Router to work with both Mac and Windows

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by maigado, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. maigado macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    I'm running an 8 month old MBP and a 2 year old 1.5 or 2 year old Windows XP desktop machine, using at Netgear WGT624 v2 router that's a few years old between the Comcast cable modem and the computers. Once in awhile, I connect another MBP, as well. I tend to have the MBP on wifi and the Windows machine is always connected to the router by a cable.

    I have to reset the router way too often and sometimes have to reset both it and the modem. Changing what's connected to the router usually leads to problems. For example, if I have the Win box disconnected and reconnect via cable while the MBP is on wifi, I often have to reset the router multiple times. The other day, I had both machines connected and added another MBP on wifi and my internet connection dropped. I had to reset. That sort of things usually causes temporary problems.

    I can't currently file share over wifi. The router won't allow it and I see nothing in the settings to change this. This is not a disaster, but it's occasionally inconvenient.

    So I'm in the market for a router that will more effortlessly allow simultaneous Leopard and Windows wifi and cable connections to the internet, do file sharing, preferably wifi file sharing. I don't know that some of the other things that routers do these days will matter to me, stuff like Air Tunes. But it might at some point. Range isn't a huge issue, either. The house isn't that big. But better more range than less.

    Any recommendations on a reliable device that will keep the internet connection working always, or close to it, both with cable and wifi? That's number one. Reliable file sharing is number two. Other features might be nice, too.

    The Airport Extreme might be nice, but is it just Apple price gouging for a product that's not better than other things out there? Is the Time Capsule something to consider? I need a backup drive, anyway.

    BTW, I don't prefer to spend Airport Extreme prices or anywhere near it. But better that than the endless hassles I have now.
  2. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    TC would probably work very well for you. In general you could save a bit buying your own external HDD for backup and getting the AEBS but still if you don't have one yet you might as well just get the TC.

    If you don't want to bother with an Apple router I would recommend the WRT54GL from linksys. It is a solid router that isn't sold in normal stores anymore. Probably the most popular of all time. Try Newegg if you need a place to buy it. Also, you'll probably save money in the long run if you buy your own cable modem instead of renting from Comcast. For a while I had the BEFCMUv10 from Linksys and was able to save $3 a month since I supplied my own router. Plus, the wireless router and modem are stackable from Linksys to save a little room. Make sure your ethernet cables are at least Cat5E.
  3. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Netgear routers are awful. They perform poorly and require frequent reboots.

    You should get
    - Airport Extreme Base Station (wireless N, gigabit ethernet, and strong signal)
    - Linksys or certain D-Link (but you have to read reviews)
    Update to latest firmware if you can. (Apple one is easy).

    I have AEBS. Works great. Wifi transfer speed is great due to the power.
  4. brn2ski00 macrumors 68020


    Aug 16, 2007
    My NETGEAR has been fine... had to reboot it once in the past 5 months. I am using my work (Windows PC) on it now and also my iMac. Works fine for me.
  5. maigado thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    It had been my intention to buy an internal drive and an external enclosure for backup to save money. I've done it before without problem.

    Do the AEBS and the WRT54GL both handle combinations of Windows and Mac along with combinations of cable and wifi connections simultaneously? Can I fileshare over wifi with those? Any thoughts on the D-Link DIR-655? I've read a few nice words about it.

    Good point about the modem. I could have saved quite a bit of cash over the years by getting my own. I hadn't considered the class of Cat5 cable. I'll make sure that what I have is the right stuff and upgrade it if it's not.
  6. mdgolom macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2006
    I had a Netgear router that worked with both PCs and Macs without a problem until Comcast changed the modem for their Triple Play. Once they did that, I had to reboot the modem at least 3 times a week. I finally replaced it with the Airport Exteme base station and I've been running for 2 months and never had to reboot it.
  7. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2005
    I'm only really here at night.
    I've been using a Belkin Router & Cable modem for years and have done the same things nottaproblemo that you are trying to do.....Mac/PC combos doing file sharing, wifi/cable combos, connect/disconnect etc etc..... I have NEVER had to reboot anything :eek:

    Yes it took a few tweaks to the settings & such to initially get it all to work, but that was a long time ago...........

    There was a guide here somewhere to mixed networking setups, perhaps that would help :p
  8. taeclee99 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 4, 2002
    Anywhere but here
    Another vote for the AEBS. I used to reboot my netgear router at least once a week.
    I even had netgear send me two replacements that still had the same issue.
    I ditched that netgear router for an airport extreme and I no longer have any issues.
  9. maigado thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    Maybe my modem, a Comcast branded Scientific Atlantic model, is a big part of the problem. Could be that both a new modem and router are in order.

    I probably reboot the router an average of more than once a day. If I don't change the devices attached to it, it might be good for a few weeks at a time. But even without changing anything, I'll end up having to reboot a few times or more in a day sooner or later. Then, once I add or change an connected computer, it's reboot city for awhile. More than ten times in a day is a common occurrence.

    While we're on it, any cable modem recommendations for a Comcast account?
  10. mwysolme macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2008
    I used the motorola surfboard series modem when I had comcast. I also agree with the recommendation of the Linksys WRT54G router. I used it while I had comcast and now have it moved in to my office where I use it with Mac and Windows machines where the mac connects to a windows based server through it. I am very happy with the router.
  11. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    I've had a Netgear for 2 years, never had any issued with it.

    No the Airport Extreme is expensive because its Wireless N, Gigabit, and has a USB port for a printer or hard drive. Its pretty cheap for what it is, all the cheap routers will be wireless G, 10/100, with no USB. And just generally not as easy to use and not as solid.

    The only brands you should avoid are Belkin and D-Link in my experience.
  12. maigado thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
  13. mavherzog macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2005
    Columbus, WI
    BTW, I just bought a Linksys WRT600n wireless router and absolutely LOVE it.

    It includes dual radios, so you can have two separate wireless networks setup (I have "n-only" on the 5Ghz radio and "g-only" on the 2.4Ghz radio). It also includes 4 Gigabit ethernet interfaces, which I find extremely beneficial as I have my FreeNAS box hard wired and do time machine backups to if from several Macs. It also includes a USB port if you wanted to go that route for NAS.

  14. operator207 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    I have a wrt54gl with dd-wrt installed on it. Very solid. Very nice. Especially when you can turn up the amps, and double your coverage with the stock antennas. I can get internet from my AP 2 houses down with my iPhone.
    And no I am not high enough to be violating any FCC regs, nor am I high enough for it to run really hot and burn out.
  15. maigado thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    What does the third party firmware for the WRT54GL give us that the Linksys firmware doesn't? I checked the DD-WRT site for a bit, but didn't come away with info that made complete sense to me.
  16. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    If you do decide to go Linksys I have to repeat that you should not get the WRT54G. Only get the WRT54GL. The G is lacking in stability over the changes they have made. BEFCMUv10 Linksys modem is Comcast compatible. You can also go for the Moto surfboard but like I said you can save space and stack the two Linksys products. They are also pretty cheap. I do think a modem that is not the latest docsis will be a poor performer so it would be wise to upgrade.

    Although keep in mind that if you ever get Digital Voice from Comcast you must use their supplied eMTA modem.
  17. operator207 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2007
    The first thing, which I mentioned in my post, is the fact you can ramp up the amp for the antennas and get a much greater distance.

    There there is some really good QOS for various things such as a VOIP phone.
    Then there is VPN services in a cheaply priced device.

    Here is a nice link that has some of its features."DD-WRT"?#Features
  18. maigado thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    Sounds good. My MBP supports the n protocol, but I don't know that it's worth spending the extra money at this point for the speedier router. The WRT54GL is even available at a store that's five minutes away for $65 and there's a $10 rebate. Not an unbeatable price, but close enough and convenient.

    OTOH, something like the aforementioned WRT600n, D-Link DIR-655 or the AEBS remain contenders. I'll figure something out.

    Thanks again, all, not that I'm not interested in any further discussion. If there's more talk here, I'll be monitoring.
  19. atszyman macrumors 68020


    Sep 16, 2003
    The Dallas 'burbs
    How is you're internet connection in general? I had a similar setup with Comcast, a wired Linksys 4 port and a Linksys wrt54g(maybe gl) behind it and had slow internet and was often rebooting the wireless. Almost all of the problems disappeared when I moved to DSL, that may not be an option for you, and it may not be a problem with Comcast for you, but I've not had nearly as many problems with the router setup since moving to DSL, at least until my 4 port died last weekend in a peculiar manner, but luckily the wireless has wired connections as well and is serving as both wired/wireless now, I just need to get a long cable to get to my desk (previously had one long cable to the wireless at my desk and shorter cables to the computer(s) there while the wired stayed under the wife's desk with shorter cables).

    When I find a good deal I'd like to get one with built in wireless and gigabit wired and a few new gigabit cables and speed up the wired traffic.
  20. maigado thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    Good question. When I'm not having to reboot, the internet connection is very fast, way faster than it was a couple years ago and I thought it was fast then. Actually, there's an AT&T station not that far from here, about 4 blocks, so this would be a good place for DSL. But in my experience, cable is so much faster that I've never considered it.

    One thing I wonder about is the splitter I'm using to split the cable line. I've got about 2.5' of coax cable coming out of the wall, at the end of which is a splitter. One cable leaves the splitter for the cable box, the other goes to the modem. I just bought a new Belkin splitter, but I haven't opened the box yet. I don't know if this is a high enough quality product or not.

    I used to have the modem and router in another room, so I wasn't using a splitter. I was probably having less problems then, but I was still having them. I could always put the modem and router back there, but then it would be upstairs and away from the computers. In actual distance, it would only be about 20' or so, but with a floor in the midst of everything. And then I'd have to go wifi all the way, which I prefer not to do, especially with the Windows desktop.

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