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It's been 7 years since I went wi-fi router shopping...

Discussion in 'Computers' started by varaonaid, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. varaonaid

    varaonaid Android Enthusiast
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    VT!
    Whew! It's been 7 years since I went router shopping. At that time, my choice was fairly...the Linksys Wrt54GS. It was not expensive with all the rebates back then and was consistently given rave reviews. Now, things are different. There are so many options out there that I'm overwhelmed, frustrated and have no idea who to believe, opposing opinions from consumers and varying reviews from the large tech companies (Cnet, PCMag, etc)!

    Here's my setup: Cable Internet (currently running to the Linksys WET54GS), then I have a networked blu-ray player (Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc), networked media player w/hard drive), VOIP phone adapter.

    Two laptops connected to the router wirelessly.

    In addition, I have a second Lynksys WRT54G that's connected to the first router wirelessly that has the same networked blu-ray player and networked media player (since both are wired only, we're using the wireless router with other firmware to allow the wired devices to connect wirelessly to the main system - something that seems much more common now that when it was setup 7 years ago). Oh, and a wireless printer.

    So, I guess my questions are simple: what routers do you recommend and what device to use to connect the bedroom equipment to the wireless system.

    I've seen a lot of the new routers have simultaneous dual band transmission which seems it would be of benefit in my setup. What I'm not sure about is if I really need gigabit ethernet (for the bluray and media player streaming) or if fast (100mb) ethernet is enough. I don't know how much that changes anything. Price is an issue but I don't want to overlook anything that could really benefit our setup. All my patch cables are Cat.6 ethernet (the price difference on Monoprice was so small, I figured I might as well have Cat6 vs 5).

    I'm fairly tech savvy but I don't want an impossible setup to maintain...but if there's some minor tinkering to do to save a lot of money, that would be a possibility.

    Last this, the reason I'm wanting to upgrade is that the router doesn't appear to be functioning properly anymore. It won't maintain broadcasting the internet speeds that are getting to the modem for more than a short time after reboot - and that doesn't always work. I've seem the speeds frequently drop to 1mb download/0.5 upload instead of the 13/5 that we should be getting (but only occasionally do). This does appear to be the router because connecting directly to the modem gives the correct speeds and none of the tweaking I've done to the setup has been helpful.

    Sorry this was a bit lengthy but I wanted you to know the particulars. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks so much in advance!
    Rae
     

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  2. 9to5cynic

    9to5cynic Android Expert
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    Granted, I've taken sips of the Cisco kool-ade, but I'd say cisco all the way. And you probably could get by using on router that connects to your cable, and then using a wireless AP to rebroadcast your wireless.

    I don't have any model numbers or anything like that, sorry.
     
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  3. JRich8389

    JRich8389 Well-Known Member
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    varanoid,

    What firmware are you running on your router? Have you recently updated that firmware? I know Cisco is a little iffy on testing updates properly, roll it back if you have recently updated it.

    Also, Tomato is an awesome firmware that works with 99% of the routers I've had.

    Unfortunately, experiences vary so much with reviews on routers/ap/repeaters/etc...that its hard to trust them. I, personally, use this router.

    Thankfully, my house is pretty much one straight hallway, rancher style so I don't really have access problems. Can't shed too much light on AP/repeaters...sorry.
     
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  4. varaonaid

    varaonaid Android Enthusiast
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    VT!
    I haven't updated the firmware recently...eventually you get to a place where "if it isn't broken, don't fix it". So, I haven't updated just to avoid the hassles that you're talking about. Also, I have Sveasoft firmware on the second router to make it a wireless media bridge and I don't know what updating the firmware would do to that connection (sveasoft & DDWRT
    used to be the same until a group of developers split off, and created the second comapny - not sure which way around it went).

    Our situation is a two bedroom apartment that in a building that's VERY well built (never hear neighbors, all floors are concrete so it's definitely good for soundproofing). So, in a sense, I don't need crazy distance...in fact since we live in the city, I don't really want the folks at a coffee shop two blocks away to be interested in my connection...LOL. I have two devices that are "n" capable and I'm not sure either of those (one laptop, one netbook) can utilize the 5ghz range. The only way I can see doing that is using a dual band for both the router and media bridge and setting the media bridge to use the upper bands. The thing is, my other streaming video is actually plugged directly into the modem (which is also a router) in front of my wireless router (and I still have a let of trouble with the speed on the streaming video - even though internet access at our last place was 1/4 the speed the results were better than we're getting now.

    I can't afford to spend $250+ on two routers and I'm considering using DD-WRT because so many people say that it makes any router considerably more stable. So, I'm giving some thought to two Linksys E3000 refurbs that are around for <$70 ea - & that has simultaneous dual-band, gigabit ethernet, usb port, etc. But the reviews are all over the place some getting perfect routers while some are getting connee stained bricked ones. But that would cut my cost in half for with similar features.

    This seems impossible to figure out!!

    I wish I knew if in my setup the 5ghz would be useful or basically a waste with so few devices that can run on 5ghz. Heck, I don't honestly know if gigabit ethernet will benefit me or if 10/100 is enough.

    But thanks for the thoughts, advice and help knowing what works for you. At least that's a positive to know that that model has held up well. :)

    Any other thoughts come to mind??
     
  5. andruoid

    andruoid Android Expert
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    Over the past few years I have tried many routers. To name a few, Linksys WRT54GS and GL, Asus N16, D-Link DIR-825, TP-Link WR1043ND, etc. Some had detachable antennas, some running 3rd party firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato. All have been consumer level products as I don't really have a need for anything else in our home.

    A recent product from Cisco (not a re-branded Linksys) is the RV110W VPN Firewall. This retails for $90 CDN currently. Check the specs on Cisco's site, the brief: 10/100 ports, Wireless N, 300MHz CPU, 64MB RAM, 32MB ROM. The only thing it doesn't have is GBit ports ...do you really need them? Maybe if you transfer massive data frequently between systems in your LAN. For GBit speeds go for the RV120 model for $150 CDN. For my needs, 100Mbps is more than fast enough. As an example, I have a Wii with Netflix (max quality setting) and another streaming TV station plus all the devices in my house (1 desktop, 5 laptops, 3 phones) and nothing is ever slowed down on the RV110W.

    The firmware is fantastic as is the menu structure layout (the best I have seen, from my experience). So many features, you could tweak to your delight.

    This router also has 5 VPN tunnels and VLANs. VLANs are cool, its like partitioning a HDD but, in the networking sense. A picture is a thousand words, below is what my home network looks like with multiple VLANs and SSIDs. Each part of the LAN is separated from each other. On top of that the wireless devices are isolated.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. drdoom

    drdoom Android Expert
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    Packet tracer, the horrors!!!

    I like my WRT54GL for a $50 home router; DD-WRT is a great firmware to flash. I also am very impressed with the TP link router I bought for my dorm room. I don't think you can beat it for the price ($20). Amazon.com: TP-Link WL TL-WR340G 54M 4PT Routr: Electronics
     
  7. andruoid

    andruoid Android Expert
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    I'd be in a horrible state without it ;)
     
  8. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
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    Every picture tells a story doNit!

    Every do a speed test on one of the devices? What kind of numbers do you get?

    What is "Cloud PT Internet"?
     
  9. andruoid

    andruoid Android Expert
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    Cloud PT Internet is just a simulation, basically, everything after the cable modem. I'm on 50Mb/s cable and get close to those speeds all the time. :D
     
  10. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
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    In spite of the old saying about things not broken; i got TW to give me a new modem which i hooked up to an old reconditioned LinksysWRT54G which tested out at higher speeds than what TW was promising.
    One of my new laptops had "N" possibilities so I since I stream Netflix anyway I decided to upgrade.
    Wanted the Linksys E4200 but had to wait to order it so I picked up a Netgear N600 Dual Band ( not gigabyte ) WNDR 3400. For $69.00 from Walmart.
    It's like going from a 528 BMW to an M5. Hard to even compare.
    The new router has a USB for an external hard drive or ?

    These are interesting numbers:
    Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400 Review - Routers - CNET Reviews

    Good luck shopping!
     
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  11. kryptonyt

    kryptonyt Well-Known Member
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    Very Kewl!:cool:

    I thought I was doing good with my new router at 28 Mb/s:eek:
     

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