Best Router for the Money


I have used routers from Cisco, DLink, Netgear,  and Sonicwall.
I have settled on the Zywall routers from ZyXel (pronounced zi-cell) because:

1) The content filter made by Blue Coat is inexpensive and reliable.
2) The VPN is rock solid reliable and easy to configure across multiple router brands.
3) It has an intuitive set of screens to configure using object based programming which is faster responding plus an underlying command line Interface if you need to look at anything unsupported by the GUI; I never have had to use it.
4) They are inexpensive yet incredibly reliable. In 5 years I have NEVER had to reboot this router due to a lockup or crash.
My corporate router is a Zywall USG 100. I use Zywall 2 routers for our employees to use as home routers. This has proven to be a reliable and inexpensive way to create a secure and fast corporate network via VPN.

At one point we had a problem with employees that would spend their spare time surfing porn sites, gambling sites and inappropriate chat rooms. That is when the Zywall became an obvious choice. The Bluecoat-based content filter has completely stopped employee porn site and gambling site visits. For only $75 per year it is an incredible bargain.
I have used Cisco routers for years. But they are WAY too complicated since they do not have a GUI to configure them. Using Cisco IOS to pound in commands is a throwback to the 1980's. It is powerful but I do not want to take a class just to configure my router/firewall. The Zywall has proven to be easy to configure but flexible - just what I need for small to medium size offices which is where most of the work I currently do is located;  they also work awesome in large offices.  I tested it against an equlivant Cisco router and it was faster and much, much easier to configure.

I have also used Sonicwall routers prior to Zywall. But I got tired of Sonicwall's perpetual requirements to keep pouring money into their routers. Pay for support, pay for every optional feature - then they would obsolete our product and give us a 'great deal' (an EXPENSIVE deal) on a new product. Never again will I buy Sonicwall - our company or any companies I support will not be a bottomless pit of revenue to Sonicwall.  Now, Dell bought them which should make the money pit even bigger.  I always stay away from Dell, HP due to thier expensive, low performing, and lack of quality/free support.

We also used Netgear routers prior to the Zywall. But Netgear simply has severe quality problems with their products. Weird bugs kept cropping up on every product we purchased (about 10 different Netgear products). Their free firmware upgrades frequently added more problems than they solved. So we eventually gave up on all the Netgear products due to the never-ending list of bugs.

Since I started using these Zywall products, my firewall/router problems have disappeared. Going to Zywall routers has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  Here is a competitive matrix and studies that prove Zywall is a great product.