Trouble-Free Hardware Recommendation for Wired Router

I just replaced my Linksys WRT3200ACM again. This is the third or fourth one. They're great while they last, but they don't last long. This one started overheating and intermittently losing its connection a couple of weeks ago. Others have had other problems.

I can look around for another spare WRT3200ACM, but maybe it's time for something better. Here are my particulars.

  • I don't mind building it myself if that's the better way.
  • I don't care about the cost (within reason).
  • I don't have dual-WAN at the moment but wouldn't mind having it as an option for the future.
  • I don't need USB 3.x.
  • I usually get between 300 - 500 Mbps down, but I would like Gigabit compatibility for future-proofing.
  • I'm leaning toward wired with a separate AP. If the hardware has built-in WiFi, I want it to be outstanding.
  • I don't care if it's ugly.
  • I don't want to spend more time farting around with it than using it. Something trouble-free and fully-supported is what I'm looking for.

Or... Should I just buy another spare WRT3200ACM?

Any suggestions will be appreciated.



Netgear XR500 is another popular option. It is exactly the same as Netgear R7800, minus the eSATA port. The WiFi is good, at the maximum power the 5 GHz signal is still available even in the street 75m away from the window - but you need something better than the default laptop card to catch it.


Something like this maybe?

I have it running now for a bit over a month and it's brilliant so far. Easily routes 2.5G.

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CR15ing/CR15Wing/CR25ing/CR25wing/CR35ing add an AP or router acting as AP, for the wifi.

They're often < $50 on eBay, the CR25 routes 1gbit at approx 13% CPU load.


Thanks to all who replied.

I've been monitoring the temps on the latest WRT3200ACM. I never realized before how hot that model gets when under load. I raised it up on some wooden rails and stuck a 140mm fan under it blowing up, and it knocked the temps down almost 30C.

So I ordered one of these as a more-elegant thermal solution until I decide what to do in terms of hardware upgrades. Also, if I buy a device without WLAN, I'll most likely continue to use the WRT3200ACM as an AP because the wireless works great; so I may as well protect it.

The problem, ironically, is that it's fall and the weather is getting cooler. That means I don't have the AC blowing at the networking rack. My own comfort level is very wide. The electronic equipment, not so much.

I noticed right away that the problems only happened on cooler days, so at first I suspected something in the cable drop outside. But the cable TV still worked during the drop-outs, which suggested the router or modem. So I swapped the new router in to verify my hunch.

I'm going to monitor for a few days because it is possible for the TV to still work and the Internet not to due to a borderline fault in the drop. I've had that happen before. But I'm pretty sure it was the router overheating.

Thanks again to all who replied.


I like the passive cooling system of the Belkin RT3200. It has a large heatsink inside and air flows vertically through the case. The chipset is also less TDP than the WRT3200. I had one running all summer in an uncontrolled building with no problems.

You should log into the cable modem and check the signal levels and SNR. Most cable modems also have marginal thermal design.


Thank you.

I did check, and they're all fine. Power is fine, and SNR's are in the high 30's. Once I finish the revenue work I'll go out and check the outside connections anyway. That really should be done every so often anyway.


I've been very happy with a NanoPi R4S 4GB (the 1GB version is not supported by OpenWrt) in the machined metal case paired with a Netgear GS308T switch - both supported by OpenWrt. The R4S will handle full Gigabit CAKE SQM, it does not get too hot, and with six CPU cores (two fast A72 cores and 4 slower A53 cores) the R4S will provide some future proofing.

I also have a NanoPi R2S in the machined metal case. It is very inexpensive to add an R2S to your cart if you are ordering an R4S direct from Friendly Elec and paying shipping anyway. I wouldn't bother with it beyond a curiosity or spare though, as the R4S is not that much more expensive. The R2S has four A53 cores and will handle around half a Gigabit CAKE SQM. I have never had issues with it getting too hot, though its temperature does ramp up when loading it up with a speed test.

The RT3200 is a good all in one option. Like the R2S, the RT3200 will not shape full Giagbit with CAKE, but will handle around half a Gigabit CAKE. The RT3200 has only two A53 cores, clocked about the same as the NanoPi R2S. CAKE doesn't notice - it runs on a single core anyway-but you might want more than two cores if you are planning on loading your router up with Wireguard, SQM and also have it run WiFi too.


Thank you. That looks like an interesting little device.

How's the WiFi? That's important because the only way mobile phones work here is on WiFi Calling. The sell signal is horrid because we're in the signal shadow of a mountain.


On the R4S (or R2S)? There is no WiFi. It is a router only device. The idea with these is to separate your components and let each do its own job. WiFi is provided by an AP. An inexpensive used all-in-one WiFi router makes a fine dumb AP and managed switch.

The CPU in an all-in-one WiFi router device used as a dumb AP and managed switch only needs to handle WiFi load. WiFi performance is better as a result. The CPU in the NanoPi only needs to handle network routing and management, SQM and/or VPN, etc.

In my case, Ethernet outlets on each floor of our house have all-in-one WiFi routers configured as dumb AP's and managed switches plugged into them. Ethernet cables from the home outlets, security system, etc., drop into a small in-wall telecom box and, along with the NanoPi, are plugged into the GS308T managed switch. A modem, the NanoPi and the GS308T all fit into the small in-wall telecom box. An all-in-one WiFi router to provide more Ethernet ports would not fit, and putting an all-in-one WiFi router into a metal enclosed in-wall telecom box would be pointless for WiFi anyway - hence the GS308T.

If your network set-up is not so complicated (glorious?), and not likely to become so in the future, I would get an RT3200 and call it done. Later, if and when you need more CPU for Gigabit ISP service, you can add a NanoPi and repurpose the RT3200 as a combined dumb AP and managed switch.

The WiFi on an RT3200 is reported to be quite good - just search the forum. I've seen some commercial reviews that indicate it falls off at long range (using stock firmware of course), but forum reviewers have reported its WiFi to be as good as an R7800 at long range with OpenWrt, which is very good indeed. With an 802.11ax WiFi6 client, WiFi will be even better of course, since the RT3200 supports WiFi6.

I am quite happy with my device:

Rather cheap, passive cooled, more than enough power, ...

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Thank you.

I actually understand the separate components making up the system. I guess I just read the wrong device description because for some reason I thought it had WLAN.

I have the WRT3200ACM feeding a Netgear GS716T managed switch that I use to prioritize the VoIP and tame the AppleTV. Given their way, some of the AppleTV apps consume way more bandwidth then they need to; so I throttle the throughput to the AppleTV box to avoid incurring the wrath of my ISP.

Nothing's on WiFi except my phone, tablet, guests' devices, and a laptop that I rarely use. But it's important for the WiFi Calling. So I'll probably keep using the WRT3200ACM as an AP if I go with an Ethernet-only router. It covers the whole house and enough of the outside to use the phones.


Wow! A 16 port smart switch for home traffic control.

Have you tried CAKE SQM with layer_cake script on the WRT3200 instead? I've gone through periods with 40/2 VDSL2 (advertised) ISP service with horrible upload latency. CAKE worked miracles on latency. Never had VOIP issues with our Ooma VOIP box plugged into one of our AP's. Surprisingly, even video conferencing - personal Zoom and MS Teams over a Citrix VPN tunnel - worked OK with that slow upload ISP service shaped with CAKE. I seem to recall there are some advanced options for per host controls with CAKE too, though I never needed to use them.

No experience with Apple TV. I can readily imagine Apple TV may present a tough bandwidth hogging problem. We use a Roku streaming box.

No, I haven't. I may have had the switch before the first WRT3200. If not I had something very much like it that it replaced.

I'm old-school. I still consider wireless for situations where you can't run Ethernet. Yeah, I know, it's a lot better now than it was 20 or so years ago. Speed tests on my iPad over WiFi match those of my wired desktops. But old habits die hard.

I'm only using eight of the ports. I just like higher-end gear. I live in the boonies, and the nearest place I can get this sort of stuff same-day is a Micro Center two and a half hours away. So I aim for hardware that will last.

I also have some less-impressive spares that I could swap in in a pinch for basic functionality until a convenient time to make the trip. I probably would give CAKE SQM a try at that point to see if I could get away with an unmanaged switch.

I used to use Roku until a firmware update bricked all my boxes and Roku wouldn't make it right. They were old, though; so I went to Wally World and bought two new ones. I only set one up, and sure enough, the update bricked it. I brought them back to Walmart for a refund.

Being a veteran, I get 10 percent off on Apple stuff; so I decided to give their AppleTV 4K a shot. As is typical with Apple products, it cheerfully set itself up when it found my iPhone (or vice-versa). It's been working flawlessly ever since. It just works.

In the interest of thread drift, my almost 84-year-old father broke his hip a month or so ago. My sibs and I decided that despite his past stubborn refusals, we were getting him a phone. One sib donated a used iPhone XR, and I updated it and got him on an annual AT&T plan.

I had the phone set up except for the voice training when I handed it to Dad. I also gave him a script to get further acquainted with Siri. Now they're best friends. Mom says he talks to Siri all day, mainly about baseball. He makes FaceTime calls, looks up sports scores, and is even letting Siri manage his calendar now. They're BFF's.

So yeah, I like Apple stuff. But some of the AppleTV apps consume huge amounts of bandwidth. So I throttle it with the switch. I mainly watch the news anyway, so it doesn't really make a noticeable difference.


If you were talking about mine: no, its wired only (as requested in the topic), but if you want, you can add a wireless card and the antenna holes are there, so you could extend if so required

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An SFF x86_64 box with two or more network interfaces: I ditched my wrt3200acm (did not use wifi on it) for one like that and not looking back. i3 can easily handle 1Gbps with shaping. I am personally running i5-8400 and it is smoking any consumer router you can buy.
When it fails you simply buy another one (because these are always supported). When a consumer router fails, one needs to post a question on this forum to gather suggestions about a well supported consumer router :wink:

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Just placed a Edgerouter-4 with OpenWrt at a client of mine who likes to see his gigabit WAN unhampered. It works really well, stays cool, has 3 gigabit ethernet ports and a SPF port that can be used for an extra WAN or fiber connection. Using a pure router (just like the NanoPi's) allows you to use your access points just for that; the WRT3200ACM will happily be deployed like that.

Sorry about the delay. Life got busy for a few days.

So basically, what I'm hearing is that anything on the x86_64 Intel architecture should be supported out of the box. I actually have some Intel CPU's laying around, so that's helpful. Thank you.


Thank you. I almost bought one of those the last time I was at Micro Center.


So, a week later we're back to what I initially posted in Trouble-Free Hardware Recommendation for Wired Router - #4 by frollic :slight_smile:

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