View Full Version : Buying a new router, what exactly DO I need?
01-23-12, 08:02 AM
My router (Belkin 54g/802.11) is probably 10 years old and I think it's time to update. There are so many that range in price and I'm not really savvy when it comes to this stuff. What I do with it:
1 wired 360
2 WiFi 360's
...and an array of iTouches/iPads/3DS's
The only thing not super close to the router is one of the 360's, which is almost directly above the router on the second floor. Would I need an N+ router, or is 'N' good enough? I see some N's for like $50...is that good enough for what I'm running? I'd like something that's pretty easy to setup and maintain.
I think N+ is a Belkin thing and frankly I tend to steer people away from Belkin these days.
Wireless N of any sort will be fine, you may want to find one with "extended range" but if the 360 is right above it on the second floor you will have no issue with a standard N router.
The only thing worth considering is if you want it to be a Gigabit router for the Wired devices and how fast you want your Wireless N (Wireless G was 54mbps, standard Wireless N is either 100, 300, 450, 750*, or 900* mbps depending on which model you get). If you transfer files a lot of files or stream a lot, the speed is important, if you are just planning to use it for the internet with no real inter-connectivity between products outside of maybe streaming music, then you'll be fine with a cheap, basic N.
* - Dual Band, it's like having two wireless routers both running at a set speed (ie - 450mbps at 2.4GHz and 450mbs at 5 ghz), not a real "combined" rate of speed.
If you don't to complicate yourself just get one of the Linksys routers. Anything under $150 should be fine for you.
I have the e4200 and works really great.
01-23-12, 02:28 PM
Thanks guys, just one last question...So the one's that say 450mbps+450mbps are really only 450's, not 900mbps, right? Like you said, Rich...it is 2 'frequencies' of 450, not 900, correct? Does that benefit speed for one unit?
Here are the two that I was considering:
Netgear Wireless Router for HD Video & Gaming (WNDR37AV)
Data Rate Speed Up to 300Mbps + 300Mbps
Full HD 1080p - Supports the best experience for streaming movies and videos in full HD
DLNA Media Server - Stream video and music from a USB drive to media players and DLNA TVs - no PC required!
Video mode - Dedicated video network to stream video on one network, while surfing the Internet on the other network. Optimized to stream HD with less glitched, stutters, or lags
Linksys E2500 Advanced Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router
Linksys E2500 Advanced Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router4.5 stars ( 236 reviews)
Enjoy the power of simultaneous dual-band Wireless-N (802.11n) technology-with double the capacity for surfing the web, streaming multimedia and running applications simultaneously
Connect your computers, wireless printers, smartphones, and other wireless devices at up to 300 + 300 Mbps of transfer speed
Double your network bandwidth with simultaneous dual bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) to help avoid interference, allowing for faster HD video streaming, file transfers and wireless gaming
Sale Price: $79.99
01-23-12, 03:31 PM
If you want to buy a e2500, you can get a refurb for $40. only 90 day warranty, but honestly, if it works for 90 days, chances are, it would last
If you only use it to distribute internet (no transferring files between computers), you can wait for a sale on a cheaper model, i got the Asus RT-N10+ Wireless N DD-WRT Router for $10 on sale a while back, and it works fine for that purpose.
01-24-12, 09:03 PM
I think it might be time to replace my old Linksys wrt54g router. Does anyone have experience with this one? Linksys E3200
01-25-12, 01:25 AM
E3000 for $70
You should check out SmallNetBuilder's router reviews before purchasing.
01-25-12, 03:22 PM
I have an E3000 and its been perfectly fine and stable for a while now. Haven't even bothered with custom firmware on it.
01-29-12, 06:37 PM
I opted to go with the Cisco/Linksys E3200. So far, so good. Very fast and stable connection. Setup was pretty easy, although I wasn't thrilled when it automatically created a "guest" account which allowed unsecured wireless access. So I had to turn that option off.
I got it at Walmart so I have plenty of time to try it out. My old Linksys was very reliable, but is too slow these days. If I have any issues, I may try the Netgear N600. That is what we bought at our new office and it's working well.
01-30-12, 06:45 PM
Thought I might jump into this thread rather than creating a new one;hoping you guys can help.
In the past few years I've gone through probably no fewer than 6 routers. All seem to eventually develop some annoying issue. The latest one I have from probably about a year ago is a Belkin N150. Speed is fine but it seems to disconnect from the internet randomly and lock up (can't access the routers web based interface) and also my work computer (I telecommute a lot) seems to drop the connection sometimes as often as every 2 and a half hours.
For years my brother has been telling me to just pony up for an Airport Extreme as he has one and has had zero issues. I use many other Apple products but the inner skeptic in me thinks I can easily find a router that's just as solid for a lesser price.
A little about my network setup. Connected to the router via ethernet I currently have a Vonage box, my iMac (just because the router is right next to it, the iMac has N), an airport express (I was having lots of drop outs with airtunes so I ended up hardwiring it), and a cable that goes into my basement to another router that has it's own SSID(i can't get signal on my deck without this there) which in turn has an old PC wired into it.
In terms of wireless devices, I've got an iPad, iPhone 4, Wireless Picture Frame (also plays Pandora, etc), PS3, and my work laptop that I VPN with.
Obviously whatever router I get will have N, but I don't know if I should spring for Dual Band or not. I'd be happy with a G router that provided speed close to what it's rated at and also is reliable unlike my recent stint of routers.
Any thoughts? I'm willing to get an Airport Extreme (probably refurb) so I'd say my price range is up to $150 though obviously if there's a solid entry out there for less I'd be willing to give it a go. The ability to do a wireless time machine drive to the airport extreme would be cool in the future if my next Mac is a laptop.
For your kind of setup you should probably go dual band. The most top of the line you can afford.
I upgraded last year and was seriously considering an Airport Extreme, yeah all the reviews are great. At the end, because of the savings went with Cisco/Linksys e4200. It was top of the line at that time and it has worked really fine for me.
I have around 15 devices, 3 wired and the rest wireless.
Remember, dual band is only useful if your devices are also dual band.
Also, 5 Ghz in general has less range than 2.4Ghz.
I jettisoned a Linksys wireless router for an Airport Extreme a couple of years ago. No problems.
01-31-12, 05:37 PM
Thanks guys, I think I'm going with the airport extreme the next time my current router acts up. Seems like from what I've read it may not be the best bang for your buck and is slightly more limited but is rock solid and at this point that's what I'm looking for most.
02-07-12, 06:27 PM
My Belkin had been behaving for a few days so I held off but then last night it randomly froze up requiring a reboot. Since I got my tax return money back yesterday too, refurb 2011 Airport Extreme is now on it's way to me.
02-15-12, 06:28 PM
Got my airport extreme yesterday, set it up and at first nothing would connect. I reset it and did it again and it is working great, have a 5GHZ N network and a 2.4 GHZ B/G/N network. The only odd thing is that my work computer (Lenovo Thinkpad I think T420)can sometimes see the 5GHZ network but never connects to it so I use the 2.4ghz network and it's rock solid. My other devices that don't support 5GHZ don't even see it.
Oh well all in all glad I got it and the refurb price helped seal the deal. The range seems very good to, I can go out on my deck and only lose signal when I got to about the furthest 1/4 of it which is much better than the countless other routers I've used.
02-19-12, 03:58 PM
Time Warner Cable in this area introduced new "Extreme" (30 mbps/5 mbps) and "Wideband" (50/5) plans last year and I finally decided to upgrade to the Extreme service yesterday, so now I'm getting 30mbps downloads. Very happy with the speed. They use the Ubee boxes in this market, so I had them put it in bridge mode so I could continue to use the Cisco E3200 router, which has been doing great so far.
I've ran multiple speed tests, and via wired, I'm getting consistent 30-31 mbps. I'm now using my laptop wirelessly and the speed test was about 25-26. Still very fast of course. But I was wondering if there is any way tweaks I can make to my router to get the wireless faster? Or is wireless going to be slower than wired, even with today's technology?
Yeah, you will never get the same speeds. Even if you are in an N connection.
02-20-12, 11:40 AM
Yeah, you will never get the same speeds. Even if you are in an N connection.
The Cisco router has its own speed test, which usually hits the 30/5. But I don't know how accurate any speed test really is. I guess internet conditions are never the same.
For Netflix streaming, I was getting instantly to the highest HD on the shows I was watching with my new service. That was going great until last night when I noticed the quality switching back to High SD, and then back to the high HD. So I guess even with a new 30/5 plan, I'm not immune to Netflix streaming quality changes.