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Are expensive routers worth it ?

MrEleven1181
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My internet has been playing up a bit since yesterday websites take ages to load and when i face time someone it freezes pretty bad most of the call. So ran a ookla speed test and its showing my internet is running perfect 22 ping 110down and 7 upload speeds, now starting to think maybe just my router is getting a bit old. Its just the standard one virgin sends out and its over a year old now.

So are these expensive routers worth buying and if so could someone recommend a good one please?

Theres 4 people in my family two of us play games online and also watch some Netflix etc

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1 hour ago, M.Yurizaki said:

How expensive is expensive? I have a router that cost me $160 retail (I forget if I actually bought it for that much), but there are routers that cost like $250 or more.

I just had a quick google search and seen they are ones around £300-£400 but also seen ones around £150 i dont mind buying one around £150 if they are actually good and worth the money ?

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2 minutes ago, MrEleven1181 said:

I just had a quick google search and seen they are ones around £300-£400 but also seen ones around £150 i dont mind buying one around £150 if they are actually good and worth the money ?

The one I bought, an ASUS RT-AC68U, has been the absolute best router I've ever purchased. The thing just works.

 

So yeah, I'd say you can find excellent routers in that price range.

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No. $50-70 routers are the point where anything more is just throwing money away. Features get added that just chew through CPU, gaming focused features that really do nothing, 6000 mbps AC!!!!!! is BS.....it just keeps adding up.

 

For a typical home about 2000sqft a mid range $50 router will work just fine. People often think they need an expensive router when they dont. 

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If your willing to do a little learning you can purchase a nice Mikrotik router for less than $100. 

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1 hour ago, mynameisjuan said:

No. $50-70 routers are the point where anything more is just throwing money away. Features get added that just chew through CPU, gaming focused features that really do nothing, 6000 mbps AC!!!!!! is BS.....it just keeps adding up.

 

For a typical home about 2000sqft a mid range $50 router will work just fine. People often think they need an expensive router when they dont. 

On the contrary, I think most people don't think about their router at all and have performance issues due to using junk.

 

While for your average users 6000Mbit AC might be overkill, for a household doing WiFi to LAN transfers with many users or suffering interference on the lower channels, there are huge benefits to having multiple channels.

 

For example I just got a Roku Streaming Stick+ which will sometimes be streaming 4K off my NAS.  That will hugely impact any file transfers I do to my laptop, not least because the Roku stupidly won't work on channel 52 that I was using before due to the neighbours using the lower channels, reducing my speed.  So having a second SSID running on a higher channel would be a huge advantage for me right now.

 

So honestly, its not helpful to just tell people more expensive routers are BS, you need to figure out their actual usage pattern first.

Router:  Quotom-Q555G6-S05 running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + VOXI 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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23 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

On the contrary, I think most people don't think about their router at all and have performance issues due to using junk.

 

While for your average users 6000Mbit AC might be overkill, for a household doing WiFi to LAN transfers with many users or suffering interference on the lower channels, there are huge benefits to having multiple channels.

 

For example I just got a Roku Streaming Stick+ which will sometimes be streaming 4K off my NAS.  That will hugely impact any file transfers I do to my laptop, not least because the Roku stupidly won't work on channel 52 that I was using before due to the neighbours using the lower channels, reducing my speed.  So having a second SSID running on a higher channel would be a huge advantage for me right now.

 

So honestly, its not helpful to just tell people more expensive routers are BS, you need to figure out their actual usage pattern first.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ASUS-RT-AC86U-AiProtection-Accelerator-Aggregation/dp/B075WFL15D?SubscriptionId=AKIAIPHVZTVH6LZ5BFZA&tag=hawk-future-21&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B075WFL15D&ascsubtag=trd-2982407158007795024-21

 

i am thinking about picking this one up the reviews seem to be pretty good. Just wanted to get peoples thoughts on this model before i order ?

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30 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

So honestly, its not helpful to just tell people more expensive routers are BS, you need to figure out their actual usage pattern first.

You are not the average person as most just want wireless for phones, maybe a laptop and a couple smart TVs. People who know what they need will buy a router they know will work. In general yes, spending more than a mid range router

 

30 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

for a household doing WiFi to LAN transfers with many users

Not average use case. Sure you might notice a slight bump in speed spending $200 on a router that has a fast enough chip but real world performance is minimal. 

 

I see this all the time with customers calling in " I even went out and bought this $300 router and I am still having problems" when they dont understand the main cause of their issue. 

 

Expensive routers really dont provide much more over mid range one. 

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Nobody coming to this forum is really an average person though, an average person doesn't even realise the router makes any difference at all.  Your average user would still be using 802.11g if ISPs hadn't started bundling routers.  I have seen this for myself just looking at SSIDs nearby, there's still one or two people stuck on old routers probably still on 3Mbit ADSL.  Not because they wouldn't benefit from faster speeds, but simply because they don't understand the problems they are having are related to their broadband package and/or router.

I'm not disagreeing that top-end consumer routers are overpriced for most users, just that suggesting they are a waste of money to someone without finding out their usage first, is not helpful.

 

I'd never suggest I'm an average user, with four VPNs on my router now and a metric ton of firewall rules.  But even before all that when I first switched to using a PC as a router I could see the difference in latency thanks to DNS lookups being so much faster, etc, when web pages loaded.  Its kinda harder now due to the biggest latency being adverts taking ages to load, but its still there.  You want your router to always have a little overhead as WiFi transfers alone can max out the CPU on low to mid-range routers if you are accessing a NAS, which is one reason why dedicated access points are still a better option.

Router:  Quotom-Q555G6-S05 running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + VOXI 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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3 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Nobody coming to this forum is really an average person though, an average person doesn't even realise the router makes any difference at all. 

I see average joes come here all the time

 

3 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Your average user would still be using 802.11g if ISPs hadn't started bundling routers. 

Devices not supported g would of forced it. ISP are not the cause of that, yeah they kept up with the times but thats just to lessen their calls from complaints.

 

3 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

I'd never suggest I'm an average user, with four VPNs on my router now and a metric ton of firewall rules

And you arent an average user. Other than these forums/reddit, I have yet to meet another person in real life that uses a VPN on their router or uses a NAS...hell, even someone that knows what either are. 

 

I am a network engineer with a 10gig connection and all I have is a hAP Ac2 with basic rules. I do networking all day and just come home and relax. I have maybe 30 devices connected but its either a smart tv, PC, laptop or IoT devices all over. All running fine. Top it off with I just swapped my tik with a $40 Netgear n900 that I had for what, 7 years before I swapped it just because I wanted to see a performance difference...I didnt. 

 

$50 routers nowadays can do quite a bit and CPUs are pretty decent. We still have customers with $19.95 MikroTik hAP lites deployed in some mom and pop shops with an average of 20-30 devices connected that are running like champs. $19.95 routers that can handle 150mbps over 2.4g  and can route at 100mbps with VPN and about 15 rules. 

 

Yes people have their uses, but I have yet to see proof that expensive routers even have their place in a lot of situations. 

 

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6 hours ago, mynameisjuan said:

I see average joes come here all the time

 

Devices not supported g would of forced it. ISP are not the cause of that, yeah they kept up with the times but thats just to lessen their calls from complaints.

 

And you arent an average user. Other than these forums/reddit, I have yet to meet another person in real life that uses a VPN on their router or uses a NAS...hell, even someone that knows what either are. 

 

I am a network engineer with a 10gig connection and all I have is a hAP Ac2 with basic rules. I do networking all day and just come home and relax. I have maybe 30 devices connected but its either a smart tv, PC, laptop or IoT devices all over. All running fine. Top it off with I just swapped my tik with a $40 Netgear n900 that I had for what, 7 years before I swapped it just because I wanted to see a performance difference...I didnt. 

 

$50 routers nowadays can do quite a bit and CPUs are pretty decent. We still have customers with $19.95 MikroTik hAP lites deployed in some mom and pop shops with an average of 20-30 devices connected that are running like champs. $19.95 routers that can handle 150mbps over 2.4g  and can route at 100mbps with VPN and about 15 rules. 

 

Yes people have their uses, but I have yet to see proof that expensive routers even have their place in a lot of situations. 

 

I am confused now. So looking at my original post would you advice me to upgrade from the standard virgin media router to the asus one ?

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2 hours ago, MrEleven1181 said:

I am confused now. So looking at my original post would you advice me to upgrade from the standard virgin media router to the asus one ?

Sometimes it seems people lose the grip of what the topic is about.. You can get routers that costs thousands of dollars, doesen't mean they are the "best". In your case i would think the two of you who are gaming uses wired internet and the two other mostly wireless? If so any gigabit router would be fine even for future upgrades. 

If you are all on wifi i would suggest moving atleast the two gamers over to a wired connection.

 

You'll also want to put the router you have now in bridge mode before buying a new router. Connection two routers to eachother causes more issues than most people can deal with. While many peopple recomend that you can do this if you do this and this. I do not recomend doing that at all.

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It all depends on your needs. If you want a setup that will cover 100% of a home user's needs then I highly recommend getting a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter and UniFi Access Point, those will do everything you'll need them to do at home and I have the luxury of taking my $100 router and installing it in my data center to support a few thousand clients if I needed a spare in a pinch, I was very surprised when I was able to get BGP configured (partial tables) while still having plenty of overhead for VPNs and firewall rules. Of course, this is overkill for home users, but if you're going to spend more than $100 anyways go for something that will do everything you can imagine and more. As for the Ubiquiti UniFi Access Point, if you've ever had any wireless issues before then one of those will solve all of your problems. I keep mine in a utility closet that's mostly cinderblock walls and it covers my house, front yard, and backyard (they also make a Long Range version if you have a larger area to cover).

-KuJoe

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9 hours ago, mynameisjuan said:

We still have customers with $19.95 MikroTik hAP lites deployed in some mom and pop shops with an average of 20-30 devices connected that are running like champs.

Those hAP Lites are AWESOME! I originally got a few of them to go with my Cloud Router (CRS125-24G-1S-2HnD-IN) to expand my wireless network but ended up replacing all of them with Ubiquiti UniFi APs so they went into a storage until a while back when a lightning storm fried my EdgeRouter and I pulled out one of the hAP Lite's and converted it to a router until my replacement arrived. I love Mikrotik/Routerboards so much, being able to convert to a AP, router, or switch with a single reboot is fantastic but I stick with Ubiquiti because that's what I run in my server cabinets so I try to stick with the same hardware at home for testing/development.

-KuJoe

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no. investing in a better antenna or repeaters is far more sensible. concerning gaming a good old ethernet cable will yield better results than any wifi. 5ghz wifi is a cool feature if you are willing to pay more but in the end doesn't really make a difference for most things.

 

My Folding Stats

 

X  Vigilo Confido  X

 

 

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35 minutes ago, AbsoluteFool said:

Sometimes it seems people lose the grip of what the topic is about.. You can get routers that costs thousands of dollars, doesen't mean they are the "best". In your case i would think the two of you who are gaming uses wired internet and the two other mostly wireless? If so any gigabit router would be fine even for future upgrades. 

If you are all on wifi i would suggest moving atleast the two gamers over to a wired connection.

 

You'll also want to put the router you have now in bridge mode before buying a new router. Connection two routers to eachother causes more issues than most people can deal with. While many peopple recomend that you can do this if you do this and this. I do not recomend doing that at all.

Yes the two gaming pcs are hardwired to the current router and everyone else just uses ipad on wifi also i was thinking i just buy the asus one and then bin the old virgin router?

also my internet has been working alot better today so it was only playing up for two days but just thinking maybe the original router tha virgin gives out for free might not be that good 

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first thing to do is check the support page and look how long the last firmware was 

i still in a battle with tp link vr600 over there 2017 firmware bug awfull company and i cant sell it on i like to be honest when i sell 

asus has good firmware and is updated often 

thanks to my isp talktalk i got there new wifi hub which works great 

 

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IMO you generally get what you pay for up to about $500 mark for consumer grade routers. After this the returns on your investment go down.

 

Generally anything under $100-150 will be fine for non techies and anyone that just goes on FB. The only thing to consider for these lower end routers would be wireless range and coverage.

 

One advent over the last couple of years that has been fantastic for home networking is mesh wireless networks. They allow easy placement of a router and multiple "extenders" for want of a better word. The advantage they have is great coverage and usually good roaming.

 

Were you looking at anything in particular? 

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I usually get the Netgear Nighthawk, which might be considered expensive and they are really quite a step up. Love them. Great range and speeds for reasonable price. 

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14 hours ago, Nicnac said:

no. investing in a better antenna or repeaters is far more sensible. concerning gaming a good old ethernet cable will yield better results than any wifi. 5ghz wifi is a cool feature if you are willing to pay more but in the end doesn't really make a difference for most things.

The Virgin Media Hubs have internal antennas and are not fantastic routers to begin with.

I put one of my old routers (I used for WiFi only) on my friends connection running OpenWRT with SQM enabled and his connection has been much more stable.

 

His bufferbloat went from F to A and I used to literally have a seconds lag typing when SSHing into the server I have over there, even though the connection was otherwise idle, now its instant.

Router:  Quotom-Q555G6-S05 running pfSense WiFi: Zyxel NWA210AX (~940Mbit peak)

Switches: Netgear MS510TXUP, Netgear MS510TXPP, Netgear GS110EMX
ISPs: Zen VDSL (~74Mbit) + VOXI 4G [Vodafone] (~120Mbit) + Three 5G (~500Mbit average)

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