Networking & Wireless forum


Most stable wifi router in busy network situations


I've been researching this for a while, whilst also setting up dozens of bars and restaurants with routers that provide the backbone for my own software (payment systems etc) - I'm yet to find a router that can give me a near-100% reliability/stability.

In the UK most restaurants will have some rubbish BT or Virgin router that they got free from their subscription. I try to convince them to part with more cash because those routers cause real problems - dropped connections etc - which only becomes apparent when they are being consistently used by a system rather than being used ad hoc.

I usually replace these with some variant of the Draytek Vigor series (sticking to the lower end price ones for economy). However I still get issues - intermittently devices getting thrown off of the network (e.g. I can almost reproduce this with having more than a dozen devices connecting to wifi simultaneously, one or two that are already connected get booted off), or general slow network speeds. Sometimes random authentication errors. The ISP themselves insist their service has been consistent, but this seems to happen so often I'm thinking its more of a local thing. And network logs on the router itself don't seem to reveal anything.

Many restaurants/bars can be physically clustered together so there's maybe the issue of interference too, with often 40 or 50 networks being visible at any one time.

My question is, has anyone here had extensive experience with setting up wifi in these types of situations? What hardware is considered industry standard, and what kind of costs would I be looking at? If not too expensive it would almost be worth me absorbing some or all of that cost just to save on support calls!

Hoping there's someone out there that has some valuable advice. Thanks in advance!

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All Answers

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Not extensive but

In reply to: Most stable wifi router in busy network situations

Those hot spots do not use consumer gear. Here I have the TP-LINK Archer C9 AC1900 which runs for a long time with no reboots. When I first got it, it would lock up but new firmware came out and it's been up for months.

Back to you. Cisco, Ubiquiti and other makers have commercial gear that runs about 10x the consumer gear but for me, I'd buy about AC1900.

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Cisco series?

In reply to: Not extensive but

Thanks, is there any particular series in Cisco/Ubiquiti that you think I should look at?

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Sorry no.

In reply to: Cisco series?

I'll repeat that here the consumer gear is working for me and I mentioned a specific model. I went that route since it's one of the newer dual core models that would give the router some added oomph in dealing with a NAS. Since the firmware update whatever was causing it to lock up is gone. So for me that's a home run for about a hundred bucks (it was on sale at the time.)

The other makers have you calling in to pick out the other models.

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two virtual networks might also be required

In reply to: Sorry no.

Understood, thanks.

For bars/restaurants one of the core features is being able to have to virtual networks, one for the systems that run the place and one for guests. It's not always like that, but that seems to go down well as we can then separate traffic on the same device (rather than buy 2 devices and 2 broadband services). I think I'll be forced down the commercial route for that reason.

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I'll write no.

In reply to: two virtual networks might also be required

Here I see either portal implementations or for a really cheap, "client isolation."

The model I use is dead stable with 3 heavy users, a Roku, Amazon Fire, phones and tablets. It's also 115 bucks on sale this very moment on

Another nice thing is dual band. So the WiFi gets more throughput.

But hey, I guess you want to not try what I have as you must be thinking of a bar/restaurant.

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useful information nonetheless

In reply to: I'll write no.

at least for those venues that don't want to give wifi access to guests (i.e. systems only) this sounds like a good solution. Thanks!

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Guests you say?

In reply to: useful information nonetheless

The TP Link I noted has guest access and it's nice enough. I do have it enabled and it does the client isolation which is a lot less work than other systems.

I'll be honest here. I authored some router software long ago and even I don't want to spend time managing a network. I don't mind setting it up but I want it to just work.

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in that case

In reply to: Guests you say?

it sounds perfect. Thanks, I'll check it out

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Pro gear

In reply to: Cisco series?

almost always have more reliable and accessible customer support than consumer gear, even if a company is prosumer. Your local Cisco (or any other business networking company) support center or sales rep will be able to answer your questions about usage and congestion. In the long run, going cheap no matter how reputable the brand may be is frustrating and could damage your business.

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yes i'm thinking the same

In reply to: Pro gear

the router is one of those things for non-techs, if it breaks not matter how much I tell the client its not my hardware/service that is broken it doesn't matter - it's my fault :/

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Sorry about that other reply.

In reply to: yes i'm thinking the same

I was thinking this is for your home or office. If this is a client you know to use what gear you found to be stable or just go with the 10X more expensive setups.

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Most stable wifi router in busy network situations

In reply to: Most stable wifi router in busy network situations

The RT1900ac is not only a superb router -- it is also viable NAS server while hosting a storage tool. This all-in-one router is an wonderful purchase for people who wants to enter the sector of network storage.

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