Etc.

Man, writing that GF100 article took a lot out of me. Pleased with how it turned out, but getting it finished was inordinately painful.

The crazy thing is that I’m still carrying around information from CES that I’d like to write up, along with a number of items I’ve been holding on to even longer. Our agenda has just been incredibly full, though. I realized this past Sunday that between Clarkdale, CES, the podcast, and GF100, I hadn’t had a single day off of work since December 27. I’m not complaining—’twas my own choice—but it just kind of happened. Eventually, that gets to you.

If you haven’t yet, I would encourage you to have a listen to our CES podcast, even if that’s not usually your thing. This episode is a little long, so you may want to take it in chunks, but it’s jammed full of information on a whole host of interesting stuff from the show. Also, I’m very much looking forward to the next episode, in which Jordan plans to tell the story of CES through sounds from the trip interspersed with narrations, like the Beijing and 10th anniversary episodes he did. We’re lucky to have someone of his talents to do these things for us, and we should enjoy it while we can, folks.

Amid all of this work, I’ve missed the chance to comment on some everyday things going on in Damage Labs. One change of note, recently, has been the addition of an 802.11n router to replace my long-trustworthy Linksys WRT54G, which I had hacked and cranked up to approximately blowtorch power levels. I wanted the additional speed of wireless N, and I was willing to pay a little extra for something good, since we have an awful lot of connected devices these days, many of them used for business. After reading this thread, I wound up going with a Netgear RangeMax WNDR3700.

So far, I’ve not been disappointed. I’d estimate that, in terms of real transfer speeds, 802.11n is about 2.5 times the speed of 802.11g in everyday use, and that’s only with a single-band 2.4GHz connection. Even relatively slow things like Windows file copies are pushing past 60 Mbps at a good distance from the router. (That’s in the slower "neighbor-friendly mode," too. Man, I need to turn that off!) The 3700 also broadcasts on the 5GHz band, but that has less range, and most of my laptops with 802.11n adapters don’t do 5GHz, anyhow. I expect I’ll buy a dual-band Netgear Wi-Fi adapter for at least one of our systems eventually, though, because we could use the additional speed sometimes, especially when my wife is browsing through our trove of eight-megapixel family pictures over the network.

I’ve appreciated a few of the 3700’s other features, including the ability to set up guest networks with separate SSIDs that can only access the Internet, built-in bandwidth use reporting, and some decent pre-baked QoS policies (with the option to add more). All in all, a pretty solid feature set out of the box—and a nice upgrade for the money, overall. If you’re holding out on 802.11n, it might be time to reevaluate.

Comments closed
    • PainIs4ThaWeak
    • 10 years ago

    l[

      • ClickClick5
      • 10 years ago

      “Try 180 days w/o a day off.”

      I would have called in sick by now…

      As for Scott, if he took a long break, there would be some very hungry, pissed and possibly dead gerbils here to take care of! lol

      Much appreciated buddy! Keep working hard! (I just got home from work.)

    • RickyTick
    • 10 years ago

    I took a chance and jumped on 802.11(n) nearly 2 years ago. It’s been absolutley flawless. I have my pc hardwired to the router, 2 others wireless, a wireless Wii, and a hardwired Xbox 360. Sometimes all are going at the same time with streaming Netflix, or gaming, or whatever, and never a hicup. FWIW, it’s a Linksys WRT300N.

    • gerryg
    • 10 years ago

    Not sure where I heard it, but supposedly Asus sells a new Tomato/DD-WRT -compatible router for something like US$30. Anyway, I’ve got Tomato on my Linksys WRT54G and like it (I bumped the power level up, but don’t max it out due to overheating), but I think I have too many clients now – networked PC, wireless PC, wireless laptop, Roku, Wii, and Nintendo DS – and the users of each start to complain when two or more get online at the same time. Maximum PC did a router article just recently, and overall I was surprised at how poorly all of them did in general. No clear winner, but one or two good ones depending on your needs. Not sure if the Netgear was in the review.

      • Firestarter
      • 10 years ago

      I’ve had people downloading torrents, gaming and surfing all at once on a ADSL line with a WRT54G with Tomato, without anyone noticing the activity of the others. It took a period of constant tinkering of the QoS, but it can work very very well. I don’t think 6 clients should be any problem for your setup. Just make sure one of them doesn’t choke out the others.

    • yuriylsh
    • 10 years ago

    Does anybody know if RangeMax WNDR3700 would work with Intel WiFi Link 4965AGN (it’s actually draft N embedded laptop mini card)?

    • jrr
    • 10 years ago

    I have the WNDR3700 and am a little disappointed that it doesn’t support what they call “port translation” – forwarding external port X to internal port Y, for different ports X and Y.

    This is nice if you would like to RDP or SSH in to multiple internal machines without changing what ports the services run on.

    Apparently Netgear does not offer this feature in any of its consumer-level routers, though competing router manufacturers do.

    Other than that, though, I’m quite content with performance. 5GHZ 802.11n wifi streams 1080p mkv without issue =]

      • Damage
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, I noticed that wasn’t an option, but figured I was just spoiled by years of configuring Cisco routers. ๐Ÿ™‚ Would a nice option, though.

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Presumably you could do that with the 3500L using one of the 3rd party firmwares.

      • TravelMug
      • 10 years ago

      Oh that’s really disappointing. Was looking to upgrade from my stonage Belkin to something that does not dies if 2 torrents are running at the same time and 3700 was the choice. I thought this is a given if that POS that’s running my network now has it.

        • Flying Fox
        • 10 years ago

        Most modern routers should be able to handle 2 torrents, provided you don’t allow a gazillion peer connections. Even the WRT54GL.

        That said, do you really use the feature that was discussed in this subthread?

          • TravelMug
          • 10 years ago

          Two was just an example. One can kill it too and that’s only with 60 active connections default in Transmission. The model is crap. Freezing too often, sometimes nees a hard reset just to get the wifi part working. Soft reset through the menu does nothing. The feature might be handy if I want to connect to machines from work wher we are pretty restricted. It’s weird to see it not working on a router with that price.

            • Flying Fox
            • 10 years ago

            While I connect to multiple machines from the outside when I feel like it too (I have 2 ports set up for that), worst come to shove you can just connect to one and then RDP/VNC over to the other anyways.

            The 3500L is probably what you may need to look for anyway.

            • TravelMug
            • 10 years ago

            Thanks, was looking at the DIR-655 as well, but if that 3500L does the job is good for me.

    • nstuff
    • 10 years ago

    I got the 3700 just before xmas. My older netgear router was dying a slow death.

    802.11n speeds are wonderful. The latest firmware is a must due to some rather nasty bugs with what shipped.

    Port Forwarding is a little odd. Works fine for most things, but I’m having issues getting UT3 dedicated server to push through. Most likely just an issue with UT3, but i haven’t ruled out the router yet.

    Otherwise, I love it. It’s fast, handles torrents fine (older router would choke pretty hard when downloading a linux distro).

    • Shinare
    • 10 years ago

    I made the BIG mistake of assuming that since I had a wrt54G for so many years, and a non wifi linksys router before that a new linksys N router would be a good purchase. Boy do I wish I had bought something else.

    Anyone considering a wireless N router, stay away from the linksys brand name. Stay FAR away.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 10 years ago

      lol you might want to qualify that statement just a little…

        • ClickClick5
        • 10 years ago

        It is not the brand, it is the tech. Wait three years and then buy an N router.

      • burntham77
      • 10 years ago

      Don’t keep us in suspense… WHY should we not buy them?

    • Welch
    • 10 years ago

    I just recently got the DLink DIR-655…. pretty much the same thing you just purchased only about 40-50.00 cheaper and no 5ghz support. I too am LOVING the heck out of it as I also replaced a WRT54G v8… The speed is AWESOME, the range is amazing (Mines going through a minimum of 5 or 6 walls of which there are also two vehicles parked in the garages its going through)… And im still hitting an 80% signal (4/5 bars) which is only limited by my laptops built in Wireless N card at 130mbps. Looking around this routers got the ability to sustain 280ish MBPS no problem wired and wireless, with three removable antennas too woooosh fast! Like your 3700 I can also do the guest or secondary SSID (AWESOME), WPA2, and Packet prioritization so that more important connections like gaming or streaming video aren’t effect at all by surfing the web or other network activity. definitely the best 100.00 I ever spent.

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      The DIR-655 is a fine router and best choice for a single band (or for less than $100). But you really do get more for your money with the 3700 because it’s a true dual band router with better performance — though it might not matter for many users. See the charts at Smallnetbuilder.com for details
      ยง[<http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/index.php?option=com_wireless&Itemid=200&view=guide&chart=69<]ยง It's also not hard to find it for less than a $50 delta from the 655 (NewEgg was running a sale on it about a month ago IIRC, and I've seen it cheaper at Fry's from time to time).

        • Da_Boss
        • 10 years ago

        I just gave up on my DIR-655 after frequent dropouts while playing MW2. As a replacement, I ended up getting an Airport Extreme since I found out it can be covered under the same extended warranty as my MBP I bought a few months back (genious move by Apple IMO).

        So far, I’m very impressed. It lacks some of the features of my old DIR-655, but it more than makes up for all that in sheer speed. I find I can stream 720p video from my Mac to my PS3 with hardly a hitch–both of which are 30 feet and 2 floors away from the router. It was also a snap to set up. Right now I have two wireless networks (one for each band) running beautifully.

          • Welch
          • 10 years ago

          If your solely basing your newer purchase on your PS3 then I guess thats the route to go… I to have a PS3 and regardless what I hook up it wont stay connected to it or stable… the PS3 (i’ve got the 160) just has the worst Wireless I have ever encountered on any device. So far no dropouts with the 655, and very fast as said before.

          The 3700 didn’t seem to offer enough to make it worth the extra money to me, not to mention reading the reviews of the 3700 many users reported that 1 or 2 rooms over in 5ghz mode they were unable to get any signal worth talking about. Since mine is in another house and I don’t have access to it all of the time, i needed something that would be rock solid and stable. So far the 655 has done that…… But I’ve got quite a few months/years ahead of field testing it until I can claim its completely rock solid. That is why I got rid of the WRT54G… and all linksys routers i had, they just don’t last.

    • GTVic
    • 10 years ago

    Don’t turn off the “neighbour-friendly mode”, I’m getting a great connection ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyway, were you using a 3rd party firmware, with your WRT54G? I have the GL using DD-WRT. Also heard good things about Tomato.

    I was wondering if support for 3rd party firmware might have influenced your purchase decision?

      • Damage
      • 10 years ago

      If I were concerned about third-party firmware, I wouldn’t have picked the 3700, actually. As I understand it, the best open firmware options don’t run on it (yet?).

      • Flying Fox
      • 10 years ago

      l[

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      g[http://www.netgear.com/Products/RoutersandGateways/WirelessNRoutersandGateways/WNR3500L.aspx<]ยง

        • adisor19
        • 10 years ago

        No, that’s not it.

        “neighbour mode” refers to using a 20Mhz channel instead of a 40Mhz channel on the 2.4Ghz spectrum. This is because using a 40Mhz channel pretty much means that your neighbour G router will get knocked out instantly.

        Adi

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          I read that as GTVic facetiously suggesting he was leaching a connection from Scott.

      • Kulith
      • 10 years ago

      What WRT54G model do you have?

      Last time I tried to to install DD WRT on mine it told me insufficient memory or something, and I ended up bricking it while trying return it to linksys firmware. I had to go through a weird debricking process that involved opening it up and shorting the chip with a paperclip.

      I’m afraid of trying it again now.

        • w00tstock
        • 10 years ago

        You can find out if your wrt54g is compatible on the dd-wrt wiki. However unless your router was made over 4-6 years ago it wont be, you will need the wrt54gL.

    • oldDummy
    • 10 years ago

    Thanks for the info.

    • adisor19
    • 10 years ago

    I must say, you picked the best wifi access point out there when it comes to performance.

    I’m still waiting for one sporting a 4 x 4 antenna configuration but if i HAD to get one now, the WNDR3700 would be my pick.

    Also, you may want to edit the post and remove the mention where you cranked the power level on WRT54G as it’s actually illegal in the US to pass a certain power limit on the 2.4Ghz band.. there’s a reason why the FCC mandated RP connectors on all WiFi consumer routers..

    Adi

      • Damage
      • 10 years ago

      Blowtorches are 42 mW, right?

        • adisor19
        • 10 years ago

        Of course ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Adi

    • thill9
    • 10 years ago

    What’s with this “we should enjoy it while we can” thing?

      • Damage
      • 10 years ago

      Oh, didn’t really mean anything by it, but I don’t know that we’ll have this quality of audio production forever. If you’ve heard some of Jordan’s episodes of that type, you’ll know that it’s way beyond just a bunch of geeks talking on Skype. Since we’ve not been able to land any long-term sponsors, we may not be able to keep doing this continuously. There’s no imminent threat here, but I guess I’ve revealed that my ability to pay quality people to staff a money-losing venture isn’t infinite. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 10 years ago

        It’s a shame MSi doesn’t make cases+PSUs, because I would seriously consider buying if it meant showing support. Great episode btw.

        • glynor
        • 10 years ago

        Jordan does a fantastic job.

        If we lose the TR podcast, it would be a sad day. It is absolutely the best tech hardware enthusiast podcast out there. Both the production values and the content are great.

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