The Best Router Firewall for Home & Small Business 2018


Asus vs Linksys vs Netgear – For 2018 we have some great new routers from Asus, Linksys, and Netgear, they are the top 3 vendors I support in SOHO, small offices, and homes.  There was a time when the Linksys WRT54G seemed like the most popular router for small businesses and homes.  Times have changed, homes and small businesses are able to get ISPs to deliver 100Mbps – 1Gbps of Internet Bandwidth and consumers are using it.

With Security, Surveillance Cameras, Netflix, Streaming, Plex, Data Backup, Cloud, etc…, the demand for a suitable router has never been greater.

Asus RT-AC68U (AC1900)

                                      Asus RT-AC68U (AC1900) Wireless Router

For a solid router the Asus RT-AC68U is the router I have been recommending for a few years now.  (https://www.asus.com/us/Networking/RTAC68U/. While routers from Linksys and Netgear have been top contenders, we have been going with Asus as our trusted Router brand for SOHO/SMB/& Home.

* Keep in mind, this router is a general all purpose router for small environments that works in many situations.  We consider it a bare minimum as there are more powerful routers that will support more simultaneous data streams.

Here are the Top 5 reasons I recommended the Asus RT-AC68U Best Router for Homes & Small Business in 2017:

  1. Excellent Wireless performance, Top Rated, I’ve tried just about every Wireless vendor and this router (and any model above it from Asus) takes my Top Pick.
  2. Somewhat (semi) decent logging for a home router.  If you want to know what is happening with your Network Security this router has some (semi) decent System Logging in addition to modern features like Parental Controls that can be controlled through a Smartphone.  Check out the Asus AIProtection (Network Protection), you will find some interesting features like Malicious Site Blocking, Two-Way IPS, and Infected Device Prevention and Blocking.
  3. This router supports OpenVPN out of the box, that is a big deal.
  4. Asus recently added support for the new Wireless Networking Technology “Mesh Networking,” for free!  This will allow you to expand your network with one network name with the latest technology, put an end to Expanders, no more of the slower older Airport WDS on the Airport Extreme Wireless Routers.

Asus even sells a 2 Pack now:  

Asus constantly keeps updating their routers like this one, the fact that they gave away the Mesh Networking feature is a big deal.  It means you don’t have to start all over if you choose to implement Mesh Networking for more Wireless coverage area.  While Linksys with Velop, Netgear with Orbi, and on the higher end Ubiquity Networks have great Mesh Networking options . –Asus lets you keep your existing router and add additional Asus Routers to create a Mesh Network, they don’t force you to start all over, how many times have you seen a vendor do that!!?

 

If you are a Netgear fan consider this one:

Apple Airport

Is it time to ditch that old Apple Airport & Airport Extreme?

Check this out:

Apple officially discontinues AirPort router line, no plans for future hardware

No more Airport Extreme

No more Airport Extreme

And check this out, Apple providing tips on what kind of Wireless Router to buy

Choosing a Wi-Fi router to use with Apple devices (Published Date:https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208753

 

Still got an old Linksys (WRT43G) Wireless 802.11 b/g Router? 🤨

  • If you have an old school Wireless 802.11 b/g/n Router, it is time to get up to date and get Wireless 802.11ac for optimal speeds to your gear.
  • Many legacy routers fail due to a bad power supply
  • No VPN support?
  • Do these routers even get updates anymore?

Fast forward to 2018, you should have Wireless 802.11ac by now to enjoy the maximum speeds available from Comcast, AT&T, and other ISPs (Internet Service Providers.)

 

What to do next?

  • Ensure you have a router with a minimum of 802.11ac technology

 

Wireless Mesh Network

Wireless Mesh Network are the latest way to expand your network

Large Office Networks and Homes / Mesh Networks
For bigger SOHO offices and homes, you should also consider Wireless “Mesh” technology such as:

  • Linksys Velop
  • Ubiquity Networks
  • Netgear Orbi
  • Asus AIMesh
  • Allows you to have a single network name (SSID) as you expand your network

This new Mesh technology will allow you to expand your network in places that need large coverage area with the latest most efficient technology.

https://www.pfsense.org/     pfSense® – World’s Most Trusted Open Source Firewall

Advanced Networks
If you are looking for a more robust router with Enterprise capabilities I would recommend pfSense.  You can build your own box and add pfSense on a small NUC or Micro ATX form factor PC, or buy a preconfigured box.  The advantage with these options is that you may have the option of adding additional network interfaces to combine wired, wireless, and VPN capabilities and manage everything from one box including support for VLANS and QoS.

  • Support for Industry leading Performance & Security monitoring tools
    – BandwidthD
    – NTOP
    – HTOP
    – SNORT
  • Support for Industry leading Security & VPN packages
    – IDS (Intrusion Detection System)
    – IPSec
    – OpenVPN
    – L2TP
    – Captive Portal
    – Load Balancing
    – Failover (Redundant Links)
  • Robust vendor and community support

If you have an advanced network that requires VLANs you will want to get a router, switches, and wireless networking gear that have support for these technologies.

As you get into the upper echelons of Enterprise wireless networks some notable vendors are:  Cisco Meraki and Aruba Networks.  And finally if you really want to be on the cutting edge we are going to be checking out Cucumber Tony  https://ct-networks.io soon, although this project is not something we have given any advice on yet it seems to be based on an old favorite router firmware (OpenWRT) an alternative firmware for many of the routers like Netgear, Asus, and Linksys. OpenWRT seems to still be having wide support out there.  🧐

These days I do not recommend third party firmware most times, as vendors have caught up and added some features that are really important (e.g. OpenVPN, 2-Way IPS, etc…).  In addition, with 3rd party firmware you run the risk of potentially unstable releases.

And finally, If you want to extend your network to another part of your home without running Ethernet cable try the latest Netgear Powerline Adapters:

  • 2000 Mbps / 2 gigabit Ethernet Ports + Extra Outlet
  • These Powerline adapters are great when you cannot run ethernet cable/wire to a location
  • User your existing electrical wiring to extend your internet *access to any room in your house

Check out some of the most popular routers on Amazon.com below:


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