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Wireless Routers

Posted on 2006-07-05
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What is the best wireless router to get? Mine has issues with timing out all the time, and the SBC people keep doing line tests and say that the connection is fine. I want something reasonably priced.  I currently have a 2Wire Wireless modem.
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Question by:tallguy22
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pseudocyber earned 125 total points
ID: 17043877
It depends on how much you want to spend.  Definitely look for a router which has WPA or WPA2 security - which is much better encryption than WEP.  I would look for one which gives you the most features - such as showing you ARP entries, DHCP leases, association tables, other neato info screens.  I must say, I've been disapointed with Linksys in this regard vs. other router's I've ... er .... "seen" .... such as my neighbor's netgear.

Basically, the more you pay, the more you get.  You get what you pay for.  

If you want to save money, you could go with an old B router.  If you want more speed and save money, than a G.  If you want future flexibility, look for a N or a pre-N router.

If you have an add on card, and you want some kind of vendor speed enhancement, then you pretty much have to use the NICs specified by the router.  On the other hand, if you're just sticking to standards, then any card should work with any standard Wireless router.

Hope this helps.
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by:mcompton69
mcompton69 earned 125 total points
ID: 17045471
Hi

I would contradict what pseudocyber says actually - I definately do not think you always get what you pay for with ADSL\Wireless Routers.  I bought an expensive package of Netgear DG834PN and a suitable Pre-N wireless adapter and the wireless performance is dreadful (worse than connecting with the onboard wireless NIC in my 2 year old laptop).  On the other hand, the router has not dropped a packet or the connection for 243 hours 06 mins at last count!!!  Therer are a number of no-frills modem routers out there that are fine for what you need - are you really going to use a VPN?  Do you need traffic prioritisation?

1 major recommendation is that you MUST MUST MUST run a very short length of phone cable to the router.  Network cable is much better at retaining the original signal, but if you go over a few metres of phone cable, the added noise can cause your router to disconnect (unsynch) all the time (whcih could be the cause of your problem).

If i were you i would got an ADSL non-wireless router (this all depends on your building situation of course).  THis is so that you are just paying for a device which does what you want.  If you want wireless, get a dedicated wireless AP (access Point).  Then, if you want to move the AP to get better coverage in certain areas of the building, you dont have to worry about sitting it near the phone point whcih makes your setup much more versatile.

Also, when the fully ratified 802.11N routers are available, you wont need to dump your router just to upgrade your wireless.  This is the mistake i made when i made the choice you are about to.

I would recommend Netgear kit as that is what i tend to use and i gather you are from the US.  I think that you have the shop eBuyer in the US too, whcih is where i have seen the budget routeres that get V good customer reviews too.  The link here is a perfect example: http://ebuyer.com/UK/product/52897/rb/20251246565  It has 194 customer reviews, it gets 4 1/2 stars, 4 port witch, with USB print server and it costs a totally rediculous £14!!!!!

To some up:
1.  All Pre-N routers are very poor performers so dont spend extra to get this system (read here - http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/wireless/0,39020348,39265307,00.htm )
2.  Look for a simple broadband router with a stateful firewall, UPNP, a decent web based interface, DHCP, more than 1 LAN port (4 is great)
3.  USB printing support is very useful if you have a USB printer, as it adds it to the network so that any machine can connect to it (dont need a dedicated PC for the printer).

Good luck, let us know if you have any more questions.

Mike
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by:ECNSSMT
ECNSSMT earned 125 total points
ID: 17047323
I don't disagree with either strategies; they are both good.  I have Linksys, Netgear and D-Link equipment and to date I have not had any issues with those products; but I have heard rumors or hear-say which I will not repeat in this thread.  

I can go for any brand per the idea of price vs features; but I have been favoring Netgear recently; I got a GS724T at home and am considering one of their L3 switches (besides their 8 port router, but its a little beyond this thread)

You may want to look at their gigabit wireless routers - RangeMax™ Next Wireless Router - Gigabit Edition Model WNR854T
http://www.netgear.com/products/details/WNR854T.php

They seem to be heading towards the management of their hardware with their ProSafe Network Management software.  I actually haven't tried this software yet (there is a free trial) http://www.netgear.com/products/details/NMS100.php, but it seems to be a nice directed effort on the company's part to integrate the company's product line into your home.  At least, its a nicer stance than the other companies, if there isn't any practical reasons for this in the home.  As well, they are the only company that I know of that still uses a metal chassis if that matters.

Regards,
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by:gkumaran
ID: 17048122
I have had similar questions, and I found most satisfactory answer from the following link.

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,12308267~mode=flat
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by:mcompton69
ID: 17049080
DONT GO FOR A RANGEMAX ROUTER!!! unless you really really really need the slightly extra wireless bandwidth and coverage now, this technology will be superseeded before the year is out, and the newer technology will not be compatible, please read this article before buying a RangeMax router http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/wireless/0,39020348,39265307,00.htm

I speak from experience, i have a Netgear Rangemax DG834PN, it is OK, but it was a waste of money compared to the non RangeMax/Pre-N/whateverTM routers.
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by:ElrondCT
ID: 17050795
If you have a large house, particularly with thick walls, MIMO technology is invaluable. (And the difference isn't "slight;" range is double or triple what you get with 802.11b/g. To be sure, many people don't need or want that.) The fact that a new standard will be released in the future is no help if you need to get your wireless network up and running now. It's certainly annoying to have equipment superseded and obseleted, but that's a continual occurrence in technology. I wouldn't buy wireless equipment that only does 802.11b now, but a few years ago it was the only game in town...
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by:mcompton69
ID: 17051007
You are not listening to me ElrondCT - the performance and coverage according to the ZDNet document above (which knows better than you or I) is NOT double or triple what you get from 802.11b/g.  My experience with my Netgear MIMO router is also no where near the advertised rate.  MIMO is about 25-50% improvement over 802.11g NOT 1000% as advertised on the box of the Netgear DG834PN (it says 10x times the speed and coverage - it is a lie plain and simple).

If you wait until the properly certified 802.11n devices come out, then you may well see those kind of performance increases, but right now consumers cannot buy that kind of hardware, it does not exist.

Also, if you buy a current MIMO router, it will NOT be conpatible with 802.11n devices when then come out at the end of the year/early next year.  They will NOT be able to stream HD content either - so my advice is to wait.

If you MUST have wireless then go for an 802.11g because the performance is good; MIMO performance is *slightly* better but the prices are *MUCH* higher.
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by:ElrondCT
ElrondCT earned 125 total points
ID: 17051435
My actual experience is 2-3x coverage. I'm not basing my comments on manufacturer claims; we've installed these in several clients' homes. Why ZDNet got different results I don't know, but I know what I've seen--houses that got no or marginal coverage at the far end now have a strong signal; garages that were totally out of range are now solid.

If you can wait for better stuff to come out, do so. But if you need it now, we've found that the MIMO equipment from Linksys really does work. (I forget if we've used other manufacturers as well.) Will it be incompatible? Probably, though it's possible they'll work out firmware upgrades. But that doesn't mean you won't be able to continue to use what you've set up. If you have a configuration that works, no need to mess with it.

That's a principle that applies throughout the technology world. There are always newer and better technologies coming out. The computers available in Jan. 2007 will be faster and cheaper than those available now. But at some point you have to say, "My needs can't wait; I need to buy now." Sometimes you can see a significant improvement about to arrive that's worth stretching to wait for, but sometimes the need is just too pressing. And once you have what you need, only gadget freaks have to dump it to get the latest and greatest.
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 17051975
Hmm.  So, to summarize ...

"Basically, the more you pay, the more you get.  You get what you pay for.  

If you want to save money, you could go with an old B router.  If you want more speed and save money, than a G.  If you want future flexibility, look for a N or a pre-N router."

:D
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by:tallguy22
ID: 17127055
WOw, i ask a question, and I get an arguement going that is HILARIOUS!!!  Ok, put this in Layman's terms. I know NOTHING about routers/modems. All I know is...I get HACKED OFF at my DSL when I'm playing Battlefield 2 online, and it times out on me. ALL THE TIME. the long cord MAY have something to do with that. I am hardwired, my roomates are wireless. So...they get the net. They don't play games. I want Low Latency. As long as they have the net, they are happy. range is not a factor. They are only about 50 to 70feet away. my house is 1500 square feet. I wonder if i put my phone line in a metal Box if that would help. ;-) haha.  I don't know if its that 801.22.43 whatever technology.  Well, i've already decided to dump my dsl and go Cable modem...which supposedly is faster..i don't know. What do you guys know about that?  All I know is that i'm hacked with SBC, and i'm quitting them as soon as my Extra Innings package runs out with DirecTV, and I can just go with Cable TV and Internet.  
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 17127076
Cable can be faster.  But supposedly it's shared - so there's pluses and minuses.

This wasn't really an argument - we like bouncing geeky intellectual discussions off each other - it's a good way to learn.  :)
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by:mcompton69
ID: 17128308
I also play Battlefield 2, and if you have a high ping for a sustained period, then you get kicked from the server.  Do you think this might be the case, or is it definately that you actually loose the broadband connection?

If you housemates are downloading (or viewing big web pages i.e lots of graphics or with sound, such as my space) at the same time you are playing, then you ping will skyrocket up and you will get kicked from the server.  This will happen with both DSL and Cable.  The only way to share your connection and still get good ping times is with 'traffic prioritisation'.  This is where either the DSL or cable router always passes certain traffic before it does other traffic, so in your case you would tell it to prioritise traffic on port 65000 (or whatever BF2 uses) over traffic on ports 80 (www), 20+21 (ftp) etc.  Do you know what they do online (you should do if you are paying for it!!!)?  Do they use P2P software?

Traffic prioritisation used to be a technlogy only available on high end kit, but you can gte it on reasonably priced consumer kit these days - there is even some on the budget routers i mentioned before.

Check the discription of this router:  http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/112954

"Quality of Service (QoS) gives you full control over the outgoing data traffic. Priority can be given by the router to ensure important data like gaming packets, customer information, or management information move through the router at lightning speed, even under heavy load. You can also control the speed at different type of outgoing data passed through the router to ensure that users do not saturate the bandwidth and browsing activities."

Hope this helps, no more arguments!!!
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by:tallguy22
ID: 17156648
Ok, MCompton..To answer your question...Usually, there are enough servers on the game, that i usually ping around 20 to 40. My roomate doesn't use "Cry Space" or "Date SPace" or "loser Space" so, no, when he is on...it doesn't usually lag me. I have a 2 Wire Wireless router...and I actually followed the fellas recommendation, and got a shorter cord. That did help. Still does it...just not as often.
1. How do I prioritize traffic?

Ok, So....GUYS, this is what I want.
I don't care about great range. I don't want a guy 3 blocks down sharing my connection. I really just want stability. A wireless router that won't just lose the connection. I'm willing to pay up to 100 bucks.
I have only been kicked on battlefield one time because of high ping, and that was because I was playing on a European server and i had a 100 ping. I've seen worse.

So, this priority thing....MUHAHAHA..."hey Brian, why is the internet so slow?"
Hmmm, don't know, must be the sites' servers you are on!

...Tell me how it works.
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by:tallguy22
ID: 17156683
And fellas, is there not just one model that people are like, "This is the best one for gaming"?  
List 2 top models...regardless of price, and what price they are...
then 2 GOOD ones that are maybe in my ceiling of 100-120 bucks.  I know a lot about computers..but networking/modems. I'm in the dark.

Thanks again,
TG
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by:pseudocyber
ID: 17183279
>> I don't want a guy 3 blocks down sharing my connection. I really just want stability.

Does it have to be wireless?  Wired would meet your criteria really well.
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by:mcompton69
ID: 17183964
I agree with pseudocyber:  Wireless will add a small lag between your PC and the router, before your gaming traffic even gets on the internet.  If you went for a wireless router so you mates can connect, but for yourself used a Cat5orcat6 cable then you have the best of both worlds.

Without being rude or patronising tallguy, traffic prioritisation sounds to me, too indepth for what you are trying to achieve.  also i have no direct experience, so maybe best to ignore that avenue.

I would still try and get some idea of what your mates are using the internet for.  You only mention MySpace, so do they only use the connection for browsing the web?  MySpace is not as bandwidth intensvie as other programs, i was mainly referring to file sharing programs as they can have a massive impact on your pings (more because of the upload than the download).

From what i have read and heard, Linksys are one of the best companies so i recommend their kit (although i dont have any myself cos it is above average cost).  Cisco are considered one of the leading companies in all network/comms hardware for busniesses and Linksys are the consumer subsidiary of Cisco, so they have a very good heritage too.  Amazon sell Linksys kit too.

Have a look here, under the section "Wireless-G (802.11g)" - http://www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellite?c=L_Product_C1&childpagename=US%2FLayout&cid=1115416939789&pagename=Linksys%2FCommon%2FVisitorWrapper

Buy the best you can afford.
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