For my home network, I have used many different routers to secure my systems from Internet Traffic. I am not fond of the cheap routers provided by Internet Providers for a couple of reasons. My most obvious reason is that Internet Service Providers are serving thousands of routers and it is their financial best interest to provide the cheapest one available.
The best home router I have ever used was a custom build Linux firewalling server with two network cards. I had complete control over all of the firewall rules and could configure it to do anything I wanted. The problem with this configuration was the expense. Running a PC fulltime at 600W is very expensive compared to running small commercial router. Additionally, a PC requires a PC, hard drive, cpu, etc… Also, when I was “working” on the linux firewall, the home network would be down. This is no issue for me, but when my family grew larger this would be.
Cheap Commercial Routers are crap
Eventually, small commercial routers became available, and often with wireless built in. For a while, these routers worked for me but would eventually fail. The issue I had at the time, was that I would pull a bunch of source control over the wireless. When I did this, the wireless network would congest for my wife Heather and eventually the CPU would overheat.
After this overheating caused me to replace two routers, I opted for small office caliber routers with a dedicated wireless access point. In the event of a wireless caused overheating, this would not bring down my entire network.
Additionally, these types of routers did not offer any useful features I wanted. They would allow you to get things connected and working, but just barely.
The Mikrotik Router
I was introduce to the Mikrotik router by a friend of mine. At first, honestly, I was not impressed with the Mikrotik. I found its user interface to be difficult and it offered a ton of features I did not use. However, the more I used and deploy the Mikrotik, the more I grew fond of it. The the sake of disclosure, I am using the RB2011 iLS-IN. I have deployed about twenty units into the field and have not had a single failure of one to date.
The router offers four 1 GB ports and four 100 Mbit port in addition to the WAN Interface. Each port is completely configurable and you can route between different segments between each one. More importantly, the company offers a lot of firmware updates and each update continues to improve the all ready capable little device.
The Mikrotik is a great router for those who want control. You can easily use them for build simple little networks or manage a complex configuration in a data center. You will not find this router at Best Buy, but you can order the on Amazon for about $125.
As part of my home network organization project, I used the DHCP service to easily configure my dynamic devices to static IP address. The configuration allows you to define multiple DNS, WINs and Time Servers on your network, if you are so inclined. Additionally, you can easily update the firmware, backup your router configuration and use a command line terminal to configure everything.