Wireless router recommendations


#476

Coax bushing, easy to make cable look decent, any pleb with a drill can do it (like me).


#477

Extender or mesh, it really depends on what it is being used for. If you want hassle free wifi for every device, mobile or stationary then mesh is better. If all you want is to extend your wifi to some devices that are stationary and by stationary I mean devices like a desktop pc, Roku or Fire stick then an extender will be fine. I stayed in my motorhome for several months at my dad’s house and the wifi was ok, but I was losing connection all the time. Bought an inexpensive extender and I had absolutely no problems after that. Long story short if you need your wireless to be seamless then go mesh, but if you only need it to provide internet to an area that has stationary devices or don’t care about seamless wifi then an extender will work fine and be much cheaper.


#478

It would be helpful to differentiate between extender, access point, and mesh. Because I agree with @stusser that an extender is not optimal, because it halves bandwidth, and needs to be close to the source wi-fi- router. Still, the result may be fine for some people and some setups, and higher-end extenders should give plenty of bandwidth even after halving.

A wired access point is a better solution. Some extenders like my TP Link work in access point mode. This is like running another router, or a mesh, but cheaper. I use the same network SSID and it’s basically seamless. Works well if you have a house that is pre-wired with ethernet, or if you can run a cable from your source router to somewhere convenient.

Mesh is undoubtedly best for extending wi-fi across homes without any wiring. It has dedicated backhaul wi-fi. It’s also good if you have several dead zones. But they’re expensive, and not actually faster than an access point. They have parental controls and apps, though your source router in an access point setup might have the same.

Plus, blurring ‘what’s best’, there are now extenders with dedicated backhaul too - such as the Netgear Nighthawk X6S. $180 is expensive, but still less than a mesh system. And there are mesh networks targeting lower entry prices. And there are commecial access points for under $100. And ASUS is now releasing AIMesh which turns your router into a mesh, and lets you use your older router as a mesh access point, and is much faster than other consumer mesh.

It seems like more people are realizing the performance (and cost) advantages that building a Wi-Fi network with Ethernet-connected access points (APs) can provide. If you’re fortunate enough to have a large/multi-level home with Ethernet where you need to locate access points, there really is no reason to mess with more expensive mesh Wi-Fi systems, Wi-Fi extenders or even big, expensive conventional routers.

When using multiple APs, 2x2 AC1200 devices are the sweet spot. They are relatively low cost and match the dual-stream capabilities of most devices you’re likely to connect to your WLAN. So we rounded up the seven eight products listed below for test, ranging in cost from a low of around $60 to a high of around $160, with plenty of others hovering around the $100 mark.

Besides @stusser didn’t you install a commercial grade system mostly for fun?


#479

Yes I did, but I wouldn’t recommend that for most people.

I basically agree with your post except to say that mesh is the best option for people who are wired for ethernet too. Mesh with a wired backhaul works great.


#480

This was true for me. I just changed from an extender to the google wifi things. Wow. I cant believe it took me so long. These things are 100% worth the money. Its not just coverage as noted, my extender regularly would cause buffering or full on internet pauses or worse.My three pack of these things is handling my 4200 sq ft house with 4 streaming roku’s + 4 phones + 6 laptops + 2 gaming desktops with zero issues.

Its a huge upgrade.

Its also the easiest wifi router thing I have ever setup.


#481

Wow, I have been out of the loop for several years. I have no idea what a mesh is. Or what the difference between Google Wifi and a regular router is.


#482

Me either if I am honest. I just got desperate and figured I would try something new. Whatever mesh is it has fixed my wifi problems, for now at least.

you just plug it into your cable box/modem and it takes care of the rest walking you though if needed. Its gloriously non technical, which makes a welcome change as well.


#483

Just think of mesh as a wifi extender that actually works.


#484

I may pull the trigger on the Google router here. My 4-year-old Asus thing is getting progressively shittier, and now requires a full restart if my work laptop wakes from sleep and tries to reconnect the VPN with an expired token. Because networking!

I recently added some home automation stuff (a smart plug, two speakers, and a Google hub) and it seems like the router is starting to get overwhelmed. The plug-and-play aspect is incredibly appealing; I’m past the time in my life when doing things like configuring routers was fun.


#485

If you have COAX cable from a cable installation still in your house, but you aren’t actually using it for TV, you can buy these super cheap MOCA adapters, 15 dollars for two:

They only give you 10 megabyte (100 megabit) speed, but it’s rock solid.

If you are using your TV you have to buy regular Moca 2.0 adapters for much more, but you will get about 60 or 100 speed instead.


#486

Yeah, those DECA adapters are great deals if you don’t pay for cable TV.

Regarding the google wifi, as always, I suggest following the wirecutter’s recommendation.


#487

I went with the cheaper Orbi because I got it on sale for $199. It’s worked perfectly. I really don’t even need the 2nd satellite unit. The main unit is in a basement corner. One satellite is in the family room on the main floor. The 2nd satellite is only around 20 feet from that one in the kitchen, but I could just unplug it and bring it outside when the weather is nice. It’s got a slower connection from the satellite to the main unit, but I haven’t noticed any problems. I was able to stream a HD tv signal from my HDHome Run tuner to my phone from 150 feet down my driveway - seemed good enough.