New Router Time

locknload

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Beginning of the year I got a new laptop thanks to the Lenovo thread so for the first time I had a real reason to upgrade from my old faithful WRT4G Linksys router to something that had N capabilities.  I ended up with a DLINK 655 which had 2000+ reviews on newegg for an overall of 4.  It fit the bill with 4 gigabit switch ports and wireless N and had decent reviews so I was sold.  Well the thing was a total piece of shit, routinely resetting, constantly have no access at all, or pushed my 100 mbps down to about 2 mbps wired or wireless.  Reinstalled the WRT4G today and RMA'ed the damn DLINK.  Now I need advice on a replacement.  Not looking to spend much more than $100 but I need something with reliable N and 4 or so gigabit switches.  Anyone have anything they love and can recommend?  Already burned once on Newegg reviews so im skeptical trusting the reviews in this area.
 

zenter

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Oct 11, 2005
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Back in the day, the rule of thumb was "avoid DLink; get Linksys". Linksys deteriorated after Cisco ate them up, and then again after Cisco spit them out. Nowadays, they are also known to also be shit. Cisco consumer stuff is supposed to be not much better. I assume DLink  continue to be shit. That leaves Netgear. "Avoid DLink, Linksys, and Cisco; I suppose Netgear is fine."
 
I have one of their open firmware N routers (WNR3500L) that can take dd-wrt without special hacking. I never actually got around to doing it because it was pretty good out of the box with stock firmware. Plus a USB port for the external harddrive shared between all the devices.
 

Couperin47

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This site is reliable: he rips them apart, he test them, he knows what he's doing, his reviews are serious:
 
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/
 
and these days, at most price points the ASUS come in 1st or 2nd at almost all pricepoints.
 
be aware Newegg has refurbs of most of the Asus models almost all the time, but usually only around 20% off the prices for the new ones... that's not all that much considering the severely reduced warranty.
 

JoePoulson

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I've had the ASUS RT-N66U for about 1.5 years now.  Easily the best upgrade to our network outside of hard-wiring the house.  Granted, it's about $40 or so over your budget, but it's the best router I've ever used.  Plus, the standard ASUS firmware is very reliable, and you can install your own if desired (Tomato / Merlin / DD-WRT).
 

Adrian's Dome

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It's more expensive than $100, but I have a new Apple Airport Extreme doing my wireless work from a bridged Motorola SBG6580 (the built-in router capabilities of that thing fucking suck, but it's good as a modem) and the Airport is easily the best wireless router I've ever dealt with. I literally have not touched it or its settings once since setting it up 6 months ago (which took minutes) and it's been flawless. Strong signal throughout the entire house, and very minimal loss of connection speeds over distance/through walls.
 

SumnerH

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I'll be the dissenting voice: wireless routers are almost completely a commodity, there's no way I'd drop more than about $60 on one unless I was planning on flashing it with custom firmware and using it for more than just a router. The problems you saw with the 655 are weird, and possibly indicative of something else screwy in your setup; it's not a great router, but it really shouldn't be routinely locking up the way you're talking about--you should be trying to figure out why that was happening, if it's on your client side then throwing more money at a high-end router isn't going to help.

Do you have a friend with an N router you can borrow for a day or two to see if it's a client-side issue?
 

AlNipper49

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SumnerH said:
I'll be the dissenting voice: wireless routers are almost completely a commodity, there's no way I'd drop more than about $60 on one unless I was planning on flashing it with custom firmware and using it for more than just a router. The problems you saw with the 655 are weird, and possibly indicative of something else screwy in your setup; it's not a great router, but it really shouldn't be routinely locking up the way you're talking about--you should be trying to figure out why that was happening, if it's on your client side then throwing more money at a high-end router isn't going to help.

Do you have a friend with an N router you can borrow for a day or two to see if it's a client-side issue?
I only agree with this in apartments and such. In businesses, larger homes, areas with contention and structures with weird materials I've found a ton of difference. I ended up with one of my form's NFR Ruckus APs at my house and its - out of the box - night and day with my old cadre of devices. I have an old WRT54g with dd-wrt on it that I can get close to its performance but it takes some maintenance and a lot more setup time, relatively speaking. I do this shit at work so when I get home simple is better :)
 

zenter

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AlNipper49 said:
I only agree with this in apartments and such. In businesses, larger homes, areas with contention and structures with weird materials I've found a ton of difference. I ended up with one of my form's NFR Ruckus APs at my house and its - out of the box - night and day with my old cadre of devices. I have an old WRT54g with dd-wrt on it that I can get close to its performance but it takes some maintenance and a lot more setup time, relatively speaking. I do this shit at work so when I get home simple is better :)
Oh man, router quality is CRITICAL in apartments because of how noisy the radiospace is in apartment buildings. You have about 2 dozen signals competing and a crap router is nigh on useless in such an environment.
 

AlNipper49

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Sorry should have qualified that...that's what I meant by contention. SO critical I agree. InSSIDer is your friend, the best $5 that you can spend (PC version may be free, I forget)
 

KiltedFool

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Hmm, perfect thread.  Have a roughly 5 year old netgear on the second floor at one end of the house, am contemplating replacing it for better speed and reliability.    Looking for easy install and config, quality link to the other end of the house and into the basement, I've lost what little chops I had on networking years ago as I quit being a gamer.  Any recommends in the sub-$200 range?  Or how easy would it be to replace the existing one and use the existing one as an extender?
 
Last time I posted about this someone also mentioned powerline networking kits, anyone got a recommended solution for that?
 

locknload

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SumnerH said:
I'll be the dissenting voice: wireless routers are almost completely a commodity, there's no way I'd drop more than about $60 on one unless I was planning on flashing it with custom firmware and using it for more than just a router. The problems you saw with the 655 are weird, and possibly indicative of something else screwy in your setup; it's not a great router, but it really shouldn't be routinely locking up the way you're talking about--you should be trying to figure out why that was happening, if it's on your client side then throwing more money at a high-end router isn't going to help.

Do you have a friend with an N router you can borrow for a day or two to see if it's a client-side issue?
 
 
I spent probably 5 or so hours already over the course the last few weeks going through the settings and adjusting and it just got to the point where it was no worth my time anymore while its still able to be RMA'ed.  Got to the point where I'm not sure what else to check.  Scanned the wifi to make sure I was on a clear channel, isolated from any possible interference, isolated it so it was just a single machine connected, connected to just the cable modem to rule out a Comcast issue, played with QOS, disabled any firewalls settings, played with the traffic shaping settings, etc....  I bought it from newegg (love neweggs customer service) so they are going to give me a straight up refund which I'll apply to the new router.  I don't have a N router I can plug it but once I went back to my old Linksys G router the network was rock solid again.  I know wireless can be finicky so if it was just that I could buy that its a setting issue but the fact that the hardwired speeds were throttled as well (tested it straight to the cable modem, then to the 655 with just the pc attached and saw a huge dropoff).  Also its not really that it locks up solid instead the speed just drops down so its all of a sudden 1999 again.
 
I'm also hearing better things about ASUS than anyone else so I might look there.   I live on the internet and use it extensively for work so I don't mind going above budget a bit for something solid with good range (2000 sqft house and I like being able to stream the sox games on my phone while mowing the lawn).  After I started this thread the ASUS N66U caught my eye so I may end up there.
 
 
Edit -  Dammit 2 days earlier and Newegg would have sent me a free wireless bridge with it.
 

Fratboy

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I got a Buffalo N450 router a few days ago, and it's an absolute pain in the ass to set up and I think I want to return the fucker; I still don't have it up and running. I've got a 5 year old Netgear router, and I need to get an improved one so my work VOIP softphone functions better. Should I consider an AirPort, an Asus or something else even?
 

derekson

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Fratboy said:
I got a Buffalo N450 router a few days ago, and it's an absolute pain in the ass to set up and I think I want to return the fucker; I still don't have it up and running. I've got a 5 year old Netgear router, and I need to get an improved one so my work VOIP softphone functions better. Should I consider an AirPort, an Asus or something else even?
 
The Airports are fantastic in my experience. I bought one when the new AC model came out to replace my ~6 year old N one (which still worked fine other than lacking dual band so I couldn't use both 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz simultaneously). They last a long time and work great. They have great range and also deal quite well with competing signals in an apartment.
 
If you don't want to spend quite as much or want something you can load tomato or DD-WRT onto, then the Asus line seem like the best you can get at the moment.
 
I really couldn't disagree more about wireless routers as commodities. They got that way for a while when wifi wasn't ubiquitous and you didn't compete with a bunch of other routers in the neighborhood and when you were using 1 or 2 devices (usually just a laptop or two). But once we got to the point of having rokus, Xboxes, smartphones, tablets, etc all sharing the wifi, it's again become important to get a solid router rather than buying whatever's on sale at Best Buy.
 

JoePoulson

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Out of the box, the range is incredible. We have a 3000 Sq ft house on 1/2 an acre, and we get complete, strong coverage. Excellent choice on the router.
 

jaba

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Apr 7, 2006
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Has anyone had any success connecting a 3rd party router to their Verizon Fios network (i.e. using the included Fios router as a "bridge")? I've tried to use some of the instructions that come up with a search but these methods haven't worked. Specifically, I'd like to use the ASUS AC56U as my router.
 

Stuffy McInnis

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I tried a few antenna 'upgrades', and didn't get much improvement at all. I was trying to get a solid signal through 6-7 walls and 100 ft or so. I ended up biting the bullet and buying a separately powered antenna, which now works fantastically. I have a signal for around 300 ft away now. 
 
I'm using this one: http://www.amazon.com/Amped-Wireless-1000mW-Booster-SB1000/dp/B004MDQQ04/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1397591385&sr=1-6
Stupidly expensive for an antenna, but it works connected to my N Fios router. I probably could have just upgraded the whole router, but I didn't feel like messing with multiple devices after the FIOS router. 
 
 
 
locknload said:
Pulled the trigger on the ASUS N66U.  While i was looking around I also found some better antennas for it on amazon:
 
http://www.amazon.com/Super-Power-Supply%C2%AE-TL-WR1043ND-WZR-HP-G450H/dp/B00HMRJ8WK/ref=sr_1_4?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1397261446&sr=1-4&keywords=asus+n66u+antenna
 
I'll keep that on the wishlist incase I need some better range
 

locknload

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Ok I'm ready to lose my mind here.  So I got the N66U in today.  Get it setup, update the firmware.   Connect my PC to it via ethernet cord.  9mb down/11up on a hard wired ethernet connection.  Nothing else is attached to network the just the single box.  So I unplug and go straight from my pc to my cable model with the exact same wire.  120mb down.   I'm starting to think Sumner was right and there is something else going on here.  I've moved the router off away from any other electronics just to eliminate interference, same test results.  It's right now just a stock setup of the router.
 
Two things about this strike me as super bizarre.  One is that I'm getting consistent upload speeds across all my tests and they are higher than my download speeds.  Two I'm getting the same results from a wireless signal that I am from an ethernet cable connection.  So that should rule out any of the normal wireless causes of slowness like interference.  Anybody have any suggestions?  At this point I'm willing to try just about anything because this is driving me nuts.
 

AlNipper49

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locknload said:
Ok I'm ready to lose my mind here.  So I got the N66U in today.  Get it setup, update the firmware.   Connect my PC to it via ethernet cord.  9mb down/11up on a hard wired ethernet connection.  Nothing else is attached to network the just the single box.  So I unplug and go straight from my pc to my cable model with the exact same wire.  120mb down.   I'm starting to think Sumner was right and there is something else going on here.  I've moved the router off away from any other electronics just to eliminate interference, same test results.  It's right now just a stock setup of the router.
 
Two things about this strike me as super bizarre.  One is that I'm getting consistent upload speeds across all my tests and they are higher than my download speeds.  Two I'm getting the same results from a wireless signal that I am from an ethernet cable connection.  So that should rule out any of the normal wireless causes of slowness like interference.  Anybody have any suggestions?  At this point I'm willing to try just about anything because this is driving me nuts.
It could be a speed/duplex issue on the external interface
 

locknload

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AlNipper49 said:
It could be a speed/duplex issue on the external interface
 
 
I played with that setting it to both full and half duplex and testing and no good.  Woke up this morning and after searching around a bit on google  I tried making sure the cable modem was unplugged for a solid 3 minutes before reconnecting and being sure that the router was fully booted and stable before re-plugging it back in.  Sure enough bounced right up to 100mbps.  Convinced this couldn't be the issue I tried my standard method of unplugging both for 15 seconds and plugging them back in cable modem first and sure enough back down to 5.  Unplug both wait 3 minutes and do the router to a full boot first and back to 100.  So a ton of frustration basically because I'm impatient.  I never had this issue with the previous modem mainly because when i needed to reset it had a batter backup i had to remove.   Perhaps this model keeps connection info for awhile after being unplugged (no battery backup) and needs some time before everything gets cleared out so it negotiate properly with router (which also needs to be fully up and booted while the modem is going through its boot phase).   
 

Couperin47

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locknload said:
 
 
I played with that setting it to both full and half duplex and testing and no good.  Woke up this morning and after searching around a bit on google  I tried making sure the cable modem was unplugged for a solid 3 minutes before reconnecting and being sure that the router was fully booted and stable before re-plugging it back in.  Sure enough bounced right up to 100mbps.  Convinced this couldn't be the issue I tried my standard method of unplugging both for 15 seconds and plugging them back in cable modem first and sure enough back down to 5.  Unplug both wait 3 minutes and do the router to a full boot first and back to 100.  So a ton of frustration basically because I'm impatient.  I never had this issue with the previous modem mainly because when i needed to reset it had a batter backup i had to remove.   Perhaps this model keeps connection info for awhile after being unplugged (no battery backup) and needs some time before everything gets cleared out so it negotiate properly with router (which also needs to be fully up and booted while the modem is going through its boot phase).   
 
It would be useful if you specified the make and model of the cable modem that acts like this.
 

AlNipper49

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If it were me I'd throw a dhcp server on a laptop, plug the external port of the firewall into it, verify you were hitting 100Mbps while transferring to your "external" laptop then when the cable tech came over I'd kick him in the neck and continuous punch him in the face with the balled-up printout of the network stats.
 

Couperin47

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locknload said:
 
Good call.   Router ASUS RT-N66U and Motorola SURFBoard 6141
 
WOW probably the single most popular modem currently in use, I'm running a 6121 here and it certainly does not act like that, I have to assume it's some sort of interaction between the modem and your provider's head end, that's TimeWarner here and on the rare occasions that I have to reboot (maybe twice in last 18 months) I never wait even 1 minute...
 

AnkleStigmata

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locknload said:
I played with that setting it to both full and half duplex and testing and no good.  Woke up this morning and after searching around a bit on google  I tried making sure the cable modem was unplugged for a solid 3 minutes before reconnecting and being sure that the router was fully booted and stable before re-plugging it back in.  Sure enough bounced right up to 100mbps.  Convinced this couldn't be the issue I tried my standard method of unplugging both for 15 seconds and plugging them back in cable modem first and sure enough back down to 5.  Unplug both wait 3 minutes and do the router to a full boot first and back to 100.  So a ton of frustration basically because I'm impatient.  I never had this issue with the previous modem mainly because when i needed to reset it had a batter backup i had to remove.   Perhaps this model keeps connection info for awhile after being unplugged (no battery backup) and needs some time before everything gets cleared out so it negotiate properly with router (which also needs to be fully up and booted while the modem is going through its boot phase).   
 
Interesting. I've had some pretty badly degraded throughput on my LAN the last couple or few days, web pages frequently timing out altogether; I reset the modem several times - unplugging for at least a minute at a time - and saw no improvement. Now after reading this I unplugged the modem, ran an errand for 20 minutes, plugged it back in and now everything's zippity-doo-dah again. SURFBoard 6580 > Netgear FS108 switch > various other shit on the LAN.
 

Fratboy

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I pulled the trigger on the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 at Newegg and just installed it tonight. I've had Netgear for years, and it's worked great, but I need the 5GHz band so I can use my VOIP softphone on my work laptop. I bought this when Newegg had a discount on it, so I paid $168 for it. Is it more expensive than the other items? Sure, undoubtedly. But this sucker FLIES. With my previous router (the Netgear WNDR3400), I was getting 12 MBit/sec download speeds on my PCs and phones. Now, I'm getting my full 25 MBit/sec speeds on my computers, and 18 on my phones.
 
Setup was an absolute breeze, and I'm thrilled. Buffalo sux0rz huge.