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Wireless router recommendations?

2007-12-17 03:10:28.745154+00 by Dan Lyke 12 comments

I've currently got a Belkin router and a Linksys wireless network adapter. The router needs rebooting at least once a day, and dies at the most inopportune times. The wireless box also seems to be developing flakies (although that's been in service for years and years). The last few networking products I've bought have been similar lockup problems and what-not.

So, I need a new router and wireless access device. CompUSA is in the process of going out of business, although their "up to 20% off" means "less than 10% off on anything you'd actually want", but I dropped in there today and couldn't tell the difference between the $50 and the $90 Linksys boxes, let alone try to decide between devices.

I just want something I can plug in and forget about. Any suggestions?

[ related topics: Wireless ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-17 03:56:29.595361+00 by: ebradway

I have an old D-Link D-614+ 802.11b router that I bought as a refurb. The only time I ever have to even think about is when a cat pulls the plug out of the back.

These things have become such a commodity that my recommendation would be to buy whatever is cheapest from someplace other than CompUSA so you can return it if you have to.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-17 05:07:05.926032+00 by: topspin

I gotta recommend you go "el cheapo" that runs this because I'm sure you'll find something in the features that appeals to you.

I got a cheap Buffalo that works great as a wireless access point and could be forwarding/repeating, if I needed it. I think Buffalo's got lawsuit issues, currently, but the Linksys WRT54G and such are cheap too, I think. There's a certain chipset.... I could care less, but y'all may know.... that works with dd-wrt.

LOTS of options.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-17 11:38:07.704359+00 by: DaveP

For wireless, I got tired of finicky boxes that needed rebooting and finally (after two others) bought an Apple Airport. Costs more, but once I had it plugged in and configured, I've forgotten about it for the past, um... year or two.

For router, I just bought a DSL "modem" that happens to contain a router, too. Zoom was the brand. It needs to be power cycled whenever my ISP changes something in just the wrong way - maybe once every three-six months.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-17 14:27:51.609177+00 by: other_todd

I'm astonished to say that I am also recommending Apple's routers. We have the industrial strength one (the one shaped like a candy box) upstairs as the main router, and because signal has trouble getting into the Faraday cage that is our living room*, we have one of the smaller (UFO-shaped) ones down there, and after some coaxing, we managed to finagle them so they think they are a continuous signal network. We've never messed with them again. This is after a parade of three previous routers, none of which ever worked with my wife's Macs properly. The AirPorts work with both Macs and PCs. HOWEVER: It's possible you will need a Mac in the house to properly configure the things, since I believe the "admin" software doesn't run on anything but them. I could be wrong about that though; I didn't do the configuring.

*If you have a house that had an interior wall created or reworked in the era between lath-and-plaster and sheetrock, you may have metal mesh lath in your walls. This stuff plays hob with wireless signals. Just so you know.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-18 08:24:39.497036+00 by: igor'

well for G speeds http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WRT54G this is the one to get, once u get an initial build on linux firmware on it (easy, point and click) its rock stable, I have one thats several years old. For N speeds the Apple Airport is the best right now, probably, although it is lacking in features a little. I got both, the Linksys in G mode for older hardware, the Apple in N only for fast wifi.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-18 21:39:41.789361+00 by: spc476

Why not use an old PC with multiple NICs running a free *nix for a router? I use an old 486 with 3 NICs running Linux for a router and it's been chugging along fine for a few years now without problem.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-18 21:43:03.531945+00 by: ebradway

And how much power and space does that old 486 utilize?

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-18 22:30:08.318925+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah. At $.114/kW/hr old computers get expensive quickly.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-18 23:06:49.282572+00 by: ebradway

Wow... over 11cents per kilowatt-hour! I'd definitely be looking at power-consumption specs for the router over just about anything else!

I'm going to have to look at the cost of keeping my PC on at home (which acts as a wi-fi router). It might justify the cost of an upgrade!

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-19 04:11:43.345426+00 by: TheSHAD0W

WRT54GL "Linux" router. Basically the same as the original WRT54G (the newer versions have less memory), load on the "ddwrt" variant firmware and it'll do pretty near anything you ask it to.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-19 06:05:36.877866+00 by: spc476

Power consumption? Hmm ... good question, I don't know. But I do know it's a pizza-box configuration (enough slots for only three cards) and not a tower. I could also probably remove the harddrive entirely and boot of floppy (using the old Linux-router distro). And I kept it from otherwise going to the landfill.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-12-19 16:56:10.915247+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, you folks in other places may be able to worry less about such things, but on my electrical plan it's .1143*365*24*use_in_watts/1000, which comes out just a hair over a buck a watt per year.

Which actually manages to pay for a Via EPIA over an old 486.