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Best current ADSL modem & Wireless AC Router (Combo or separate)? Setup arrangement?

Last response: in Networking
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April 3, 2013 4:27:29 PM

Hi guys & gals,

My parents current netgear DGN3300 (ADSL modem/router combo) range is no longer proving to be adequate (Could be reduced Tx power due to neighbours interference). I'm very comfortable with networks (I run my own custom router on Ubuntu at my place), however I'm not so up to date with current equipment.

I was wondering if anyone can recommend a good Wireless AC Router, preferably an ADSL router combo (I know the choice is limited), or if the only great options are cable routers then can anyone recommend a good ADSL modem & cable routers? I only ask because the modem (the ISP provided) throughput is substantially lower than the netgear combo this was tested with by wire FYI.

Currently our router (2.4Ghz & 5Ghz) is in one corner of the house (all our network plugs go to this room & one of the few with a phone socket)
I plan on placing the new router in the current position with 5g (ground floor study) for working areas that want high speed access (mainly time machine backups), and the old router as an access point on the extreme opposite side of the house (loft - above the 1st floor) on 2.4Ghz to provide access to bedrooms/2nd living room.

Budget is ~£130, high range & 802.11ac is preferable.

Any suggestions on the proposed setup will also be greatly appreciated (the loft spans the whole house and there is a wire up there so very flexible on position).

Thanks,

Alex
a b F Wireless
April 3, 2013 6:40:34 PM

Only one there is is from netgear, saw some announcement a couple months back. Don't know the exact release date. I suspect it is more expensive that you want. The modem will not slow the router down when you are doing lan-lan traffic and it does not matter for lan-wan Its not like a new router is magically going to make you internet faster that is all determined by how much you pay your ISP.

You do know that you must replace all you nic cards with AC nics also to get the speed benefit. If they are internal to the equipment like roku or ipads or such you cannot upgrade these and you will get no advantage over a N based router. Like 802.11ac routers with ADSL even internal laptop 802.11ac cards are very rare so you can't even upgrade most laptops.

I suspect we are a year away from a large amount of 802.11ac product. The standard will be set late this year and I suspect most manufactures will be increasing production starting 1st quarter of 2014. You take a risk buying early because the standard could change a bit and most manufactures are not will to take the risk selling product they may not be able to upgrade. Too many got burned when 802.11n came out and everyone was selling that pre-n junk.
April 3, 2013 7:44:46 PM

I think I came across that one but thought there must be a larger selection. To be honest I was eyeing up the WD routers (cable). Yeah I remember all the draft-n nonsense, I was under the impression wireless ac was being picked up a lot faster.

My parents are the sort of people who will buy a router and just leave it running until they are forced to change (in this case poor reception). I figured they would slowly obtain ac devices over the next couple years. The reality is, I figured wireless ac would have better 5Ghz SNR/filters etc and would allow a performance increase for the 5Ghz N devices (I appreciate that n is n and you won't achieve above the theoretical limit)

Would you recommend waiting out ac, and getting a good n router? If so, what models should I check out? I really am looking for solid 5g

Just to add, with regards to the modem throughput;
We pay for 'up to 24Mbps'
With the ISP's modem to a cable router (I used on a 50Mbps connection fine) we only get 8Meg down .5 up
With the DGN3300 we get 15Meg down and .8 up I assume either good analogue filtering or just better firmware allows the line to be the bottleneck.
These were both tested with an Ethernet cable to the router not by wifi.

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a b F Wireless
April 4, 2013 3:11:14 AM

A DOCSIS 3 modem is pretty much standard. Like routers there is only a tiny handful of companies that make the chips no matter the brand name on the outside. Generally you need to test to the speed test site on the ISP network to get the rated speed. Still the largest issue with rated speed is it says MAXIMUM so they can over sell the circuits and you only get that if none of your neighbors are using it.

I do not have cable as of now but have always had good luck with the motorola brands. You should not see any big difference between brands cable modems.

The main difference that 802.11n and 802.11ac have is they can use more channels ie 4 instead of 2..but this is part of where the incompatibility comes. Some vendors are using 8 but that at the current time is "optional" in the standard. So 802.11ac may run faster but it likely will not have better coverage or range. It is still limited by the same FCC power rules and it still is absorbed by walls/ceiling etc much more than 2.4g. I suspect in the beginning it will be better but when more people start to use it we will see the same interference in 5g that we see in 2.4 between neighbors. Now instead of everyone using 1 channel in the 5g and sharing nicely everyone will try to use all the channels. There is only 1 block of 8 channels (maybe 2 in some countries). There are only 4 blocks of 4 channels some of which you cannot transmit at maximum power. So now everyone will be stomping on each other and since they are trying to pack more in on top of it any interference will be made even worse.

For now my opinion is to wait. The main reason there is little product on the market is the manufactures are also waiting. They got burned by the standard last time. Its a hard call all depends on when you think 802.11n performance is not good enough. Many people are just looking at the big numbers and think everything will run faster forgetting their internet speed is still the same. The only people that actually need more speed are running high bandwidth application in their house. Still blueray is at max 40mbit/sec.
a b F Wireless
April 4, 2013 3:49:12 AM

Ok I must have been partially asleep....you can ignore the first part on cable modems.

ADSL issues are almost always related to the quality of the cable between you and the telco. Some modems do work a little better but it is hit and miss because it depends what it is wrong with the wires. Most time when you start having issues is to call the telco and if necessary pay them to come and test the wires all the way to the house. Simple things like a corroded punch down in some splice in a street box can make a huge difference.
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