What's the best wireless router these days?

timwhit

Hairy Aussie
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Messages
5,278
Location
Chicago, IL
I need to buy a wireless router in the next couple weeks and would like to hear some opinions about people's favorites. I'd like to spend around $50-60 if at all possible.

Are Linksys routers still highly unreliable?
Which has the lowest performance degradation when I'm have 10 torrents going?
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,329
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
I built my own and it works great for, um, $350 or so...

My advice is that you find a thing that can run dd-WRT or Tomato firmware. Whatever Tomato does, it seems to stand up very well to torrenting, or better than dd-WRT, in any case. On the other side, you can do a lot more stuff with dd-WRT if you have more serious networking needs.

I think pre-N is important, particularly in a high density environment like an apartment building. I've got my wireless router using a 5.8GHz "N" network and it's really been the smoothest wireless connection I've ever had, but even if you're stuck on 2.4GHz "N", you're going to override anything else on 2.4GHz that's not another "N" broadcast, for whatever channel you're on.

I haven't bought a consumer router in a while. I did finally get enough 'stable' Linksys routers that I haven't had to replace one in about five months.

Netgear has an open router now. that's probably cheaper and more obtainable than the Linksys ones.
 

timwhit

Hairy Aussie
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Messages
5,278
Location
Chicago, IL
I think I'll stick with something I can order rather than building my own for now. Though I'm sure your $350 self built router is much nicer than what I'll end up with.

It looks like the Linksys WRT54GL is easily hackable if the OEM firmware can't handle my load. I'm really not doing too much with it. Four boxes, two wired and two wireless. I just don't want to have terrible performance with torrents and don't want to have to mess around with resetting it when it overheats. Or RMAing it when it breaks in 6 months like I have seen countless Linksys routers do. Maybe they have gotten better in the last 2 years, but somehow I doubt it.

The open Netgear stuff looks interesting, but the reviews on Newegg aren't too good at this point. I haven't used a Netgear router in years so I have no idea if they are any good or not.

My 4 year old Linksys BEFSX41 still works relatively well, but it doesn't have wireless. I think I paid close to $100 for it new. It was the only router that could handle a high P2P load that I could afford at the time. Everything else would crap out or overheat incessantly.

What's a good router that is 5.8Ghz?
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,315
Location
Monterey, CA
Seems fine to me, just passing on my experiences. I also have countless WRT54Gs in the field running dd-wrt with very few failures.
 

Stereodude

Not really a
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
10,865
Location
Michigan
I used the DD-WRT firmware for a while on my Linksys, but found Tomato to be a much better firmware.
 

timwhit

Hairy Aussie
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Messages
5,278
Location
Chicago, IL
I'd like the option to run either dd-wrt or tomato, but are there any draft 802.11N routers that support tomato?
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,329
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
As a rule, anything that runs dd-WRT will run Tomato as well.
Linksys has some draft-N hardware that does, but as I recall it was all over $100.
 

adriel

Learning Storage Performance
Joined
Jan 24, 2002
Messages
110
Location
Portland, Oregon (hometown)
No D-Link

D-Link suck. They all died within warranty period. 2nd product just died today after 2.5 weeks. I'm going with Actiontec now for modem and Linksys for wireless routers. Never had a Linksys dead whether it was modem, router, or wireless.

 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,329
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
D-Link mostly has the most retarded firmware I've ever had to used, but I recently had to configure a 3Com AP, so there might be a challenger to the crown.

I miss Buffalo hardware. Range was usually pretty good, and if they were hard to configure, at least the damned things didn't break all the time.
 

mubs

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Nov 22, 2002
Messages
4,908
Location
Somewhere in time.
Why do you "miss" them? Has Buffalo stopped making routers?

I have a Buffalo router and 2 clients (the Ethernet hubs), and it has been working flawlessly for me for the last 2 years.
 

Gilbo

Storage is cool
Joined
Aug 19, 2004
Messages
742
Location
Ottawa, ON
I just started upgrading my WRT54GL's to DD-WRT v24-SP1, which was just released.

It's a very good upgrade. The vast majority of settings can now be changed without rebooting the router, which is a convenience I already miss when I have connect to the routers I haven't upgraded yet.
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,315
Location
Monterey, CA
I'm getting pretty desperate looking for some semblance of reliability from WRT54GLs these days. DD-WRT adds some reliability, under clocking it gets you some more. I'm now stripping the cases and mounting a heatsink on the main chip, and I'm considering using more reliable power bricks if I can find them. After that would be a power conditioner or an on-line UPS.

One in three I can identify as unstable just sitting on my bench for a few days pinging it, but once they go into the field it would be nice if they would stay up for more than a few days without needing a hard-reboot.
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,315
Location
Monterey, CA
I suspect that I am pushing these harder than most. They are running both ends of a PPTP tunnel that is handling a very large number of relatively small transactions. The aggregate throughput averages 300KB/s but spikes to 6MB/s, but that is a lot of connections.

Now that I've thermal-epoxied heatsinks to all the major chips, swapped out some caps, and re-soldered some connections, I'm hoping it will hold together better.
 
Last edited:

Handruin

Administrator
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Messages
13,197
Location
USA
Would it be more reliable to setup a VM running smoothwall using PPTP and add an access point to it or do you absolutely need a WRT-54G?
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,315
Location
Monterey, CA
Would it be more reliable to setup a VM running smoothwall using PPTP and add an access point to it or do you absolutely need a WRT-54G?
I'm not even using the wireless bits. I could use a computer, but there are no machines in these locations, so it would have to be dedicated hardware. These are also industrial sites, so fanless low-heat solutions are favored.

I do feel like I'm playing whack-a-mole; as soon as I fixed that issue, another popped up.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,870
Location
Brisbane, Oz
Sounds like you need to chuck them and put in something decent. A PC is a lousy solution, typical power consumption 50W and poor ability to survive a hostile environment.

Cisco RVS4000 is cheap enough, but specs state maximum operating temp of only 40C.

D-Link DIR-130 is rated to 55C, but you'd really want to test one first (not that you wouldn't anyway, it's just that it's ancient predecessor had crap firmware).

DrayTek 2200E+ is rated to 45C. It's a bit dated and I'm unsure about availability, but I'd still have every confidence in one. DrayTek stuff always runs cool.[/url]
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,315
Location
Monterey, CA
I appreciate you doing the homework, but I just don't trust those stated specs very much. That Cisco looks interested (though it is likely just a Linksys underneath). I hear great things about DrayTek, but I recall them being difficult to source here.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 18, 2002
Messages
4,870
Location
Brisbane, Oz
If I'm reading you right, you've lost a bit of confidence in Linksys/Cisco. Fair enough, you're not the first and you won't be the last.

But there are only so many credible low-cost VPN options - Netgear isn't one as far as I'm concerned.

If it was my neck on the line, I'd probably pass on the D-Link unless the wider availability is a deal-maker for you. To put it another way, I'd be heat-soaking and benchmarking it before deployment.

I don't know what mail-order is like for you, in the backwater we call Oz it's usually overnight unless the package is too big for airfreight. At the risk of sounding like an evangelist, I'd have to suggest you buy a DrayTek and see if it meets your requirements. They're far from perfect and too expensive in many countries, but I like them because for me they've been extremely reliable, including operating uptime.

Vigor 2110 would be my first choice (you can buy from that link). Expensive at $140 and limited to 2 VPN tunnels (with Dead Peer Detection), but probably about right for your application. Looks like it might even support WAN failover, although you'd want to check that.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,329
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
I was able to get two refurb'd Linksys WRT600Ns yesterday for $90, total. I'll be using them for a low-impact PPTP tunnel with dd-WRT. Mine won't be as heavily used as ddrueding's. They're about the nicest consumer-grade routers I've used; the one in my office, for example, has an uptime of almost five months.

time's draytek actually looks like it has a similar feature set, though.
 

Tannin

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Messages
4,432
Location
Huon Valley, Tasmania
Website
www.redhill.net.au
I've used cheap, nasty TP-Link routers, and not-so-cheap, supposed-to-be-good Linksys ones. The linksys crap gives nothing but trouble, notably with FTP applications. The cheap, "crappy" TP-Link ones just work as designed.

Guess which brand I'm using now?
 

Stereodude

Not really a
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Messages
10,865
Location
Michigan
Any updates on everyone's favorite suggestions for a Wireless N router? My dad is going to want one so he can use his new Thinkpad with Intel 6200N wireless card. Currently he only has an old basic D-link wired router.
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,315
Location
Monterey, CA
You got it. I really like this company; their products are amazingly cheap and perform well. The downside is their supply really sucks. It has taken me weeks to get some of their other products.
 
Top