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Ask Slashdot: Enterprise Level Network Devices For Home Use? 241

First time accepted submitter osho741 writes "I was wondering if anyone has enterprise level networking devices set up at home? I seem to go through at least 1 wireless consumer grade router a year or so. I can never seem to find one that last very long under just normal use. I thought maybe I would have better luck throwing together a network using used enterprise equipment. Has anyone done this? What would you recommend for a network that maxes out at 30mbps downstream from the ISP and an internal network that should be able to stream 1080p movies to 3 or 4 devices from a media server? Any thoughts and or suggestions are welcome."
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Ask Slashdot: Enterprise Level Network Devices For Home Use?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    What has become of Slashdot? The horror.....

  • DD-WRT (Score:5, Informative)

    by donmontalvo ( 652999 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @09:58AM (#44276549)
    Get a high end ASUS or Buffalo wireless router and put DD-WRT on it.
    • This is a good answer. Also, those devices have pretty stable stock firmware too, if you don't want to change it.
    • by mache ( 210555 )

      I agree, I don't know what is causing this person to have to replace his routers every year, but a high end Asus or Cisco Linksys router can support enterprise loads and functions with DD-WRT. I have had my system running for years with enterprise specific functions. I have also had obsolete WRT54G routers also with enterprise function running in public facilities with huge loads. I don't get the problem this person is having.

      -- Mache

      • Re:DD-WRT (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @11:01AM (#44277077) Homepage

        I have had several failures of Linksys routers in the RF hardware to the point they need to be right next to each other to communicate. The problem was not diagnosed any further since replacing them was less time and money. I got 2-3 years out of them, though, so maybe it's not that bad for $50 each. If I went with a $500 enterprise device, would I get 20-30 yours? Would I even want to (in 10 years it might be obsolete just because new stuff with new features I really want is available). I'm using Buffalo routers with factory defaced DD-WRT now, I might try to load a newer DD-WRT on one or more eventually,

        Why would I need to spend so much on enterprise CIsco equipment? I just buy spares now. I have 5 of those Buffalo routers with 2 in use. If hardware dies or the cable gets hit by lightning and the surge gets past the grounding and surge clamp, I just swap out, trash the dead one, and eventually order another spare.

        If things changed and I needed the features of enterprise devices at home, I'd get them (and I'd know what I needed when that happens). Until then, cheapness and spares win out.

        • Re:DD-WRT (Score:5, Informative)

          by egcagrac0 ( 1410377 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @03:03PM (#44278805)

          I've heard the common cause of that failure is a degraded power supply... the wall warts apparently stop putting out enough current at rated voltage, and the RF range drops to almost nothing.

          New wall wart often fixes it.

          • I ran a molex connector from the PC all this equipment sits on to the back of the computer. Now I plug my router / switch all into a common power rail from a computer PSU. Decent quality computer PSU > cheap shit wallwart and possibly more efficient too. Definitely more efficient on wall plugs.

    • by mrmeval ( 662166 )

      I got my Buffalo router before patent trolls banned it. Buffalo seems to have paid the 'rogeld and are still making them. I put DD-wrt on it. It's never quit on me.

    • by axx ( 1000412 )

      OpenWRT, what you want is OpenWRT.

      I've just switched after something like 6 or 7 years of pretty painless DD-WRT, and OpenWRT is just better.
      Organised configuration files, sensical zoning for the firewalls, a real package manager, a real filesystem rather than overuse of NVRAM.
      It feels like something that's been designed rather than hacked together.

      Also, OpenWRT used to be harder to configure, but with the LUCI webinterface it really isn't that different from DD-WRT now.

      Lastly, the project is actually free,

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 14, 2013 @10:02AM (#44276579)

    What do you consider "normal use"? Nailing them to a wall? Using them to shore up a levee?

    Anyway, if your electronics are failing that fast and you aren't abusing them somehow, then they should be replaced under warranty.

    • The OP is probably blocking their air vents or placing them in closets where they're overheating, or on top of cable boxes/DVRs (which are like ovens.)
  • if the devices are not laptops / tablets

  • Routerboard (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Been using this one for almost a year, with no issues. Plenty of bells and whistles for the home business/power user.

    • by isorox ( 205688 )

      Been using this one for almost a year, with no issues. Plenty of bells and whistles for the home business/power user.

      Absolutely, no brainer for a mikrotik. I find the 951-2n fine for home though - I have 4 of them, lacking any cables between rooms means I use 5ghz on the backbone, and have a single 2.4ghz network for wireless.

    • I've tried to get Routerboards before, but the distribution network in the US is terrible-- no stock, insane lead times, and non responsive. Have you found a good distributor?

  • What's killing them? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Even the cheapest routers I have last much longer than a year. What are you doing to your routers that you kill one every year?

    • Exactly. If the asker already has multiple routers dead, I suggest there is some other problem than the "cheapness" of them. Power spikes, lightning, and whatnot.
    • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @02:26PM (#44278517)

      What's killing them? FRICTION!

      See, he's a hard core gamer, which is also why he buys the faster red ethernet cables instead of the slower blue ones! This causes lots of friction, since he can have a higher packet load through the router, and the poor electronics just get worn out, since he plays about nine hours a day.

      He also mounts his routers in the back top shelf of the closets, so that the packets get a gravity assist getting to his computer. Apparently it takes about 1.8ms off his ping time, which is why he consistently beats his friend Charlie in Unreal Tournament.

      PS: We all know friction has to be the true answer, since they charge for GB instead of charging for the pipe size; everyone knows this is because routers with packets transiting them have more wear and tear than those same routers using the same amount of power, but not transiting as many packets. It's just common sense!

  • by tibit ( 1762298 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @10:07AM (#44276633)

    I've had lots of luck with HP Procurve gear. We use a couple of J8986A (530) access points at work and they seem to be unbeatable. For a router, run a linux box. Can be as little as a raspberry pi with VLANs split up by an external switch.

  • Apple Airport (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @10:08AM (#44276649) Homepage
    This may not be a popular opinion, but I'm a big fan of Apple Airport gear. They generally support the latest/fastest standards quite quickly, are easy to configure, have built-in PSUs rather than wall warts, and I've generally found their range to be better than average for consumer WiFi kit. Other than that latest models (which look ridiculous) they're generally neat and look OK in the living room. I've had one Airport Express die on me after 2 years of use, and that was already second hand when I bought it and spent its life behind a pile of hot hifi gear as an Airtunes sink.
    • by LDAPMAN ( 930041 )

      I have to agree. I have 3 Airport extremes and 4 Airport Express units in my configuration and they work flawlessly. No failures and the oldest one is 4-5 years old.

      • Airport Express? Can they handle more than 15 devices connecting between reboots now?

        • by guruevi ( 827432 )

          I have deployed Airport Express devices on an enterprise network. 2 base stations easily power about 50 devices with RADIUS.

        • by LDAPMAN ( 930041 )

          They are deployed as wired-to-wireless access points for my satellite boxes and other devices that don't have wireless interfaces. They have been in place for years with no issues. I've never had to reboot them...ever.

    • Re:Apple Airport (Score:4, Interesting)

      by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @01:32PM (#44278137)

      My complaint with the Airport is the awful management interface, and extremely limited options. Our office unit has been quite reliable over the past 3-4 years though for wifi. The management limitations just force us to put it in the DMZ and VPN into the LAN, which reduces speeds somewhat.

      For a home router for a /.er though, I would think the Asus RT66NU would be a pretty good pick: you can install DD-WRT-derived (I think) firmware and get Transmission, OpenVPN, SSH access, etc. It is also 12V, so easy enough to hook up a small battery/power supply/regulator and avoid a UPS. It isn't perfect, but I doubt I would ever go with an Airport again unless I had the same compatibility problems I experienced with my old MacBook Pro.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      I recommend Apple Airport's as well. They are somewhat limited in feature but they are really stable, I have some that are over 10 years old that work perfectly (b/g only).
      I also second Buffalo routers. A little more expensive than your el-cheapo home router but stable as hell and comes with DD-WRT.

      Asus also makes some good ones but make sure to replace the wall-wart it comes (mine was a 2A) with with a slightly higher wattage/current (I used a 3A but measured usage spikes of 2.2A). The 2A that came in the

  • Old PC + Vyatta Community Edition. ClearOS, Or many other open source routers.
    FreeNAS or OpenFiler for SAN duties
    WRT54G or newer device that can run full DD-WRT for an access point or router.

  • Generic random modem in bridge mode going to a proper linux machine router.

    Attach home network to second ethernet interface.

    If you want wireless, use the linux machine as a wireless AP using a pci/e card of some description.

    Consumer modems are shitty, the more you make them do the quicker they fail, as a pure modem they tend to last a fair bit longer and have less load applied.

    Bonus is if/when the modem does die, the rest of the infrastructure still lives.

    • by crow ( 16139 )

      I went this route, but I found that a Linux box with a PCI-e WiFi card acting as a base station doesn't give me the same range or signal strength as a dedicated base station.

      Maybe I picked a bad card (I have tried several, though). Or maybe I didn't configure something right.

      As far as having control over your network, though, you can't beat it.

      • I think he is referring to something that can run open firmware. I agree completely with GP's strategy; you can even keep a spare modem around if you need to. Also recommend switching FiOS over to the Ethernet rather than coax at the ONT to avoid the need for a modem.

    • they're just running on ARM or MIPS, not x86

      • While they do technically run linux, the overwhelming majority are still running 2.4 and running on hardware so pathetic it is ridiculous. With the software being unable to be updated (even most dd-wrt hardware pieces are pretty weak)

  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @10:26AM (#44276773)

    I've had the best luck with Buffalo so far. Linksys, D-Link, NetGear, even Cisco small business and NetGear business-class have been pathetic crap. My Buffalo router has not been in service over a year, so I cannot honestly speak to longevity. But I can speak to lack of extraordinarily lame firmware bugs ;-)

    • I have a very old Buffalo WBR G54 ; slow wifi, just barely good enough for one wireless video stream - which is good enough. It's lasted over 10 years running OpenWRT after it replaced the Belkin I had before. The wireless transponder on the Belkin failed, but the switch was still working.

      I do sometimes get the upgrade itch for something with more grunt, but since I don't have any real issues with it, pragmatism wins.

  • Ubiquity (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Use Ubiquity gear, saves you a lot of headaches and is very affordable

  • That's nuts. Nobody hits that many clinkers in a row.

    Get yourself a good consumer-grade router and a surge protector, my good Sir/Ma'am/Fido.

  • I have been extremely tempted to buy Check Point's latest all in one security appliance... they no longer use SofaWare as their embedded OS on their smaller appliances, it's a scaled down GAIA (the next evolution of Check Point's SPLAT for those who do Check Point stuff). It's pretty nuts all the things they pack into one little box... 10 1 gig ports, and 802.11 b/g/n

    "All 600 Appliances come standard with 10 x 1Gbps Ethernet ports. For added flexibility and convenience, the wireless version of the 600 Ap
    • Maybe it is just luck of the draw, but a restaurant I go to uses the Checkpoint and reliability/range seems disappointing.

  • I had similar needs about a year ago, including the fact that I was going back into network engineering after some years out of that field, so I wanted a flexible yet powerful setup in my home with focus on speed, security and flexibility make changes.

    In order to achieve flexibility, I wanted as many components as possible to be in software. I already had 2 large diskless ESX servers connected to a QNAP TS-659 Pro II over NFS and iSCSI, so I updated my physical switch to a Cisco SG-300 20 and I setup link
  • by pcjunky ( 517872 ) <> on Sunday July 14, 2013 @11:10AM (#44277163) Homepage

    Cisco 800 series routers do a great job. Used on ebay for as little as $50. I use an 871 but for most an 851 would do just as well. Very stable with some having over a year of up time. For wireless look at 1200 series AP's. Dual band versions like the 1231AG go for as little as $30 on ebay. Tolerate temps as high as 122 deg F so you can even put them in attics.

    I would rather have a used BMW than a new KIA any day. Besides most pure electronics don't wear out the way machanical things do. My old Apple II still works fine, as does my Icom 745 HF rig from the mid 80's.

  • Streaming 3-4 1080P videos? How about get off the couch and try spending some time in the real world?

  • I've always run with Cisco gear at work, so I figured, why not run with Cisco gear at home? Price is only a concern if you're buying new, and even when most people buy new, they don't buy at list price - they find a gold-certified reseller who can offer them up to 60% off Cisco list prices. Me? I bought most of my kit off eBay.

    My own current setup is:

    1x Cisco 1841 router with EHWIC-1ADSL for my broadband connection (this card supports ADSL2+)
    1x Cisco Aironet AIR-AP1231G-E-K9 for wireless
    1x Cisco Catalyst

    • by Fjandr ( 66656 )

      I'd second the 1200-series APs from Cisco. Haven't used any of the rest, so no comment there.

  • Any model of router that has enough RAM and ROM and architecture supported by OpenWRT. It does NOT mean that you will really use OpenWRT but it means that you have at least one alternative firmware and the router is NOT a cheap [Nomina sunt Odiosa] box with minimal functions.

    Then, you may experiment with heatsinks and add a ceramic cap in parallel with every electrolytic cap inside if you wish, replace a cheap [Nomina sunt Odiosa] power source with UPS and do what you want.

    If your box is a supermegaextrapro

  • Enterprise routers? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Sunday July 14, 2013 @11:38AM (#44277351)

    30mbps downstream from the ISP and an internal network that should be able to stream 1080p movies to 3 or 4 devices from a media server?

    Most enterprises implement a dual product solution. They install a dedicated router and a wireless access point. So get ready to spend $500+ on your solution. The linksys/netgear/asus products are meant to be all in one devices.

    If you're looking for an all in one router then look at the Cisco 800 series routers. However, most of the models provide features you do not need like hardware based VPN or QoS, features you most likely do not need for providing you family with access to hulu/youtube etc..

    However, I've got an Asus RT-A66U (or Best Buy's name: RT-A66R, same router different name). Easily handles 50Mb down and has 4 GigE ports for LAN traffic. Great range and decent price. Sure the top gets warm/hot but that's because it uses the top metal cover as a large heat sink. I don't put other gear on top of it nor hold it, so it's not a problem. Has solid reviews on Newegg as well.

    If you're breaking so many devices you might want to figure out why you're breaking them. Dirty power? Dirty location? (Got a cat/dog?). Don't say "I'm downloading too much..." There's people out there with ancient linksys W54GL's out there and it's not like those were made with "Enterprise Grade Components"

  • Okay, there are options besides "consumer" and "enterprise." There are network devices for small offices and medium businesses. You don't need a Cisco 6900-series chassis to be more reliable than a dogshit consumer router. Cisco is a bit more filled-out in this range (I run some of this class of gear at home myself, and am happy). I have a Gig-E backbone and use a business-class WAP for wireless. It's not a wifi router mind NAT, no switchports, no WPS. And I like it that way, because it allow

  • I also had issues regarding consumer grade routers (largely that they liked to slow down and die and crash horrifically), so I took a slightly different approach.

    I'm using a small Mini-ITX server, using an Intel D525, 4GB of memory, and a 60GB SSD for ClearOS / Squid Proxy (does wonders for WoW Updates, actually...)
    That handles all outbound traffic. That's hooked up to a nice 16-port gigabit switch, and I run cables for as many things as I possibly can. There's about 30 different wifi signals I can hit righ

  • I use Ubiquiti gear at home: their UniFi Pro access point and their EdgeRouter Lite (based on Vyatta) as my router. You can't go wrong.

  • you are killing a router once a year under normal use? my god man blow the dust off of it once in a while and unbury it from behind the stack of shit. My old router lasted 6 years and the only reason I got rid of it is because my internet service increased to the point where it became a bottleneck. My parent still have their linksys from 2004 and this yuts cant keep one going for a year?

  • a high-end netgear router and it works great and I use extensively for mobile, PCs and laptops. I also have 5GHz as well as 2.4 Ghz setups and anyways, it's been working like a charm for 2 yrs solid.
  • Ditch the provided power supply and use a precision supply. Secondly, though shalt patch the firmware on a regular basis. It's how I got my WRT54G. It was a clients and they just bought a new one and gave me this one. My WAP54G died so I downloaded the latest firmware for the WRT54G and it worked flawlessly, has been doing so for years.
  • Honestly, if you're talking about real Cisco boxes, and the like, no. You probably don't need that.

    Still, it might not hurt to step up to the prosumer level devices.

    I got sick of the consumer crap treadmill. I have everything on UPS with a monster surge suppression unit, yet I had units of all kinds dying, or turning out to be useless. Finally, I had two $179 "consumer" routers die on me back to back in the middle of patching (shipping settings were SEVERELY broken and needed to be patched to be usable).

  • As others have mentioned, the sweet spot is competitors for the corporate space, just a few notches below Cisco. HP, Ubiquity, Ruckus, they put out enterprise grade hardware that is almost affordable used.

    Prosumer gear just isn't built to last, it's built to maximize feature lists while minimizing cost. Even if many of you haven't had your networking gear go down on you at your home, you are the lucky ones. I have had a litany of routers and firmwares and I have watched a few small-medium businesses try

  • If your wireless gear is dying rapidly, then I suggest putting them being a good UPS. It sounds more like a power supply problem than anything else. APC sells excellent UPS's around the $200 range.

  • I was fortunate enough to be in contact with our Cisco vendor, and I asked him point blank where I could acquire one, since they had been discontinued a few years prior. He had one at home, boxed it up, and shipped it to me. T

    The main reason I wanted it, was that to me, it was the best option as a home\smb router anyone could ask for. Check out the back of it; []

    Today it is dated, I have since had my house wired with Cat-6, and because an 802.11n WAP can be had pret

"If you lived today as if it were your last, you'd buy up a box of rockets and fire them all off, wouldn't you?" -- Garrison Keillor