10

My current router is just not cutting it. It has limited ports (only 2 to be exact) and the signal is horrible.

Here's my situation:

I live in a two-story house which the builder has placed all my cable wires and Ethernet cables in an encasement upstairs in the master bedroom closet. The signal from my bedroom upstairs is horrible however downstairs is much better. I've read somewhere it is better to place the router downstairs so the signal can move upwards but in my situation that is not possible.

What I need in a new router:

  • multiple Ethernet ports
  • great signal throughout the entire house (even in a room that might be a few walls away from the router itself)
  • secure of course
  • not too big so it can fit in the encasement which is about 2x3'
  • a plus if it supports open-source firmware such as DD-WRT or Tomato
  • cost-effective

The main part is the signal! I don't really want to buy a range extender unless I have to!

4

I've recommended it previously, but I think it fits here too. I recommend the ASUS RT-AC66U.

  • It has 4 Ethernet ports (all 1GB/s)
  • Mine covers a 2800+ sqft house from end to end, with it situated in the basement at one end.
  • It supports several different wireless security standards. Notably, it does NOT support WEP, which means you can't select that very insecure method.

    Supported Wireless encryption

  • Newegg lists the dimensions as: 207 x 148.8 x 35.5 mm (WxDxH)

  • Supported by dd-wrt
  • Price is currently $150. It's up to you to decide if that's cost effective.

Signal strength is one of the biggest reasons I upgraded to this router. Due to where the internet/cable box enters the house and how the cable is run, I was not able to bring it to a more central location. The opposite end of the house would not be covered under the previous router. This one covers everything. I've had no issues getting a signal anywhere since I purchased this device.

  • thank you for taking the time to recommend this router. I forgot to mention wireless speeds but according to your link it appears this router can handle up to 1300mbs which is nice!! It costs more than I'd like but I'm sure I can pick up a used one for cheaper. – NuWin Sep 20 '15 at 20:09
  • I just want to update that I bought the router and currently using. My signal is MUCH MUCH better however do you know of a setting or tweak that would increase my speeds? My ISP package is currently "up to 50 MBs". From modem to laptop directly I get around there however with wireless it is 1/4 of that. I actually called my ISP and the girl asked if I still had the receipt for the router.. LOL! She was clueless anyways. – NuWin Oct 17 '15 at 18:51
  • Do you have slow wireless speeds on the local network? The symptoms you describe sound like something is connected at wireless "B" speeds. Is the slow device capable of running at "g" or "n" speeds? – Andy Oct 17 '15 at 19:08
  • Andy, I am honestly not sure. I am running on a HP pavilion DV6. I have just upgraded the firmware to DD-WRT and changed the Wireless Network Mode to NG-Mixed. After running a speed test, I think it improved a little. – NuWin Oct 17 '15 at 19:44
1

I recommend the FritzBox 3370 (tech specs here, although in German).

Reasons:

  • 4 Ethernet ports. All are Gigabit Ethernet (1000BASE-T).

  • Great signal coverage with external antennas. You would have to add external antennas, which is possible without permanent modifications, for example with the Frixtender products. You can add multiple different ones with different characteristics depending on your local situation. (I did not personally use the Friztender items so far, but added a similar aftermarket antenna to a FritzBox, and it works ….)

  • Dual band wifi. In case your wifi signal strength issues are related to having "too many neighboring wifis" with no locally unused, interference free channel left for you, then you can simply switch from the crowded 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz band to the 802.11a 5.0 GHz band. Range (esp. with obstacles) is less due to the higher frequency, but speed at limited range may be way better due to less RF noise.

  • Supported by OpenWrt. See here.

  • Internal DSL modem. Not too important, but saves one device. However I am not (yet) sure if OpenWrt supports the internal DSL modem. It does so for some FritzBoxes like the 7130 (see). If not, the LAN1 port of the FritzBox can be used as WAN port and a DSL modem can be connected there (see, in German though).

  • Great price: 10 EUR. This is a product that did cost 180 EUR new, but the manufacturer support ended (no matter when you're on OpenWWrt anyway) and a lot of these are in the market from subsidized DSL contracts. So you can get lots of these for 10 EUR incl. shipment, for example on ebay.de. (I do not expect any problems with used, older FritzBox devices. One of them (model 7050) at my place is in use since 2005.)

Method of search. I selected AVM FritzBox as a brand that is good quality and usually supplies DSL routers that come subsidized with people's broadband contracts in my area (Germany …), as that makes very cheap prices probable. Then I looked through all FritzBoxes supported by OpenWrt and found the 3370 to be the only dual-band wifi router among them with 4 Ethernet ports and a great price tag.

  There are similar FritzBoxes that add an analog phone port but only provide 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz wifi and less than 4xGbit Ethernet (FritzBox 7320, 7330, 7360). (No match. Esp. since now that most domestic phone connections are SIP anyway, I'd rather choose a native SIP phone instead of combining it with a FritzBox.) And again others that are the same but without phone and internal DSL modem (FritzBox 4020).

  Only the relatively new FritzBox 4040 comes close again. Unlike the 3370, it does not have a DSL modem but an Ethernet WAN port – not an issue, as an external DSL modem can be connected to the WAN port when needed. Adding external antennas is also possible (see). It is however five times more expensive (50 EUR used on ebay.de right now) for basically no extra hardware features over the FritzBox 3370, except for "guest wifi". So my choice is quite clear :-)

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