Looking to buy Wireless-N router- Need advice!

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Beric, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. Beric macrumors 68020

    Beric

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #1
    I'm looking to upgrade from my current Linksys wireless-B only router to a Wireless-N router. I've got some questions though, and need advice on what router to get.

    1) The current wireless-N is draft standard only. I've heard that the standard will be finalized this summer. Do I need to wait, or will the final standard be upgradable via firmware?

    2) I've got a lot of old devices on my network, in addition to a new iMac and Macbook. A wireless-B printer, an iBook on OS X.3, and a Wireless-G PC. Do I have reason to worry about compatibility with wireless-N?

    3) Will those old wireless devices slow down the wireless on my N devices? This is VERY important, but no one seems to be able to answer it.

    4) And finally, what router do you personally recommend? I've not just gonna instantly buy an Airport Extreme, because I've heard of plenty of issues with it, and it's not supposed to be the fastest. That doesn't mean I'm not considering it among my options, though.

    Thanks for any help! I asked people on the Apple Discussions forum questions #1-3, but with no response. Hopefully you guys are more helpful! :)
     
  2. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Having only n standard devices speeds up your network a tiny amount. Older devices are compatible with newer n routers.

    How about the Airport Express?
     
  3. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #3
    Check http://www.smallnetbuilder.com for good information on routers. I got a D-Link DIR-655 based on information I got from there and have been very happy.
     
  4. ClassicBean macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    Location:
    Torontoland
    #4
    I've got an Airport Extreme and absolutely love it. If it exceeds your budget, consider the Airport Express. I had one and it was fantastic. The only reason I replaced it with the Extreme was because I added Apple TV my network.
     
  5. Beric thread starter macrumors 68020

    Beric

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #5
    The Express wouldn't work for me because I wire in the iMac. This is why 1000 base t ethernet would be valuable.

    I'm starting to consider more strongly an Airport. However, I've heard it isn't that fast, and that it doesn't work well with PC's, which occasionally need to connect to my network.

    So you're saying non-N devices will only slow down my network a negligible amount?
     
  6. macleod199 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    #6
    My understanding is that as of the most recent draft it's been agreed that no changes will be made that will require hardware changes to be made to bring current devices up to the final standard. I know AEBS supports the latest draft, not sure about others.

    Depending on how 'chatty' the printer is on the network, I'd recommend turning it off when you're not using it (probably a good call, electricity-wise, anyway). B devices will have a reasonably high impact on speed if they're in regular use. The easy was to visualize this is that B devices are about 10-20x as slow as N devices. This means that each time they transmit, say, 100 bits, it takes as long as an N device transmitting 1000-2000 bits. So the N devices have to wait that much longer to take over the link when B is transmitting.

    I'm pretty happy with my Apple. One of the main things is honestly how nice the admin software is. It's not that I don't know what I'm doing, or don't know technical terms, I just find the ones with the web interfaces were almost always annoying and buggy. Pre-Cisco Linksys routers were my favourties beforehand. DLink I've had trouble with certain admin webpages not loading properly in anything but IE on Windows, and silent failures if I added too many custom port forwards. Belkin seemed problematic as well.

    That's not to say the Apple is perfect (I avoided the 7.2.x series of firmware for the AEBS, and luckily was able to downgrade to 7.1.x because I have the non-gigabit version).

    Actually, if you can find a cheap non-gigabit Draft-N AEBS that would be my recommendation, since it doesn't sound like any of your devices will make use of the gigabit features, or that you'll be doing more than 100 Mbps wirelessly (THEORETICALLY, draft N devices can do more than 100 Mbps on the gigabit AEBS, while the non-gigabit one is clamped internally to 100 Mbps).
     

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