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View Full Version : Need advice/suggestions on wireless routers and networking


dolphin842
Jul 20, 2004, 11:19 PM
I'll soon be getting broadband and have a few questions about wireless networking... before I take the plunge.

1) My broadband company rates their connections at around 5mbps.... so does having a .11g router as opposed to a .11b router make any difference in speed? Since both specs top out at over 5mbps, it wouldn't matter which spec I get, right?

2) In my price range I can get either a D-link or Netgear wireless router... any recommendations/condemnations of either brand?

3) What will real-world indoor reception be at ~30 feet through two walls (made mostly of wood) on the same floor?

4) I have the latest PB with Airport Extreme... are there any technical things I need to be aware of before I can pick up an non-Airport-branded wireless connection?


Thanks for your help!

~Roy

LifeIsCheap
Jul 21, 2004, 12:49 AM
1) My broadband company rates their connections at around 5mbps.... so does having a .11g router as opposed to a .11b router make any difference in speed? Since both specs top out at over 5mbps, it wouldn't matter which spec I get, right?


Get the 'g' spec if you're going to be transferring any kind of files around your home network. I went 'b' with a Netgear DG814 and regret not getting the extra omph of 'g' everytime I want to move mp3s or movies around... It takes aaaaaagggggeeeeesssss...

jtgotsjets
Jul 21, 2004, 01:39 AM
1. Yea. All modern home networking solutions are more than fast enough to support a broadband connection, whether it's wired or not. The g will only help if you're going to be moving files around to different computers. For instance, my friend didn't have any files he wanted to move, so I advised him to get a b router and a g card (similar to what you are thinking of doing) in case he needs the speed later.

Both get the job done, its just a matter of how fast.

2. I have a D-Link 802.11g router, and despite the fact that I've heard a few bad things about them, I love mine. I had a tad bit of trouble setting it up (every time I tried to change my settings it would disconnect both computers until I reset it), but it actually worked right out of the box (plugged in and voila!), I just messed with things. It's also one of the cheapest on the market, with a current rebate, especially for a g router.

3. Reception would be fine. I routinely use mine in a room down the hall going through (at least) two walls. It's not quite thirty feet, but my mom's laptop (gateway) gets "Excellent" reception and she uses it downstairs, at least thiry feet away and more than two walls.

4. As far as I've seen, the Airport Extreme card works fine with non-Apple routers. The only difference is that you cant use the Airport utility thing to change Airport base station settings. But this makes sense, because your router will let you change it's settings in a different way, I'm sure.

WCat
Jul 21, 2004, 01:53 AM
1) I'm in total awe of your 5 Mbps connection :eek:! My DSL is limited to 1.5 Mbps.

I strongly recommend that you go with 802.11g. Almost every 802.11b router on the market gets actual throughputs of about 4-6 Mbps, not 11 Mbps (it's the raw, through-the-air speed, not your actual throughput). With 11g at 54 Mbps, your max throughput will be around 22-30 Mbps. That's the nature of the beast.

Also 11g and 11b routers are very nearly the same price these days, and 11b routers will be (and already are) considered so last year soon. ALSO by getting a new 11g box, you will be more assured of being able to get the newer firmware updates with newer features.

802.11i was just approved (stronger security, which WPA is just part of), and 802.11e (quality-of-service and streaming media) is just about there. These new features will more likely be supported by firmware updates for the newer hardware than will the older 11b stuff. (Not to confuse with all of these numbers, but 11e and 11i are ENHANCEMENTS to 802.11b and g, not newer competition.)

If nothing else do it for the upgradeability (think future-proofing), but you are running very close, at 5 Mbps, to being constrained by 802.11b's max real throughput!

WCat

stevehaslip
Jul 21, 2004, 05:08 AM
my friend has a netgear dg834g i think without looking. It was ok but it switched on the "don't let any other computers join this network" by defualt so when she tried to add another computer to the wireless network it wouldnt let us. why would it automatically switch it on if wep or wpa was already on?!?! it took a while to figure it out!

i have a linksys WAG54G which has been superb with no problems at all. excellent range with my airport extreme mac and with my brothers Windows machine.

Not bashing netgear, but another thing netgears are notorious for needing firmware upgrades. so my advice is whichever you get upgrade the firmware as soon as you get it, it will probably save you from any potential problems you might experience.

Sabbath
Jul 21, 2004, 06:09 AM
1. Wow 5Mbps (I have 0.5Mbps) with that kind of bandwidth I would definitely go for a 802.11g router. 802.11b routers are supposed to go upto 11Mbps but don't in practise and I don't think g routers are that much more expensive. Even moving a medium size file over a 802.11b router is painfully slow.

2. I can't talk about routers but we have had some d-link wireless cards that were so awful they had to be returned, we replaced them with netgear cards that have been great, we also had a wired D-Link router fail. I've found my linksys router to be excellent and worth the small premium in price.

3. Reception should be fine at that sort of distance, it may be a case of moving the router around a little to find the best signal but you should be fine.

4. I haven't had any.

dolphin842
Jul 21, 2004, 11:00 AM
Many thanks for all of your responses! :) I think a .11g router will work for me.

Based on people's advice here and on other sites, it seems like getting a router that works (no matter what brand) is often game of chance, though getting the more well-known brands seems to lessen the probability of it going kaput.

For anyone else that might be in the market for wireless routers, I've compiled a short list of the lowest prices I've seen so far:

.11b routers:
$25: D-link (Newegg, includes shipping)
$29: D-link (Best Buy)
$39: Linksys (Best Buy)

.11g routers
$39: D-link (Best Buy)
$39: Netgear (Staples)
$64.74: Linksys (Amazon)

I think all except the Amazon price involve mail-in rebates. Feel free to post if you find lower prices.

Thanks again..!

krimson
Jul 21, 2004, 11:24 AM
Netgear WGT624 - 108Mbps Wireless Firewall Router - WGT624NA (http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=10353498&loc=101&sp=1)

$69.99 at buy.com and $20 rebate (free shipping)

iNetwork
Jul 21, 2004, 11:38 AM
I would recommend staying away from both dlink and netgear products with macs. If you can afford it, go with a linksys purchased from newegg or zipzoomfly. D-Link doesn't always follow standards the way they were meant to and apple [usually] does. I've had d-links that will literally firewall the internal LAN when using Apple products.

Go with "G", you'll regret buying "B" as soon as you try to transfer large files over the network. Remember that wireless access points are a shared collision domain; meaning that if there are 2 wireless computers attached to the network they share the bandwidth. You'll really see the slow down when you try to transfer files from one wireless device to the other.

The other guys pretty much summed up the rest of your questions. PM me if you need any more advice. Sounds like you're on the right track!

krimson
Jul 21, 2004, 11:54 AM
I would recommend staying away from both dlink and netgear products with macs. If you can afford it, go with a linksys purchased from newegg or zipzoomfly. D-Link doesn't always follow standards the way they were meant to and apple [usually] does. I've had d-links that will literally firewall the internal LAN when using Apple products.


im curious as to what that really means.. does it cut you off from the network somehow..
i've had no problems xfering files from my book/g4/mum's pc thru my netgear router

dolphin842
Jul 21, 2004, 10:18 PM
Another price update...

Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router -*WRT54G for 59.99 after rebate and w/ free shipping.

http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=10336386&loc=101&sp=1