EdgeRouter - Which EdgeRouter Should I Use?


Overview


Readers will learn about the differences between EdgeRouter models and which devices would work best depending on the requirements.

We also have a useful Comparison page that lists all of the different models as well as the technical specifications.

NOTES & REQUIREMENTS:
Please see the Related Articles below and the EdgeMAX Comparison page for more information.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Identifying Your Needs
  3. Switch-Chips and Power over Ethernet (PoE)
  4. Hardware Offloading and Traffic Analysis (Deep Packet Inspection)
  5. Related Articles

Introduction


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All EdgeRouter model use the same operating system (EdgeOS), but differ in the available hardware feature-set. Some of the differences are the built-in Switch-Chip and the ability to power other devices using Power over Ethernet (PoE). See the section below for more information.

Other differences between the routers are the amount of interfaces (including SFP/SFP+ slots) and the available resources. The ER-4 for example, has a 4-core 1GHz CPU with 1GB of available RAM, whereas the ER-X has a 2-core 880 MHz CPU with 256MB of available RAM.


Identifying Your Needs


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Start by limiting down the choices by using the table below:

 Question  Recommended Device
Maximize performance?
  • ER-4
  • ER-6P
  • ER-12
  • ER-8-XG
Need 10Gbps SFP+ ports?
  • ER-8-XG
Need 1Gbps SFP ports?
  • ER-4
  • ER-6P
  • ER-12
  • ER-X-SFP
  • EP-R6
  • EP-R8
Need a Switch-Chip?
  • ER-12
  • ER-X
  • ER-X-SFP
  • EP-R6
Rack mountable?
  • ER-8-XG
  • ER-12*
  • ER-4*
  • ER-6P*
Mounted outside?
  • EP-R6
  • EP-R8
Need PoE?
  • ER-12
  • ER-6P
  • ER-X
  • ER-X-SFP
  • EP-R6
  • EP-R8
NOTE: * The ER-12, ER-6P and ER-4 models are rack-mountable with the EdgeMAX Universal Rack Mount Kit (ER-RMKIT).

There are other models available as well such as the ER-Lite, ERPoE-5, ERPro-8 and the ER-8.


Switch-Chips and Power over Ethernet (PoE)


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EdgeRouters that include a hardware switch-chip are able to place multiple physical ports in the same LAN, similar to how a network switch functions. This allows devices on the same network to communicate with each other through the EdgeRouter without sacrificing any performance.  The devices below include a hardware switch-chip:

Other EdgeRouters that do not include a switch-chip are able to achieve a similar functionality by the usage of bridged ports. However, interface bridging is done in software and this will affect the performance of the device. See our Hardware Offloading article and Creating a Bridged Interface for more information.


There are many different EdgeRouters that support Power over Ethernet (PoE). The PoE standard on most EdgeRouters is 24V Passive PoE, which is available on the following models:


Hardware Offloading and Traffic Analysis (Deep Packet Inspection)


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As of the v1.9.1 EdgeOS firmware release, all EdgeRouter models support some type of hardware offloading. Please see our Hardware Offloading article for more information.

As of the v1.8.5 EdgeOS firmware release, all EdgeRouter models support Traffic Analysis through Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). See our Deep Packet Inspection article for more information.


Related Articles


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EdgeRouter - Beginners Guide to EdgeRouter

EdgeRouter - Hardware Offloading

EdgeRouter - Creating a Bridged Interface

EdgeRouter - Deep Packet Inspection


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