AirPort vs. Linksys vs. Netgear

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by trbutler, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. trbutler macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    #1
    Hey everyone,
    I'm debating on the Linksys WRT400N Dual-Band Wireless-N router and the AirPort Extreme (Dual Band/Winter 2009). The Linksys is $45 cheaper, but has only 10/100 Ethernet. Then again, I'm wondering: is that a big deal? Can anyone attest to getting over 100 Mbps on a MBP's wireless (N) adapter? If it is possible, I'm tempted to spring for the more expensive unit... if, however I'm not going to make it over 100 Mbps in real world usage anyway, I'm tempted to go with the cheaper unit plus a separate gigabit switch for my wired devices.

    The Linksys arguably has more features, but I like the AEBS's support for the new Snow Leopard Bonjour service advertisement functionality (where services are advertised via Bonjour even when a device is sleeping). On the other hand, most of my Mac network is PPC based, so I won't reap the benefits of that any time soon.

    I've also thought about the Linksys WRT610N, which is more in line with the AEBS, given that it has a gigabit switch, but it is getting rather bad reviews and actually appears to have worse wireless performance than the WRT400N. Finally, I've looked at the Netgear WNDR3700...

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Tim
     
  2. timb macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    #2
    Unless you need all the advanced features of the Netgear or Linksys, I'd go with the AEB. I've deployed quite a few of them and they've never given me any problems.
     
  3. quantum003 macrumors 6502a

    quantum003

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    #3
    Several things:

    You will find the AEB is much, much simpler to set up and runs more smoothly than the Linksys. Yes the linksys is still user-friendly and an excellent wireless router, but you will still have to unplug it every week or so to recycle the power because it will act up in small ways every so often (such as denying one of your Macs access to the wireless network).

    Also, the 802.11N wireless standard is very close to being approved by the IEEE. The "N" is the future and "G" will soon be what "B" is now... I would recommend moving forward and setting yourself up to enjoy the full power of "N" speed when the benefits become widely available, instead of holding off and later wishing you hadn't. :)
     
  4. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #4
    Simply not true. I have used the WRT54G (and now the WRT54GL) and I have never had to reboot them to get them working. I've also used the WRT120N and WRT300N without issue as well.

    802.11n is not the future, it's the present. It was approved in September 2009. Things to worry about with 802.11n is that the 5Ghz signal doesn't penetrate walls/floors as well as the 2.4Ghz signal. Additionally, unless you have very high Internet bandwidth (> 20 Mb) and/or are copying lots of files locally over wireless, you'll likely not see any bandwidth improvement.
     
  5. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Sep 15, 2006
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    New York City, NY
    #5
    When I still used my old rev. 2 WRT54G, I had to reset that thing all the time.
     
  6. skye12 macrumors 65816

    skye12

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    Location:
    Austin, Tx
    #6
    No contest. Buy the Apple. Stick to the quality imo.
     
  7. quantum003 macrumors 6502a

    quantum003

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    #7
    Yep... it was a weekly thing for me when I was using a WRT54G ver 6. My wife would ask me why shouldn't get on the Internet, or I'd notice my wireless network was no longer available or that I couldn't get access to it... go pull the plug on the Linksys, recycle the power and everything's good again.

    So belvdr you must have had a better router or used PC's instead of Macs... like I said other than the semi-constant need to recycle the power it was a nice router. The first time I set up my new Airport Extreme though I realized how much better wireless could be.

    You are correct though, the IEEE approved 802.11N this month, so it is the present.
     
  8. asudog1080 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    #8
    Amazing, people give the same comments for Apple branded routers that they give for Apple laptops, desktops etc.
    You have to reboot linksys, your machines wont connect.
    Stick with quality go with Apple.

    I will sell you an Apple branded bicycle if you like.
    The tires never go flat.
    You cant possibly crash it.
    You can ride it to the Starbucks and look cool.

    Save yourself 50% of the cost and go with a Linksys or a Netgear N router. Easily available at NewEgg, BestBuy or Compusa.
     
  9. tjcampbell macrumors 6502a

    tjcampbell

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    Vancouver
    #9
    Ha ha! That's funny.
     
  10. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    Location:
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    #10
    I think you should consider a D-Link if you want a stable router (with endless configuration options and great QoS management).. but can't afford the AEBS.

    That's what I did. I have a DIR-655, get this:
    Connection Up Time :67 Day 18 Hour 14 Min 15 Sec

    The only time it ever goes down is power outages or when I am reorganizing my office. :D -and- it has gigabit ethernet, gigabit WAN too. The only problems are:

    1. The USB support stinks, and is nonexistent for Macs (although there's a few new D-Links that have it - they cost as much as the AEBS does).

    2. The router doesn't do 5.8GHz, which means unless you decide to make your network N-only, you'll only get 130Mbps off it.

    OTOH, the range is pretty good. That said, (and on topic), I think it's silly to knock the Apple guys for liking the current AEBS - it's a good solid product as far as I've seen. Since the WRT54G, I don't think Linksys has proven themselves yet again with a product that good. And that's saying something! Yet, I can't say no to a Linksys because people still seem to swear by those.

    Careful with the Netgear routers, the ones with built in antennas have crappy range. Don't even get me started with the Belkins!
     
  11. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #11
    I have a DIR-655 that I love and used to recommend to everyone. However, recent firmware versions have been very buggy. Check out the D-Link forums. The worse part about it all is that the later versions of their firmware can not be downgraded.

    I have a DIR-655 with old 1.11 firmware and have had uptime of over half a year. The only reason I had to reset it was because I was moving stuff around and had to unplug it.
     
  12. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 24, 2006
    #12
    All I can say is my Linksys WRT54G gave me nothing but trouble, and my Airport Extreme base station has never needed any attention.
     
  13. quantum003 macrumors 6502a

    quantum003

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    #13
    These are Apple forums you know. You may find a slight bias towards Apple products here. :eek: Or maybe we all secretly work for Apple and these forums are a sham, a giant living advertisement for Apple products and services.

    So tell me asudog, have you ever used an Airport Extreme? I have used several Linksys routers and several Airport wireless routers and I have formed my opinion based on my experiences. Have you actually used an Apple wireless router and found Linksys to be better, or or are you just piling on to be a rebel?
     
  14. trbutler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    #14
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

    I'm amongst those that has always done very well with the WRT54G line. I won't say its never been necessary to reboot, but by and large it is a rarity. I've had some problems recently, but I think its actually with my old PowerBook and not the router, since it acts a bit flakey elsewhere lately too.

    That said, I'm not convinced the current Linksys firmware versions are as good as the ones in years past.

    I guess my big question: does anyone see sustained file transfer speeds higher than 100 Mbps on an AEBS? To me that would be the big advantage of it over some alternative (other than the Bonjour feature I can't enjoy until another PPC system bites the dust and is replaced with one using Snow Leopard).

    Thanks again!
     
  15. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2008
    #15
    I have the AEBS running right now. It replaced a WRT610 and a 310.
    I have not seen ANY difference in anything on my network, no better no worse.
    All the Xbox 360's perfrom the same, data transfer; streaming from any of my devices seems to be the same.
    Overall the three routers have performed equally.
    The 310 does seem to lag when 4 xbox 360's are on line.
    I reboot my router and cable modem every Sunday or after the cable modem loses sync with the server.
     
  16. mac-slap-happy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    #16
    Linksys WRT54G (my old setup):
    Liked the uptime (more than 6 months between boots), liked the configure options, liked the reliability overall, LOVED the QoS settings for Vonage.

    AEBS (my current setup):
    Liking the uptime (3 weeks so far), like how easy it is to configure, LOVE the bonjour proxy feature w/ Snow Leopard, LOVE the faster 'N' speeds. Absolutely HATE that it does not include any QoS, and makes my Vonage sound like crap if anyone is doing anything on the network.

    I may have to put the Linksys back in the loop just for the QoS, and connect the AEBS in bridge mode. I really hate to do that, but I don't see many other options. Why, Steve, oh why did you assume none of us would need QoS? Such a basic functionality, and oh so necessary in today's world of VoIP. :(
     
  17. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    Bay Area, Ca.
  18. kellte2 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    #18
    I don't see QoS happening like this, but it probably doesn't require a hardware solution. Apple could simply give us a more robust firmware to drive the Airport, but like I said, I doubt this is going to happen.
     
  19. mac-slap-happy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    #19
    I agree that it probably won't come anytime soon, if ever. What I can't figure out is why they would leave out such a vital piece of functionality. It wouldn't be very hard to write in some packet shaping routines, especially with the hardware power the AEBS has. The old v2 of the Linksys 54G routers did it for crying out loud, and the processor pretty much nothing back then.

    This is really my only beef with Apple products. They add something so cool that it is hard to do without (like Bonjour proxy for SL), and then leave out the most basic of features that every other router on the planet has had for years. So creative and forward looking, yet so backwards all at the same time.

    Oh well, I guess you take the good with the bad, eh?
     
  20. osplo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    #20
    How fast with them?

    I wonder how fast the AirPort or the Linksys can get in "n" mode.

    I'm getting normally up to 3 MBps (30 Mbps, I suppose) in file transfers, although the record is 4.97 MBps.

    Which speeds are you reaching with these babies? My Mac Mini is just two walls and quite near the router.

    Thanks!
     
  21. osplo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    #21
    For future reference, I can now answer this myself.

    I bought the Airport dual today.

    Replaced a Linksys WRT54G, can't be happier. All basic configuration done automagically, all my devices work as before, all but the Mac, which is four times faster on the N network now.

    For a reference, I tried Powerline (D-link 303), but got around 40 Mbps if attached to the power directly (if you put a plug multiplier in the middle, it lowers brutally). I got steady 25 Mbps with my G network, so it wasn't much of an improvement. Returned the D-link. Tried a direct cable, got around 100 Mbps. My wife balked at the cable as it was (it would need some drilling and polishing). Bought the AirPort. Now I got cable-like throughput with the N network: around 90 Mbps, with peaks of more than 100 Mbps.

    And my Windows PC which is connected directly to the AirPort runs MUCH FASTER, thanks to the Gigabit connection. I didn't expect this, it is a great bonus. It turned out that the 10/100 ethernet adapter was a bottleneck for internet access (either this, or the Airport managed to configure itself with my cable modem much better).

    I spend half an hour opening the ports for bit torrents and the like, the only tweaking I had to do beyond passwords and the like.

    I can't be happier with this thing. I should have bought it long ago.

    Now I will be paying attention to the reliability but for what I read on forums this router seems very stable.

    Regards!
     

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