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Re: inexpensive but reliable Internet router - does it exist?
To: CRTech <crtech@crtech.org>
Subject: Re: inexpensive but reliable Internet router - does it exist?
From: Sherrod Munday <smunday@ieee.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2017 15:14:50 -0500
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On Mar 10, 2017, at 14:56, Pat Wahl <pwahl@wwib.com> wrote:
> I guess I may be inviting a calling out of brand loyalties here, but is there a particular router make and model that you rely on? I'd like it to have at least 3 or 4 LAN ports built in too, if possible.

Well, that's kind of like asking what type of vehicle is the best.  The answer all depends on your needs, and your budget.

Do you have something more than just 3 or 4 LAN ports that you're wanting?

For example, things that you might be considering as being most important to you:
* Wireless compatibility with the widest array of devices  (802.11a / b / g / n / ac / etc.)
* Speed of throughput between wireless devices and/or wireless <-> wired devices
* VPN server
* Dynamic DNS capability
* Open Source compatible (i.e. so you can flash the firmware and put an alternate version of free open-source routing software on it)
* Wireless antenna diversity
* External antenna ports (so you can put on directional and/or higher-gain antennas)
* Remote network management
* Time-of-day restrictions
* DNS filtering (for family-safe content, etc.)
* Reporting of all devices that have connected, and what web sites they went to
* Reporting of bandwidth used & bytes transferred over time
* Cloud and/or centralized management and control

Generally, if you just need basic wireless access for a laptop, then I'd suggest that just about any wireless router device will function for you.  Find one that fits your budget -- and buy it without asking too many questions.  It'll probably do what you want, plus a couple hundred things more than you dreamed that it could do.

But, I will mention that I really like the Meraki (now owned by Cisco) line of wireless routers.  I got to use one for three years after watching an online demo for an hour.  (Do a search for their free Meraki device program to find out more about who qualifies and how it works.)  I wasn't willing to pay the annual management fee after the trial period expired, but I must say that I was impressed by their product line and exhaustive functionality. 

For a university or other large campus needing to manage lots of devices spread out all over the place, though, I can really understand the value that Meraki (and other similar cloud-managed devices) offers, but being Cisco, you have to have deep pockets to afford a large capital outlay and the ongoing maintenance/support fees to be able to continue using the devices.

> Or shall I trust the judgement  of the salesperson at Best Buy?


Um, I'm not sure I trust the Best Buy guys on IT any more than I used to trust the sales droids at Radio Shack for electronic components.  There may be some stellar exceptions, but I don't generally trust them to be well-versed in IT stuff.  I've stood off to the side too many times and listened as they spouted a bunch of baloney and/or hogwash to some poor unsuspecting and ignorant Joe or Jane Q. Public wanting a wireless router.  I usually bite my tongue and move on to another aisle before I/m too tempted to call them out on it.

Sad, but true. 

Sherrod Munday

Follow-Ups: Re: inexpensive but reliable Internet router - does it exist?
(Pat Wahl <pwahl@wwib.com>, 10 Mar 2017 20:28:34 -0000)
References: inexpensive but reliable Internet router - does it exist?
(Pat Wahl <pwahl@wwib.com>, 10 Mar 2017 19:56:18 -0000)
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