In need of router

Well, I’ve finally had it with the comcast router. That said, I’m looking for a replacement, and my requirements are fairly simple:
It needs to run dd-wrt or similar
it needs a usb port (these two combined are for per device traffic monitoring, there have been some “healthy debates” lately about who is causing us to blow past the data cap)
it needs to provide wifi

and my wants are fairly straight forward too:
i dont want to spend more than I need
i really dont want to monkey with this more than necessary

Realistically, I’m not looking for an overkill, do everything, fast as your ass router. It just needs to put video on the TV 2 rooms over, log internet usage, and do router things. That’s it! My solution as of now is dd-wrt with Yamon, but if there’s a better mean to this end by all means share! I know very little about routers and their software and firmware, I’ve never really messed with them before. I’m comfortable enough though I’m not worried about using dd-wrt, however. Any advice would be awesome fellas, if you have any questions please just ask!

Well I use Comcast too and the Arris device is just a passthru to my ASUS RT-AC87U

I’ve checked it does support installing DD-WRT.

But I just keep it updated with the latest ASUS firmware.

But then again this is probably not what you are looking for as you want something more cost effective.

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I’m running my cable modem/router in bridge mode.
For my network, I use a TP-Link Archer C7 v2 with OpenWRT. Never had any issue with it.
No experience with DDWRT so I can’t comment on ease of use versus OpenWRT.
Yamon can also be run on OpenWRT.

if you have an old computer, turn it into a pfsense firewall. then install bandwidthd on pfsense (system, packages, available packages, bandwidthd ) .
bridge your current isp router to the pfsense box, then put any suitable router in place. the network will look like :
your device > switch/router > pfsense > internet.
you wont need to ddwrt as any monitoring can be done on the pfsense server.

pfsense does not require alot of computing resources , though i recommend what ever you use supports AES-NI.
here is a link to AES-NI enables processors.

you can even use a laptop for this, for low power usage.

If you think pfSense will fit your needs, I would definitely take a look at the Netgate SG-1100 ( It is a great piece of hardware with low power usage. Also, with software/hardware that will be well supported for years maybe even over a decade depending on your bandwidth needs.

I’ve used DDWRT before. It did a great job of saving me money on buy a new router at the time. I to have Comcast but I refuse to use their hardware. Both modem and router are mine. From my testing Comcast’s meter was with in margin of error of the DDWRT readings. Though I was only tracking whole household and not per user/device.

Modem wise I suggest the CM500, CM600, SB6183. Stay away from all Docsis 3.0 32 channel modems as they have the Puma 6 chip in them and Intel screwed up badly with that chip, it’s defective. If your thinking of getting gigabit from Comcast I would suggest any Docsis 3.1 modem.

Router wise. Go to DDWRT’s website, they have a supported device list. Anything using wireless AC should be fine. However as some one pointed out PFsense has a good set of tool built in to do this job. I’ve personally never used PFsense but I’ve heard nothing but good things.

How much bandwidth do you need to push through your router?

And what’s your data cap?

I’m thinking LEDE with either:

and a roll your own bandwidth monitoring,

… or go with a ubiquiti combo (e.g. a nano-hd for wifi and a usg or usg pro for slightly more money over the diy lede) and get per device monitoring dashboards and logging done for you.

… unless you have fiber and want deep packet inspection at 1gbps rates for some reason in which case you’ll want to build your own router for ~300 and deal with the pain of setting it up

@omnicreed I mentioned dd-wrt because i was seeing a good bit of discussion and support for it in quick searches, and it is the option im most familiar with. After looking and googling around, it seems that openWRT may be a better option in general, at least from some recent discussions. I’ll definitely look into it, until recently I wasnt even aware this was an option.

@wr250 I’m familiar with pfsense, had not considered this. However, this doesnt help with the problems I’m having with wifi dropping, unstable connections, etc. I’m almost certain this is due to the router provided by comcast, I’ve tested with a subnet run off of another router and the issues were gone. Comcast has replaced it once and claims there are no external issues, so I would assume at this point its likely that the supplied hardware is adequate at best. I’ll look into this more and see if it wouldnt be cheaper just to do this though, it might work out that some wifi extenders and the old hardware i have laying around is a better solution.

@jacarroll417 I’ve been checking through the site, I was just hoping to get some first hand experience recomendations. I trust the l1t community a lot, we tend to give pretty good recommendations/advice. I’ve been sure to make sure the routers I’ve looked at so far support dd-wrt though. As for the tracking in dd-wrt vs comcast I’ll touch on that below.

@risk I’ll talk about datacap below. Bandwidth isnt a lot, most at 1 time is 2 or 3 users on youtube, and maybe one streaming through a firestick on netflix, 1080p. Typically though it’ll just be one youtube stream and a game though, maybe a music stream as well. I have a NAS, but the connection between it and the various PCs that use it is through a gigabit switch.I cant say im familiar with LEDE, would you care to explain? I’ll look into ubiquity, ive considered in the past but not really done a deep dive. Fiber isnt a concern, the fastest non-business internet we can get here is 60/40mbps, so even basic routers can handle it.

I think there may be some confusion on the intent of the per device data measurement. This isn’t to refute comcast, but rather to stop the finger pointing as to who is using all the data. We get 1tb per month down, i have no idea on up (hasnt been an issue so far). We’ve blown right past that 3 months in a row, and now comcast is sticking an extra 20 bucks for every 50 over each month. I just want to have a record that we can point to and see “oh hey, we need to stream less shows” or “we need to stop downloading so many games” or “slow down on youtube”. Whatever it is, per device will make it super easy to see who/what is using all the data, because everyone claims they’re not the one.

i did mention that you need to bridge your current comcrap hardware (and turn off its wifi), use pfsense and between the pfsense box and your LAN; use your own wireless router of your choosing.
let pfsense do DHCP and disable it on your router. you will need to only use the LAN ports and your dhcp will be handled by pfsense.
give your router a static IP such as (can be done in the router or pfsense) . make your dhcp pool something like - (to suit your needs).
this is very close to my exact setup in my home; i have internet> isp modem >pfsense >switch >all other devices including wireless routers which pass through dhcp.

What Comcast provides is not a ROUTER. Its a gateway. A gateway is a modem/Router in one box. They have a tendency to overheat and be crappy. Its recommended that you have separate devices. That being said, Comcast is charging you a rental fee for that pile of crap as well.

Buying a modem is easy as long as you dont have phone service. If you have phone service then it becomes a bit harder because Comcast is very choosing on what type of eMTA modems you can use. Like others said you can call Comcast and demand that pile of crap be put in to bridge mode, this makes it effectively a standard cable modem. Then you just connect a better router.

LEDE is another name for openwrt I guess. Let’s say it was a temporary name for an openwrt revamp project/fork before they merged back, it’s the same thing now.

Probably, ironically you may be lucky there, probably a raspberry pi even has enough juice to run that

If you grab an accesspoint (e.g. like that nano hd I mentioned, or even a low end uap ac lite) and that’ll take care of your WiFi stability and will also provide you with per client wifi usage statistics out if the box.

Can you turn your nas into a router / what nas do you have?

@wr250 ok gotcha. I read that as have the pfsense machine attached and just handling firewall/monitoring. Makes a lot of sense, will look into that more.

Yeah, I didnt know the term for the combined device. I knew it was a both a modem and router. I dont even think i have to call them, should be able to set it on device iirc. No worries on phone service, ditched the home line years ago.

@risk yeah i follow now. Seems like they merged recently. I have an extra rpi2 laying around from an old project, I’ll look up some guides/build logs of routers with them, should have enough juice to run openwrt i think. Combined with the ap idea that might be the best option.
I dont think the NAS can run as a router, or at least not without some major reconfiguring. Its a custom build, not a off the shelf design. Has an i3 in a supermicro board, 16gb ECC running freeNAS. Looking to rebuild it late this year, but havent settled on hardware there, and personally I would like to keep the NAS separate from other functions if possible.

Do you need wifi?

Better to get rid of it and just invest in a good Arris cable modem imo though. Will pay for itself in a year and last well beyond that

If you want something that works pretty much out of the box I’d go with the above mention UAP-AC-Lite and an EdgeRouter X or EdgeRouter Lite.

They also have the new Amplifi Mesh HD whole home WiFi/router unit but idk how good it is

UBNT puts out very consistent firmware updates

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yes, wifi is required. I’d rather not invest to heavily in a modem right now, the comcast one should be fine as a modem, its the router that’s the issue right now. I’d like to focus on fixing the problem I have, rather than preventing another right now. I’ll definitely look at these in the future though, always trying to think ahead!
I’ll also take a look at the edgerouters/amplifi. I’ve got a lot to look at when I get home today, thanks for all the recommendations guys!

Make sure the Comcast box is put into bridge mode. This will turn it into a modem only. You don’t want to connect two routers together as you will be double NATed. In some cases that’s not a problem, it can be a pain in the ass in other cases.

here is bandwidthd in my pfsense instance. i believe this is exactly what you asked for

here is the specs/usage:

so as you can see pfsense is very easy on resources, i have snort,openvpn and other things running.