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Router suggestions requested

Last response: in Networking
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April 25, 2014 10:50:39 AM

I appreciate everyone's help in advance.

I am looking to buy a router for a few different reasons but I know practically nothing about them and I can't even come up with good search terms for google searches on the topic. So I was hoping to get some suggestions as to what router might best fit my needs ad then I can research the features of them and learn in that fashion instead. Here is the situation I have:

I am on a DSL connection with 6 mbs down and I don't remember what the upload speed is. I use their modem/router that they made me buy up front. When my wife and I move we will probably look for a place with FiOS for a lot more bandwidth within a year.
- I have two computers wired in to the router. One XP (soon to be Linux Ubuntu) and the other is a Win7 machine. The XP machine is for torrents, streaming NBA games, and music. The Win7 is for gaming (world of tanks currently).
- My wife wirelessly surfs the web on her iphone and ipad all the time. The iphone wrecks my gaming experience.

-My daughter watches Netflix on our old Wii wirelessly so that it is lower resolution and doesn't hit the connection quite as much as a computer would. She also uses a laptop to surf the web wirelessly as well.

I read that there was a way that some routers can limit bandwidth to specific connections so that when I can give my wife priority or myself at times and that is what I would like to focus on doing with the router. But having said that I would like to make this a one time purchase that lasts me several years and in the next year or two I will be putting together a Plex server for my media that I would like to add to the mix.

Is there anything in the 2-500 dollar range that will help me with my situation? Will it have an easy to use interface or am I going to be using a command prompt for everything?

Any ideas of what I could be looking for would be great. Maybe some ideas on the feature names that I would be looking for too.

Thanks again guys!
April 26, 2014 10:06:08 PM

What you are looking for to prioritize bandwidth is called Quality of Service (QoS), this feature is available in some way or another on most all routers. The best routers are ones that allow you to flash aftermarket firmware like Tomato and DD-WRT, this gives you much more features and dat to day performance and stability. DD-WRT can be a little overwhelming to people who are not network savy, but Tomato is a little more user friendly.

All routers use a visual gui, you wont need to use a command prompt. You type the router's ip address into a web browser and you can then configure all of the settings.

While there are still only limited devices that use the new wireless AC standard (vs the current wireless N), if you are looking for something for the next several years I would get an AC one, and any of those should have gigabit network ports.

The Asus RT-AC66U gets good reviews and is upgrade-able to Tomato firmware. That router is fairly high end router.

FYI my setup is a Netgear WNR3500L router with Tomato as the primary router (wireless disabled) and then I have a dual-band TP-Link WNDR3600 with DD-WRT setup to provide wireless only (so router functions are disabled).
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Best solution

April 27, 2014 4:40:21 AM

As mentioned above the first step is to get a device you can actually configure QoS in.

The key problem you have is you are using a DSL connection. Because DSL code for routers is not open source there are few if any of the third party firmware that support this.

First option is to try to find a DSL router that has the ability to limit download rates to a fixed value. Best bet is asus or tplink. Many of their routers have factory QoS that have the ability to set fixed values in download rate. I would hope they use the same code base in their DSL routers...you will have to read the manuals for the routers. The high,medium,low stuff or all the dscp stuff is not what you are looking for you need a device you can set fixed values for each ip or group of ip......Look at the manuals for the high end asus and tplink for examples.

If that fails you likely can set your current router to bridge mode and buy a new router to place in front. Asus and tplink routers have a pretty good QoS and most allow third party firmware if it is not good enough. This may be a option also if you really plan to move and not use DSL. I would avoid 802.11ac if you do not need it there is a newer version coming in less than a year.

Now what you do once you get a good QoS router still is not straight forward. You must configure it the reverse to what you think. You do not give your game machine priority. You can't really since the ISP is the one making the choice of what to drop on traffic going to your house..ie download. What you do is limit everyone else so that there is always extra bandwidth. With the 6m you would limited all traffic other than you machine to say 5m this would leave 1m for you all the time. You would also have to limit the upload to some rate but it is almost always the download that is exceeded.
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