Question Home routers vs Enterprise routers & switches

Mar 30, 2020
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Hello, I am learning about network. So please be patient with me, I may have stupid questions.

Nowadays home routers have quad core processors. Are they faster than enterprise routers in routing?
What about quad core Home routers that were set as switches? Are they faster than Enterprise switches?

I guess, I care mostly about speed as I am trying to set up home network with about 12 users. And as we know, each person can have up to 4-5 devices connected and not to mention a dozen cctv. Security in the network can be like home network, but speed and reliability should be like small enterprise...I think, is the best setup for the network.
Thank you.
 
One of the problems is a home "router" is not actually a router. It only real function is to translate a single internet IP address to a single subnet. They are best called "gateways". Actual router main function it to pass traffic between mulitple subnets. They generally run actual routing protocols. It is actually uncommon for a enterprise router to be running the NAT function.

You can not really compare these devices they are designed for a different purpose. Other than for learning the syntax a enterprise router in a home environment provides little to no benefit. You can not actually use any of the advanced functions.

The CPU speed in general means nothing with modern home routers. Almost all have moved the NAT function off the CPU to some other hardware on the device. This means even fairly inexpensive devices can pass close to a 1gbit wan/lan.

The only place CPU matters is if you are doing something like a firewall or vpn function that requires all traffic to pass the CPU. VPN will drop the speed on even the largest home routers to the 20-30mbps. To get really fast vpn you must use a device with a powerful cpu like a pc.

If we ignore some of the really fancy enterprise switches home switches and enterprise switches all run at is what call wire speed or non blocking. These device do no really use a CPU to pass the data they use what are called ASIC. Pretty much it means all ports can run at maximum speed both up and down all at the same time. A switch will not bottleneck the performance....even the cheap $20 8 port switches.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Hello, I am learning about network. So please be patient with me, I may have stupid questions.

Nowadays home routers have quad core processors. Are they faster than enterprise routers in routing?
What about quad core Home routers that were set as switches? Are they faster than Enterprise switches?

I guess, I care mostly about speed as I am trying to set up home network with about 12 users. And as we know, each person can have up to 4-5 devices connected and not to mention a dozen cctv. Security in the network can be like home network, but speed and reliability should be like small enterprise...I think, is the best setup for the network.
Thank you.
The switch hardware on a home router is separate from the CPU. The same basic hardware is used in all unmanaged switches. That hardware can generally switch all ports at wire speed.

For your other statements, the thing that makes a network stable is to have as much on wired as possible. Anything that is stationary should be wired. Cameras, PCs and game consoles, TVs. Save wireless for the devices that REQUIRE it. Don't use WIFI because "pulling a cable is hard". Pay a professional installer to pull it.
When you say "security in the network can be like home network", do you mean that all 12 users should have access to all devices?
 
Mar 30, 2020
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You can not really compare these devices they are designed for a different purpose. Other than for learning the syntax a enterprise router in a home environment provides little to no benefit. You can not actually use any of the advanced functions.
I see, this is what I need to hear, so I better go with home router then.
Thank you.

The CPU speed in general means nothing with modern home routers. Almost all have moved the NAT function off the CPU to some other hardware on the device. This means even fairly inexpensive devices can pass close to a 1gbit wan/lan.

The only place CPU matters is if you are doing something like a firewall or vpn function that requires all traffic to pass the CPU. VPN will drop the speed on even the largest home routers to the 20-30mbps. To get really fast vpn you must use a device with a powerful cpu like a pc.
I don't need those VPN, maybe only the firewall. I guess, quad core is more of a marketing strategy they are doing. I would go with dual core home router. Thanks again.
 
Mar 30, 2020
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For your other statements, the thing that makes a network stable is to have as much on wired as possible. Anything that is stationary should be wired. Cameras, PCs and game consoles, TVs. Save wireless for the devices that REQUIRE it. Don't use WIFI because "pulling a cable is hard". Pay a professional installer to pull it.
Even if I try to connect most with wire, the devices that use WIFI are still quite a lot. Maybe I would need multiple access points instead.

When you say "security in the network can be like home network", do you mean that all 12 users should have access to all devices?
I think, I know what you want to tell me. If I don't need the devices to be accessible with each other, I should make VLANs, right?
 
Having worked with both home routers and enterprise equipment, generally enterprise equipment is more robust and has much better uptime and support. But it comes at a cost. However, if you have many devices and/or high internet bandwidth (1Gbps) the benefits of an enterprise router can be worth it, especially if you need more advanced features like threat management, etc.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Even if I try to connect most with wire, the devices that use WIFI are still quite a lot. Maybe I would need multiple access points instead.


I think, I know what you want to tell me. If I don't need the devices to be accessible with each other, I should make VLANs, right?
Yes, multiple access points would allow devices to be spread across multiple radios. And if you don't want everything visible to everybody, then yes, you need VLANs. That means managed switches and managed APs. Your requirements sound like a multi-family apartment building or dorm. Those are generally implemented with business class network hardware.
 
Mar 30, 2020
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generally enterprise equipment is more robust and has much better uptime and support. But it comes at a cost.

However, if you have many devices and/or high internet bandwidth (1Gbps) the benefits of an enterprise router can be worth it, especially if you need more advanced features like threat management, etc.
Since I don't really need threat management (who would want to hack a home anyway), my only consideration is the uptime and support.
I believe, in my case the cost of Enterprise equipment is not worth it, with only added uptime and support compare to Home equipments
Thanks for the info tho.

Yes, multiple access points would allow devices to be spread across multiple radios. And if you don't want everything visible to everybody, then yes, you need VLANs. That means managed switches and managed APs. Your requirements sound like a multi-family apartment building or dorm. Those are generally implemented with business class network hardware.
Business class and Enterprise equipment are basically the same, right?
Yeah, it was in my consideration, business class not home equipment. But, since Business class won't give me additional speed, I was thinking to use Home equipment.

VLAN benefit, to help speed or performance, is only less broadcast, right?
Does it make huge difference?

If Im gonna use VLAN, I can use home router to connect to modem and use layer 3 switch to connect the VLANs, right?
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
VLAN benefit, to help speed or performance, is only less broadcast, right?
Does it make huge difference?

If Im gonna use VLAN, I can use home router to connect to modem and use layer 3 switch to connect the VLANs, right?
The benefit for VLANs is isolation. User A has no access to the network devices of B, so A and B are protected from each other.
Maybe. You have to determine what you are going to do about DHCP. Does each VLAN have an independent IP range? Home routers typically handle DHCP and can't support multiple DHCP ranges. Ubiquiti, Mikrotik, and similar can have multiple DHCP servers.
 
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Since I don't really need threat management (who would want to hack a home anyway), my only consideration is the uptime and support.
I believe, in my case the cost of Enterprise equipment is not worth it, with only added uptime and support compare to Home equipments
Thanks for the info tho.


Business class and Enterprise equipment are basically the same, right?
Yeah, it was in my consideration, business class not home equipment. But, since Business class won't give me additional speed, I was thinking to use Home equipment.

VLAN benefit, to help speed or performance, is only less broadcast, right?
Does it make huge difference?

If Im gonna use VLAN, I can use home router to connect to modem and use layer 3 switch to connect the VLANs, right?
You'd be surprised at what comes over the wire to every IP out there. Of course NAT blocks it all, but don't think for a second that targeting homes is off the table. The added cost for enterprise can be marginal if you're looking at used equipment. You can get thousand dollar equipment for hundreds this way and the value is off the charts when compared to home equipment. Uptime is awesome too--like years at a time and no hiccups that require reboots. I dealt with that all the time as I have 3 networks at 3 different sites in 2 different states--moving to true business class and enterprise equipment got rid of a lot of problems. Even the best of home equipment only compares with the entry level business stuff.

And business class and enterprise are totally different animals. Small business (smb) products are typically more like their home counterparts and can have quirks and bugs like them too. While enterprise stuff is seriously robust with documentation for every issue and even workarounds. You have to be careful with enterprise though as fixes can require support contracts which are expensive. But for what you're needing a simple out of the box enterprise unit would have everything you need.

One brand that has a good mix of business and enterprise at a good cost point is Ubiquiti. They come recommended all the time and their product once set up is quite robust, many times on par with enterprise offerings 2-4x as expensive. Well worth looking into.
 
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Mar 30, 2020
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The benefit for VLANs is isolation. User A has no access to the network devices of B, so A and B are protected from each other.
Maybe. You have to determine what you are going to do about DHCP. Does each VLAN have an independent IP range? Home routers typically handle DHCP and can't support multiple DHCP ranges. Ubiquiti, Mikrotik, and similar can have multiple DHCP servers.
I see, I will consider VLAN then. Thank you.

You can get thousand dollar equipment for hundreds this way and the value is off the charts when compared to home equipment. Uptime is awesome too--like years at a time and no hiccups

One brand that has a good mix of business and enterprise at a good cost point is Ubiquiti. They come recommended all the time and their product once set up is quite robust, many times on par with enterprise offerings 2-4x as expensive. Well worth looking into.
Good idea! Since it has high durability, used ones should be okay for home networking. But, on second thought, the support is expensive, that's what worrying me. Since I have very little knowledge about networking, using Enterprise equipment may not be the best solution.
I will check about Ubiquiti. Thank you for the suggestion I think mix of business and enterprise is what I need.
 
Mar 30, 2020
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Upon doing searching on the internet, I stumble on this:
https://networkengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/63779/how-do-cpu-and-ram-affect-a-routers-performance

Basically, the author asked why with 50-100 users, router can drop packets or hang.
The important thing what I want to point is:
"Simply adding more memory to a small hardware model might backfire when the CPU can't adequately handle the larger NAT table any more - you'd likely want processing being done in finite time. So, more memory also requires either a faster CPU or increased hardware performance when NAT is done in hardware. "
(Note that the thread is written 4 months ago, so relevant with today equipment.)

So, we DO need strong CPU on routers for 50-100 connected devices, or not?
I would have to remove the best answer mark as I am still unclear about this.
 
Good idea! Since it has high durability, used ones should be okay for home networking. But, on second thought, the support is expensive, that's what worrying me. Since I have very little knowledge about networking, using Enterprise equipment may not be the best solution.
I will check about Ubiquiti. Thank you for the suggestion I think mix of business and enterprise is what I need.
Yes, used enterprise is a nice overkill for home use. Support really shouldn't be an issue as many enterprise units will still work 100% right out of the box, you just have to do your research and homework on this.

But Ubiquiti is actually your best bet--it is a good mix of enterprise concepts and quality at a business level price, and works very well in larger home deployments from a lot of the threads I've seen where people have installed full UB setups.
 
Upon doing searching on the internet, I stumble on this:
https://networkengineering.stackexchange.com/questions/63779/how-do-cpu-and-ram-affect-a-routers-performance

Basically, the author asked why with 50-100 users, router can drop packets or hang.
The important thing what I want to point is:
"Simply adding more memory to a small hardware model might backfire when the CPU can't adequately handle the larger NAT table any more - you'd likely want processing being done in finite time. So, more memory also requires either a faster CPU or increased hardware performance when NAT is done in hardware. "
(Note that the thread is written 4 months ago, so relevant with today equipment.)

So, we DO need strong CPU on routers for 50-100 connected devices, or not?
I would have to remove the best answer mark as I am still unclear about this.
So the specifics in a router can't be used to compare one router to another like in computers. Routers are very specific use case devices and the hardware really doesn't matter as much as it's real-world capability. Thus, it is better to compare router capabilities versus hardware specs.
 
Mar 30, 2020
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So the specifics in a router can't be used to compare one router to another like in computers. Routers are very specific use case devices and the hardware really doesn't matter as much as it's real-world capability. Thus, it is better to compare router capabilities versus hardware specs.
I think, I know what you mean, those brands are not making 1 fits all equipment. So, better to compare brand based on what we need or features instead?
Networking is complicated.
Thanks for the info tho.
 

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