Suggestions for a router or access point to match my new laptop?

Discussion in 'Networking and Wireless' started by gweempose, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. gweempose

    gweempose Notebook Enthusiast

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    I recently purchased a new laptop that has an Intel 9560 wireless card in it. I also upgraded the internet at my house from a 300 Mbps plan to a gigabit plan. I've been using an older Asus RT-AC1900 for a few years as an access point (I have a separate router running pfSense). It has served me well, but I'm thinking I should probably upgrade to a more robust wireless router or access point if I want to take full advantage of my new internet speed and hardware. Any suggestions?
     
  2. WhatsThePoint

    WhatsThePoint Notebook Virtuoso

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    If you're going to upgrade then do the full upgrade.

    Your present 9560 is last generation wireless-ac that's still a very good card but not the current best.

    The least expensive part og an upgrade/update is the WiFi 6 wireless card.You have a choice between buying the Intel branded AX200 or the Killer AX1650 that's the same card as the AX200 but has some added software perks from Rivet Networks.

    The expensive part of the upgrade is the wireless router so your budget comes into play.

    Netgear RAX200 = $600
    Netgear RAX120 = $500
    Asus AX11000 = $450
    Netgear RAX80 = $400
    Asus AX6000 = $350
    Netgear RAX40 = $200

    I have a Netgear RAX120 but if I were to choose differently I'd get the Asus AX11000.

    Naturally depending on your location and various sources prices may vary.

    If you upgrade to an AX WiFi 6 router I suggest getting the WiFi 6 card.
     
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  3. gweempose

    gweempose Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for some great info! How difficult is it to swap out the old card in my laptop with an AX200? It makes me wonder if I am better off returning the laptop, which I just picked up, and waiting to buy one of the newer crop of laptops that will come with a WiFi 6 card pre-installed. Also, does it make sense for me to purchase such an expensive router if it is only being used as an access point? I was just reading some reviews of the routers you mentioned, and they seem great, but it also seems like I won't be able to take advantage of a lot of the advanced features they offer.
     
  4. Aivxtla

    Aivxtla Notebook Evangelist

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    I’d say keep what you have. I upgraded as I am an enthusiast but from a practical standpoint it’s better to wait till firmware matures as these routers are very new regardless of brand and also the fact that they are using a new standard. Additionally current AX routers are missing some final draft ax features so I’d hold out. You would just be burning money unnecessarily from a practical standpoint. $400+ for a consumer router is kinda excessive unless you really are an enthusiast and always like to have the latest and are willing to put up with minor and sometimes major issues. Prices will also drop a lot by the time the firmwares are stabilized.

    In my testing (using RAX80 & RAX120) AX gave 10-25% total bandwidth gains on 5Ghz and up 2x gains on 2.4 GHz with compatible clients. Biggest draw for AX especially for enterprise is better sharing of channels for better speeds in congested environments with multiple APs.

    Now if you still want an AX router:
    For best WiFi chipset I’d say the RAX120 due to the Qualcomm chipset.

    For best in terms features and getting timely updates get the Asus AX88U. Asus gives more user side options (ie router as a VPN client), and WiFi settings are more granular than the very simplistic NETGEAR GUI and user controls.

    Triband is kinda overkill, and you won’t really see a real world gain over a good dual band unless you have like a massive number of devices where they are all actively using lots of bandwidth at once like in a coffee shop, Id only get the AX11000 if you need the 2.5 Gbps Eth port, otherwise CPU and WiFi chipset wise it’s the same as the AX88U.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  5. gweempose

    gweempose Notebook Enthusiast

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    So assuming I stick with the 9560 card for now while I wait for the AX standard to mature, are there any reasonably priced routers that you would recommend that would give me significantly better performance than my Asus RT-AC1900? With my current router, I can't take advantage of the gigabit download speed available on my current Comcast plan. I can get the full download speed no problem through ethernet, and it would be great if I could get similar speeds via wireless. I also frequently move large files from my laptop to my NAS, and faster transfer speeds would be welcome for this as well.
     
  6. Aivxtla

    Aivxtla Notebook Evangelist

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    With an AC router the Intel AX200 aka Killer AX1650 performs the same as the older Intel 9260/9560ac card so yeah you can keep what you have.

    As for good ac routers, if you really feel you need to change; the NETGEAR R7800 is probably the best for WiFi performance, and proper MU-MIMO function and supports HT160 like your 9560 for increased bandwidth, but the Asus AC86U has better VPN performance, more granular controls and pretty decent WiFi performance.

    The Synology RT2600ac is also good, uses the same hardware as the R7800 but with better GUI and more user side options.

    Lastly the Linksys WRT3200ACM is only a 3 stream unit with but with 4 antennas for diversity purposes, but also has excellent performance.



    TLDR my list would be NETGEAR R7800, Synology RT2600ac, Asus AC86U, Linksys WRT3200ACM.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  7. WhatsThePoint

    WhatsThePoint Notebook Virtuoso

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    Internet speed is mostly tied to your Internet service and the sites you are connecting to so you won't see much if any improvement in your downloads and uploads.

    WiFi 6 advantages are in different areas that can be read about in a seach of WiFi 6.

    If you're going to upgrade it makes no sense doing have the job.

    It also makes no sense buying into yesterday's technology.

    Yes you can wait,there's always something newer just around the corner.

    No matter what and when there's newer and better coming as sure as death and taxes.

    A Netgear AX4(RAX40) is a less expensive AX router but I have no first hand knowledge with it or the Intel chip in it.

    Do what you feel is the best for you!

    In "most" notebooks the wifi card is an easy swap as long as it's the same form factor and supported by the OS.
     
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  8. Aivxtla

    Aivxtla Notebook Evangelist

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    It makes sense to go with a stable platform if the cost is 1/2 like of the newer platform especially when the newer one is missing key features that are part of the spec like BSS coloring. Basically you are paying for a product in limbo features wise and it will be relatively more unstable under certain conditions as its so new as you are basically paying to be beta tester effectively. AX40 is a terrible buy, vs an older ac unit, at least with a 3x3 or 4x4 unit you have some sense of antenna diversity and with non ax devices it will likely perfom worse than his current router.

    There is a reason why even enterprises with massive budgets don't just jump to new WiFi platforms, they wait for things to mature rather than blow money (like I do by jumping on new things lol), since by the time the new platform matures they will have saved a ton of money by buying at cheaper prices and better mature models, while the early adopters do all the beta testing.

    Just because something is new does not make it better, just like when the first 4K TVs came and people jumped on them, by the time it actually did become common the old ones had no support for various HDR features etc, and costed an arm and a leg for early adopters vs late adopters who got full featured products at lower prices and saved a ton of money.

    If you just want stuff to work stick with what works, if you want to spend time tinkering and trouble shooting various stuff and want bleeding edge and don't mind angry family members go for the latest.

    OP I'm an early adopter and a beta tester for various products like routers, Roku streamers, etc, I'm just saying the above because sometimes my family gets annoyed because of all the bleeding edge stuff causing issues at times lol.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  9. TD123

    TD123 Notebook Enthusiast

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    If you want to keep life simple, and have a decent router. Consider the
    TP-Link | AC2600 WiFi Range Extender | - You can get it for $100 on amazon. I have a good $200 router that I use, but I put this extender in the living room for all my other devices to connect to the extender. The Range extender/repeater makes a world of difference. I cant tell you how many times I've had to upgrade to the next bigger and better ranged router only to not see much improvement. The key is to have a solid router, but to use the extender as a halfway point in your house for the devices on the other end to connect to.
     
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  10. gweempose

    gweempose Notebook Enthusiast

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    Update:

    Based on the recommendation in this thread, I went out and purchased a Netgear R7800 router to use as my new WAP. Here are my observations thus far. For starters, I am now able to get about 650 Mbps down vs. only about 350 Mbps down with my old Asus router. Interestingly, I can get these speeds on both my new laptop with the Intel 9560 card, as well as my old laptop with an older Intel 7265 card. This surprised me, as I was expecting the newer laptop with the newer WiFi card to blow the old one away. So I guess this begs the question, is there something I need to do with either the R7800 router or the settings on my laptop to maximize the wireless performance? One thing I tried was turning on HT160 in the Netgear settings (not an easy feature to find, I might add). I figured this would definitely give the newer card a leg up. Unfortunately, my laptop refused to connect to the router with this feature enabled, so i was forced to turn it off. Is the 9560 card not compatible with the R7800's implementation of HT160, or am I doing something wrong?
     
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