Wireless router recommendations


Surely, the method below is for 2.4GHz, which is the more common band on home routers and also the most congested. Due to the limited frequencies in that band, there are really only 3 discreet channels that don’t overlap:

If you have 3 APs, you’ll want to use each of those. You can find wireless signal scanners online for free, but that’s a good thing to do if for no other reason than you want the majority of clients in your house on the least congested of those three channels. And you can use the other two channels in order as well. In the parts of the house that see little use, or less streaming and high bandwidth needs, that’s where you want the congested channel selection.

In addition to that, the SSID must match exactly, in name, case, symbols, everything. The security settings must also match, exactly. This includes the security alphanumeric key that you use for the SSID. Be wary if you have an old router here, it may not match exactly because it might be 802.11 b/g not 802.11 b/g/n or 802.11ac. It sounds like you might have that issue. You can still attempt it, but there is a possibility the client on your laptop or mobile device won’t recognize it as the same network, so you’ll get no consistent roaming between the devices. There are various security changes as well that might not match, but those are less common unless you have REALLY old routers. Unfortunately with mixed 802.11 support on your access points, you need to slow things down a little on your 802.11n and 802.11ac gear. You shouldn’t be selecting 40Mhz channel width. If you had all gear of the same type, we would play with the discreet channel list a bit, for example at 40MHz channels, you’d have two non-overlapping in the 2.4GHz range which would be 3 and 11 (if you cheat, otherwise really only one channel would not overlap. In other words, it gets complicated with higher speeds.)

Roaming should take sub-second times, usually less than half a second, so not even noticeable. You -might- interrupt a stream, but even then, it should buffer and be fairly stable despite roaming.

For 5 GHz, you have more discreet channels available, but again, it sounds like you don’t support that throughout the house.

Here’s a randomly googled document that covers the same, but the basics are what I’m trying to convey above:


Status Update:

The Orbi is working very well so far. Have had one firmware update, which added guest network capability. Connectivity everywhere is very good and the (albeit limited) QoS stuff for video streams works nicely.

Will have better real-work experience in the next week, as our in-home business ramps up after a week of break.



I thought Orbi didn’t have QoS?


Need advice. I ordered a Netgear AC2350 (R7500) from Amazon Prime Now tonight on an impulse. From doing research, it sounded like it was more than I needed, but sounded like a great, fast, router. One major reason was that I picked it was because the software is easy to set up and use, which is extremely important to me. Except Amazon delivered an Asus AC5300 router instead (they were out of the Netgear router and gave me a free upgrade, which appears to be about $170 more expensive). Do I want this thing? Is it a good router and easy to set up? Reviews seem to like it, but complain that it is expensive for what you get.


Keep it. Here’s the differences on the R8500 (the one you got):
More ethernet ports on the back.
It looks like it can do ethernet bonding, aka aggregation (unless you can support that with a device or switch, it is useless to you)
Faster AC throughput supported.

  • This won’t matter much unless you have a client that supports it, or peer it with another unit at some point and backhaul traffic at that high rate.
    The same processor.
    The same flash and memory amounts.
    No eSATA port.
    1024QAM support. Essentially more throughput, if your client supports that as well.

It’s hard to equate this to a huge gain, because it will outperform most of your clients and uses at this point. To explain it better, you got the equivalent of a very nice graphics card instead of a nice one. They will both play every game you’ve got and then some, but one will probably play new games 3 years from now, while the other will be chugging a bit.


Ok thanks. One thing I am unclear on is the ease of the Asus software. Netgear routers seemed to be praised for their software and app, but haven’t read much on how Asus’s is. Seems to be good enough in the reviews. That was one of the things I loved about my Apple Router, extremely easy to use.

Guess I will unbox it and find out for myself.


I wish I could comment on that. I don’t have one for comparison. Many vendors have made things much more simple for home use setup, but I’m not sure if it will be a simple as Apple’s software.


Well so far so good. Pretty easy to set up, software seems pretty good (although most of the features are off by default which seems strange). But, this is got to be the biggest, ugliest router ever made. The thing is huge. I had to rearrange stuff just to get it to fit.


Yeah it’s even getting that way for enterprise APs as well. As they keep adding more antennas and radios to the things, they have to get bigger to dissipate the heat. It is extremely annoying. That Orbi mentioned up thread looked slim and easy to hide though. The antennas were smaller and mounted internally.


I’ve used Netgear and ASUS routers and I don’t have a preference for eithers software - both seem easy to use to me.


It has some very limited QoS currently. You can only enable for video / audio streams. I’m attaching a screenshot.



Isn’t QoS basically impossible when everything is https anyway? Cc @stusser


You can still do QoS by device IP, target IP, and ports.

Basically you whitelist latency-sensitive stuff like VOIP and gaming to high priority, P2P to low-priority, and everything else remains default.


Well my crossover with the Asus router went extremely well, except for my Samsung TV which refuses to connect. Otherwise was easy, strong signal everywhere in my house, and everything has been fast. Software is really nice as well. Just have to figure out this damn TV thing. Not sure why I keep buying Samsung stuff, everything is always more difficult than it should be.


There are still a lot of things that are not https. Specific to WMM though, it is more of a VoIP and tagged video traffic assist. Think things like Skype video, not streaming from Netflix or Amazon Prime. I guess the short version is: if you are watching it in your browser, no, WMM won’t likely help it.

What @stusser said. Netgear calls this Dynamic QoS, and it has some generic applications you can apply it to, “Web Video,” being an example.


Not for very long. If it’s unencrypted, it will be compromised or subverted.


The irony of course is that Netflix runs entirely on Amazon’s cloud.


Very true, but the thing is though, we have network devices that can look into that and still categorize, and still perform QoS based on a number of things. Not necessarily on home equipment though. Most enterprise firewall vendors have solutions for looking into https traffic to see the actual application, source, destination, and sometimes details on the content.

This is a snapshot of several thousand mobile devices using a guest wireless network and having free will to do whatever the fuck they want.

There is still a lot there that is definable. And if you can define it, you can QoS it, from a networking perspective. Also an important note, mobile devices that have applications don’t always use secure transport, sadly.

EDIT: I forgot the most important part of that list. Notice Netflix isn’t listed. Despite it being one that is absolutely able to be categorized, the powers that be decided most apps were a-ok but Netflix was over the line. So it is blocked.


Yeah by inserting a man in the middle cert, which is forcefully installed on all clients, so they can decrypt all content.

Good luck forcefully installing those certs anywhere outside an org where you can fire people that don’t do it…


Absolutely. As far as I know there is no way outside of a three letter organization to decrypt it on the fly.