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Author Topic: List your (wireless) router and experiences  (Read 2893 times)
rgdot
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« on: December 19, 2011, 06:16:05 PM »

In the market for a solid not too expensive router, the trusty old WRT54G is showing signs of the end, as with all DSL and connectivity issue it is very difficult to find culprits but I may, big may, have isolated it this time. There are 1000s of reviews online and except for the most expensive there is very little consensus. Would be cool if everybody reading list some experiences they have had.

My requirements are minimal by most standards, no gaming, almost never torrents even. Connect three computers and just browse mostly.

I suppose I could find another WRT54G but other experiences would be cool. Perhaps DD-WRT (and the like) ready would be nice too but I am not too bothered with it if it is a solid router.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2011, 06:57:31 PM »

I've only owned two wireless routers. My first one was a D-Link DI-624. It sucked.

Aside from the router sucking, I also bought a matching D-Link PCI wifi adapter for my PC and it was not compatible with my router. I got many BSODs on my XP machine when using my D-Link wifi adapter to connect to my D-Link router. I could connect my machine to other wifi networks without problems. I could connect to the D-Link router from my machine if I swapped in a different wifi adapter. For some reason the router and PCI adapter did not like each other. So I called D-Link Tech Support and described the problem ("I get BSODs when using the D-Link wifi adapter") and without asking any other pertinent questions or doing any troubleshooting I was told to take my PC to a local PC repair shop to get it fixed.

I will never buy D-Link again.

Now I own a Linksys/Cisco WRT160N V3 with DD-WRT. I like it. Though I can't comment on any of the Wireless N features since I don't have any Wireless N wifi adapters.
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4wd
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2011, 08:25:31 PM »

I will never buy D-Link again.

+1 After my experience with one of their NAS models.

FWIW, I currently run a ASUS RT-N16 loaded with Tomato-USB firmware.  4 Gigabit ports, 2 USB ports, WiFi N.

No WiFi problems connecting to 802.11b/g laptop and phone, and no problems connecting to a couple of generic 802.11n adapters, (one on a WD TV Live) - no problems with the router at all.

They also have the RT-N56U which is dual band.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2012, 02:05:39 PM »

I will never buy D-Link again.

+1 After my experience with one of their NAS models.

FWIW, I currently run a ASUS RT-N16 loaded with Tomato-USB firmware.  4 Gigabit ports, 2 USB ports, WiFi N.

No WiFi problems connecting to 802.11b/g laptop and phone, and no problems connecting to a couple of generic 802.11n adapters, (one on a WD TV Live) - no problems with the router at all.

They also have the RT-N56U which is dual band.

4wd: So how are you liking your Asus RTN16? I'm looking to upgrade from my old but very reliable Linksys WRT54GL. I'm hoping to gain a littler speed and from what I read the RTN16 gets roughly 3X over the Linksys. Pricing is fantastic so I might as well get one now.

Also, I'm thinking about running cable for a few connections where I use wireless currently. This will result in needing more than four wired connections. Has anyone done this and if so is it better to use a switch? Or another router, connected inline with the first.

Networking help is surprisingly thin on the net; I thought I would find some good answers and there are some, but sadly none of it seems to be at the same place! I end up following a chain of links all over. Created a folder in Linkman just for the networking help sites I visited and it quickly grew to >20... and I still don’t have the info I was seeking! Maddening.

Thanks!

Jim
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x16wda
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2012, 02:44:09 PM »

I've had/maintained over a dozen routers - Linksys, Netgear, Dlink, Belkin - some on the higher end and some on the lower end - and my experience is that most all of them go bonkers in odd ways within a couple years.  Ports fail, the radio fails, name resolution starts giving bizarre results, etc.  Currently I have a pair of Dlink DIR-615 routers, one at each end of the house, and they have actually lasted well - in fact I ran the cable and installed the second one two years ago, after the first one had behaved itself for two years.

It sounds like your needs are modest so I'd say most any model should suffice; just check first to see if there are any vulnerabilities reported (that goes for replacement software too, google "dd-wrt i know where you live" for example).  I use a separate gigabit switch for everything wired, but given radio speeds and internet link speeds I don't worry about getting gigabit on the router.  (That might come into play if I had more internal-to-internal wireless N traffic instead of internal-to-internet.)

(FWIW, the routers that break end up going in to work to use as dumb switches if some consultant says they need another port right away Grin)

Ymmv, my $.02.
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2012, 03:42:00 PM »

I bought a "Cisco Linksys E1200 Refurbished Wireless-N Wi-Fi Router with 4-Port Switch" for thirty bucks to replace a WRT54GL.

Speed now shows up as 72 Mbps, versus 54 Mbps before.  We commonly have three computers browsing and Pandora streaming on the TV.  Streaming videos from Amazon works great.  I haven't had any problems at all.

I'm not a router techie, just reporting what I've experienced.
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phitsc
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« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2012, 03:49:03 PM »

I just bought my third wireless router to extend my Wifi setup. It's a Netgear WNDR3700 (or N600) Wireless Dual Band Router. I only just installed the router this evening, so I can't say much about its performance. Its setup was quite a disappointment though. I guess that has to do with the setup I wanted to use it for. I use one of the three routers as my main router (basically, connecting to the Internet-modem and doing DHCP). This one's located in the basement. I use the others as switches and Wifi access points, merely to extend the wireless range (not that I would live in a particularly big house, but you know how disappointing Wifi range is). They all serve the same SSID but I have them running on different channels.

Now, I bought the WNDR3700 because it is dual-band and has guest WLAN support. So I followed this excellent set of instructions to configure the router as an access point, offering a guest WLAN. Unfortunately, the important part comes right at the end:

Quote
Check Allow guest to access My Local Network in Guest Network Settings or the guest computer won't be able to access the internet.

Well, that kind of defeats having a guest network, doesn't it? I also read an excellent explanation of what might be the reason for that dilemma. In any case, I was so pissed that I installed DD-WRT onto the router. But that was only the start of 3 hours of wasted time (which I would better have spent sleeping Wink ). With the DD-WRT detour I found out that the WNDR3700 does obviously not support scheduled Wifi. I also have the WNDR3500 and it does have that feature (and I also use it on both my other Wifi routers). In the end, I re-installed stock firmware and went to bed, frustrated.

I have now made the WNDR3700 my main router. It's located in the basement, so I don't care so much that I can't switch it off over night (it doesn't reach my bedrooms anyway). Making it the router connecting to the Internet-modem also solves the 'Don't allow guests to access my local network' problem. I can't offer my guests the best-possible wifi signal, but the signal's good enough I guess. (We also do not have many guests asking for Wifi access smiley )

So I guess if you use the WNDR3700 as your only router it's probably not a bad product (if you don't need scheduled Wifi). I think the price is ok for a dual-band router. I can't say anything about its performance yet.

I'm running DD-WRT on both my other routers by the way. I would maybe have left it on the WNDR3700 as well, but for one thing, people report that it performs better with the stock firmware, and for the other thing, setting up a guest network is easier with the stock firmware than with DD-WRT.
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4wd
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2012, 11:38:44 PM »

4wd: So how are you liking your Asus RTN16? I'm looking to upgrade from my old but very reliable Linksys WRT54GL. I'm hoping to gain a littler speed and from what I read the RTN16 gets roughly 3X over the Linksys. Pricing is fantastic so I might as well get one now.

The RT-N16 has performed flawlessly, (under Tomato-USB anyway, didn't use the original firmware for more than a day or two), since I got it about a year or so ago.  The only hiccups have been the need to occasionally reboot it due to local mains power fluctuations doing strange things.  One day I will buy an UPS....well, let's call it a definite maybe...

It just sits there and works which, quite frankly, is all I want the thing to do.  I haven't had much need to do anything other than the occasional port mapping.  It worked reliably while I was overseas for 4.5 months last year, never once screwing up access back to a computer via RDP or requiring remote human intervention to reset it.

Quote
Also, I'm thinking about running cable for a few connections where I use wireless currently. This will result in needing more than four wired connections. Has anyone done this and if so is it better to use a switch? Or another router, connected inline with the first.

I used to have a basic Netgear 5 port Gb switch plugged into, worked fine until the switch died  Angry  Don't buy the Netgear GS605 switch, apparently these things are prone to overheating and have limited heatsinking on the chip inside - it's not a case of if it will die, it's a case of when.

Haven't bought a replacement switch yet as I'm in the midst of rearranging my network appliances so I might not end up needing one.  Netbook, WDTV Live and two android phones connect via WiFi and a total of four computers connected to the wired ports, (one via PowerLine networking), two of them W7HP x64, one XP Pro x86 and a WHS2011 server.  They can all talk to each without any problems, there was a FreeNAS box but that's been replaced by the WHS2011 machine.
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Renegade
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2012, 11:57:15 PM »

D-Link DSL 2740B

It's so-so. I don't know whether it's the router, or my crummy ISP, but periodically I need to do a hard reset (power plug out for 10 sec). As far as I'm concerned, I need to do it far too often.

And as for whether it's my ISP or the router, can't be bothered to figure it out as it's unlikely to make any difference, and spending a minute every now and then is less time than spending hours and hours trying to figure out the problem.

My iMac sucks on it. But that's the Mac and not the router - other computers have zero problems, except for the one above.

Same goes for my wife's iPad. My Android tablet never has any problems. Just something with Macs being sucky at networking I suppose. (Other problems with them as well.)

But, I suppose I'm relatively happy with that router. It's got lots of goodies on it that I don't use. They are there if I ever want them. Nice to have options.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2012, 11:06:53 AM »

Thanks all for the input!

Quote from: x16wda
It sounds like your needs are modest so I'd say most any model should suffice; just check first to see if there are any vulnerabilities reported (that goes for replacement software too, google "dd-wrt i know where you live" for example).  I use a separate gigabit switch for everything wired, but given radio speeds and internet link speeds I don't worry about getting gigabit on the router.  (That might come into play if I had more internal-to-internal wireless N traffic instead of internal-to-internet.)

Well, when streaming to Roku Digital Players wirelessly, doesn’t the speed increase over my current router affect that? I thought it did, but not sure...

Quote from: 4wd
The RT-N16 has performed flawlessly, (under Tomato-USB anyway, didn't use the original firmware for more than a day or two), since I got it about a year or so ago.

I ordered the RT-N16 from Amazon but it does mention it "...support USB-Hard Drive and Printer and Open source DDWRT", so it most likely has DDWRT as its firmware. I guess I'll have to look hard at that and Tomato. Also, I am looking at getting an Asus 8-Port Gigabit "Green" switch for the extra wired connections I am planning. About $50. Any suggestions on which cable to use, Cat5e or Cat6?

It upsets me some to hear of all the router resets/reboots required; my last few routers rarely ever needed that. I am using an APC UPS, though it is pretty old now and I am looking at replacing it with a newer one. Sounds like it might be doing the job although I guess that could just be the power company being better than I realized too. The UPS is fantastic! On the few occasions my power has gone out over the last few years the computer, monitor, cable modem, router, and speakers have stayed on till I shut them down manually. Not sure how much time the UPS would have held up for but I know I went as long as 18 to 20 minutes once. Which should be plenty if you are using the UPS as designed. I've seen comments on reviews where people complained that they expected to get a couple hours of battery time!! Like students who thought they could finish a paper when the power died! They are really just meant to give you time to save your work and then safely shut everything down.

Thanks again for the comments!

Jim
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4wd
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2012, 09:31:44 PM »

I ordered the RT-N16 from Amazon but it does mention it "...support USB-Hard Drive and Printer and Open source DDWRT", so it most likely has DDWRT as its firmware.

I think that means you can flash it with DDWRT firmware, mine came with standard ASUS firmware.

I've currently got a 4GB flash drive plugged into one of the USB ports, this has a couple of optware packages on it and also serves as a small space to FTP files to and have the RT-N16 download to.

I had a printer plugged into it, (Epson Stylus 760), but since that printer has gone to the Great Recycling Centre in the sky I haven't got around around to having the new Canon PiXMA plugged into it.

As for reboots, mine are purely due to one of two things:
1) power fluctuation which an UPS would cure but I don't really need one, and
2) changing something in the configuration which specifically requires a reboot - most just restart the appropriate service, eg. FTP, NAT.
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