New router needed - but with or without modem?

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
I currently have a Vodafone WiFi hub and a hardwired TP link AP. It’s struggling at times, mainly due to many smart home devices and my sons PC gaming. The gaming PC is hardwired to the main router, but he getting of lot of issues with lag etc, which I think is due to the router struggling with everything else on the network.

So I’m looking to invest in a decent router, just not sure what to do in terms of the modem. As most home routers now don’t have a modem built in, do I;

1) Buy a new router with the modem built in.
2) Buy a new router, connect to the existing router but use that as a modem only.
3) Buy a new router and buy a new modem.

Budget is around £300. What would be my best option? I’m not to fussed about the over priced, designer looking, mesh systems. Just a solid router modem, as I can add further AP’s via the Ethernet I have running around my house. Thanks.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
Draytek Vigor 2865 range (has an integrated modem but you don’t have to use it) would be worth a look, and gives you the option of having managed wifi using Draytek APs via their integrated managed wifi portal (so more control over to client roaming, band steering etc compared to stand-alone APs). I’ve used Draytek for many, many years and found them to be reliable, powerful, and well supported. If you wanted you could also utilise their managed switches for a complete single vendor approach, again with central management from the router.

If you were considering Ubiquiti Unifi then the USG Pro4 and Cloud Key or Dream Machine Pro would be the options to look at, but only if you were considering getting into the Unifi ecosystem and wanted a single-vendor system. It’s a steeper learning curve compared to the Draytek system, and availability for some products is currently an issue (some items have been out of stock in the U.K. for a months, with new stock hopefully due soon).
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Thanks. So if going for a router without a modem, is there much benefit to getting a new modem or just stick with the ISP one (I don’t think it has a specific modem mode, but WiFi and DCHP etc will be disabled).
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Also I have looked at the Draytek’s, but seem to be a bit behind on all the latest fancy bells and whistles that many of the new Netgear and Asus ones have. But then I’m sure a lot of that doesn’t make a huge difference. It’s really hard to pick a router these days!
 

neilball

Well-known Member
If it were me, and providing your ISP will supply the necessary details, I would replace the ISP router with the new router, if only to keep things a little neater.
 

neilball

Well-known Member
Also I have looked at the Draytek’s, but seem to be a bit behind on all the latest fancy bells and whistles that many of the new Netgear and Asus ones have. But then I’m sure a lot of that doesn’t make a huge difference. It’s really hard to pick a router these days!

I’ve not used Netgear routers for a long time, and have never used Asus, so cannot ofer much on that front. I’ve run large networks with Draytek though, and can vouch for their stability and reliability in such installs.

What “bells and whistles” are you looking at and are they features you’d use or might like to have?
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
In all honesty, a modem is a modem is a modem. Modems generally all perform very similarly. I run a Ubiquiti UDMP and an old BT OpenReach Modem and it is absolutely fine. Modems generally are not your problem its the router. (We are talking VDSL / ADSL here and not FTTP)

Draytek Routers are business class and designed for more complex business installations and have feature classes to suit. Asus and Netgear are domestic modems and are often optimised for media streaming and gaming. Out of the two I would take a Draytek over Asus / Ubiquiti but that is a personal choice and my need case, all offer great feature sets.

If you were looking to replace an existing wifi router with another wifi router that you could add APs to easily, consider the Ubiquiti Dream Machine

Ubiquiti UDM UniFi Dream Machine WiFi 5 Network Appliance (1700Mbps AC)

Which at £273 is inside your budget. No it is not a wifi 6 device, its wifi 5 but it is a solid bit of kit and there are a lot of users on here who use them. As a router goes it is solid.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Thanks all. Regarding Ubiquiti, I must admit I’m drawn to their kit more and more. especially their POE AP’s - I’ve always preferred hardwired AP’s than extenders and mesh systems, I’ve just found them more reliable (BT’s gear was the worst) but I’m no expert.

Is there anything the more gaming oriented routers really give you, or is it mostly hype? (Gaming PC will hardwired anyway).
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
The gaming routers will have some fancy proprietary term for what is basically prioritising certain types of traffic, its nothing very special. Asus like to quote their connection speeds (which are higher than Ubiquiti for a single device, but rapidly fall behind for multiple devices) but again its very selective data. Value for money the UDM is a very nice device and very powerful and opens the doorway to the entire Unifi eco system.
 

oneman

Active Member
I’ve not used Netgear routers for a long time, and have never used Asus, so cannot ofer much on that front. I’ve run large networks with Draytek though, and can vouch for their stability and reliability in such installs.

What “bells and whistles” are you looking at and are they features you’d use or might like to have?
For domestic network or SMB, Asus are fine, not much experience with Netgear in the last couple of years. Reasonable level of configuration and performance. Can handle 50 to 100 or so clients running home workloads connected to single 1gb link without problems. Have a look at reddit or their support forums.

Once you start hitting 10's or routers, AP or other networking devices then centralised managed really is a must and though Asus support managing multiple routers and AP from a central interface they aren't designed for multiple site management.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
Thanks all. Regarding Ubiquiti, I must admit I’m drawn to their kit more and more. especially their POE AP’s - I’ve always preferred hardwired AP’s than extenders and mesh systems, I’ve just found them more reliable (BT’s gear was the worst) but I’m no expert.

As do most of us who build enterprise scale Wi-Fi deployments. Wired Ethernet backhaul is faster and more reliable and the more we can get traffic off the RF airwaves and onto the wires, the more "air time" it leaves for the Wi-Fi traffic which improves the performance and usage experience. We will sometimes use alternate backhaul methods to/from AP's (I've used Wi-Fi and even lasers on a building-to-building link) but it tends to be in situations where we "have to" because we cannot get a wired solution in for some reason.

And of course, POE is much less hassle than running separate power supplies to everything - "in business" we often use POE for AP's and phone handsets, but there's other use cases.
 

mickevh

Distinguished Member
[MUSE]
Now that POE is capable of delivering getting on for 70watts, wouldn't it be great if laptops started running off POE: No more ferreting around in the bag for the wall wart (assuming I've remembered to pack it) - just rock up to your desk/hotdesk/train/plane, pull out your lappy, whack in a network cable and there's your power and data delivered in one cable.
[/MUSE]
 

oneman

Active Member
[MUSE]
Now that POE is capable of delivering getting on for 70watts, wouldn't it be great if laptops started running off POE: No more ferreting around in the bag for the wall wart (assuming I've remembered to pack it) - just rock up to your desk/hotdesk/train/plane, pull out your lappy, whack in a network cable and there's your power and data delivered in one cable.
[/MUSE]
I suspect the majority of places you have network you are going to have power sockets available.
 

scarty16

Well-known Member
getting one with an integrated modem will only be of use if VF let you use your own modem. They may not give you the connection details to use it.

I have used both Netgear and ASUS as routers connected to ISP modems. ASUS AC 66 and Netgear D7800.

Both have done the job.

I prefer ASUS, as I think it looks neater and better built - I am a router snob!
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
Thinking of going Asus right now (the AX88U).

Before I start another thread, anyone here got much experience with load balancing (specifically on Asus routers)?

We have a large house with annex, and a very internet hungry family. Because of this, and living in a rural location with not-great broadband, I have two internet connections - 4G and fixed line, with two separate routers and completely separate LAN’s. This is mainly because we use the 4G for our nest cams (faster upload) and have 5 TV’s that almost exclusively watch TV streaming services. The normal broadband does everything else, including PC gaming (better latency/ping). From what I have read, load balancing on the Asus routers will allow me to run them on one network and configure which devices use which WAN. I suspect this is fairly niche, but wondering if anyone here has done similar.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
ASUS routers only perform very rudimentary load balancing, they just splits connection attempts between the connected internet connections in a pre-defined ratio. In your setup this will probably make a catastrophe of what you are trying to attempt to do, which is share the bandwidth. If you use a more sophisticated router, such as a Draytek you can configure rules for the load balancing, so that certain devices only use a specific connection, but this takes a lot more setting up.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
ASUS routers only perform very rudimentary load balancing, they just splits connection attempts between the connected internet connections in a pre-defined ratio. In your setup this will probably make a catastrophe of what you are trying to attempt to do, which is share the bandwidth. If you use a more sophisticated router, such as a Draytek you can configure rules for the load balancing, so that certain devices only use a specific connection, but this takes a lot more setting up.

Thanks mate. But from what I have read today the Asus routers can be configured so that you can set which individual IP/devices use which WAN. Ive even read a couple of guides on setting it up. Maybe they have improved it?
 

oneman

Active Member
I've got the AX88U and its a great device and supports Asus Mesh for extra AP but they have to Asus AP which are all managed from a single easy to use interface.

Two things to be aware of,
It doesn't have a model doesn't have a VDSL modem.
It has the option of guest SSID but not multiple SSID.

As for load balancing, I've a look through the menu and you can set up routing rules where you specific source and destination IP take a WAN interface. This would need the Nest equipment to be on fixed IP, either set through the device itself or via DHCP reservation. Be warned that Air Protection doesn't work with Load Balancing.

There is more information here,
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
I've got the AX88U and its a great device and supports Asus Mesh for extra AP but they have to Asus AP which are all managed from a single easy to use interface.

Two things to be aware of,
It doesn't have a model doesn't have a VDSL modem.
It has the option of guest SSID but not multiple SSID.

As for load balancing, I've a look through the menu and you can set up routing rules where you specific source and destination IP take a WAN interface. This would need the Nest equipment to be on fixed IP, either set through the device itself or via DHCP reservation. Be warned that Air Protection doesn't work with Load Balancing.

Yeah, going to use the ISP router for modem duties and consider a better (probably Draytek) later.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
I've got the AX88U and its a great device and supports Asus Mesh for extra AP but they have to Asus AP which are all managed from a single easy to use interface.

Two things to be aware of,
It doesn't have a model doesn't have a VDSL modem.
It has the option of guest SSID but not multiple SSID.

As for load balancing, I've a look through the menu and you can set up routing rules where you specific source and destination IP take a WAN interface. This would need the Nest equipment to be on fixed IP, either set through the device itself or via DHCP reservation. Be warned that Air Protection doesn't work with Load Balancing.

Also, do you mean AiProtection? And would I really miss it?
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
you won't miss aiprotection.
Thanks.

What do you find the range like (by itself), particularly with 2.5ghz devices?

And if you were spending the best part of £300 on a new router, would you still go for the AX88U, or something else?
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
I've got the AX88U and its a great device and supports Asus Mesh for extra AP but they have to Asus AP which are all managed from a single easy to use interface.

Two things to be aware of,
It doesn't have a model doesn't have a VDSL modem.
It has the option of guest SSID but not multiple SSID.

As for load balancing, I've a look through the menu and you can set up routing rules where you specific source and destination IP take a WAN interface. This would need the Nest equipment to be on fixed IP, either set through the device itself or via DHCP reservation. Be warned that Air Protection doesn't work with Load Balancing.

There is more information here,

Ah, reading that guide, the part where you can specify what WAN and IP address specifically uses also ask for the destination IP address as well. Is that optional, or does it mean that it can only be used when connecting to specific servers/services? I would like to connect my smart TV to always use the secondary (4G) WAN, but that makes it look like it won’t work.
 

oneman

Active Member
Ah, reading that guide, the part where you can specify what WAN and IP address specifically uses also ask for the destination IP address as well. Is that optional, or does it mean that it can only be used when connecting to specific servers/services? I would like to connect my smart TV to always use the secondary (4G) WAN, but that makes it look like it won’t work.
I am not 100% sure but I think if you.leave it blank then it means all traffic. I'll try and check tonight when I get a chance.
 

oneman

Active Member
Thanks.

What do you find the range like (by itself), particularly with 2.5ghz devices?

And if you were spending the best part of £300 on a new router, would you still go for the AX88U, or something else?
I have full coverage 5GHs foveeage on a 4 bed semi without any extenders. I am not in a super dense housing area and all my internal walls are breeze block. Once outside it drops to a couple of hundred mb on 2.4ghz.
 

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