I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?

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I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?

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I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?
I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?
2021-06-26 02:02:51 - last edited 2021-06-26 02:32:05
Model: Adapter  
Hardware Version: V1
Firmware Version: V1

Hello. Nice to meet you!

 

I ask you – Did I make the right choice? Please read and please respond with a simple yes or no answer and if you could explain why you feel I did or did not and what you would have done. (Sorry, there was no choice to my model in the "Model" field above for my router, so I selected "Adapter" instead, please ignore.)

 

Last week, I purchased a new router from Amazon.com. It is the TP-Link A6 V3 AC1200 (newly redesigned version) that was released late last fall. It is to replace my 5 plus-year-old TP-Link A7 AC1750 that is in the early stage of having issues, that is random disconnects. Live chatted with TP-Link support representative and they confirmed it was beginning to fail to emphasize the fact that there was no warranty on this old router. Th told the support rep. that was not the reason for corrective action, but to discover if my router was failing. At the time of my decision, I decided on this replacement TP-Link over others due to its more reliable routers, longer warranties, and free technical support.

 

Let me explain. Right now, I have a fixed WISP technology ISP that uses a dish-looking modem on my roof (No, this is not satellite Internet, but a direct line of sight to my area tower on a nearby hill.). The speed I get is approximately 10 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. It is very reliable and the only I in my household use it. I own an Android smartphone, a desktop PC, and a ROKU separate device with a 1080P TV (no 4K TV or device here). That is the extent of my wi-fi needs. I am not a gamer. I have no issues with ROKU streaming with my current service as long as I shut down wi-fi on my smartphone and PC at the same time. All of my devices currently use the G with a couple also capable of using the N wireless standard, but I set everything on router and devices to G. Things are great! I live in a small house on one floor with approximately 1600 square feet of living space. Yes, I could have purchased a non-gigabit router based on this user data and saved even more money like the TP-Link Archer C20 AC750 Wireless Dual Band Router or the TL-WR940N 450Mbps Wireless N Router.

 

The future change: I have been told by my ISP that they in the works of installing in approximately 3-years in my city, a fiber-optic cable with Internet speeds at 500 Mbps. They have begun the setup process in the downtown area for fiber-optic centrally located near their hub office. They have informed me that when fiber-optic lines will run by my house which at that time they will grandfather me into this new technology for our area as they have alerted me my fixed WISP technology will not be expanded and at some later time phased out in lieu of fiber-optic transmission in our city. So, the clock is ticking. I will go from 10 Mbps to 500 Mbps. Honestly, the 10 Mbps is fine for just me believe it or not. It is reliable. In a few years for double my current Internet price, I will have 50 times the Internet speed. I will have no choice to keep my fixed WISP at 10Mbps that I use responsibly.

FYI: The TP-Link A6 AC1200 V3 router’s specs highlight are: AC1200 Dual-Band Gigabit Router with Wi-Fi – 867 Mbps at 5 GHz and 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz band; MU-MIMO Technology – Simultaneously transfers data to multiple devices for 2× faster performance; Boosted Coverage – Four external antennas equipped with Beamforming technology extend and concentrate the Wi-Fi signals; Access Point Mode –Supports AP Mode to transform your wired connection into wireless network; Easy Setup – Set up your Wi-Fi in minutes with TP-Link Tether app. I am sure it will take care of my wi-fi needs AT PRESENT with impressive specs for a new router! Also, being a rather new model even of the older AC wireless standard, TP-Link will give several years of updates to its firmware unlike my older failing TP-Link A7 AC1750 that already is an old model and sure to end firmware updates shortly.

 

Now that you have a good idea of my background knowledge; here is my issue: I was also looking at a few newer latest technology TP-Link AX Wi-Fi 6 routers as well having already knowledge of this 500 Mbps fiber-optic Internet in a couple of years. I was looking at the current TP-Link Archer AX10 (AX1500), AX21 (AX1800), and AX50 (AX3000) before I made my TP-Link A6 V3 AC1200 router purchase. I know any current router should get me another 5 years or more life expectancy and that is probably as long as I should hold out on older technology before upgrading. If I bought a Wi-Fi 6 router, I figure I will be ready and not need to go out and buy another router when the new 500 Mbps fiber-optic is available to my home in approximately 3 years. I figure would also need to take advantage of my new paid 500 Mbps speed.

 

Question: Am I correct to say I would be better positioned to have a Wi-Fi 6 router [current TP-Link Archer AX10 (AX1500), AX21 (AX1800), or the AX50 (AX3000)] with my future 500 Mbps service than I would my TP-Link A6 V3 AC1200 router or not much difference? How about in terms of Wi-Fi bandwidth as the AX wireless standard is faster, better, and more feature-rich in many ways with my future 500Mbps Internet speed versus my current TP-Link A6 V3 AC1200 Router I have now? Please explain.

 

Now, there are two schools of thought:

1. Buy what you NEED NOW for a router that is appropriate and adequate now (at my significantly lower Internet speeds) and save money (Flexible budget say $50.), and when the time comes, buy the one you NEED THEN for a router as newer technology will be better later on – the one I chose because I WILL BE GETTING SOMETHING OVERALL BETTER LATER AT A HIGHER COST THAN WHAT I PAID NOW (I assume I WILL NEED TO upgrade to an AX wireless standard when I get my new 500 Mbps Internet NOT getting hopefully my full 5 years of routing before needing to upgrade.);

 

…or 2. Buy one now the best you can get at a good price now (Flexible budget say $100-$120.) and do not waste your money on something that will serve you only now (older AC wireless band technology), but instead now and in the future adequately (Be “future-proof"!), with very powerful AX wireless band technology for a slow Internet speed, but it will likely be useable and do the job but outdated at a later time when my 500 Mbps fiber-optic service is on my doorstep (I assume I will NOT NEED TO upgrade as I ALREADY have an AX wireless standard router and will hopefully get my full 5 years of routing before the need to upgrade.).

 

Reason: Did I make the right decision in your estimation or not?

 

FYI, I can return this to Amazon.com so I am not out my money yet! Also, I can afford the AX wireless router NOW as well too.

 

Please reply.

 

Thank you!

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#1
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6 Reply
Re:I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?
2021-06-27 12:24:49

@montecarlo1 

 

IMHO - Yes - When I buy things, I first try to ensure it has all the features I need, does not have features I do not want or at least have the capability to turn them off, will last me for a reasonable length of time, has features/functions/capabilities that I may need in the future, not bleeding edge (unproven or before it has lasted the test of time), good level of support, and is cost effective.

 

For example, when I got the Archer C8, it was a lot more router than I needed for my Xfinity 100 service. Although I have added more devices, different types of devices, increased speed, and such, I find I still have room to grow but know that the router is getting closer to end-of-life. So I have been reviewing what I would get next. Not sure what, as it changes from time to time as new products are released and seeing how the products perform over time. I have a short list of what my future router may be. May be years before I need one.

 

From my research, I have seen reviewers post that performance is better for AX routers than AC routers even for non AX devices. Many report the coverage area is greater for all devices which in my case is a bonus. My wife has a new phone that may be AX and most of my other 20+ devices are not even AC rated, lot of home automation, some streaming, I am not into gaming, tend to keep devices a long time, my Xfinity service is only 200 and no plans to upgrade, do have an extender, know that true 5G will not be in my area in my lifetime, although an AC router will do fine my planned next router will be AX.  

 

Another example: When my own modem got to end of life per Xfinity, I opted to buy one not at my tier level but one at the very top speed tiers. The side benefit was I got a modem that had and uses a lot more up and down channels between me and Xfinity. I believe that makes my connection much more stable as I get more consistent speeds, most times 230 on 200 service. 

 

Side note: I believe an UPS that has constant voltage option can make your electronic equipment last longer as does avoiding heat issues.

 

 

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#2
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Re:I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?
2021-06-27 16:00:48

@montecarlo1,

 

Sorry, but unlike @ArcherC8, I don't think there is a correct answer here.

 

Let me explain, and yes, I know you wanted a 'yes' or 'no' answer.

 

Let me pose the answer a different way? What are YOU future requirements, not what the ISP may do to you?

 

  • Assuming the ISP delivers on its promise, will that change the way you do things? Yes, you'll not turn devices off to use Roku (or any streaming service used as they require 10Mbps for good streaming unless using 4K).
  • With the above statement, what WILL you be upgrading in the future?
  • Specifically the G Speed devices.
  • Are you aware of the speed limitations of devices, G Speed, max. 54Mbps, N Speed, max. 300Mbps, and in actual use, probably 1/2 that. AC Speed, 400 Mbps max. See for more details, https://www.actiontec.com/wifihelp/evolution-wi-fi-standards-look-802-11abgnac/
  • With that in mind, if you got 400Mbps down, would you upgrade your devices? Even to AC speed, which would easily get 400Mbps down?
  • What about your PC? Windows (if you have that) 11 is coming out. Even if you are not running W10, and the Upgrade will be free, so far, TPM is a requirement. Many Win10 machines DO NOT have this feature. You might be looking for a new PC in the future and they generally will have AC network adapter's and possibly AX even.

 

If I take ALL or most of the above into consideration, the answer is NO. Because in the near future you'll probably want to get a better router. Buy for the future, no what you need now.

 

Now the other side, what you need now.

 

  • Taking into account ALL I mentioned above, none do you expect to do in the next 5+ years.
  • You don't mind delaying anything as who knows what will actually happen when you ISP delivers on its promise.
  • In 3 years, StarLink might be a choice for you even, see https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/spacexs-starlink-satellite-internet-service-expects-global-coverage-this-fall/.
  • 3 to 5 years from now, NEW 802.11 standards will probably exist. Newer routers will handle those, a pruchase today might not.
  • You have NO plans to upgrade anything (other than the router purchase to fit today's need).

 

In that case, YES, but the router that fits your needs now.

 

By the way, WiFi speeds are not all the same, for everyone. They can and will vary for a multitude of reasons. There are 2 numbers too, Connection and Theoretical speeds to every device. Read more @ https://www.duckware.com/tech/wifi-in-the-us.html

 

I for one tend to buy my PC's at the top end and upgrade to the best possible components when I buy (Dell does allow this). We've got 8 and 7 year old PC's. Both were purchased when W8 was the MS OS... Now running W10. Neither will be upgradeable to W11 due to the lack of TPM capability. Although our PC's, because they have fast RAM, SSD's (I added those 4 or 5 years ago), and the fastest Intel i7's available at the time, they are quite capable today for what we do. However, in the near future both PC's will be replaced with new W11 capable PC's (or have it already installed).

 

So I guess my answer(s) are think about the possible future changes.

 

I don't think your question was a Yes/No one. Only you can make that decision.

 

As for Router Updates, don't count on those. I've got an A20, also out in Mar. 2018. Two updates in Dec. 2018 and 2019, nothing since. Updates generally 'fix' things that are broke, Security patches required, and/or add new features (and sometimes remove features, as some routers have lost 'Printer Servers' as they are no longer supported).

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#3
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Re:I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?
2021-06-28 12:01:01

@IrvSp 

 

He asked for my option. Based on what he explained, I think the AC router was the right router for him. 

 

@IrvSp  made many very valid points.

 

Some additional points:

 

  • Does not need AX for speed, coverage, nor WIFI 6 in the foreseeable future
  • Has a small network
  • Although AX is being rolled out by many manufactures, many devices especially home automation do not support it. 
  • All the devices that support AX will also support AC and even older WIFI
  • I do not see anything he would gain with an AX router over an AC router now or in the foreseeable future
  • The new ISP may require different equipment
  • New ISP options are coming available such as over the air and they may require a different type of router.
  • AX routers generally cost more.

 

 

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#4
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Re:I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?
2021-06-28 13:20:12

@ArcherC8,

 

I agree with your assessment actually, however, I don't think ANY of 'us' can or should make the decision for him. All we should do is help him make the decision himself. Each of us had different thoughts and criteria for making this decision.

 

ArcherC8 wrote

Some additional points:

 

  • Does not need AX for speed, coverage, nor WIFI 6 in the foreseeable future
  • Has a small network
  • Although AX is being rolled out by many manufactures, many devices especially home automation do not support it. 
  • All the devices that support AX will also support AC and even older WIFI
  • I do not see anything he would gain with an AX router over an AC router now or in the foreseeable future
  • The new ISP may require different equipment
  • New ISP options are coming available such as over the air and they may require a different type of router.
  • AX routers generally cost more.

 

 

 

See, all your points are valid, but to me, the driving 'force' was actually the future and what the ISP has stated. Think of a 3 year period that might have had some changed for one in the last 3 years or could happen in the next 3. That is how I sort of looked at it. The ISP change is the major one. I did assume his usage of the devices wouldn't change but the devices might. Those devices will probably, along with the ISP's speed increase, change his usage. One thing is sure, not need to disable any devices and throughput would be more than enough. I also don't know his age or plans for the future. Things like marriage, having children, running a business from home, equipment upgrade planned. Heck, until W11 info appeared, and it was supposedly 'free' for W10 users, I was content to use our 2 PC's. No TPM, hmm, no W11. An 'external force' that has forced me to re-think not getting a new PC? Looking backwards, I had an Android phone. Worked OK for 6 months, but battery sort of died, couldn't keep it charged for a full day. Cell Carrier replaced it, like most places, with a refurbished unit. 2 years later, same thing. So what did I do? I got an iPhone. Works well with my iPad, but doesn't integrate well with a Windows PC. Oh well. My Fitbit did work well with the iPhone though. I did have 'problems' with the Fitbit I had. My wife's, no matter what, even if we walked side by side, showed 25 to 40% more steps and distance than mine did? Checked settings, nothing seems to change that. As it was an older model, no longer available, I splurged and got an Apple Watch. Now the difference in steps are about 10%... I'm sure she takes more steps than I do, but the mileage should be the same, but they still aren't?

 

All I'm saying is both planning for today and external forces can make changes to that plan. Buying for 'today' isn't always the best option. One thing I guess I've learned over time, sometimes it is best to plan for the future, especially if it isn't a monetary hardship.

 

Actually, in the OP's present situation, and assuming no changes are going to be made in hardware, personal life, or usage, an N speed router would do the job. Right now, the limiting factor that the OP is working with, is the ISP delivered speed and his device speeds. ISP speed change is meaningless (yes, he's not have to disconnect devices with a higher speed) to what he had/does now.

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#5
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Re:I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?
2021-06-29 12:58:10

@IrvSp 

 

Since he asked for our option, I gave what he asked for (yes or no, and why).

 

Agree with you on he could be served with a 'N' router. I think AC router IMHO is a better choice. 

 

In my case, I was looking at my next replacement router as being an AC router up until a few months ago. Since AX is more mainstream now, has matured, the AX routers tends to allow more connected devices (I am getting close to 30), has better WIFI coverage even for non AX devices (I am using an extender that I would prefer to drop from my network), I have several devices I need to replace as they are near end of life (old iPads, 2018 MacBook, and mid 2011 iMac), and I keep things for a long time. The AX router I would replace my current router would be a mid range Dual-band model. I would not need a tri-band nor blazing speed. There are a bunch of other requirements that I would want. I did consider a MESH system but that just does not fit my network needs. 

 

This thread has me rethinking that if I needed to replace my router soon, an AC router may be an option not that I am planning to replace my Archer C8 router anytime soon.

 

My mid 2011 iMac would most likely be the next PC I replace. my iMac is fast enough for my needs with the RAM and SSD upgrade I did a few years ago. It is just that I can no longer update the OS and with the new one coming out, I will be back three OS releases. Some have replaced the graphics card in old iMacs and with software hack been able to use the newer OS.  However the new iMac with the M1 chip is very enticing and that would be the route I would go. It would not matter wether it is AC or AX as I would connect it via Ethernet. My other devices that matter, are running current OS levels.  

 

So I asked myself what would be gained with an AX over my current AC router.

  • Possible better WIFI coverage which would result is slightly better speeds at distance and maybe get rid of my extender to cover a marginal area.
  • Have newer technology and longer life
  • Be able to use VPN at the router level
  • Be able to add more devices although I am not at the limit yet
  • Use AX when I replace the laptop although with my speed level of 200 there would be no gain

 

There are a lot of good proven AC routers that meet those needs.

 

Seems like we have taken over this thread....

 

One of the possible options in the future for the poster is StarLink. StarLink from what I have read supplies you with a router so you would not need a router.

 

Although I have Xfinity, I plan to look into StarLink when it is available here.

 

 

 

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#6
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Re:I ask you – Did I make the right choice? ...for a router?
2021-06-29 23:41:00

@ArcherC8 

 

Yeah, we did hi-jack this thread, didn't we smiley

 

A Tri-band does offer one option, that I like.

 

You can split off AC and N devices to individual 5Ghz bands. That way an N device doesn't slow down an AC device.

 

Starlink, not for city dweller's probably? Lag time could be a lot longer that copper/fiber wiring. Might be 'weather' performance related too.

 

In the future, speeds will probably be sufficient for almost everyone to do what they want, at least with ISP's in the traditional sense. Homes will have a lot of IOT's around to use the bandwidth and needed IP LAN addresses.

 

I wouldn't be buying AX now as my A20 serves my purposes. Yet if I had to buy now, I'd get AX. I suspect AX's life as the top dog is limited, probably shorted than my expected A20 life...

 

Onward and upward.

 

For you, you might have to change your forum name laugh

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#7
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