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Need Enlightenment on Selecting the Right Router For My Needs

Last response: in Networking
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January 16, 2013 6:29:18 PM

Hi Comrades, :hello: 

I have a mission for anyone who thinks he or she is qualified to execute it. I desperately need good advice as to what kind of ROUTER to buy. In addition, it would be so helpful if specific modems could be cited as an excellent choice for my needs and therefore bring my search to an end. I have already been looking for a couple of days at various Dual-Band N-Routers and I am reading so much conflicting information, or bad reviews on a router I that I am considering that I feel overwhelmed and confused :ouch:  which are not normally how I am when dealing with electronics or computers components. But this time it has the better of me.

Here's the deal: My current Belkin-G Router is not functioning correctly this last week and I cannot figure out why. Nevertheless, I think it is time for an upgrade to the N-series Routers. The idea of a Dual-Band Router is very appealing as you have two different signals that are available to you. But even though I pay extra for faster Internet speed I still only have a download speed between 25-30MBps and my upload speed is between 8-10MBps. So the question is will I garner any real benefit by using a dual-band router with the above mentioned speeds?

Now, here's my setup. I have a newly acquired WD TV Live Streaming Media Player on my bedroom TV which I am almost ashamed :(  to admit is not a HDTV. Nonetheless, I can still stream movies from NetFlix and TV shows from Hulu Plus in theory at least. I haven't actually tried it yet. Until I received the WD Media Player for Christmas I actually watched almost no TV, very rarely do I venture and watch HBO. I do however take out documentaries and TV shows on DVD from my local library all the time. But now that I have the option to stream movies I suspect my interest in watching them will increase. In addition, and one the reasons I wanted the WD Media Player was that it had a USB port that you can plug a flash drive or drive into and it will play any video format on it. So, now, I don't have to burn to DVD any of the movies I procure online. I can download them and just copy them to a flash drive and watch at my convenience.

So I have this WD Streaming Media Player on my TV. I also have a desktop computer that would be plugged into the router because of improved speed over wireless though this new computer I am building next week does have wi-fi capability built into and I even get a little antenna but I am not sure what I will use it for except perhaps I could transfer something from my smartphone to the computer. Whatever. It's a free feature so if I don't use no big deal. Currently, my laptop is dying slowly and I cannot even use it anywhere unless I have something to lean the screen against because the latch on one side that holds the screen is broken. So, the place I would like to use it most--my bed--is not an option. Fixing it of course is too expensive. I also have an iPhone 4S that I use a lot in my bedroom because I don't have access to my laptop. I have a printer that has wi-fi capability, so if I would plug into a router with a USB plug than I could print with out a wire, but this is not really a big deal for me as the printer is next to my desktop computer.

So there's my arrangement. Does it warrant a dual-band router? And what about the dual-band routers that also have wi-fi capabilities listed in their name? Is there something extra that is being offered if the wi-fi is specifically noted in the title of the product? This confuses me. :pt1cable: 

After looking at so many routers I have come to realize that I will need to spend more money definitely than I had intended. I think I got my last router for $50.00. But that amount doesn't go far with the N-Router even without dual-band capabilities. I am willing to spend as much $120 but would prefer lower; however, not at a serious cost in benefits or speed of the router. I rather cough up more money and get a better product. I want a N-Router that I can use for a couple of years. Perhaps next year in 2014 I will buy a HDTV but that seems far into the future.

So any feedback and router suggestions would be much appreciated. I do buy a lot of stuff through Amazon. In fact, almost all my computer components are coming from Amazon because the company offers a more competitive price than TigerDirect or NewEgg to name two major computer selling sites. Amazon also has an extensive selection of routers--almost too many to consider--but I find the customer reviews to be helpful and they do significantly impact my buying preferences. I wouldn't consider buying a router than didn't have at least four stars out of five from customer reviews, unless for some reason someone thinks it is a good choice for my needs.

Thank you in advance for any helpful feedback. :love: 
January 16, 2013 7:36:22 PM

Dual band is really only useful if you have devices with network adapters that can use the 5GHz band. The real gain from 5GHz is that it is not congested like 2.4GHz is in many places. The ASUS RT-N66U is a great simultaneous dual band.

If you can get by with just N for now, I would consider DLINK DIR-655 with a plan to upgrade in a couple of years when 802.11ac routers are a finished product and cheaper than the early models out now. I would recommend that course of action.

If your range has been okay with G wireless up to now, 2.4GHz N should be fine for you and will not impact your Internet speeds as it is faster than those speeds at nearby distances. You can check out how congested your 2.4GHz frequency is with inSSIDer, a free program that you can put on a computer with wireless and detect all nearby networks by channel and strength.
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January 17, 2013 3:49:24 AM

Dear RealBeast,

Thank you for your feedback and your suggestions about a router. I had suspected that I might NOT need Dual-Band N-Router or that it would be overkill based on my current network configuration and wireless devices. I needed some sage advice to help me figure out which router to purchase.

I looked @ the D-Link DIR-655 N + 300 Extreme Gigabit Wireless Router on Amazon and it was priced very fairly and definitely in my budget. In fact, I had already seen and considered it as a possible option but I dismissed it for consideration when I read in the router's bio that the router is a DRAFT 2.0 802.11N compliant device.

I might be mistaken, and I probably am, but I thought that if a router had a DRAFT status that it meant that it was equivalent to being in a beta mode for software. That it wasn't not a completely full-tested N status router. Now, I did notice that there were many reviews of this router that were from 2009 and perhaps when it was first released in 2009 in only had a DRAFT status at the time. Now, however, a couple years later, D-Link has finalized the router and it is no longer a DRAFT N router.

Could you or someone address this DRAFT status compliant device meaning for me. As I said @ the onset of the above paragraph maybe I am not understanding what it means for a router to have this type of status.

If the DRAFT status doesn't mean that the router is less than other N-routers than I would move ahead and purchase this particular router.

One other thing that I was curious about is that on the Amazon page is has a box that states that there is a NEWER version of the router available that is actually less expensive than this one. But I don't think it is the same type router and a better version of it because in the title of this router states that it is a CLOUD ROUTER. I am not sure exactly what that means except that Cloud services are online sites that store relevant information or data for a person and can be used as a backup for important data that is off-site. I am pretty sure this is NOT the type of router I need though I do have a online site that I backup data to it only occasionally.

Here is the link to the router page if anyone needs to read about it: http://www.amazon.com/D-Link-DIR-655-Extreme-N-Gigabit-...

Thanks in advance for any feedback. :love: 
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January 17, 2013 12:54:53 PM

I have used dozens of that router that you linked. It is a final version that works will all other brand APs and wireless adapters (PCIe/PCI/USB) that I know of and have tried dozens without issues. It performs as well as any other 2.4GHz N router that I have used as far as range and transfer rates. The other 655 version called Xtreme with dual band is not the top of its class, and you don't need a cloud router for what you have described, plus the Cloud routers from DLink are not really very good.

To get the most out of an N router, you need to use WPA2/AES and make the network N only. If you need to allow older G only adapters to connect, your speed will be capped at 54Mbps.

The other N router worth considering is really cheap, but actually works quite well, I've used quite a few as access points with good results and no problems -- check THIS ONE. This also fits with the idea of buying a new ASUS 802.11ac router a year or two from now.
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