The router is not always the problem. My parents home has notoriously awful wi-fi that drops out constantly and slows down fairly often. When i visit i have much better reliability with a neighbor’s unlocked wi-fi ironically.
They’ve complained many times to their internet provider over the crappy internet and they blame my parent’s router because they bought it elsewhere rather than renting a router from their provider. Still the router is brand new and everything should be working great (except it never does). They’ve since given up on getting it fixed because its a nightmare dealing with customer service and technicians that don’t give a shit.
I’ve got a LinkSys that I’d happily pulverize into elemental froth, but I’ve never had good luck with routers, so it feels like every time I buy a new one, it’ll work well for maybe six months and then degrade gradually, but intermittently enough that I don’t replace it until it’s near useless.
That OnHub looks nice, though. Seems to have some good features, but it’s a touch pricey for what it does.
Wired Ethernet continues to be the easiest solution. Out and about, I can get how WiFi makes sense, but at home, save yourself a lot of headache and just plug your internet in.
For stuff that doesn’t move about, wired is great. Portable stuff not so much, and that is the selling point of WIFI.
I’ve been using that Archer with DD-WRT since August, and have loved it. I don’t mind its aesthetic, but you don’t have to put it somewhere visible. I usually prefer to obscure my routers so I don’t see all the distracting flashing LEDs, anyway.
I’ve had the same Airport Extreme for the past 5+ years at home and it’s probably the least hassle I’ve had out of consumer networking gear. Also had good experiences with Draytek kit for wired connections. Pricey, but seems to keep working with a stable ADSL connection on the wet string that we get from BT.
Even still, you’re generally not walking around with a laptop while using it. Having a spare Ethernet connection in the living room, in the kitchen, and in the bedroom makes working from those rooms much more reliable.
I’m still waiting for the Eero mesh network router (https://eero.com) to get released to see if it lives up to its promises.
One surprisingly common point of failure in cheapie routers is the nasty little wall-wart that comes with it.
If you pop a router open, most of the guts are teeny solid-state packages and SMD passives of the ‘either DOA or incredibly durable’ school of design(unless you’ve been doing some futzing with power levels, more than a few models will accept power configurations that will toast their amps).
The wall-wart, though, will be a tightly sealed box full of the absolute cheapest shit that (probably) won’t catch fire too often, and include some electrolytic capacitors that are not getting better with age.
I’ve had several routers that flaked out a few times a day until I swapped them over to feeding from a proper power supply; and suddenly all was well.
It’s ugly to see pennies being pinched that hard; but you can’t trust shitty little power bricks. Even the ones that don’t falsify their legal credentials generally only promise not to be a fire hazard, and the cheaper ones don’t even do that.
It’s not always worth reviving an old router, given the improvements in spectrum use efficiency of newer standards and the substantially increased amounts of RAM for running fun 3rd party packages(also some old routers consume surprising amounts of power: energy use is hardly a neat-line-trending-down because, while the silicon to do a given job is more efficient every year, some routers have substantially bulked up, loads of radios, USB ports, enough punch to run a print server and SMB in addition to routing, etc; but some of the old dumb-as-a-stump 802.11b gear is actually pretty thirsty) ; but if you think that yours is worth it, an actually decent supply of power isn’t a bad place to start(conveniently, 5v and 12v devices are common, so finding alternate sources is easy, none of that ‘7.5v, because we can’ nonsense.)
Here in the UK ISPs include a ‘free’ router as part of their package. They are normally good for a replacement every couple of years and with every upgrade of service. If you have real problems and give them a bit of hassle they will replace a dodgy router earlier.
I cannot remember the last time I experienced loss of service.
Lath and plaster walls, just sayin’
If you’re a T-mobile customer (or good friends with one) you can get a rebranded Asus RT-AC68U for $25 or less. You can use it as is, or you can reflash it to the stock ASUS firmware, or you can run an Open Source stack on it (assuming you have minimal technical skills and Internet literacy). Seems like a better deal than the Google thing.
But personally I use category 6 wire for everything that isn’t being carried around in my hand, which gives me 1Gbps local throughput and no interference from passing cars, neighbors’ wifi, leaky microwaves, the thousands of nails in my lath & plaster walls, etc…
If it does DD-WRT you have sold it. Now I know what modern router to get if those WRT54GLs ever actually fail.
Don’t call it “Wi-Fi headache”!!!
Within minutes you’ll have all the woo peddlers offering homoeopathic cures.
I can highly recommend the Buffalo routers, especially those with DD-WRT factory-installed.
Bonus: the Buffalo AirStation N300 is only $48 on Amazon.com.
You call the Archer ugly? Then what is this?!?!
I’ve been having router problems recently. I feel it is the number of routers out there all on a very small bandwidth.
I counted 37 wifi signals yesterday on the 2.4 GHz band some on odd channels like 2,4,7,10 when they should be on 1,6 or 11. There were even some using 40 MHz bandwidth which effectively covers the entire band.
I have that Archer C7 and it works wonderfully, I put it on a high shelf and I can’t see it. However, my G/F has Time Warner and they provide a truly shitty router that I have not been able to replace or configure (and I work in tech). You can’t connect another router to it, you can’t use another wireless base station instead of it, and any config changes (including changing the name or password) are immediately overwritten the next time it is restarted.
I will say that in my case the article is entirely true. My link sys router was gradually degrading in speed and reliability and I blamed the cable company. However, when I did test direct wired access to the back of the router and wired to the base station, I found I was getting the true bandwidth at the router, but even wired to the base station I was losing 90% of the signal.
Tip #1: choosing gadgets based on how pretty they are is a guaranteed recipe for disaster.
Tip #2: I’m fond of the Nighthawk series of routers. They’re pricey, but they look like stealth fighters! (And they actually perform fairly well)