Saturday, 26 April 2008

I'm pulling my hair out (what I have left, anyhow) trying to find a good home/home office wireless router that includes all the features I need. Granted, I'm a bit of a power user, but I'm honestly a bit surprised I can't find what I want out there somewhere. You'd think someone would build it. My list of features and performance requirements includes:

  • Gigabit WAN and LAN ports - and needs to have four LAN ports
  • VPN capability that I can use cross-platform - an SSL VPN might be the best option, but whatever works well and lets me connect with Windows, Mac, etc. is what really matters to me
  • Working, reliable and effective QOS - routers I have used in the past have either been terrible or mediocre at properly shaping and allocating traffic for VoIP and other services
  • Reliable and full-featured administrative capabilities in firmware
  • Quiet, reliable hardware
  • IPv6 support
  • Wireless-N

Until recently, I have been using a D-Link DIR-625 router, which has been stable and reliable. But it's a 100-megabit device and the QOS is marginal for VoIP traffic in my experience. Plus the firmware has not been updated recently and there is no VPN capability. It's rock-solid at what it does, though. I've only had to reset it a couple times since I have had it.

I've looked at the D-Link DIR-655 router, which is their currently-touted gigabit version of the 625 model. It's still on my list possible solutions, but with no VPN it doesn't meet all my needs, and D-Link doesn't seem to have one that includes all the features.

Yesterday I picked up a VPN router with gigabit and QOS made by Linksys, the WRVS4400N. It's not cheap and honestly I'm not sure why I allowed myself to buy a Linksys product after all the headaches I have had with them before. The net result of the past 12 hours of use is that I'm going to return it today. Between the slow reboots required with every other change I make and the lack of capabilities in the software (and some stuff that just doesn't work), it's already frustrating me. D-Link has seriously spoiled me in the Admin interface/firmware capabilities department, even without releasing any updates. Add to that the high-pitched whine the Linksys router makes and the heat it generates when plugged in and there's just no way. The whine is pretty awful, and gives me a serious headache within minutes if I am near it. Back to the store it goes.

So, I am left without a solution that meets all my needs. I may just have to pick up the D-Link DIR-655 and live without VPN and then find a separate VPN solution, but I don't want to if I don't have to. Any ideas anyone? Is there an option out there that will meet my needs and expectations?

Add/Read: Comments [7]
IT Security | Tech
Monday, 28 April 2008 08:36:21 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I was recently faced with the same issue and tried both D-Link and Linksys routers, neither of which fit the bill. I ended up setting up an old computer with 2 NIC's and loading pfsense. This gives me all the options I need and then just plug any crappy old wireless point into the main switch to handle the wireless side of things. Pfsense handles routing, firewall, remote access, etc. Best of all, pfsense is completely free and requires very little hardware to run effectively, any old computer lying around will do.
Monday, 28 April 2008 10:00:01 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Thanks for the suggestion, Jon. I like the idea, in principle, but Pfsense is probably not what I need in this case. My needs are more along the lines of what the D-Link DIR-655 offers, plus a strong built-in VPN feature set. The search continues! :)
Monday, 28 April 2008 11:16:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
I was using one of the basic Linksys routers at home (WRT54G) and was increasingly unsatisfied with it. I put on DD-WRT ( and am thrilled with the additional features I have. I guess my first suggestion is to check the hardware compatibility page ( and see if any hardware that fulfills your requirements is supported by this firmware. The other option is to find one that works out of the box for you and then try Hamachi ( as a decent VPN solution.
Tuesday, 29 April 2008 11:58:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Well I see you've rejected pfsense, and honestly I did too as it is a bit frightening to use for me.
For a long time I have used IPCop, and was never able to quite get the vpn working for more than a test.

Recently, I went in search of something new, and found ebox. I haven't had a good chance to test it, but it seems pretty promising, especially considering its still in early release.

You may not want to go full-sized-computer for what you want to do, but quite simply the higher end configs are either computer based or super expensive cisco/etc routers. You can always get a nice mini-pc, as long as it has enough places to plug in network cards.

hope it helps. if you find something better let us all know! I found you through trying to figure out how to use gmail as an smtp relay.
Thursday, 01 May 2008 08:33:40 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
@Ryan - I used the Linksys WRT54G with a variety of firmware (Sveasoft, DD-WRT, etc.) over time. While I was able to find the occasional reliable firmware build, hardware and/or software issues always forced me to reset, reset, reset. That plus some features never really worked as advertised (if at all). It was a lot of fun though, and I learned a bit in the process to be sure.

I'm pigeon-hole-ing my requirements a bit simply because I see a huge market for a well-built router/firewall with the capabilities I'm looking for. I know of a significant number of small businesses that would make great use of a off-the-shelf device they could purchase easily at Best Buy or someplace similar. Building a computer system with custom hardware and software's not an option for the small biz market, really. And of course I'd want to make use of it at home.

The search continues. :)
Wednesday, 07 May 2008 13:36:23 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Try OpenVPN ( for your VPN solution as it is easy to configure. I also tried the Linksys solution ended up using an old machine instead. :-\
Tuesday, 27 May 2008 16:41:45 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
You are still suffering with router woes? That sucks Greg, I feel for ya. But honestly, I have yet to find anything that I believe will meet with your needs.

On the plus side, you are not being forced to play "brick layer" with those WRT-54G boxes anymore.
(Yeah, I was trying to be funny - playing off of the term "bricking" the router)
Matt Hartley
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