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Recommendation for a ~$50 AC Router

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,653
19
81
In need of moving to an AC router (most of my stuff is on GbE). Looking for something mature, stable, relatively cheap at ~$50 or so, 3rd party firmware support, will be used as a AP but figure may as well get a full router to have a backup if the main one goes down.
Really just need A,G,N & AC, maybe a USB 2 & 3 port on the back, nothing fancy, just stable.
Thanks,
Bob
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,219
7,046
126
Seems like a tall order, TBH, at least if you're talking about buying new retail.

Some possibilities, are an Asus AC1750 (I think same hardware as AC66U, which is supported by third-party firmware pretty well), REFURB from Newegg on ebay at $79.99. (That's the cheapest really decent / gaming-oriented AC router with gigabit ports I could find. I bought one for a friend, but we're just using the factory firmware, not a third-party firmware.)

Another possibility is an AC68R (same hardware as AC68U, definitely takes Tomato firmware, as I own a few of these personally), REFURB from Newegg on ebay for $119.99. (Bought mine when they were $79.99. One came with a defective AC adapter, which costs ~$22 on ebay for a new one.)

Some other alternatives, are a REFURB R6300v2 on ebay, from various vendors (not Newegg) for around $40. Supposedly similar hardware to the AC68R inside.

Edit: If you're wanted a strictly new router, then Walmart B&Ms (at least mine did) had some Belkin AC routers on clearance, but I think that they were more than $50.
 
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Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
275
130
116
Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, and open-source friendly cost more than $50 unless you're buying used/refurbished. Anything you find close to that price range will have relatively low CPU performance and really bad USB performance, so don't expect it to be a good NAS. The cheapest stuff you're likely to find that fits your requirements will probably be MediaTek-based routers like the D-Link DIR860L (revision B1, not A1), or the Netgear R6220. If you step up to the $80–90 range, you can get things like the TP-Link Archer C7 new.
 

Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
275
130
116
Friends don't let friends run factory firmware.

If you're going to use an open-source router OS, MediaTek is fine. They're the only 802.11ac chipset that actually lets the open-source driver get involved in low-level WiFi stuff, so you're not dependent on the manufacturer to provide bug fixes through their proprietary baseband firmware.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
33,294
11,429
146
Friends don't let friends run factory firmware.

If you're going to use an open-source router OS, MediaTek is fine. They're the only 802.11ac chipset that actually lets the open-source driver get involved in low-level WiFi stuff, so you're not dependent on the manufacturer to provide bug fixes through their proprietary baseband firmware.
MediaTek sucks. Get real. You want flaky? Get MediaTek. You want stability in your router.
 
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VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,219
7,046
126
Friends don't let friends run factory firmware.

If you're going to use an open-source router OS, MediaTek is fine. They're the only 802.11ac chipset that actually lets the open-source driver get involved in low-level WiFi stuff, so you're not dependent on the manufacturer to provide bug fixes through their proprietary baseband firmware.
Open-source firmware, is basically the ONLY way that you're going to get a MediaTek router to be stable. Ask me how I know. :\ (Bought a Buffalo dual-band router, turned out it had a MediaTek SoC. It was garbage, until I shoehorned a beta build of DD-WRT on.)

But I'd take a modern Asus router, running stock firmware, over any MediaTek router.
 

bob4432

Lifer
Sep 6, 2003
11,653
19
81
How does the Linksys EA6700 fair? I have seen it listed on the Shibby Tomato website w/ 2x 800Mhz cpus in it. I have GbE for connections between the two units and don't see moving to 10GbE for some time due to price. My condo is just 1000 sq ft, but the way it is laid out, a single ASUS RT-N66U will not cover to the front bedroom on 5Ghz and barely on 2.4Ghz, but it is understandable as the way the condo is laid out, 95% of the electrical and plumbing is in a direct line between the 2 bedrooms (and for some crazy reason, this condo has a lot of outlets - atleast 35 available in the interior).
I am planning on getting 2 units, one to run as the router in the office and the other to run as an AP, in the bedroom, thus my desire to pay $50 or less per unit.
Thanks for the link about MediaTek, I haven't bought a router in quite some time so am not up on what manfs are doing.
I have no issue buying refurbed/open box w/ my $$ - usually prefer that and have had very little problems in the 20+ years I have been buying computer parts, especially the last decade as it seems a lot of open box appears that the original purchaser bought it then decided they would go a different route and return a perfectly good item.
Thanks in advance,
Bob
 
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JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
29,193
292
126
What would happen to the 5GHz if you flash the C7 with 3rd party?


:cool:
 

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