates have been pretty regular, however I am running it in a smaller living space, so longer distance wifi could be an issue, I don't know. If I had though, I would have gone with a custom firmware. I think this is probably the first router I haven't.
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December 15th, 2017, 02:58
Does pfsense take much to configure ? I see it is based off of freebsd kernel.

Personally for myself a nuc would not do as I require more than 1 lan interface. I would actually require an itx system with a high quality intel port pcie port card. To be honest I just can't see going this route though I suppose I could use a nuc and a switch for the local traffic. In some sense that might actually make things more secure but alas I still require a box with two ports (one for the cable and one to the switch). Seems pricey and complex but maybe I am missing something obvious.

Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Yeah, and I wouldn't be advocating the pfsense route to everyone. But, bear in mind that I've been talking to Pibbur for a while now, and I know he's no stranger to the technical side of things. He might not be bothered to go with a custom router, but I could also imagine that he might like to assemble something optimal.

I just think the self-build router is a good option, if you're up for a bit of tinkering. The custom firmwares for consumer routers I found to be a frustrating game. The level of support comes and goes for various routers, and many routers have proprietary features that are not available to the open firmwares. The AC66U actually has that problem - network speeds of the custom firmwares are well below the official ones (unless something has changed since I looked at it.)
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December 15th, 2017, 09:18
The suggestion from the ripper is interesting, and certainly something I'd like to do, but for several reasons, not at the moment.

It so happens that my dealer has the ASUS RT-AC66U on sale this week, so I've ordered that one.

Thanks to all of you (you included).

pibbur whose very, very internal (wetware) network is cabled.
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December 15th, 2017, 10:57
Originally Posted by you View Post
Does pfsense take much to configure ? I see it is based off of freebsd kernel.

Personally for myself a nuc would not do as I require more than 1 lan interface. I would actually require an itx system with a high quality intel port pcie port card. To be honest I just can't see going this route though I suppose I could use a nuc and a switch for the local traffic. In some sense that might actually make things more secure but alas I still require a box with two ports (one for the cable and one to the switch). Seems pricey and complex but maybe I am missing something obvious.
Pfsense is easy to configure, and will just detect and use any supported hardware. Once it's installed, it gives you a web interface that will be very familiar to anyone that's ever been into their router settings. The main difference is that it's properly supported and can update itself regularly like any BSD distro, and you have more options if you want them. It's actually no harder to configure than standard routers.

A NUC can do the job with a single port if you set up VLANs, and lots people use them that way. I built my own setup with a mini ITX case and PicoPSU, and got a four port Intel card from eBay.

To me, the cost is justified, as I think you get what you pay for. I spent a lot of time messing around with consumer routers, trying to get them to perform, before I realised that building with decent components was the way forward. The actual router box I built will likely serve me for many years. If WiFi tech improves, I just replace the Unifi access point (about Ł80). The router is powerful enough that it routes all my wan traffic through a VPN for privacy, and acts as a VPN server so that I can connect to my home server securely from anywhere. I certainly wouldn't go back to the crap they sell home users.
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December 15th, 2017, 13:56
I don't see how the nuc could transfer 1gb/s over the local net unless there is an additional switch. Still looking at the pfsense threads there is a cute solution with a j1900 for $250.
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December 15th, 2017, 14:26
Anyone have any experience with Googles Wifi solution? https://store.google.com/product/google_wifi

I need something super user friendly that can cover a 2 story house with a big chimney in the middle blocking signals. So I need at least one repeater or node or whatever it's called on the second floor. The setup I have now works but the speeds are terrible.
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December 15th, 2017, 15:04
Originally Posted by you View Post
I don't see how the nuc could transfer 1gb/s over the local net unless there is an additional switch. Still looking at the pfsense threads there is a cute solution with a j1900 for $250.
Yes, you'd obviously need a separate switch in that scenario. I'd recommend a second NIC, and there's various ways to add a second NIC to your NUC(!). There's also various other NUC-like boxes out there, or you can build your own, as I did. I'm not particularly recommending the Intel NUCs - I was just using them as a reference point for very low power, small footprint PCs that would be no larger than an average home router.
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December 30th, 2017, 16:52
FYI:

Installed the ASUS RT-AC66U today. Tried wireless bandwidth again (same server) and now I get 250-300 mbit/s.

pibbur who is slightly excited.

PS. Yay! DS.
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