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Do wireless routers go bad?

Discussion in 'BYTE ME: Technology discussion' started by ThePrideofShiner, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. ThePrideofShiner

    ThePrideofShiner spooky action from a distance SoSH Member

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    6,011
    I have a Netgear wnr200v3 router that I think I bought in 2012 or so. I pay my internet company for 30mbps download but routinely only get 20 and sometimes less.

    I have a Motorola Surfboard modem I bought in 2014. Both of these are in my garage and my house is pretty small (1100 square feet), so I don't see why I should have such a crappy connection.

    Any advice on a new router is appreciated. The main thing I've noticed is that it doesn't matter how many devices are running at once, the internet cuts in and out. I've restarted and reset and done all the troubleshooting I can think of.

    So other than switching providers which I don't want to do, I'm just wondering if a new router will fix things.
     
  2. Greg29fan

    Greg29fan Member SoSH Member

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    18,692
    I think yes. I've had two from Charter go bad in the time I've lived in North Carolina - the last one would drop the wireless signal constantly after working perfectly to start, and I'd have to reset it all the time.

    I got a new one about three months ago from them and have had to reset it only one time.
     
  3. foulkehampshire

    foulkehampshire hillbilly suburbanite SoSH Member

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    5,055
    I always recommend to buy your own. The lifespan is typically decent for most mid-range routers and it'll pay itself off (assuming your rent your router from the ISP) in a couple years, if not sooner. The ones that are typically given to you by ISP's are dogshit.
     
  4. JimBoSox9

    JimBoSox9 will you be my friend? SoSH Member

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    16,487
    Indeed, but pertinent to the title question, ISP routers are merely one level deeper dogshit than commercial consumer-grade routers, a despicable class of goods that rewards throwing cheap-ass components under a flashy hood and antennas. If you buy a router at Best Buy or whatever, and it goes two years before you get to the point of needing to re-set it once a week, you've done well. If you want to feel like you're buying a Forever Router, look at products aimed at the lowest end of the B2B market. It'll be twice the cost but quadruple the bang for your buck.
     
  5. Joe Sixpack

    Joe Sixpack Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    3,712
    I spent a bit over $200 on an Asus RT-AC68U about 3 years ago. Totally worth it (just checked and this model costs $145 now, though there are probably newer/better ones).

    Better signal coverage throughout my house, better speeds, and has been rock solid for 3+ years now.
     
  6. OilCanShotTupac

    OilCanShotTupac Sunny von Bulow Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    15,759
    Second this. My building has very thick masonry walls and I've had no problems with this unit whatsoever.
     
  7. IpswichSox

    IpswichSox Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    2,472
    Yes, this absolutely. After cycling through low-end routers seemingly every 18 months, a few years ago I bought an Asus RT-AC87U. The router is in one corner of the house on the main floor and the master bedroom is on the other side of the house on the second floor, and I stream video in the master bedroom all the time and without fail. No reboots or resets needed. No kids complaining about the wifi dropping out. I'm sure now after typing this the router will catch on fire, but so far it's been bullet proof.
     
  8. Cellar-Door

    Cellar-Door Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    13,275
    So one note.... getting 20 off wireless on a 30mbps service isn't that bad at all. You'll probably never touch your 30mbps unless it's on a wired connection no matter how good your wireless router is.
    The routers suggested above are great. If you keep having the problems after getting the new router the issue could be your modem.
     
  9. ThePrideofShiner

    ThePrideofShiner spooky action from a distance SoSH Member

    Messages:
    6,011
    I ended up going cheap again because I'm poor right now, buying a Linksys N300 router for $28 on Amazon. Per a few reviews it allegedly should do my little house well.

    Hopefully the router was the problem!

    Thanks for the advice everyone. Using the same router for five years feels like it is too long, but maybe it isn't. I guess I'll find out.
     
  10. saintnick912

    saintnick912 GINO! Lifetime Member SoSH Member

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    4,198
    Note also that they do age and degrade over time, due to the high frequency components. So routers can/do go bad in single-digit years.

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/semiconductors/processors/transistor-aging

    Fortunately they are relatively cheap and there is generally some worthwhile technological improvement that makes an upgrade useful by the time they are degrading.
     
  11. cgori

    cgori Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    2,222
    I hate to be that guy, but that's not really what that article is about (though it is quite an interesting article). I spent years of my life preventing oxide breakdown and electromigration in silicon, and a bunch of time thinking about things like Intel's "Foxton" technology for other applications. I really doubt that the linked reasons are what is killing your run-of-the-mill router. I actually suspect routers die due to weird software update effects (or lack of updates), where they need to be flashed back to "zero" in order to be in a manageable/functional state, because the software gets some accumulated cruft that wasn't anticipated.
     
  12. Couperin47

    Couperin47 Member SoSH Member

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    12,695
    That plus something far more 'traditional': heat. The modern flat cheap router with only narrow vents at the edges have lousy ventilation, which is really only adequate if it stands on edge. Laid flat they cook themselves, Netgears being especially good at this. Mods that cut huge holes or add small fans to these designs prevent most of this deterioration.
     
    #12 Couperin47, May 12, 2017
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  13. AlNipper49

    AlNipper49 Huge Member Dope

    Messages:
    40,160
    For awhile I was buying those old WRT54Gs, modified to have their tops be heat sinks, off of eBay.
     
  14. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

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    16,455
    I need a wireless router that can handle a good amount of traffic. It's for a restaurant, so there could be upwards of fifty people on it at once. Looking to keep it under $150. Am I being unrealistic? Currently working with a cheap linksys and it's not holding up. Need to be able to keep an iPad online to utilize our new reservation system.
     
  15. baruch20

    baruch20 lurker

    Messages:
    225
    And if you buy something running dual bands you could use the 2 GHz band for customers and save the 5 GHz band for employees only
     
  16. Dernells Casket n Flagon

    Dernells Casket n Flagon Member SoSH Member

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    3,030
    My 3 year old TPLink Archer C7, which was highly recommended by The Wire Cutter and performed great for the first 2 years that I had it, started having issues over the last few months. Network would just randomly disappear and would either come back later or need a reset. If doing some investigation online, this appears to be a somewhat common issue with no fix. There's no firmware update for my version for the last two years, so I said screw it and based on both the recommendations from this thread and a completely independent recommendation from my Networkhead buddy ordered the Asus RT-AC68U. Didn't feel like the 88U was worth the bump in price at this point.

    As I'm going to be doing some basic re-configuring of my network again, is there any consensus on name the 2.4 GHZ network the same or different from the 5 GHz at this point? If it matters, I have two APs (The Fios Quantum Gateway and the AC68U) on opposite sides of the house. Was thinking of throwing the old C7 in the basement with a different SSID purely to connect to the Roku in my home gym and hoping it'll stop tweaking out if it's only connected to one device that gets occasional use.
     
  17. TimNJsoxfan

    TimNJsoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    2,374
    Just upgraded to 200gig from 50gig cable service through Comcast. I had an old Linksys EA3500 that was fine for the 50g service but was not giving me anywhere close to the 200 after we upgraded service (this was on the 5ghz network) .

    Just installed the TP Link Archer C7 and now my 5ghz network is transmitting the full 200 in the room where the router is. However, my 2.4ghz network will only transmit in the 40s in the room where the router is located.

    Is this the norm with the 2.4ghz?
     
  18. AlNipper49

    AlNipper49 Huge Member Dope

    Messages:
    40,160
    On older routers without 2.4Ghz in a vanilla sense is going to top out at about that.

    Everyone uses wireless for everything. Go buy yourself a nice Asus.
     
  19. NortheasternPJ

    NortheasternPJ Member SoSH Member

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    12,181
    The TP Link Archer's are pretty decent. i have one and have had great luck with it. I typically get 200+ mbps when using 5ghz. I actually replaced my Asus with this and get much better results.

    Have you tried changing the channel on the 2.4ghz network? Do you have a bunch of clients on the 2.4ghz? Do you have a bunch of other wireless networks around you?
     
  20. TimNJsoxfan

    TimNJsoxfan Member SoSH Member

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    2,374
    I did change the channel on the 2.4 to channel 11. There are only maybe 3-4 devices using the 2.4. There are a bunch of other networks showing up from neighbors.

    if this is the norm for 2.4 then it is what it is.
     
  21. Dernells Casket n Flagon

    Dernells Casket n Flagon Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    3,030
    A few comments from my own experience:

    The TPLink C7 was awesome for us while it worked. As I mentioned up thread, after 2 years it started to get a little bit flaky and at 3 years it was so common enough that I tossed it (I actually still have it sitting next to the older router, if anyone wants a used flaky TPLink for the cost of shipping).

    I've also heard that at this point it's no longer necessary to manually change the channel and you're better off with it on Auto because it will adjust based on nearby signals far faster and better than you'll do by controlling it manually.
     
  22. kelpapa

    kelpapa Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,396
    I've had some issues with my network at my house lately. I swapped out the router, and it didn't seem to fix it. I've had the Arris SB6183 for several years, and I want to change that out. What's a good, cheap modem?

    I'm willing to spend up to $100, but if there is something for $60 that works, there is no sense in spending $100.
     
  23. santadevil

    santadevil Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    3,378
  24. kelpapa

    kelpapa Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    2,396
    After several weeks of messing with different combinations of routers and modems, I went with this. It's been fantastic.
     
  25. santadevil

    santadevil Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    3,378
    Good to hear. I'm enjoying my wireless speeds too, but I do have a small issue that I haven't been able to iron out yet.

    My house is wired with Cat5e, so all things that stay in place are wired (TV's, PS4, desktop computer, etc.)
    However, when using my cell phone, I can't cast a YouTube video to my TV anymore, nor stream video from my Synology server to my phone like I used to be able to.

    I believe I know how to fix that, but I'm not 100% sure.
    Do you have any tips on that?
     
  26. NortheasternPJ

    NortheasternPJ Member SoSH Member

    Messages:
    12,181
    I got the Eero last week with one beacon. I couldn't be happier right now with it. Speeds are awesome, setup was easy and the beacon performance is really good.

    I was going to get a second beacon for the other part of the house, but coverage is great, so no need. My only complaints are that it only has 1 LAN port and you can't add anything to the firewall. Guess it's time to hook up the Palo Alto 220.
     
  27. santadevil

    santadevil Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Messages:
    3,378
    Well, putting down my own issue actually made me look into it and I figured out how to fix it

    Factory reset all 3 units and then unplugged them all. Connected each unit by ethernet, which runs to my switch, powered up the first unit, set it up again, put it in bridge mode and once I tested everything out, unplugged it.

    Did the same for the other two. Key was to set up each unit with the same network name and password, just name their locations in the house differently. Not true mesh, but my wireless devices all still work and bounce from unit to unit as needed and can now speak to my wired devices again.
     

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