Need help choosing wireless router

Discussion in 'Community' started by G4scott, Sep 1, 2002.

  1. G4scott macrumors 68020

    G4scott

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #1
    I need help deciding whether to get this D-Link wireless router or this Netgear wireless router...

    I know that AirPort is much better for Macs, but It's just too expensive for me... I can get the D-Link router for $100 and a wireless PC card for $50, or the Netgear for $150 with a free wireless PC card.

    I've checked out the specs on them, and it seems that the D-Link is the better choice, but I'm still not sure.

    I also have a question about the PC cards... Will they work in a PowerBook G3 without airport? I imagine that they would, but do you need any special drivers or what?

    All help is greatly appreciated :cool:
     
  2. cleo macrumors 65816

    cleo

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Area, FL, USA
    #2
    My advice? Save your pennies and get Airport. You *will* regret going with a cheaper "solution." Trust me.
     
  3. idkew macrumors 68020

    idkew

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2001
    Location:
    where the concrete to dirt ratio is better
    #3
    go with airport

    but if you must go pc, make sure that the router can support appletalk.

    if your laptop is older than a pismo (bronze keyboard), you are out of luck when it comes to apple branded wireless. I would just do your homework and choose the one which promises mac compatibility all the way.
     
  4. sparkleytone macrumors 68020

    sparkleytone

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2001
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    #4
    never buy a netgear. ever.

    save your money get the airport base station.

    if not, then get an SMC. i would stay away from netgear and d-link.
     
  5. G4scott thread starter macrumors 68020

    G4scott

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #5
    I understand that Airport will work with my Mac a lot better, but these other routers advertise up to 300 ft operating range (of course, the signal does lose speed as the range increases)

    Other than the configuration and integration of AirPort with the Mac, what other advantages does it have?
     
  6. awrc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #6
    I'm not going to make any recommendations one way or another, different people have widely divergent opinions on Netgear's products, but I've been using a Netgear MR314 since late last year and have had only one problem with it (a port-speed negotiation issue between its WAN port and my DSL router that was solved by sticking a hub in between them).

    In fact, the only real difficulty I had was that when I bought my wife a PowerBook Ti, it couldn't pick up a signal in the livingroom (router was in the office) despite the fact that my old Toshiba laptop could. That necessitated running an Ethernet cable through to the livingroom and hooking up a Netgear ME102 to it so there was a signal strong enough for the PowerBook (I have very thick walls). The Netgear ME102 is a decent wireless AP, but avoid it like the plague unless you have a PC around to configure it with.

    No problems at all with any of it - I've now got two access points servicing my wife's PowerBook, my PowerMac, my Toshiba PocketPC, my PC (which also has a hard-wired connection because for some reason it's impossible to turn the damn wireless connection *off*), my old Toshiba laptop and my nice new HP 380X wireless print server. The access points are Netgear, the wireless cards in the PC are Netgear, and the switches that make up the wired part of my network are Netgear.

    As long as you're running AppleTalk Phase 2 (EtherTalk) the routers shouldn't bat at eyelid at it.

    The whole Netgear vs Linksys vs D-Link thing is just so much ******** anyway. Internally most of these units are exactly the same, hardware-wise. In many cases they're even running basically the same firmware.

    MR314 good and bad points - no stateful-inspection on the firewall (although it's a decent firewall despite that), the "web filtering" capabilities are extremely simplistic, no ability to log to a syslog server and the wireless interface is oversimplified to WEP On/Off (open system vs shared key authentication is implicit - if you leave WEP off it uses open system, if you turn WEP on, it uses shared key, whereas you really should be able to control them both separately). Good points are it's a nice solid unit, mine's remained up for months at a time without problems, and sometimes a simple web-based GUI is a bood thing.

    If you want to stay *close* to the Airport but can't afford one, consider checking out the Agere/Orinoco residential gateways. The old RG-1000 was basically identical to an Airport except for different firmware and a different shaped box. I think they later came out with a budget version (RG-1002? RG-2000?) which cut out some of the "extras" like the built-in modem. It's presumably not flashable with Airport firmware like the RG-1000 was, but it's probably the most similar thing out there to an Airport.
     
  7. cleo macrumors 65816

    cleo

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2002
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Area, FL, USA
    #7
    Um... it works? If you have trouble, you can get tech support? (Most PC router companies don't officially support Macs, and vice versa.) It looks cool? Did I mention that it works?

    Seriously, I had a Linksys for 3 months, and it was hell. Dropped connections, no Appletalk, etc. I've since had a Airport for 9 months, and have had zero problems with either the PC's or the Macs that are on our network.

    It is TOTALLY worth the extra money.
     
  8. G4scott thread starter macrumors 68020

    G4scott

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #8
    Well, I'm not too worried about a firewall or any of that IP filtering. The SMC router that I'm plugging it into already has all that stuff, my cable modem is supposed to have a firewall, and I trust the security of OS X.

    My situation here is that my dad wants a way to connect to the internet without running tons of wires all over the house. He doesn't want to spend $300 for the base station, when in his opinion, a $100 D-Link will work fine. I don't really need all of the configuration that AirPort has to offer. I just want my computer to connect to the internet without wires...

    I'm pretty sure that my iBook with an AirPort card will connect with either of these, and with the web based configuration, it should work on Mac's as well as it works on PC's...

    Let me change my question to this: If I had to get a Netgear or D-Link, which one is better?

    I understand that AirPort is far superior, but my parents don't see the need to spend $300 on an AirPort base station...
     
  9. G4scott thread starter macrumors 68020

    G4scott

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #9
    Ok... Does anybody know of any wireless PC card that will work in an older PowerBook G3??? I'm getting really pissed off by the lack of Mac support, and things at home aren't working right now...

    Why can't these stupid networking idiots do something right for once???

    This makes me want to buy AirPort so much more...
     
  10. awrc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #10
    Trick question :D

    For what you seem to require, an MR314 is more than you need. All you need is a simple access point. The first thing you'd have to do with an MR314 is turn most of the features off.

    Technologically speaking the D-Link is more advanced since they seem to have their own proprietary 2X speed 802.11b technology. However, I'd personally be wary of that in terms of backward compatibility unless you know of someone who successfully has one working with an Airport card.

    That narrows it down to 2 products. Netgear's is the ME102, the other is the Linksys WAP11. They're both basically the same hardware in a different box. I happen to think the Netgear box is prettier.

    However (speaking from experience) the ME102 is a complete bastard to configure - you need to plug a Windows PC into it via the provided USB cord to do the initial setup, thereafter you can monitor and maintain it using either a nasty USB client program that only runs under Windows, or a nasty SNMP client program that only runs under Windows.

    Linksys seem to have taken updating the product more seriously. While it's basically the same thing internally, it looks like they've got much better firmware (at least in the most recent WAP11 Version 2.2, which is what's in most stores now) allowing you to configure it via a web-based GUI.

    So I'd give the Linksys WAP11 a look. Even if you get stuck with one of the older ones (which had the same lack of user interface as the ME102) it's no worse than the Netgear, and it can be had for around $100 and it's omnipresent in stores.

    Oh, and as for your other question - if your Powerbook G3 is going to be relatively static, I notice Linksys has a new gizmo called the WET11 - basically it's an 802.11b bridge that plugs into any anything with an Ethernet port to make it wireless. It needs a Windows PC to configure it in the first place, but after that it's presumably stand-alone. About $100 again. I'm kinda interested in this myself - I've got an Axis 2100 network camera that I'd love to detach from my wired network at some point.
     
  11. buffsldr macrumors 6502a

    buffsldr

    Joined:
    May 7, 2001
    #11
    for what it's worth, i have a g4 tower w/ airport card and an ibook with a wireless card. I use software base station. Sure, it is more inconveninet than a base station, but it saved me a few bucks.

    If that is not an option, i would go airport base station. There is a reason apple can charge that much more money. People have learned from sad experience the frustration of using a 3rd party computer that allegedly supports macs.

    But, as you have read, many have different views on this.

    best of luck to you
     
  12. G4scott thread starter macrumors 68020

    G4scott

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2002
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #12
    Well, I gave in for the D-Link, and I learned a horrible lesson in networking... Never have more than 1 router for 1 subnet... After turning off the DHCP stuff, I still couldn't get it to connect to the internet, so that I could use the 4 built in ethernet ports... I finally got it working, but never figured out if the wireless part worked, since the card I got doesn't exactly work...

    I'll try out just the D-Link access point, and see if that works. If not, I think this experience might convince my dad to go to Airport...

    As far as the other 802.11a and 802.11g standards, do you know if Apple is planning support for either one? And, if they adopt 802.11a, will the built in antenna on my iBook work with it? (my guess is no, but it's worth a try :p )

    Oh well, at least I can return the thing...
     
  13. Choppaface macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    Location:
    SFBA
    #13
    I use a farallon skyline card http://farallon.com/products/all/skyline/pn476bld/index.html (except mine didn't come with the PCI card) in my lombard (PB G3 400 mhz). works great, I can usually get better reception than my teachers' new iBooks...prolly cuz of the external antenna
     

Share This Page