Wireless Router help

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by GabooN, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. GabooN macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2008
    Windsor, Ontario
    I know there are lots of threads about which routers to get but I couldn't find concrete opinions on the issues I need, and trying to google certain issues wasn't bringing up anything other than routers for sale.

    I am going to need to buy a wireless router in the next few weeks, as my room mate is moving and will be taking his.
    I have a 6 year old PC that will be plugged in with ethernet cable. This PC will not be seeing heavy use since my MBP is supposed to arrive tomorrow.

    I was toying with the idea of the Airport Extreme Base Station for a while, but I am a student, and just bought a laptop and should probably be more stringent with my money.

    I had my mind set on the WRT310N-CA but I am having hesitations. I plan to mainly be using wireless in the future, so the gigabit ethernet ports offer no huge benefit (correct?). And even if I do want to plug in, the main use will be internet connection and not wired file transfer etc. Am I correct in the belief that gigabit has no real advantage if you are using a wireless network, and wired connections are only really for internet anyways?

    The second issue is single band (2.4) or dual band (2.4 and 5.0). The WRT310N is single band and would probably do the job fine, but im just thinking into the future. My MBP will be wireless N, but i have an iPod touch and want the ability to let others connect to the network fine.

    The WRT400N router is a bit more than the WRT310N, and has dual band, minus the gigabit ethernet.

    So for majority WIRELESS use, would the WRT400N be a more suitable router with the dual band, over the WRT310N?

    I am having trouble keeping my thoughts simple at the moment, I apologize. I realize the AEBS would take care of both these issues, and I may indeed end up with it, but $ wise I shouldnt be spending $200 on a router at the moment, and would like to get a decent router for the time being that will serve me well if I don't decide to upgrade in the near future.

    *quick edit: WRT310N is $98 canadian, WRT400N is $130. In the end, not much difference.
    I also forgot to mention, I will be using a 500 gb external drive for time machine backups, and while the wireless backup feature of the AEBS would be nice, it isn't a necessity. Anytime I would be working on important files for school I would likely be at my desk using my external monitor (and having my usb hub with the HD attached plugged in). having the extra backups anytime Im in my apartment would be nice, but not a deal breaker at the moment, part of the reason i can't justify the AEBS right now.
  2. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...get a dual band, you'll be thankful for it later!

    I'd also recommend an AEBS as per my sig...
  3. GabooN thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2008
    Windsor, Ontario
    Thanks for the input. I fear I may be over thinking the situation, but I am also trying to future proof my investment while also not spending a ton. AEBS is still a possibility, depends on $$ closer to september. $179+tax Canadian (student price)
  4. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    Having a dual-band router is becoming more and more important due to overcrowding of the 2.4GHz band. If I were in the market for a new router today I would not buy any router that did not support the 5GHz band as well. Dual-band is great because you can connect older network devices on the 2.4GHz band, and newer devices such as any recent Apple computer over the 5GHz band. The speed of the ethernet ports isn't important if you plan on connecting over a WiFi connection, but depending on what type of connectivity your router offers for NAS (Network Attached Storage) it may or may not be a factor in your purchase. If you plan on having some sort of networked backup solution in the future, gigabit ports come in handy for connecting any decent NAS device, which will also feature one or more gigabit ethernet ports. A router with a USB port works as well, but USB offers far less throughput and can't compete with a quality NAS device connected directly to the router's switch.

    Since you have the capability and the willpower to connect a hard drive directly to your Mac, the two routers you have listed compare more closely with each other, since you can ignore the switch and focus on the wireless connectivity that each router offers. The WRT400N offers 5GHz connectivity, and so should offer a more reliable connection and would be a better choice.

    Of course, if you can afford an AEBS or something similar, you could have the best of both worlds.
  5. 5DollaFootlong macrumors 6502


    Apr 26, 2009
    airport extreme for all of the already mentioned reasons plus the fact that it is covered by applecare if you have applecare for your mac.
  6. GabooN thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2008
    Windsor, Ontario
    Thanks for the responses, very helpful :)

    the WRT400N looks like it could do the trick since I will be using mainly wireless. For the foreseeable future, even if I have a computer plugged into ethernet, it will be the single unit plugged in, so not many large file transfers that aren't going through wireless anyways.

    I will just have to decide if AEBS wins when it comes time to buy.
  7. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
    the dual-band of the ariport extreme is great. I love that I can attach a USB drive and two printers with a USB hub for wireless printing. Setting it up and maintaining it are absolutely effortless, which is almost priceless if you, like me, have spent any amount of time on the phone with tech support trying to figure out why the router isn't playing nice. My $90 d-link N router just died a while ago and I replaced it with the airport extreme. This has been one of the best purchases I have made in recent memory. I fully endorse buying the airport, the extra $50 you spend on it now is well worth it. seems like a lot of money, but just think of how effortlessly you'd spend $50 on food or drink. Go cheap for a little while and the extra $50 you spend on the router will be easily made up.

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