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63 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 150713 31-Jul-2014 14:56
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Any recommendations for a small office WiFi router?

Preferences:
* 2.4GHz (for older devices) and 5GHz (for speed and no interference).
* Single router (I hate managing multiple boxes or diagnosing problems due to one box going glitchy).
* Not too hard to setup (each hour setup is costly to us - my time is valuable to business).
* Stock firmware (I have used variety of open source firmware for home and friends, but it just costs too much time).
* Prefer something popular (oddballs are hard to maintain and hard to justify to colleagues).
* I would expect to pay many hundreds of $, although we can afford low thousands of $ if convinced it will be worth it.

Office:
* Easily covered by a single device.
* Currently 6 laptops on WiFi, 15 devices (and growing so need headroom).
* Also have wired network, but people prefer convenience of WiFi.
* Currently using NetGear N600 router but it glitches every 2 to 8 weeks and it gets blamed for other problems (because glitches are intermittent and not same every time).
* Tried Netgear WRT1900AC - but it dropped WiFi network every few hours.

Reliability is #1 - just has to truck on every month without problems (network downtime costs us, but more importantly if not 100% rock solid then WiFi gets blame for other problems which leads to other ramifications).

PS: I would also consider recommendations for an *individual* contractor in Christchurch or PM me.

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  Reply # 1099374 31-Jul-2014 15:03
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Problem is you wont get reliability.
Decent modem would be a Cisco or drayek. For WiFi use a second router in bridged.
Maybe a TP link as they are cheap and easy or you can get an enterprise setup which can run into $500+.




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  Reply # 1099380 31-Jul-2014 15:07
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Buy a Unifi UAP or UAP-Pro for 5Ghz for Wifi (can install controller/management software on a server or PC if required) ~200-300

Buy a Cisco 887VA for VDSL/ADSL - ~400

Never touch it again.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1099381 31-Jul-2014 15:12
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I wouldn't run that many devices on wireless.... Cabling an option?







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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1099390 31-Jul-2014 15:28
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Maybe need to spend $2200 and get the Sonicwall NSA220 Wireless-N? Unfortunately very uncommon and I generally hate Dell gear - only reason for considering one is that neighbouring busness uses a Sonicwall device in their server closet and they *really* care about reliability :)

We don't (and never will) use ADSL.

If I don't get a good recommendation here, I will just stick with the N600 and reset it every week (ugggh, but better something that is known to work OK than waste more time on something that failed to be reliable like the Linksys WRT1900AC I just tried - arrrgh!).

Edit: I would expect to use a known good N router (I won't try another 802.11ac router).

@wasabi2k: I will look into the Unifi UAP / UAP-Pro

@Zeon: we have wired, but my laptop users prefer wireless and I don't tell them what to do. We usually have at least 10 wireless devices in use (we do mobile dev).

@TimA: I love TP-Link for a cheap home setup (and love OpenWRT support), but I wouldn't expect to try to use that brand for a high-reliability small business environment (unless you can recommend a model that you have good experience will be ultra-reliable for our case?).

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  Reply # 1099405 31-Jul-2014 15:34
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@TimA: I love TP-Link for a cheap home setup (and love OpenWRT support), but I wouldn't expect to try to use that brand for a high-reliability small business environment (unless you can recommend a model that you have good experience will be ultra-reliable for our case?). 

I have had good runs with TP Link, The most reliable pile of $75 i have ever spent in network gear. My little Wireless N 2.4 and 5ghz AP out performs my HG659 and beat my last Cisco.




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  Reply # 1099406 31-Jul-2014 15:34
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I think there are many good devices around. For wireless, UniFi really is quite good and very scalable/manageable thanks to its software. There is an overhead in maintaining a computer for this software to run on though (it can run on just a PC or server there).

For routers we use PFsense but they aren't a turnkey solution. Mikrotik is another brand worth looking at. Also Ubiquiti (who make uniFi) now makes routers too. I've never used them but the rest of their equipment is very good.





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  Reply # 1099408 31-Jul-2014 15:35
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I recently upgraded to the Unifi-UAP (x2) for my place (long narrow house) and have been very happy. Ultra reliable and with the latest beta of the controller software they support zero-handoff which is perfect for me (probably not a big issue for you).

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  Reply # 1099411 31-Jul-2014 15:39
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robocat: Any recommendations for a small office WiFi router?

.....

* Currently using NetGear N600 router but it glitches every 2 to 8 weeks and it gets blamed for other problems (because glitches are intermittent and not same every time).
* Tried Netgear WRT1900AC - but it dropped WiFi network every few hours.



Have you looked at the Tomato firmware fir the Netgear WRT1900AC? I've found it to be very stable and provides excellent reporting on usage etc.




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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  Reply # 1099415 31-Jul-2014 15:51
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I can recommend the Unifi units as well, had a bunch at my old job and had no issues with them.

http://www.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-ap/




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  Reply # 1099438 31-Jul-2014 16:23
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Just realised you're running the Linksys AC1900 router and not the Netgear. Sorry but I've no experience with that device.




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1099439 31-Jul-2014 16:23
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openmedia:
robocat: Any recommendations for a small office WiFi router?

.....

* Currently using NetGear N600 router but it glitches every 2 to 8 weeks and it gets blamed for other problems (because glitches are intermittent and not same every time).
* Tried Netgear WRT1900AC - but it dropped WiFi network every few hours.



Have you looked at the Tomato firmware fir the Netgear WRT1900AC? I've found it to be very stable and provides excellent reporting on usage etc.


Used Tomato at home for years - love it.

But I want to use standard firmware (original post explains why). 

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  Reply # 1099441 31-Jul-2014 16:26
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Zeon: I think there are many good devices around. For wireless, UniFi really is quite good and very scalable/manageable thanks to its software. There is an overhead in maintaining a computer for this software to run on though (it can run on just a PC or server there).


They APs will run happily without the controller software - just needed for initial config or if you want stats/control/management features.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1099450 31-Jul-2014 16:40
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Zeon: I think there are many good devices around. For wireless, UniFi really is quite good and very scalable/manageable thanks to its software. There is an overhead in maintaining a computer for this software to run on though (it can run on just a PC or server there).

For routers we use PFsense but they aren't a turnkey solution. Mikrotik is another brand worth looking at. Also Ubiquiti (who make uniFi) now makes routers too. I've never used them but the rest of their equipment is very good.


Great advice, Thank you (and thanks to @wasabi2k too).

I can now see that my solution is to get two pieces of separate kit - (a) a good router/switch and (b) plug in reliable Access Point(s). My original post was attempting to find a single multi-purpose unit and you have made me see that is a mistake (because it requires making hard compromises between performance, price, features, maintenance and upgradability).

PS: We have 5 to 10 people in the office (and will have more soon) but I don't want any servers for internal business use (and we don't want servers for variety of reasons: like remote workers, like SaaS services, hate server maintenance, hate business software installation/maintenance, hate security risks, hate earthquake risks, like to make office moves easier).

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  Reply # 1099454 31-Jul-2014 16:44
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I'm sure all of the suggestions above are good, I've had OK experience from the UniFi APs but would always keep one spare as I've had 2 die on me now, and it isn't easy to update software or change settings really.
If you wanted something basic, the Apple Airport Extremes are solid, but I'd avoid that because doesn't leave you with a growth plan if you need to expand to more than one AP etc.

Cisco Meraki MR18's are awesome, I got a free one a few months ago from attending a webinar and it has been flawless. Wouldn't want to pay RRP for them, but I got a very attractive quote from Acquire for buying a couple.  https://meraki.cisco.com/freeap

Edit - Just saw your next reply, didn't realise it also needed to be a router. In that case, a Meraki MX60W would do you very well. But it depends on what type of internet connectivity you have now/will use in future. Fantastic as you can also do 4G failover etc in case of a main connection outage, visualise usage by client and manage/monitor it from anywhere in the world.
I also have some time available if you need a local independent IT contractor.

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  Reply # 1099509 31-Jul-2014 18:08
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The biggest problem with Unifi's is the lack of any band steering to 5Ghz. Having to run multiple SSIDs to use 5Ghz is just a total pain.


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