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Netflix, Bandwidth, Brick Walls.

Last response: in Wireless Networking
August 8, 2011 4:18:31 AM

Our current Belkin router is slowly burning out. It periodically ceases to function throughout the day and all wireless devices cannot access the internet. Then we have to unplug it for a minute or two, plug it back in and all is dandy. The ritual is getting old now. Not to mention the router has very limited range and hardly any penetration in our 80+ year old brick house. We need something new and effective. I'm not very experienced with wireless networking, it's always been a shrouded mystery to me, there are so many numbers and different specs out there O.O Basically, we need a secure, but easy to setup router with a good rep and very good range/connectivity/penetration.

What do we use our network for? Netflix streaming via our Wii, I game online often, my sister is constantly streaming music and movies on her laptop, and somebody is almost always on a handheld device (iPod touch, phone, etc) viewing web pages or youtube video. So there's a lot of bandwidth demand.

Some technologies and manufacturers I have heard about: Netgear and D-Link seem to receive consistent and good reviews and they offer a wide range of routers, from barebones to top-of-the-line, $100+ routers.
Is wireless-n almost a given these days? Do wireless routers broadcast both "n" and "g" specifications simultaneously? Because the Wii does not support "n".
I have run into routers deemed "dual band" routers. (eg ) What are the benefits of such a technology? What are situations that require it?

If anybody here has advice or some golden router that they love, I'll look into any recommendations. Also, budget... the previously mentioned Netgear at $129.99 is probably already pushing it. Preferably a router <$100. But if that 130 is what it takes to get a good wireless network, than so be it.

Edit: Found this thoughts?
August 8, 2011 11:35:43 AM

A dual-band router is useful when you have devices that need the 2.4 Ghz frequency and ones that can use either 2.4 or 5 Ghz. Why use the 5Ghz spectrum? Well, perhaps the local 2.4 Ghz spectrum is crowded. 5 Ghz isn't a cure-all, it does have less penetration in some cases, so the reception may drop off more rapidly, so you may want to fallback to 2.4. Almost every router I know that supports n also supports b/g modes, though some rare ones may not I suppose.

I'm not going to recommend any given router since there's no particular way to be assured it will work well enough for you, and I just am not comfortable suggesting something that may disappoint you. I recommend being willing to try something else if one doesn't work well.

Which may include multiple routers, connected by wires, to cover your house more effectively, or may include trying different routers.