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It's been 7 years since I went wi-fi router shopping...

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September 5, 2011 3:08:08 AM

Whew! It's been 7 years since I went router shopping. At that time, my choice was fairly...the Linksys Wrt54GS. It was not expensive with all the rebates back then and was consistently given rave reviews. Now, things are different. There are so many options out there that I'm overwhelmed, frustrated and have no idea who to believe, opposing opinions from consumers and varying reviews from the large tech companies (Cnet, PCMag, etc)!

Here's my setup: Cable Internet (currently running to the Linksys WET54GS), then I have a networked blu-ray player (Netflix, Hulu Plus, etc), networked media player w/hard drive), VOIP phone adapter.

Two laptops connected to the router wirelessly.

In addition, I have a second Lynksys WRT54G that's connected to the first router wirelessly that has the same networked blu-ray player and networked media player (since both are wired only, we're using the wireless router with other firmware to allow the wired devices to connect wirelessly to the main system - something that seems much more common now that when it was setup 7 years ago).

So, I guess my questions are simple: what routers do you recommend and what device to use to connect the bedroom equipment to the wireless system.

I've seen a lot of the new routers have simultaneous dual band transmission which seems it would be of benefit in my setup. What I'm not sure about is if I really need gigabit ethernet (for the bluray and media player streaming) or if fast (100mb) ethernet is enough. I don't know how much that changes anything. Price is an issue but I don't want to overlook anything that could really benefit our setup. All my patch cables are Cat.6 ethernet (the price difference on Monoprice was so small, I figured I might as well have Cat6 vs 5).

I'm fairly tech savvy but I don't want an impossible setup to maintain...but if there's some minor tinkering to do to save a lot of money, that would be a possibility.

Last this, the reason I'm wanting to upgrade is that the router doesn't appear to be functioning properly anymore. It won't maintain broadcasting the internet speeds that are getting to the modem for more than a short time after reboot - and that doesn't always work. I've seem the speeds frequently drop to 1mb download/0.5 upload instead of the 13/5 that we should be getting (but only occasionally do). This does appear to be the router because connecting directly to the modem gives the correct speeds and none of the tweaking I've done to the setup has been helpful.

Sorry this was a bit lengthy but I wanted you to know the particulars. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much in advance!
Rae

More about : years router shopping

September 5, 2011 4:16:03 PM

Netgear is ahead of the bunch with the n750 router, but its pretty expensive for a router. Look at their lineup on their homepage, and compare prices on amazon until you get to one that is in your price range. The n600 is half the n750's price, and the n300 is even cheaper. Would recommend any of these routers. All of these are connect via lan, which is what you have on your existing setup. All of these will be an improvement over your existing setup. You should get more range. If I were you, I would get the n600. If there is any bottlenecking in your internet router, this will eliminate them.
September 5, 2011 7:03:45 PM

Thanks Estabon. That does look like a great router. Problem is, it's almost $140 and since I also need a media bridge to utilize the 5ghz band (I don't think my two "n" radios in our laptops utilize that bandwidth. So, I'm trying to decide if I should get a refurb dual band to get it in my price range or if I should go with a really solid single band setup. I don't even know if the gigabit technology will make a difference in my setup. So, I don't know if the refurbs are too iffy or a good choice. Sounds like some of the Linksys refurbs are awesome and some have come to purchasers bricked. So confusing!
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September 6, 2011 1:00:09 AM

I would never spend 140 dollars on a router, but expensive to some is cheap to another. I would not get a refurbished router. It is a hit or miss, and it's not worth the risk. The only advice I can give is to find a brand that you trust like I trust netgear, and then narrow your search to the best in your price range.
September 6, 2011 1:00:49 AM

take a peek at the n600 router. It is 65 dollars.
September 6, 2011 1:24:16 AM

Netgear makes 4 different N600 routers. Which one would you recommend?

Also the DIR-655 seems to be a very very popular router and is available recertified on newegg right now for only $40. Is there anything wrong wtih it?
September 6, 2011 1:38:51 AM

I must have gotten the wrong N600 because on Amazon it was $137. These companies REALLY want to complicate things don't they? LOL

I'll take a look at that DIR-655. The price is certainly right. And I believe that it plays nicely with DD-WRT but I'll check to make sure.

Yeah, I'm not sure about the refurb...is it worth trying? I mean, I think the main issue is the return policy...if it's good w/o a lot of cost to send it back, not bad to try and see how it is. I'm definitely checking into a Squaretrade warranty though (w/coupon code ;)  ) to have my back if I end up going that way. Also looking at TP-link, ASUS 16 & similar ones.

Oh and Estabon, we definitely think alike on purchasing a router...I just can't justify paying $140!
September 6, 2011 2:48:15 AM

Nah the DIR-655 doesn't work with any of the aftermarket firmwares. I think you can load DD-WRT or OpenWRT on the netgear you bought. I think I might get the same router myself because the cheaper N600 has 100mbit ethernet and the one you got I think has gigabit. I was going to get the DIR-655 but now I am wondering if I should just get the netgear because I can run aftermarket firmware. But for the price of 1 netgear I can buy 3 DIR-655s.

Refurbs can be refurbs for many reasons, I think most refurbs are in perfect working condition but were returned for other reasons like the person didn't like it, etc.
September 6, 2011 3:05:57 AM

Hmm, it seems that the DIR-655 is a pretty old piece of hardware. I might go with this one: Asus RT-N16. I've never liked netgear and the ASUS has great reviews with DD-WRT running on it.

Sorry to crap up this thread but I think me and the OP are looking for the same thing here, so I didn't want to start another one.
September 6, 2011 3:40:37 AM

NP ozziegt, in some ways, it's a lot easier to have more info in a single thread. :)  So, feel free to join in.

I've also heard great reviews of that ASUS. If I could afford a $130 router, I'd be getting the ASUS U56 hands down. That thing is a monster. But alas, budget comes into play. So, I may actually consider a refurb with a GOOD return policy. That was a good point that a lot of routers could not work with a person's setup, area, or maybe it was user error :o  !

Oh, you are completely correct about the D-Link and DDWRT, not possible is it's standing. That's strange because the D-Link DIR-825 is fully supported on it. But I'm not sure I want to bother with a selectable dual-band because I'd have to go with the 2.4ghz range and I don't think that I want to pay more for what will end up being a single band router. There are better options for less money.
September 6, 2011 5:18:56 AM

If I had a low budget I would def. go with the D-Link, but if aftermarket firmware support was necessary maybe the 100mbit N600 (WNDR3400). However I've dealt with enough crappy routers in my lifetime that it's worth it for me to spend a little more now and hopefully avoid headaches later on...but some people don't have that luxury. The Asus seems reasonable at $100.
September 6, 2011 5:37:21 AM

Well, you have to bear in mind that the last router I purchased was over 7 years ago and cost me less than $29. This is the first real issue I've had with it so it's hard for me to see what adding $100 to that price would give me. I mean if you calculated it out...it should last me 3x longer so a total of 28 years LOL (ok, I'm not THAT unreasonable). It's just been odd seeing a sector of the computer market seemingly go UP in price over 7 years (the router I bought at the time was top of the line & is still considered a good one).

Anyway, I'm still browsing around. I have new things to check for though like memory, CPU speeds etc. Amazing what you learn about on these types of things!
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