I hate shopping for routers. Mainly because I hate routers. I hate them almost as much as I hate printers. They're a pain to shop for because in general, next to printers, they're the most unreliable pieces of hardware you can buy. For any given router, there will be as many negative reviews as positive. With that said, I could use some help from you real world users as to which routers to pick from.
Setup: I have a home office. There could be up to 10 physical units (PC's, laptops, phones, tablets) connected either wired or wirelessly. Then there is on a daily bases at least 2 VM's running throughout the day. Having a home office, I do utilize a number of different types of VPN connections for my job. I heavily use VoiP on a daily basis as well (Skype, Webex, Gotomeeting, ect).
My current router is a TrendNet TEW-633GR. It is fine speed wise. The problem is that it is constantly losing all connection to the cable modem whenever a phone or tablet type device connects to the wireless network. There is no rhyme or reason for it, it just happens when wants to. When it happens, all devices obviously lose their internet access. I can still open the router config when this happens. It requires a hard restart each time. I've done some googling and found this to be a re-occurring theme with this router apparently.
I'd like some thoughts for you all about which router(s) I should look into as a replacement given my setup above.
When it comes to routers, I tend shop by chipset and less by brand (although I still have my favorites). FWIW, Broadcom chipsets have never done me wrong. However, Atheros (which is used by your TrendNet) and Ralink seem to have the most problems.
Another problem is that the stock firmware never quite lives up to the manufacturer’s hype, or supposed QA standards. That’s why many of us only buy routers that support third-party firmware (e.g., dd-wrt/tomato). You’d be amazed how much more reliable and robust these third party solutions can be. It can often turn a frog of a router into a prince.
Right now I'm using an old ASUS WL-500vP V2 wireless G router (Broadcom, 10/100 LAN, USB x 2) and tomato firmware. A bit slow in terms of wireless, but rock solid, and has been for years.
If I was buying today, I’d be looking for a router w/ a Broadcom chipset, wireless N (of course), Gigabit, USB, and third party firmware support. And I’d combine that w/ my favorite brand, ASUS. At the very moment, I’d probably grab the RT-N16 (~$75). A little older (circa 2009), but has everything I’d want at an acceptable price (there’s the $200!! RT-N66U dual-band too, but that’s way too rich for my blood).
But hey, that’s just some nobody’s opinion out in the middle of nowhere, so like every other recommendation, take it w/ a grain of salt.