When you're dealing at the consumer level, I'm not sure there's a definitive answer. It's like hard drives, everyone seems to have conflicting experiences and opinions. It's just a bit of a crapshoot when you’re dealing w/ foreign imports in the <$100 range. So even if I or anyone else has an opinion, I’m not sure it’s all that meaningful, at best anecdotal.
All I can say is, in general, the more money, the better the quality. Then again, once in while you find something that seems a bit better than most in its price range (e.g., I find the ASUS WL-520GU to be one of the more powerful in terms of signal strength, and even better w/ dd-wrt installed), but I’m only one guy. Wait long enough and someone will complain it’s the worst!
Anyway, it would help if you provided some more information. Reliable in what sense (wireless signal, won’t crash w/ heavy torrents/downloading, maintaining ISP connection, one more important than the other)? What’s your budget (I’m sure I can find you a very good $300-500 solution!)? Do you need N or is G sufficient? Is this only for Internet access or will you need support for lots of local file transfers? How many concurrent users? Do you do a lot of online gaming? Would you consider having an exclusively wired solution (wire is always better)? Are there a lot of competing wireless signals in your area (2.4GHz is the most common, and while 5GHz is available, even the best wireless router SUCKS if you’re constantly being hammered by interference)? Do you need QoS (Quality of Service, for prioritizing traffic)?
It just saves a lot of useless recommendations if we have at least SOME inkling about your needs and situation.
Yup as stated above some details regarding what you're trying to accomplish would help. I've had good results with an Apple Airport Extreme, however I'm just using it for wireless / gige switching. For firewall / router I use a Cisco ASA 5505, but that's more of a business grade solution... but it's certainly crazy reliable and infinitely configurable.
I work as a Network Administrator and let me tell the most reliable router that I have come across and I even use personally at my house is the MBR1000, now let me tell this puppy can get it up and go, I have it connected via my Comcast Cable Connection and I have a Verizon USB 727 Card plugged into it as a backup and a Sprint USB 598U also as a backup and for load balancing.
You cant do that with the normal home router.
At the Office we have a MBR1200 with a Surewest Fiber going into the router, and an AT&T DSL connection going to the 2nd WAN port followed by an AT&T Mercury Card, and a Verizon Mifi talk about your load balancing...
We got our gear from 3gstore.com read their forums and their tech support is top notch...Cant go wrong.
Looking at the Cradlepoint stuff it looks ideal for SOHO applications, but I'm not real sure you can compare it to the more enterprise grade stuff. I'd say it's probably great for 10 - 20 users doing outbound internet access only. Beyond that you'll probably want to start making sure the solution starts to integrate rich VPN features (SSL + IPSEC + agent compliance checking), intrusion detection and prevention, content filtering, etc... None of which the Cradlepoint appears to do.
It's difficult to say what is the most reliable router. Assuming you mean longevity, I had a Linksys router (don't remember the model) which lasted from 2002 thru the end of 2009. That's pretty good; of course that model is no longer in production.