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We're starting to learn about routers for our small business (10 computers connecting to the internet through a dsl modem). It's difficult to figure out which level of router to buy. We know we need NAT and port forwarding, and that we need to be able to assign a static ip to a mac address. We also need control over the firewall.

The cheaper routers seem to have all the features we need. is there any reason to go with the more expensive ones (stability, speed, etc)?

Also - do we need gigabit ethernet on the wan side if we're using a dsl modem to connect to the internet? how about if we switch to t1 in the future?

-Charlie

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2 Answers 2

As noted, the less expensive home/small office units usually work well and are easy to manage for non-technical users. However, they do tend to be less stable in my experience. One thing that really helps them is to have the router and any other device (DSL modem, etc) on a good UPS that assures clean power. I have seen many routers that seem to be on but fail to handle some task. While a reboot fixes the issue, clean power can help avoid it. They also seem more prone to heat issues. Avoid stacking directly on other devices if you can.

Cost is a big factor for many as well. Several clients have bought the less expensive unit and a spare. Programmed both (or copied config) and they can survive a complete failure for less than the more expensive unit.

Support on the SMB routers is usually less helpful than the more expensive but not always. The more enterprise class systems often have more advanced features which you may want in future.

Gbit port for WAN is not much of a benefit for users as WAN speeds are typically WAY lower. However, some units may provison a Gbit port as cost is little different. You may need to set speed and duplex so it works with the modem or whatever you use to connect to Internet.

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Go for the 892 if you know Cisco's IOS or are willing to pay someone to configure your router. It's a good and powerful smb router, and will fit your needs.

The RV220W will be easier to configure with its web interface, but it can be less reliable than the 890 series.

You won't need gigabit on the wan port if you only plan to use dsl, but if some providers in your area can provide FTTx links, gigabit can be interesting (for the future).

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