Best internet router ?

Joined
Oct 9, 2005
Messages
29,340
Location
Moscow, Idaho
When contracts are about to expire and rates are about to increase, my wife simply calls the company and explains that she'd like to remain a customer but to make that happen they're going to have to come up with a better price for the same or better services. It always works. Companies have a lot of pricing flexibility they don't advertise.
Yeah, we (I) do that once a year or so. Has never failed, yet!
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
3,585
Location
Tacoma, WA
Real Name
Ken St John
4 bars on my phone in the backyard
I did get the 3 pack for 2900sqft and it’s rated for 5800
Same unit I have. We’ve been very happy. In case you have a iPhone 11/12 (or similar Android level) ... they have WiFi 6 (ax) which may account for the better coverage you’re seeing.

Ken
 
My cable company (Cox Communications) recently informed me that they were about to implement some changes and that because of that my modem (a DOCSIS 3.1 Arris Surfboard something-or-other) would no longer be compatible and so I would need to replace it. I prefer to purchase my own modems and routers rather than renting anything from the cable company, so I did my due diligence and eventually went to Microcenter (local electronics/computer store) and came home with an Arris Surfboard DOCSIS 3.1 SB 8200. Installed it, set it up and we were good to go..... However, this got me to thinking about my router, the last and final generation of Apple's wonderful series of AirPort Extreme Base Stations, and I decided that now would be a good time to replace it as well, even though I have not been experiencing any issues with it. It has been a very reliable and faithful router which has served me well for several years. However....time has moved on. Did some more due diligence, went back to Microcenter and this time came home with a Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien, which features WiFi 6 and has a lot of nifty features that also are rather reminiscent of the Apple Way of Doing Things, which isn't so strange or coincidental when one finds out that, oh, aha, one of the developers of the Ubiquiti company is indeed a former Apple employee.

The new router was amazingly easy and quick to set up and I am more than pleased with it. In my case, since I am in a 1024 SF condo apartment, the single router is more than doing the job, but if I were in a larger home I would have gone with the option of purchasing and using the two-unit mesh set, which is the router and a mesh point. This thing definitely has a stronger signal and better coverage than my beloved several-years-old AEBS, and I especially like how the router has a touch screen on its front so that one can look at it and quickly glean a lot of information immediately and check to see that the devices they have are indeed all nicely online with it, etc. Since I already have two WIFi 6 devices (iPhone 11 Pro and M1 13" MacBook Pro) and anticipate more coming into the household in the future, it just made sense to go with the new standard rather than with the now older WiFi 5. Of course this thing is also backwards-compatible with older WiFi devices, too.

I especially appreciate being able to do things on the router itself on the touch screen or just handling everything right from the Amplifi App on my iPhone (there is also an app available for those who use Android smartphones). It's also just cool to look at, definitely distinctive and not your everyday bland old router...... This Alien baby really stands out with its glowing green band of light at the base of the unit and its nicely illuminated green touchscreen. It's somewhat taller and maybe a little wider than my AEBS, so the tower configuration is already familiar to me and fits in comfortably right where I had the previous router.

My primary concern was with internet service on my computers, iPhones and iPads. I don't have a Smart TV, just a regular one which I rarely watch, and I don't use Apple's HomeKit with its various methods of controlling lights, doorbells or whatever. If I need to turn on a light or turn it off, I get up and walk over to the light switch. No Alexa or HomePod in here, either. My Alien doesn't have to deal with a vast number of devices, either, as I have just eight (so far) which are online: computers, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, HP printer......

I'm loving this thing!
 
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Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
2,521
Location
GA
What was the model of your old modem? I think you put a typo in there because there aren't any DOCSIS 3.1 modems that are incompatible, especially from Arris and even the DOCSIS 3.0 modems are still fine unless you have gig service where 3.1 is where you should be. I ask because i'm very familiar with this, that company, and so on. :)

Granted, the SB8200 is the way to go right now as it is very future proof, but i'm curious to know what you were told and what you had to ensure what was communicated was accurate. You can PM me if you would rather not disclose.
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2006
Messages
1,136
Location
Pennsylvania
However, this got me to thinking about my router, the last and final generation of Apple's wonderful series of AirPort Extreme Base Stations, and I decided that now would be a good time to replace it as well, even though I have not been experiencing any issues with it. It has been a very reliable and faithful router which has served me well for several years. However....time has moved on.
We are also using the latest Apple AE Base Station and it serves our needs well. I am only concerned that at some point Apple will stop supporting it, such as no longer issuing security updates. I read recently on an Apple forum that that time hasn't come yet, but how will I know when it does?
 
What was the model of your old modem? I think you put a typo in there because there aren't any DOCSIS 3.1 modems that are incompatible, especially from Arris and even the DOCSIS 3.0 modems are still fine unless you have gig service where 3.1 is where you should be. I ask because i'm very familiar with this, that company, and so on. :)

Granted, the SB8200 is the way to go right now as it is very future proof, but i'm curious to know what you were told and what you had to ensure what was communicated was accurate. You can PM me if you would rather not disclose.
I believe it was an Arris Surfboard SB6193 ? Unfortunately I have already discarded it so can't check now. I'm pretty sure it was 3.1 DOCSIS and that surprised me, too, that Cox was stating it would be incompatible once they had made the changes to their system. They provided a listing of modems which would be compatible with the new Utimate 500 Plan, and so I went with the SB8200 since I had found Surfboards to be reliable and since it was readily available at the local Microcenter. The earlier modem wasn't that old, so I was irritated at having to replace it this soon, as it had been rock-solid, no issues whatsoever. Anyway, now I'm actually glad that this situation came about so that I needed to replace it since that also prompted me to get a new router as well and I love the new router! Everything is definitely working more quickly and is snappier.

Initially I was on Cox's Ultimate 300 plan, which has now been discontinued and they moved everyone to the Ultimate 500 plan (unless a customer wanted to make a different change to their plan). They also do offer a "Gigablast" plan, but that is really more than I need. If I were in a home where I had HomeKit controlling my lights, thermostat, doorbell, etc., in addition to having the internet service for the computing devices then probably the Gigablast service would be more appropriate.
 
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We are also using the latest Apple AE Base Station and it serves our needs well. I am only concerned that at some point Apple will stop supporting it, such as no longer issuing security updates. I read recently on an Apple forum that that time hasn't come yet, but how will I know when it does?

I was becoming concerned, too, that at some point in the not-too-distant future Apple would stop supporting it -- already it had seemed to be quite a while since the last firmware update -- and the more I thought about it the more I realized that I didn't want to suddenly be in a situation where the AEBS suddenly died on me and I'd have to make a hurried, quick purchase of a new router. This way I had the time to review options that were out there, read comments, watch a few YouTube videos, etc., and make my decision. I was reluctant to give up using my trusty, reliable AEBS but I realized that the time had come.....

For some reason I was almost immediately attracted to the AmpliFi Alien and then I read in one of the reviews that the Ubiquiti company, which makes AmpliFi, had been started by a guy who was a former Apple employee, and I laughed out loud. Well, no wonder I was instinctively drawn to the AmpliFi Alien! LOL! It really is "Applesque" in some ways...... It's a bit taller and a bit wider than the AEBS and is black rather than white, a tower configuration like the AEBS. Great features and functionality which go far beyond the AEBS, though, and that is what makes it worthwhile purchasing and using. Because it already is utilizing the new WiFi 6 standard, it is already working well now and will continue to do over the next few years before the standards change again.
 
Joined
Feb 11, 2006
Messages
6,675
Location
Riverside, CA
My cable company (Cox Communications) recently informed me that they were about to implement some changes and that because of that my modem (a DOCSIS 3.1 Arris Surfboard something-or-other) would no longer be compatible and so I would need to replace it. I prefer to purchase my own modems and routers rather than renting anything from the cable company, so I did my due diligence and eventually went to Microcenter (local electronics/computer store) and came home with an Arris Surfboard DOCSIS 3.1 SB 8200. Installed it, set it up and we were good to go..... However, this got me to thinking about my router, the last and final generation of Apple's wonderful series of AirPort Extreme Base Stations, and I decided that now would be a good time to replace it as well, even though I have not been experiencing any issues with it. It has been a very reliable and faithful router which has served me well for several years. However....time has moved on. Did some more due diligence, went back to Microcenter and this time came home with a Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien, which features WiFi 6 and has a lot of nifty features that also are rather reminiscent of the Apple Way of Doing Things, which isn't so strange or coincidental when one finds out that, oh, aha, one of the developers of the Ubiquiti company is indeed a former Apple employee.

The new router was amazingly easy and quick to set up and I am more than pleased with it. In my case, since I am in a 1024 SF condo apartment, the single router is more than doing the job, but if I were in a larger home I would have gone with the option of purchasing and using the two-unit mesh set, which is the router and a mesh point. This thing definitely has a stronger signal and better coverage than my beloved several-years-old AEBS, and I especially like how the router has a touch screen on its front so that one can look at it and quickly glean a lot of information immediately and check to see that the devices they have are indeed all nicely online with it, etc. Since I already have two WIFi 6 devices (iPhone 11 Pro and M1 13" MacBook Pro) and anticipate more coming into the household in the future, it just made sense to go with the new standard rather than with the now older WiFi 5. Of course this thing is also backwards-compatible with older WiFi devices, too.

I especially appreciate being able to do things on the router itself on the touch screen or just handling everything right from the Amplifi App on my iPhone (there is also an app available for those who use Android smartphones). It's also just cool to look at, definitely distinctive and not your everyday bland old router...... This Alien baby really stands out with its glowing green band of light at the base of the unit and its nicely illuminated green touchscreen. It's somewhat taller and maybe a little wider than my AEBS, so the tower configuration is already familiar to me and fits in comfortably right where I had the previous router.

My primary concern was with internet service on my computers, iPhones and iPads. I don't have a Smart TV, just a regular one which I rarely watch, and I don't use Apple's HomeKit with its various methods of controlling lights, doorbells or whatever. If I need to turn on a light or turn it off, I get up and walk over to the light switch. No Alexa or HomePod in here, either. My Alien doesn't have to deal with a vast number of devices, either, as I have just eight (so far) which are online: computers, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch, HP printer......

I'm loving this thing!
I learned something new today. I had no idea they changed the name of wifi speeds from 802.11ac to Wifi 5. We're in a 1,900 sq ft two story with the (wifi 5) router on the first floor and don't have any issues upstairs. I have never thought about getting a booster.
 
As long as the signal is strong on both levels of the house and in all the rooms you use with your various devices, no need for a mesh point or other kind of signal extender / booster..... I had been concerned here because although my condo apartment is small the way it is constructed there are definitely potential signal blockers, but appropriate placement of the router so that I get the strongest signal in the places where I actually use the devices which need to connect to the internet most frequently has worked out well for me.

I'm really pleased with my new setup, especially since I am in a multifamily dwelling with 13 other units which also have internet hookups (either Cox cable or Verizon FIOS), that the new router seems to definitely cut down on some of the interference I experienced in the past. Updating the router from my 6th-generation AirPort Extreme Base Station (AEBS) 802.11ac router that I think I bought in 2015 or 2016 was definitely a good move! One thing which the new WiFi 6 (802.11ax) standard does is to provide good coverage even when one has several WiFi "clients" or devices all on it simultaneously, and although I don't have as many devices as a lot of people do I somehow have managed to accumulate nine of them along the way.....

From what I've read WiFi 6 is still very much a new standard and there are a lot of devices out there which don't yet use it, and so there's no rush to get into it unless one is in the process of updating their overall network setup as I was. It is backwards-compatible, thankfully, to the devices I've got on my network which are still WiFi 5 (802.11ac). Everything's moving along very perkily, and I am appreciating and enjoying this!
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
2,521
Location
GA
I believe it was an Arris Surfboard SB6193 ? Unfortunately I have already discarded it so can't check now. I'm pretty sure it was 3.1 DOCSIS and that surprised me, too, that Cox was stating it would be incompatible once they had made the changes to their system. They provided a listing of modems which would be compatible with the new Utimate 500 Plan, and so I went with the SB8200 since I had found Surfboards to be reliable and since it was readily available at the local Microcenter. The earlier modem wasn't that old, so I was irritated at having to replace it this soon, as it had been rock-solid, no issues whatsoever. Anyway, now I'm actually glad that this situation came about so that I needed to replace it since that also prompted me to get a new router as well and I love the new router! Everything is definitely working more quickly and is snappier.

Initially I was on Cox's Ultimate 300 plan, which has now been discontinued and they moved everyone to the Ultimate 500 plan (unless a customer wanted to make a different change to their plan). They also do offer a "Gigablast" plan, but that is really more than I need. If I were in a home where I had HomeKit controlling my lights, thermostat, doorbell, etc., in addition to having the internet service for the computing devices then probably the Gigablast service would be more appropriate.
The SB8200 is a D3.1 modem whereas the 6183 or 6190 that you may have had were D3.0 modems. The 6183 can only do Pref150 whereas 6190 can do Ult500. Either way the SB8200 is the better modem (I just upgraded mine to this as well).

You don't need gigablast service with a bunch of lights, thermostats, etc. Those use very little bandwidth. Ultimate 500 is plenty of speed for most people. Only if you had multiple work/personal computers on at the same time would gig service start coming in handy.
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
2,521
Location
GA
I learned something new today. I had no idea they changed the name of wifi speeds from 802.11ac to Wifi 5. We're in a 1,900 sq ft two story with the (wifi 5) router on the first floor and don't have any issues upstairs. I have never thought about getting a booster.
They didn't change the names, they just gave them friendly names.
802.11 is a wireless specification and is still the preferred identifier amongst those in the industry.

Wifi4 = 802.11n
Wifi5 = 802.11ac
Wifi6 = 802.11ax

Also, never get a "booster"...they're garbage. Properly extend your network if you need to or go mesh but never get an extender.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
24,718
Location
SW Virginia
I have Comcast's latest XB7 Gateway which is wifi 6. It is capable of up to 2.5 GB/s download speeds. I have been very pleased with the performance so far. It is centrally located on the 2nd floor of our 3400 sq ft house, and gives good coverage on all floors, including the basement.

My hardwired iMac in the same room with the modem/router gets 920 Mb/s download and about 18 upload.
 
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The SB8200 is a D3.1 modem whereas the 6183 or 6190 that you may have had were D3.0 modems. The 6183 can only do Pref150 whereas 6190 can do Ult500. Either way the SB8200 is the better modem (I just upgraded mine to this as well).

You don't need gigablast service with a bunch of lights, thermostats, etc. Those use very little bandwidth. Ultimate 500 is plenty of speed for most people. Only if you had multiple work/personal computers on at the same time would gig service start coming in handy.

Yes, I know the SB8200 is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem -- I made darned good and sure of that before buying it! :) I also verified that in case I ever wanted to move up to a 1 GB plan that this modem would also work with that as well. In the compatibility list it states that it will work with everything including the Gigablast plan. Unfortunately I've already put the older 6183 or 6193 (whatever it is) modem in at the recycling center here in my neighborhood and it's well and truly gone now so I can't verify exactly which model it was -- could've been a 6183 but I seem to remember that it was a DOCSIS 3.1 and there is a 6193 which I believe is a D3.1, probably one of the early ones given that I purchased it some years ago. Whatever..... At any rate, at the time I was checking the compatibility list Cox provided it was clearly NOT compatible with the new Ultimate 500 plan even though it had worked just fine with the earlier Ultimate 300 plan. Could be the way that in this area Cox is provisioning the new Ultimate 500 setup? Everything moves on, including modems and routers.......

In any event I'm not complaining about the increased speediness of my internet service now -- it's just fine and I'm enjoying it! Since I am using it wirelessly and do not have any devices except the router, of course, plugged into the modem via ethernet I can't determine how much closer to the "up to 500 mbps" level it actually delivers when used as a wired connection with one or more computers. None of my current computers has an ethernet port and although I do have an Apple ethernet adapter that I recall I had to use when initially installing and setting up the old modem I haven't used the thing since and have no plans or need to do so. I think -- well, am guessing -- that there is about a 15-20% difference between a wired connection and a wireless connection (also taking into account additional factors which come into play with wireless, especially in a multifamily dwelling where there are other internet connections as well). Right now anyway my internet seems speedy enough and faster than it was before I made the changes to the new equipment.

I agree, that as a single person living in a fairly small apartment I do not need Gigablast service. I have nine "clients" in total which connect to the cable router, and usually they are not all on at the same time. Sometimes I'll have two of the computers up and running simultaneously, using one to do something like copying backups and data between two external drives, and while that's happening I'm on the other machine keeping up with my forums, email or whatever else online. About the only time I have all three computers on simultaneously is when I'm running a software update, and I usually first do one machine, then turn on the second one and get it going with the update, and then once it's in the actual installation phase I go into the other room and turn on the 12" MacBook and get her also downloading the software update. By the time that's finished downloading the update, the second machine out in the living room has already completed the entire software update process.

I don't have the other devices that many other people and families have: a Smart TV, HomePod(s) or Alexa, HomeKit devices, etc., and my thermostat is controlled by me manually, so, yes, for me the "up to 500 mbps" level is quite sufficient and I'm happy with it.....at least for the time being!
 
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