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cheaper alternative routers to asus?

shafiul
Newbie
Posts: 7
Registered: 03-08-2014

cheaper alternative routers to asus?

hi asus routers ive gathered are meant to be really good for fibre optic but they are fairly expensive just wondered if there were cheaper alternatives and obviously better than the plusnet provided router?
thanks
16 REPLIES
davidj66
Rising Star
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

I've been using a TP-Link router for ~ 11 months on my ADSL2+ connection -stronger wireless signal than any of previous routers and gives my my "full" 16 Mbps. Seems to be a reiable budget make.
They make cable routers such as WDR -3600 N600 -available for ~ £45
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

I build my own routers from old computer parts that are no longer powerful enough to run a desktop operating system.
You will be astonished at the performance you can get out of a home built router, compared to anything you are likely to consider buying from a shop.
You could start with an old PC with two network cards, a CPU > 1Ghz, and then load it with as much memory as the motherboard can take.
On my current router, I added http caching proxy server software, which has improved some web page loading times by a factor of 25 - compared to an expensive high performance DrayTek router !.
Once you get started the possibilities are endless, as it is very easy to add-in additional free software packages for security, anti-virus, monitoring, etc.
Another advantage of being home built, is that security patches (for example Heartbleed), can be applied almost immediately,  unlike a shop bought router that you may never update and therefore will remain vulnerable to attack.
So if you have an old PC hanging around, you could build an amazing router for almost no money.
rongtw
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

purleigh  , this sounds interesting  Cool
how in basic terms do i go about building a router from scratch ?
Asus ROG Hero Vii Z97 , Intel i5 4690k ,ROG Asus Strix 1070,
samsung 850evo 250gig , WD black 2 TB . Asus Phoebus sound ,
16 gig Avexir ram 2400 , water cooling Corsair H100i gtx ,
Corsair 750HXI Psu , Phanteks Enthoo pro case .
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

I'm not sure what s/w purleigh uses but we use smoothwall http://www.smoothwall.org/ in the office. As purleigh says, you basically just need a pc with 2 network cards. In our case I'm pretty sure we run it as a vm ( using virtualbox ) on one of our servers.
Community Veteran
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

Quote from: rongtw
purleigh  , this sounds interesting  Cool
how in basic terms do i go about building a router from scratch ?

In simple terms -
Start with any old working PC, with at least two network sockets.
Download your chosen firewall/router operating system and create a bootable CD or USB stick.
Boot your target PC using the CD/USB that you just created.
Follow the on screen instructions for the installation (language settings, and hard drive options).
The hard drive will get formatted and the firewall OS installed.
Remove the CD/USB and reboot.
The PC restarts and will ask which network port is the WAN and LAN, and some basic settings like PPPoE and DHCP.
Reboot the PC when instructed, so that the new network settings get applied.
The screen should tell you that you can now use a web browser on another PC to configure your new router.
Plug your modem into the WAN socket, and another PC into the LAN network socket, then go ahead configure your router using a web browser - as you would with any other router.
Once you are happy that your router is configured, then you can switch off the router PC, remove the keyboard, screen, and mouse, then start up the (now) standalone router PC, and you are ready to go.
Once you get used to it, you will keep finding things to add, such as a wireless card to make an WiFI access point, or a 3G USB dongle for automatic WAN backup if your ADSL/FTTC fails, an http caching proxy to speed up your web browsing, parental controls, anti-virus/anti-malware on all traffic, the list goes on and on.

I use pfSense software, but as 'MisterW' says, there are many other very capable firewall/router distributions available.

I hope that is useful !  Wink
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

You haven't said in what way you wish it to be better than the Plusnet router.
If it's mainly a basic vdsl modem router with stronger wireless and Gigabit ethernet you're after then I suggest looking at a talkTalk super router (HG635) from a well known on-line auction site.
I've been running one on my plusnet fibre connection for about two weeks now, it replaces both the BT modem and PN router, and really can't fault it's performance.
Some details http://npr.me.uk/hg635.html
However, it's not a patch on the plusnet router for configurability,  but you're not going to better than that without spending £££ or using purleigh's do it your self approach.
Community Veteran
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

The main problem of using an old PC is power consumption. Unless it was set up as a low power machine, it is likely to use around 80W. If left on continuously - that is going to make it around £80/year in electricity costs.
Starts to make the ASUS look cheap.
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

While that is true to an extent,  reusing a full blown desktop PC is a good platform to experiment with various distro's, then perhaps use that knowledge and confidence to build a low power consumption version that does what you really want.
Just to put things into perspective, I'm now on my third home built router -
  • #1 - 533Mhz CPU + 1GB RAM + 120GB IDE HDD, took ~5W

  • #2 - 1Ghz CPU + 4GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM + 60GB SATA2 SSD, took ~14W

  • #3 - Dual-core 1.8Ghz 64-bit CPU + 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM + 120GB SATA3 SSD + USB WiFi adaptor, takes ~17W

- all measured at the mains plug and therefore includes power supply losses.  None of my machines have been optimized for low power, for example putting peripherals in sleep mode when utilization is low, so my measured figures could be improved - if I could be bothered.
Others on this forum have posted similar results -
Quote from: tigercook
This is my plan once my FTTP install is complete… build my own router;
I have re-flashed an i5, 8G RAM with a few gig ports machine and installed Sophos UTM, idle 14Watt, should cope with line rate throughput (up to the 330) while having full IPS/IDS protection ie next generation firewall, use a few AP’s around the house.
http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-utm-home-edition.aspx

Cool
Community Veteran
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Registered: 14-08-2007

Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

Wow - How are you measuring that?
I spent a lot of time specifying a low power machine for a NAS, and struggled to get it below 25W. Even a dedicated arm based NAS (synology 1 bay) runs at 10 to 15W. I've not found a standard (older) off the shelf machine which idles at less than 60W
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

I used to use smoothwall when I still used M$, I had a couple of Compaq P3 133Mhz pc's running, then used a twin nic mini-itx board for several years, only retired it when I stopped hosting my own mail server, and moved to Linux 100%. Web filtering, virus scanning and proxying all done by a mini server.
Power consumption was always a factor, my mail server used to run to 80W on idle  Lips are sealed But the mini-itx ran from a 30W psu.
One of the reasons I stopped using desktop pc's was the psu's are very un-efficient. I had one that took 20W with everything OFF.
Community Veteran
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

Quote from: tonyAtplus
Wow - How are you measuring that?

I've got a Maplin power monitor that looks like this -

and a Brennenstuhl power monitor that looks like this -

Quote from: tonyAtplus
I spent a lot of time specifying a low power machine for a NAS, and struggled to get it below 25W

As it happens, I'm also in the process building a FreeNAS box using a recycled relatively low power D510 ATOM motherboard and a WD 'Red' (NAS) 2.5" drive - and your comment reminded me that I should test its power consumption before I seal the case up.  If I remember I will post the result back here, although if I had to guess, I think it will be 19W to 22W.
Wink
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

Quote from: rongtw
purleigh  , this sounds interesting  Cool
how in basic terms do i go about building a router from scratch ?

You might find this video on YouTube informative - pfSense: How to Turn an Old PC into an Epic Router
Wink
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

Well I can't argue with that - the top power meter is the same one I use.
rongtw
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Re: cheaper alternative routers to asus?

purleigh  Cheers i will have a try next week  Wink
need to get parts together
Asus ROG Hero Vii Z97 , Intel i5 4690k ,ROG Asus Strix 1070,
samsung 850evo 250gig , WD black 2 TB . Asus Phoebus sound ,
16 gig Avexir ram 2400 , water cooling Corsair H100i gtx ,
Corsair 750HXI Psu , Phanteks Enthoo pro case .