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Question Should I Upgrade My Router?

TechnicGeek

Junior Member
Nov 12, 2013
19
0
66
Hello,

I have Edimax BR-6428 nS wireless router. I was thinking of upgrading to TP-LINK Archer C80 because it's 802.11ac and has 4 antennas.

Then I found Xiaomi Redmi AC2100 which seems to be a lot better than Edimax that I have and cheaper twice as much. Then I discovered Huawei AX3 with 801.11ax standard. It's a bit more expensive than Xiaomi.

So I don't know which to get. Anyone had experience with Xiaomi and Huawei routers? I have 100 megabits download and 2 megabits upload. I don't plan to get optical fiber connection.

Thanks
 

mv2devnull

Golden Member
Apr 13, 2010
1,381
81
91
IMHO,
Router routes.
Wireless Access Point (AP) provides WiFi connections for wireless clients.

Two different functions. Hence, I like them separate. (I also despise wireless, but that is a personal preference.)
 

razel

Platinum Member
May 14, 2002
2,337
89
101
Yes, upgrade just by the fact that it's firmware is between 5-7 years old! I am not familiar with how good Xiaomi and Huawei are with firmware updates. However since it seems like you're in Asia, find ASUS AX AiMesh routers instead. The AX56 is about $130 when on sale in the U.S. I also know that Linksys refurbs can be pretty easy to find and relatively affordable in Asia too. Both stay up to date with firmwares, especially ASUS!
 
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TechnicGeek

Junior Member
Nov 12, 2013
19
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@razel ASUS AX56 is kind of rare here. Found it in one shop. Costs like $258.

You seem to be emphasizing firmware updates. Why are the my so important? I am using router to use internet from home. It's not that I am small business. I haven't updated firmware of my router since 2013. That's using latest version by the way.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,246
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You seem to be emphasizing firmware updates. Why are the my so important? I am using router to use internet from home. It's not that I am small business. I haven't updated firmware of my router since 2013. That's using latest version by the way.
That's kind of a large topic to delve into. Suffice to say, vendor router firmware OFTEN has "bugs", and not just that, outright "exploits", which can be used to take over your router remotely (in some cases, not all).

Router mfgs often use "old code" to build their router firmware images, and don't update critical Linux networking component software bits, that have had "upstream" fixes for bugs and exploits, thus leaving their routers vulnerable.

Why?

Well, it's kind of a question of time-to-market, R&D expense, most router firmware teams aren't that big, and they don't always keep up with upstream patches. As well, the router's SoC vendor, which supplies the binary blob drivers for the SoC's radio chipset, may only be compatible with certain Linux kernel versions (older ones), which means that if the vendor wants the newest Linux networking code, they may have to back-port it to the older kernel versions, which can be... work.

This is why I'm a BIG fan of third-party firmware (mainly, at this time, "FreshTomato", available for Broadcom-based routers), because when they update, they almost always use the NEWEST Linux networking "bits", and they (generally) keep up with security issues and patches.

Vendor firmware sometimes does (Asus is good about that), but most others don't, unless there is a specific exploit that's widely publicized in the mass-media (like "Krack", or "HeartBleed"), and they would get bad P.R. for not fixing it.

Not updating your firmware at all, is like sticking your head in the sand, and praying that out of all of the devices on the internet, yours never gets noticed or attacked. Which isn't too wise.
 
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TechnicGeek

Junior Member
Nov 12, 2013
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Can I just buy non-expensive router and rewrite it's stock firmware with 3rd party firmware rather than buying expensive router? If I am concerned about firmware updates, why should I buy expensive router if 3rd party firmware does a good job at it?
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
52,246
7,061
126
Can I just buy non-expensive router and rewrite it's stock firmware with 3rd party firmware rather than buying expensive router?
Yes, this is what DD-WRT and Tomato (FreshTomato) users have been doing for years.

Recommend an Asus AC68U, AC68R, AC1900, AC1900P. Avoid the T-Mobile AC68TM. May be getting scarce these days.

Also, the Tenda AC18 is supported (same basic hardware platform as AC68U).

Slightly slower (only a single-core CPU rather than dual-core), an Asus AC66U is also supported.

If I am concerned about firmware updates, why should I buy expensive router if 3rd party firmware does a good job at it?
Well, if you want the newest hardware support, you kind of don't have a choice. 3rd-party firmware lags the newest supported hardware by a few years. And if the new routers' encrypted CFEs (bootloaders) are any indication, then there may be no 3rd-party firmware for the newest hardware platforms, until/unless someone cracks the CFEs, or finds out a way to flash an un-encrypted CFE to the newer hardware.

For example, "802.11ax", "AX", or "Wifi 6" routers have been on the market for nearly a year or more now, and there are no third-party firmwares yet that I know of, that support "Wifi 6" chipsets. (I haven't checked DD-WRT news lately, maybe they do now.)

I'm pretty happy scrounging older refurb Asus "AC" routers for my needs.

Also, if the hardware is the same, the Asus RT-N300 B1 might be a viable choice, if your max internet speed is 100Mbit/sec or below, and you don't mind still using "N" wifi. It still is supported by most 3rd-party firmwares, and offers a plethora of options once you flash it. ("AdvancedTomato" is a good one for those.) Those are only MSRP $30 USD, $20 on sale.
 

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