Please help me with a router question :(

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by flipster, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. flipster macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    Okay so, im having a BIG problem. There are a lot of devices connected to my network, and i have a gross, old router. Its a netgear wgt624 v3. I'm constantly dropping connections and it's always slowing down.

    I was thinking of just shelling out $180 and getting an airport extreme. I know absolutely nothing about routers so any help is appreciated.

    I have an iMac, 2 HP laptops, 1 acer laptop, 1 sony vaio laptop, 2 hp desktops, and finally 1 sony vaio desktop and two xboxs all connected to this router(the sony vaio desktop is hooked in via ethernet).

    That's a total of 10 things connected to this slow, old crappy router. Now my iMac has 802.11n, and if i read correctly, it should allow faster speeds. Right now im getting about 16 mbps (constantly dropping to like 3 mbps though) on G because it's a G router, would i see an improvement with 802.11n? If so, how much?

    Would all the connections be all around faster? Can I keep two routers in my house and use this one just for me? Would i have to get another modem? I'm so confused and i really need help on this because everything is taking so long to load. Please help me!! Thanks
  2. samh macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2009
    You need to find a friend who knows (wireless) networking -- you have a lot of different issues and the best approach will depend on the layout in your home, etc.
  3. samh macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2009
    There are many possibilities for why this is happening. The first is that there's only so much wireless bandwidth to go around. So if you have 54 mbps (theoretical) with Wireless-G, everybody connected wirelessly shares that. It's dynamic, so it's not that everybody gets an equal share with a hard cap (like, if you have 10 connections, everybody doesn't get 5.4). But the more you use simultaneously, the slower it will get.

    You're also going to be limited by your Internet bandwidth, which you don't specify.

    Another issues is router internal capabilities. The reason "home" or "SOHO" routers are cheaper is that they have (typically) less RAM, less capable processors, and inferior software. While they may technically be able to handle a large number of connections, the more you do with them the less stable they get.

    I've not used the Airport Extreme BS personally, but I understand that one of its strengths is that its easy to set up and use.

    The more that you can do over Ethernet, the better--especially for, say, the xboxes and other things that don't need to move around within the building. You can even get a small ethernet switch if you have multiple boxes in one place and just run one cable from the router to the switch.

    I'm actually still using a G router, so I can't say exactly how this works. I know that previous generations of wi-fi worked like this: whenever a slower protocol accessed the network, everybody had to slow down at least partially.

    If you have two modems (which is probably not possible, and would require two internet accounts and a lot of extra monthly $$) you would need two routers and two modems.

    However, technically, you don't want two "routers" unless you have a very specific reasons. Routers take data from one network and "route" it to another network. If you have two routers, that means you have two networks -- probably one "behind" the other which is going to cause internet access problems.

    With that out of the way... you can set up the new wireless gateway+router (e.g. the Airport Extreme) as your router. It will be directly connected to your modem, and all traffic passes through it (eventually). You can keep your Netgear acting as a kind of wireless gateway. I'm not familiar enough with the setup of that router to walk you through that step by step. But essentially, you want it to not act as a "router" and you don't want it to be a DHCP server. I think, worst case, you would link the Airport and the Netgear in such a way that the Netgear is not using it's WAN or Internet port, and turn of DHCP. But if it has an 'access point' mode, you'll want to use that.

    You'll then set up the Netgear to use a different set of frequencies and a different wireless network name. When I did that in my home, I did have some issues with Bonjour services, so your mileage may vary.

    Then, your computer will get the Netgear's whole 54 mbps (theoretical) spectrum and your other devices will share the Extreme's. Of course, if none of htem are N, they're just going to share 54 also.

    Keep in mind that if your internet connection is slow, none of this will help.
  4. flipster thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    Okay so ive just tested out the ethernet connected computer, its getting 25mbps (generally, fast). My iMac is getting 16mbps (drops to about 8 a lot). The router is a Super G router with 108mbps. I'm honestly just looking for a speed improvement for my iMac, and if i switched to the airport extreme, i was hoping to get about 23 mbps (and be stable at that speed) i would be happy. There are only a few computers that would actually use the N capabilities of the router (N=faster speeds right?), one being my iMac. Do you think i would see a speed improvement? I use skype video calls and there always laggy and i also game a lot so the more for me the better lol (yes, i want to hog as much speed as i can :D). Thanks for your input i really appreciate it, its helping my confused brain better understand all of this.
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    This is good advice, but keep in mind the AEBS only has 3 ethernet ports. Most modern consumer routers have 4. In your case, it seems like it would make a difference.

    The AEBS is dual-band, so the b/g devices connected don't slow it down.

    You are theoretically correct but bridge mode (a feature on almost every modern router including the AEBS) allows the router to function as an access point to a network instead of creating a separate one.

    What is your internet connection throughput from the service provider? If you are getting 25 mbps from your wired connection which has a 30 mbps throughput, the odds of getting 23 mbps via wireless are slim.
  6. flipster thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    Strangely enough, im paying for the 12mbps package from comcast cable. im getting double that though (weird but really cool). i have no idea why lol, if any of that information helps. im very noobish at this.
  7. samh macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2009
    I addressed that. In any case, with either the AEBS or Netgear in bridge mode he wouldn't have 2 routers (at least, not two doing any routing).
  8. bmcgonag macrumors 65816


    Mar 20, 2007
    Well, just a newer router could help. I use a wireless N router from Cisco (Linksys), I've put dd-wrt on it, and it works great. I have th 20 MBpS from my cable company, but average around 12 to 15...oh well...

    In the house though, between systems is where the N comes into play. I like to stream a lot of content, and the N allows me to do that from my mac to Roku, AppleTV, iPad, iPhone, XBox360, etc...

    Some are wired, others wireless, but the N is what makes the difference from my Mac.

    At any for your issues with Skype, you may have some QOS options in your current router...and you will want a new router with QOS options.

    QOS (Quality of Service) allows you to prioritize which applications get priority over available bandwidth. So if you have roommates who use P2P and Torrents all the time, hogging all the bandwidth you can set those applications to a lower priority when using Skype, iChat, messaging, YouTube, etc..things that provide what I call "Immediate Content". Something you are using right then.

    Maybe that will help some.

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