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Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

timothy posted about 6 months ago | from the blue-pill-that-stacks-neatly dept.

Networking 427

First time accepted submitter jarmund (2752233) writes "I first got a WRT54GL in 2007. Now, 7 years later, it's still churning along, despite only having one of its antennae left after an encounter with a toddler. As it is simply not up to date to today's standards (802.11N for example), what is a worthy successor? I enjoyed the freedom to choose the firmware myself (I've run Tomato on it since 2008), in addition to its robustness. A replacement will be considered second-rate unless it catered for the same freedom as its predecessor." Is there a canonical best household router nowadays?

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FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633265)


sigh (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633275)

just get comcast /duck

Re:sigh (2)

jd (1658) | about 6 months ago | (#47633743)

Comcast failed to implement the duck switch. They do support rat, pig and ferret, though.

Comcast Xfinity Wireless Router (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633283)

The new Comcast Xfinity wireless solution is what I have at home and it totally rocks. It does everything I need it to do well, and I never have any problems with it. I would recommend it if you are lucky enough to have Comcast internet offered in your neck of the woods.

Re:Comcast Xfinity Wireless Router (4, Funny)

apraetor (248989) | about 6 months ago | (#47633309)

And, like any STI, it's guaranteed you'll never get rid of Comcast, too!

Re:Comcast Xfinity Wireless Router (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633325)

If you're gonna shill, at least try not to be so obvious about it...

Re:Comcast Xfinity Wireless Router (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633663)

If you're gonna shill, at least try not to be so obvious about it...

I dunno. It's so damn obviously over-the-top it's got to be sarcastic.

You know, there were occasions where Jonathan Swift was taken seriously, too....

Re:Comcast Xfinity Wireless Router (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 6 months ago | (#47633339)

the last post was payed for by comcast

+1 for this Post (5, Insightful)

haknick (2035324) | about 6 months ago | (#47633291)

Been looking for another router for almost a year now, and still haven't been convinced of a better one than my WRT54GL

Re:+1 for this Post (2)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 6 months ago | (#47633585)

It's funny; I was actually looking into a replacement for my WRT54G (using DD-WRT) last night. It's been great for a long time, but during the past couple months it periodically craps out and stops responding. Unfortunately, it seems like the only router that everyone can agree on being good is the WRT54G series itself.

But there's some good leads from this post. Brings me back to the days when Ask Slashdot was actually frequently useful or interesting.

Re:+1 for this Post (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633665)

I've been using an open-mesh access point for years. One of them recently went down after a freak thunderstorm, but it's been reliable and useful. I've been using an OM1P, but I see there's an updated version now. http://www.open-mesh.com/products/access-points.html

Re:+1 for this Post (4, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#47633813)

I have a Linksys E900 I've been running DD-WRT on for a while, and never had a lick of trouble with it until this week, when the WAN port fried thanks to a power surge (caused by some dumbass with a drill...).

That's the router I'd recommend, as it's 802.11n, has enough space in flash to support a pretty feature-rich build of DD-WRT, and can be had for less than $50.

Product Page [linksys.com]

Re:+1 for this Post (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 6 months ago | (#47633903)

I wanted one with gig ports. The 100 Mbps service here is delivered over a 1G port, so I wanted all 1G ports on the router. With 802.1ac.

Or am I stuck with factory firmware for the current generation of hardware? That was the nice thing about the wrt54g, it was top of the line when it first came out.

The canonical best household router is (3, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | about 6 months ago | (#47633591)

Apple's AirPort.

Fixed-function devices are the only way to go - set it and forget it, man.

You don't have to hack them, you don't have to bother them. I've had mine for about 10 years now, to replace my old 1st-gen WRT54g, where I was doing stupid shit like trying to build an HTTP & media server into it, which was a conceptually flawed idea for an wireless-access-point.

You should never make devices more complicated than their physical requirements.

The problem a lot of people have is that they believe a device should do more, instead of less. This is the feature-creep that cause devices to be badly designed and complicated.

Apple has they user-experience model down in their Airport, where they say "Nope. Just use it for an WAP, not as a server." which was the correct decision.

Re: The canonical best household router is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633673)

They're terrible for QoS, however. They're fine as WAPs, but not routers.

Also, I downloaded Apple's Airport Utility for iOS, hoping to manage my first gen Express. Turns out Apple no longer supports it. The Apple Curse strikes again.

Incidentally, this is why web interfaces for routers is a good idea. They'll likely work on any operating system. (I would have bought an Asus portable router if I had known about the Airport's issue. )

Re:The canonical best household router is (1)

kuzb (724081) | about 6 months ago | (#47633721)

This is a joke, right? I sure sounds like a joke.

Re:The canonical best household router is (3, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#47633869)

To a certain degree, he has a point - trying to shoehorn non-networking functions, like web and media serving, into a network device is kind of stupid - you're just going to end up wasting processing cycles on processes that don't have much-if-anything to do with routing.

Now, to say that a WAP should be a WAP and nothing else, ie no routing, firewall, or switching functions (other than what a WAP requires)? Sure, makes a lot of sense... if you're made of money. While you're at it, go buy one of those $10,000 firewall appliances too.

If you're like me, and you are not made of money, and/or you like hacking on stuff, there's nothing wrong with picking up a WRT router at a garage sale for 5 bucks and slapping a fairly feature-rich DD-WRT build on it, presuming you got a model with enough space and power to handle the functions you want to use.

Re: +1 for this Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633613)

No one seems to take the other approach--raspberry pi with hostapd. You can do whatever you want with it then, including anything beyond simply routing and firewalling.

Piheads are like the guy with a Hammer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633801)

They think everything is a nail.

RaspPi is fine for people who aren't up to using an Arduino or something, but for a router replacement, especially in the GigE era, you need something with more throughput and ideally more expansion.

I'm someone disappointed nobody has produced a 100 dollar Arm board with a dual to quad cpu, either integrated GigE switch, or 3xPCIe x1 slots, and 1-2gig of ECC DDR3. The tech is all out there, but no company has been enterprising enough to produce it. Such a device would be fully capable of 802.11n, possibly capable of 802.11ac/n 5/2.4 when a mini-pcie card is available, and have the networking capability to replace sub 500 dollar managed routers with open firmware.

The tech is there to do this, so why hasn't somebody with the capability made the investment?

Re:Piheads are like the guy with a Hammer... (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 months ago | (#47633883)

If someone were to come up with a ARM-based board with at least the capability of three or four NICs and a WiFi access, and could run a decent distro like Debian, even if it cost a couple of hundred bucks, I'd snap up three right now. I've built Linux-based routers/VPN appliances using Debian, iptables and OpenVPN, and I can't complain, but they still suck a lot of electricity, and quite frankly, are rather large. I have three Asus RT-N12 routers with TomatoOS on them, and they work great but I've never been able to get the onboard ethernet switch to reliably work as two routed network segments, and they are getting a bit long in the tooth WiFi-wise.

Re: +1 for this Post (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 6 months ago | (#47633823)

No one seems to take the other approach--raspberry pi with hostapd. You can do whatever you want with it then, including anything beyond simply routing and firewalling.

You can also do something you probably DON'T want to do with it, namely waiting for what seems an eternity while it reboots on those occasions when a reset is required or you have a brief power failure.

Re: +1 for this Post (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#47633827)

Hey, neat idea. I was looking for a project for the Olinuxino anyway as an excuse to buy one.

netgear wndr3700/4000 series (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633293)

Have been using these 2 routers for more than 2 years, running dd-wrt... nothing to complain about :)

Re:netgear wndr3700/4000 series (-1, Offtopic)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#47633353)

Such wow, much review. [knowyourmeme.com]

Re:netgear wndr3700/4000 series (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 6 months ago | (#47633651)

I had a 3700 and it worked great until the N reception on it was suddenly gone one day. That was annoying.

Buffalo (4, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 months ago | (#47633297)

Personally I love my Buffalo routers running DD-WRT. I'm pretty sure you can run Tomato on them too, but I thought it wasn't maintained anymore.

Re:Buffalo (5, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | about 6 months ago | (#47633319)

Tomato itself is no longer maintained, but there are several mods out there. I use Shibby's mod for my Asus RT-N16.

Re:Buffalo (2)

sinij (911942) | about 6 months ago | (#47633373)

Is latest Tomato has any outstanding exploits or vulnerabilities against it? If so, it is not "no longer maintained" it is "complete".

Re:Buffalo (1)

Chas (5144) | about 6 months ago | (#47633719)

Yeah. No such animal.

Re:Buffalo (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633445)

I already liked Buffalo for the DDWRT support. I recently discovered that they also provide excellent support, even for old routers. I strongly encourage you to look at them.

Re:Buffalo (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633455)

Yes, I love our Buffalo AirStation N600 WZR-HP-AG300H which has gigabit ports, dual-band wireless, and lots of RAM and flash so they'll be able to keep running newer firmware for a long time to come. They probably have newer variants by now. I've run the DD-WRT that came with them but they are supposed to work with OpenWRT too.

I've used a pair of them with as a wireless bridge, using one dedicated band for that and allowing clients to use the other band so there is no interference when a wireless client accesses a wired host that is on the other side of the wireless bridge. In another location, I've just put both wireless interfaces on the same SSID and let clients roam between them depending on signal quality etc.

DD-WRT's information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633307)

Want a narrow list of choices? DD-WRT Firmware FAQ: Which router should I buy? [dd-wrt.com]
Want a lot of details? OpenWRT: Table of Hardware [openwrt.org] , or DD-WRT Wiki: Supported Devices [dd-wrt.com]

Re:DD-WRT's information (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#47633479)

Except their primary response to that seemed to be purely based on price. Most of us are not looking for the cheapest 100% compatible dd-wrt router.
Then the second choice is just the old solid 54G. Then a few middling OK routers. Then a few on the really expensive side.

TP-Link (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633311)

Go TP-Link. wr1043nd ; wr3600 or even bigger ones.


TP-Link (2)

Jonathan P. Bennett (2872425) | about 6 months ago | (#47633413)

This. I have installed probably close to 50 tp-link routers running openwrt in various businesses in my town. The 1043 is great, as it has a usb port. Openwrt runs very well on these routers.

Re: TP-Link (2)

YodaDaCoda (1927704) | about 6 months ago | (#47633735)

Yes, but get the hardware revision 2.0. The 1.x devices still have WiFi troubles.

Avoid the Asus RT-N66U .. overpriced (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 6 months ago | (#47633313)

I picked up 2 Asus RT-N66U thinking that I could have a high speed Wifi Bridge. Since this house is old it creates a lot of interference. WiFi at the router was 30+ Mbps ... in one of the rooms, down to less then 5 Mbps.

The stock firmware is crap. You can't port-trigger multiple ports, only port forward ONE port.

I highly recommend Shibby's Tomato firmware which is up-to-date to see which routers it supports.
http://tomato.groov.pl/ [groov.pl]

Re:Avoid the Asus RT-N66U .. overpriced (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633443)

I picked up 2 Asus RT-N66U thinking that I could have a high speed Wifi Bridge. Since this house is old it creates a lot of interference. WiFi at the router was 30+ Mbps ... in one of the rooms, down to less then 5 Mbps.

The stock firmware is crap. You can't port-trigger multiple ports, only port forward ONE port.

I highly recommend Shibby's Tomato firmware which is up-to-date to see which routers it supports.
http://tomato.groov.pl/ [groov.pl]

I've been using the RT-n66U for a couple years now without any issues. I believe it supports a number of firmwares, notably Merlins (http://www.lostrealm.ca/tower/node/79) which is just a modified version of the stock adding in features and bugfixes.

Re:Avoid the Asus RT-N66U .. overpriced (2)

taustin (171655) | about 6 months ago | (#47633661)

The RT-N66U is the only one I'll use at work these days. Has about 1/3 more range than anything else I've tried, and it connects far, far better to some very old (802.11b) portable printers we use than anything else.. Factory firmware can be cranky, but there are other options, as you note.

It is, however, rather more expensive.

Re:Avoid the Asus RT-N66U .. overpriced (1)

psyque (1234612) | about 6 months ago | (#47633919)

Gotta agree. My RT-N66U(Shibby 121) is running a crap load of stuff with zero downtime. VLAN, IPTV, VoIP, OpenVPN server and client, Print server, etc etc etc.

I've got an RT-AC68U as my access point. Not as mature firmware wise, and hard to test to it's full potential, but rock solid none the less.

ASUS can shut up and take my money.

Re:Avoid the Asus RT-N66U .. overpriced (2)

Skid_00 (1250068) | about 6 months ago | (#47633897)

Try updating the firmware. Or switch to Merlin's f/w. Or switch to DD-WRT. My RT-N66U is running like a champ. I'm getting better throughput on *everything* than I did with my old WRT54GL. I'm also running a 5GHz-only bridge to/with an EA-N66 in my living room. Pricey? Yes, but I still feel I'm getting my money's worth.

Option: Linksys WRT1900ac (2)

Mauro (3779305) | about 6 months ago | (#47633315)

You should consider the Linksys wrt1900ac, it's a really good router and it's open source friendly. Though I have to warning you that OpenWRT still working on releasing a stable firmware. Thanks,

Re:Option: Linksys WRT1900ac (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#47633371)

Ya, it is just that most people cannot get past the little issue of it being the most expensive consumer router on the market.

Re:Option: Linksys WRT1900ac (5, Insightful)

sinij (911942) | about 6 months ago | (#47633429)

If it lasts for 7+ years like WRT54GL, cost of ownership wouldn't be that high, just upfront costs.

Re:Option: Linksys WRT1900ac (1)

GNious (953874) | about 6 months ago | (#47633503)

Having used a "Linksys by CISCO", or tried to anyway, I won't touch another Linksys product, unless paid VERY well to do so.
(incidentally, I now also consider CISCO to be shite, since they considered the aformentioned heap-o-feces to be good enough to put their name on it)

Re:Option: Linksys WRT1900ac (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633557)

You do know that CISCO sold Linksys to Belkin in 2013, right?

Everyone: please be specific! (5, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 6 months ago | (#47633347)

Every time I've tried to figure out this question for myself, I've run into a maze of "router [foo 600] works but [foo 601] doesn't, unless you have [foo 601 revision 2, 3, or 5] with firmware version X but not firmware Y." If you just tell us a brand name or something, your post is fucking useless!

Re:Everyone: please be specific! (3, Interesting)

jd (1658) | about 6 months ago | (#47633937)

I definitely second that.

As an aside, you can generally expect a router to support things it does properly, at least you should be able to. Haven't seen too many routers certified as IPv6-ready (there's a comprehensive test suite out there by TAHI, it's not like it would be hard to verify) or even IPv6-capable, although a good number are both. So you can't trust the advertised capabilities as being either complete or correct.

There may also be hardware weirdness that means a feature won't work as expected whether with the regular firmware or a replacement.

Getting just the brand and revision is great, if you only want basic stuff. Which is most people. For freaks and geeks, we could use knowing if there's any really big, ugly omissions.

(I've done compatibility testing between network cards. It is unbelievable - or, at least, it should be unbelievable - how many network chipsets are defective. It's mostly obscure stuff, but bad silicon is expensive to fix, so you'd expect halfway decent testing. It just means all routers will do weird shit, so it's handy to know if it's weird shit that's likely to be a problem.)

Mikrotik (5, Informative)

Cigamit (200871) | about 6 months ago | (#47633355)

I use Mikrotiks for just about everything nowadays. I haven't really found any situation that it couldn't do the function I required, even when it was something as complex as L7 regexing on a URL to force specific requests into a different priority queue.

http://routerboard.com/RB951G-... [routerboard.com]

Exactly same situation... why do you need N? (1)

sinij (911942) | about 6 months ago | (#47633359)

I am in exactly same situation, and don't find that I need anything more than G. Netflix streaming works just fine, and I have wired connection for my main workstation.

Re:Exactly same situation... why do you need N? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633469)

2.4ghz is probably ok if you live in the burbs. In town you really want 5ghz as wifi density in apartment buildings is such that 2.4ghz starts to have significant throughput issues during primetime.

Re:Exactly same situation... why do you need N? (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | about 6 months ago | (#47633601)

needs more copper mesh

Re:Exactly same situation... why do you need N? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633563)

640K of RAM is fine for me for everything I do. Why do you need more?

LOVE 'em with Toastman (1)

markdavis (642305) | about 6 months ago | (#47633363)

I really love my WRT54GL running Toastman Tomato. "It just works"- it is rock solid and does what I want. Sure it is not super fast, but for regular stuff it is fine. I liked it so much I installed dozens of them at work and directed my friends and family to use them also.

I need to knock on wood... not a SINGLE one has failed or had problems. They stay up "forever" without hanging or needed to be reset, even after seeing tons of various devices connected. Plus they were dirt cheap and have real antennas and with real connectors (so I can and do use different antennas for different applications). Just don't use the stock firmware- it is unreliable. It freaks me out that you can still actually buy the ancient things-- they are just that popular.

It is a tall order to find a suitable, more modern replacement. I have been on the lookout but haven't seen anything quite at the same level that could "carry on the torch". Some say Buffalo.

Netgear R7000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633395)

I've had one of these running DD-WRT for six months. Friends running them for almost a year. Its a great router and very stable. Works great with or without open source firmware.

Internet is dead, long live the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633411)

I believe the answer is whatever The Company makes you buy. With local monopolies being the dominant decision making point for buying decisions. I know Verizon Fios pretty much mandates their equipment for interoperability with anything you buy being installed on top of their router. We are pretty much getting back to the days when Ma' Bell told you what phone to buy or you got to lease your fancy "touch tone" phone from AT&T leasing for 40 years and 128k was good enough for anyone.

I've moved to Mikrotik (5, Informative)

mysqlbytes (908737) | about 6 months ago | (#47633419)

I've moved over to a Mikrotik RB2011 series device and I have to say I'm loving it. Has all the features I need, and even though the hardware is 3 years old at this stage, it's still alot faster than the older WRT devices. Interface and command line are a little whacky, and hard to get used to, but once you do, you'll never go back. http://routerboard.com/RB2011U... [routerboard.com]

Re:I've moved to Mikrotik (1)

Jimbookis (517778) | about 6 months ago | (#47633689)

I completely agree. Get a Mikrotik device of some kind. They are reliable, Swiss-army-knife-flexible, cheap, robust and have a huge range of devices to choose from. You can even assemble your own configuration from parts if you want too. The Winbox config utility is fantastic and works just fine with Wine in Linux. They are now coming out with models that have 802.11ac too. I Mikrotiks with ADSL2+ modems (like the Draytek Vigor 120) in RFC-1422 bridged mode but they will work fine with cable modems, Wimax system and with some models you can use a USB 3G/4G dongle.

I've moved to Mikrotik (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633767)

I've seen a few posts recommend Mikrotik, and the RB2011 specifically, and I'd have to agree.
I know the OP talks about something that'll run open firmware but I really don't see the point in wasting your time messing around with custom firmware. Just buy a router that does the job it's supposed to, and RouterOS can do just about everything you'd ever want to do with a router. There's not much you could ever want to do with a router that it won't do out of the box with a few minutes configuration in Winbox.

I have the 10 port desktop RB2011 with wireless (the red one) and can't think of any router I'd rather use.

Just follow the steps... (4, Informative)

ElBeano (570883) | about 6 months ago | (#47633421)

1. Pick your favorite firmware 2. Check the lists to see which routers are supported 3. Check forums and reviews on the equipment, with the firmware in question (many perform better with dd-wrt than stock) 4. Make your choice

They used to call me paranoid... (5, Informative)

chaoskitty (11449) | about 6 months ago | (#47633437)

I have long advocated for separating everything - the cable modem / DSL modem should JUST be an interface to the upstream provider, with no NAT and DEFINITELY with no wireless. See the issues with Xfinity and other providers who are now piggybacking their "free" Wifi on customers' connections - I bet it'll be shown in the near future that the already existing NAT table size issues, which already cause many consumer devices to be problematic, are being exacerbated by trying to maintain state entries for the "free" wireless, too.

So you have a cable / DSL modem which is in bridge mode. Then you have some sort of NAT device. If you like running your own OS, a Raspberry Pi or some other tiny StrongARM device is cheap and can run whatever GNU/Linux or BSD you like. Heck, you can even still use your WRT54GL if the CPU in it isn't limiting the speed of your upstream connection.

Then, you have your wireless device. Again, I strongly recommend something that just does bridging - you have the simplest setup because you're not using the wireless device for NAT or any other "features". With all the stories about consumer devices having poor security and intentional back doors, the less exposure, the better. Personally, I pay extra for Apple because the 802.11ac Airport Extreme does wonders with existing 802.11n clients.

The great thing about this is that you can have as many segments as you want without needing a switch which does VLANs. You can plug two USB-ethernets into a Raspberry Pi, for instance, and keep your wireless and wired networks on completely different segments. Or three, and you can have your old device provide a completely separate guest network.

The best thing about this setup is that if one device fails or is shown to be insecure and the manufacturers won't fix it, you can just replace that one device.

Re:They used to call me paranoid... (1)

Mryll (48745) | about 6 months ago | (#47633617)

What are the issues you have had with double NAT (once at the modem and once at the wireless router)?

Re:They used to call me paranoid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633655)

are being exacerbated by trying to maintain state entries for the "free" wireless, too

I had that same thought when Comcast started pulling this crap. Most of these ISP provided multifunction routers are anemic MCUs that choke on a few hundred NAT table entries.

TP-Link TL-WDR4300 (3, Interesting)

elgaard (81259) | about 6 months ago | (#47633449)

USB and 128 MByte RAM make many interesting things possible.

With OpenWrt there currently is an annoying problem with VLAN tagging, but there is a patch: https://dev.openwrt.org/ticket... [openwrt.org] making its way into trunk.

OpenBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633461)

low power pc with several network interfaces, and openbsd.

Re:OpenBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633535)

Forgot to add, that ppl should stay away from any company owned-by, sources parts from, or has anything todo with cisco.
Cisco places intentional backdoors in all its products and can never be trusted for anything.

Ideally, try to building a DIY box.
By reducing your dependency on a single vendor, there is more control in your hands, and more ability for selfservice should something break.

Re:OpenBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633667)

Sheesh. Paranoid much? Cisco did not do those. It was the NSA that intercepts the packages and load spyware into them.

At any rate, the OP says he was running Tomato on his WRT54GL. Last time I checked, Cisco does not own Tomato or any the mods.

Re:OpenBSD (2)

Bigbuzzman (1721282) | about 6 months ago | (#47633559)

If you are going to do that, load up pfSense and do it right.

MikroTik RB2011 w/ wifi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633463)


"The RB2011 is powered by RouterOS, a fully featured routing operating system which has been continuously improved for fifteen years. Dynamic routing, hotspot, firewall, MPLS, VPN, advanced quality of service, load balancing and bonding, real-time configuration and monitoring - just a few of the vast number of features supported by RouterOS.

RouterBOARD 2011UAS-2HnD has most features and interfaces from all our Wireless routers. It’s powered by the new Atheros 600MHz 74K MIPS network processor, has 128MB RAM, five Gigabit LAN ports, five Fast Ethernet LAN ports and SFP cage (SFP module not included!). Also, it features powerful 1000mW dual chain 2.4Ghz (2192-2732MHz depending on country regulations) 802.11bgn wireless AP, RJ45 serial port, microUSB port and RouterOS L5 license, as well as desktop case with power supply, two 4dBi Omni antennas and LCD panel- all this for only $129! "

Marketing BS aside, it IS only 2.4GHz, but 5GHz AC has crap range anyway, due to FSPL (free space path loss), and the fact that obstructions attenuate 5GHz twice as bad as they do 2.4GHz.

It's (RouterOS) insanely configurable though - you can even run MPLS on the damn thing, or setup your own WiFi mesh network.

Build your own (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633475)

You will learn something.

Consider diversifying networking gear (1)

grilled-cheese (889107) | about 6 months ago | (#47633481)

One thing I've started doing is trying to diversify my networking gear. Instead of trying to lump a single piece of hardware for modem+router+wifi, or just router+wifi, completely shutting off the wireless parts of my WRT54gl then just buying a good wireless AP. This allows me to keep OpenWRT running on the WRT54gl just fine since I can't push more than 100Mb traffic through my ISP and keep all the nice routing, DNS, etc features working. It also means that when hunting for a wireless AP, I don't necessarily have to include open firmware compatibility as a requirement. It's also nice because if one piece bites the dust, I don't have to sink large amounts of cash into replacing the whole thing or if I need more hardline ports I can just change out the switch/bolt-on another one.

ASUS RT-AC68U, Stock Firmware (4, Informative)

highvista63 (587404) | about 6 months ago | (#47633485)

I very recently replaced my faithful WRT54G with an ASUS RT-AC68U router. Over several weeks, it has never had an issue. I am running a mix of 802.11ac/g/n clients. Range and performance are fine. I live in an apartment with a very crowded 2.4GHz band and it still blasts through fine. The 5GHz band isn't as crowded and is great for the N and AC clients--wish the Chromecast had support for N on 5GHz. And if you want a slightly-tweaked custom firmware, a hobbyist developer maintains the Merlin firmware that is widely admired and used.

Re:ASUS RT-AC68U, Stock Firmware (2)

radioact69 (1220518) | about 6 months ago | (#47633527)


Is it just Me (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#47633489)

Or is the only router ever produced that actually looks good is the wrt54G line? I have yet to see another that does not look really bad.

It's like the Orinoco Gold... (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 6 months ago | (#47633495)

There is no modern equivalent. Sadly, I'm getting rid of the Orinoco because:
    a) It's slow
    b) It doesn't support WPA/AES
    c) It requires a PC Card slot, which nothing modern has anymore.

But I still remember driving down the highway through Dallas with an external antenna hooked to that card, cataloging hundreds of APs as I passed by, many of them wide open. Ah, the good 'ol days.

ASUS RT-N16 (4, Informative)

Cthefuture (665326) | about 6 months ago | (#47633499)

Follow the herd: RT-N16 [asus.com] running Tomato or similar firmware. Gigabit, 802.11N, USB, open-source.

One of the most popular routers ever made and the natural successor to the WRT54.

Re:ASUS RT-N16 (2)

MrRobahtsu (8620) | about 6 months ago | (#47633789)

Love my RT-N16. I've used dd-wrt and easytomato on it in the past 2 years or so. It's great for the price.

Linksys E1200 (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | about 6 months ago | (#47633501)

I've gotten along with DD-WRT and the Linksys E1200. It runs DD-WRT and supports Client Bridging.

Re:Linksys E1200 (1)

Lab Rat Jason (2495638) | about 6 months ago | (#47633641)

I run the E3000 with DD-WRT... I've loved it... Runs great! no longer run it in bridged mode after moving to a new house, but it's still got nice features (albeit a bit aged now)

Netgear R7000 (1)

wispoftow (653759) | about 6 months ago | (#47633511)

I recently replaced my third generation Airport Extreme with a new Netgear R7000 "Nighthawk." I loaded Tomato "Shibby" branch, and was able to replace my firewall, webserver, openvpn, and a few other services with this bad-boy. Also, I get QoS.

Two weeks later, everything is fine. I am satisfied. It is interesting to me that the range of the Airport Extreme (despite being seven? years old), is comparable to this new wireless router. However, I am happy to invest in a repeater unit using this free software, rather than sinking more into the good--but infinitely proprietary, and less feature-ful)--Apple hardware.

Re:Netgear R7000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633633)

Another vote for the R7000. The stock firmware is crap, but this router supports both dd-wrt (Kong's branch) and Tomato (Shibby branch). I have been very happy with dd-wrt so far. I used to run Tomato on my WRT54GL and so might give Tomato a try on the R7000 at some point.

Separation of Powers (1)

bmajik (96670) | about 6 months ago | (#47633523)

Claim: the routing and security features on the edge devices your ISP provides as CPE are not sufficient

Claim: You want the ability to reset the shitty CPE your ISP gives you without losing LAN connectivity

Claim: Specific purpose devices are often better suited to their tasks than all-in-one devices

Solution: Treat your ISP-supplied CPE as a dumb device. Put a smarter device behind it that does routing, segmentation, translation, dhcp, etc, the way you want those things done.

Ideally, do PPPoE or something from the smarter device across the CPE, because CPE firmware is so often just terrible, but if not, double-NAT is often fine.

Critically, make your wifi APs a separate function both from your core home router and your edge device.

For a trivial amount of money, you can keep buying Ubiquiti APs and place them all over your property, as needed, and get an arbitrarily high level of speed and coverage. The configuration is completely painless, and this setup is completely independent of your edge device and edge connectivity.

Real router hardware is the next step. (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 months ago | (#47633537)

I abandoned the toy routers a while ago, bought a used Firebox X700 on ebay for dirt and installed pfSense. Is it fast enough to route a 10,000Base T internet II connection? nope, but it's fast enough for anything that Comcast can throw at it, plus there is a metric buttload of add-on's plus you get epic street cred with your digital posse'.

Re:Real router hardware is the next step. (1)

idontusenumbers (1367883) | about 6 months ago | (#47633899)

The specs show the x700 as having only 10/100mbit ports, comcast offers 105mbit internet access.

WRT54GL replacements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633549)

Well, I know Belkin started releasing the spiritual successor to the WRT54GL, but from what I heard from the initial reports, the third-party firmware selection is a bit lacking, as they are still working on releasing a port.

If I were to forced to buy a new router now, I would look at the ASUS series of RT-N/AC routers mainly because they are supported by Tomato by Shibby [groov.pl] . Other than some additional features (like supporting the USB for external HDD/flash storage, printing, APC UPS, mobile stick), it feels just like the original Tomato. I use it myself on my Linksys E3000/E3200 back when I was looking to replace my WRT54GL.

TOR (0)

eric31415927 (861917) | about 6 months ago | (#47633593)

I hear these onion routers are all the rage now.

Asus RT series (3, Informative)

Algan (20532) | about 6 months ago | (#47633619)

I have an Asus RT-N66W (same as N66U, only white). The latest stock firmware is decent, and if you don't like it you can install a host of others. Asus develops the firmware as GPL, and is friendly to outside developers. I believe DD-WRT runs well on it, but I haven't tried, the stock firmware does what I need.

Re:Asus RT series (1)

Tridus (79566) | about 6 months ago | (#47633679)

Seconded. I'm running an RT-N66U and it's been rock solid, good range, good throughput. Haven't needed different firmware but I know it supports some options.

Re:Asus RT series (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about 6 months ago | (#47633745)

Support you on this, except I think Shibby's Tomato firmware is the best.

I've had a number of WRT-54G's, some struck by lightning, some still working. They are great, but can no longer handle the 60 MB/s download I get from my ISP, and the gigabit connections all devices have.

Please avoid any brands that have the NSA/DHS taint, which is pretty much any US company.

WNDR3800 Refurbs are Solid (3, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#47633649)

For a company headquarters job I did recently we looked at a bunch of options, and went with a dozen WNDR3800 [amazon.com] refurbs for about $50 a piece. Running OpenWRT with luci-ssl and wpad (not mini, for WPA2) installed on them.

Great for doing multiple SSID's over VLAN's back to the routers/firewalls for handling. After doing another job with a "big company brand" central controller and "dumb" AP's, I'd go the OpenWRT route again in a heartbeat. You waste a few hours configuring a dozen instead of a few weeks debugging a nasty, buggy, proprietary deployment.

There wasn't a huge budget so instead of buying twelve new ones we went with 16 refurbs. The 4 spares are still on the shelf a year later, knock on RSSI.

This model has a lot of users, projects like CeroWRT have chosen it as a target, and the OpenWRT wiki has it very well documented (port numbers, VLAN setup, etc.) Even a real power switch (next to the integrated gigabit switch) and a USB port. What it doesn't have is external connectors for big antennas, so if you need to do long-haul, either solder them on or look elsewhere.

N-range is not good on any compliant hardware, so for a typical house I just get two of these and give them the same SSID's on different channels and then there's great signal everywhere. The OpenWRT wiki's HOWTO on deploying a Guest SSID works well (I've done those for neighbors) but given the option I prefer to send the traffic back over a VLAN to a pfSense firewall and handle it there instead. That's fine for commercial but makes less sense in a typical residential install.

Re:WNDR3800 Refurbs are Solid (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633771)

+1, had great success with these.

The WNDR3700v2 is also good (identical hardware but less memory) - though you should avoid v3 as it's entirely different and v4 isn't supported yet.

Unfortunately Netgear seem to have stopped producing them, though there are plenty of places to buy them online still.

Netgear R6300 (1)

davids-world.com (551216) | about 6 months ago | (#47633681)

I've been running the R6300 for a year, initially with OpenWRT, and now I'm back to stock firmware. It works, but I wouldn't say it's living up to expectations given its high price. It could not use a Mac OS Extended formatted harddrive for NAS and share via AFP. OpenWRT installation was a mess, and I had to unbrick it by hooking up a USB/serial interface to its internal ports. OpenWRT support is limited to the builds created by some individuals, and I was unable to upgrade it to the latest version. The stock firmware works, but doesn't give me features like VPN. So far I'm just living out my sunk-cost bias, because it works OK as a router. Do I get more out of it than you do with your old Linksys? No, indeed not. (and I keep that sort of Linksys around for emergencies.)

soekris net6501 (2)

AndroSyn (89960) | about 6 months ago | (#47633687)

It's a little on the spendy side, but the Soekris [soekris.com] net6501s are fairly small and reliable. They have a proper RS-232 serial port console too. Standard x86 cpus. The 6501 will boot both 64bit and 32bit kernels(even though the Intel Atom E6XX line only officially supports 32bit.

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633705)


NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Wireless Gigabit Router (R7000)

Just got one of these. I loaded the DD-WRT firmware from Kong on it. I tried to flash back to stock, and it would not flash. Kong gave me some simple instructions (log in to ssh, run "erase linux" and "reboot", and wait for the light to flash... which means it is in TFTP mode waiting for you to upload the stock firmware) to put it back. He said that bug will be fixed very soon (if it isn't already).

I will go back to DD-WRT in the near future. I believe this router also runs Tomato, but I haven't looked into it deeply.

BUFFALO AirStation AC 1750 (1300 + 450 Mbps) Gigab (1)

lord3nd3r (1073580) | about 6 months ago | (#47633727)

I recently purchased this: http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ... [amazon.com] I LOVE the router. no issues whatsoever and amazing/blazing speeds.

TP-Link TL-WDR4300 (2)

N3TW4LK3R (841526) | about 6 months ago | (#47633845)

Runs Openwrt, 802.11N (5Ghz) USB, gigabit.

You can pick it up new for under 60$

dlink (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47633861)

Dir 615 with ddwrt.

Easy (2)

jon3k (691256) | about 6 months ago | (#47633923)

Virtual machine running GNS3 with the Cisco IOS 12.x mainline code for a 7206VXR. Then just setup bridging and add the IP for the gns3 node as your default GW. All done with one NIC. Enterprise grade router running on your desktop. With modern multicore CPUs it runs great and has all the features you'd ever need (eg Zone Based Policy Firewall, QoS, ACL, policy routing and it can even function as an SBC running CUBE code).

Almond+ (1)

crashelite (882844) | about 6 months ago | (#47633925)

i would go with the almond + http://www.securifi.com/almond... [securifi.com] for me it will be the end of using custom firmware but theirs will be open source . Beta backers and early orders are shipped or shipping. Its about 6 months from being for sale on amazon i think.
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