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Question

Router buying advice for multi-teen family

Almost a daily reader of the website for years, but first time ever posting. Thank you in advance for any and all helpful information.
Im looking to replace/upgrade an old router of mine that has exceptional range but most importantly, for my family needs, EXCELS at parental controls. Something where i can easily see attached devices and add custom time limits/block (days/sites) etc. Im ok with spending $$ on a replacement, saw a netgear nighthawk at costco that I almost grabbed but I would rather come to you fine folks for your advice first. Thank you again

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All Answers

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Answer
It's a deep topic.

In reply to: Router buying advice for multi-teen family

I can't guess what you mean by parental control. Here that simply meant putting the PCs in the open. As to the router all I needed were time use restrictions and I was done.

Maybe you want OpenDNS? If so, make sure the router offers that.

Remember you are entering into an arms race. I declined to do that so the PC was never put into their rooms.

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more clarification

In reply to: It's a deep topic.

i dont have any idea how to be more specific. even on my current router, logging into it allows me to see which devices are on my network but apparently blocking them is something not available in its firmware revision and there hasnt been an update in years for it.

i would like a router that has an easy to use GUI where i can set times/days where, for example, my sons cellphone cant access my wifi, or i can block certain websites altogether.

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You do have an idea on specifics.

In reply to: more clarification

Parental control is not well defined. So we have to get into the specifics.

1. See what devices are connected.
Almost all routers have that.

2. Blocking them.
This needs a lot of definition. We usually don't need to block devices because you only hand out the password to those you want on your network. If some unknown device shows up. Change the password and it's gone.

Now if you want to use the MAC Address method then you are an arms race. It is now trivial for me to take my good address and use that on the devices I have. So I don't think this is an effective tool.

3. GUI where I can set times/days where....
If I see Parental Control listed on a router it usually has this. To be sure we go get the router manual before purchase.

4. Block certain web sites.
Here we are again with the arms race. Let's say you do block anime.com. OK, now I can use a proxy to get there. You block the proxy and I use another. You block that and I use a VPN. This goes on and on.

Just like item 3, if you see Parental Control, it should have web site blocking but kids are smart. They know how to get around these things.

Some members get bent out of shape over this topic. That is, they expected parental controls to work. Well they sort of do but then again a smart kid can get around it. That's why putting the PC in the open space worked best for us.

Here's the current top selling routers on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Electronics-Computer-Routers/zgbs/electronics/300189

With the exception of the 30ish buck models I recall all the others have parental controls.

Post was last edited on February 8, 2017 12:56 PM PST

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Answer
Let me share what I have today.

In reply to: Router buying advice for multi-teen family

I have the Archer TP LINK C9 Version 1 with their latest firmware.

I can set time of use per device. Also could block sites. It's not very expensive and for me wasn't hard to setup. Might be enough.

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thank you..ill look into the Archer

In reply to: Let me share what I have today.

if anybody have any experience using other models, brands..please let me know.

Mr. Prof,

1. See what devices are connected.
Almost all routers have that. (OK)

2. Blocking them.
This needs a lot of definition. We usually don't need to block devices because you only hand out the password to those you want on your network. If some unknown device shows up. Change the password and it's gone. (Which is why I put in my original title, multi TEEN, so If my kids get grounded, I dont need to reissue the password when the punishment ends, just UNBLOCK that device ie phone, game system, tablet they use)

3. GUI where I can set times/days where....
If I see Parental Control listed on a router it usually has this. To be sure we go get the router manual before purchase. (I didnt realize listing this would normally be on the box, as i said its been years since ive bought, and wanted some indicator, like coming to these forums..before I head back to the store and google each router in front of me for a manual.)

4. Block certain web sites.
Here we are again with the arms race. Let's say you do block anime.com. OK, now I can use a proxy to get there. You block the proxy and I use another. You block that and I use a VPN. This goes on and on.(If my kids could utilize a proxy properly without my knowledge then I wouldnt ask for parental controls...itd all be redundant except for blocking the device or not giving out the password originally)

please be aware, keeping a pc in the open space is a solution, but my cat spends more time laying on it than my kids do using it. they are on their personal devices 90% of the time.

thank you either way.

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Just a quick answer about blocking/grounding a device.

In reply to: thank you..ill look into the Archer

One simple way which is not noted in manuals is to use the time control to block a device. Just block all hours on all days. Just a few clicks on the C9 router.

I've seen folk try to use the MAC Address allowed connections method and get burned so I offer the other way here.

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Alas, the Archer C9 Parental controls are broken

In reply to: Let me share what I have today.

I too bought the C9 for its Parental controls. But, after months of trying it simply doesn't work. It's not just me, Google for 'do the parental controls on the C9 work?' you'll also notice the results from TP-Link's own forums on this topic.

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Mine work fine EXCEPT

In reply to: Alas, the Archer C9 Parental controls are broken

With the new settings say in Apple and Windows that randomize the MAC address it can render the parental controls ineffective.

As I noted above it's an arms race of how much you know about networking and the tools on the C9. I can't hold classes on all this in a forum as it's too much to type.

But the C9 parental controls do work, and you do have the issues about known ways to defeat them.

The clear and easy tool to control is still the password. Change it and all the devices get kicked off and you only supply the password to those that follow your rules.

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Answer
go to website and look up manual

In reply to: Router buying advice for multi-teen family

since you are wanting specific features, you may want to check out specific routers at the manufacturers websites and look up their manuals and/or how to sections. Usually they will show how to setup parental control features with illustrations. you should be able to see what is available and what is not for the routers you are interested in.

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Answer
Nighthawk is Great

In reply to: Router buying advice for multi-teen family

That was a lot of back and forth...this is a pretty simple question. The Nighthawk router combined with the Netgear Genie app will do what you are asking for. Have a good day.

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