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ZakPreston
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Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:05 pm

Every member of my large family is heavily armed with smarphones, tablets and/or laptops, we also have a smart TV, X-Box, a home NAS and finally my personal ESXi home lab server that are connected via gigabit LAN. According to my router's DHCP leases table, there are currently 14 active clients out of 27 total. This actually reminds me of a small company's office workload, which my current router struggles with:
  • Dad loves watching 2k/4k movies online on his large TV with an Android stick
  • Mom actively downloads and seeds torrents she will most likely forget about in a week
  • My wife watches Netflix from PC or tablet
  • I stream some heavy games via Steam In-Home Streaming. I also have a home lab server with ESXi and multiple VMs running.
  • My kids and nephews enjoy X-Box
As you can see, the workload is quite high indeed and my old router (single-core CPU and 128MB RAM) is barely able to function with frequent hiccups.
  • hAP ac² looks like a solid candidate, however 128MB RAM doesn't feel like enough for my use case.
  • RB450Gx4 is a very decent candidate, but the lack of USB ports (3G/4G modem in some emergency cases) and any lack of wireless connectivity is big cons. Another big "-" is a total price for the RB + cAP + case\AC will be a bit too high for my budget.
Do you have any other suggestions?
 
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Thor187
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:45 am

A single RB2011UiAS-2HnD-IN should easily be able to handle that workload. Even a hAP ac² would be able to handle the network traffic, the wireless will depend, the RB2011 will probably be able to handle it, the hAP is a bit light in the pants on the wifi end (most Mikrotik devices are) you can also possibly look at gettings a Hex S for routing and a proper AP from a different brand for Wifi.
 
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CZFan
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:22 am

What will you do that concerns you about the memory.
Hap ac2 has 4 cpu and that memory is more than sufficient
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ingtegration
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:43 am

Memory is mostly for buffering when network contention occurs.
How fast is your internet connection? How much ethernet ports do you need?
For WiFi, is it a big house with multiple stairs? Concrete?
Do you need high bandwidth between VLANs and security?

The hAP AC2 is able to push about 2 Gbps in routing, plenty of horsepower to handle a regular internet access. If your inside network is all bridged, then you use the internal non-blocking switch. If you have a large house with many floors, then you could start and see with the hAP AC2 and add a wAP (handled by CAPsMAN in the hAP AC2) if signal is not strong enough. On top that, adding another AP will increase total available bandwidth providing client nodes are dispersed and will connect to the nearest AP.

Personnaly, Mikrotik wireless done right will perform well. We run 20 APs that cover a whole manufacturing plan and we ended up with at least 50 Mbps everywhere in very harsh conditions with a mix of hAP AC (offices) and SXT (inside the huge metal multi-floor manufacturing facility). CAPsMAN is running in a CRS112 and it is easily able to handle all the traffic, internet access is 400/50 Mbps.
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ZakPreston
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:14 pm

A single RB2011UiAS-2HnD-IN should easily be able to handle that workload. Even a hAP ac² would be able to handle the network traffic, the wireless will depend, the RB2011 will probably be able to handle it, the hAP is a bit light in the pants on the wifi end (most Mikrotik devices are) you can also possibly look at gettings a Hex S for routing and a proper AP from a different brand for Wifi.
I'm thinking about RB450Gx4 with quad-core CPU and 1GB of RAM + a few cAPs for Wi-Fi, but the fact that it has no USB-port is a factor as well.
What will you do that concerns you about the memory.
Hap ac2 has 4 cpu and that memory is more than sufficient
I have no doubt that for now a far superior hAP ac2 will do work much better than my old and rusty 7-years old router that also has 128MB RAM. Question is how future-proof it would be in a couple of years, if modern day mid-range consumer routers (120$-200$ already have 256MB - 512MB RAM and comparable dual/quad-core CPUs.
Memory is mostly for buffering when network contention occurs.
I intend to try out ad-blocking scripts, fine-tune QoS rules and perhaps even a load balancer (might get a second provider with the cheapest subscription plan or a 4g internet, this is why USB-port is highly desirable).
How fast is your internet connection?
For now it's 100Mb\s, but I intend to switch to 1Gb\s after I finally buy a new router.
How much ethernet ports do you need?
5-port router would suffice for all my needs. I have a couple of gigabit switches anyways for a TV-box and X-Box console
For WiFi, is it a big house with multiple stairs? Concrete?
Do you need high bandwidth between VLANs and security?
It's a 2-story bricks house, and my old router's signal wasn't powerful enough to cover all it's area, so I bought a cheap hot-spot that covered the rest of the territory and a backyard. I think I will buy a 1 or 2 of cAPs eventually, but for now my budget is somewhat limited by ~150$ that I can spend on a router (be it wireless or not).
I don't need a really high bandwidth for wireless devices, on a contrary I limited it because my old router struggled hard for the last year.
The hAP AC2 is able to push about 2 Gbps in routing, plenty of horsepower to handle a regular internet access. If your inside network is all bridged, then you use the internal non-blocking switch. If you have a large house with many floors, then you could start and see with the hAP AC2 and add a wAP (handled by CAPsMAN in the hAP AC2) if signal is not strong enough. On top that, adding another AP will increase total available bandwidth providing client nodes are dispersed and will connect to the nearest AP.

Personnaly, Mikrotik wireless done right will perform well. We run 20 APs that cover a whole manufacturing plan and we ended up with at least 50 Mbps everywhere in very harsh conditions with a mix of hAP AC (offices) and SXT (inside the huge metal multi-floor manufacturing facility). CAPsMAN is running in a CRS112 and it is easily able to handle all the traffic, internet access is 400/50 Mbps.
I'm mostly concerned about an ability of hAP ac2 to handle high workloads in a couple of years when majority of mainstream consumer routers might have ~256MB - 512MR RAM and quad-core CPUs (some actually have similar specs already)
 
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:10 am

Question is how future-proof it would be in a couple of years, if modern day mid-range consumer routers (120$-200$ already have 256MB - 512MB RAM and comparable dual/quad-core CPUs.

You can't compare "Consumer / ProSumer" router with the Mikrotik product whatsoever... You choose a router for its packet routing / processing capacity, not for RAM or CPU (no absolute direct relationship, depends on many factors). A crappy router could have a big CPU and tons of RAM and get beaten by an efficient router with much lower hardware specs. OS / Software efficiency, tuning and hardware acceleration is the key.

Unless you tell me you'll route many gsigabits in the future, we're speaking about an 80$ wireless router, almost disposable!! But don't let the price fool you, it is still pro stuff with all the feature you'll ever need and more! It runs OSPF, MPLS, IPSec, Mangle, Trunking, multiple QoS, IPSec, CAPsMAN, many handy integrated tools, etc etc etc.

I intend to try out ad-blocking scripts, fine-tune QoS rules and perhaps even a load balancer

So? I don't see anything special here.

I'm mostly concerned about an ability of hAP ac2 to handle high workloads in a couple of years when majority of mainstream consumer routers might have ~256MB - 512MR RAM and quad-core CPUs (some actually have similar specs already)

There are many choices, depend on budget and needs. One thing for sure, you can't compare consumer crap to Mikrotik stuff. The hAP AC2 has plenty of power for the money and i doubt you need more for the years to come. It easily beat much higher priced (for example consumer Cisco) hands down.... I recently replaced a client's Fortinet Fortigate 30E (worth about 1000$) with an hEX S, it was a condition to accept them as client! The 80$ hEX S beat the Fortinet, the management interface is MUCH BETTER, no licence or software updates fees, etc. Not to mention the CRAPPY management interfaces of majority of routers on the market. The Fortinet MUI is awful, same for Cisco and the others, so slow and so bad...
Guy Boisvert, ing.
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kmansoft
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:44 am

FWIW - me a happy hAP AC^2 owner.

It can route ~ 500 mbit downstream from the Internet provider (PPPoE with NAT).

No shortage of RAM, although I have one of those "we just happened to put in 256 MB of RAM" devices... if it had 128 it'd still be just fine.

About 10 wireless clients (mostly phones) total. An apartment, not a house.

WiFi range is somewhat limited but - 1) I added a hAP AC Lite TC set up a wireless bridge, connects to the hAP AC^2 using 5 GHz, and shares on its Ethernet and 2 GHz radio.

https://mikrotik.com/product/RB952Ui-5ac2nD-TC

You could add a couple and set them up the same way, or the opposite of my setup - connect to the host using 2 GHz (for the range) and share using 5 GHz. Or you could install wires (from the head unit to the satellite AP) and "broadcast" on both radios on the AC Lite's.

Total budget for 1 * AC ^ 2 + 2 * AC Lite = $169 MSRP.

Then Mikrotik has something called CAPSMan which lets you set up multiple WiFi AP's working together. But I've never used it, can't speak for it.

One thing that Mikrotik products don't seem to have, if I'm not mistaken, is WiFi beamforming - consumer devices often do. So that's a thought, already suggested above - get a Mikrotik "head unit" (router) for its configuration abilities, and add consumer WiFi AP's by other brands. But those AP's would be on their own - you won't be able to use CAPSMan if you wanted to.

Finally, recently I switched to an RB4011 after upgrading my internet connection from 500 Mbit to 1 Gbit. The AC^2 topped out at ~ 600 MBit, the RB4011 is able to downstream about ~850 - ~950 mbit from an 1 Gbit wire (+ PPPoE + NAT).

PS - then there is Ubiquiti but their access points are quite expensive (and routers scale up in price very quickly as you go from basic to more advanced). I believe Mikrotik is a better value and has a broader and more rounded range.
 
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:55 pm

Correction on AC ^ 2's performance.

I use some a-typical things in my setup (policy based routing, ipsec, fasttrack off).

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=147962

With no IPSec, and with fasttrack enabled, it can do ~ 850 Mbit total download, over PPPoE, with NAT (speedtest.net).
 
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:50 pm

...and add consumer WiFi AP's by other brands...

I'd never do that! Just let the crap consumer stuff out of this! Adjusting manually APs is very annoying, especially in crowded environment.

CAPsMAN manage and optimize things very well. We run it on very harsh environment with much success (20+ mix of SXT and wAPs). As for "beamforming", if you absolutely need directivity (which i doubt), get SXT !
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ZakPreston
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Tue May 07, 2019 11:15 pm

As a result I bought RB450Gx4 + CA150 + 18POW for ~115$ total. My next purchase will be an access point or two: most likely cAP Lite or cAP.
 
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Tue May 07, 2019 11:54 pm

As a result I bought RB450Gx4 + CA150 + 18POW for ~115$ total. My next purchase will be an access point or two: most likely cAP Lite or cAP.
Good choice, my RB450Gx4 is 1Gig ready I can get over 900Mbps on my office computer.
I'd rather manage rats than software. Follow my advice at your own risk! (Sob & mkx forced me to write that!)
 
ZakPreston
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Thu May 09, 2019 7:41 pm

As a result I bought RB450Gx4 + CA150 + 18POW for ~115$ total. My next purchase will be an access point or two: most likely cAP Lite or cAP.
Good choice, my RB450Gx4 is 1Gig ready I can get over 900Mbps on my office computer.
Thank you, I extremely happy with my router as well. I've done some initial tests and I've never seen my RAM usage drop below 900MB and CPU utilization higher than 20-25%. For now it's a total overkill, but I'm still happy with all it's functionality. =)

Now I'm planning to upgrade my good old rusty Wi-Fi AP in a couple of weeks. However after checking available access points on Mikrotik website I've noticed that both cAP-Lite and cAP have only 100MBit\s ethernet ports, which is kinda not what I expected, while cAP AC is way above my budget. I really don't care much about upload/download speeds for mobile devices, but having a high-speed Wi-Fi connection could solve some of my problems even now and possibly save me time in future.
 
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Thu May 09, 2019 8:50 pm

Hi Zak, with my RB450Gx4 I got two Cap ACs. Yes more on the budget but these are two very nice units. I run them each with one 2.4ghz radio (for smart devices) and one 5ghz radio (for home wifi) and one virtual 5ghz radio (for guest wifi). It would be foolish for me to have a 1gig service for internet and current wifi speeds but then purchase wifi units that are 100mbps limited on the ethernet side.
I'd rather manage rats than software. Follow my advice at your own risk! (Sob & mkx forced me to write that!)
 
ZakPreston
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Re: Need advice with a proper router for my home.

Thu May 09, 2019 10:35 pm

Hi Zak, with my RB450Gx4 I got two Cap ACs. Yes more on the budget but these are two very nice units. I run them each with one 2.4ghz radio (for smart devices) and one 5ghz radio (for home wifi) and one virtual 5ghz radio (for guest wifi). It would be foolish for me to have a 1gig service for internet and current wifi speeds but then purchase wifi units that are 100mbps limited on the ethernet side.
2x cAP ACs are a bit too pricey for me atm, sadly. I'm not even sure I need 5GHz frequency, but I'd be really glad to utilize up to 300Mbit\s bandwidth provided by something less expensive.

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