I've been pretty happy with MikroTik's offerings. The HAP line has some dual freq routers.
They'll work out of the box, but it's much better if you spend a few and customize them.
They're certainly not "average user friendly".. But the OS is solid and the hardware isn't too shabby.
I've got one of the CloudCore CCR routers and I couldn't be happier. It's a 9-core CPU with 2GB/RAM doing all the routing/filtering/fire-walling for my entire ISP. Maybe a little overblown for home usage, but certainly reasonable for a medium sized business.
Tech support is mixed.. If you have a legit problem they're pretty good about getting it sorted out.. If you show up with a bunch of newbie questions you'll probably just get the "Go read the FAQ" treatment.
I've found the user community fairly accurate and responsive to more "beginner" questions and rarely turn to MikroTik for regular questions.
A few times that I've simply not had the time/patience to figure something out and I've turned to some of the, relatively, inexpensive experts based in Eastern Europe to whip me up a bit of programming.
The Queue (Mikrotik specific function) I use to set speed tiers for my whole ISP was programmed in about a day (and for less than $150) by a fella in the Ukraine who communicated in perfect English and was very concise in commenting/explaining his code.
One of the benefits to having a common OS throughout the whole line of routers, from the $20 cheap piles-of-shit to their top-of-the-line $3,000 units, is that most code/scripts written for any router will work on any other router. This means that one of the devs can code for a router that may be out of his price range but will work the same as the $99 unit he tests on.
just about everything can do that these days, and it's giga *bit* ports.
you also didn't say how large of an area to cover. for bigger spaces, including a medium to large house, a mesh unit will work well, some of which are *very* easy to set up (some claim a few minutes) and can even be securely administered remotely. for smaller spaces, just get one or maybe two nodes.
the better routers (and other products) are easy to use and don't need tech support.
most are, but nothing can guarantee 100% uptime.
synology, asus and ubiquiti amplifi are good choices. netgear and linksys/belkin not so much.
I sell the Netgear WNR3500L100NAS, but it is 2.4 Ghz only. And it is the ONLY netgear product I will sell. As far as I can tell, the netgear stuff my customer's buy on their own and have me set up is total crap.
The last one, I could log into the router but not get out to the Internet. I thought something was weird when I could update the firmware on the router. Then I tried attaching over the wireless and out on the internet I went. Total crap!
Lynksys/belkin "not so much" is a good description. "Almost" has to apply.
More than 20,000 Linksys wireless routers are regularly leaking full historic records of every device that has ever connected to them, including devices' unique identifiers, names, and the operating systems they use. The data can be used by snoops or hackers in either targeted or opportunistic attacks.
it's best to run an alternate firmware, such as dd-wrt, which can do a lot more but it also makes it not as easy to set up and manage.
ubiquiti is *very* good and *very* reliable, just not as easy to set up as typical consumer products.
amplifi is more consumer oriented than their standard fare and also works well.
asus also has alternate firmwares, one of which is basically stock asus with bug fixes and some feature tweaks (merlin).
synology's ui is not the usual web ui, which is much easier to set up and works quite well. it's linux underneath, and can be tweaked if desired.
I agree with you except for the reliable part. Some of the stuff is very reliable. Some is a nightmare.
Also, there is no phone number to call. You can only chat with them. It is a total pain in the ass if it is the router that is the issue. You have to direct connect, wait an hour on hold, get some instructions, hang up with them, rewire the router, try to install the update they say will fix it, the update fails (always), back to direct connect and an hour on hold .... you get the picture. It sucks.