Wireless router recommendations


Can I get some suggestions? My Apple Airport is presently working as a router, but no longer broadcasting wifi. It’s been a bit finicky for a while now, and I reset would usually solve the problem, but no more.

My setup is a cable connection and cable modem downstairs (in a sort of basement/storage area), which is where a router would go, and my house is wired throughout with ethernet. So, I don’t really need a wifi mesh, but I do want a wifi hub/extender of some sort which would plug into the ethernet upstairs to give me strong wifi throughout the house.

Wirecutter suggests the Netgear R7000P Nighthawk as the best router, though I’m too much of an idiot to figure out what I’d pair it with upstairs.


Well you can set a router such as the R7000p in extender mode, but you’re not using a lot of the internal hardware you pay for in that case (e.g. DCHP, DLNA). I was in the same boat with my ISP router tucked away behind concrete in the basement, but it is connected to an ethernet port in a good location on my main floor. I went with the TP Link RE650, their top-end extender. It works well and sits conveniently on a wall outlet. It is $118 US. They have cheaper models available but I didn’t want it to be a bottleneck if possible. Setup was a a bit of a pain as it needed a firmware update. After two months, I’m pretty happy as it was far less costly than a mesh network with potentially similar performance.

My phone right beside it is 527 down and 267 up, drops off with distance. PC connected over wi-fi upstairs is 40-80 down and up. I’d say this is slightly worse performance at range than a router in the same location, but it works for me.


Thanks, that looks good, but I should probably add that I would need the upstairs extender to provide at least a couple of ethernet ports (for a Roku and Steam Link). So, it seems like I basically need a 2nd router upstairs, but one that could function in client/extender/paired mode or some-such.


Hmm, yeah, then a router may be better. I think most routers have a fairly easy-to-enable extender mode, so you’re back to picking the right router vs how much wi-fi speed you need.


I’m a networking dummy, but it sounds to me like what you want is a decent router downstairs and then some cheap access points wherever you actually want wifi.


FWIW, I moved to an Orbi because my internet cable comes into the house downstairs and I need internet throughout the house including upstairs, back of the house in a sunroom, etc. Once I got an Orbi with the satellite in the kitchen upstairs, I get practically 100% of my Internet speed everywhere in the house. This is with multiple laptops, iPads, phones, Dish receiver and satellite receivers, and a PS4, all usually connected and running.


The Orbi is pretty sweet, but the higher-speed AC3000 set is $500 CAD plus tax. My PCI express wifi card in my PC is a dual-band N unit which supports up to 450Mbps, which probably means 200 max anyways.

I haven’t got it quite figured out perfectly since I am running my Steam Link over wi-fi. However wi-fi only adds 2ms of lag across many ping tests, so it’s not that big of an issue.

Everyone else in my family just wants Netflix to work :).


I just installed Orbi (AC2200, 3 unit system) and am very happy with the performance. I’ve only measured my internet connection speed with my phone and get near top speed from all over my yard (just over an acre). My connection was good enough to watch an HD tv signal from my HD Homerun about 100+ ft outside my house. I probably don’t even really need to use one of the satellites.

I got it during the holiday sale for $199.


@Scott123 for us Canadians I’ve found the TPLink 2-3pc to be $250 on sale this past holiday season.


Yeah, the TP Link Deco looks pretty good too. Though at 80 down on my desktop PC I have no real reason to upgrade… in fact I’ll be moving it to a wired connection soon and will have the holy grail of PC and Steam Link on wired 1G connections, in different parts of the house, with no wires on the floor either as I installed ethernet outlets when I renovated.


I hate it when the power goes out and my router reboots before the modem does resulting in a lost connection.


I got a small UPS for my router and modem to prevent those sorts of headaches.


How does a UPS help? I mean the problem is more so the order in which the devices boot than the loss of power itself. Don’t you still have to manually shut down the devices before the UPS also runs out of juice?


Yeah, but the theory, that has worked in practice for me at least, is that the power comes back on before the battery drains, so there’s no rebooting at all. I would often get quick off/on power drops so the UPS was great for that.


It doesn’t need to be an expensive UPS, either. Think I paid $20 for an APC UPS designed for modems/routers. They last around three hours when the power goes out.

Here’s one on Amazon for $27 and the newer model is $43. Guess they’ve gone up in price. Still worth it, though.


Yeah that’s the one I have.


Unless it’s a massive power loss, like hours and hours, mine don’t really run out when you shut everything down but the modem and router. They don’t really draw that much juice.


That is a good suggestion. Unfortunately the router and modem are already in a bad place near where you enter the house. I don’t want to accumulate even more junk right where visitors will immediately see it. I wish I could move all the stuff to somewhere else in the house. Or build some sort of enclosure. It’s an 100 year old house and the landlord is cranky and already refused some stuff like running cable upstairs or moving the AC to a different window…


There is no reason to keep the modem and router right next to the wall jack if you don’t want to. An extra 30’ of coax won’t make any difference, so move the stuff under a hutch or on top of a bookcase. Placement of your wireless antenna is the primary concern really.


In all seriousness, I have lost 2 routers / switches to cats. They are a fucking nuisance and will overheat it till failure.

I have a data point of 2 and I have hung my routers up on my wall so they can not sit on them & problems went away. Take that with what you will. It could be I had bad routers (a $300 peplink balance 1 and a Ubiquiti edge router) but these things were HOT to the touch when I kicked the cats off and after turning off & cooling down, it worked when I turned it back on.

I BLAME MY CATS. You don’t have to blame yours.

(as a sidenote, I found this website that shows the extent of the problem)