Anyone have any opinions on routers?

MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
Hopefully this thread isn't annoying to people but it is semi-related to the ingestion of pop culture as I am about to FINALLY cut the cord and I need to up my internet game. I have stupidly been paying Spectrum $10/month to rent a modem/router. We've had literally the same router since 2012. It needs an upgrade. I was going to try and exchange it for a newer one but they are cagey about it and it might be a hassle. I realized, maybe I should get my own and not continue  paying them for a rental fee so it will eventually pay for itself.

So, I can buy my own but it has to be from the approved list. I know it's just model numbers but does anyone have any feelings on any good ones on this list? Any feedback is appreciated! 


  • JoshTheBlackJoshTheBlack Atlanta, GA
    I have long been of the opinion that you should have a separate modem and router.  You want to get a DOCSIS 3.1 modem.  (I personally went with the Netgear CM1000 from Best Buy, though if you're not in a hurry you can get it from Amazon.)

    For the router, in my experience all of the consumer grade routers are bad.  They don't issue security/feature updates in any sort of regularity, and most of them lose all support in 12-24 months.  In my experience, the routers have had terrible performance and tend to die shortly after the warranty wears out.  You can make SOME consumer grade routers better with custom firmwares like Tomato, DD-WRT, or Merlin if one of those projects supports your device, however if you mess up the install you might wind up with a brick.

    For my money, I would recommend something more on the Pro-sumer level.  I have been running Ubiquity Networks Unifi line of equipment for around 5 years now and can't speak highly enough.  

    Let me break down the components I have or would recommend.

    1.  Router - USG - Unifi Security Gateway.  MSRP $140.  Not enough ports for most home networks, so would require a separate switch.  1/2 Port for WAN, 2/3 ports for LAN's, and routes on L3 but can be configured to operate as a switch for 3 devices with 1 WAN connection.  In my experience, it cannot reach gigabit WAN speeds with some of its best features turned on.  (Intrusion Prevention, Deep Packet Inspection, QOL, etc).  If that sort of stuff sounds nice and you need more than around 200mbps, you might consider the USG-PRO-4.

    1.2 Router USG-PRO-F - Unifi Security Gateway Pro - MSRP $344.  Rack mountable.  Same number of ports, plus console and 2 SFP ports (for fiber connections).  

    2.  Switch - to connect more wired devices.  They have several in the switch range with between 5 and 48 ports with and without PoE, as well as a couple switches with 10G ethernet.  Prices range fromm $39 (5 port) to over $1000.  I'd recommend something cheaper with enough ports to cover what you need, unless you have/want PoE.

    2.1 Switch - If you don't want to get into the gritty details of L2 networking, and don't need PoE, you can use any brand of "dumb" gigabit switch available on the market that has enough ports for your setup.  These usually range from $20-$150 depending on how many ports and PoE capability.  If you connect literally everything wirelessly, you can skip this altogether.

    3. Wireless - UAP-AC-PRO-US - $149.  If your house is not terribly large and not made of horse-hair plaster like mine, one of these should be plenty to blanket you in excellent wireless.  This can be powered over PoE from a PoE switch, or with an adapter (which I believe is included).  

    4.  Security - UVC-G3 - $149/each, $439 for 3 pack.  - Basic 1080p Full HD 30 FPS security cameras.  These can be powered by PoE from a PoE switch and each camera uses about 5w of power.

    The Unifi line has several advantages and one major disadvantage.  The disadvantage is you have to run some software (web-based) to do any configuring.  You can run this software in Docker, or install it on a PC.  It only needs to be on to make configuration changes, but needs to remain on if you want to do Intrusion Prevention or DPS.  In the past I have ran this on an Amazon EC2 computer for a couple dollars a month, but nowadays I run it on a local server that acts as my NAS (in docker!),  You can also purchase the cloud key to run the software on, and power it via PoE.

    The major advantages it has are it's easy to configure, and you get a lot of data about whats connected, where/how its connected, where devices might be having problems.  You also get a lot of control, like device specific bandwidth restrictions.  You want to set up a guest wireless network that cannot access your computer and can only use 8mbps, while allowing your devices to use the full spectrum and talk to one another?  Simple.  You want to be able to VPN into your network out on the road to access your files and/or hide your internet traffic from the coffee shop's open wireless you're connected to?  Easy.  Want to block the kids from accessing youtube between 9pm and 8am?  Easy.  It is fully featured, regularly updated, and rock solid. 

    As for the security cameras?  They have their own web-based software as well.  You need a decent amount of storage for them.  My 5 camera setup can store about 84 days of footage at 1080p with audio for all 5 cameras and is using about 14TB of space.  Lowering the resolution and/or framerate would drastically reduce storage needs or increase retention.

    Minimum viable needs for my setup.  Cable Modem ~ $150, USG $140, Wireless - $150, "dumb" switch - $20 on amazon.
  • JoshTheBlackJoshTheBlack Atlanta, GA
    As for your original question, I haven't had a single issue from the CM1000.  I have 1gbps down (averages 950mbps) and somewhere around 50mbps up.  It DOES NOT have LAN ports though and would require a router.
  • MurderbearMurderbear Cold Spring, Ky
    Damn! Thank you! That's a lot of great info! I live in a condo so I don't need a huge setup but I like a lot of that. I have considered getting a separate router and modem cause I have seen similar complaints before about the combo pieces not working as well.
  • I second JoshTheBlack I just got my parents a Netgear CM1000 among with a Netgear Nighthawk X6 ac3200 about 2 weeks ago, it immediately jumped their download spread up to 148 gigabits from 18 (they get a max 150 with their plan from Cox) and boosted their upload speed pretty well although I don’t remember the exact numbers. No issues at all and it’s been super nice for them. I’ll be doing the same when I upgrade to gigabit next month 
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