Question Choice of routers to buy?

Jun 9, 2023
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Hi All,

I'm looking to buy a router that has auto-fallback USB phone tethering as well as the typical WAN port for a cable modem. I have seen a few ASUS routers and the Pepwave SOHO Surf router that have this. Any others that you can direct me to, or preferences between these brands?

Thanks!

Russ
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Hi All,

I'm looking to buy a router that has auto-fallback USB phone tethering as well as the typical WAN port for a cable modem. I have seen a few ASUS routers and the Pepwave SOHO Surf router that have this. Any others that you can direct me to, or preferences between these brands?

Thanks!

Russ
Get an Asus that is supported by 388_2_2 or later Merlin firmware -- https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/
 
Jun 9, 2023
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I may be confusing things here. I DL'ed the ASUS RT-AX68U manual to have a look, and see that their setup of 3G/4G is quite a bit different than what I was hoping to do.

I have a cell phone, the phone is USB-tether capable. I want to be able to set up my phone with USB tethering enabled, plug it into a USB port on the router, and use that connection for internet instead of my temporarily DOA Spectrum cable. Hope this clears things up,

Russ
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
I may be confusing things here. I DL'ed the ASUS RT-AX68U manual to have a look, and see that their setup of 3G/4G is quite a bit different than what I was hoping to do.

I have a cell phone, the phone is USB-tether capable. I want to be able to set up my phone with USB tethering enabled, plug it into a USB port on the router, and use that connection for internet instead of my temporarily DOA Spectrum cable. Hope this clears things up,

Russ
There are typically specific USB modems that are supported. That is the way all the Asus routers are to the best of my knowledge.
The most generic solution is to get a second router that can act as a wireless bridge. The connect that router to you phone hotspot and swap the eternet input from the Spectrum router to the wireless bridge. No primary router change required.
 
You have to read all the fine print to see which exact types of phones can do this. It is not a huge list that are supported.
The problem is the phone vendor has to release information and maybe even a driver that works. Phone vendors tend to think no other platform exists and your whole life should be run on a 5 inch screen. They might put a driver for windows and even linux but most these are binary files that will not execute on the cpu chips used in routers.

Asus has a list of phones that run in tether mode.

Now "maybe?" you can get a modem that is supported and then move the sim from the phone to the modem. Again the problem is the phone companies are very greedy and will sometime want a different type of contract if you are running a data device (ie a modem). They know very well that nobody can really use unlimited data with a phone but with a pc there are now many games that exceed 20gbyte.

As kanewolf suggests the method that tends to always work with all phones is using the hotspot feature rather than the tether.
 
Jun 9, 2023
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There are typically specific USB modems that are supported. That is the way all the Asus routers are to the best of my knowledge.
The most generic solution is to get a second router that can act as a wireless bridge. The connect that router to you phone hotspot and swap the eternet input from the Spectrum router to the wireless bridge. No primary router change required.
Bingo! :cool: I just plugged the phone into my Win7x64 'puter USB port and selected "USB Tether". Got a popup message saying I needed to add "Smartphone Mobile Hotspot" to my rate plan, and DL a specific driver from lg.com. Also states "only works with Windows Vista and later". Not gonna happen...

I dug out my old router (D-Link DR-615) but it's too old, no dual band and no bridge mode. Gotta buy a newer model.

So, buy a new router, set it in bridge mode, get the phone's WiFi hotspot working through it, pull cable from spectrum modem and plug it into ... please tell me more about where that e'net cable needs to be placed into this bridged router. LAN? WAN?

Thanks!

Russ
 
So the first thing to try is the hotspot mode on the phone. The message about smartphone mobile hotspot may still mean the ISP want more money. You have to read the fine print. Some plans might have say unlimited data for the phone but then have a different cap when your run in "tethered" mode which includes hotspot. You should be able to use a different phone or your pc wifi to connect to the phone hotspot mode to test it out and be sure it is acceptable....both performance and money wise.

So if you want to mess around you can try to load dd-wrt on your dr-615. Not all these support third party firmware. It depends on the hardware revision you have. If it works dd-wrt has "bridge" mode. You have to be careful about this term what you really want is called "client-bridge" where it appears as a end device. dd-wrt has support for both types of bridge mode.

You used to be able to buy "client-bridges" they were used on old tv and game consoles that only had ethernet. The are very rare nowdays but that is because you can now buy "repeaters/extenders" that also have the ability to function as a simple client-bridge. Many routers now also have this ability. You do not need a fancy router since the phone likely does not support high end mimo or data encoding rates. Although it likely doesn't matter in your case I would consider using something like tplink because it supports what it called "universal" repeater.
 
Jun 9, 2023
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Besides the D-Link, my son has an old Linksys WRT54GL router which also appears to have DD WRT firmware available for it. As-is, it shows to have both router mode and gateway mode. Would gateway mode compare to bridge mode?

Russ
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Besides the D-Link, my son has an old Linksys WRT54GL router which also appears to have DD WRT firmware available for it. As-is, it shows to have both router mode and gateway mode. Would gateway mode compare to bridge mode?

Russ
A WRT54G would be VERY slow. Is that acceptable?
Asus RT-N56U dual band routers are around $15 on E-bay. Spend a couple $$$ and buy a decent router to use as a WIFI bridge.
 
Jun 9, 2023
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I'd certainly not like to suffer a large drop in performance. There's one RT-N56U left on Prime for $30-ish so I went to ASUS and see there are 2 manuals. One normal and one with ASUSWRT firmware but there's no difference showing in the manuals. Neither show an option for bridging.

I don't know the differences between bridge, client bridge, and gateway :confused_old: or which, if any, will work.

Do I really need this bridging stuff at all? If the "new" router has 'net from a hotspot, wouldn't all the LAN ports receive this internet traffic in normal router mode?

If I set this one up to only receive internet via WiFi hotspot, then plug a cable from it's LAN port into the WAN port on my R7000 will it work? I don't want to trash my R7000 by plugging up stuff randomly...

Russ
 
Jun 9, 2023
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OK, I bricked my D-Link trying to upgrade it to DD-WRT, it's toast. I'm now looking at the Linksys, and can't figure out how to make this receive the WiFi signal from my hotspot. I have it connected to my laptop with a LAN cable and my hotspot is broadcasting fine. My laptop is disconnected from the R7000 WiFi and is using the hotspot although the R7000 is still broadcasting to everything but my 'puter.

Linksys - the only difference between "gateway" and "router" modes is RIP in router mode. Both allow for static routing.

(I don't think I'm giving anything away posting these IPs as they're all internal)
Here's where it gets confusing, the IP address on my hotpsot is 192.168.43.42 with gateway, DNS, and DHCP all showing 192.168.43.1, my R7000 and the Linksys are both set to 192.168.1.1 which makes it difficult to get into one's web interface w/o disconnecting from the other. If I try to set a static route to my R7000, the linksys page tells me the subnets are different and cannot continue. I am lost...

I wish I knew enough about this stuff to sensibly describe it to those who do!

Russ
 
With devices that old I can't say how you configure it. First thing to do is connect the linksys directly to your PC with nothing else. Then change the LAN IP so say 192.168.1.250. I am not sure what "router" mode is. Consumer routers are not actually "routers". Even if they have some basic static route ability it is still missing the key ability to have multiple subnets on a single router. Note DD-wrt does have that ability but I don't remember how much they had on those really old routers.

In any case you likely do not want either it needs to be in bridge mode. There are 2 types of bride mode. The simple one just converts the wan port to another lan port. The device still acts as a sever and end wifi devices connect to it. This is better called a AP. The mode you need is called "client-bridge"

Now dd-wrt has the ability to use the wifi radio as the wan port. I forget when they added support for that. If you get very desperate you can try to run that way. You now likely have 4 levels of nat in the path. 1 in the ISP since most mobile broadband uses carrier nat. A second in your hotspot on the phone. A third in the dd-wrt router and a fourth in your main router.

You will want to change the lan subnet to something like 192.168.2.x and rig it so that the dhcp function to give you new main router a ip.
 
Jun 9, 2023
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... You used to be able to buy "client-bridges"...
I typed this into search and came up with something interesting and cheap on AP. Seems like it's intended to be used as a receptor/repeater of hotel wifi, so thinking it *should* do all I need with it's setup for cable modem and wifi among others. Online user guide here.

What ya'll think?

Russ

-> Just had a thought. Seems like *unless* I can find something that routes another internet source into my router's WAN port, I'll still need to put my R7000 in bridged mode, is that right? I really don't want to do that...
 
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That router will likely work if you like it. These travel routers tend to be a bit more flexible than some other devices.

But as you have discoverer the ISP wants money.

I guess it depends on how often you lose your primary internet and what downtime is worth. So lately there is actually a true unlimited home internet option from mobile broadband ISP. It just depends on if it worth the new monthly charge. From what I have seen verizons costs about $50 and tmobile is similiar. They have all kinds of strange discount when you bundle it with your cell service.
The verizon one include a router that connects to the cell tower as part of the package. So all you would do is hook it you dual internet router with a ethernet cable.
You could also consider using one of the pay as you go data modems. It will be very expensive since you pay per GByte of traffic but if you seldom use it in a year then it will be cheaper overall. If you can get the tether/hotspot function to work you could also I guess just pay extra for the months when you are forced to use the data plan.

Used to be very rare someone needed a backup internet connection in their house but as more people work from home not having internet for a couple days because a idiot dug the fiber up is more of a issue.
 
Jun 9, 2023
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I don't think tethering is any different than Wifi Hotspot.

Tmobile includes tethering and hotspot on some of their plans. I don't think they charge you extra, but they throttle you down to a slow speed after you exceed your GB allotment. https://www.t-mobile.com/support/plans-features/smartphone-mobile-hotspot-wi-fi-sharing--tethering
Got a text in to D-i-L about which plan we have. My phone is a 4 y.o. LG6 (no longer showing in their list). It's latest 'droid update shows 8.0 (shows tethering is available,) but not sure if it'll work w/o additional T-Mobile "extras". If I had a router with USB tethering capability, I'd either know if it would work ... or not.

Russ

Looks like her (our?) plan includes tethering to a throttled amount. VPNs can get around that though.
 
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Jun 9, 2023
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Ended up buying a GLi.Net AX1800 router to replace the Netgear. Has all the features I wanted, I like it so far but it seems the radio range is a lot less than the Nighthawk. Soooo, now I'm stuck trying to convert the Nighthawk into a repeater for the back of the house...

Russ
 

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