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Upgrading my wireless router

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  • Routers
  • Wireless Router
  • Networking
Last response: in Networking
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September 18, 2012 10:39:42 PM

Hello,

I am planning an upgrade of my wireless router from a Linksys WRT54G, spurred by my desire to set up shared NAS for my extensive photo and video collection. I'm open to suggestions on my best options.

We are 2 adults and three teen/preteen kids living on 3 floors/2500 sf with a Comcast basic internet service. We run my win 7 desktop, 2 windows laptops, 2 android wifi tablets, 2 wifi Ipods, an xbox360, a Wii, 2 3DS's, and zero smartphones. we have a 1 year old Samsung HDTV with wireless capability, a 2yo home theater projector system system and I have a 3TB USB3.0 drive to hook up as NAS.

I run OpenDNS via browser and schedule internet access on the Linksys router software for parental control and need to maintain specific schedules for each device.

Althoough we do not stream over the network I plan to do whatever my devices will allow once I figure out the details. We might consider a faster internet service down the road, but not right now. We are cellphone-only.

I expect to maintain individual control over the access of each device regardless of internet connection, so access to the router locally is important. I'm not an IT guy but catch on well. I'm not concerned about spending $150 or so if it gets me what I need, although I don't want to be locked into any brand or service down the road.

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September 21, 2012 4:17:26 AM

The only thing about upgrading to an N-speed router, is you'll never get N-speed in your situation (passing through multiple floors, etc). The WRT54G is a damn good router, and if you were to flash it with DD-WRT or Tomato, it will allow you to crank up the transmit power a lot higher. The problem with N is that the signal doesn't have much penetration. Going through a floor or a wall typically kills your signal strength, and clients will typically fall back to G speed. And even if they did connect at N speed (300Mbps or whatever close to that), you'll never actually see file copy speeds that fast. The sad fact is that unless you're line-of-sight to the router and really close, you'll never see much benefit. I use an ABGN Cisco WAP at home, and N speed doesn't happen unless i'm on that end of the house, and really close to the WAP. My house is a single floor, roughly 2,200 SF, so it's flat and spread out with lots of walls. Personally if I were you, i'd keep the WRT54G, flash it with DD-WRT, and crank up the transmit power on it, and attach your NAS to it.
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September 22, 2012 5:50:27 AM

Thanks for helping keep this in perspective. In fact transfer speed is not the driver here - I'm paying for a slow connection - I'm really trying to set up NAS but the WRT54G lacks a USB port. I can in fact use better signal esp. on the top floor but if I'm not mistaken I can add a booster. As for control the WRT54G is not bad - i can set an access schedule for devices by MAC or IP address for the kids.

I don't know the why/how of DD-WRT - what does this get me?

Is there a way to attach storage to the router via Ethernet?

By the way what is an ABGN Cisco WAP?
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September 22, 2012 5:06:52 PM

MikeC710 said:
Thanks for helping keep this in perspective. In fact transfer speed is not the driver here - I'm paying for a slow connection - I'm really trying to set up NAS but the WRT54G lacks a USB port. I can in fact use better signal esp. on the top floor but if I'm not mistaken I can add a booster. As for control the WRT54G is not bad - i can set an access schedule for devices by MAC or IP address for the kids.

I don't know the why/how of DD-WRT - what does this get me?

Is there a way to attach storage to the router via Ethernet?

By the way what is an ABGN Cisco WAP?




There are several NAS appliances that attach via Ethernet to your network. One that comes to mind is the Buffalo Linkstation LS-WX2.0TL/R1, but there are literally thousands of them out there that offer Ethernet connectivity. And if you plan on using a NAS, then transfer speed will play a HUGE roll in network performance. Your internet connection may be slow, which is fine, but if you have a slow network, then accessing your NAS will suffer greatly. DD-WRT is just a third party firmware that allows more flexibility in router configuration, and provides numerous options that the stock Linksys firmware doesn't offer. And I misspoke, my WAP is a BGN Cisco WAP4410N. And personally if signal strength is an issue, i'd look at getting a router that supports WDS rather than get a booster.
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September 25, 2012 4:02:22 PM

mavroxur said:
There are several NAS appliances that attach via Ethernet to your network. One that comes to mind is the Buffalo Linkstation LS-WX2.0TL/R1, but there are literally thousands of them out there that offer Ethernet connectivity. And if you plan on using a NAS, then transfer speed will play a HUGE roll in network performance. Your internet connection may be slow, which is fine, but if you have a slow network, then accessing your NAS will suffer greatly. DD-WRT is just a third party firmware that allows more flexibility in router configuration, and provides numerous options that the stock Linksys firmware doesn't offer. And I misspoke, my WAP is a BGN Cisco WAP4410N. And personally if signal strength is an issue, i'd look at getting a router that supports WDS rather than get a booster.


I have a reurbished Linksys E4200 awaiting delivery. This weekend I expect to dig into it and get things re-connected while I look into NAS options for ethernet. For now I will plan to run the USB drive as NAS once I figure out how to get it working. By the way I opted for the Version 1 as I understand this version can take 3rd party firmware. Thanks again for your help.
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September 25, 2012 9:00:48 PM

I've never used that router, but it looks to be okay. I'm not a huge fan of routers with no external antennas. Let us know how it works for you.
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October 1, 2012 2:31:36 PM

mavroxur said:
I've never used that router, but it looks to be okay. I'm not a huge fan of routers with no external antennas. Let us know how it works for you.


Linksys E4200 installed and running. Firmware upgraded to latest (1.*****.05 from 1.*****.04) and talking to cable modem and connected devices with the notable exception of my Seagate 2TB and WD 1TB USB drives which it will not detect. I managed to get an 8GB flash drive to detect in the USB port but the HDD's are invisible. By the way this is consistent with both firmware versions.

The router itself seems to work OK. I have my access policies for the kids in place and I can now get a weak signal from the picnic table on my back patio which is a new treat that my WRT54GS did not provide. Another feature I like is the backup/restore configurations utility which reconfigured all my DNS and access restriction policies after I upgraded the firmware.

I have scanned user forums on the connected storage issue which seems to be a dice-throw with this router. Since this was my goal at the outset I would like to resolve it.

My options seem to be (all are rolls of the dice):

1. a different router
2. a compatibe HDD (USB or eternet connected?). I suppose if I'm stuck here and need to buy one I could explore RAID 1, etc. - but I could have done that with my old router using ethernet?
3. a 3rd party firmware that facilitates the interface to my HDD
4. any number of things I hadn't considered.

Life is interesting...
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Best solution

October 2, 2012 7:41:14 PM

That's kinda why I hate using routers with a NAS built in. They're only compatible with certain devices sometimes. Here's a link showing supported devices -

http://www6.nohold.net/Cisco2/ukp.aspx?pid=80&app=vw&vw...


If I were you, i'd look into getting an ethernet attached NAS, as they tend to have less issues that on-board NAS systems integrated into routers.
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October 22, 2012 12:17:53 AM

mavroxur said:
That's kinda why I hate using routers with a NAS built in. They're only compatible with certain devices sometimes. Here's a link showing supported devices -

http://www6.nohold.net/Cisco2/ukp.aspx?pid=80&app=vw&vw...


If I were you, i'd look into getting an ethernet attached NAS, as they tend to have less issues that on-board NAS systems integrated into routers.


Installed an iomega ix2-200 NAS. Plan to run the USB drives as backup.

So far so good. I have not checked access from other devices though. No speed numbers yet but I'm trying to set up remote access using port forwarding as described in

http://download.iomega.com/resources/whitepapers/ix-for...

I get a message that says I am connected, but I also have a "Router configuration error" With a note:"Your network router could not be configured to enable or disable remote access. This can occur when your router does not have UPnP enabled or the required port cannot be opened or closed. " I verified UPnP enabled. I wonder if OpenDNS is creating a conflict. I'll be plugging away at this for a bit I am sure.
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October 23, 2012 4:43:06 PM

Best answer selected by MikeC710.
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