Router for replacing Sky router

toplocker

Novice Member
Hi all,

I have a Vigor 130 modem and looking for a suitable router to replace the supplied Sky Q router.
I am looking for better wifi coverage and good lan connectivity.

2 sky q boxes
Gaming PC - Wired
2 Consoles - 1 console wired - 1 sometimes 2 wireless
Laptops, Tablets phones connected at various times wireless

I've read the router has to be DHCP option 61 - 60, MER compatible

And i have been looking at the netgear Nighthawk range and also ASUS gaming routers, some look expensive but if it gets the job done then i don't mind, but preferably best value for money getting the job done right. It doesn't have to be these options just what i have currently been looking at.

hope someone can help, thanks in advance.
 

psychopomp1

Member
If money is no object, buy Asus' best router, the Asus RT-AX88U. Install Merlin's firmware here and you get DHCP Option 60/61 added on. Otherwise if you want something a bit cheaper, go for the Asus RT-AC86U - again you will need to install Merlin fw in order to get DHCP Option 60/61.

The Draytrek 130 is a good choice for an adsl/vdsl modem but if you wanted a combined modem/router, then I would highly recommend the Billion 8900AX or TP Link VR2800, both work on Sky MER.

Also have a read here:
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
It may be that a "forklift" replacement of the incumbent is not the best solution for you aims:

If you're run out of ethernet ports, adding a little "desktop" ethernet switch could cost as little as few 20 GBP. Though that means you've got "two box" solution.

Wi-Fi transmit power is limited by law and most kit is, and always has been, at or close to the permitted max. There's no magic "uber-router" out there with "much better signal" than everyone else's. Even if there were, Wi-Fi is a two way radio "conversation" like walkie-talkies, not a one way "lecture" like televisions. To be of much use, any "better signal" from a router would need to be paired with "better signal" from the client devices in order that they can still "hear" each other. Whilst there's some benefit to be had with routers that have clever antenna design (or a least, cleverer than you generally get in cheap ISP routers) - I think the ones psychopomp cites may be such - the improvements tend to be better rate-at-range (speed at a given location) than any huge improvements in coverage area. Even then, it's a gamble - you don't know how how any given router is going to perform in your locale until you try it - it could even be worse, so probably best to buy from somewhere with good returns policy.

A new router might avail some marginal coverage area improvements, but a second (third, fourth, etc) Wi-Fi hotspot will give you a guaranteed 100% coverage improvement for more or less the same money (and may even improve the throughput for the network as a whole.) It's not for nothing that on big sites we put up dozens if not hundreds of hotspots.

The "trick" with deploying additional Wi-Fi hotspots is how you establish the "backhaul" link between the outpost hotspots and the rest of the (wired) network. "Proper" cabled ethernet is the fastest and most reliable, other alternatives are tunneling over the mains using HomePlug technology or using Wi-Fi with things such as repeaters and/or so-called "mesh" links. Wi-Fi and HomePlug backhaul both have their own challenges, but sometimes there's no alternative if you cannot put in cabled ethernet backhauls. (Or find a magic uber-router with "much better signal" and unicorn horns and rainbows :) )
 
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psychopomp1

Member
@mickevh
Whilst wifi power is limited by law there are other router features usually not found on budget/ISP supplied routers which can affect wifi performance such as

* DFS channel availability - these higher powered channels (1000mW) are perfectly legal in Blighty and may be a godsend in highly congested wifi environments. Of course your clients also have to support such channels (eg ch. 120) and not a good idea to use DFS channels if living near an airport as the router algorithms will automatically kick you off any DFS channel if it detects channel conflict.

* More powerful CPU & higher ram- most of the high end third party routers have a quadcore CPU and have RAM of up to 1 GB. Which means more powerful routers can handle more wifi clients simultaneously. My ISP supplied BT Business Hub 6 struggles with 20+ wifi clients yet my Netgear RAX200 hardly breaks a sweat with 50-60 wifi clients. Guess which is the more powerful router?

* Better spec BCM or QCA wifi radios, eg 4x4 or 8x8. Again you need clients which at least support 4x4 streams to get the maximum benefit but even lesser 2x2 and 3x3 clients will see some form of improvement on the newer/latest Broadcomm or Qualcomm wifi chipsets. ISP supplied routers will be built as cheaply as possible (as they're usually supplied free of charge) which often means using lesser spec wifi radios.

Having said all this, I totally agree with you that no router will magically alter the laws of physics. But a common sense/logical approach for the OP would be to use a better (ie with better components) router and see if it improves wifi performance before potentially adding more access points or using a mesh system at a higher cost. Sometimes the best solution is to keep things as simple as possible :)
 

toplocker

Novice Member
Thank you both for the replies and very good informative read.
Currently i'm just looking to improve on connectivity wirelessly and any gain on wired connections just by throwing a little money at it, if it can be achieved then great but i'm not expecting major gains..

I am however looking in the future to go steps further with my Home setup but need other projects out of the way first which include a garden room/ man cabin/ chill out room /hobby room to be built in the garden. Once this build is completed i will then be looking at power (possibly powering the cabin with Solar panels) and connectivity on a bigger scale. I am planning on a wired network with some sort of room to room sonos setup etc (single floor large bungalow). But this is going to be a while away and still working out in my mind what i want and how things will be.

Anyway back down to earth for a little while i have enjoyed the reading and opened my mind a bit more.

If i can get a nice little setup at small expense for now i will be more than happy, i do like the reviews on the Asus RT-AX88U but price tag may be a little high due to what i'm planning in future above. So if i can achieve what i need with the Asus RT-AC86U at half the cost then this may be my way forward for now as i was looking around £200 mark.

thanks guys for both your posts

Can i just ask, Fairly straight forward setup ?
 

psychopomp1

Member
Yep, fairly easy to setup the AC86U on Sky. You may even be able to use it on stock Asus firmware with Sky but I still recommend using Merlin's firmware as it offers better performance than stock fw. Have a look here - that's for the AX88U but the same applies to the AC86U:
 

toplocker

Novice Member
after a little head scratching and cursing .... i'm all good and up and running thank you psychopomp1 for your very helpful guidance.
 

psychopomp1

Member
No worries, glad to hear you've got everything working :smashin:
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
* DFS channel availability - these higher powered channels (1000mW) are perfectly legal in Blighty and may be a godsend in highly congested wifi environments. Of course your clients also have to support such channels (eg ch. 120) and not a good idea to use DFS channels if living near an airport as the router algorithms will automatically kick you off any DFS channel if it detects channel conflict.
In most circumstances this is pretty much the worse thing that you can do. Just upping the power until you talk over everything else creates more congestion and can decrease the efficacy of the wifi. In most cases will be looking to reduce the Power output of the APs no matter what channels that they are using.

My APs regularly detect Radar from Air Ambulance, Police and other local low flying air vehicles, I usually get 2 or 3 notifications a week, I am 40 miles from my nearest airport.
 

psychopomp1

Member
I agree DFS channels may make things worse, but its a case of trial and error. Even using a DFS channel with say 30% power (so around 300 mW) may provide a benefit as others around you are unlikely to be using channels in the same range.
 

MarkyPancake

Distinguished Member
If you don't want to pay the current price of admission for AX, then the AC86U is a great AC router. I've heard the Netgear R7800 is a great performer as well, but haven't used this one myself.

I've had the AC86U for around 3 years now, always with Merlin firmware. Used an AC68U and N66U previously and with Merlin. All have been solid and I still have them. Recently dusted off the AC68U and turned it into an AiMesh node for upstairs.
 

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