Routers, in todays economy?!
June 4, 2023 4:54 AM   Subscribe

New broadband provider means new router/modem. The one it shipped with is a bit shit, so I am thinking of buying a new one. We have gigabit broadband that we use almost exclusively as wifi. Things I would like inside.

I would like to:

- Not pay an arm and a leg, in fact under about $150
- Attach a USB stick to it for some media streaming
- Use my VPN service on it, my vpn service supports asuswrt, dd-wrt, open-wrt, tomato, pfsense, opnsense, edgeos, wireguard.
- Easily exclude some stuff from vpn, such as gaming and streaming, to avoid latency issues
- Wall mountable, not giant, not an energy chewing up beast
- If possible, scheduling might be nice with a simple override for energy reasons
posted by Iteki to Technology (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I recently had a need to upgrade to a wifi 6 capable router and ended up going with this one. Out of your requirements, the only one I haven't tested is the VPN feature, but it seems like it'd work (as long as your service supports OpenVPN/PPTP/L2TP). Some people complain about it requiring an account, but that's only if you want to use their HomeShield service. I've never created an account, and it's fine.

Previously, I had bought a router that came with openwrt or dd-wrt (i forget), but the official support for it was nonexistent (despite shipping with said software/firmware) and I was never able to update it - their official recommendation was to 'update' it to their closed source firmware, which wasn't reversible.
posted by destructive cactus at 6:47 AM on June 4

I have TP-Link routers and they're generally pretty solid and decent price-wise. I have not tried the VPN features, but they're generally compatible with various open source firmware. I've been happy enough with the stock firmware on these that I haven't bothered upgrading, but I'm not doing anything fancy these days. The models I have do have a USB slot, but I run a little media server for streaming so haven't tried that yet.

One thing to make sure is that you get an ethernet cable that can handle gigabit speeds (I'm old, thought my Cat 5 cable would be fine. It was not). I think you need at least Cat6 these days, but don't trust me on that.
posted by nixxon at 1:20 PM on June 4 [1 favorite]

Upgraded to the Asus RT-AX68U, and its been rock solid for the past 3 months. Currently on sale at 132 USD on (MSRP $180), I think ticks off most/all your boxes. ASUSwrt. Haven't looked into power usage/scheduling, though. Best luck!
posted by enfa at 3:32 PM on June 4

My WiFi router/AP died in January, grabbed an Asus RT-AX86S - and have been very pleased with it - better coverage than my previous Asus router, better speed, reliability.
posted by rozcakj at 12:25 PM on June 7

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