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Upgrading from WRT54GL - recommended router?

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by PartisanEntity, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. PartisanEntity

    PartisanEntity Reformed Router Member

    Hi everyone,

    I have an ancient WRT54GL and I would like to upgrade to something newer.

    I would like a model that:

    - is very Tomato friendly
    - has good hardware specs
    - supports usb

    I have been out of the router scene for a while, so I would be interested to know if there are generally and go-to models out there that enjoy the same reputation as the WRT54GL does/did?

    Thanks!
     
  2. PartisanEntity

    PartisanEntity Reformed Router Member

  3. Mihai Olimpiu-Cristian

    Mihai Olimpiu-Cristian Serious Server Member

    EDIT:
    Oh, I've seen you posted while I was typing... Linksys WRTAC1900 is and probably won't be supported by Tomato too soon as it's based on Marvel Armada CPU.
    From your comment I understand money is not a problem so focus on these 3 Routers that will eventually be supported by Tomato pretty soon: Asus RT-AC68U, Netgear R7000 Nighthawk and Linksys EA6900!

    Initial Post (I'll leave it like that as it's good info for newcomers):
    Be prepared for a long read!
    I'll go with the ASUS because it's very popular on this forum, it's not the best brand but it's right there in the top 3!
    I arranged the list from BEST to WORST...

    Depends on what you want, the go to router nowadays is the Asus RT-AC68U wich is ARM architecture, but it's 200+ $, but has great specs and is at the cutting edge of tomato firmware development which means the firmware is just being developed, and if you want a hassle free experience it's just not there obviously. Also there is no hassle free ARM optware to go with it at this moment you will rely on self compiling and testing/installing.
    An alternative is RT-AC56U wich has the same processor but it's only 2x2 so on the older N standard it can go up to 300mbps and 867mbps AC... If you use it for transmission and/or USB NAS and don't want to pay an arm and a leg for it, this is it! Personally i'm not a big fan as older routers do the job just as well but slower, and provide more speed on the wireless part!

    Second batch of routers are Asus RT-AC66U wich is MIPS, or if you want something cheaper you could go for top of the line N router, Asus RT-N66U. These are mature products that do the job very well but are not the BEST... Last gen best more likely... you have a choice of using optware/entware, you could do everything right now with them!
    (Personal Opinion: I connot forget clones with compatible hardware, those Tenda chinese clones look up for the job with N80 - 3x3N clone of N66 or W1800R 3x3 clone of AC66u AC broadcom based, you could expect trouble from them but if you have enough knowledge... seems to be worth it, I don't own one, I'm just comparing specs. Compare the prices, if you don't live in eastern europe like me or in a african/asian country forget about them :) Keep in mind as these are not quite so popular in the US and you'll get a blah reaction whenever you'll get a problem here... also are poorly supported in main Tomato branches, only for very cash conscious buyers.. like me ;) ).
    There are other alternatives but look at the processor that powers the routers, these seems the most popular here...

    If you just want to go cheap but still want a dual band and pretty capable router, I for one use a Belkin Play Max that can be bought as low as 30 and providex 2x2N on 2.4 and 5 - 300 mbps, and is based on the now aging BCM 4718 processor. Linksys has some great routers that match these specs but pricewise the belkin wins hand off... Again, the clones are coming in hard... (Tenda N60).
    If you want only 2.4 band there is only one choice... ASUS RT-N16.. with 128Mb Ram and 32 flash... it's the king of the hill.
     
  4. PartisanEntity

    PartisanEntity Reformed Router Member

    Thanks very much, this is great advice.

    I had not considered that the WRTAC1900 uses a different processor and that it is quite costly.

    I remember buying the WRT54GL for about €60 back then. Times seem to have changed :)
     
  5. johns996

    johns996 Addicted to LI Member

    I used my WRT54GL for years and years and loved that router (mainly because of Tomato). I finally upgraded to RT-N66U a year ago and could not be happier. The shibby mod of tomato runs great on it, I get much better wi-fi coverage with it than I ever got with my WRT54GL and the firmware is mature enough where you don't have deal with random and annoying bugs. Granted I don't have a ton of experience with different routers but the RT-N66U gets my vote.

    If I was making the same decision today, I may opt for the RT-AC66U just to future proof myself a bit but it might be hard to justify that extra cost for a feature I probably would rarely use. I barely ever use the N frequency as it is since most of my hardware just doesn't support it yet.
     

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