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need a wireless router or wireless access point for new cable modem (Spectrum)

Location: USA

Budget: $100, or more if really needed for a decent setup. 

Needed: split CAt to less than a dozen hard-wired devices and provide WifI for 2000ft home

Performance: not slowing down 3 people remoting into work/school and 

 

Currently we have AT&T DSL. We have the AT&T router that includes the wireless access point and the modem. I have a simple 8-port switch attached to connect to all our CAT outlets. We ahve the entire house wired and about 10 devices are hard-wired. the router can be accessed via IP and i could set up guest network, 2.4/5Ghz etc. 

 

We will switch over to Spectrum cable internet for 200 Mbit speed. We didn't want to rent their router/wireless and will only get a modem. Modem arrives next week. I assume it will just have a single CAT port (not sure) So I need to make sure I still can distribute all the CAT cabling and provide WiFi. The wireless point is just needed to enable wireless devices to access the internet. There is not a real network function required (i.e. phone directly communicating to a PC in the same network). 

 

Since we currently have the ATT modem/router/Wifi combo that is located at the service entrance at one corner of the building. this gives some bad wifi coverage on the other side. ideally i would have a more pwoerful wiFi, or locate that more central in the house.  

 

questions for the hardwired:

- is a router actually required, or can I just connect my (passive) switch and the passive switch still allows the devices to route the traffic to the Modem? 

- if something else is required, would a better more active switch work to not require an actual router? ideally i don't have too many devices. 

 

questions on Wifi:

- for just internet access, is a simple wireless access point enough, or do I need a wireless router? I plan to connect that WiFi device on a CAT outlet downstream of the switch. I like to be able to set up a guest network and it shoudl be safe, have good coverage for a 2,000ft house

 

If you can suggest specific models or features, i would appreciate it. We mainly buy from Newegg, or Amazon, but open to other vendors as long as equipment can be shipped soon. 

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1 minute ago, HerrKaLeu said:

is a router actually required, or can I just connect my (passive) switch and the passive switch still allows the devices to route the traffic to the Modem? 

Yes a router is required. Most cable companies do like AT&T and provide a modem router combo. Fun fact, Spectrum is the only cable company in the US I know still provides standard cable modems. 

 

2 minutes ago, HerrKaLeu said:

or just internet access, is a simple wireless access point enough, or do I need a wireless router? I plan to connect that WiFi device on a CAT outlet downstream of the switch. I like to be able to set up a guest network and it shoudl be safe, have good coverage for a 2,000ft house

As far as one device being enough that really depends on your home, the wireless environment around your home (ex: number of WiFi AP's near your home and other devices that use the WiFi spectrum) and the building materials of your home (Ex: Wood, Drywall = Good, Brick, Cinderblock, and Concrete = bad). Unfortunately you will likely have to buy a device and test it. What you might consider is an ASUS router that supports AI mesh. So if push comes to shove and it doesn't do great coverage thru the whole house, you can just grab another ASUS router with AI mesh and set up a mesh system with the two. 

 

5 minutes ago, HerrKaLeu said:

If you can suggest specific models or features, i

I have the Synology RT 2600AC, I highly recommend it, but its out of your price range. Features wise, you want AT LEAST wireless AC. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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2 minutes ago, Donut417 said:

Yes a router is required. Most cable companies do like AT&T and provide a modem router combo. Fun fact, Spectrum is the only cable company in the US I know still provides standard cable modems. 

 

As far as one device being enough that really depends on your home, the wireless environment around your home (ex: number of WiFi AP's near your home and other devices that use the WiFi spectrum) and the building materials of your home (Ex: Wood, Drywall = Good, Brick, Cinderblock, and Concrete = bad). Unfortunately you will likely have to buy a device and test it. What you might consider is an ASUS router that supports AI mesh. So if push comes to shove and it doesn't do great coverage thru the whole house, you can just grab another ASUS router with AI mesh and set up a mesh system with the two. 

 

I have the Synology RT 2600AC, I highly recommend it, but its out of your price range. Features wise, you want AT LEAST wireless AC. 

Thanks for the response. We only have ATT (25Mbit ) and Spectrum (200Mbit+) available. Honestly, That AT&T router built into the modem sucks for wifi. It is cutting out, even when you stand next to it. Every few years I have them swap it for a new one and that works fine for some months to create new problems. Every time AT&T gave us a " new" router it was already 2 years old based on build date. i wouldn't be surprised if they just move the trouble routers from one customer to another. I rather buy my own. Spectrum offers to rent a router for $5/month, but I better buy one and have control over it.

 

So it seems I get a wireless router and install it at the same location (one end of house, where the cable comes in) and then I will see if it has good enough wiFi. 

 

That Synology is $200. If that is significantly better, I definitely can do $200. I see the feature list and It looks to have big antennas. Could you tell me how that is better than say a $100 Netgear/Linksys)? Like better range and security? Better speed on CAT? (we only have 200Mbit, so not sure if that really matters, but I can see how a cheap router could throttle below the nominal speed). 

 

Some more Noob questions:

- Is it worthwhile to get a router with 802.11ax?  

- Newegg lets me choose " Ranged by Standard"  AC1000, AC 2300.. AX5400 and so on. Is any of the higher ones needed? 

- is external antenna better (I assume so...)

- which brand to avoid?

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, HerrKaLeu said:

Could you tell me how that is better than say a $100 Netgear/Linksys)?

Well Ive heard horrible things about Netgear's software and Linksys hasn't been relevant in years. They have been bought and sold multiple times now. The reason I went for the Synology is at the time it seemed like the best option for me. I wanted wireless AC, I wanted half way decent firmware and I wanted decent ish hardware that could handle a bit of traffic. OH BTW The Synology will support Gigabit internet, because MOST routers cant handle NAT at 1 Gbps speeds. That being said, the $100 router could work as well. 

 

5 minutes ago, HerrKaLeu said:

ike better range and security? Better speed on CAT? (we only have 200Mbit, so not sure if that really matters, but I can see how a cheap router could throttle below the nominal speed). 

 

I only have 200 Mbps with Comcast, while Id say Comcast's network a bit be better than spectrum in terms of quality, but that also differs area to area. We have 1300 sq feet to cover with my router. Its on the second floor of the house and covers it all including the back yard and side yard. Which is nice if you want to be on WiFi, but Outside. Security wise it does support WPA3, but your going to be hard pressed to find any older devices that support that encryption standard. To be honest most routers should be able to handle 200 mbps, Its when you get in to Gigabit speeds you start having issues. 

 

7 minutes ago, HerrKaLeu said:

Is it worthwhile to get a router with 802.11ax?  

That for you to decide. Im a believer in waiting till a standard matures. Plus your going to pay the new Tech Tax. While you can wait a year or two for innovation to happen and prices to fall. 

 

8 minutes ago, HerrKaLeu said:

which brand to avoid?

Belkin. The brands I see recommend here are ASUS, Netgear, Ubiquiti, Mikrotik, and building a PFsense box. From what I have read, Netgear might have crappy software. Ubiquti is more of a prosumer solution and their routers dont come with wireless, so you would have to buy a wireless AP as well. Mikrotik only have heard good things but never used any of them, they also are more prosumer. TPLink is another OK ish brand, but they are more for people on a budget. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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16 minutes ago, Donut417 said:

Well Ive heard horrible things about Netgear's software and Linksys hasn't been relevant in years. They have been bought and sold multiple times now. The reason I went for the Synology is at the time it seemed like the best option for me. I wanted wireless AC, I wanted half way decent firmware and I wanted decent ish hardware that could handle a bit of traffic. OH BTW The Synology will support Gigabit internet, because MOST routers cant handle NAT at 1 Gbps speeds. That being said, the $100 router could work as well. 

 

I only have 200 Mbps with Comcast, while Id say Comcast's network a bit be better than spectrum in terms of quality, but that also differs area to area. We have 1300 sq feet to cover with my router. Its on the second floor of the house and covers it all including the back yard and side yard. Which is nice if you want to be on WiFi, but Outside. Security wise it does support WPA3, but your going to be hard pressed to find any older devices that support that encryption standard. To be honest most routers should be able to handle 200 mbps, Its when you get in to Gigabit speeds you start having issues. 

 

That for you to decide. Im a believer in waiting till a standard matures. Plus your going to pay the new Tech Tax. While you can wait a year or two for innovation to happen and prices to fall. 

 

Belkin. The brands I see recommend here are ASUS, Netgear, Ubiquiti, Mikrotik, and building a PFsense box. From what I have read, Netgear might have crappy software. Ubiquti is more of a prosumer solution and their routers dont come with wireless, so you would have to buy a wireless AP as well. Mikrotik only have heard good things but never used any of them, they also are more prosumer. TPLink is another OK ish brand, but they are more for people on a budget. 

Thanks. I limited on Newegg to WAP3 for the future, and came up with the Asus RT-AX56U that also has AX and was introduced 2 years after the synology (2017) and has AX. It looks like it woudl be newer (better?) and more moderns. Would it be a mistake to get that for $146 over the Synology? 

it has a quadcore processor as opposed to dual for the Synology. I could afford either, just seems the Asus is newer. 

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1 minute ago, HerrKaLeu said:

and has AX.

AX is the newest standard. BUT the spec is not 100% ratified and Id personally am waiting on WiFi6E, or Wireless AX with 6 Ghz, as they are adding a new band to WiFi. Ill wait for that equipment to be released to see what performance is like. Keep in mind that older devices are still using AC and maybe even wireless N. The fact is when WiFi 4 was released I waited like a year or two to upgrade. When WiFi 5 was released again, I was a few years late to the party. In that time, prices went down, routers got better and the standard as a whole matured. I personally won't invest in WiFi 6 for at least a year, just to let the products mature, the software to get better and maybe get some improved features. While you might see some improvements from a WiFi 6 router, you will only get FULL benefits when all your devices support WiFi 6. Its going to be a few years out before that happens. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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12 hours ago, Donut417 said:

AX is the newest standard. BUT the spec is not 100% ratified and Id personally am waiting on WiFi6E, or Wireless AX with 6 Ghz, as they are adding a new band to WiFi. Ill wait for that equipment to be released to see what performance is like. Keep in mind that older devices are still using AC and maybe even wireless N. The fact is when WiFi 4 was released I waited like a year or two to upgrade. When WiFi 5 was released again, I was a few years late to the party. In that time, prices went down, routers got better and the standard as a whole matured. I personally won't invest in WiFi 6 for at least a year, just to let the products mature, the software to get better and maybe get some improved features. While you might see some improvements from a WiFi 6 router, you will only get FULL benefits when all your devices support WiFi 6. Its going to be a few years out before that happens. 

I agree, I wouldn't run out and buy an upgrade just to get the newest. I bet most phones or chrome books don't support the newer standards anyway. 

I found a good deal on the Asus RT-AX300 and it will be here on Monday. I'm looking forward to it. In the old days i was the guy who got buy with a $50 router (and don't get me started on that AT&T router)  🙂

 

Thanks, for the advice. 

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Another idea. I wanted to buy another router to use as a wireless repeater to place the at the opposite side of my house. and if the actual router fails, i have a backup right away. (With 2 people working from home and a kid virtual schooling, I can't afford days to wait for the new router). Maybe thsi is overkill if the router never fails, but a few days without internet for 3 people cost more than a router. 

 

Is there any good reason to buy the exact smae router? Or would a cheaper one work equally as well without harmstrining the better router features? 

 

I  found this Asus AX 1800 for $110 that also has the air mesh, AX, and WAP3

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20 hours ago, HerrKaLeu said:

questions for the hardwired:

- is a router actually required,

You (almost) always need a router for a wireless connection

 

20 hours ago, HerrKaLeu said:

for just internet access, is a simple wireless access point enough, or do I need a wireless router?

If you want a wired-only connection, you can just hook it up to your modem.

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9 minutes ago, Litbelb said:

If you want a wired-only connection, you can just hook it up to your modem.

Not true. If you want multiple devices to access your internet connection then you need a router, because you need NAT. That applies wired and wireless. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I have used this Asus RT-AX58U for a few days. I also set up a RT-AC660U-B1 as a Mesh node. All works fine, except:

- about once a day I lose either all Network or the Wifi and need to restart the AX58U  router. The failure mode changes. Sometimes LAN works, but no WiFi. Sometimes only one LAN port doesn't work first, then everything goes 10 minutes later. Restarting fixes the problem immediately. Obviously my daughter gets mad when she looses internet in the middle of her school class when I have to reboot. So this daily re-booting at random times will get old quickly. 

 

I have manually updated firmware from the Asus website. the router itself says there is a newer version, but gets hung when i attempt to have the router download it (tried multiple days). I just see there is a new version posted yesterday (10/20) and will try that. now it doesn't say it needs new firmware. 

 

But is that router known to be problematic? I'm at the verge of returning it and buying a new router. I don't care about all the features, as long as it works all day without having to reboot daily. Obviously if I choose to return it, now would be the time when I can get my money back. I don't want to keep trying it for months and then have to deal with the BS warranty / Asus support. 

 

I guess since I started having the AImesh, I would want to look for another Asus router (Stockholm syndrome). But I'm also open to other routers if I can set up some sort of mesh. 

 

I realize, now with the firmware update I should give it a chance. But this router came on the market in 2019 and one would think they would have had a stable firmware over that time. For the last 10+ years we had the AT&T router built into the modem. While this router was a POS for WiFi range, it always worked and i may have rebooted it every few years. 

 

Questions about the RT-AX58U:

- is it worth getting the same one (which is one of the choices Amazon gives me besides giving me $ back)? Meaning could this be a hardware problem that a new one won't have, or if this is software, it would apply to all of them. 

 

So looking for suggestions what a good router would be:

- Need AC

- able to work in some mesh

- RELIABLE

- Able to handle our 200+ Mbit (3 people using at same time for remoting and watching, zoom etc.)

 

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After the firmware upgrade, it happened again. So the RT-AX58U will go away....

 

I'm operating the AC660U-B1 as my main router now and hope that works a bit better. Would that be powerful enough for our use (3 heavy users, on 200Mbit)? if so, i may just buy another one of those and use it as a AImesh node (and have a spare). Or would a more powerful one be more appropriate for a min router? 

 

The RT-AX58U has quadcore processor vs. dual core and has more RAM. Not sure iof that matters for users. 

 

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