Recommended routers?

From the upcoming season (late August), I will likely have a fiber connection. I plan to host two Kiwis, and possibly other SDR servers as well. While the Quickstart and this forum are excellent info sources for both the admin and the user, with many recommendations, there hasn't been much discussion about routers. I'm looking for one with enough functions and easy to use interface for setting up servers. Wi-Fi capacity is not an issue (I'll likely turn it off if it has one). Which ones would you recommend/not recommend?

Bjarne Mjelde


  • What is your budget? These are very nice but some models not so user friendly....
  • Budget is "within reason" - let's say within USD 500.
  • edited May 2019
    Another brand worth considering IMO is Draytek, they are normally solid and have a lot of the right features without the learning curve of Miktorik.

    To me the main things to look for are:
    Bind hardware to IP address (MAC binding/Static leases) meaning we can leave the devices on DHCP but they always get the same address
    Fully featured port forward (not just FTP, WWW, and some specific games).
    Good firmware support with constant security updates.
    Some sort of network graphing or traffic monitoring.
    VPN's Can you get on to securely it from anywhere? OpenVPN etc.

    Miktrotik is the one I use when I want every feaure I can think of, for an amazing price, but they do frighten me the amount of things that can be done by command line or in imaginative combinations and as a result introduce some security error. I you just use the basic setup wizard you should be fine but where's the fun in that?

    Things to avoid (IMO)
    Subscriptions "Cloud" services generally for security. I like my routers, like my door locks, to be mine, controlled by me.
    Lightweight services, I have a Linksys "emergency spare" modem/router and it does both DHCP and port forward but both in a form that doesn't really work for me, can't remember why but I had forgotten many routers are locked to known games OS's and services (which may not work for the Kiwi).

    Another option is to look for something that offers a fairly straightforward default user interface but can be flashed to another firmware (E.G. OpenWRT), lots of manufacturers realise now that being able to be flashed to something else may add years to the useful life of some kit.
  • I was attracted to Mikrotik as it has a metal case.... for example
  • edited May 2019
    For some reason I dislike that 5xG/5x100mb default layout as it puts the WAN's on the faster ports, doesn't make sense to me, obviously easy to redo but for the Mikrotik "first time user" counter intuitive (IMHO).
    You did remind me of another thing, the wide voltage range means Mikrotiks (other than the 5V models) will run on virtually any power supply (not that their supplied PSU's are bad).
    On the metal case I see your thinking and shared it 100% but anecdotally, recently swapped out the plastic cased Miktorik Fibre-Gig switch I was using for a metal cased 10GTek SFP-Gig device, absolutely no difference, in fact if I used a shielded network cable from the Kiwi to the 10GTek device it was noisier (switchmode supply noise to Kiwi ground).

    If I had to buy a decent Mikrotik tomorrow it would probably be one from the CRS range.
    E.G. 109-8G-1S-2HnD-IN, Probably not use the 2.4G wifi much but good to have and one SFP port to use for copper isolation, eight gig ports.
  • I'm a bit attracted to the Mikrotik despite its GUI, and I have seen a few of the tutorial youtube videos (a series of 97 - yikes!) Maybe they are more reliant than the average consumer grade routers as well.
  • edited May 2019
    You can download and run the RouterOS to a PC/virtual machine to try it (fully operational 24hr limit), does look daunting to begin with but just amazing level of customisation.
    Keep notes, you could even do the test setup (like port forward) via the command line and just paste it into the real device later.
    I have five small Mikrotik devices here because I need to avoid copper runs, just could not afford to do that with another brand.
  • What I saw from the RouterOS video it's not too complex... I was looking at this one, should handle all my PCs and SDRs in my radio room.
  • edited May 2019
    That is a bit older than I would go for. A good device but within your budget there are others that will offer more future proofing and performance, E.G. the newer CRS range.
    I would seriously consider getting something with at least one SFP port (
    For radio, a copper free run allows so much more noise isolation options, I was never interested in fibre then tried it and became a complete convert (especially when there is an electrical storm).
  • Actually I just looked a the test results and I'm wrong on the router performance.
    Might have to review where I have a CRS in use at work...
  • Can the Kiwi connect to an SFP port?
  • Not directly but I'm currently using with multimode fibre and Ubiquiti SFP module on the Mikrotik at the other end.
    I do also use the small 5-port switches with Ubiquiti SFP modules (only becasue they were best value at the reseller). has multimode SFP 1.25G modules for about $6
  • OK thanks. I'll have a look at it, but I might end up at old tech... ;-)
  • edited May 2019
    Understood, unless you have a real benefit it's all just acronyms and more stuff to familiarise yourself with. Here it's mainly about noise pickup, lots with copper, less with Wifi but I don't like running enough microwave power to reliably to get over my neighbours multiple access points (all main channels covered, all over the house) so fibre makes sense. Once a fibre is in if I want to upgrade to10G it's already there. The lack of stress during storms is a tiny bonus.
  • Isn't your fiber ISP going to give you a particular router as part of the service? In my case I originally started with ADSL. That router also had a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. So when I upgraded to a fiber connection at a new QTH all I had to do was plug the GE port into the fiber ONT (optical network terminal) and re-configure.
  • John, there will be a unit with 4 ethernet ports installed with the fiber. However, I need to cater for TV (one port), my guest DX-ers (one or two ports), so the idea was to connect a router to one of the outputs from the fiber box.
  • Okay, sounds like they're just giving you an ONT with E/GE ports and leaving the rest to you.
  • My vote for Mikrotik too, it's good devices with lot of advanced features like different VPN's (client/server), dynamic routing protocols, scripting(!), NTP (server/client), if device have USB port you can use USB LTE modem for failover ISP and lot of other...
    Good and helpful tech support.
    On my home and country house I use different Mikrotik routers about 5 years without any problems.
    P.S. For more security don't allow connection to Mikrotik device from any IP from Internet to service ports like SSH (22), Telnet (23) or WinBox (8291).
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