Recommendation on a new router

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Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:05 pm

Right now I have Linksys WRT400N (Simultaneous dual band, relatively high end with a $200MSRP when I got it a few months back) and a WRT150N (Low end 2.4ghz N) routers. The WRT400N works great with the stock firmware, except that the PS3 is unusable with it. Dropped packets, < 1mbit of throughput, etc. I flashed to DD-WRT and those problems went away, however I noticed that my internet connection seemed slower than it should have. I was only testing at about 12-13mbit when I should have been getting 25mbit. I chalked it up to finnicky internet connection and Comcast and the testing server. Recently Comcast bumped me up to 40mbit download speeds for free, so I had to reboot the modem to pick up the new boot file. I did so and tested, and still got the same 12-13mbit. Plugged into a hardware, got 12-13mbit. Plugged the modem directly into my machine and got 38mbit. Weird. Flashed back to the stock firmware and got 38mbit over wifi and wire. Try the 150N with stock firmware and it gets ~20mbit. Hardwire is about the same. Tried 150N with DD-WRT and got 12-13mbit. I've verified connection speeds, etc.

So... with that said, I guess I'm in the market for a new router. I have the following:

Mac Mini
24" iMac
PS3
XBox 360
Roku HD
iPad
2 iPhone 4's
MSI Wind Hackintosh
Video/DLNA server

I've thought about going to an Apple Time Capsule or maybe even perhaps just an AirPort Extreme and plugging in one of those new TimeMachine compatible WD NAS drives. Any other recommendations?
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:52 pm

Have you considered alternative firmware? OpenWRT is better than DD-WRT for these things in terms of hardware support because it uses a more recent version of the Linux kernel:

http://www.openwrt.org/

Another possibility is an Asus router:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6833320038

As far as specifications go, that router is hard to beat. It is difficult to find another router in its price range that has 128MB of RAM.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:12 pm

I actually just got back 15 minutes ago from picking up a Netgear WNR3500L. Its not dual band, but its got gigE, and a USB port for storage sharing. Its also got an open source firmware, but the stock firmware is working great so far. It was only $80 too. Its got 64mb of ram in it and a supposedly fast CPU, because they actually advertised it on the box that the CPU was fast. I've never seen that on a router before, but I'm going to actually run my 2 desktops and the DLNA server with wired connections. I couldn't deal with my Linksys anymore. They've really gone downhill since the Cisco buyout.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:24 pm

Corrado wrote:I actually just got back 15 minutes ago from picking up a Netgear WNR3500L. Its not dual band, but its got gigE, and a USB port for storage sharing. Its also got an open source firmware, but the stock firmware is working great so far. It was only $80 too. Its got 64mb of ram in it and a supposedly fast CPU, because they actually advertised it on the box that the CPU was fast. I've never seen that on a router before, but I'm going to actually run my 2 desktops and the DLNA server with wired connections. I couldn't deal with my Linksys anymore. They've really gone downhill since the Cisco buyout.


It sounded like your Linksys issue was a software problem. While Linksys has gone downhill, that is in the area of hardware. The principle issue that persisted for a long time was the fact that they cut the hardware specifications of their routers so that it was impossible to run decent third party software on it and they refuse to push forward with their hardware specifications lest they make it more difficult for Cisco to justify businesses buying thousand dollar routers ans witches. Linksys software had always been lousy and third party software had always been superior, but when you run third party software, it is difficult to fault the hardware manufacturer if performance regressions occur in it.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:30 pm

Shining Arcanine wrote:It sounded like your Linksys issue was a software problem. While Linksys has gone downhill, that is in the area of hardware. The principle issue that persisted for a long time was the fact that they cut the hardware specifications of their routers so that it was impossible to run decent third party software on it and they refuse to push forward with their hardware specifications lest they make it more difficult for Cisco to justify businesses buying thousand dollar routers ans witches. Linksys software had always been lousy and third party software had always been superior, but when you run third party software, it is difficult to fault the hardware manufacturer if performance regressions occur in it.


Yeah it was most definitely software. My WRT150N the xbox360 simply refuses to see with the stock firmware. This new router has a Netgear owned/supplied opensource website @ www.myopenrouter.com with mods of DD-WRT that include DLNA, OpenVPN and Samba3 support, Tomato, OpenWRT, etc etc. Can't really complain about any of that.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:05 am

There were times where I followed Netgear, Linksys, etc through the struggles and times of success/fail. There was even a brief period I thought Linksys would be epic after the Cisco acquisition.

It seems to me D-Link (especially their "gaming class" routers with large NAT tables etc.) are quite nice for consumer purposes, even small business environments. Don't be scared off by the 'gamer' tags on hardware. Sometimes 'gamer' hardware has the benefits ya want.

Most manufacturers seem to like to cripple the cheap routers one way or another, just like microsoft cripples their OS at several tiers to get more money, even though they could release the 'full featured' version without the crippled 'cheap' versions. It pays for research and whatnot, I guess.

Right now, $100+ D-link stuff is very nice imo.

If you want to use 3rd party firmware ... I would find the best 3rd party firmware and work backwards, finding the best router for the firmware you want.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:48 pm

The 3500L should be a decent router, but I am not sure if the DD-WRT problems with it still exist. I would try Tomato USB instead.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:59 pm

Flying Fox wrote:The 3500L should be a decent router, but I am not sure if the DD-WRT problems with it still exist. I would try Tomato USB instead.


I've got Tomato on it now. I'm having USB problems. It sees drives, but won't mount them. Tried different external adapters, etc. But I just picked up a 4TB WD My Book World Edition II gigabit NAS, so I'm not too worried.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Mon Oct 18, 2010 8:28 pm

computron9000 wrote:There were times where I followed Netgear, Linksys, etc through the struggles and times of success/fail. There was even a brief period I thought Linksys would be epic after the Cisco acquisition.

It seems to me D-Link (especially their "gaming class" routers with large NAT tables etc.) are quite nice for consumer purposes, even small business environments. Don't be scared off by the 'gamer' tags on hardware. Sometimes 'gamer' hardware has the benefits ya want.

Most manufacturers seem to like to cripple the cheap routers one way or another, just like microsoft cripples their OS at several tiers to get more money, even though they could release the 'full featured' version without the crippled 'cheap' versions. It pays for research and whatnot, I guess.

Right now, $100+ D-link stuff is very nice imo.

If you want to use 3rd party firmware ... I would find the best 3rd party firmware and work backwards, finding the best router for the firmware you want.


Why would Linksys "be epic" following Cisco's acquisition of it? There was nothing Linksys sold that Cisco could not produce better at the same price points in the first place and Cisco had a vested interest in crippling Linksys, so Cisco's acquisition of Linksys could only have been to neutralize the threat Linksys posed to it. Linksys was a victim of its own success.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:40 pm

Shining Arcanine wrote:There was nothing Linksys sold that Cisco could not produce better at the same price points in the first place and Cisco had a vested interest in crippling Linksys, so Cisco's acquisition of Linksys could only have been to neutralize the threat Linksys posed to it. Linksys was a victim of its own success.

I'm going to have to disagree with you here. Cisco previously was focused primarily on the enterprise market, while Linksys produced primarily consumer gear. They really are different markets, with different requirements. Being a major player in one of those markets does not necessarily imply competence in the other.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:14 pm

My setup looks quite similar to yours and I have the latest Airport Extreme over here.

So far, it's been flawless in doing everything I've asked of it. I run it in a family network of one MacBook Pro, a Mac Mini, 3 Dells, and Acer Laptop, 2 iPhone 4s, 2 Blackberrys, a PS3 and an Apple TV and I've never seen it choke once even though we always have 5-8 Wireless devices on it at any given time.

What's even more impressive is that it's in the basement and we're all 2 floors up (save for one person).

Whether we're streaming HD video to the PS3 thru DLNA, streaming to the ATV2, or downloading massive amount of torrent files, It's rock solid. Perhaps the most stable router I've used to date.

To sum it up: Relatively low on features you'd see in a $180 router, but BIG on stability and performance.

EDIT: Hah, just saw your post about you buying a router... Aww well. Enjoy!
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Tue Oct 19, 2010 5:42 am

just brew it! wrote:
Shining Arcanine wrote:There was nothing Linksys sold that Cisco could not produce better at the same price points in the first place and Cisco had a vested interest in crippling Linksys, so Cisco's acquisition of Linksys could only have been to neutralize the threat Linksys posed to it. Linksys was a victim of its own success.

I'm going to have to disagree with you here. Cisco previously was focused primarily on the enterprise market, while Linksys produced primarily consumer gear. They really are different markets, with different requirements. Being a major player in one of those markets does not necessarily imply competence in the other.


Did you know that before the acquisition, businesses were beginning to substitute Linksys products for Cisco products on the strength of the open source firmware where-ever it made sense, which was affecting Cisco's revenues? They also reduced the RAM and flash that these routers had, making them less capable. RAM was reduced enough that the router could no longer implement NAT well and they lowered flash memory to the point where you could not run Linux and have a decent router anymore. At some point, the public outrage and movement toward other companies' products pushed them to offer the WRT54GL, which gave the routers the original 4MB of flash that they had, except with less RAM, so they could not function as effectively, which ensured that people stayed on Linksys routers, but that the routers were no longer the threat they were to Cisco.

As Wikipedia says:
The WRT54GS is nearly identical to WRT54G except for additional RAM, flash memory, and SpeedBooster software. Versions 1 to 3 of this router have 8 MB of flash memory. Since most third parties' firmware only use up to 4 MB flash, a JFFS2-based read/write filesystem can be created and used on the remaining 4 MB free flash. This allows for greater flexibility of configurations and scripting, enabling this small router to both load balance multiple ADSL lines (multi homed) or to be run as a hardware layer 2 load balancer (with appropriate third party firmware).[4]


That model was crippled, going from 8MB of flash to 2MB of flash, with RAM halved to 16MB. While that was more RAM than the WRT54G, the 2MB flash could not hold a useful Linux OS, so the routers were severely crippled for anything other than the proprietary OS Vxworks, which could fit in 2MB of flash and was what was introduced as a replacement to Linux. The WRT54GL models on the other hand could still run Linux, but they had so little memory that they could no longer do the same things. That ensured that the threat Linksys posed to Cisco was neutralized. After all, you could no longer use them as load balancers.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Tue Oct 19, 2010 10:38 am

Im agreeing with Shining Arcane here. Linksys was creeping into low end Cisco territory with the open source firmwares. Why buy a $900+ Cisco device when a $100 Linksys did the exact same thing? Cisco bought Linksys and crippled the devices in order to stave off the threat. If they were smart, they would have offered the original ones as $300 "Linksys Pro" devices or something similar rather than just getting rid of any real extensibility altogether. Look at the NetGear WNR3500L that I picked up. Goto www.myopenrouter.com and look at the community that Netgear has fostered. Theres firmwares that incorporate DLNA servers, VPN servers, NTP servers, Monitoring servers, etc that are encouraged by NetGear. In the end, they sell more routers, and have to do less support. Netgear has official FAQs on how to unbrick your router with a TTY cable, how to short pins in the event of a total brick in order to get the device to power up with a TFTP server to fix a broken firmware. All kinds of stuff. The community, the support, the device itself, the performance and most importantly, the performance of the NetGear has been phenomenal. We're talking about using one as a 'hardware' NTP device here. We've run into so many issues running an NTP server in a Linux VM that for $100, we plug this in, set it and forget it seems like a great idea instead of spending $1000's of dollars on a 'real' NTP device that we really don't need.
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Re: Recommendation on a new router

Postposted on Tue Oct 19, 2010 12:39 pm

Maybe a dlink DIR-655

Check out this site

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com
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