Looking for a hardware suggestion for a home router/Wi-Fi hot spot

Looking for a hardware suggestion for a home router/Wi-Fi hot spot

Don’t need anything too fancy. Previously I was using the one that came from my ISP and was happy with it. However, we recently got upgraded and the new router and I don’t have a high opinion of it. My biggest complaint is you need to install an App on your phone to configure it (e.g. no web admin page) and you cannot change the DNS server it uses (e.g. you have to use the ISP’s DNS).

My IPS is Shaw, which is one of the big ones in western Canada. Below is a link to the router I had before:


And this is what we got upgraded to:


The new Shaw router has a bridge mode, which as I understand it turns off the router and Wi-Fi part and basically turns it to a cable modem. So, connecting and using a consumer router/Wi-Fi to it should not be a problem.

Are there recommend brands to uses or stay away from? Are there features I should be looking for to have good Wi-Fi coverage, is this Wi-Fi 6 a thing I should be looking for? What about open firmware like “openwrt” is it worth getting one that is compatible with them, can you buy ones that come with it pre-installed?

Below are the key things I am looking for:

  • At least 4 Ethernet ports,
  • Good Wi-Fi coverage and has no issues with over 12 devices connected, including streaming to a TV
  • Be able to point my DNS to my PI-hole. Would be nice if it had the equivalent to a Pi-hole onboard, not sure if that is a thing.
  • Hoping to keep price low.
  • Would be nice if it supported dynamic DNS (I still can’t believe the old Shaw router did this)
  • Also, would be nice if you could easily add Wi-Fi extender as we keep talking about trying to get the Wi-Fi to our garage and backyard. This however is low on the list of requirements.

Thank you

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Wifi coverage is somewhat defined by your home size, and the shape of the house. It also depends on where your equipment is located (shoving it in the corner of the basement will make it quite difficult to reach the backyard). If you have a standard suburban North-American house (square, 2 story), and have the ability to place the wifi point dead center on your ground floor, it’ll probably cover around 2000 sq ft.

You’re already talking about an extender though, and if you do have an odd shape or a long backyard, you might as well start looking into mesh units. There you have two or three wifi access points and unlike extenders, they’re designed with a better backhaul approach (usually with a dedicated antenna). And of course, someone should jump into and suggest Ubiquity APs.

Wifi 6 is nice but check if your devices even support it. If you have a bunch of Home stuff like light switches, they’re not getting updated anytime soon.

Dynamic DNS - don’t even worry about this. This is selfhosted! There’s plenty of scripts or docker containers (I use duckdns) that’ll solve this for you.

Thank you for the advice

I have been trying to do some research on my own and came across a few things I am hoping someone can shed some light or point me in the right direction, so I don’t waste a bunch of time going down a rabbit hole.

Many routers are marked as “gaming routers”, e.g. many Asus. Other than Minecraft there are no gamers in our household so should I stay away from these routers?

There seems to be a lot of Asus and Tp-link routers on sale are these good brands?

Ubiquity seem to be the gold standard for selfhosting. What is the learning curve like getting into there stuff. I am worried it would be complicated and as much as I would like to learn something new and tinker, I don’t have the time right now.

Also, I know there are lots of ways to get Dynamic DNS, I just thought it was cool that my old IPS provide router had this.

A gaming router, aside from the obvious marketing, may back up its silly ‘racer’ design with a beefier set of specs so that the router isn’t the point of failure for gamers. The increased CPU / RAM and perhaps better set of antennas might be valuable if you’re a non-gamer, though my personal preference is to invest the cash into mesh units instead.

Ubiquity requires a willingness to tinker, but otherwise is no worse than attempt to muddle your way around Docker containers hosting random software. Their APs do require a bit of investment though, and are meant to be hardwired back to your router. If your problem is range, odds are that a mesh unit would be faster to set up and get working, while setting up a few U6-LRs will require laying CAT6 around the house but will work very, very well and for a long time.

As for router brands, I assume only influencers making content will do product comparisons. I used to read the Wirecutter for router recommendations but since being bought by NYT I no longer know how trustworthy they are. Take a look and decide for yourself?

Thank you for the info