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Which router to buy. I have an old Belkin N150
#1
Mr Desktop and Mr Server advise replacing the firmware in your router with opensource firmware because the OEM firmware almost never gets updated.

I have a Belkin N150 Wi-Fi router bought in 2012, so I need to either change it's firmware or buy a new router.

This is my current setup:  Router supplied by ISP --->> Belkin N150 --->> 2 Computers and a Kindle

I have to use the ISP Router. The Belkin N150 provides WIFI for connecting the Kindle to the Internet. The two computers are connected directly to the Belkin N150 with Ethernet cables. I keep the WIFI turned off except when I go online with the Kindle to download content, which is maybe once a month. Computer #1 is my daily driver and spends 5-12 hours a day online. Computer #2 rarely goes online and mostly when computer #1 isn't online.

Should I change the firmware on my 8-year-old Belkin router? Or Buy a new router? And which router would be best for a setup like mine where the router is mainly serving as a NAT barrier to protect my devices from the internet?

Side Issue:
Computer #1 has a Realtek WIFI adapter in it, but Ubuntu 20.04 says it is disabled. As I understand it, the attached "Additional Drivers" message means I should let Ubuntu install the rtl8821ce-dkms driver. But if that's the case and the driver is open source, why didn't Ubuntu install it automatically? Are there any pros and cons about installing this driver and using computer #1 as WIFI to connect the Kindle vs using a router as my WIFI source? Networking-wise I'm a total noob and not a whole lot more than that as a Linux user, even though I'm old enough to remember punchcards.


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#2
You have options.

From a security angle that is a really really old router and I am sure has all kinds of unpatched security issues.

1) You can get any router that supports OpenWRT or DDWRT.  Of course it comes down to price and your comfort level.  On some listings (Amazon, Newegg, etc) a router will list if it is supported by one of the open vendors.  However there are also databases on the sites to see if a router is supported.  This also comes down to are you comfortable enough to flash the firmware?  Do keep in mind most of the time things go well but there is always a chance you could brick the device.  So can you afford to get another router should you mess up one?

2) If you are adventurous there are more professional grade routers like Mikrotik that update their firmware regularly.  These routers can be had for as little as $25 to $50 USD on the lower end yet run the same software as much more expensive routers.  Some others are Ubiquiti Networks and Cradlepoint.

It all comes down to your comfort level, willingness to try new things, and of course budget.  I do NOT suggest consumer routers if you can afford it.  None with the vendors firmware are very secure.  Most are running really old unpatched kernels and full of known remote security holes.

Kudos on putting a firewall between you and your ISP's router/access point.
Jeremy (Mr. Server)

* Desktop: Ubuntu MATE
* Windows are for your walls, Apple is for your health, Linux is for your computer
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#3
(06-19-2020, 02:49 PM)cleverwise Wrote: ...it comes down to price and your comfort level....This also comes down to are you comfortable enough to flash the firmware?
If you are adventurous there are more professional grade routers like Mikrotik that update their firmware regularly.
It all comes down to your comfort level, willingness to try new things, and of course budget.

Yes, I'm comfortable spending more for a professional router with firmware that gets updated regularly. I'm comfortable with doing things that might brick a $50-$100 item. And I've occasionally done firmware updates before. So professional grade is definitely the way to go.

My experience until recently was as a "knowledgeable amateur" Windows/DOS user with a single device. When I switched to Linux and decided to get out of my familiar habits by updating my general computer knowledge, I suddenly found out how much knowledge there is that I had never heard of.

Thanks for your help.
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