Broadband Router Comparisons

Mikael Abrahamsson swmike at
Sun Dec 27 07:37:25 UTC 2015

On Sat, 26 Dec 2015, Mike wrote:

> As a service provider with largely residential/small business customers, I 
> certainly have some thoughts on broadband routers. Sorry if this is overly 
> long.
> Firstly, they are all junk.

Yes, that's correct. We get what we pay for. If the ISP buys the CPE, 
their procurement department will get bonus for shaving off every cent off 
of the price possible, meaning the device manufacturer also pressures all 
their people to come up a way to checkbox all the features requested.

For the low price CPEs bought in the electronics store, mostly by people 
with no technical expertise, we have a similar situation. Shiny box, list 
of some checkbox features, sell it for 8-12 months until there is a new 
SOC which is slightly more cost reduced, release a new hardware revision 
(completely incompatible with the old one but from a black box of view 
does the same), start selling that rev instead.

Margins in this business are super tight and most of the vendors aren't 
making any money, just like the mobile phone business. Providing security 
updates is just a cost, there is no upside, because these boxes sit in a 
closet, unloved until they stop working, and they're thrown out and 
replaced by a new unloved box that goes into the closet until it stops 
working again.

So the ecosystem is completely broken, and I have no idea how to fix it.

If someone like Consumer Reports or similar agency started testing and 
rating devices on these things like long-time support, automatic updates, 
software quality etc, and not just testing wifi speed as a factor of 
distance, we might get somewhere.

Mikael Abrahamsson    email: swmike at

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