Recommended high quality router(s)?

Planning to redo my WiFi network at home (and maybe some new router for the cables if recommended).

My current router is a Netgear Nighthawk X4S that I’m quite disappointed with. Running an old firmware since the past releases messes up Roon and Airplay. Netgear doesn’t seem to care.

I have CAT6 cables to 3-4 locations in the house.

My idea is maybe going with one of the better quality mesh network with wires backhaul for best performance.

I liked Netgear a lot before but the firmware they release these days seems crap. Was going with Ubiquity (but disappointed with their cloud security issues) or Asus.

Anyone with recommendations or experiences to share?

(I’m not in the camp who thinks it’s going to change SQ, but I am in the camp of purchasing quality — hardware + software)

Initially my only advice is that don’t think that upgrading to a bigger/better Netgear model will help, I have a more expensive model and am also singularly unimpressed. By reputation Draytek were always supposed to be good, but I’ve never tried. Ubiquity or Asus would have also been on my list, was unaware of any cloud security issue but wouldn’t claim to be well informed on the subject.

Gaps and jumps caused by unreliable network gear are worse than many SQ issues anyways, good luck.

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I’m in the process of switching out my netgear kit and cutting over to an all Ubiquiti network.

The stuff just works … I’ve had a pair of Ubiquiti litebeams joining the middle to the back of the property in place for years with zero hiccups (about a kilometer). The stuff is rock solid.

They have a massive range of gear and I’d be shocked if you couldn’t cover all your needs with the single brand … including cameras, etc for security.

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Big thumbs up for Ubiquiti. It’s not quite plug and play (a little bit of setup required), but it’s performance is rock solid.

EDIT: Ubiquiti’s cloud hack was very overblown by the media. I changed my passwords and carried on. It just goes to show that almost no one is hack-proof.

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Another vote for Ubiquiti here. Also, maybe AVM Fritz!box would be worth a look?

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I needed reliable wifi over a 2000 sq ft. apartment when we lived overseas. I researched all of the popular consumer mesh systems and was, frankly, uninspired. Time and again, Ubiquiti came up in searches, so I went with a full on UAP-AC-Pro setup and never looked back. They’re now doing a mesh AP system. Despite my current setup working well, I’m very tempted to try it out.

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Ubiquity Unifi setup here. Its the best I have had and is configurable to get the most out of it. Netgear I would avoid like the plague.

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I run a huge Ubiquity network at work so I am a big fan.
But for a home environment I am also a big Orbi fan.

I have the original models, which are still updated several years later and run Ethernet to WiFi with no dropouts even with 24/192

The new WiFi 6 models also seem great

Mike

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Thanks for all the answers guys! I will dig deeper into the world of Ubiquiti this weekend if I get the time.

I will also look into the PFSense and others (thanks @Xekomi) but might be too advanced for my average+ network knowledge. Sounds like a good idea though from a first glance.

One thing about Unifi is there also do home security stuff that also ties into the same eco system and controller software.

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I made the mistake of going for a Linsys Velop mesh system. I have hardwired Cat 5E going to most rooms so it was more for tablets etc.

It’s truly rubbish. They don’t like running in bridge mode as I have the units all plugged in to the wired network. They keep dropping their internet connection (which makes no sense if they’re hardwired to the router), they’re pigs to set up and I can’t wait for a better solution to manifest itself.

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There’s a bit of a learning curve, let’s put it that way, but at the end of the day, it really all depends on your usage. For example, line-speed gigabit deep packet inspection will be painful for everyone, and for things like that, I’d instinctively trust Netgate’s way of speccing things over Ubiquiti’s.

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Unifi as the others have said if you’re comfortable to tinker, if you want a simpler “set it and forget it” then I recommend ASUS AiMesh or even google nest wifi.
If you look at asus then try getting a device from merlins list of supported devices:


gives you longer lifespan and more options for what you can do.

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Ubiquiti unifi is definitely the way to go if you are at all interested in optimizing your system and are not afraid of learning about how a small home network can work. It’s not simple but once configured it’s rock solid and state of the art.

You may want to share how you are thinking of configuring the router and endpoints so you optimize the use of your cable and maximize your WiFi coverage. I’m sure others in the forum will have lots of experience here.

Good luck - for me it’s the best investment I have made in the home - as we live with COVID and constantly streaming video calls etc the demands on the home network continue to increase. ROON certainly benefits from a robust set up.

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A thumbs up here - I run a constantly on 8 camera system on top of all the streaming we have on the network. Has been faultless for over 2 years …

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Besides needing reliable hardware, the ‘flatter’ a network structure can be, the better. Don’t daisy-chain switches from routers or from each other. You’re just dividing available internal bandwidth.

Here’s a diagram of my network layout. There’s loads of devices on it, but the key thing is that internal bandwidth isn’t restricted in any way:

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That is one rock solid network. Looks like you’d need an earthquake for it to even to break a sweat!

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Hehe, thanks :grin:

There were a few, dare I say ‘marital challenges’ around all the network cabling required :rofl: Fortunately I managed to do most of it when my wife was out of the country…

We live in a modestly-sized 3 bedroom house which was built in the 1950s. Internal walls are made from cinderblock (a bit like aircrete/breeze block, but full of bits of blast-furnace clinker) with a cementitious render topped with finish plaster. To 5GHz WiFi, it’s as good as a Faraday cage!

I tried all sorts with numerous Asus routers in bridge/repeater mode and it was still pants. So when we came back from Austria to the UK, the Ubiquiti stuff came with us. I added the USG in place of the router function of the cable modem which now runs in modem-only mode. Making it work with the Synology for remote access to the IP cams was tricky - all the port-forwarding that was automatically configured on the Asus gear had to be done manually. As a relative network noob, it was a little daunting. Likewise, setting up a VLAN for the guest network was a challenge. Locked myself out of my own network a few times with that one!

Sometimes, I think it’s a little too solid. I have to tinker so infrequently, I forget how to do stuff…

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If all you want is simple network for home with great wireless, Eero is the way to go. It just works.

But you don’t get VLANs, deep reporting or customization. Just a solid network for you and a guest network for guests.

I had actually purchased a Ubiquiti Dream Machine but delivery issues meant I had to buy something else before I ever got it (and eventually returned it). That ended up being an Asus RT-AX88U - it was marginally cheaper than the Ubiquiti. I was a bit hesitant going with a “consumer” product but I have to say that it is an excellent router. Was very easy to set up, management software is clear and easy to use, and with 8 ethernet ports it provides good service to kit in the home office and, via a Netgear switch, to all the hi-fi and AV gear in the living room. Wifi coverage is very strong reaching all parts of our house with no need for additional points, and it’s also WiFi6 certified for compatible devices. We’re not doing anything fancy, and there’s only the two of us and about a dozen connected devices but it has been rock solid for the last 5 months or so.