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Ask Slashdot: Good Gigabit 802.11N Home Router?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the bang-for-your-buck dept.

Networking 398

nukem996 writes "This week I will be moving into a new apartment with a very fast Internet connection (100M with the possibility of 200M in the future). I'm used to running OpenWRT on my Linksys WRT54G router and would like a well supported router to replace it. While researching routers I found most reviewers were using the default firmware and since I'll be putting on OpenWRT I'd like to know how well it works when using that. My requirements are gigabit LAN and WAN, 802.11N at 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, well supported by OpenWRT and/or DD-WRT, and USB support would be nice. I was thinking of going with BUFFALO WZR-HP-AG300H but some reviewers say there are range and dropping issues. My ISP suggests the Apple Airport Extreme which isn't supported by OpenWRT or the D-Link 825 which has connection problems as well and a few friends told me to stay away form D-Link. What does slashdot think?"

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398 comments

first poster has no problems with dlink (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438086)

had DLINKs for years and they do lock up with power bumps but otherwise no problems.

Re:first poster has no problems with dlink (5, Informative)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438166)

Are you running BitTorrent? I tried out two separate D-Link routers about a year ago, when I was looking to replace a dying wrt-54G. Both of the D-Link routers would crash in a big way within minutes of firing up BitTorrent. I ended up buying another wrt-54G from Newegg, which still works perfectly, and vowed never to buy another D-Link product again.

To answer the original poster's comments - I actually ended up buying a refurb Linksys E2000 on sale for cheap (less than $30). I continue to run my 54g, with my E2000 running alongside it in 5ghz mode. I would recommend this approach of running two separate routers for 2.4ghz and 5ghz access, as It's a lot cheaper to buy 2 selective dual-band routers than a single simultaneous dual band router. Also, if one of the routers should die on you, you'll have a backup.

Re:first poster has no problems with dlink (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438536)

I actually ended up buying a refurb Linksys E2000 on sale for cheap (less than $30).

Same here. I used to run a highly-modified OpenWRT system on my last WRT unit, but this time I kept the default firmware. The routing features configured on third-party firmware bins will slow the effective transfer rate by one-half to one-third the stock transfer rate. If OpenWRT supported the E2000 I'd use it again... DDWRT & Tomato are turds with a prettified GUI.

Asus RT-N16 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438094)

Ive got an ASUS RT-N16 running DD-WRT and found it to be a solid workhorse. Supports all the functionality you require as well.

Re:Asus RT-N16 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438358)

Same here. I went from a WRT54GL with tomato firmware to an Asus RT-N16 and i still feel i'm not taking full advantage of the router, despite having my printer plugged into one of the USB ports and an external USB HD plugged in the other port.

Been an year, and so far no complaints at all. Can't say for the other dd-wrt capable routers, but I have no reason to move from the RT-N16.

Re:Asus RT-N16 (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438522)

Does it actually support Gigabit on the WAN port? Most consumer gigabit routers i've seen have 10/100 on WAN, and gigabit on LAN.

Netgear WNDR-3700 (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438096)

It supports 802.11N at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, has a USB port, and supports gigabit LAN. The default firmware is a modified version of OpenWRT, and it is supported by both OpenWRT and DDWRT. It performs quite well.

WNDR3700 (2)

martok (7123) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438098)

I use the Netgear WNDR3700 which works quite well with OpenWRT. Having said that, really slashdot? Slow day?

Re:WNDR3700 (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438124)

I realize this is a false dichotomy, but would you really prefer a troll story to this?

Re:WNDR3700 (4, Informative)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438132)

really slashdot? Slow day?

Agreed. Aren't their better places to ask for the best gigabit 802.11n router supporting DD-WRT and OpenWRT? Not really "News for Nerds" or "Stuff that Matters". I'm sure any number of a hundred forums would be better, maybe the dd-wrt forum [dd-wrt.com] or openwrt forum [openwrt.org] would good places to start since you require a router that support both of those.

Kinda interesting though (4, Insightful)

LostMyBeaver (1226054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438270)

This is an issue which is more likely to effect Slashdotters than the average daily user. Many ISPs are offering 100MBps+ (in civilized countries) knowing there are factors involved such as the fact that the consumers will either never use the allocated bandwidth and there will be even less who can find suitable hardware to handle the connection.

I have personally considered in the past using KickStarter to design a SOHO Layer-3 switch with IPv6 and NAT. Wireless routers will be an issue in high bandwidth environments for a time to come since wireless routers typically use low end ARM processors and perform software based routing. Even using modern high end ARM CPUs, performing routing within software at bitrates over 60MBps is a challenge. Just the memory moves are insane.

An alternative is to use a DSP for software based routing which generally can improve performance substantially in these cases as they tend to contain a separate "Device" which they call an enhanced DMA controller, but instead is simply a device which is programmable to move memory using DMA. More advanced ones even include some scatter/gather functionality which can be useful for restamping network packets for NATing.

I can go into extensive details about how software based routers will always suffer for one reason or another and present dozens of alternative methods of implementing a SOHO (sub $300) solution to this problem, but the point is simply this. It is in fact a problem.

I can't be 100% sure whether the guys at Linksys/Cisco, Netgear, DLink etc... read Slashdot, but raising awareness to the issue may increase the awareness among these vendors to a need we "high end users" are coming across. The aging platforms from these vendors need an overhaul to support higher bandwidth and time has come which network routing is no longer really an option for strictly software based solutions. It is time we start getting consumer priced layer-3 switches with NAT, IPv6 and 6-over-4 solutions as well. The designs should include the features we expect from SOHO routers but should function as switches. This is entirely possible using low end FPGAs and using for example either an Intel Stellerton platform or possibly a Xilinx with embedded ARM would be ideal for these cases.

So, I am pretty pleased this topic has come up here. I am hoping that by the time my ISP upgrades me to 100 MBps (I'm a cheapskate... I only pay for 50up/50down, but can get 400up/400down for twice the price) I'll be able to handle the performance. At the moment, I'm using a Cisco 1900 series router which is soon to max out.

Re:WNDR3700 (2)

Osty (16825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438266)

I use the Netgear WNDR3700 which works quite well with OpenWRT

The WNDR3700 is great if you don't mind 5GHz ranges of approximately a 10' radius of the router (why would you buy a simultaneous dual-band router and not use the 5GHz frequency?). I replaced my 3700 with a Linksys/Cisco E3000 because of that, and have been happy with the E3000 ever since. I do run stock firmware (shut up), but DD-WRT is also supported. OpenWRT lists the E3000 in the "Possible but not being worked on" section of its supported router list, so if OpenWRT is a requirement then you're out of luck here. OpenWRT apparently does not like any Linksys/Cisco product that's newer than ~5 years old.

I've also heard good things about the new E4200, but it's a work-in-progress at DD-WRT and as mentioned above OpenWRT won't go near Linksys/Cisco stuff, so consider what that's worth.

my experience is different (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438356)

My router is in my basement and I can reliably get a perfectly fine signal on my main floor 40 feet away. The 2.4GHz signal is stronger, but on 5GHz I can use double-wide channels.

Re:WNDR3700 (3, Insightful)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438402)

Having said that, really slashdot? Slow day?

Perhaps, but it is surprisingly difficult to find good info on this. I mostly blame this on hardware manufacturers releasing hundreds of models, instead of just a few that work. But what you will find in practice is that free operating systems haven't been tested on most of them, many don't achieve the rated speeds (many not even anywhere near), much of the software has reliability issues, and much of this hasn't been posted to the Internet yet. So, you ask around. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Also, as I am going to be in the market for a new router myself, I am very interested in this thread.

I currently have a TP-Link TP-WR1043ND, which I am happy with. It runs OpenWRT, supports Gigabit Ethernet, and has a USB port. Sadly, transferring files over SSH only achieves about 1 MB/s, due to the CPU getting saturated. It has no problems saturating my Internet connection, though. In short, it does what I want it to do, and it's cheap.

My thoughts... (1, Interesting)

Cylix (55374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438100)

This is my current router chosen because it was compatible with dd-wrt.

It isn't wholly free of issues and the initial linux firmware actually had a memory leak in the httpd service. Depending on how much free time you want to invest you can move away from the stable build and roll your own dd-wrt or open-wrt. The leak was corrected fairly quickly after the initial release.

It can get prissy if it runs for a few weeks, but I have always used nightly restarts to mitigate any long term issues. TBH I've always had that issue with DD-WRT and I've always scheduled nightly reboots. I could probably get by weekly, but I'm rarely online at 4am.

If you are in the market for something new and stable my suggestion would be to do what I would do. Pick your poison and browse their forums. It usually isn't difficult to see what the current favorite is and where there is popularity there is generally support.

Here is my basic guideline for what to look for...
Find a supported and fairly popular device that meets your feature criteria. (External antenna, dual, chipset preference, etc)
Determine how easy it is to upgrade and prevent bricking. (Unless you want a tricky alpha procedure and have extra time)
Look at the recent release and review the initial setup instructions and upgrade instructions.

It seems like the latter two are the same. However, the first of the two is to ensure that a stable process actually exists and there are not vast reports of masonry at work. The second process is there to ensure you know what you are getting into pre-purchase. When you are looking for the shortest path to success a little ground work and notes can make the adventure entirely unadventurous.

These are by no means instructions for everyone to follow. I have at times purchased gear knowing the road ahead was going to be bumpy, but I really wanted said item to function. At the time, I didn't mind putting in the weekend to getting the device up and running. With the early Linksys device I spent some time putting together a cheap serial port and soldiered on the ttl to cmos adapter to play with the boot loader.

However, now I'm lazy and I have other projects to spend my efforts on. My guess is if you are asking these questions you don't want to take the low road either.

Buffalo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438102)

I have that Buffalo model myself and I find that the range is great, and have never had a dropping issue - except when I was 250feet or so away

I say stay away from D-Link too (1)

asto21 (1797450) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438104)

I've had only one D-Link product till now - An 803 adsl modem. They packed it with loads of features on the software side that the hardware clearly couldn't handle. It would hang randomly every few hours but got better when I disabled the firewall and some other stuff. Randomly slowed down and required a reboot to fix the issue. Finally crapped out a few days back and replaced it with a chinese adsl modem (tp-link) which works WAY better. Even the huawei (also chinese) that I had before the D-Link performed much better. I will never buy a D-Link again for the rest of my life!

Re:I say stay away from D-Link too (1)

Kylon99 (2430624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438236)

Not only that. I had a D-Link router before that had to reboot whenever I opened up a port for forwarding. Imagine ALL your connections dropped and reset... Maybe a normal consumer wouldn't care, but the original question was asking us on slashdot. I can't have my connections dropping once in awhile! :)

Re:I say stay away from D-Link too (1)

1karmik1 (963790) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438372)

I'm not debating that D-Link products aren't poor overall (most consumer hardware is). But i found that DIR-300 units with DD-WRT on it make excellent "cheap/fast" setups. Highest bandwidth setup i used them in is FTTH 10mbit and 11g wireless with WPA2. So far working extremely well.

Anecdotal Evidence (3, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438110)

Prepare for lots of it! First, a question. You're dropping a lot of money on a fat pipe, why are you considering consumer grade hardware? (Unless you're talking about 100Mbps divided by the entire apartment complex, which means you could be fighting that kid down the hall with a Usenet account for a shred of 1Mbps.)

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438286)

"You're dropping a lot of money on a fat pipe, why are you considering consumer grade hardware?"

Maybe he actually lives outside the USA, like in Europe, where they actually have fiber to the homes. Where 20~100 GB is common.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438304)

"Lot's of money?" Eh, welcum to Sweden!
I pay US $25 per month for a 100/100 Mbit line. I have fiber all the way into my appartment, and the fiber/ethernet converter supports up to gigabit.
At least one ISP here (we have a system where you can choose from ~10 different ISP's) will start to offer 1000/100 lines this fall/winter (but then you would have to _drop_ $$$, about $100 per month, not worth it imo since the upstream stays at 100Mbit).
I talked to the network operator, and they will be upgrading our uplink from 1Gbit to 10Gbit at the same time. So, 30 appartments sharing 10Gbit uplink when 1Gbit to the customer get's available.

And as of sharing the pipe....
I have no problems at all maxing out my 100/100 24/7.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438332)

I Have 200/10MBits connection at home and I pay 7 euros a month from it.
And then I have separate 14/6Mbits connection on my smartphone for 2 euros a month.

So I pay 9 euros a month from them and it is less than 14 dollars. Even my smartphone traffic a month is over 30 gigabytes.

Re:Anecdotal Evidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438396)

You're an american, I presume? =)

I am happy with my TP-Link WR1043ND (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438112)

Unfortunately for you, it's only 2.4 GHz.

Anyway, last I remembered, OpenWRT was having issues with dual-band 802.11n, though I may not have been paying very much attention, and this may have been resolved if it ever was a problem to begin with.

Re:I am happy with my TP-Link WR1043ND (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438398)

I am also very happy with my two TP-Link WR1043ND running Gargoyle/OpenWRT.

Re:I am happy with my TP-Link WR1043ND (1)

MrLizardo (264289) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438472)

Seconded! I don't use the 802.11n that heavily since I'm usually on my desktop or an old PowerBook, but it's been fantastic overall. The best part is that it works great under OpenWRT and I believe it should be well supported for quite a while due to the fact that it doesn't need any closed source drivers, AFAIK.

Apple Airport Extreme and Cisco E4200 (5, Informative)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438116)

The best 802.11n home routers right now are the Apple Airport Extreme and the Cisco E4200. The key feature to look for is dual-band: you want to keep 802.11a/b traffic on 2.4Ghz and 802.11n on 5.0Ghz. That will allow you to achieve 802.11n's upper bound of 450 Mbps without baggage from 802.11a/b. If you want the most effortless setup, get the Airport Extreme; the accessory Airport Express devices will also allow you to extend the wireless range of your network.

Re:Apple Airport Extreme and Cisco E4200 (1)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438212)

I'm deducting 10 nerd-credits from this post for failing to mention G.

Re:Apple Airport Extreme and Cisco E4200 (1)

lazybeam (162300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438246)

Also 802.11a is 5.x GHz - it is b/g on 2.4GHz. 802.11n can run on both 2.4 and 5.x.

The Airport (like virtually all Apple stuff) is great if you don't want to tinker with it. This goes against the OP's requirement.

Re:Apple Airport Extreme and Cisco E4200 (5, Informative)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438306)

Yep. The Airport Extreme is one of the very few consumer-grade routers than can actually route at 100 Mbps on the WAN side. Many so-called gigabit home routers can manage gigabit switching on the LAN side, but start choking on the WAN side once you get to about 50-60 Mbps.

Personally I use a FritzBox 7390 [fritzbox.com.au]. Can route at something like 400-500 Mbps on the WAN side so won't break a sweat doing 100 Mbps. Heaps of features in the firmware (QoS, VPN, SIP VoIP, DECT, traffic monitoring and blocking, line diagnostics blah blah) and compared to DLink and Netgear and all that other rubbish, and stable to boot. It is actually a combined DSL (ADSL2+/VDSL) modem and router but you can turn the modem part off and just use it as a plain old router. Has dualband 2.4 Ghz/5 Ghz WiFi too. Reason I picked this over the Airport Extreme is basically because the Airport Extreme doesn't have a web interface (you have to use Apple's proprietary configuration tool), and this does. Otherwise they are both excellent devices.

Re:Apple Airport Extreme and Cisco E4200 (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438312)

Oh and I forgot to mention: native IPv6. Useful if your ISP offers it (mine does).

Re:Apple Airport Extreme and Cisco E4200 (2)

Osty (16825) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438316)

you want to keep 802.11a/b traffic on 2.4Ghz and 802.11n on 5.0Ghz.

Good luck getting 802.11a on 2.4GHz -- that's 5GHz stuff.

Also, there are two separate 802.11n implementations for the different frequency bands. As long as you use WPA/WPA2 for your security, it's okay to have your router set to b/g/n or a/n shared mode. You'll only be limited in speed by the cleanliness of the radio signal (distance from router, interference from other sources), not by the other devices connected to the network unless you're using WEP or unsecured. It's usually a good idea to set the 5GHz network to n-only, just because nothing uses 802.11a anymore (which is 5GHz). This unfortunate naming leads to some irritating situations, with devices claiming "n" support but only for 2.4GHz. For example, the Xbox 360 Slim consoles have internal wifi with 802.11b/g/n support, but only for 2.4GHz. But if you have the external n-adapter, that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

OF course anything stationary really ought to have a wired connection. Wifi should only be used for portable devices (laptops, smartphones, portable media players, tablets). Wifi will never be able to compete in sheer speed and reliability with a good old wired connection (if/when wifi breaks the 1gbps barrier, you can rest assured that 10gbps wired will be standard).

Re:Apple Airport Extreme and Cisco E4200 (2)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438380)

While not meeting the op's specs regarding OpenWRT support, I'll second the Apple Airport Extreme. I bought one about 2 years ago after finding out that my then brand-new Linksys WAG160N ADSL gateway could not even support a single wireless G client for more than 5-10 minutes without dropping the connection. The ADSL modem functionality worked fine so I simply turned off the wireless in the Linksys and added the Airport Extreme to my network. To this day, I think I have needed to reset the Airport maybe 2 times... I hate to say it, but it just works. It does not lock up or need periodic rebooting like my previous D-Links and the connections are solid. There are regular, though not frequent firmware updates from Apple and each one has been stable and 100% reliable.

I will never buy another Linksys product, the WAG160N let me down but not nearly as much as Linksys' lack of support. To this day, they still will not admit there are problems with the wireless functionality in this model and even through continuous firmware upgrades the picture hasn't improved. Their support forum is full of posts from owners experiencing wireless problems with this unit, or at least it was when I was trying to solve my problems. Who knows, I wouldn't be surprised if the thread was locked or deleted by Linksys.

Asus rt-n16 (1)

drdaz (994457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438118)

I bought mine to replace my WRT54GS recently. No issues at all, and decently priced (at least where I live).

I'm running Tomato, but I presume the other router distress will work.

You'll only get 2.4GHz though.

Re:Asus rt-n16 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438148)

I hear they're coming up with the ASUS RT-N66U sometime soon. It's basically an RT-N16 on steroids with dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5GHz support. Eagerly waiting for ASUS to finally get this out in the market.

Re:Asus rt-n16 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438174)

I also have the ASUS RT-N16 running Tomato USB. (Tomato USB allows some add-ons such as one that allows VPN tunneling through my home router when I am at a public "open" hotspot or other location where I want to ensure privacy).

It has been rock solid, and if you look at the specs... (a comment on NewEgg puts it best): "Sleeping Giant... Pros: The magic of this router is not what is advertized on the surface: Gigabit Ethernet, Wireless N (300mbps) and 2 USB ports. Instead its the underlying hardware: 480Mhz (Broadcom?) CPU, 128Mb of ram and 32Mb of Flash...."

The fast processor + generous RAM ensures reliable operation.

The one negative is you don't get 5GHz but I've heard that is not reliable unless you have line-of-sight transmission.

Good luck!

Re:Asus rt-n16 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438182)

I actually picked up an RT-N16 thanks to slashdot's previous thread on this.
http://ask.slashdot.org/story/10/04/24/2256220/Open-Source-Router-To-Replace-WRT54GL

As a result of this, I've found I like it very much after loading DD-WRT on it. I reccomend it to everyone I can.

Re:Asus rt-n16 (1)

hibble (1824054) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438254)

Asus rt-n16 with dd-wrt has been very stable for me and is probably the closet you will get to a business grade router without spending business router money. At work i installed a draytek 2830 as they needed the features of dd-wrt but where unwilling to lose the warranty.

Linksys E3000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438122)

Linksys E3000, only flaw so far is that media server via usb is kinda useless

What does slashdot think? (3, Funny)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438128)

Slashdot thinks you should build your own router using pizza boxes, empty cans of mountain dew, arduinos, and duct tape. Your use of OpenWRT is satisfactory, although coding your own router in Assembly is best.

Me, I'd just pick up whatever's in stock at the department store. I had to return one once, but otherwise they've all worked fine.

Re:What does slashdot think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438190)

Many cheap SoHo routers cannot pass traffic over ~60Mbps, not to mention 200Mbps

Re:What does slashdot think? (1)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438240)

Assembly? Bah, in our day we'd code our router software on punchcards and walk it down the hall to transfer data! And we liked it!*

*Not really.

Re:What does slashdot think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438486)

Bah bah. We had to enter each byte, one by one, in binary, into the front panel switches.

Re:What does slashdot think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438432)

great.. have fun with the dsl speeds..

Buffalo^5 (1)

ak_hepcat (468765) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438130)

I've got a Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH running the [provided!] DD-WRT firmware, and haven't had any problems.

It's also the gigabit switch between the upstairs office and the downstairs servers.
Not had a single lick of trouble, and I've got coverage throughout my 2500 sq ft house.

Re:Buffalo^5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438238)

I have a G300NH, it runs dramatically better with the Gargoyle OpenWRT distro than the shipped Buffalo branded DD-WRT. Right now this is the cheapest way to get a router with 64 megs of RAM, twin N radios and a USB port that supports everything. Internally this router also has RP-SMA connectors that can be utilized to get some amazing distance out of the signals it produces. YMMV.

Intel atom and PFsense 2.0! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438134)

Get a cheap intel atom with dual intel nics and install pfsense 2.0 and away you go. Most Atoms are under 18 or so watts.

Re:Intel atom and PFsense 2.0! (3, Interesting)

atamido (1020905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438392)

Get a cheap intel atom with dual intel nics and install pfsense 2.0 and away you go. Most Atoms are under 18 or so watts.

I wish I had mod points to mark it as insightful. pfSense will give you all of the features you will ever want, and you'll never have to worry about it locking up under some sort of load. I use an old Pentium III (old one that was just laying around) that pulls just a little power, and is orders of magnitude more powerful than any consumer router you could get.

You can get a PCIe wireless card to plug into your board, but I just turn off DHCP on my D-Link N router and plug into the switch portion of it. The D-Link would lock up all the time as a router, but acting as a switch/access point it's just fine.

Re:Intel atom and PFsense 2.0! (1)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438532)

I use an old Pentium III (old one that was just laying around) that pulls just a little power, and is orders of magnitude more powerful than any consumer router you could get.

I would re-check the numbers on that. Many routers being recommended in this discussion have clock speeds of over 600 MHz [openwrt.org]. I don't know how that compares to P3 MHz in terms of performance on router tasks, but I doubt your old P3 is orders of magnitude more powerful.

As far as little power goes, most consumer routers I've seen, including the ones I've owned, use just a few Watts for the entire system, including power supply inefficiencies. I doubt your P3 system gets that low.

So, while I don't disagree with rolling your own router so that you get all the flexibility you want, I am not convinced a P3 would be a big win in terms of processing power, and I am sure it would be a big loss in terms of electricity usage.

I gave up. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438150)

I gave up on finding decent routers after spending thousands of dollars trying many different devices and just built my own gateway. A Jetway Intel Atom miniITX system with a multi-Gigabit-NIC daughtercard using a Ubiquiti WLAN NIC, I added gigabit managed switches if I needed more ports.

D-Link DIR-825 (1)

kevmeister (979231) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438168)

I have a D-Link DIR-825-B1 and have seen no problems with it. I have it because it is one of the few home routers that supports IPv6. (Yes, I know that you probably don't care.) I have run DD-WRT on it and it works fine.

The unit is actually a Cameo router that D-Link re-labels.

Also, be sure that you get a Rev. B1 unit. It is Atheros based and has DD-WRT support. The A1 uses a different chip and is will not run DD-WRT or OpenWRT. The revision is clearly marked on the box.

Whether you run the standard firmware of DD-WRT, it is a full-featured box and has been very reliable with the standard firmware. DD-WRT occasionally starts running slowly and will eventually stop routing.No sign of memory exhaustion, but that is what it acts like. Reset gets it back on-line at full speed. It fails very sporadically. This is documented on the DD-WRT wiki.

Re:D-Link DIR-825 (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438500)

Seconded. It even has a second internal USB port that I soldered a cheap 1GB thumb drive to (stripped down). I'm running OpenWRT but it has all the features I want/need. It's also serving up IPv6 to the network with SIXX.

And none of the DD-WRT slowdowns mentioned.

Buffalo FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438172)

I was at Fry's Electronics a few weeks ago looking at routers and looking them up on DD-WRT to see if they're compatible right there in the store. I was surprised to see the Buffalo brand, I had never heard of them but it came pre-installed with DD-WRT! After looking at the wall of routers, I ended up going with the model you mentioned in your post and left the "stock" DDWRT on there. It's slightly modified to have their logo and such but is otherwise the same deal. I have had zero problems with it. I went with the 2.4+5Ghz option because I'm in an apartment complex with a brazilion 2.4GHz WiFi routers (30+). Its so bad I can't even use my Bluetooth on my cell phone until I drive away. That router cuts right though it /w the 5GHz - only way to go!.

Not Netgear WNDR 4000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438186)

I've had this router for 6 months... And my connection drops out at least once a week. Usually more, especially when connected to a VPN. Still waiting on a "promised" firmware upgrade...

MaximumPC did a decent round up of routers check out their articles.

Asus RT N16 (1)

inkrypted (1579407) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438198)

I'll cast my vote for the Asus RT N16 router with the tomato USB firmware. I recently upgraded to this. Before I had a Netgear 3500 with DD-WRT and I can personally tell you the QOS of Tomato is far superior in my experience and replacing the firmware on the router was a breeze. You have to know a little about networking before you jump in and change things though and Tomato information is kinda scarce but a few hours of googling will give some good information. So far this has been the best router I have ever owned and I am loving Tomato. The only downside is it's not 5Ghz though only 2.4.

Re:Asus RT N16 (1)

livingfield (2456318) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438336)

I too have an Asus RT-N16 loaded with TomatoUSB, Transmission, and apcupsd. I thought I could use it as a cheap home NAS, but I was disappointed with how excruciatingly slow access to a USB port hard disk is. From what I've read, no router is able to provide reasonable speeds to USB ports. I thought the RT-N16 with it's fast processor and plentiful RAM would be different, but it's no better. I just recently replaced my cheap-NAS with a cheap but reasonably fast Western Digital MyBookLive.

IPv6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438200)

Having done significant CPE testing on consumer grade home gateway / AP devices for an MSO if IPv6 is something you're concerned about at all your only good choices are D-Link and Netgear. Stay away from anything Linksys/Cisco for sure. Apple doesn't have good v6 support unless you're going for link local only.

One thing to keep in mind is that to do v6 well (ie fast) it needs to be done in hardware. DD-WRT software hacks might work, but they're all slow in terms of raw throughput. Something to keep in mind.

Netgear N600 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438206)

aka WNDR3700, fast as blazes, works great with OpenWRT, have deployed half a dozen or so with no problems

Ubiquiti (1)

imroy (755) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438216)

If you don't mind going a little DIY, there is the Ubiquiti RouterStation Pro [ubnt.com]. It's a board with four GigE ports and three mini-PCI slots for wireless cards, and comes loaded with Open WRT. Look around online and you should be able to find a few places selling it with a simple case, power pack, and a wireless card for ~$150 or less. Note, I haven't used it, so I can't speak from experience. It's on my wishlist though :)

Re:Ubiquiti (1)

atamido (1020905) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438480)

If you don't mind going a little DIY, there is the Ubiquiti RouterStation Pro [ubnt.com]. It's a board with four GigE ports and three mini-PCI slots for wireless cards, and comes loaded with Open WRT. Look around online and you should be able to find a few places selling it with a simple case, power pack, and a wireless card for ~$150 or less. Note, I haven't used it, so I can't speak from experience. It's on my wishlist though :)

I haven't used it either, but I've used some other Ubiquiti products and have been very pleased with their hardware and software. Very stable and well developed.

MikroTik RouterBoard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438220)

No hands-on experience with these babies, but they seem like a good deal: http://www.routerboard.com/

Great software, great specs, great pricing.

They don't yet have an integrated AP+switch, but they are releasing one later this year (I believe it will be the RB751GL). When they do, I'm definately going to order one.

(Disclaimer: I'm not an employee or otherwise connected to this company. Their hardware was recommended to me by a network engineer.)

-- DennisK (posting anon because after all these years I still haven't bothered to create an account)

Re:MikroTik RouterBoard (1)

The1stImmortal (1990110) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438370)

Yeah the Mikrotik kit isn't bad - we use/sell them at work after having stumbled across them looking for kit for a wifi mesh a while back. They're very flexible - the feature set is huge, and you can run OpenWRT in, essentially, a virtual machine (they call it a "metarouter") on top of the RouterOS that comes with the Mikrotik Routerboard hardware.

Like anything though, they can be finicky, and you have to be careful with updates as they can quite often break one thing trying to fix another :) The OS definitely has some quirks you need to keep in mind with more complex configurations though.

They actually use a linux kernel with a mostly proprietary userland atop it, so it shouldn't be too hard getting other Linux-based router distros to work on their hardware either.

Airport Extreme is stable but inflexible (2)

snookums (48954) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438252)

I'm very happy with the Airport Extreme in terms of stability. I think mine has locked up maybe once in a year, which is much better going than any other consumer wifi/router device I've ever owned. I run it as the main router for my house, and PPPoE endpoint (with an ADSL modem/router in bridge mode), with 5 GHz 802.11n. A separate ultra-cheap AP runs on 2.4 GHz for iPhones and guests without 5 GHz support.

However, like many Apple products, the firmware isn't particularly user-configurable and I've not been able to get any Linux-based configuration utilities working on Ubuntu. If you don't have a Mac or Windows machine handy, changing settings and upgrading firmware would be a pain. It's also lacking PPPv6 support, at least in the version I have, so I can't join my ISP's IPv6 network without tunneling.

Re:Airport Extreme is stable but inflexible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438538)

I'll second the stability of the Apple Airport products. I actually have

Also, I wonder why the person wants to run OpenWRT? What feature(s) are they using that isn't in Apple Airports?

And as an important point, Apple does have IPv6 support.

NeighbourX 5000 - The best router ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438264)

You've obviously not done much research about this so let me explain the basics to you.

1. A cost effective solution that meets your needs
2. Coverage and stability
3. Minimal maintenance

To meet all three you will find the best way to go about this is to be neighbourly. If you use your neighbour's wifi, or in fact several of your neighbour's wifi you can build a rather robust network with multiple service providers. Make sure to use one as least as possible as a backup. This is ideal in a densly populated area and do not be shy to ask a neighbour if you can leech off their wifi to "check facebook and stuff" if you cannot crack their encryption. Modern neighbours do not talk to each other so there is little chance they will know you've asked all your neighbours.

P.S.

Remember to download all your illegal information through some poor schmuck's WEP connection and you're good to go.

Just do it right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438272)

Get a ASA 5505 and whatever AP floats your boat.

Powerline adapters are great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438280)

I play video games from time to time and like to stream video to my Wii. I have am satisfied with my Netgear (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122378), however you have to be in the next room to take full advantage of the 5Ghz band.

In addition to the router, you'll need some way to connect to it. I recently searched and tried 3 different wireless desktop cards from B&H before getting a power adapter instead. It uses frequencies that don't interfere with appliances. It's much more reliable and you don't have to worry about a decent wireless card to match. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122233

I second Buffalo Routers. (1)

spektre1 (901164) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438292)

But I wouldn't go with the AGs. I have the WHR-HP-G300NH and have used it for the last two years. They're based on Atheros chipset, and assuming you're not running the user-friendly (read: buffalo's proprietary f/w for dummies) firmware on them, it is quite solid. It's held up rather well, excepting a brown out where I killed one which is my own fault for not having it on a UPS. This model has a 400mhz chip on it, so it's more than powerful enough, and with the DD-WRT firmware you can do all the ridiculous iptables routing you'd want to. I did support for these things, and the worst it ever got was people trying to hook up the WDS to another brand router (geek note: WDS only works to the same chipset). I can safely tell you that my lack of issue tickets attests to the solidity of these. On the other hand, I will bitch endlessly about Buffalo's storage products. They honestly do make good hardware, but their firm/software leaves something to be desired. WRT is the best thing they could've done with these. I have all Gb NICs on my home network (excepting game consoles) and we hammer it pretty hard with media sharing internally, along with some compiling/rendering I do for gaming/3D graphics hobby stuff. I've never had it choke.

Re:I second Buffalo Routers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438446)

Why wouldn't you go with the AG's ?

Buffalo^8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438294)

I have both the WZR-HP-G300NH (not the AG300H) and the WHR-HP-G300N, both running DD-WRT. I saw a drop-out issue in the former; it was addressed by a firmware update. I'm very happy with both (though I haven't tried the USB in the G300NH). I bought the G300N for the detachable antennas and the very good radio chipset (the Airlink AR430W was a great deal, for the same reason), and adjustable output. I also have WRT-54G's (v1 and v4), running DD-WRT and Tomato (which is excellent), and much prefer the Buffalo's. I called Buffalo's tech support before I bought the first one - they were really helpful, and told me that the router didn't do the (admittedly oddball) thing that I wanted. I bought it (G300N) anyway because the guy actually understood exactly what I was asking. Try it yourself :-) with the brand's that you're thinking of getting.

Netgear WNDR3700 (3, Informative)

anethema (99553) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438324)

Dual band, well supported OpenWRT. Decent DD-WRT support. USB. Great performance, gigabit, meets all your specs.

CPU, RAM, and Storage are listed right on the box.

There is no fancy reflashing to other OS proceedure. Pick any image of any OS you want and flash. No protection at all.

Hell the OS it ships with is (I believe) an OpenWRT derivative!

It is this generations WRT54G(GL in later years).

I chose the BUFFALO WZR-HP-AG300H (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438326)

I was looking for a router a couple months ago with mostly the same requirements and settled on the BUFFALO WZR-HP-AG300H. I immediately installed OpenWRT, so I can't speak for the default firmware. Performance as an NAS is ~14 MB/s with Samba, ~5 Mbps on OpenVPN, and I've seen no dropping or stability issues.

Range isn't great, but that's probably more related to my area. 2.4 GHz is heavily congested here, but the range is slightly better than my old NETGEAR WGT 634U or PLANEX MZK-W04NU. 5 GHz is uncongested, but has inherently shorter range and with poor penetration. Either way, both signals manage to service my whole apartment without gaps from a central closet, which is better than the aforementioned two, but does not extend outside. Which is a bit odd, come to think of it... perhaps that lead paint notice when I moved in might have something to do with it...

wndr3700 (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438330)

I've got one, haven't had any issues. I use it on both bands, with wide channels on 5GHz.

No question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438340)

E3000 or E4200 with DD-WRT. I like the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule a lot, but I like the options DD-WRT provides more, so I usually go with either of the first 2 I mentioned.

Netgear WNDR3700 (1)

swilly (24960) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438374)

I went through several wireless routers (Linksys, D-Link, Trendnet) before getting the Netgear WNDR3700 and I love it. It wasn't cheap, but where the previous routers would occasionally fail, this one hasn't failed once since day one. And the features! IPv6, gigabit ethernet, true (not draft) N, dual bands, and I can plug in an external USB drive and make it a NAS. The firmware is slightly tweaked OpenWRT (little more than the branding) and updates come fairly regularly. The only downside was the cost, but it was cheaper than what I paid for all the crappy, failed routers I had before.

Best consumer router for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438382)

Cisco (Linksys) E3000 if you can get your hands on one. Solid hardware, decent price now that the E4200 and newer routers are out, support for OpenWRT and DD-WRT. Dual band/radio; gigabit switch.

Did a rollout of 25 of these for a wireless mesh; not a single failure. I'd call them borderline enterprise grade.

Highly recommended.

MikroTik (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438412)

http://mikrotik.com/

Awesome stuff.

Cisco (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438416)

You should go with a Cisco ASA 5550 (or two if you prefer failover!) and a Cisco WLC 2125 controller with a few Cisco 1142 access points for extended coverage. I easily get gigabit throughput with the firewall, and wireless is just about as fast as the spec can handle. It only costs about $25k for the firewalls and $10k for the wireless equipment.

Not too bad if you ask me!

Gigabit WAN?? (0)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438418)

I'm sure it must exist, but good luck finding/funding it. 802.11n is megabit speeds. Yeah, they usually put gigabit ports on them, but in a home setting with less than 10 users, you're not gonna see any difference between one with gigabit or megabit ports unless a wired machine is using the router to hit another wired machine and transfering big files. Most home internet connections are still in the kilobit range... even FiOS. Interestingly enough, my 802.11n router spanks my megabit switch... but its still well within megabit speeds. I think there are some 802.11n routers that can double or triple megabit speeds... using simultaneous connections, but that's still not gigabit.

I have a question too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438424)

Can anyone tell me the best drinking water to buy. I have no serious performance needs. I just want to drink it it to survive. Can anyone tell me if there is any difference between natural water, and commercially sold water. I need specs to help me decide. Thank yous.

good n-router (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438440)

hi,

after several years i replaced my wrt54 with an asus rt-n16:

highlights:

* 3 antennas for 802.11n
* faster cpu
* more ram - 128 mb
* 2 usb ports

works well with for example tomato-subm, dd-wrt or openwrt, but the support of it for some opensource firmwares is still only beta ...

cheers
a.

ASUS RT-N56U (2)

SD_AP (2464680) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438450)

I recently bought this and can say it is the best router I have ever owned. Besides running both 2.4 and 5 GHz networks, the router is fast and stable. The two USB ports are handy as I use them to run a shared disk between all of my home machines. The only downside to the that is the USB ports are 2.0 instead of 3.0 so it is not the fastest external disk access.

Netgear WNR3500L (1)

andsens (1658865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438454)

I would definetly recommend the Netgear WNR3500L (http://www.netgear.com/home/products/wirelessrouters/work-and-play/WNR3500L.aspx)

I just bought it myself and installed a tomato mod on it (http://tomatousb.org/). To flash it, you first need to install a mini version of DD-WRT on it (http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Netgear_WNR3500L).

I am thoroughly impressed by the featureset you get with it.

  • USB port that can be used for a file share, usb printer and all other kinds of stuff
  • Great user friendly interface
  • QOS
  • 2 openVPN servers
  • Bandwidth throttling for different clients
  • Monitoring of clients and bandwidth usage
  • All kinds of wireless tweaking
  • And lots of other stuff

Build a PFsense Box (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438478)

Build a PFsense router (Google it) out of an old laptop or computer. I suggest at least a dual core with 1+ Gig RAM. Then just dumb down your wireless router by disabling DHCP and the Firewall, making it a simple and "dumb" access point that is basically just a wired bridge to your wired GigE network. This setup will allow you to upgrade your wireless technology on demand without having to replace an entire router setup. Search eBay for a dual or quad network card. I suggest a quad gigabit (4x port on one card NIC) so that you can plug in other types of WAN access (such as DSL, Cable Modem, etc) if you want to later and load balance between the two.

DD WRT Forums (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438482)

Have you considered simply asking the DD WRT forums?

Cisco E3000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438512)

DD-WRT support for E4200 is still experimental for the moment. Your best bet is E3000. I've set up two of them in both of my homes - as long as you include the stability tweaks (documented here [dd-wrt.com] under "Useful Tips") you'll get really fast and stable Wi-Fi. I've been able to regularly get 148Mbps with the 5GHz 802.11n connection.

D-Link isn't all that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438520)

http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=697

D-Link isn't all that bad, yes that one isn't cheap and is pretty pricey. 3 antennas. If you can get your hands on one, 3com ones are pretty good too at consumer prices, but as said are very rare.

Then again, any brand at "Industrial Class" (as D-Link puts it) aren't bad at all~

A few years ago, used to use 802.11a in 5Ghz. Got better range than if I used 802.11g, haahaahaa.

Asus RT-N16 is a beast (1)

linuxguy (98493) | more than 2 years ago | (#37438534)

I have a two Asus RT-N16 routers, one running DDWRT and other running Tomato USB. I have been extremely happy with them. These guys have monster specs as far as wireless routers go.

Ethernet Ports = WAN x 1 RJ-45 for 10/100/1000 Base T, LAN x 4 RJ-45 for 10/100/1000 Base T
USB ports = USB2.0 x 2
Unit RAM = 128 MB (2x 64MB - Samsung K4N511163QZ-HC25 or 2x 64MB - Samsung K4T51163QG-HCE6)
Unit Flash = 32 MB (MACRONIX MX29GL256EHTI2I-90Q)
Unit CPU = Broadcom4718A, 533 MHz (Factory clocked to 480MHz)

More at: http://dd-wrt.ca/wiki/index.php/Asus_RT-N16 [dd-wrt.ca]

I am ssh'ed into one one of them right now and trying to install webcam drivers into it. I plan to do some fun stuff, including using motion detection etc using the relatively powerful CPU in this router. Could you do anything even remotely like this with Apple Airport Extreme? No.

This is a hacker's router and smokes the competition.

BTW, openwrt is not supported on this router. But as I mentioned earlier, DDWRT and Tomato USB are. And they are both running rock solid for me. Whatever you do, do not use the Asus firmware. It's worse than junk.

What does slashdot think?..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37438544)

Slashdot wonders:

1 - Why you need that bandwidth?
2 - Whether you have a download limit on that line?
3 - ?
4..........

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