Choosing Network Hardware


Routers, Modems, Firewalls and Wi-Fi

Most people, when asked what a router is, think of the all-in-one devices most domestic internet providers send their customers. Things like the BT Home Hub, or the Virgin Superhub etc. These devices are designed for one purpose, to connect all of your devices to the internet as easily as possible without you ever touching the configuration. Many let you make small changes like altering the SSID (Wi-Fi network name) and creating NAT (port forwarding) rules for gaming etc but that is usually about it. 

When building a Smart Home or more advanced and reliable whole-home network, we need to think carefully about the choice of hardware. These four roles can be decoupled if required, and we often do at least install a completely separate Wi-Fi system for faster, more reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. Smart Homes often require a lot more hardwired ethernet and sometimes PoE (power over ethernet) too, so a separate ethernet switch is sometimes installed. Multiple wireless access points and sometimes multiple switches may be used to create a structured network within your home or business. 


Below you will find a comparison of several common routers we install for customers. This is by no means a definitive list, and for each brand we will generally offer much more of their range depending on your budget and requirements (for instance the Unifi Dream Router is part of the Unifi range, and they offer a rack mounted Unifi Dream Machine which does not contain Wi-Fi, but is a much more powerful router and can host more services) 


Edgerouter X



Draytek Vigor

WAN support*

Ethernet (PPPoA/E IP/DHCP)

Ethernet (PPPoA/E IP/DHCP)

Ethernet (PPPoA/E IP/DHCP)

Ethernet (PPPoA/E IP/DHCP)

Ethernet, vDSL/ADSL

WAN Ports

1 x 1Gbit Eth

Shared with LAN

1 x 1Gbit (Passive PoE)

1 x 1Gbit Eth

RJ11 modem, Ethernet, USB

LAN Ports

4 x 1Gbit (2 x PoE**)

5 x 1Gbit (2 x passive PoE)

4 x 1Gbit

2 x 2.5Gbit

4 x 1Gbit



Teleport, L2TP, Wireguard

L2TP, IPsec, OpenVPN


L2TP, IPsec, SSL, Wireguard, OpenVPN, PPTP

L2TP, IPsec


built-in Unifi

Some Models

Some Models

Some Models


Cloud/UI App





Other Appsˀ

Unifi Control + CCTV

Docker Containers

Advanced Routing

Advanced Firewall (IDS)ᵒ


throughput varies

* WAN support varies by model. For Starlink, 4G/5G and external vDSL modems all firewall/routers with an ethernet port will be compatible. For vDSL/ADSL in the same device you need a modem/firewall/router like the Draytek. Some models of Mikrotik, nanoPi and Draytek support 4G/5G USB modems.

** PoE = 802.3af/at standard. Passive PoE is generally 24V non-standard.

ˣ Management = how device is configured by us and/or customer. Local management means we need to come on-site or use a VPN to manage your device. Cloud management allows remote support (UISP is cloud management for Ubiquiti ISP products like Edgerouter and AirMax wireless)

ˀ Apps can run on some routers, making them more useful as a hub. Unifi Dream devices (and the UDR) can run all the other unifi software beyond just the unifi controller. NanoPi devices run docker and can therefore run anything (such as Home Assistant) that can run in a docker container. 

 Please note that IDS (Intrusion Detection System) is a resource intensive task, and as such some routers don’t support it at all, others will have much lower total throughput than their design rating with the feature enabled.