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Ask Slashdot: Enterprise Level Network Devices For Home Use?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the too-much-overkill-is-never-enough dept.

Networking 241

First time accepted submitter osho741 writes "I was wondering if anyone has enterprise level networking devices set up at home? I seem to go through at least 1 wireless consumer grade router a year or so. I can never seem to find one that last very long under just normal use. I thought maybe I would have better luck throwing together a network using used enterprise equipment. Has anyone done this? What would you recommend for a network that maxes out at 30mbps downstream from the ISP and an internal network that should be able to stream 1080p movies to 3 or 4 devices from a media server? Any thoughts and or suggestions are welcome."

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Is this a serious question? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276521)

What has become of Slashdot? The horror.....

Re:Is this a serious question? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277201)

Is this a serious comment? The horror....

Seriously, contribute or get the hell out.

Re:Is this a serious question? (0)

pcjunky (517872) | about a year ago | (#44277253)

Very serious question. Dude!

Re:Is this a serious question? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277327)

I agree this is a stupid fucking question that does not deserve to be on Slashdot. Goto eBay if your searching for used shit. Or try a Google search. Its not that hard.

+subscribe (1)

Cluelessthanzero (1885004) | about a year ago | (#44276547)

how many wireless access points are you planning to set up? Will you be chaining them?

UPS (5, Insightful)

eric31415927 (861917) | about a year ago | (#44276627)

Buy a consumer-grade router, but use a UPS to ensure it receives clean power. Dirty power kills these things.

Re:UPS (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a year ago | (#44276781)

Agreed, given the repeated failures here, the power supply might be less than wonderful.

It's also worth remembering that "enterprise" equipment is often more about the management features (which no home user is ever likely to need) than the hardware itself. Sometimes the low-end business gear actually turns out to be worse than decent consumer kit. For example, we bought a bunch of Cisco's small business branded equipment for a small office once, paying a premium for it but expecting that the quality and support would be better than some disappointing consumer grade equipment it was replacing. In fact, the NAS turned out to be a rebadged device from another vendor that Cisco never really supported properly, the wireless access point turned out to have buggy firmware that would just drop connections, and so on. It's a mistake we'll never make again.

Re:UPS (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#44277333)

Totally agree. We bough a Cisco AP and it was a buggy piece of shit that only worked,tolerably well after a firmware update released a year after we purchased it. Even then it ran incredibly hot, and seemed to randomly flake out and clients would lose connectivity. It was an overpriced hunk of junk.

Re:UPS (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44276885)


i got a wireless router that's.. something like 7 years old? some other network gear that's 10+ year old bargain bin stuff.

it never breaks. probably what's broken in his equipment is some protection diode or the psu.

Re:UPS (5, Informative)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year ago | (#44277059)

no, that's not the problem.

as someone who fixes stuff like this, its the bulk filter capacitors (electrolytics) that 99% of the time, fail.

these are the fake chinese caps that are STILL in the market and supply chain. they burst (look at the telltale leakage at the top of the can, near the 'dents' that are supposed to burst if the pressure inside is too high). they can explode or just leak. they might not even show any physical signs of failure but they will fail, all of the, given enough time.

each time I get a failed cisco, netgear, etc; I look at the power inlet area and look for bad caps. I replace every one (the cans) even if they look fine. go to or and get ones of the same lead spacing (LS) and diameter and height. and of course, the same voltage level. the values are less critical, you can go up or down a bit if based on the stock in the store.

use good name brand parts from japan! those are trustworthy. and buy ONLY from places like mouser, etc. NEVER from ebay, those are guaranteed to be just as fake as the ones from the assembly lines in china, who built the cisco and netgear.

this is the problem. not ups or power spikes but just plain bad parts from china.

every single bad router or switch that got its caps replaced with genuine panasonic or nichicon (my 2 usual goto brands) has been working in excess of 5 years, now. before the replacement, usually a year before the PSU blows its caps.

get low ESR caps, too. ask a EE guy for help.

Re: UPS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277129)

Lol, sounds like something BOFH might say before he deletes your digital life

Re: UPS (1)

wheeda (520016) | about a year ago | (#44277463)

Sometime back someone stole the formula for the electolytic and sold s bunch of it. Sadly the didn't get the formula right. The world is still suffering the consequences. Replacing the barrel caps is usually the right answer. You could open a service store and only know how to solder and order caps and probably do OK.

Re:UPS (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#44277143)

There's a Billion reasons why these things can die (eg. a lot of devices sold by Billion overheat in places hotter than Canada).

Re:UPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277355)

Forecast high in many parts of Canada today is over 30 C

Re:UPS (2)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#44277455)

I've had a device fail that way. Maybe the best protection for that problem is take off the cover, measure the temperature of the chips when operating, attach heat sinks to those devices and modify the cover so it has air flow-through. (It helps if you can put it in a vertical orientation so that there is natural convection too.) It shouldn't normally be necessary to install a fan and if you do, you're making it vulnerable to dust build up that can make things worse over time.

Re:UPS (1)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44277211)

Absolutely. I have a WRT plugged in to an old UPS that's been running for years.

Re:UPS (4, Insightful)

swalve (1980968) | about a year ago | (#44277471)

Exactly. The only enterprise grade device someone really needs in their house is a UPS. The rest can be whatever is good enough.

DD-WRT (5, Informative)

donmontalvo (652999) | about a year ago | (#44276549)

Get a high end ASUS or Buffalo wireless router and put DD-WRT on it.

Re:DD-WRT (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44276825)

This is a good answer. Also, those devices have pretty stable stock firmware too, if you don't want to change it.

Re:DD-WRT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277043)

Some of the Buffalos come with DD-WRT as the stock firmware.

Re:DD-WRT (2)

mache (210555) | about a year ago | (#44276837)

I agree, I don't know what is causing this person to have to replace his routers every year, but a high end Asus or Cisco Linksys router can support enterprise loads and functions with DD-WRT. I have had my system running for years with enterprise specific functions. I have also had obsolete WRT54G routers also with enterprise function running in public facilities with huge loads. I don't get the problem this person is having.

-- Mache

Re:DD-WRT (4, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | about a year ago | (#44277077)

I have had several failures of Linksys routers in the RF hardware to the point they need to be right next to each other to communicate. The problem was not diagnosed any further since replacing them was less time and money. I got 2-3 years out of them, though, so maybe it's not that bad for $50 each. If I went with a $500 enterprise device, would I get 20-30 yours? Would I even want to (in 10 years it might be obsolete just because new stuff with new features I really want is available). I'm using Buffalo routers with factory defaced DD-WRT now, I might try to load a newer DD-WRT on one or more eventually,

Why would I need to spend so much on enterprise CIsco equipment? I just buy spares now. I have 5 of those Buffalo routers with 2 in use. If hardware dies or the cable gets hit by lightning and the surge gets past the grounding and surge clamp, I just swap out, trash the dead one, and eventually order another spare.

If things changed and I needed the features of enterprise devices at home, I'd get them (and I'd know what I needed when that happens). Until then, cheapness and spares win out.

Re:DD-WRT (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about a year ago | (#44277017)

I got my Buffalo router before patent trolls banned it. Buffalo seems to have paid the 'rogeld and are still making them. I put DD-wrt on it. It's never quit on me.

Re:DD-WRT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277073)

Get these :

Ubiquiti Edge Router Lite

One of the Ubiquiti Access points (The UniFi ones choose what you want to pay / need feature wise).

(The two items above are about as you are going to get under 1000$)

Or Build yourself something to run Openwrt that is used by one of the best dev's (Be a board wireless cards etc etc)

Don't use DD-WRT under any circumstances it is the same as happened with sveasoft. (Somehow it doesn't get the same negative press though).

WRT54G (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276555)

I have had the same issue.

Except for my workhorse WRT54G, which has been running continuously for 7+ years now (bar occasional power outage). I don't think it will ever die.

Re:WRT54G (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year ago | (#44277111)

I've had mine since about 2005 and it's been rock solid reliable.

WTF? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276579)

What do you consider "normal use"? Nailing them to a wall? Using them to shore up a levee?

Anyway, if your electronics are failing that fast and you aren't abusing them somehow, then they should be replaced under warranty.

Go for cheap (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276583)

I've tried it both ways ... cheap consumer-grade stuff ends up costing less over time. Used enterprise equipment is often over-priced and too often being sold because it already has issues. Granted, sometimes larger companies do an equipment refresh before things are broken, but that is happening less and less as the economy remains challenging.

I've taken to using Linksys WRT54GL with DD-WRT firmware. Save the config and the replacement is a breeze, though I haven't had to replace for about 2 years (so far ...). These can be found for around $50.00 and, in a small environment, they will do more than most of us need. We don't do the kind of media streaming you are talking about, but I've yet to find that the router was my bottleneck.

Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276585)

Do you toss it in the dishwasher when it gets dusty? How can you break so much stuff?

Re:Huh? (1)

marmoset (3738) | about a year ago | (#44276615)

Cheap home routers tend to have crappy power supplies and inadequate cooling.

Re:Huh? (2)

julesh (229690) | about a year ago | (#44276813)

Cheap home routers tend to have crappy power supplies and inadequate cooling.

Still: I've gone through 3 consumer-grade routers over the last 10 years, and each time I've got a new one it's because the old one isn't up to the job, not because it's failed. They shouldn't need active cooling (they don't use more than about 2W in typical use), and the power supplies seem perfectly adequate for the task to me.

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

Christian Smith (3497) | about a year ago | (#44277055)

Cheap home routers tend to have crappy power supplies and inadequate cooling.

I've an old Asus EEE PC 701, augmented with a USB upstream ethernet, that does perfect service as a router with OpenWRT. Built in UPS (which I presume also conditions the power for the mainboard).

Uptime: 612d 3h 48m 4s, though I'll power it down soon to swap the RAM with a machine more deserving of the 2GB installed in there currently.

In summary, get a cheap old laptop/netbook, and configure it accordingly. A laptop with a broken screen can be had cheap as chips.

Re:Huh? (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#44276631)

Do you toss it in the dishwasher when it gets dusty? How can you break so much stuff?

Actually, that might just be the right solution. If his rack-sized enterprise network equipment won't fit into the dishwasher, he won't try to wash it. You know how it is with connectors - the best way of preventing people from screwing things up is not to make them physically compatible.

Re: Huh? (4, Funny)

IrquiM (471313) | about a year ago | (#44276833)

There is always the bathtub...

Re:Huh? (5, Informative)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#44277259)

Clearly you've never seen a vga connector after someone tried to cram it into a serial port...

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277123)

It depends on how you put them in the dishwasher. I've done it with older TV chassis. It's better with deionized water or softened water. Then use dry, oil free compressed air to remove what water you can and then use an oven with a temperature control that is +/- 1 degree C accurate and keep it at 50C till dry. You have to make some choices as there are components that won't tolerate dunking on older units but newer ones are usually ok. Why is it that dirty? It was full of roaches and they guy was paying a lot of money to resurrect it.

It's a similar process to a board washing system that uses deionized water and uses aquanox cleaner.

I fix remote controls by dunking the boards in hot soapy water, cleaning, rinsing and drying them. The plastic and rubber pad get warm water and soap and warm rinse and then dried. The plastic and rubber need lower heat which one of those foot warming pads provide.

Long live openwrt (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276589)

I still use two* WRT54G(L) routers with dd-wrt software (tomato is good as well), although they are aged. The oldest one has served us for 9 years now. Looks like 54g is enough for you.

* Actually had three, one of these died out of my own stupidity two weeks ago. I left it in the rain a few weeks ago and I powered it up too early. Cannot blame Linksys for it :) The other two are still going strong.

run more ethernet (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44276613)

if the devices are not laptops / tablets

Routerboard (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276619)

Been using this one for almost a year, with no issues. Plenty of bells and whistles for the home business/power user.

Re:Routerboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276749)

I'd agree, either a MikroTik, or a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter. They have all the bells and whistles of QoS, LACP, etc. I personally use both in my lab. For a decent low power GigE switch, I have a Cisco SG300, it has decent enough throughput to stream a few BluRays internally without buffering.

Re:Routerboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277339)

This looks really cool, but lacks jumbo frame support (9000 byte MTU), so it's useless for me :(

Re:Routerboard (1)

isorox (205688) | about a year ago | (#44277459)

Been using this one for almost a year, with no issues. Plenty of bells and whistles for the home business/power user.

Absolutely, no brainer for a mikrotik. I find the 951-2n fine for home though - I have 4 of them, lacking any cables between rooms means I use 5ghz on the backbone, and have a single 2.4ghz network for wireless.

What's killing them? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276625)

Even the cheapest routers I have last much longer than a year. What are you doing to your routers that you kill one every year?

Re:What's killing them? (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44276861)

Exactly. If the asker already has multiple routers dead, I suggest there is some other problem than the "cheapness" of them. Power spikes, lightning, and whatnot.

I find that hard to beleive. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276629)

I seem to go through at least 1 wireless consumer grade router a year or so.

I've had this LinkSys WRT54G for a few years now and it's perfectly fine.

What is going on that you're going through so many routers?

What brands are you using?

It could be something else other than the equipment - like environment. Got a cat pissing on it? What?

HP Procurve gear is good (2)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#44276633)

I've had lots of luck with HP Procurve gear. We use a couple of J8986A (530) access points at work and they seem to be unbeatable. For a router, run a linux box. Can be as little as a raspberry pi with VLANs split up by an external switch.

Re:HP Procurve gear is good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277379)

Don't use a raspi for routing. Its ethernet port is connected via USB and has atrocious performance.

MikroTik (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276637)

Get a MikroTik router. They're often used by ISPs.

Re:MikroTik (1)

ZerXes (1986108) | about a year ago | (#44276793)

I... what? Never ever worked with an ISP using MikroTik routers. Or are you talking about small like collage student ISPs or something?

Re:MikroTik (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44276881)

I... what? Never ever worked with an ISP using MikroTik routers. Or are you talking about small like collage student ISPs or something?

Presumably, college students know the difference between a collage and a college, so that's one thing they have over you.

I live in bumfuck nowhere and I used to be served by a small local WISP who used Mikrotik routerboards. They were bought out by a larger WISP which uses some kind of CDMA shit that can't handle many small frames, so I'm not allowed to use bittorrent even for legitimate uses. The WiFi-based stuff using the routerboards was far better from my POV.

Re:MikroTik (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276891)

In Europe, they're popular for WISPs. We use one for our microwave setup and frankly, I've found it underwhelming but you can't beat the price point.

I use AP300 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276641)

Its small business grade, I've used it for a few years. Works well. AP300. For out of the box sub $100 price range I don't think you can do better.

Apple Airport (4, Insightful)

uglyduckling (103926) | about a year ago | (#44276649)

This may not be a popular opinion, but I'm a big fan of Apple Airport gear. They generally support the latest/fastest standards quite quickly, are easy to configure, have built-in PSUs rather than wall warts, and I've generally found their range to be better than average for consumer WiFi kit. Other than that latest models (which look ridiculous) they're generally neat and look OK in the living room. I've had one Airport Express die on me after 2 years of use, and that was already second hand when I bought it and spent its life behind a pile of hot hifi gear as an Airtunes sink.

Re:Apple Airport (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276849)

I spent years blaming Comcast for the occasional network hiccups before replacing my Linksys and replacing it with an Airport.

Re:Apple Airport (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44276987)

I spent years blaming Comcast for the occasional network hiccups before replacing my Linksys and replacing it with an Airport.

So what did you replace your Linksys with, before replacing it with an Airport? ;)

Re:Apple Airport (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277105)

I spent years blaming Comcast for the occasional network hiccups before replacing my Linksys and replacing it with an Airport.

Thanks for admitting you're an idiot. Linksys devices work fine once you replace the default firmware with something like OpenWRT. Comcast on the other hand can't even provide RFC compliant DHCP.

Re:Apple Airport (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276853)

I second the Apple Airport.. Mine ha sbeen in constant use for over 9 years.

Just make sure your equipment is plugged into a good surge protector or a UPS.

Re:Apple Airport (0)

mazinger (789576) | about a year ago | (#44276935)

I've been using the Airport Extreme for almost 3 years now without any problems. PCs, Macs, game consoles and other devices running on different platforms have no problem connecting to and maintaining a reliable connection (wired and wireless) with the Airport. I was actually pleasantly surprised and impressed. It's a bit expensive but is well worth it for its reliability. I previously had a D-Link router which I had to reboot every so often, something I've never done with the Airport.

Re:Apple Airport (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276955)

My first wireless network was two airport express routers bridged together. It worked well in the large apartment I lived in. There were many wireless networks near by and we lived by a water tower which complicated things too. My cell phone was in a dead zone there and yet I had working wifi.

3 years ago, I upgraded to a single airport extreme. I've got it hooked up to a powerline network and have it placed by the TV. Most of my set top boxes and game consoles plug into the switch part and I use the wifi mostly by the TV anyway. The powerline network turned out to be a lot better than wifi for streaming video and connecting my upstairs desktops to my router + cable modem in the basement. I have a file server down there too.

As others have said, it's very important to buy a decent UPS for your cable modem and router. It doesn't have to be very big for those, but it will save you from buying new gear. However, the apple router is only plugged into a power strip and we have brownouts and outages at lot.

I have bought used networking gear online. In fact, I'm currently using a cisco switch (real not linksys) with my basement gear. I've had a lot less trouble with it than the netgear consumer and dell lowend web managed switches I had previously. It was $30 on ebay. I don't think I'd do that with wifi routers though. No one sells them unless their already not working well, severely out of date where they can't handle modern network speeds or severely out of date. For instance, if I had to buy a new wifi router right now, it would be 802.11ac. I don't have ac gear yet, but I'd be stuck with it for awhile.

Re:Apple Airport (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about a year ago | (#44276985)

I have to agree. I have 3 Airport extremes and 4 Airport Express units in my configuration and they work flawlessly. No failures and the oldest one is 4-5 years old.

IPv6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277155)

This may not be a popular opinion, but I'm a big fan of Apple Airport gear. They generally support the latest/fastest standards quite quickly, are easy to configure, have built-in PSUs rather than wall warts, and I've generally found their range to be better than average for consumer WiFi kit. Other than that latest models (which look ridiculous) they're generally neat and look OK in the living room. I've had one Airport Express die on me after 2 years of use, and that was already second hand when I bought it and spent its life behind a pile of hot hifi gear as an Airtunes sink.

If you want to experiment with IPv6, the the Airport line isn't a good idea as there are standards/mechanisms that the firmware does not support. It has some IPv6 functionality, but things like DHCPv6-PD aren't present. I speak as a generally content AirPort Time Capsule owner.

I use the TC as an easy way to have a centralized Time Machine backups. Certainly other NAS devices could do the same thing, but it's a minimal of hassle (and noise and power) this way. If I was looking for a straight router, I'd probably go with an Asus (N66 or AC66).

Alix 2D13 (1)

Kentaro (54774) | about a year ago | (#44276655)

I have been using an Alix 2D13 mainboard together with pfsense for the past two years. Before that I had a Draytek Vigor 2820 running for 4 years. Replaced it with pfsense because of the lacking IPv6 support. If your electronics die so fast I suggest that you invest in a small uninterruptable power supply. Not for protecting against power loss but brown-out and spikes.

Re:Alix 2D13 (1)

elbles (516589) | about a year ago | (#44277033)

I run a 2D3 myself, and it's rock solid (actually running CentOS/iptables). A tad on the expensive side, particularly considering how relatively low-powered it is by modern standards, but it's x86 compatible with full serial console access.

And it really is solid--I keep all my networking gear at home on a UPS, and it's still far more solid than any standalone Linksys router was (and uses far less power than it's predecessor--a Celeron 366 MHz box that had ~1400 days of uptime before I killed it).

TP-Link division maded for CN (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276701)

Try search for mercury mw4530r I also made review on that, guys around openwrt knows it well, lot of spare RAM (128M) and from buychina they can give you double ROM for $40 whole router. I'm already orderd two of them, one with heatsinks :D

Sure! (2)

Life2Death (801594) | about a year ago | (#44276737)

Old PC + Vyatta Community Edition. ClearOS, Or many other open source routers.
FreeNAS or OpenFiler for SAN duties
WRT54G or newer device that can run full DD-WRT for an access point or router.

Netgear Prosafe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276741)

There is enterprise and enterprise, but netgear prosafe works for me - not the latest and greatest maybe, but I've always found they work for years - never seem to quit. I did a replacement on one unit (of about a dozen) after about 5 years and the UK warranty repacement service was great too.

For maximizing reliability (1)

walshy007 (906710) | about a year ago | (#44276743)

Generic random modem in bridge mode going to a proper linux machine router.

Attach home network to second ethernet interface.

If you want wireless, use the linux machine as a wireless AP using a pci/e card of some description.

Consumer modems are shitty, the more you make them do the quicker they fail, as a pure modem they tend to last a fair bit longer and have less load applied.

Bonus is if/when the modem does die, the rest of the infrastructure still lives.

Re:For maximizing reliability (1)

crow (16139) | about a year ago | (#44276909)

I went this route, but I found that a Linux box with a PCI-e WiFi card acting as a base station doesn't give me the same range or signal strength as a dedicated base station.

Maybe I picked a bad card (I have tried several, though). Or maybe I didn't configure something right.

As far as having control over your network, though, you can't beat it.

Apple Airports (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276747)

Ive had WRT's, E2000s and E3000's, Netgears, DLinks. Some last, some don't. Its all crap shot.

Im convinced the consumer routers are cheaply designed with poor thermal design, and power supplies, and buggy microcontrollers.

I personally still have a pair of E3000's, running DDWRT and a WDS network. About 4 years old, lasting but biweekly hardlock even with a nightly reboot scheduled in firmware to clear memory.

The last two places I setup with Apple Airports seem to run flawlessly. My Dads in particular, an extreme and an old 10 client express and a newer 50 client express to WDS his network across his sprawling house. Beening running for 6mo nonstop without a hicup. Set and forget. Its not been runninong enough to be definitive, but Apple seems to put more quality in their products than say Linksys. He'a got a 6 camera security DVR, and two TIVO systems streaming back and forth. Plus dozens of ipads and iphones when all the fam is visiting.

Buffalo (2)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#44276773)

I've had the best luck with Buffalo so far. Linksys, D-Link, NetGear, even Cisco small business and NetGear business-class have been pathetic crap. My Buffalo router has not been in service over a year, so I cannot honestly speak to longevity. But I can speak to lack of extraordinarily lame firmware bugs ;-)

Re:Buffalo (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year ago | (#44277067)

I have a very old Buffalo WBR G54 ; slow wifi, just barely good enough for one wireless video stream - which is good enough. It's lasted over 10 years running OpenWRT after it replaced the Belkin I had before. The wireless transponder on the Belkin failed, but the switch was still working.

I do sometimes get the upgrade itch for something with more grunt, but since I don't have any real issues with it, pragmatism wins.

TP-LINK L-WR541G (1)

thewebdude (1276170) | about a year ago | (#44276811)

Yes, I know what you mean; my experience mirrored yours. After replacing routers every year, (including an expensive one I hoped would last longer) I bought the cheapest one on NewEgg, resigned to replacing it within a year. At 3 years and counting, I've never even had to power cycle it. Stay away from the blue ones; they're the worst.

It's all the same stuff anyway (1)

Mark of the North (19760) | about a year ago | (#44276829)

I've been using consumer-grade wireless equipment in the enterprise. The key is that we flash routers with OpenWRT. We decided to do this after testing out some enterprise wireless gear from a couple of reputable companies, cracking open their equipment, and realizing it was basically identical to the consumer-grade gear. It's also nice having to worry a little less about the possibility of manufacturer's back-doors. Much lower price and the ability to have a nearly identical interface on a mix of equipment are big positives as well. A minus is that devices tend to keep a death-grip on the access-point they connect to first.

We must have 50 wireless access points (mostly Netgear, some ASUS, some Linksys) running for a couple of years and have had no issues whatsoever other than having one router lock up after a power bump.

What equipment are you using? Either it's junk or you have some sort of problem in your environment (dirty power, high ambient temperatures).

Why So Many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276855)

Why are you going through so many routers? Even cheap crappy routers should last for years/decades. I've been through two in twenty years despite the use of aftermarket firmwares, VPN, server hosting and more... In fact, the only reason that I replaced the first one was to increase system memory and add a radio frequency and speed. Resolve whatever is causing the need for your excessive replacements.

To answer your question, I do use enterprise grade equipment on my home network as well. Switches, routers, VPN concentrators have come and gone. They are usually temporary for projects or lab setups and they usually go away. They all work fine, but they have a few major issues that don't lend well to residential use.

1. Noise. They are usually made for server rooms/data centers. They have tiny high speed fans that are excessively loud, especially for home use.

2. Heat. They generate a lot of heat that has to be managed.

3. Space. They are usually 19 inch rack mountable and require a lot of space. this is especially true when they have discreet feature sets thereby requiring multiple boxes that would normally be handled by a single consumer device.

Presently, my home has the following permanent gear:
1. Enterprise WiFi access points in the ceiling to improve WiFi coverage. There's more square footage than a single AP can cover.

2. There is a low grade fanless "enterprise" switch at the network core for port density and port mirroring for troubleshooting and experimentation.

3. A 6 year old Cisco/Linksys WiFi router running DD-WRT at the perimeter providing 30Mbps internet access and VPN services.

4. 14 permanent wired and wireless network nodes(computers/tablets/NAS etc.)

Ubiquity (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276873)

Use Ubiquity gear, saves you a lot of headaches and is very affordable

Engenius EAP600 is the best I've found (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276883)

I bought this AP and couldn't be happier

It's dual-band, supports MIMO and has a very high signal strength. On my Surface Pro I can push 300mbps over 802.11n.

A router per year? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44276911)

That's nuts. Nobody hits that many clinkers in a row.

Get yourself a good consumer-grade router and a surge protector, my good Sir/Ma'am/Fido.

Check Point appliance recently released (1)

flydpnkrtn (114575) | about a year ago | (#44276919)

I have been extremely tempted to buy Check Point's latest all in one security appliance... they no longer use SofaWare as their embedded OS on their smaller appliances, it's a scaled down GAIA (the next evolution of Check Point's SPLAT for those who do Check Point stuff). It's pretty nuts all the things they pack into one little box... 10 1 gig ports, and 802.11 b/g/n

"All 600 Appliances come standard with 10 x 1Gbps Ethernet ports. For added flexibility and convenience, the wireless version of the 600 Appliance includes a WiFi access point (802.11b/g/n) that supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 authentication as well as secured guest access capabilities. The optional integrated ADSL modem eliminates the need for a separate external ADSL modem. Additionally, the included USB and PCI Express card slots allow an administrator to plug in a compatible third party 3G modem, providing an additional WAN connectivity for a redundant Internet link for maximum reliability." []

Looks like they're about $400 on a random site I googled. Really tempting... I've been thinking about doing the same thing (plus REAL web filtering built-in, for my daughter).

DIY recommendation here: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276925)

i dont know what you mean by a "router".
if you mean a device with a firewall (WANLAN), some ethernet ports and maybe a wifi radio,
then i strongly recommend to buy every part SEPARATELY.
so here is a recommended parts list:
1 netgear ADSL modem/router (with linux inside). this will translate the two-wire ADSL to 4-pair ethernet. not needed if you have cable.
1 x super micro X9SBAA-F board (atom S1260, 2 x intel gigabit, max. 8 GB RAM, 4x SATA3 (6Gb), 2 x usb3.0) @ 10 watts?
1 x (extra) pci-express intel gigabit (*)
1x some D-Link gigabit greenline switch (8 ports@12watt?)
1 x TP-Link TL-WR702N WiFi N ( as access point @1watt)
1 x some storage: recommend 1 quick operating system SSD. media can be stored on 2 TB external usb3.0 drives @20watt?

for software: download VMWARE ESXi (free) install as bare metal hypervisor.
for firewall ... install whatever you feel like. pfSense, trafficCop, monowall, some linxu distro as a virtual machine.
for media server .. install some linux (text based) distro with NFS, SAMBA or that NAS linux distro with XFS ... (pass-thru of usb3.0 disks is possible in ESXi).
the AccessPoint can just hang off the gigabit port.
this should be reasonably "hard"....etc. etc. have fun.
(*) total 3 gigabit ports is better then two : D. the atom S1260 should have enough legs internal for that (no gobbel-gobbel pcie-bus GPU).

Re:DIY recommendation here: (1)

Thor Ablestar (321949) | about a year ago | (#44277465)

And all this will cost you 3-4 times more and take 3-4 times more place than a specialized device. Also, it will have 3 times more glitches that you will never be able to catch: the simple ADSL modem has NO RAM and ROM for alternative firmware. Then, TL-WR702N has only 2 MB flash. It means that you also cannot use any alternative firmware (it needs at least 4). You will be unable to use any functions that you cannot migrate from TL-WR to Atom.

Before your continue.. (1)

post_toastie (649723) | about a year ago | (#44276937)

Take a look at why and how you're going through consumer grade equipment so quickly. Are you using it in a hot/dusty or otherwise detrimental environment? If so, buying expensive "enterprise" equipment is wasting your money. Unless you've had a rash of bad luck, there's no reason for so many failures.

You're running your router too hot! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276967)

If the submitters gear is really breaking after an average of one year in continuous operation, he/she is doing something very, very wrong wrt. environmental conditions.

I have had all of two routers for my home DSL + LAN over the course of 7 years or so. The first was a cheap netgear Ii think!) which lasted 5 years, and now I've got a Linksys WRT54GL running Tomato going on its third year without any trouble. I do a fair bit of tech-support for family and friends, and I can't recall ever hearing about a home router not lasting at least 3-4 years..

Conclusion: The submitter probably lives somewhere where it gets very hot and / or humid (like Florida), and / or has his router stuffed in a small unventilated space like a cabinet, and / or has a shitty local power grid. Do something about the environment that your gear lives in, and it'll definitely last more than a year!

This is what you should do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44276995)

Take a ALIX board or old X86 machine. Throw in a few gigabit cards, install debian on it and enable natting, dhcp and ip forwarding... You won't need to upgrade "every year"

Old Cisco Equipment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277007)

I run a pix 515e with a 3550 poe switch and an AP-1131. Works great. Of course you have to know how to configure it all...

Re:Old Cisco Equipment (1)

pcjunky (517872) | about a year ago | (#44277221)

Cisco 871 here and a C2950-24 switch. The 3550 is great if you want the layer 3 capabilities but remember it's power requirements as are around 80 watts. The 2950 uses only around 18 and isn't as noisy.

Failures much lass frequent. In fact I buy these for customers on ebay for around $50. Zero failures on the 871 routers and only one on the C2950.

Remember if it isn't running IOS it isn't real Cisco gear. Never mind the Linksys crap they bought and put there name on. Big mistake that even they now realize as they are dumping Linksys.

My setup (1)

Natales (182136) | about a year ago | (#44277009)

I had similar needs about a year ago, including the fact that I was going back into network engineering after some years out of that field, so I wanted a flexible yet powerful setup in my home with focus on speed, security and flexibility make changes.

In order to achieve flexibility, I wanted as many components as possible to be in software. I already had 2 large diskless ESX servers connected to a QNAP TS-659 Pro II over NFS and iSCSI, so I updated my physical switch to a Cisco SG-300 20 and I setup link aggregation among all components effectively doubling the speed. The next step was to create purpose-specific VLANs. VoIP, home network, guest network and home entertainment systems are all in separate VLANs. Guest and home networks each have 2 Apple Airport devices setup as access points (not as gateways). Everything else is hard wired.

The main router and firewall is a purpose built Linux VM where I get to control everything in software. The cable modem from Comcast is plugged into the Cisco switch where it goes into its own VLAN directly to the gateway VM.

The setup has been up for a year. Minor updates have been applied to each component with very little disruption. I'm now starting to experiment with Nicira [] controllers for virtual networking within this environment so all future testing will remain in the software realm.

Business gear fails too... (1)

kiriath (2670145) | about a year ago | (#44277053)

The continuous power recommendation above is probably your best bet.

Enterprise level gear is good stuff, but it can fail as well, part of what makes it enterprise is the service agreements and rapid replacement you can get on them. Really for a small network that would be a waste of money.

Would you buy a tractor-trailer rig to get stuff from a lumber yard occasionally when a pickup truck would suffice? Just keep said pickup truck well maintained and it should be fulfill your needs and be less expensive than the corporate solution.

I realize that was kind of a stretch but hopefully it helps to illustrate the point.

mikrotik and ubiquity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277137)

get a mikrotik routerboard and a ubiqiuty bulletM2 .
Put a 8db omni on the the bullet, set it as an ap and turn the power way down-- 7 or 8 works for me-- 2500 sq foot two story farm house with plaster and lathe walls and learn how to program the mikrotik.
I am partial to the rb2011 5 gig e ports and 5 10/100 ports.
My setup works great,
disclaimer- I work for a Wireless ISP and we only use mikrotik and ubiquity hardware--

Cisco 871 (2)

pcjunky (517872) | about a year ago | (#44277163)

Cisco 800 series routers do a great job. Used on ebay for as little as $50. I use an 871 but for most an 851 would do just as well. Very stable with some having over a year of up time. For wireless look at 1200 series AP's. Dual band versions like the 1231AG go for as little as $30 on ebay. Tolerate temps as high as 122 deg F so you can even put them in attics.

I would rather have a used BMW than a new KIA any day. Besides most pure electronics don't wear out the way machanical things do. My old Apple II still works fine, as does my Icom 745 HF rig from the mid 80's.

Alternative solution: (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a year ago | (#44277167)

Streaming 3-4 1080P videos? How about get off the couch and try spending some time in the real world?

Does anybody have experiences about milspec'd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277199)

Or are those just ridiculously expensive?

All I'm interested in is a simple home router that would just keep on working. Somehow that wouldn't seem to be too much to ask.

A bit biased here... (2)

Grench (833454) | about a year ago | (#44277207)

I've always run with Cisco gear at work, so I figured, why not run with Cisco gear at home? Price is only a concern if you're buying new, and even when most people buy new, they don't buy at list price - they find a gold-certified reseller who can offer them up to 60% off Cisco list prices. Me? I bought most of my kit off eBay.

My own current setup is:

1x Cisco 1841 router with EHWIC-1ADSL for my broadband connection (this card supports ADSL2+)
1x Cisco Aironet AIR-AP1231G-E-K9 for wireless
1x Cisco Catalyst WS-C2940-8TT-S for a switch

The router was £60 off eBay. The WIC was £40 off eBay.
The switch was £40 off eBay. Sure, it's only a 100 Mbit/sec switch, but my internet connection is only around 10 Mbit/sec downstream. Works for me.
The wireless AP was £50 in a clearance sale from PCW Business - it was brand new in box.

If I'd bought an 1801, it'd have had an ADSL2+ interface built-in, but I wanted a router with a couple of WIC slots.

Total - £190. This ticks all the price boxes for me.

In terms of reliability - I've had the AP for a few years now and it's fine; the switch and router were more recent, and haven't let me down either. I've used all of these device types professionally for years (including in dirty warehouses, offshore oil platforms, and in Portakabins running off diesel generators), and have never had one fail yet, so I don't expect one to at home.

The 1841 isn't fanless, so it does make a small amount of noise, but it's not too bad (less noise than my peronal gaming desktop PC, but more noise than my Dell work laptop). It lives in my hallway next to the phone jack, so the noise doesn't annoy anyone. The 2940 switch and 1231 AP are fanless and run silently.

For server stuff, I've got a Raspberry Pi running Samba4 (for Active Directory), Cacti and Observium (for SNMP polling / graphing my Cisco kit), rsyslogd (for syslogging) and am currently pulling my hair out trying to get Horde Webmail to integrate authentication with LDAP. I also want to get a TACACS/RADIUS setup going.

Seen several people recommend this before... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277331)

If you have some entry-level DIY skills, use a modest router and swap out the larger capacitors with some high-quality ones from digikey or wherever.
Cost... maybe $30 plus a few hours time?

Consumer-grade means 'good enough' under ideal conditions, so most of the stock components are probably mass-produced chinese junk. Caps just happen to be a common failure point.

One device, one job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277335)

I would highly recommend getting one device that does the job really well. However before I make any recommendations I can agree with those suggesting Cisco 8xx series devices if you want an all in one solution.

Now if you are willing to go for one device that does the job well,

The n version will cost around £50 and works really well.

A small one will be cheap and has all the features of any enterprise level device. I have issues with this due to lack of OSS support however if that is not a problem for you I can recommend them.

If you have DSL I can highly recommend one of these devices. Again fits with the one device, one job and works really well. I am very far away from my exchange and this device in in my loft which is quite hot right now and works great.

All of this should be under £150 which is what you could end up paying for a reasonable home Netgear and if something breaks or needs upgraded you can replace just that part.

Anything with... (1)

Thor Ablestar (321949) | about a year ago | (#44277343)

Any model of router that has enough RAM and ROM and architecture supported by OpenWRT. It does NOT mean that you will really use OpenWRT but it means that you have at least one alternative firmware and the router is NOT a cheap [Nomina sunt Odiosa] box with minimal functions.

Then, you may experiment with heatsinks and add a ceramic cap in parallel with every electrolytic cap inside if you wish, replace a cheap [Nomina sunt Odiosa] power source with UPS and do what you want.

If your box is a supermegaextraprofessional router but it does NOT support OpenWRT then sometime you will experience some bug and will be unable to distinguish it from a hardware error since you have no alternative firmware. I personally had a yearlong dispute with ISP and D-Link before I got a terribly bad modem. It was old, buggy, it required a heatsink mod - but it had OpenWRT support. Then, all the bugs were successfully caught. I use it now.

Enterprise routers? (3, Interesting)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about a year ago | (#44277351)

30mbps downstream from the ISP and an internal network that should be able to stream 1080p movies to 3 or 4 devices from a media server?

Most enterprises implement a dual product solution. They install a dedicated router and a wireless access point. So get ready to spend $500+ on your solution. The linksys/netgear/asus products are meant to be all in one devices.

If you're looking for an all in one router then look at the Cisco 800 series routers. However, most of the models provide features you do not need like hardware based VPN or QoS, features you most likely do not need for providing you family with access to hulu/youtube etc..

However, I've got an Asus RT-A66U (or Best Buy's name: RT-A66R, same router different name). Easily handles 50Mb down and has 4 GigE ports for LAN traffic. Great range and decent price. Sure the top gets warm/hot but that's because it uses the top metal cover as a large heat sink. I don't put other gear on top of it nor hold it, so it's not a problem. Has solid reviews on Newegg as well.

If you're breaking so many devices you might want to figure out why you're breaking them. Dirty power? Dirty location? (Got a cat/dog?). Don't say "I'm downloading too much..." There's people out there with ancient linksys W54GL's out there and it's not like those were made with "Enterprise Grade Components"

Mesh Routers (1)

ShopMgr (1639595) | about a year ago | (#44277367)

I have been using open-mesh routers for years. [] They are reliable, self-organizing and I can get at least 10 Mbps through one with

CheckPoint Safe@Office 1000NW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44277401)

that what i use, 1 device, no mess no fuss bridged to my cable providers modem.

rock solid wifi, rock solid security and does everything i need and more.

the only downside is price ...but they are worth itl

Or lets suggest a bunch of consumer crap (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about a year ago | (#44277429)

And hobbyist gear that no normal person could be arsed to deal with.

Yes enterprise gear can last a long time, but at the same time its also finicky as hell particularly with power enterprise gear expects to live a pampered life in most cases i've found enterprise gear in the home environment to have mixed results. at least get a few good UPSs if you go this route.

Middle of the road (1)

Shoten (260439) | about a year ago | (#44277433)

Okay, there are options besides "consumer" and "enterprise." There are network devices for small offices and medium businesses. You don't need a Cisco 6900-series chassis to be more reliable than a dogshit consumer router. Cisco is a bit more filled-out in this range (I run some of this class of gear at home myself, and am happy). I have a Gig-E backbone and use a business-class WAP for wireless. It's not a wifi router mind NAT, no switchports, no WPS. And I like it that way, because it allows me to have a flat network at home, gets rid of WPS and its security vulnerabilities, and it just plain works. My firewall is a Cisco ASA 5505 with a VPN license, and that, too, just plain works great.

I'm deliberately omitting hardware specifications and model numbers for the most part, for a good reason. What I have is for myself, and my requirements. What the OP needs is for them to decide. And that's where he/she should start...with requirements. I wanted Gig at the wire level, and 802.11n for wireless with fairly tight security. I wanted a solid VPN at my edge that would be able to leverage the VPN client on my work computer. I wanted a flat network for primary, trusted systems so that my Apple TV could see iTunes on my desktop, and printing from the MacBook would be simple. And my home network design reflects all of this. The OP might have different they need to figure out what those needs are, and then find the devices that fit them.

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