Thinking It's Time For A New Router

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by KeegM480, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. KeegM480, Nov 25, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2013

    KeegM480 macrumors 6502a

    KeegM480

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #1
    So I currently have a Netgear WNDR3400v2 Router
    Its worked great but with so many Devices now connected its slowing down.
    Whats a good Router for me?

    Devices:
    (2) Android Smartphones
    iPhone 5
    (3) Desktop Mac's
    MacBook Pro
    Desktop PC
    PS3
    Xbox 360
    (Yes 10 Devices all Wireless, about half can use 5GHz)

    Not willing to spend a million on a router, but what are some suggestions?

    (Not all 10 Devices always connected, Usually 5-7 at a time)
     
  2. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #2
    That's not too many devices. Why aren't some devices wired? Surely you can pull wires to the Desktop Macs and PC, right? I found it was well worth getting my hands on a gigabit switch and pulling wire to most devices, including printers, NAS drives, Desktops and our HDhomerun box. There are 2 wireless printers. We have iPads, iPhones and an Android phone that are wireless.

    My router is an Airport Extreme. I use it for a router and for its guest network. I don't use it for wifi. For wifi, I use Dlink access points. I wandered around my house with my Android phone running wifi analyzer and killed off all the dead spots by locating Dlink APs nearby. At one time I had an Airport Express set up as a repeater but the thing overheated and died. This is what led me to consider APs.

    I suggest you take a look at smallnetbuilder.com. They offer a lot of info for setting up, enhancing or expanding a wireless network.

    BTW, there's nothing wrong with the router you already have. Sure you could invest in something newer but I think the best solution is to move some machines to wires and possibly add an access point (on the same SSID) to enhance your coverage.
     
  3. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #3
    Want a speed boost, use wired Ethernet on all the stationery devices.
     
  4. KeegM480 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    KeegM480

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #4
    Would love to connect my Desktop Mac's and 360 via Ethernet but the port in the wall by them isn't for cable or ethernet, slightly smaller than ethernet, not sure what it is.

    Going to sound stupid, what is an Access Point? (New to Networking)

    If you can help me, no places to plug ethernet in near my computer. Have 3 slightly smaller than ethernet plugs in the wall but thats it.
     
  5. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #5
    The size down from Ethernet is for telephone, back when they had wires. ;) Good old RJ-11! (Ethernet is RJ-45).
     
  6. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #6
    To use ethernet, you have to run your own wires. If you live in an apartment, you will wind up taping wires around the baseboards of rooms to avoid damage. If you live in your own home, by all means poke a hole in the plaster wall and fish a wire through to the next room. Going from 802.11n to gigabit ethernet is a huge speed boost. It doesn't do anything for internet speeds, which are typically in the 2 to 20 megabit range, but it does wonders for copying large files from one computer to another.

    When I lay out how to wire ethernet, I pick computers that are physically close to one another. For those in the same room, it's a no-brainer. I simply run ethernet wires around the edge of the room to a single gigabit switch and those machines are now talking directly. Of course I also need a wire from the gigabit switch to the router. BTW, ethernet wire is available at Home Depot, Microcenter, Best Buy, etc. It consists of 8 pairs of wires with large 8 pin telephone-looking "RJ-45" plugs on each end. When both ends are plugged in and working, little green and sometimes yellow LEDs flicker next to where you plugged the cable in so you know right away that it's working (on most devices).

    Here is a quick diagram:

    Code:
    internet <-> dsl or cablemodem <-> router <-> switch <-....-> clients
    Clients includes computers, printers, internet-ready tv's, NAS drives, and "access points". Access points are cheaper routers that offer the ability to do only one thing: provide wifi connections to whatever network they are plugged in to. They typically only have one ethernet port. Some routers have setup options to convert them into access points.

    Apple Airport Express is just such a router. Dlink makes several. The one I use is Dlink Dap-1522. I have two of them at opposite ends of the house. One is under the family room in the basement and the other is high on the second floor at the opposite end of the house. I walked around the house using wifi-analyzer to prove to myself that using these locations eliminated all wifi dead spots in my house. Of course I had to run an ethernet wire up to the second floor through a cold air return for the upstairs access point and I had to run ethernet across the basement ceiling to the other access point. I have a guest network served up by an Apple Airport Extreme that really only reaches the first floor. That's where all the guests are anyway.

    Another thing to consider is a faster 802.11AC router if you don't want to spend time dealing with running wires around. The only problem is, very few devices know how to speak AC so most of your devices will still be running at whatever speed they are running on your current router.

    OOPS! I got all focused on the tech details. What about your network is slow? Copying files around or internet? It could be you spend time and money "fixing" your network when the real problem was your internet connection. If your 'net connection is slow, there might be something wrong with either your modem or your router. If your internet is slow, contact your ISP first before you spend any money "fixing" things.
     
  7. KeegM480 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    KeegM480

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #7
    I live in a rented Condo, the WiFi is full signal on 1st second or third floor and on either side of the house (all of my computers are 1 floor directly above the router.

    I have ethernet running from my PMG5 to my iMac's but its WiFi to ethernet haha so very slow on the two iMac's.

    Would it be possible to get an adapter for the telephone lines and use them as ethernet to my Xbox and PMG5?

    EDIT: and about the slow speeds, loading websites can be extremely slow at times like 30+ Seconds to load a Page on any computer or phone. If I run a speedtest it will range between 7mbps and 17mbps (we should be getting 25mbps) but that still doesn't seem as slow as we are running. It feels like running Edge at times.
     
  8. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #8
    I would skip the phone lines. It's cheaper and easier to find powerline ethernet adapters these days. It sounds like your problem is NOT simply your router. The first place to start is your ISP. Who is your internet provider? If it's cable then I think I know what your problem is. Cable companies quote awesome speeds but they are shared. So you can get 50 megabits at 3am but at 7pm you might get 40 kilobits when all your neighbors are home streaming Hulu and Netflix. Also Speedtest is a bit optimistic. If you get 7 to 17 meg on speedtest, you might find that if you start downloading a 5 Gig file you wind up averaging 1 to 3 megabits. I have a theory that some ISPs cheat on speedtest so customers don't complain. They give you the first little bit of a download at 25 Meg, then 20, then 15, then 10, then 5. This means that since Speedtest never sends more than a few meg for it's testing, it always paints a rosy picture. But in real use your speeds vary all over the place.

    Sometimes slow speeds are caused by a router or cable modem needing to be reset. This is something else you can try.
     
  9. McEcki macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Location:
    near KW, South-Western ON
    #9
    Powerline Ethernet Adaptors

    > It's cheaper and easier to find powerline ethernet adapters these days.

    How good are these things? Are they reliable/faster than wireless?
    I'm considering a few for house where fishing wires is next to impossible.
    Thanks.
     
  10. KeegM480 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    KeegM480

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #10
    Yep, I have cable through Charter, Im gonna try ethernet, completely tore my room apart so I could squeeze my desk where the cable plug is, moving the router and going to run ethernet right after this! (going to plug the 2 of the Mac's and the 360 into the router)
     
  11. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #11
    Sounds like a good plan!


    Powerline ethernet is not that fast. I've seen some speeds boasting something like 300 MBPS. This kind of speed is do-able with 802.11n and can be exceeded by 802.11AC. One technique is to put a powerline adapter on one floor and another one at the opposite end of the building on another floor. You have a router and switch at one end and just a switch at the remote end. Just make sure you understand, every machine at the remote end is sharing a single 300MB connection unless they happen to be talking to each other.

    Another popular technique where it's difficult to pull wires is to plug in wireless "repeaters" which (when set up properly) can sign on to your existing wifi ssid and rebroadcast it further into the building.
     

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