Router Help?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by splitpea, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Location:
    Among the starlings
    #1
    My ancient 802.11g router, although it has served me well for almost 10 years, has started to give a lot of trouble.

    It's generally OK from the same room, but one room away (30-ish feet, around a minor corner, and through a wooden door) the signal wavers between moderately strong and dropping out entirely. Yesterday morning it took me 5 min to convince my MBP to hold the signal at all, although once it did it held until the evening.

    In the evenings, when my neighbors are home (small apartment building), it drops out FAR more frequently and the gaps are longer -- 5 min on, 5 min off, sometimes. I often can't stream a movie in standard def.

    I recently tried changing the band and using a "turbo G" mode (whatever that means), which helps very slightly but not a whole lot. Due to the layout of the apartment, I can't move the router closer to the other room.

    In my previous apartment, for a long time it was pretty reliable at the same distance and twice the number of walls, although there were fewer neighbors; but in the last 18 months it started cutting out more often.

    So a few questions...

    1) Does this sound like a problem with the router, or with signal interference, or what?

    2) Would an 802.11n router do better or worse? (I've heard there's less interference but it doesn't transmit as well between rooms.)

    Thanks!
     
  2. DaveTheRave macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    #2
    I would upgrade to a wireless N router. N has greater speed and range than G. Also, a 10 year old router probably doesn't have the most current security features (WPA2).

    Wireless N can run on 2 frequencies - the usual 2.4Ghz and the 5Ghz frequency. If you're getting knocked offline when the neighbors come home it may be because they're using cordless phone and microwave ovens, which use also use the 2.4Ghz. If you have a router that uses 5Ghz (not all of them do), and a computer that also supports it (not all of them do), then you can surf the web on the uncongested 5Ghz frequency and probably not get kicked off.
     
  3. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Calgary AB
    #3
    yup time to upgrade!

    For some fabulous routers, check out the D-Link DIR-655 or the DIR-825, the 825 being a dual band one with the 5GHz. Very reasonably priced and amazing build quality.
     
  4. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #4
    My own preference is Draytek Gigabit routers....I went over to a TC a while back, and have no wifi issues at all. Not trying to advertise, but check out the market place....I have a Nearly new Draytek for sale.

    You could consider a Time Capsule, but that of course will cost more. I use then5 GHZ band getting away from local interference.....although im not in a busy area for wifi networks. Your old one has certainly done its job and is due for retirement!
     
  5. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2009
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    #5
    Interestingly, it does support WPA2, but I understand there can be different key lengths or something.

    Wow, Wireless N routers are *much* more expensive ($100?!) than G routers used to be ($30-ish).

    How are the configuration interfaces on your routers?

    Ideally I'd end up with something that's somewhat configurable (e.g. I need to be able to mix static and dynamic IPs) but with a dummy-friendly interface because I'm by no means a networking expert. My current router (an old Trendnet) is actually very strong in that department. Also need at least two hard-line ethernet ports.

    I've also been looking at this puppy, which seems to be the best deal around for something that's got highly positive reviews. Any thoughts?

    Yeah, interference is undoubtedly an issue here -- not just microwaves but also other people's wifi networks. On a good (bad?) day my computer can detect 30+ networks from where I'm sitting (right now the count is a dozen). I fear that 5GHz will also be somewhat crowded, given that I live in a generally tech-savvy area. *sigh*
     
  6. chrisvee, Apr 4, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2012

    chrisvee macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Canada
    #6
    I would definitely get an upgrade. Try to find a router that is capable of 5GHz wifi - I'm sure that there has to be less interference than the 2.4GHz band for sure. Of course, you'd need devices that support the 5GHz band.

    I've just recently discovered a Mac App called iStumbler that analyzes the wifi networks that are around you, so you could change the channel of your wifi accordingly - to one that is less congested.

    If you could afford it, I would go for one of the higher rated products today. They may be pricier, but you may as well spend top-dollar on a GREAT router that will last long - it's not like a router is something you have to replace every month or anything - especially in your case. 10 years! :)

    I've recently just bought a Netgear WNDR4000, and so far it has been pretty good. The stock firmware and interface is really good, but I've recently just flashed it with a custom firmware (DD-WRT), and it's been running swimmingly. I live in a condo with a bunch of wifi networks around, so the 5GHz is a treat - the range on that band isn't SUPER, but it does the job.

    Here are some other routers that I would look into.
    • Cisco E4200
    • Netgear WNDR3700/3800/4000/4500
    • Asus RT-N56u or RT-N66u

    Oh, and in most (if not all) cases, Wireless N > Wireless G. ;)
     
  7. harry454 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2007
    #7
    I would have to say go with either the Time Capule or the Netgear n600 premium edition. I have had both and they are the best I have owned. Zero drops. I have never ever ever ever had to do restart it. although I usually do every few months just as maintenance. But they are amazing!! A bit pricey yes...but in essence you get what you pay for!
     
  8. tmagman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Location:
    Calgary AB
    #8
    Interfaces on the D-Link's are fantastic. they're web based utilities accessed directly through 192.168.0.1 rather than having to install any software on your computer. The Netgear WNDR3700/3800 (those i have experience with, the 4xxx series i have not used) also has this and a really great web interface for configuration as well.

    $100 over 5 years is $20/year cost if you think about it that way. Lots of the cheaper routers won't last you that long but i find the Netgear's very good and my DIR-655 lasted me 6 years before I swapped to a dual band model (and it still works just fine when i've set up networks outside of my house temporarily)
     
  9. splitpea thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2009
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    Among the starlings
    #9
    Thanks, guys. What's the difference between single and dual band N?
     
  10. DaveTheRave macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    #10
    Single band is 2.4ghz. Dual includes 5ghz. If you're in the market for a dual band I recommend you get one that is simultaneous dual band, meaning both frequencies are available at the same time. You wifi device should automatically select the frequency with the best signal.
     
  11. chrisvee macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Canada
    #11
    Right, and there are also routers where you could have two separate SSIDs for each band, and you could chose which to connect to. Mine are labeled - 'tasty' for 2.4GHz, and 'ta5ty' for 5GHz. Don't ask why. :p
     
  12. DaveTheRave, Apr 5, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2012

    DaveTheRave macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    #12
    And the benefit of different SSID's is that you could force your wifi device to only choose the 5ghz network, even if it's not as strong as 2.4ghz, if you think congestion will cause you to get bumped off the 2.4ghz frequency. You can also have slower B or G devices use one band and faster devices on the other.

    Edit: scratch the first part...if you get bumped off the 2.4 frequency then your computer should hopefully switch you to the 5ghz frequency seamlessly as long as the SSIDs are the same.
     

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