I am looking to improve the WiFi coverage of my home by adding another router to a different room. What do you recommend I get that is within a reasonable price range?
I wonder if you wouldn’t be served better by adding an additional wireless access point? I could see adding an access point and keeping your existing router unless you want to upgrade it for gigabit speeds and other features.
Linksys used to be my go-to recommendation and my previous router was a Linksys WRT-160N running dd-wrt but I haven’t heard anything exciting coming from Linksys since Cisco sold the company off to Belkin.
My home network is currently powered by Ubiquiti. Ubiquiti and Mikrotik get a lot of good reviews for bringing enterprise-grade products to consumer-level prices. I have an EdgeRouter Lite router and a UniFi AP access point. The EdgeRouter Lite provides for some pretty powerful features because it takes Vyatta Core and puts it in a more accessible package.
The router has been very stable but did require some investment of time figuring out how to get it working how I wanted with VPN and other features.
- Setting up the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite and first impressions
- Configuring advanced functionality in the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite
If you are just wanting to add an access point, which is what it sounds like, I would go with the UniFi AP. Utilizing Power over Ethernet, you would only have a single cable running to the AP. They’re at a decent price point and have a great controller software and other features like multiple SSIDs and guest wifi. Clients connected to the guest WiFi do not have access to your computers or shared folders on your network but are able to browse the web. With the multiple SSIDs, you might give that one an easier password or you can even enable a captive portal to have people sign in to log their access. Depending on your stance towards Open Wireless, you may even decide to not put a password at all on the guest wifi SSID.
You might also consider the UniFi AP AC for 802.11AC future-proofing. It is mostly the same as the UniFi AP but is compatible with the next generation of WiFi when you have devices that support beam-forming and using the 5GHz and 2.4GHz ranges.
If you are looking to improve your range coverage, you might try turning your Wifi off of your current router and connecting a UniFi AP to see if that alone improves the situation. If it’s still not providing wifi access in your kitchen, you could then add another UniFi AP to the other end of the house (assuming you have a network cable reaching there). The best feature of the UniFi access points are their zero-handoff. If you’re moving from one room to another, your device will automatically connect to the strongest signal without any downtime or manual intervention required. I previously tried to improve the WiFi coverage in my house by adding cheaper, no-name access points to each end of the house with the wireless router in the middle. It didn’t work so well with client hand-off. My phone or laptop would remain connected to a more distant AP with a weaker signal. I took those other access points out while leaving wireless turned off from the router and installed a single UniFi AP in the middle of the house. It was sufficient to provide good coverage throughout.
I plan on updating a client with 6 of these UniFi AP access points at some point in the future to replace some older Cisco access points that seem to be flaking out.
If you are looking for a router, I might recommend something besides the EdgeRouter. It’s great and powerful but the interface is complicated and limited. Having to SSH into your router and change something via CLI is not something most people look forward to. I have heard lots of good things about the ASUS RT-AC66U router because it supports 802.11AC, IPv6, and OpenVPN. Alternatively, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 router is well reviewed and has a lot of those same premium features.