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Thread: Retiring current router (RT-N66U). Suggestions on replacement?

  1. #1
    SCSI Dude Faust's Avatar
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    Retiring current router (RT-N66U). Suggestions on replacement?

    Heya, guys.

    As title states, my home router is in need of replacement. Got a couple good years out of it.

    To be frank, I don't really care about the wifi side of things. I can add APs or bridges to suit the need so long as the router itself is competent. The reason I ask is a computer directly connected to the modem gets ~300Mbps (what I'm paying for) vs. 200Mbps through the tired Asus router.

    With high-end routers at the moment being $300 - $400, I'm wondering if I should just pick up a non-wireless (maybe used) Sonicwall or something discarding the subscription services? Sonicwall OS isn't really my comfort zone but that really won't matter. Just means more searches on my end to be sure I got the config right.

    Suggestions?

    Thx, all
    "Today is a black day in the history of mankind."

    - Leo Szilard

  2. #2
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Honestly...get a newer Asus. Flash it with the Merlin firmware.
    Sonicwalls ain't all that fast....I don't like 'em anyways.

    However, your current RT66 is capable of over 800 megs of simultaneous throughput. Dunno why you're only seeing 200. It should not be the bottleneck.
    What if you download Merlin firmware, factory reset the router, flash it with Merlin.

    http://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/about

    For residential routers, IMO Asus is at the top.

    If you want uber fast, without breaking the budget, pickup a Ubiquiti Router...and pickup a Unifi AP for the wireless.
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  3. #3
    SCSI Dude Faust's Avatar
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    Heya 'Cat.

    Actually that's probably the better idea (flashing Merlin). This one's had Tomato running on it since I bought it (never thought it to be an issue), but I've read of some user issues where after year and a half to two years some folks started seeing performance problems and I just assumed it was this one's time to go. I'll try flashing the firmware first. I really like the router and aside from the speed issue I have no need or want for more.

    I've been eyeballing Ubiquiti stuff for work for some time. We're dropping some machines on the other side of the building and they're just on the edge of the wireless range so as soon as I can show the need that's the way to go.

    Thanks, bud!
    "Today is a black day in the history of mankind."

    - Leo Szilard

  4. #4
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    I've been pretty happy with the 802.11ac Asus routers as well.. I use an Asus RT-AC68R at home. Merlin firmware sounds like a good call.

  5. #5
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    Heya 'Cat.

    Actually that's probably the better idea (flashing Merlin). This one's had Tomato running on it since I bought it (never thought it to be an issue), but I've read of some user issues where after year and a half to two years some folks started seeing performance problems and I just assumed it was this one's time to go. I'll try flashing the firmware first. I really like the router and aside from the speed issue I have no need or want for more.

    I've been eyeballing Ubiquiti stuff for work for some time. We're dropping some machines on the other side of the building and they're just on the edge of the wireless range so as soon as I can show the need that's the way to go.

    Thanks, bud!
    We're doing tons of stuff with Ubiquiti....gimme a shout if you need help, product selection, whatever. Incredibly powerful stuff!

    Didn't know you already had Tomato on it...I prefer Tomato actually, I'm still running a Cisco e3000 at home with Tomato on it...running strong as ever.
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
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  6. #6
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    I never got into Tomato much, I used dd-wrt before.

    YeOld, let me piggyback on this thread and tap into your Ubiquiti experience
    I am dealing with a couple of single residences that need an AP in addition to the main wireless router for good coverage. I've been using existing hardware (older router configured as an AP, repeaters, Powerline, etc.). Do you think Ubiquiti's newer omni-directional APs (UAP, UAP‑LR, UAP‑PRO) will provide larger coverage area than a regular 802.11ac router with external antennas and 3x3 MiMo ? I do get the advantage of the Ubiquiti software, outdoor APs, scalability, PoE, etc. but do you find an advantage for simple residential single AP setups (well dual APs if you count the NAT router) ?

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    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    The easiest way is to setup "repeaters"...like a mesh repeat setup. BUT...that leads to slower and slower performance with each wireless hop..and each additional wireless client cuts speed for all in 1/2. So I stay away from "repeat" mode as much as possible. I try to get ethernet cable run to each AP when I can. For businesses this is typically easy and able to have a budget for. I realize for "residential"...it's not so easy. So...the next preference after running ethernet...is go for some ethernet over powerline bridges, or go for some moca bridges (coax). Since in most homes you'll find available electrical outlets, or coax already going to rooms.

    As for Ubiquiti products..."Unifi" is the easiest, and we have hundreds of them out there at our clients. Since we're an MSP and we like to have centralized portals to make managing all of our services at our clients easier....I built a Ubuntu server at RackSpace, and I have our Unifi controller on that..managing lots of Ubiquiti access points at dozens and dozens of our clients. With the Unifi products...you "bind" them to a controller...and provision them from the controller. Can be a controller installed locally, or you have build your own cloud controller. Or...Ubiquiti made it easy for smaller deployments by making a new "Cloud Key" product..which acts as a proxy so you can log into an account you create at Ubiquitis site..and select a clients network and manage it.

    Their AC access points are great. Also they have some outdoor ones, and ..even some which are wall plates to go over existing ethernet jacks (great for offices)

    Another product they have is a Pico Station. Wicked longrange. It is under the "AirMax" lineup, not "Unifi"...so it isn't controlled by the Unifi controller, it has its own local web interface. Insane range!
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  8. #8
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've done an AirMax NanoBeam AC bridge before and I loved it for the price, features, range, etc.. Just wondering about the Ubiquiti indoor APs wireless range compared to a regular 802.11ac router.

  9. #9
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    In my experience....for the PicoM...definitely a yes...better range. Those Picos are generally far better range than anything else. For Unifi LR models...depends on which residential grade router you're talking about. Generally "yes". A lot of it is regarding placement with the Unifi APs...as they shoot out a signal in a donut shape. So orientation of the AP plays a big part of it.
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
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  10. #10
    SCSI Dude Faust's Avatar
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    Got home last night and flashed Merlin. Couple things to note:

    • After the flash, Merlin showed the router CPU usage was pegged at 100% and speed tests were unchanged (~200Mbps)
    • Unmounted the attached USB HDD, router CPU usage went down to 0-3%
    • Watched CPU usage while running a speed test; hit ~225Mbps at which point the CPU usage hit 100%
    • Tried turning off the radios; CPU still at 0-3%, max download still at ~225Mbps @100% CPU


    Seems kind of odd. I hit the "clear NVRAM after flash" checkbox when flashing so I would think there isn't anything residual mucking up the works.

    Unless there's something I've missed I may just move forward with picking up a replacement. So the RT-AC68R would be good recommendation?


    Thanks again, guys!
    "Today is a black day in the history of mankind."

    - Leo Szilard

  11. #11
    Administrator Philip's Avatar
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    The newer V2 models of RT-AC68 (R/U/P) have an upgraded CPU, the originals had 800MHz, the 2015 Q1 version 2 model has 1GHz CPU, so it is not a bad choice.

    Other than that... QoS eats up a lot of the CPU on those, you may want to turn it off, as well as some of the other bells/whistles (monitoring usage, virus protection, etc.)

    Also, you may want to test by turning off channel bonding "auto 20/40"
    Make sure you use WPA2 AES... And avoid using 802.11b/g clients because they will force the router to slow down to accommodate them.

    There is a lot more info in this article (but I've outlined the important points above): http://www.speedguide.net/articles/w...ed-tweaks-5681

  12. #12
    SCSI Dude Faust's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Ah, great suggestions, Philip. One of the reasons I tried turning off the radios and unmounting the HDD was for that very reason. I'll try turning off QoS and auto-bonding as well.

    As always, y'all have been very helpful!
    "Today is a black day in the history of mankind."

    - Leo Szilard

  13. #13
    SCSI Dude Faust's Avatar
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    Picked up a new router (RT-AC3200) on the way home from work. I actually was leaning towards the AC-RT88U but insofar as the guts, they're pretty much equivalent. Same CPU, anyways. The wireless side I didn't really care about. I was going to pick up a RT-AC68 but I am terrible about stuff like walking into a cell phone store saying "all I want is a phone that can make and receive calls, that's all I need" and then walking out with the most expensive smartphone they have. This router wasn't the most expensive, but more than what I went in for. The results were exactly what I was shooting for. Still stock firmware at the moment.



    I'm still perplexed as to what happened to the old router. It was solid in all respects with that one issue of max WAN->LAN throughput. Maybe I'll donate it to work. The AP on the main shop floor quit running it's http server. I can telnet in but if I get run over by a truck on the way to work or something nobody will know what to do with it.

    Anyways, thanks again, guys!
    "Today is a black day in the history of mankind."

    - Leo Szilard

  14. #14
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    I have seen routers that...with age...they just start slowing down...eventually to a crawl. A reboot will cure things..for an hour or three or maybe a couple of days...but then they slow to a crawl.
    And eventually weird things happen.

    Supposed something electrical inside is failing. Perhaps a power supply. Perhaps a capacitor.
    We used to do TONS of the small business series Cisco RV series routers...by the hundreds. As some of them got pretty old...we'd see symptoms like I described a few sentences ago...and I'd often notice if you put your ear up close to them, you'd hear a faint high pitched noise. Failing capacitor or something.
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
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  15. #15
    I'm very happy with my home built pfSense router. See the "build your own powerful router..." sticky thread at the top of this forum for details. It's easier than you might think...

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