Why you shouldn’t just buy an EdgeRouter for your parents’ house

Every day on the forums, Reddits, and chatrooms, I see people struggling to set up an EdgeRouter for the first time. The trend has really exploded since the $49 ER-X hit the scene, and generally they’re having a bad time at it. They ran one of the setup wizards and got the basic Internets working, but now they need to make that shiny new EdgeRouter do the things their old router did and are completely lost.

It has a GUI, it must work just like my old ASUS / Linksys / Dewalt!



In some ways the GUI is great. You can bootstrap an EdgeRouter from pretty much anything with an Ethernet port and web browser, and there’s even a little button to bring up the CLI.

But the GUI was literally an afterthought. It’s not meant to, and never will, provide everything that an average home user needs in an easily digestible manner. Consumer routers don’t expose their users to Masquerade and Destination NAT rules or ask for RADIUS servers or countless other things an EdgeRouter has in the GUI.


And these poor folks search the Internets for help. Find some old guide that’s thoroughly obsolete and expects them to be familiar with the CLI or hand-editing config.boot with vi, and they can’t make it work, and they get frustrated, and they call the product crap because it wasn’t meant for the likes of them.

Fact is, they probably should have stuck with their ASUS. Or, gasp, maybe bought a USG.

Now, if you want to learn Networking Engineering as a skill or trade, an EdgeRouter is a fine piece of equipment to start with. But don’t just rip-and-replace your functioning home router, screwing up the whole family’s Netflix in the process.

Point your router’s DMZ mode at your shiny new EdgeRouter.

Put your own PC or home server behind the EdgeRouter.

Take some time to learn and understand how to do all the things you need a router to do.

When you’ve figured it all out, then you can replace your home router. Then you can think about installing one at your parents’ or girlfriend’s house. But don’t make anyone else suffer through your steep learning curve. Don’t make yourself suffer!

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