What's a good Wireless Router?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by xlosltove777, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. xlosltove777 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #1
    Lately my cheap wireless router at home has been having some serious issues. Whenever trying to transfer any large files between my Macbook and iMac on the network it ends up losing connection to the outside world. The intranet stays on but nothing from the internet comes up. I can transfer small documents like Word files and streaming music but that's it. Streaming video and transferring actual video files just kills it. I first went around this by hardwiring the two computers together and that works but I plan on getting a playstation 3 and would really like to use it to stream video.

    I want a wireless router that is reliable, I've had a few different kinds in the past(Netgear, DLink, and some weird no-name one) and they all kind of sucked. I was looking at Apple's Airport Extreme but am hesitating because of the way it handles g/n networks. From my understanding dual band routers can use both n and g at the same time, the N devices using one band and the g's using the other. Apple while it can do both bands lowers the speed of the N when there is a G device on the network correct? If I'm understanding this correctly then what is one of the better dual-band routers out there?

    Thanks, and sorry for being longwinded but I wanted to make sure people understood exactly what I am looking for.
     
  2. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #2
    A router that can run DD-WRT with:

    - At least 8MB of flash
    - gigabit ethernet
    - USB port
    - 5 GHz 802.11n
     
  3. xlosltove777 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #3
    A Linksys WRT610N would fit that description right? What worries me is the high amount of negative comments on both Amazon and Newegg.
     
  4. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #4
    You have to look at the last 2 columns of the DD-WRT list of supported hardware. The 610N is Work In Progress.

    The 600N works according to that list (although the 1.1 only with The Next Generation version).

    Go to the Linksys web site support pages for the models you're interested in and note the serial number prefix that identifies the hardware version. You can then check the sticker on the packaging.

    Note that DD-WRT still doesn't support 300 mbps wireless, so the 5 GHz capability will be more of a future proofing thing if you change to this firmware.

    Many of the bad comments about a router will be related to the proprietary firmware it comes with, but there could also be hardware issues (I think maybe I read something about the 350N, which lacks the 5 GHz capability but is what was available when I bought it).

    The 350N disconfigured itself when running the Linksys firmware. Then I installed DD-WRT and it has been working well.

    Search the DD-WRT forums for the models you're interested in to spot any current problems.


    BTW, there's many people with problems to wirelessly connect Vista to the internet with many kinds of routers. I had this problem with DD-WRT on the 350N. The only definitive answer for this is not to use Vista or use an ethernet cable.
     
  5. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
  6. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #6
    It seems some builds are working at 270 mbps, at least on dualband routers (ie, 5 GHz). Apparently still not on 350N, which is single-band.

    You would have to enable 40 MHz channels.
     
  7. Turmoil macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    #7
    I bought an airport extreme base station yesterday.

    Love it.

    I replaced an older g airport (the dome gadget that looked like a hersheys kiss) I have two machines with N and two machines on G. All connectivity is much much snappier.

    I haven't done any bench marks, but with my old apple g router - I could not stream video files from router to the mini with g in the bedroom, with the new exterme router - i can stream video files to and from any computer in the house - g or n.

    I don't think just having a g device on the network brings everything down to g:

    "Performance degradation from using G and N machines simultaneously were negligible when just browsing the internet, and our Apple guy said it only affects N machines only for the duration that the G machines are sending data. Not a huge deal unless you're using both to stream files simultaneously, in which case we'd recommend you plug in to Ethernet anyway."
    http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/wireless...port-extreme-reviews-dont-tell-you-237233.php

    Anyway, just another data point. I am very happy with the airport express. I did quite a bit of reading before buying and it seemed like the best value - and everything just worked - Apple Style.

    network setup includes a mac mini intel with n, a MBA rev A (n of course), an older intel mini in the bedroom and my 12 inch powerbook G4 in the office.
     
  8. Mactagonist macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    NYC - Manhattan
    #8
    ^^

    agreed. The Airport is a really great router. Probably the best consumer grade router available.
     
  9. xlosltove777 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #9
    Thanks cube, you really seem to know your wireless routers well. I'm going to some more research into different routers and DD-WRT(I'm not very familiar with it). I kinda don't like the fact though that I just can't seem to take anything out of the box set it up and have it just work, except for Airport.

    As far as that the thing is I do have a lot of devices on my network My iMac and Macbook are N, but then I have a ton of G devices, my brother's laptop, Dad's laptop are almost always online once they get home plus they both have desktops that they use more sparingly. So I would see a hit once they get home from work around 4-5pm.
     
  10. cube macrumors G5

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    #10
    The Airport is the best consumer router only if you want something that just works for doing basic stuff.

    If you buy a consumer router that can be loaded with a good sized alternative firmware, you turn it into a "pro" router, even with PABX capability.
     
  11. xlosltove777 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    #11
    I know it's been awhile since this was originally posted but I ended up going with the new Airport Extreme.
    I took a look at DD-WRT but was afraid I'd end up messing my network up and my Dad would kill me. He doesn't like anyone doing anything with anything he owns. From the lawnmower to the network. My brothers and I have been blamed for messing things up when we just touched something and the problem occurred months later.
    I did venture to update the router's firmware but all I kept getting was a message "Update are failed".
    Then my brother's toshiba died and he bought a macbook. He quickly realized that he really want to use time machine over the network so he was willing to split the the cost in half so we could stream files with no problems as well as hook up USB drives.
     
  12. alphaod macrumors Core

    alphaod

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #12
    I have the mega build in the WRT600N; 300Mbps wireless on 5GHz works fine.

    However, now I would recommend the Airport Extreme Base Station.
     

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