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Which router to buy?

by affiatati7 / January 11, 2009 11:33 PM PST

I have to replace my 5 year old router. I use my router to download Netflix movies onto my blu-ray DVD player as well as internet and internet gaming. I understand that the faster the speed of the router the better the movie download quality as well as better internet gaming functions.

I think the fastes type of router, at present, is the "N" series.

1- Any suggestions on particular features I should be looking for in a good router?

2- Any sugestions on particular routers that will fit my needs and not break the bank (under $300.00)?

Thank you for any help you could give.


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Some things to consider
by Jimmy Greystone / January 12, 2009 3:32 AM PST
In reply to: Which router to buy?

Some things to consider:

1: Your connection to the Internet is going to be the limiting factor in how fast things are/aren't. It doesn't matter if you have an 802.11b router with a max speed of 11Mbps if you have a 256Kbps DSL connection for example. The router will have bandwidth to spare if you're trying to pull stuff off the Internet.

2: I would personally avoid D-Link. They tend to load on way more features than the hardware can support, not to mention they tend to be a bit skimpy on the RAM.

3: You might look into the Linksys WRT54GL router. You won't find it in stores, so you'll have to buy it online. It's only an 802.11g router, BUT, it's more or less designed to let you run custom firmwares on it, like the very lightweight Tomato firmware. I use it on my V1.1 WRT54GS (kind of the big brother to the WRT54GL) and it goes for months without me having to think about it beyond checking for firmware updates. It's an amazing little workhorse. Unfortunately Linksys/Cisco pretty well neutered later models removing most of the RAM, but the GL model I believe has 8MB, which is 2-4X what most routers have these days. It's also under $100 at full retail, so it won't break the bank. There's also the Linksys WRT150N which has 16MB of RAM, but you have to run the somewhat heavier DD-WRT firmware on it, and getting it installed is a bit of a hassle.

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stick with the wireless flavor you have already
by ramarc / January 12, 2009 3:44 AM PST
In reply to: Which router to buy?

unless you plan on getting a new laptop or wireless adapter, you'll be wasting money on a "n" router if you only have "802.11g" adapters/laptops.

i recommend d-link and they're on sale this week. the WBR-1310 is a great $30 "g" router.

p.s.: i assume you meant $30, not $300 since most routers for home use are $30-$120.

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Which router should I get?
by affiatati7 / January 15, 2009 12:54 AM PST

1- Am I to understand that the speed of you internet has more to do with the service coming into your house than the router?

2- Does the rating of routers ("g" or "n") only pertain to range of wireless usage and not speedier internet?

3- If the router itself has something to do with speedier (wired) internet service than what specs. do I look for in getting a faster router?

I eventually bought the Netgear WPS-2000. Quick and easy to set-up but didn't really do anything to improve internet speed. I use it wired to computer and Blu-Ray DVD player. I have 30 days to return it if you think there are faster routers for movie downloads and online gaming.

One more point. I called cablevision (my internet provider) and got "Optimum Boost", a faster internet service. This did increase my download speed from 5-10,000 kb/sec to 25-30,000 kb/sec. Obviously I noticed faster internet, however, I have to pay extra per month for the "Boost." I was hoping a faster router would do the trick.

Thanks for any help and suggestions you can give. I am not that knowledgable with high tech specs so please use more commoners language.


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Some answers
by Jimmy Greystone / January 15, 2009 2:17 AM PST

Some answers:

1: Yes. Your Internet speed will only be as fast as your link with your ISP. Your router will only handle communications between computers in your house.

2: No. The b, g, and n indicates the wireless broadband speed, and doesn't have anything to do with range. "b" routers can transmit wirelessly up to 11Mbps, "g" routers are 54Mbps, and "n" routers are 108Mbps. Of course you need a matching card on your computer to be able to achieve anything resembling those speeds. And again, if you only have a 256K DSL connection, for example, it doesn't matter if you have a 108Mbps 802.11n wireless connection to your router. You will still only download from the Internet at those 256K speeds.

3: It doesn't. It's kind of a complex issue, but the quick version is that the only thing that will speed up your Internet connection is buying a higher service package from your ISP.

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by ramarc / January 15, 2009 2:30 AM PST

your internet performance is *solely* based on your service, not the router (assuming the router is properly configured). "g" routers are rated at 54Mbps, "n" routers at 300Mbps, but most broadband services is less than 15Mbps. you'll only tap the router's full speed when communicating with another computer within your home network.

get the router type that matches your existing equipment or planned upgrades. if you only have a "g" laptop, the extra cost of an "n" router will be wasted (unless you plan on getting a new laptop with 802.11n) since it will fall back to "g" mode.

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To clarity...
by mkoehne / January 16, 2009 1:23 PM PST

1) This is a weakest link issue - your download speeds can be no faster than the slowest component. If you have a 2 megabit/sec connection, that would be your limiting factor with almost any wireless connection. If you really have a 25-30,000 kilobit per second (25-30 megabit/sec) connection, then your wireless format becomes a factor (assuming you are connecting wirelessly).

2)'a, b, g and n' refer to wireless speed only and have nothing to do with a wired connection. These designations also have nothing to do with the speed of your Internet connection itself. Keep in mind that the wireless speeds Jimmy quotes for b g and n are theoretical limits, rarely achieved in the real world.

3)Most routers these days have at least 100 Megabit/sec speed for wired ports. Some have 1000 Megabit/sec (1 Gigabit) wired ports. If you are connecting to your router via a physical (ethernet) cable running from your router to your laptop/desktop, then the wireless speed will not matter.

Keep in mind that a home router has multiple functions:
1) By definition, it connects your home network to the Internet.
2) A wireless access point to provide wireless access to the Internet and other computers on your home network.
3) Most have a built-in firewall to help protect your network from outside hackers. This is not to be confused with the firewalls included with most new operating systems (Windows XP and Vista) and some anti-virus packages. You need one of these as well
4) A DHCP server to simplify home networking IP addressing.
5) A 4-6 port ethernet hub to allow for wired connections to the Internet and other computers on your home network.

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add on to mkoehne's comments
by winstonh5 / January 18, 2009 4:21 AM PST
In reply to: To clarity...

I have owned Linksys, D-Link and Belkin. I got a year out of my first Linksys and 6 months out of the second Linksys. I got about a year out of my D-Link. My Belkin came with unlimited warranty and I have had it 4-1/2 years and going strong. The tech support has been fabulous. I will stay with Belkin in the future. The response by mkoehne seems spot on.

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by FrankQC / January 16, 2009 12:36 PM PST
In reply to: Which router to buy?
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by SGTE / January 16, 2009 7:02 PM PST
In reply to: Which router to buy?

Netgear DG834N - excellent

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Best router to purchase
by rhewitt2 / January 16, 2009 9:02 PM PST
In reply to: Which router to buy?

Di-655 N router is one of the best and fastest on the market today.There are pretty good runners up on the market but I like the DIR 655 by D-Link.

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The router is chosen thanks to you guys!
by affiatati7 / January 16, 2009 10:20 PM PST

I have decided to exchange my Netgear WNR-2000 for the WNR-3500. It offers extended wireless range, multiple antennas, great specs. that will last well into the future and has pretty blue lights on top Happy (for the antennas). I upped my internet service by cable to provide 30MB/sec. Yes, this was the biggest difference.

Thank you again for all your help and advice. You guys are great!


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Easy Choice
by Flatworm / January 16, 2009 10:55 PM PST
In reply to: Which router to buy?

D-Link DIR-655. Under $100.

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by FrankQC / January 16, 2009 11:34 PM PST
In reply to: Easy Choice

I find Linksys easier to use than D-Links haha

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router purchase
by linearw / January 17, 2009 6:41 AM PST
In reply to: Which router to buy?

Dave, I recently bought a belkin because of advice by cox cable tech that informed me of their lifetime warranty. Inexpensive and works very well. Ron

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by msgale / January 18, 2009 1:47 AM PST
In reply to: router purchase

Actually there are several speed. One is the speed beteewn multiple wireed computers, if you have then, in your home. Second is the speed between your computers and the internet. And third is the speed between between any wireless computers and the rest of your network. I my case the maximum speed between my two wired computers is 1000 megabits/sec. each computer has a 1000 megabit/sec NIC and the switch portion of my router is rated 10/100/1000 megabits/sec. My laptop tops out at 270 megabits/sec, the maxium of a "N" NIC. However when I connect to the Internet my speed is 3 megabits/sec, which is what my ISP provides. I use a Linksys router. My experience that been that "N" routers have a greater range then "G" routers.

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by FrankQC / January 18, 2009 1:50 AM PST
In reply to: Linksys

N was made to have higher range and higher speeds than its predecessors (a/b/g).

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Re: Which router to buy
by sidel1932 / January 18, 2009 4:59 AM PST
In reply to: Which router to buy?

My ISP tech support recommended "Linksys" with no further specification.

Internet research came up with mixed reviews for the Linksys WRT54G - apparently the early versions were excellent, then (in v.6) they modified it making it less acceptable and came out with other products (at higher prices) that were as good as the early WRT54G's.
I ended up buying a Linksys WRT54G2 for $45 from Amazon, and am now very happy.

I had doubts about whether it could be connected (primarily, via ethernet) to my WIN98 system (the included CD specified WIN2000 or higher). My calls to Linksys tech support were mixed - partly due to linguistic communications problems on the first call and a technical snag on the second. But the third support agent stepped me through the whole process. After connecting to the Win98, connecting wireless to my XP and VISTA computers was a breeze, and everything has worked very nicely since.

Phil Sidel

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Unconventional setup
by jmero / January 20, 2009 1:00 PM PST
In reply to: Which router to buy?

Forget Linksys/DLink/Belkin/Netgear etc. Get a Zyxel Zywall 2 Plus as your first-line router (wired). Then add the Zyxel Wireless N AP to add to one of the LAN ports.

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Buy Zyxel router equip
by winstonh5 / January 20, 2009 10:10 PM PST
In reply to: Unconventional setup

Why would I want to buy two pieces of equipment when one will do?

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by FrankQC / January 20, 2009 10:20 PM PST
In reply to: Buy Zyxel router equip

Yea... I was thinking, too. Why have 1 non-wireless router just to plug a wireless adapter to it? That's sort of a waste of space IN MY OPINION. I still say Linksys is one of the best out there (judging from my own experience that is).

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Linksys routers?
by winstonh5 / January 20, 2009 10:40 PM PST
In reply to: Yea...

My first two wireless routers were Linksys. They worked well when they worked. The first one went kaput one week after the one-year warranty expired. I complained and they did send me a reconditioned one but told me it had no warranty. It died after about 6 months so I bought a Netgear, then a D-Link. setups were more complicated and tech support was iffy. I then bought a Belkin which has a lifetime warranty. It has been working for 4-1/2 years and still going stong. Tech Support is great. Why settle for a 1-year warranty when a lifetime warranty is available? Who wants to buy a new one every 12 months? I am sold on Belkin.

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Yeah true
by FrankQC / January 21, 2009 12:17 AM PST
In reply to: Linksys routers?

Yea that's true. I haven't been unlucky like you then haha. I had a Linksys for ~2 years and it worked fine.. and still does. I recently changed routers because I thought something was wrong with it but ended up learning that it was my ISP's fault.

The only reason why I'm sold on Linksys is because of their control panel. It's sophisticated and easy to use.

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Linksys ?
by winstonh5 / January 22, 2009 10:21 AM PST
In reply to: Yeah true

Yeah, but when it craps out, you'll be paying for the next one.

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(NT) Haha, same as most things in life xD
by FrankQC / January 22, 2009 10:26 AM PST
In reply to: Linksys ?
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