Question

Replacement Needed for D-Link DIR-655

Can someone recommend a replacement for my DIR-655 router?

A few years ago, one of our more prolific moderators recommended I purchase a D-Link DIR-655 wireless router. Until now, it has provided uninterrupted, flawless service and I've never regretted getting it. However, the wi-fi component seems to be dying. I've run several tests, but I think the wi-fi component is really taking its last bow.

Now I'd like to replace it with another D-Link router, if possible, but I am willing to consider other brands. Like the DIR-655, I'd like the replacement to support 4 (or more) wired devices, have Wi-Fi, and Gigabit Ethernet speed even if some of the other network devices are not Gigabit-capable. I mention that last requirement because I've been led to believe that many Gigabit routers will support that speed only if all the devices in the network are Gigabit-capable. However, some of my devices are not Gigabit-capable.

Any suggestions, anyone? Thanks in advance.

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Answer
Features

Mostly you need to decide which features are of most value to you. There is little difference in the major brands. Failure rates and performance are pretty much the same. If cost is not your major concern I would go with gig ports and dual band just for future compatibility.

The short answer is you can run a mix of gig and non gig devices and it will all work.

The longer answer depends on a lot of things. Obviously if you have one device at 100m and another at 1g you will be limited to 100m between these devices. Not by the router but by the 100m device. If both devices are 1g you can to a point use 1g. There are technical limitation that will prevent you from getting to 1g without changing things like the MTU but it is unlikely any home machine can even come close to 1g. This again is mostly the end clients limiting it not the switch.

The gig ports on the wan side though are mostly for show. First nobody will be able to afford internet that can really run over 100m. Second these small routers can easily SWITCH at 1g but they cannot route, especially if they are running NAT on the packets.

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Thank You ... And a Follow-Up

Bill ... So, that's why I was asking. The main thing I know about networking is how to spell the word, so your easy-to-understand advice is much appreciated.

At this point, I'm leaning toward getting a recent CNet Editor's Choice.

My concern regarding Gigabit speed stems from my future solution for my backup needs. I was considering phasing out my Windows Home Server WHS and replacing it with a NAS. Doing this will require more traffic among my devices than is necessary using WHS ... because with WHS, just the first backup is full, while subsequent backups are incrementals. But using a NAS, full backups will periodically be needed.

So, that was the reason for my concerns regarding throughput. I understand the example you gave: two devices "talking" to one another will be limited to the speed of the slower of the two.

However, my concern was a little different. I've been led to think (meaning I'm not certain), that with most routers (as compared to an "intelligent" switch), all the LAN ports on most home routers are forced to operate at the speed of the slowest device.

So, I hope you won't think I'm differing with you. I'm just trying to explain the reason for my concerns.

Thank you and have a good one.

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Firmware switching

It used to matter since most consumer grade equipment used software to do everything. Lately like most commercial equipment it is done in hardware or at least software much closer to the hardware.

Used to be a big deal and they would print it things like non blocking and wirespeed on the box. Seems most devices all can do and you have to dig though the fine print to find these features.

The key is the backbone speed of the switch module in the router. This is the max total rate all ports can run. Say you had 4 1g lan ports each port can send and receive 1g at the same time so the total backbone speed you need is 8G so all ports can send and receive at the same time.

As long as you have enough backbone speed the ports will all run at their rated speed no matter what speed the ports run. If you run some ports at 100m it just has extra backbone it does not use or can use for other ports.

I suspect you will have no issues with any of the routers you can find. Just remember this is lan to lan on the wired ports only. Wan to lan and lan to wireless are another story. Those features are not wirespeed and use the main processor to switch the packets.

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Thank You

Very well. Thank you, Bill, and have good one.

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