Wireless router advice

Posted by: Joe_in_SC

Wireless router advice - 06/11/09 06:42 PM

I'm planning on buying a new router soon. It needs to be 802.11n wireless and I'd like gigabit speed. It should also be pretty stable and easy to set up. No need for a lot of advanced port control or gaming options. You guys seem to know everything about everything, so I'm open to suggestions and advice.

Thanks.
Posted by: oldskoolboarder

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/11/09 07:49 PM

I like my Airport Extreme, Express and Time Capsule. Yeah, you do pay the Apple tax but they work.

I REALLY like the newer Airport Extreme and Time Capsule because they are simultaneous dual band. That means you can run 2.4GHz AND 5 GHz at the same time. You can split your network for data and video or however, you like.

Linksys has a similar one. You can also just get an Airport Express and connect it to your existing network. Just set it up for 11n in bridge mode and leave the rest of your network up and running.
Posted by: terzaghi

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/11/09 09:35 PM

I just picked out the linksys WRT160N for my dad and it was really easy to set up. he says it works great. more advanced and costly versions are the 310n and 610n versions.
Posted by: thefwam

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/12/09 10:30 AM

I too have the airport extreme and enjoy the ease of set up and lack of having to reset it every few days like I did on my previous Linksys (cheap $50 one)
Posted by: cb919

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/12/09 10:44 AM

Joe,
Check out the Linksys page and you can filter by N wireless and Gigabit switching.

In my personal experience I like to go with Linksys. I have had the WRT310N for the past 6 months and have not had any issues. Prior to this router I have had two D-Links and I simply find the Linksys to be more stable and user friendly. Prior to getting the Linksys WRT310N, I tried the D-Link DIR-655 because it had rave reviews everywhere. I returned it for the Linksys as some of my wireless components just wouldn't reliably connect to it. Once replaced by the Linksys everything worked. Come to think of it i don't think i've been forced to reboot it once in 6 months.

Hope that helps.
Posted by: oldskoolboarder

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/12/09 01:23 PM

Do all your wired machines have gigabit? I assume so, otherwise there's no specific need for wired gigabit. Also, bear in mind that gigabit only matters w/ in your network. Even w/ the fastest cable rates (I've heard 20 Mbps), you won't take advantage of it in your house.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/12/09 02:03 PM

Ditto on the D-Link weirdness. My Zune constantly disconnected using one. I blamed the Zune because laptop ran fine. Then, frustrated that I couldn't solve the problem, I borrowed a Linksys from work and it worked fine. I forget the model I eventually bought but it's been working seamlessly as a bridge for my main and upper floors as the wireless router/modem that came with my DSL service couldn't quiet get its signal reliably past all the aluminum heat syncs in my in-floor heating.

I also hear good thinks about the Airport Express. You probably can't go wrong with it but it doesn't do anything more in my book that justifies the price difference.
Posted by: Joe_in_SC

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/12/09 05:24 PM

Thanks for the info guys. All of my (4) wired computers have gigabit, but I may have to upgrade the wiring. I think it requires at least Cat 5e, and 2 of the computers are only wired with Cat 5.

I have a D-Link now, and it does seem to be the root of my problems. I get a lot of dropped connections and the wireless range is not very good. What do you think about using is as a wireless access point to improve coverage in my house?

I like the Airport Express, but it's a bit pricey. I'm leaning toward Linksys at the moment.
Posted by: St_PatGuy

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/12/09 09:23 PM

I went the Airport Express route too. In the old house I lived in we had a cruddy Netgear wireless router that didn't like to stay connected. Very frustrating.

I've been using the Airport Express for a few months now and not one hiccup. Yes, it is pricey, but it's nice and small and performs smoothly.
Posted by: oldskoolboarder

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/12/09 11:50 PM

Give it a try w CAT5. This is like the speaker wiring debate. gig uses all 4 pairs of Cat5 but unless you have a long run it should be fine.
Posted by: ihifi

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/13/09 01:48 AM

Perhaps what I am looking for is not a wireless router but if I may, I wanted to ask if anyone knows whether there is a "router" that can wirelessly transmit the signal from a cable set-top box (Comcast's Motorola type) to a different room in the house. I did a search and came across Slingshot, which can transmit to a PC, and the yet unavailable Belkin FlyWire AV69003, but really did not see anything that can transmit full HD multichannel signal wirelessly from a cable box. We have an HT room and the cable socket is just behind the projector screen, which means that I would have to run a coaxial line all the way to the opposite end of the room where the projector is and get another cable box. I would appreciate any input you may have. Thanks in advance.
Posted by: Zimm

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/13/09 03:09 PM

I followed Cnet's recommendation for the Belkin N+ and it works advertised. And wired, it is funny to see 1GB in the speed bar. Range was not much improvement over prior Linksys, but that is going through multiple walls.
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/15/09 01:34 PM

Interesting that a few have had problems with the D-Link DIR-655. That's too bad. I have one, and both my boss and a co-worker have bought them based on my recommendations. None of us have had any problems with them.

Mine's great, and is easily the most reliable router I've ever owned. Distances and link speeds are great. The only time I've reset it was when doing a firmware update or two. Even when it's busy (a couple of 802.11N LAN transfers, maxxed-out DSL downloading to a third machine, WiFi print jobs, etc), it's never skipped a beat.

None of us have Zunes nor XBoxes, so perhaps there is an incompatibility there somewhere. It is possible. A long time ago I had a notebook that just would not connect to my Linksys router. There was a known compatibility problem, and a firmware update (on the Linksys) resolved it.

I've heard good things about AirPorts. And the latest Time Capsules look very interesting as well, especially if you have a need for NAS. The true dual-band 802.11ABGN is pretty sweet. As my home computing landscape becomes more and more Mac oriented (the horror!) I'll probably end up getting one. Simply because A) the work well and B) they work with Time Machine.
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/15/09 01:41 PM

 Originally Posted By: Joe_in_Ct
Thanks for the info guys. All of my (4) wired computers have gigabit, but I may have to upgrade the wiring. I think it requires at least Cat 5e, and 2 of the computers are only wired with Cat 5.


Don't even bother with Cat 5e. Just do Cat6 if you're trying to put together a gigabit network. As always, check Monoprice.com for the best prices. \:\)

The best wireless networks are pretty good, but it's not going to be as fast or as reliable as a wired network, especially if you're moving large amounts of data around your home. If it's not too much trouble, I'd redo the network cables and keep the backbone of your home LAN wired.

But that doesn't mean you should look at setting up a WiFi network too. WiFi is a godsend when it comes to portable equipment or for stuff that doesn't need to push multi-gigs of data quickly.
Posted by: Murph

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/15/09 02:34 PM

Peter is wise.

Also, by chance are you trying to VPN over wireless? Having both your VP and your router doing tunneling and encryption introduces some complexities that oftsometimes results in continual disconnects. There are some things that can help but wired is sometimes better for VPN connections to work and such unless you like to tweak.
Posted by: chesseroo

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/15/09 09:02 PM

 Originally Posted By: cb919
Joe,
Check out the Linksys page and you can filter by N wireless and Gigabit switching.

In my personal experience I like to go with Linksys. I have had the WRT310N for the past 6 months and have not had any issues. Prior to this router I have had two D-Links and I simply find the Linksys to be more stable and user friendly. Prior to getting the Linksys WRT310N, I tried the D-Link DIR-655 because it had rave reviews everywhere. I returned it for the Linksys as some of my wireless components just wouldn't reliably connect to it. Once replaced by the Linksys everything worked. Come to think of it i don't think i've been forced to reboot it once in 6 months.

Hope that helps.

I don't use wireless (for some of the reasons mentioned above and i don't own a laptop so i fail to see the point just yet) but i would also give a thumbs up to the Linksys brands. The hard wired models i've had over the years have been stellar, while i've had nothing but unintuitive manual reading headaches with Dlinks that friends bought against my recommendation.

About 4 years ago before we finished our basement, we wired up the place with Cat5e. Cat6 wasn't so popular or considered necessary at the time and Cat5e was already suggested as the next step short of going optical.
Still have yet to even get a gigabit system running (older NICs, older router).

Posted by: Joe_in_SC

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/15/09 09:24 PM

Interestingly, and very timely, PCWorld just did a wireless router comparison. In their tests, they rated Belkin and D-Link on top. One had better short range performance and one was better long range. The price is the same at $100 retail. I have no personal experience with Belkin so at the moment I'm leaning toward staying with D-Link. Both have a USB port for NAS and gigabit ethernet.
Posted by: cb919

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/15/09 10:11 PM

Joe,
I would say give the D-Link a try if that's the way you are leaning. Referring to the DIR-655 specifically, there must be a reason it received rave reviews - and truth be told I wanted it to work as it had some really cool features I would have found useful. However both my NAS and my Sonos controller were just quirky on wireless with it. Replacing with the Linksys cured my issues. But maybe the D-Link will work fine for you? Peter seems fine with his judging by his post.
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/16/09 08:41 AM

 Originally Posted By: cb919
Joe,
I would say give the D-Link a try if that's the way you are leaning. Referring to the DIR-655 specifically, there must be a reason it received rave reviews - and truth be told I wanted it to work as it had some really cool features I would have found useful. However both my NAS and my Sonos controller were just quirky on wireless with it. Replacing with the Linksys cured my issues. But maybe the D-Link will work fine for you? Peter seems fine with his judging by his post.


When you had your DIR-655 troubles, did you update the firmware? Just wondered - as there have been at least a couple of updates since it was released. Perhaps Zune compatibility was an issue.

And FWIW - on mine, I've got the wifi set up to be WPA2 encrypted. I have no problems/disconnects when VPN-ing in to work on XP, Vista, and OSX machines connected via wifi.
Posted by: Argon

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/24/09 12:59 PM

Couple of questions - out of my ignorance - do any of you have a printer connected to the router so that my multiple college students could make use when they are home? One daughter has an IBM laptop and one has a MacBook. Would I need to get an Airport so the Mac would work - and if so should I anticipate problems with the IBM or my Dell?.........Rob
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/24/09 01:06 PM

There are some other wireless routers that have printer sharing, and I think they should pretty much work across the board between Macs and PCs. Another alternative would be to share the printer from one computer, but that can be a pain.
Posted by: cb919

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/24/09 01:10 PM

Peter - yes, I had all firmware updates on router and client devices and had read up on several forums with multiple settings and solutions suggested. I just could not get everything to work reliably. I tinkered for over two weeks before I admitted defeat and switched to the Linksys.

Argon - I think most modern NAS boxes or routers with print sharing will work fine cross platform. Compatibility is always getting better. Sharing from a computer directly may also work but is less friendly solution.
Posted by: Joe_in_SC

Re: Wireless router advice - 06/25/09 09:56 PM

Another option is a print server. I used to have one and I recall setting it up initially was a bit of a pain, but it worked great once it was running. I'm not sure if that's the state of the art anymore.