It has been a tough year for everyone. With many employees working from home, internet becomes a tunnel to get to another side of the world. With that being said, a router act as a gateway to the internet. There are a few types of available routers. This includes, wired router, wireless router, core router, edge router, and VPN router. While core router deployed in the ISP level, while edge router such as wired, wireless, and VPN routers commonly deployed in business and home environment.

I am going to a smaller deployment scale by focusing on business and home environment. Generally speaking, there are two common available routers, wired and wireless. As the name suggests, a wired router provide internet access through Ethernet backhaul (wired connection) through a dedicated network cable. These labelled as Ethernet Cables with a few available Categories from 5E to 8 (as per 2021). Unlike wired routers, a wireless router provides access to the internet through wired and wireless connection, let it be from a standalone router or through mesh wireless solution deployment. An example of a wireless router is ASUS GT-AX11000 (standalone).

Figure 1: ASUS GT-AX11000 running Asuswrt-Merlin.
Figure 1: ASUS GT-AX11000 running Asuswrt-Merlin.

Next, most consumer grade router manufacturers such as ASUS, TP-Link, D-Link, Eero, Netgear, Linksys developed their mesh solution which provides selective amount of mesh nodes to be added into the network, if needed to be deployed to increase the wireless coverage area at home, or office. When it comes to consumer-grade router, and mesh solution, ASUS, by far the best so far. Not only they provide a good firmware support for their router models, their AiMesh technology, by far the greatest among all in consumer market. Not only their technology focus on multi-platform compatibility, you can add their mesh products into the existing network through AiMesh, making one of the cost-effective strategy for consumers to not waste money on buying a separate router or mesh solution to be used together.

Apart from their amazing AiMesh technology, power users can take advantage of using Asuswrt-Merlin, a third-party firmware developed specially for ASUS router powered by Broadcom chipset. Being a passionate IT geek, I prefer to buy a gear that allows me to fully utilize the performance, to fit my agile requirement. I always suggest most of my readers and friends, to only opt for ASUS routers, due to the flexibility of the firmware which, can be switched freely between ASUSWRT and Asuswrt-Merlin (factory reset recommended if swapped between both firmware). After sometime, I feel bored as I don’t have the freedom to further operate the router. This leads me to  survey onto the next available networking gear that has good record in providing customization at a cheaper price, and most importantly, no data collection.

Figure 2: Mikrotik RB750Gr3 – Wired Router.

Upon surveying, I came across with Mikrotik. I do have experience using the same model, a few years back. But due to not having the time to explore, I sold the unit to a friend of mine. Recently, looking at how important having internet at home, it is important to have a router, that allows you to do almost, everything apart from securing your home network from being targeted by cybercriminals. At the same time, my home network needs an upgrade both in terms of routing and wireless access point. So, I decide to purchase a unit of Mikrotik RB750Gr3 from subtlc (product page). Moreover, the recent beta version of RouterOS 7.1rc5 allows running container. As for the wireless access point (WAP), I decided to settle down with Ubiquiti’s UAP-AC-Lite, also purchased from subtlc (product page). Both units fit my current internet subscription plan, 100Mbps/50Mbps from unifi. I will provide an update on my homelab upgrade. Stay tuned.