Question Good router for £100-150? Is it possible?

Jul 17, 2021
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Hello,

Could someone please recommend the best router for £100-150? (Is that enough for a decent one?)

Virgin media modem is downstairs and the new router is to be positioned upstairs, connected via cat6 cable.

I live in a 3 bed house set over 2 floors. It's not a huge house by any means but good wifi range would be nice.

It will not be used for gaming or streaming live TV but will be used for netflix, youtube and things like that. Also streaming footage from the security camera's NVR.

My main PC will always stay connected via ethernet but laptops and phones will be relying on wifi. We have a fairly fast connection (250mb) so ideally want to be making the most of it, but without breaking the bank haha

Thanks in advance! :)
 
I typically use TPLink routers in my installs. They are a good value with most under 150. Customer support is decent too. I use the ARCHER AX1800 and my home has three floors and a deck to cover with a dozen devices accessing at anyone time. For a hundred bucks you probably can't do better.
 
Reactions: ajc2008
This is almost a silly question because you can't actually compare wifi performance between peoples houses. The way the house is constructed, how many neighbors they have using wifi and most important the end devices they have are all different.

This is why you see every single product with reviews say this is the best ever or this is the worst router I have ever seen.

Key here is all routers pretty much put out the maximum legal power so the distance the signal goes is about the same. Your end devices though may have tiny antenna and low power transmitters to save on battery. The end devices most times are the cause of coverage issues.

If you virgin "modem" is actually a router I would run the wifi on that and get a AP for the second floor. You do not need a actual AP you are likely better off using a cheaper router. You need nothing fancy since all you care about are the wifi radio chips the rest of the router will not be used.

This should give you the best coverage because the wifi does not have to pass through the floor so devices on each floor will talk to the nearest "router"

What exact router you look for also depends on your end devices. Many routers support features that your end devices can not use so you pay extra for a big number on the router box and can't really use it. A example would be if you buy a wifi6 router and do not have devices that support wifi6. There are many other features like 4x4 mimo or some of the non standard data encodings they use to get bigger numbers. Your average device only has 2 antenna. This would correspond to a router that has a 1200 number on the box.

What I would look for is a router with a number between 1200-1750 unless you have devices you know can use more advanced features. These type of routers are well under your 100 price target. Don't go too cheap make sure it has gigabit wan and lan ports since you have more than 100mbps internet connection.

Other than that only you can put a value on software features. Things like NAS support or parental controls or vpn etc.
 
Jul 17, 2021
11
1
10
0
This is almost a silly question because you can't actually compare wifi performance between peoples houses. The way the house is constructed, how many neighbors they have using wifi and most important the end devices they have are all different.

This is why you see every single product with reviews say this is the best ever or this is the worst router I have ever seen.

Key here is all routers pretty much put out the maximum legal power so the distance the signal goes is about the same. Your end devices though may have tiny antenna and low power transmitters to save on battery. The end devices most times are the cause of coverage issues.

If you virgin "modem" is actually a router I would run the wifi on that and get a AP for the second floor. You do not need a actual AP you are likely better off using a cheaper router. You need nothing fancy since all you care about are the wifi radio chips the rest of the router will not be used.

This should give you the best coverage because the wifi does not have to pass through the floor so devices on each floor will talk to the nearest "router"

What exact router you look for also depends on your end devices. Many routers support features that your end devices can not use so you pay extra for a big number on the router box and can't really use it. A example would be if you buy a wifi6 router and do not have devices that support wifi6. There are many other features like 4x4 mimo or some of the non standard data encodings they use to get bigger numbers. Your average device only has 2 antenna. This would correspond to a router that has a 1200 number on the box.

What I would look for is a router with a number between 1200-1750 unless you have devices you know can use more advanced features. These type of routers are well under your 100 price target. Don't go too cheap make sure it has gigabit wan and lan ports since you have more than 100mbps internet connection.

Other than that only you can put a value on software features. Things like NAS support or parental controls or vpn etc.
Thanks a lot for the detailed info. I've ordered an Asus AC88U and will see how it goes. If the signal is not great, I'll consider the AP option you proposed. Thanks again.
 
Awesome, thanks for that! I was recommended the same one on another forum and decided to go with it but picked the next model up (AC88U).
That is not actually a "better" router. The main difference is it support 4x4 mimo rather than 3x3 on 2.4g. Both do 4x4 on 5g. I doubt you will be able to use the 4x4 on either router. 4x4 is extremely rare on end user devices. The 86U actually has a much high clock rate cpu and has more flash memory. In addition the 86u has a hardware encryption accelerator which makes one of the fastest vpn routers on the market if vpn is a feature you need.

Again the signal level on most routers are the same so the coverage will not vary much between any quality brands of routers.
 
Reactions: ajc2008
Jul 17, 2021
11
1
10
0
That is not actually a "better" router. The main difference is it support 4x4 mimo rather than 3x3 on 2.4g. Both do 4x4 on 5g. I doubt you will be able to use the 4x4 on either router. 4x4 is extremely rare on end user devices. The 86U actually has a much high clock rate cpu and has more flash memory. In addition the 86u has a hardware encryption accelerator which makes one of the fastest vpn routers on the market if vpn is a feature you need.

Again the signal level on most routers are the same so the coverage will not vary much between any quality brands of routers.
Oh really? Ah well, the deed is done. It was £20 more and I figured newer model = slightly better tech and I thought the extra antenna might help. Anyway, hopefully it’ll do the job. With a risk of sounding stupid, I do like the design more on the 88, I guess that was another factor for me.
 
Jul 17, 2021
11
1
10
0
If you virgin "modem" is actually a router I would run the wifi on that and get a AP for the second floor. You do not need a actual AP you are likely better off using a cheaper router. You need nothing fancy since all you care about are the wifi radio chips the rest of the router will not be used.

This should give you the best coverage because the wifi does not have to pass through the floor so devices on each floor will talk to the nearest "router"
Sorry, just to follow up on this as I'm now curious. You're saying it's better to leave the Superhub 2ac downstairs set to router mode (currently it's in modem mode) and have an access point upstairs rather than a new router?

But then in that case, can I still plug my NVR unit into the AP upstairs? Because that's where the CCTV cables are and it's too much hassle to move it all downstairs. Also my main workstation is upstairs where I'm connected via ethernet. Will an AP still give me the same ethernet speed compared to a router? Sorry if these are dumb questions, total networking amateur here. Many thanks.
 
If purchased a real AP then you might have issues because real AP many times only have 1 ethernet port. When you use a router as a AP the device runs as a simple switch that has wifi radios. All you are really doing is turning off some of the software feature that make the device a router. The lan ports of a routers many years ago used to hook to the same chip as a 5 port switch used. The switch function is now on the same physical chip as the cpu but it still functions as a simple 5 port switch.
 

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If purchased a real AP then you might have issues because real AP many times only have 1 ethernet port. When you use a router as a AP the device runs as a simple switch that has wifi radios. All you are really doing is turning off some of the software feature that make the device a router. The lan ports of a routers many years ago used to hook to the same chip as a 5 port switch used. The switch function is now on the same physical chip as the cpu but it still functions as a simple 5 port switch.
I have a DLINK Access point and a netgear access point with 4 port switches built into them. Many older consumer access points do have 4 port switches. But these days, most access points are part of a MESH system for the consumer space and most commercial/small business access points, as you say, don't have extra ethernet ports.

If you look for older models, you can find one with a network switch built into it.
 

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