I keep seeing these threads on Geekzone and since I am a bit of a router horde (the Edgerouter for me is by-far the best) I thought I'd better make a thread with mine and others experiences, and what works best for the average home dependant on some situations, budget, features and ease of use and include other experiences in an easy to find and Google place.
A note on consumer grade routers: Most are overpriced garbage. I'm yet to find a router in the consumer market (with the exception of the Ubiquiti AmpliFi) that can outperform a "enterprise grade" solution on both price and performance. Don't get sucked in. The word "Gaming" is a buzzword that is often thrown about and means nothing - there is nothing these routers can actually do to improve your gaming ability especially if you're playing over Wireless. This is also mentioned below again as I see too many people getting sucked in. Do your research, if the all in one router costs over $350 then take a step back and consider either the Grandstream or Ubiquiti solutions as these are not much more price wise and will outperform any router in this price. If you're needing basic WiFi along with a router that can do anything then the Huawei HG659 is honestly the best solution here.
First Category - all in one routers:
These routers are best if you're wanting something with everything built into one unit that offer decent WiFi.
1) Huawei HG659 - Supports all connection types, suitable for Gigabit connections, decent WiFi and available cheaply. This router is currently provided by Spark, BigPipe and Vodafone however is designed as a home CPE device so doesn't have too many configurable features. Also, not suitable if you're one to use Netflix unblockers but for your general purpose all in one router this is a hard one to beat. Also, has VoIP. For those tinkernuts @solutionz has posted an excellent guide on how to get superadmin access and even root access on this router with the default, unrestricted BigPipe firmware (firmware image available here under advanced settings - is able to be flashed on any providers HG659 baring in mind the normal "disclaimers" apply).
2) Fritz!Box 7490 - Provided by many ISP's, can route Gigabit and has a bunch of features including SIP however doesn't have the best WiFi. You can often pick them up for cheap and therefore have now been included on the list.
3) Spark Smart Modem (Link) - I got given this by Spark to do a test on and found the router has very good WiFi coverage and can route Gigabit absolutely no problems. This is more of a basic router for your "average folk" but given it is able to provide very good WiFi performance and NAT performance I have no issues recommending it.
Second Category - routers only (advanced users):
If you're wanting something a little more advanced going for one of these is a surefire bet. Just don't expect the most simple to use interfaces or a 5min setup if you're not experienced.
1) Ubiquiti Edgerouter Lite - Has support for almost everything including insane packet switching speeds for the price. I've got a guide Here on the general configuration. The Edgerouter-X is also a great router (at a little over $100) for people who'd like the EdgeOS interface however are on a bit more of a budget. The Edgerouter 4 is one of Ubiquiti's newest routers and quite frankly it is nuts - if you've got a Gigabit connection it is well worth considering over the Edgerouter Lite or even the Edgerouter 4 depending on the size of your network.
2) MikroTik RouterBOARD RB750Gr3 - This is an advanced and cheap router in the Mikrotik range. Doesn't have WiFi, is able to route Gigabit connections - an excellent start for somebody wanting a cheap Gigabit capable router and wants more advanced functionality.
3) Mikrotik RouterBOARD RB3011UIAS-RM - A more advanced router for those wanting Gigabit routing with Mikrotik RouterOS.
4) Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway - The exact same hardware as the Edgerouter Lite however links up to a UniFi Controller. Great for people who just want a basic router with advanced features. Very easy to set up and configure straight from the UniFi controller and ties in well if you've got other Ubiquiti gear. Runs well on Gigabit connections.
Third Category - routers w/ access points for UFB:
I've removed the consumer grade routers I used to have here due to the fact the performance to price ratio isn't that great. The current routers on the market really are expensive, and most actually can't route Gigabit.
1) Ubiquiti AmpliFi - if you want strong WiFi everywhere in the house this is one to consider. Very simple to setup, supports (near) Gigabit and VLAN tagging and rather cheap for what it provides. I've had some reports that the latest firmware however doesn't seem to achieve Gigabit speeds but I am sure this will be rectified in the future given I've had incredibly good performance in the past.
2) Synology RT2600ac - I've never personally tried this however the UI is really nice (based on the Synology NAS experience), not as many apps as the Synology NAS (but not as powerful) but it includes a torrent client, RADIUS server, VPN (SSL, IPSEC, OpenVPN) as well as UPNP/DLNA media server. USB 3.0 for storage, SD card reader, USB 2.0 for networked printer. Easy to install certificates process, parental control (filtering, time management) and more. Also ssh access with root if needed. Dual WAN (primary and fallback, or load balancing). Hardware-based QOS and software-based IDS.
3) Cambium cnPilot R195W - I have reviewed this router in more detail (here) and as a whole is a great budget-friendly router with a great array of features.
For ADSL / VDSL using a router without a modem:
1) Draytek DV130 - Supports bridging meaning you can fully utilise your router, also ADSL + VDSL.
2) Huawei HG659 - This router can be used in bridge mode also.
Many people on Geekzone who have recently upgraded to UFB have these, and may be prepared to sell on the cheap. Make a post in the Offers + Wanted forums if you're seeking one.
Most of the above options will be fine for Gigabit connections. The cheapest router with support for a full Gigabit connection will be the Huawei HG659 which is a great buy given what it can handle. Just because a router has Gigabit WAN doesn't mean it can route Gigabit connections as this is a task normally reliant on the CPU or dedicated hardware. Some of the cheaper routers also will claim to have Gigabit on the WAN port but be switched internally by the CPU either via VLAN's (the likes of some Linksys routers), via a USB bus (also seen on some cheaper routers) or via VLAN + a 100Mbit internal connection to the switch. I will compile a full list once I and others have had experience with these routers.
Also note NO router will do Gigabit over WiFi so at these speeds there is no guarantee of WiFi performance. It is a little easier to predict on a 200Mbit connection but Gigabit is another story again.
Wireless Access Points:
If you're needing excellent WiFi through your home / office there are a couple of solutions. I'd recommend ceiling mounting these in your home and disabling WiFi on your router.
1) Ubiquiti UniFi AP NanoHD - The ideal replacement for the UniFi AC Pro - this is the ducks nuts if you're wanting good performance WiFi.
2) Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC LR - Good performance WiFi and very good wireless coverage at more of a budget.
3) Ubiquiti UniFi AP AC Lite - A managed wireless AC access point on more of a budget. Great for smaller houses or larger houses if you're using more than one.
4) Grandstream GWN7610 - An excellent access point for the price - simple to use.
5) Cambium E600 - This has recently come down in price from nearly $800 per access point and is the only access point I've successfully gotten a full Gigabit over WiFi on. It is what I am (currently) using at home and have been darn impressed with its performance.
Ubiquiti Managed Gear:
I've created an UniFi Controller Here any Geekzone member can sign up to (assuming they live in NZ). This gives you far more control over your UniFi powered network. There are ways to set up UniFi gear without a controller however if you've bought managed gear you may as well get the full experience with a controller.
Due to the crap and misinformed news article here (thread also here for a laugh) there have been some queries regarding TR-069 management on ISP supplied routers (like the HG659 given out by many providers). This is more a "feature" as it allows your ISP to provision changes out to your router and is in use by essentially all ISP's in NZ. There is nothing to be worried about, it is safe and considered secure and you've got to remember that your provider have security teams looking out for you. Turning this off is not recommended as your ISP will have no way of updating your routers firmware or updating configuration as they update things themselves which may cause loss of services (Vodafone TV, VoIP or even Internet to name a few) or even may introduce security vulnerabilities to your network. The non ISP provided routers will not have this enabled so you're responsible for all configuration, firmware upgrades etc. It is important to keep an eye on your router manufactures website to keep your router up to date.
If you've got any more suggestions then post them below. I'll keep this post updated as I honestly configure so many of these damn things so have experience in quite a wide variety. If you're just wanting better WiFi look at grabbing something like an Ubiquiti UniFi AP which are excellent access points offering solid performance, and is simple to set up for your standard home user. Also, look below at other suggestions. There isn't any need to start up (yet another) topic asking "what is best" anymore.
Last updated: 18/01/2020