Computers & Electronics

New router needed now: cheap AX/AC or a mid range AC?

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 23rd, 2021 12:01 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON

New router needed now: cheap AX/AC or a mid range AC?

I am switching from Rogers Gigabit to Rally Fiber this week and decided to get a new router myself. My last router bought was 802.11n Apple Airport Extreme Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes and I am so confused by all the choices on amazon right now ranging from $50 to $400. I live in a condo and I don't need crazy range, but I do value stable/fast transfer for NAS/internet.

I've been using the Hitron/Huawei modem/router Rogers provided and has been perfectly happy with its wifi and wired performance. I get solid 866Mbps (60MBs NAS transfer) connection for my Macbook pro 2019 and Dell XPS15 (killer wifi). My NAS, Pi, PS4, Firetv, etc. are all wired to a gigabit switch. My only wifi 6 device right now is my iPad pro, but I guess I will get more wifi 6/6E devices in the coming year.

My first thought was to get a cheap AC/AX router such as TP-Link Archer C7 (openwrt compatible) or AX10 under $100, and maybe upgrade to a WIFI 6E in a year or so. Alternatively, it seems the decently reviewed mid range TP Link AX50 (AX3000) is on sale for $169. However, it seems RFD mostly suggests $200ish Asus AC router - are the more expensive AC routers still worth it?
18 replies
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Gee wrote: How is the Fibre going to be terminated in the condo? Do you just get an ethernet port?
For Rally/frontline based off bell fibe, they will still provide a modem but you can use your own router or rent theirs. Not a combo like rogers AFAIK.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
35146 posts
8556 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
ericw wrote: For Rally/frontline based off bell fibe, they will still provide a modem but you can use your own router or rent theirs. Not a combo like rogers AFAIK.
Do you have Fibe running to each condo unit? Or is it shared within the building?

If you have it terminated in each unit, they should provide you a Home Hub 3000 (Fibe) which includes a router. If it is terminated in the building they would just provide you with an Ethernet port.

Rally may do it differently, I am not familiar with their service. Either case, if you have Fibe terminated in your condo, you will need an ONT (Optical Network Terminal)
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Gee wrote: Do you have Fibe running to each condo unit? Or is it shared within the building?

If you have it terminated in each unit, they should provide you a Home Hub 3000 (Fibe) which includes a router. If it is terminated in the building they would just provide you with an Ethernet port.

Rally may do it differently, I am not familiar with their service. Either case, if you have Fibe terminated in your condo, you will need an ONT (Optical Network Terminal)
We have fibe to the unit. You were right - i double checked with rally. It seemed they would provide huawei HG8245H terminal. It is prob old bell equipment and only has 802.11n. I guess thats why they use a separate router.
Deal Addict
Sep 13, 2011
1268 posts
858 upvotes
Québec
ericw wrote: I am switching from Rogers Gigabit to Rally Fiber this week and decided to get a new router myself. My last router bought was 802.11n Apple Airport Extreme Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes and I am so confused by all the choices on amazon right now ranging from $50 to $400. I live in a condo and I don't need crazy range, but I do value stable/fast transfer for NAS/internet.

I've been using the Hitron/Huawei modem/router Rogers provided and has been perfectly happy with its wifi and wired performance. I get solid 866Mbps (60MBs NAS transfer) connection for my Macbook pro 2019 and Dell XPS15 (killer wifi). My NAS, Pi, PS4, Firetv, etc. are all wired to a gigabit switch. My only wifi 6 device right now is my iPad pro, but I guess I will get more wifi 6/6E devices in the coming year.

My first thought was to get a cheap AC/AX router such as TP-Link Archer C7 (openwrt compatible) or AX10 under $100, and maybe upgrade to a WIFI 6E in a year or so. Alternatively, it seems the decently reviewed mid range TP Link AX50 (AX3000) is on sale for $169. However, it seems RFD mostly suggests $200ish Asus AC router - are the more expensive AC routers still worth it?
I would get the Archer AX10 for 99. It use the Broadcom BCM6750 chipset that should have an update to WIFI6E.

The AX50 is a beast, it used intel WAV654, if you want to pay more, that a good choice too.

There many fanboys of Asus here, but remember that all 802.1AC router operate in compatibity mode in the 2.4 GHz, they use 802.11n !
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON
elgros4 wrote: I would get the Archer AX10 for 99. It use the Broadcom BCM6750 chipset that should have an update to WIFI6E.

The AX50 is a beast, it used intel WAV654, if you want to pay more, that a good choice too.

There many fanboys of Asus here, but remember that all 802.1AC router operate in compatibity mode in the 2.4 GHz, they use 802.11n !
Thanks for the advice. I just ordered the AX10 for $99 on amazon. Because of the gigabit cap on my wired devices and WAN, I guess 1200mbps on 5GHz is sufficient for now.
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
35146 posts
8556 upvotes
East Gwillimbury
I would have ordered an access point instead of a router.

There is no bridge mode for Fibe, you will need to log in with the router and Bell likes to run all their services on separate VLANs. If your router doesn’t support VLANs, you may run into problems or get reduced speeds.
Deal Addict
Jul 13, 2009
4992 posts
3134 upvotes
Wifi 6/6E is too early and the other crappy thing with Bell that I discovered (after) is it doesn't support IPv6, learned it the hard way when all my apple devices weren't connecting.

Remember back in the day where the industry took forever to establish the N standard?

Also the Hitron is not a Huawei router. Hitron is a special piece of trash, but at least Rogers allowed it to have a full bridge mode unlike Bell's HH3000.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Gee wrote: I would have ordered an access point instead of a router.

There is no bridge mode for Fibe, you will need to log in with the router and Bell likes to run all their services on separate VLANs. If your router doesn’t support VLANs, you may run into problems or get reduced speeds.
oh? i read the huawei manual and it seemed it does have WAN bridge mode. I guess TP Link AX10 also has AP mode if it comes to that.
i had bell fibe many years ago and i cannot recall how it was set up but the terminal used was surely like the huawei one.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Just to report back. I got the AX10 two days ago - first on Rogers Hitron and then on Frontline's Huawei ONT, both in bridge mode.
I am getting up to 80MB/s from my NAS on wifi 6 and about 65MB/s on wifi 5, 500~600mbps on speedtest on wifi. the signal is stable and so far no reboot needed.
I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised and the built-in VPN server (no client) is useful for me to access my home network remotely.
The QoS is basic - only prioritize by client, not traffic/ports.

Initially, after playing with the settings, somehow two of the LAN ports did stop working. I thought it was hardware defect, but after a factory reset everything is back to normal. I restored my original settings and the ports stopped working again - so it is likely a software issue.
Other than that, everything else worked well.

Regarding frontline/rally, the speed is really good - 600Mbps/s up/down on wifi. They do block some ports, e.g. 80/443 etc, but I was able to map external 8080 to internal 80.
Newbie
Nov 25, 2020
54 posts
16 upvotes
ericw wrote: Just to report back. I got the AX10 two days ago - first on Rogers Hitron and then on Frontline's Huawei ONT, both in bridge mode.
I am getting up to 80MB/s from my NAS on wifi 6 and about 65MB/s on wifi 5, 500~600mbps on speedtest on wifi. the signal is stable and so far no reboot needed.
I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised and the built-in VPN server (no client) is useful for me to access my home network remotely.
The QoS is basic - only prioritize by client, not traffic/ports.

Initially, after playing with the settings, somehow two of the LAN ports did stop working. I thought it was hardware defect, but after a factory reset everything is back to normal. I restored my original settings and the ports stopped working again - so it is likely a software issue.
Other than that, everything else worked well.

Regarding frontline/rally, the speed is really good - 600Mbps/s up/down on wifi. They do block some ports, e.g. 80/443 etc, but I was able to map external 8080 to internal 80.
Question about the ports. I recently got Rally fiber. I do need 80 and 443 and they are saying that they would charge $$ (don’t know how much, didn’t want to hold even longer) to put their router in bridge so port 80 & port 443 are freed up. Did you go through the same issue? To pay to put their router in bridge mode?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON
TheLightMan wrote: Question about the ports. I recently got Rally fiber. I do need 80 and 443 and they are saying that they would charge $$ (don’t know how much, didn’t want to hold even longer) to put their router in bridge so port 80 & port 443 are freed up. Did you go through the same issue? To pay to put their router in bridge mode?
putting their router at your home in bridge mode does not free up the ports. you can do that yourself once logged into the huawei router. the ports are blocked by them at network level
Newbie
Nov 25, 2020
54 posts
16 upvotes
ericw wrote: putting their router at your home in bridge mode does not free up the ports. you can do that yourself once logged into the huawei router. the ports are blocked by them at network level
Oh? Thanks for letting me know that they are blocked on the network level. Still seems weird that they want to charge a fee to open these — had Rogers before and they didn’t.

I have HG8546M, where is the option to put it in bridge mode? Thanks for helping me. Best I could do was put it in DMZ.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON
TheLightMan wrote: Oh? Thanks for letting me know that they are blocked on the network level. Still seems weird that they want to charge a fee to open these — had Rogers before and they didn’t.

I have HG8546M, where is the option to put it in bridge mode? Thanks for helping me. Best I could do was put it in DMZ.
You should have them create a ticket to do that for you remotely. They have access to ONT gui remotely. Just tell them you need to set ONT to bridge because you are using your own router.

There were a few settings depending on if u have their tv or not. Also If you mess up, you may lose access to the gui wirelessly
Newbie
Nov 25, 2020
54 posts
16 upvotes
ericw wrote: You should have them create a ticket to do that for you remotely. They have access to ONT gui remotely. Just tell them you need to set ONT to bridge because you are using your own router.

There were a few settings depending on if u have their tv or not. Also If you mess up, you may lose access to the gui wirelessly
Thanks, I’ll do that! I got in touch with them again and they will charge $5/month for a static IP that’s needed to open ports 80 and 443.. guess I’ll just add that to the plan cost and call it a day. Still cheaper (and better) than Rogers. Thanks for helping out!
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON
TheLightMan wrote: Thanks, I’ll do that! I got in touch with them again and they will charge $5/month for a static IP that’s needed to open ports 80 and 443.. guess I’ll just add that to the plan cost and call it a day. Still cheaper (and better) than Rogers. Thanks for helping out!
Thats cheap! My ip actually never changed except for once when they did some upgrade to my building. I mapped my domain to my ip. The only downside is that i have to use domain.com:8080 to access my home web server but it works for my purpose.
Newbie
Nov 25, 2020
54 posts
16 upvotes
ericw wrote: Thats cheap! My ip actually never changed except for once when they did some upgrade to my building. I mapped my domain to my ip. The only downside is that i have to use domain.com:8080 to access my home web server but it works for my purpose.
Same, my IP hasn’t changed yet but I still setup DDClient to talk to cloudflare if it does.

Even I need it for my domain, specially for Plex. I have family that uses it on their Apple TV in another province, and a cloudflare config really helps.

So far I had to use Portzilla on Cloudflare to translate port 443 requests to 8443, then setting my reverse-proxy to listen on 8443. It works on browsers and apps but still lags on the Apple TV.. not sure why. I’m guessing once I go back to the original setup with just 443 (removing Portzilla), it should be fine.

If you’re not streaming, you can use Portzilla on Cloudflare to redirect 80 traffic to 8080 on your domain, so you can then access your domain at yourdomain.com instead
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 12, 2004
1749 posts
946 upvotes
Toronto, ON
TheLightMan wrote: Same, my IP hasn’t changed yet but I still setup DDClient to talk to cloudflare if it does.

Even I need it for my domain, specially for Plex. I have family that uses it on their Apple TV in another province, and a cloudflare config really helps.

So far I had to use Portzilla on Cloudflare to translate port 443 requests to 8443, then setting my reverse-proxy to listen on 8443. It works on browsers and apps but still lags on the Apple TV.. not sure why. I’m guessing once I go back to the original setup with just 443 (removing Portzilla), it should be fine.

If you’re not streaming, you can use Portzilla on Cloudflare to redirect 80 traffic to 8080 on your domain, so you can then access your domain at yourdomain.com instead
Thanks - I will checkout Portzilla.
I mainly use my web server for backup singalwire call/sms processing. The latency can be problematic sometimes, so I went ip only for while. but the domain access would be helpful fo my own gui access.

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