looking for advice on improving my home network

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by PecanEater, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. PecanEater macrumors 6502


    Apr 11, 2007
    My home wifi network is currently very unstable. I'm working to improve it and looking for a little advice. This is a little long but I'm trying to provide as much relevant info as possible. Thanks in advance to anyone who can comment.

    First, I have Comcast cable internet performance package (6mbps). My internet speeds vary from about 3-10mbps. I use the Comcast provided cable modem (rented). From the cable modem I run a cable directly into an Airport Express 802.11b/g to create my home wifi network. I have a usb printer attached to the Airport Express for network printing. I have a second Airport Express on the other side of the house used to expand the network and pump music into my home stereo via air tunes. I use my network for general internet surfing, airtunes streaming to my home stereo, and itunes and bittorrent downloading. No gaming or other speed intensive applications especially within the home network.

    I have two problems - the internet drops out and requires a reset very often - at least once a day and the airtunes is very unstable. For the internet problem, I thought it was the Comcast internet but I've checked the quality of the cable signal and removed all unnecessary splitters, etc and it still happens. I think the problem is my Airport express. For the Airtunes problem, this clearly seems to be an Airport express problem.

    I'm thinking of going to a Linksys WRT54GL 802.11b/g as my primary wireless router and purchasing a cable modem (to save money in the long run over renting.)

    Here are my questions:

    1) Based on my usage and my current Comcast internet package, my understanding is that 802.11b/g is fine for me. Is this correct? I don't think I need or could benifit from the 300mbps speed of a N network.

    2) Can I still use the airport express for airtunes and printing on the Linksys WRT54GL 802.11b/g network?

    3) Regarding the cable modem, is there any advantage to getting a more expensive DOCSIS 3.0 modem such as Motorola SURFboard SB6120? I've read that some people see significant improvements in their speed even if they have a slower internet service.

    Hope all this is clear. Thanks to anyone who wades through it.
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Will someone give you an old WRT54GL router or will you buy one at a yard sale?

    Personally, I recommend a new modem. A new modem will use Wireless-N plus everything that the WRT54GL would have provided.
    DOCSIS 3.0 is the new standard. If you purchase your own modem, then you should recoup your investment within a year. Having said all that, the notion that a DOCSIS 3.0 modem will dramatically improve your existing service is pure fantasy. If those people reporting improvements are giving genuine reports, then it is probably the case they they fixed other issues when they upgraded.
  3. green86 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 27, 2007
    North Carolina
    1) Technically yes, but the N standard also has more range and can send a more consistent signal more. N routers are cheap these days... I'd go for an N.

    2) Not sure.

    3) I'd get a replacement modem either way (either rent or buy). My comcast connection was unstable for years and we did the same as you. Finally we replaced the modem and we never lost signal since (2+ years)
  4. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007

    DOCSIS 3.0 modems on D3 systems, even without a d3 tier, will allow the user to bond on more than one channel. The result? Higher powerboost speeds, more consistent connectivity.


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