New ISP sent out rubbish modem router - options?

So I had a nightmare time with my old ISP last summer and ditched them as soon as the contract was up. My new ISP sent me out a little Technicolor TG588v V2 modem router combo which isn’t even dual band. Thankfully it does have 4x Gigabit ports and is doing OK just now as most of my PC’s are networked through basic Gigabit switches (Tp-Link jobs)
My past experience with this type of low end modem router is that they’re fine for a few weeks or months but then start to glitch, probably because they’re just not intended for the fairly heavy use my family puts them through.
So it feels like the clock is ticking and my options seem to be:

  1. Use this modem-router as a modem only and get a new router
  2. Get a better dedicated modem + new router

I’m unclear as to what to prioritise - it’s easy to get kinda excited about routers that look like miniature space ships, and presumably the RGB makes then download data faster just like it does for FPS rates in gaming . . . but given that our wireless gear is pretty old and that a solid AC level wifi is fine because the PC’s have wired gigabit, I’d appreciate some advice that’s mostly aimed at ‘bang for your buck’ reliability.

My guess is that the modem part is probably a bit like a PSU - absolutely critical but not very exciting, and I’ve never owned a discrete modem. And then, given lack of interest in Wifi 6, I’m wondering about what really solid routers I should be looking out for on eBay?

I’ve seen references to things like the Linksys WRT3200ACM to install DD-WRT on - but it’s £200 new and not much cheaper secondhand in the UK.
I suppose I’d really like to know what to look out for in a Buildzoid AHOC sense re mobos, but applied to router components - so if I do buy something secondhand for a bit more cash it’s because it’s genuinely well built kit. I have a box full of crappy old modem router combos from previous ISP’s and previous private purchases where I’ve doubtless been suckered into the sales blurb/hype.

Sorry this is so long - hope someone can help :slight_smile:

Depending on your ISP policies, you may be stuck using it as a modem only. My ISP doesn’t allow BYOD for modems so I have to either rent one or buy one from them. If your ISP lets you BYOD then get a better modem and router. Otherwise just focus on getting a good router to put behind their modem.

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One of the reasons why I switched to them is that they’re very happy to let me use any hardware I like and have already supplied me with all the login info I need for my account.
By contrast the very capable AIO I’m having to replace was supplied by vodafone but is totally tied to VF as an ISP in firmware, so now pretty useless. Yes I know it could be used as an AP, but I don’t really need one. Cheers

I just use the ISP supplied router as a modem; they seldom replace it often enough to meet current wifi speeds anyway, so might as well run my own access points. Nothing fancy, but allows me to keep on top of stuff.

ISP boxes are for modem use only.

But they don’t charge a fee for the ones they supply over here in the UK

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Pretty much all isp’s do. :slight_smile:

Anyway Technicolor’s aren’t that bad actually.

I’m in the same boat, cannot switch to my own router so what I did was put a pfsense appliances behind it and configured DMZ on the ISP router.

Runs a lot more stable and haven’t had any issues at all with the crappy ISP router, most likely because there is only 1 device that router ever connects to.

The pfsense appliance doesn’t need to be much, can even be a raspberry pi so the power usage would be low as well like that.

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OK cool - so best bang for buck router? Perhaps a secondhand AC wifi model with robust gigabit wired networking ? - to sort of take advantage of people selling off old kit when they upgrade to the Wifi 6 AX I have no use for in the foreseeable future, not having any such peripherals.

@MisteryAngel - that’s been my experience, but there was a fuss a few years back about non Openreach approved gear being used and causing faults inside a cabinet, so I checked before I switched.

Well if you don’t like their modem for it’s routing options.
You could switch it in bridge mode, and put your own home router behind it.

Sorry I realise my post wasn’t clear - I was kinda replying to Trooperish’s suggestion to just use the Technicolor in modem only mode.

So now I just need to figure out what router to match it with. Edited to add: And just spent the last hour or so scrambling my brain on the gzillion options out there. Going to do more end of year accounts - more fun than reading router reviews at this point! :wink:

I agree re the Technicolor not being so bad, but I have had one die on me from a previous ISP. I figure it’s because too much was being asked of it 24/7.

Also my partner is severely disabled and reliant on decent broadband, so I’m trying to pre-empt problems by getting something more fit for purpose. The purpose being the capacity to deal with multiple HD internet streams and or gaming between several PC’s simultaneously. We have the “superfast” broadband provision (Onestream £18.99 pcm for UK readers) just want to make sure we get as much out of it as possible. Cheers

The last one I got was an RP-AC68U, because it didn’t have the dead- spider look.

I got it from Maplins, so it was quite a few years ago, but still does wifi fine.

I personally would go Asus again,but now there is might better wifi standards, with faster connections etc.

Oh, and I use a cheap pi for pi-hole (minimum pi4, but pi3/3b would be fine) but most routers would do dhcp etc…

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This is the UK? What you describe isn’t really a thing, unless maybe you’re purposefully misusing the line and sending a current down it to try to deliberately break equipment.

As for options, there’s nothing wrong with the Technicolour devices, they’re actually pretty good. That you’ve had one die doesn’t really indicate anything on its own. a 20mpbs connection isnt going to tax any modem even used at 100% constantly.

I was going to ask what type of ADSL but it sounds like you just have 20mbps~ ADSL?

If you were looking for something to replace you’re modem then you’d want a Draytek Vigor 130 which supports both ADSL and VDSL. its pretty much the go to A/VDSL modem, but its also about £100.

You’d want a better ISP rather than a better modem in this case as your current hardware is likely to do you fine, what’s at a higher risk of failing is the boradband connection its self and at that point you need an ISP who’ll fight to fix it. Even then, downtime is just part of reality so depends just how much you need reliable broadband?

If you’re looking at reliability id think about if you have full coverage across the house, and a backup (4G/5G you can switch to).

How about building your own router with R4S and adding a Ubiquiti Unifi U6-LITE for wifi?

@Eden - thanks for the info - yes UK VDSL or FTTC. My broadband averages at around 70Mbps down and 20 up. The reason why I’m with my current ISP is that they have UK based tech support as waiting an hour + on hold to talk to someone in Egypt was a large part of the initial problems I had last summer with Vodafone.

Also the Technicolor they sent me isn’t even dual band as far as Wifi is concerned. No a big deal as my house is long, with thick 200 year old walls so I’ve run ethernet wherever possible. However I’d rather get a better quality router that has at least dual band wifi and have the Technicolor as ‘back up’

The irony is that I was perfectly happy with the router-modem Vodafone supplied as part of their ‘apology’ for screwing up so badly, but I can’t use it with another ISP. The further irony is that Onestream effectively sublet a Vodafone line so really all I’ve switched for is English as a first language, UK based tech support. Fact is Vodafone screwed up so badly all I have left is to vote with my wallet and not give them my business.

@Trooper_ish Thanks for the Asus recommendation - I’ve always been happy with their mobos, especially since they were already a few years old when I bought them and have worked for many more years trouble free since, which is exactly the sort of build quality recommendation I’m looking for.

@risk - that would be an interesting project had I any free time, but I think my limit would be buying something that was known to be rock solid when flashed with DD-WRT or Tomato or the other firmwares I’ve only heard of in the last couple of days!

Thanks for all the replies :slight_smile:

ah, you mentioned £20, so i assumed the lower line cap.

The technicolor will still do the job fine. I’ve never heard of your ISP before but i can understand the UK call centre. Zen and AAISP are the ones i always recommend because of they’re reputation for pushing for line issues to be fixed. AAISP is the best for this but more expensive.

Like you say, with the old house the wifi isnt going to be great anyway. It really depends on what you want to do. the if the modem supports bridge/modem only mode then you can easily setup your own network off of it without an additional £100 for a modem as well.

As you say, with thick walls you’re looking at multiple APs anyway or just going wired. So no matter what you do if you were looking for strong wifi connection throughout the house you might be looking at having multiple APs regardless of the router you want to use.

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Yes I’ve had very good experience with Zen and would have gone back to them had the Onestream deal not been flagged on MoneySaving Expert - it was £18.99 for 18 months for superfast before Jan 1st. So far so good.
Apparently Onestream have a pretty good rep with business class provision but are very new in consumer class - but I was very satisfied with the chat I had with the manager I talked to, who was properly concerned to register my household as having a vulnerable person and quick to recognise how critical reliable broad band would be for a housebound disabled person, especially these days.
I do have a couple of dual band AP/repeaters - but with the current router they have no 5GHz signal to repeat, so as I said, I’ll find something that’s dual band AC and keep the Technicolor as a ‘ready to go’ back up.
I’d like something that’s decentish OTB but if it were reasonably straightforward to flash with DD-WRT or similar (the Asus version for e.g.) then that would be interesting way to spend some the dreary Yorkshire winter days between now and spring :slight_smile:

The unifi wifi stuff tends to be “rock solid” relative to other dd-wrt / openwrt stuff.

In general there’s an issue with opensource 802.11ac firmwares that manufacturers provide. For example:

  • wrt3200acm … (which I have): has issues with regulatory domains in EU - gain is stuck to whatever was acceptable french legislation in 2015 using hardware efuses, … and firmware that marvell last published is statically built with US channels/DFS rules … as a result you only get channel 36 working on 80MHz, or you need to use factory firmware which is buggy / limited as a software router. (but the wired part of the router/switch is rock solid in openwrt).
  • various ath10k routers (which I have several different ones), have issues with firmware requiring large amounts of ram for buffers if you have lots of clients, on the off chance one of them might start transferring data - so you need to either get an expensive device (256MB+ ram router), or fiddle with one of candellatech’s patched firmwares. There’s also adaptive noise immunity “feature” which if you disable, your throughput slows down dramatically on any noise, and if you enable it sometimes you get hosts to stay connected so slowly it’d be better for them if they reconnected (… which is why I ended up with watchdogs scripts to detect this and reset wifi when this happens – the more devices you have the likelier to happen).
  • mediatek stuff: I have some cheap mt wifi routers in a drawer, but I haven’t tried them in a while - they’re usually not very high end - a couple of various boards I had all had different problems but that was ages ago.

The only opensource rock solid wifi stuff is older ath9k 802.11n based - unfortunately that’s usually tied to older / slower chipsets and wifi performance is not as good and all those second hand tp-link routers now have somewhat dried caps and signs of corrosion on pcb after years of overheating.

Some folks swear by R7800 aka netgear x4s … but I’m not 100% sure I’d trust them (it’s ath10k afterall, maybe it’s got enough ram and folks don’t run 25 devices at a time connected to one).

On the other hand, anything new wired is pretty much great and very easy to setup/deal with as a router, the SBCs these days are pretty powerfull (e.g. the rk3399 based ones like the R4S and the s922x based ones like the n2+ or even x86 sbc like the odroid h2+)


Thank you @risk for taking the time to give that overview - it’s alot for me to unpack as the whole idea of either putting a custom firmware in a router is pretty new for me, let alone building one from an SBC, so this is just to appreciate your reply. Cheers

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