Although Toms has charts for routers that quickly display the newest and fastest routers, I really don't need any of them. I don't need MIMO, as none of the 6 computers on the network have a wireless card that can take advantage of that. I don't need wireless N as that is just plain flawed. I just need a good standard wireless g router and I cannot find any recommendations on Toms for such a router (it would be nice if it could handle a good amount of simultaneous connections and nicely share thoroughput too!).
I am currently looking at the Linksys WRT54GL and although its not a horrible router, there has to be something better, right?[/quote]
Now that you've narrowed it down to just about every wireless G router ever made (snicker), and since you don't need any special features, why don't you read some reviews on the WRT54G to see if you like it?
The WRT54G is a good plain jane router, but realistically any of the name brand routers should do you just fine. I'd stay away from the off brand routers, but honestly since you don't really have any "special" needs, I'd base my decision on brand preference and the quality of the support and warranty that comes with the router.
I'm not too sure what they changed through the various revisions, maybe if you could define "sucks", hehe. If you want to get advanced and void your warranty there's a linux project that has alternate firmware you can load on certain variants of the WRT54G to enable more functionality.
Yeah the WRT54G is pretty good. Although if I were you, stay away from Linksys, I know many would disagree with me, but i have had so many problems with all of my 802.11b equipment it is not even funny at this point. Stated on the website with my product is that it has bugs that can't be fixed and I get horrible speeds when my friend uses Netgear and definately outperforms with the same ISP and connection speed. Our rooms are almost the same distance apart from the router. Just from a past experience I would go with Netgear and not Linksys.
I'm in a similar situation, as I'm also buying a router. I'm looking to connect 3 computers (2 WinXP and one OSX) with a router to form a home network and to share a cable connection. None of the current computers would need wireless connections at the moment but they all have wireless cards which I think are equipped for 802.11g. But I'd be connecting them with ethernet cards. In a few months I'll be getting a Linux/Solaris computer (haven't decided yet on the operating system), which I'll also connect to the LAN, with ethernet. Although I've never worked with a network before I'd like to share 2 printers with the other computers on the network if possible.
After researching routers listed on a number of sites (Tomshardware was most helpful!) AirLink101's "4 Port Broadband Router (AR504)" caught my eye. Derek Boiko-Weyrauch and Tim Higgins (from this site) recommended it highly for it's price range and the site's comparison chart lists it's throughput in the low 90s, way ahead of most of the other routers on the list. I see you guys recommend the Linksys WRT54G, which seems to be a slightly more expensive (but popular) choice. Anyone know how these 2 compare?
Other routers with throughput similar to the AR504 cost about 4-8 times as much (I'm looking at the Buffalo Technology 125* High Speed Mode Wireless Remote Secure Gateway and the ASUS
Internet Security Router (SL1000)). Is the AR504 such a great deal or are the other routers worth their price? I notice they both mention security in their name... how much security do I need? FYI I was expecting to pay between $30 and $100 which put the Airlink101, the Linksys, and the Buffalo Tech. WZR-RS-G54 all within my price range. I see Empty_V0id knocked Linksys... do you have any experience with Buffalo Tech. or AIrlink101?
I'm also intrigued by the possibility of installing OpenWRT, and would like to play around with it if I had a good excuse. Only one of the high throughput routers I mentioned above support it, and of course the Linksys. Would installing it hurt the router's performance though? Would it, for example, give me better logging tools (which would be nice to have) or just advanced routing features I'd never use? Would it change the throughput for better or worse, or not at all? I'm a n00b, I don't know this stuff!
In brief I need the following things in a router:
Able to connect at least 5 computers.
802.11g wireless capabilities (mostly for my Nintendo DS, and but eventually a possible laptop)
The ability to share our 2 printers over the network
a built-in stateful packet inspection (SPI) firewall
WPA security (from what I read it's better than WEP).
Compatibility with WInXP, Linux/Unix and Apple computers
I want a router with:
...support for OpenWRT if it's worthwhile... otherwise a nice warranty & support good security
I don't need:
A router tailored to P2P or gaming
Non-standard wireless capabilities (ordinary 802.11g should be more than enough)
I don't know if I'll need:
Some sort of Port Mapping (Forwarding, Virtual Server).
Mapped Server "Loopback"
Dynamic DNS support
Well you are in luck because the wireless network I talked about has all of these, including a nintendo DS haha. The WRT54GL is a decent router, not the best, and considering the state of home routers today I can't complain that much. Make sure you get the L, as in WRT54GL, if you get the linksys. I have 6 computers and the DS on wireless, just for your information. The only quirk I found with OS X is that you needed to specify the type of WEP (I'm using WEP, I know it sucks, but I'm in a residential area so it's no big deal).
On another note, if you are looking for a super-high performance wireless router than you are gonna pay a lot of money, not to mention you will need to get wireless cards for your computers that can take advantage of these features.
after installing quite a few routers, I have found Netgear to be the easiest to work with. I have had several problems with Linksys being incompatible with hardware that other routers are not incompatible with. DLink's software is not as intuitive or easy to work with as Netgear. Netgear is a breeze to set up and the software and settings are intuitive and easy to figure out. Linksys routers will only sit horizontally, while Netgear routers will stand vertically and are not as bulky as Linksys. This is quite handy when there is limited space to work with.
Security: A post above says WEP is OK for them since they are in a residential neighborhood. IMO, that is the wrong way to look at it. The issue is, do you care if the bored teenager next door uses your internet bandwidth or snoops around on your computer hard drives? Given enough time (actually, only a few minutes for someone who knows what they are doing) and motivation, any WEP network can be cracked using ordinary PCs and readily available downloaded software. Bored teenagers in their rooms late a night wanting to bypass their parents internet filters sounds like time and motivation to me.
The only good excuse for using WEP is your computer wireless interfaces do not support WPA, and that excuse only holds (IMO) if upgrading is expensive (such as a built-in interface in a laptop). If you must use WEP, check the admin screens of your router frequently to check the logs of machines that have attached themselves, etc.
Second, you probably do not need to be too concerned with number of computers on the wired side of your network. If you are using 100Mbps wired internet, that will be about 4 times faster than your G wireless, and 20 or more times faster than your broadband connection. Your router will come with a builtin wired ethernet switch with the ability to connect 4 ethernet cables. If you have more than 4 computers to connect, just spend another $5 - 35 bucks (depending on sales, rebates, etc.) for an ethernet hub/switch. Make sure it is at least 100Mbps capable; there are still a few 10Mbps antiques sitting around on shelves.
Pay attention to cooling of the router. Keep enough space around it; don't pile your general computer desk clutter on it or let clutter collect around it. Heat is the enemy of maintaining connections, especially on the wireless side.
I am using the Siemens SpeedStream 6520 DSL modem / wireless router (my DSL provider insists on charging for the equipment; sigh). However, it works well so far. I have 3 WinXP Home machines and 1 Win98SE machine attached to the wired side through a Netgear 605 switch (for convenience in cable management), 1 WinXP Professional laptop and 1 Mac OSX laptop attached to the wireless side. Neither laptop supports WPA, so I use WEP on the wireless, but check it frequently. I'm considering powering the router down when not being used (such as overnight).
I put in a wired / wireless network for a small church that was on a tight budget. I made the mistake of buying the Hawking HWR54G router because it was practically free with rebates. It keeps dropping the wireless connection. Don't buy that one, even if it is free. It is not worth the money even then!
Stability, maintaining connections, thoughput, "proper" router functionality, and support of WPA are the main things you need in a wireless router. It is difficult to find reviews and comparisons charts anywhere except for the bleeding edge stuff. I wish Tom's would maintain an archive of his reviews of these now "plain Jane" routers from back when they were the latest and greatest.