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Is it "safe" yet to buy an 802.11n wireless router?

Posted on 2007-11-23
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What's the best wireless router under $200?

I'm looking at the D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N wireless router.  Here's one review at Dell:

http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx?sku=A0950905&cs=19&c=us&l=en#Overview

Here's a review at CNET that says "We've been reluctant to recommend Draft N routers because the spec isn't final and so far"

Is the Draft N spec still something to be wary of?  

Thanks.



http://reviews.cnet.com/routers/d-link-dir-655/4505-3319_7-32145084.html?tag=txt.4
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Question by:Dwight Baer
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Author Comment

by:Dwight Baer
ID: 20340830
(I seem to be answering my own question below.  But if someone from Experts-Exchange could at least reply with a comment, then I'll be able to save this on EE for my own future reference.)

A.  Answer from Dell Sales:
I spoke to a Dell sales rep, who sells the D-Link DIR-655:
Question - Can you comment on the D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N?
Answer - "That is one of the best routers you will find. Anything rated as "N" would do the best job you could want it to do."  

[I think this indirectly also answers my question about the wisdom of buying wireless gear with the as-yet-unfinalized draft of 802-11n.]

B.  One more review about the D-Link DIR-655
Here's one more link supporting the D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N:
http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=72&Itemid=1&limit=1&limitstart=6 

D-Link just keeps upping the 802.11n ante. The Xtreme N is a vast improvement over the previous DIR-630 model. The DIR-655 bridges the narrowing gap between consumer and business Wi-Fi routers.

C.  802.11n - Fact vs Fiction article
Here's an interesting article about "802.11n: Fact vs. Fiction":
http://laptopmag.com/Features/Common-802-11n-Myths-Debunked.htm

Depending on who you ask (and perhaps when), the successor to the 802.11g wireless standard can be seen as a super-fast alternative to Ethernet, a clunky draft specification that lacks any sort of interoperability, or a promising newcomer that just needs a long maturation period.

1. It doesn't make sense to upgrade because the standard isn't finalized.
FICTION: Upgrading from 802.11g to 802.11n is actually rife with benefits ...

2. 802.11n is faster than wired.
FACT (SORT OF): Under the best conditions, many 802.11n routers deliver throughput between 100 Mbps and 120 Mbps near the router...

3. Draft 802.11n routers and cards made by different vendors are incompatible with each other.
FACT: 802.11n tends to be more incompatible than 802.11g, mostly because the technology has such specific requirements.  ...

4. You can stream video, surf the Web, and make VoIP calls simultaneously without a dip in performance.
FICTION: While 802.11n was intended to address the streaming-media needs of the early-adopter consumer-those who want to play multiplayer games on an Xbox 360 and talk on a Vonage VoIP line at the same time-the truth is that there is only so much bandwidth available.

5. The coverage area for 802.11n is not as good as that of the older MIMO Gen 3 models.
FACT: The truth about the 802.11n specification is that it does not really increase your wireless coverage area.

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lrmoore earned 2000 total points
ID: 20341018
Here's a really indepth article on 802.11n
http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps6973/products_white_paper0900aecd806b8ce7.shtml

Draft 2.0 products should be fine and I would recommend them.
802.11n was not designed to increase coverage areas, just make the covered areas much more efficient with higher throughput and added features and less prone to interference.

>I spoke to a Dell sales rep
What would you expect a sales rep to say? They are trained to sing praises to the equipment they sell. They don't know diddly squat about the technology other that what is printed on their cheat sheets.

I also agree completely with the fact/fiction list. If you pay attention to fact #2 and buy all components from the same manufacturer then there are tangible benefits today and it may be worth the investment.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Dwight Baer
ID: 31410675
Thanks, lrmoore!
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