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Got a New Router: Help Me make it Work

Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
Yesterday we decided to change our crummy, frequently unreliable Linksys Wireless G Router, which we had for about 5 years or so, to a brand new Netgear Wireless N Router, which claimed to have 15x the signal rate of the Wireless G, and was always said to be a superior brand.

Here's how my connection setup works at home: We use Comcast as the ISP, hooked up to the modem via coaxial (both the HD TV and internet share the same cable). My PC along with my consoles are directly wired to the router, as I've been in charge of "internet duties" in the house. The rest of my family connects to the router wirelessly through laptops and desktops.

With the help of a Netgear rep, I configured the new router to its "best settings", setting the channel to 11 along with leaving out WEP encryption. I also port forwarded my consoles, and so far on my end, the difference has been spectacular (especially loved delivering several beatdowns to spammers in Tekken 6).

The main issue though is with my father, who is one of the aforementioned wireless users. He uses a real dinosaur of a desktop, along with a USB linksys wireless adapter for connection purposes.

Now, as far as I can see, the internet loads up just fine for him, but he's not convinced the upgrade is worth it, as his signal strength is still "low". He's two stories below where the modem is (in my room), but the router did promise a bigger signal strength. I'm currently convincing him to purchase a Netgear brand USB adapter for improvements, or to finally upgrade that PC of his.

Anyway, I wanted to check with you guys for advice on how, if possible, I can bring out the full signal strength of the router so that everyone in the house benefits from blazing fast connections.

Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Get something better than the USB wireless adapter?

    And am I correct in reading that you turned off the default WEP encryption? Did you put WPA2 in it's place? Having unencrypted wireless is risky business.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    When you say "better", do you mean to get the Netgear brand that I mentioned, or another alternative?

    There's no encryption turned on, and I believe the last time I tried one it royally fucked up the wireless users.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Without encryption you're royally fucking up your own network by letting anyone with a wireless device get on it. Which not only saps bandwidth you paid for, it lets potentially compromised machines have LAN access to yours to spread their filth. And that's only counting unintentional problems.

    Turn on WPA at least, WPA2 if it has it. Don't bother with WEP.

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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Well, this one has both WPA's, so what's the difference between them?

    And will this potentially conflict with the wireless connections in my house? As I said, last time I turned on one of these options, it royally fucked up my dad's connection, although he was using a different method than he is now (company laptop).

    Basically what I'm asking is what steps I have to take in case turning on one of these security measures locks out my own family.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    dasnoobdasnoob ArkansasRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Without encryption you're royally fucking up your own network by letting anyone with a wireless device get on it. Which not only saps bandwidth you paid for, it lets potentially compromised machines have LAN access to yours to spread their filth. And that's only counting unintentional problems.

    Turn on WPA at least, WPA2 if it has it. Don't bother with WEP.

    I turn on encryption so people have problems packet sniffing the data or at least that is my primary reason. A secondary consequence is it makes it slightly more difficult for people to get on my router connection.

    My primary method of keeping people off is a MAC address whitelist.

    dasnoob on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Well, if you really recommend I do this, I'll need to know what settings I need to apply to my family members' computers so they don't get locked out.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    2 floors? Yeah, you're going to need some sort of signal boosting or a really good dongle to get anything better than shite internet through that much crap.

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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Use WPA2. It's way better than WPA. All you will need to access it is the router name and password you will set when you enable it.

    For a decent signal through 2 floors, you are gonna need a dedicated wireless network card, try to get one that is capable of handling N routers so you'll get the full benefit of your router.

    If that doesn't help enough you can get range extending antenna's for both the computer and the router.

    As for brand, it's usually best to stick with a single brand, so I guess you should go Netgear. Not sure why you chose Netgear of Linksys though, Linksys is pretty great.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Sorry, my bad. It's one floor, not two.

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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Same thing still applies. If you get him a dedicated N wireless card and he still has issues, it's time for better antenas.

    I've never heard terribly good things about the USB dongles and signal strength.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    He's not really having problems, he was just hoping for a single strength higher than "low". Earlier this morning it was actually "excellent", so maybe it's relative to out-of-my-hands situations.

    Or the neighbors could be leeching the connection. If that were the case, I would have to come up with a user/password, and then share it with all the users in the house, correct?

    To save some time, where would I implement the username and pass on Windows XP, along with Windows Vista (which they use, respectively)?

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    StaxeonStaxeon Buffalo, NYRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    USB wifi adapters are a quick fix and not really preferable, especially if you're looking for speed.

    Also even if you upgraded the access point to 802.11n, if your Dad is still using an 802.11g wifi adapter then the whole system is still running at 802.11g. Both the client and AP have to be g compliant to run at g.

    With the hardware you have now what I would do (after turning on some kind of security encryption) is install and run NetStumbler. Take a look at what other wifi networks are being run in your detectable area, and what channels they're on. Default is 6 and people usually don't bother to change it, which is probably why the Netgear guy recommended 11 cuz it gets away from the noise on 6 (plus channels overlap a little bit on the frequency band). If Netgear shows alot of other networks on the upper end of the band try switching to channel 1 or 2.

    Being 1 floor up or down shouldn't matter a bunch unless you're home is made of either steel or water for some reason. 2.4ghz has decent building penetration.

    Staxeon on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    He's not really having problems, he was just hoping for a single strength higher than "low". Earlier this morning it was actually "excellent", so maybe it's relative to out-of-my-hands situations.

    Or the neighbors could be leeching the connection. If that were the case, I would have to come up with a user/password, and then share it with all the users in the house, correct?

    To save some time, where would I implement the username and pass on Windows XP, along with Windows Vista (which they use, respectively)?

    The password bit is the encryption part we keep talking about. All you will need is the password.

    When you attempt to connect to the network after enabling the password on the router, it will ask you for the password. It's that easy.

    If he isn't actually noticing slower download speeds then signal strength doesn't matter at all.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Okay, so I made a WPA2 connection with password, and managed to get it working on every computer in the house.

    .....except my dad's. After much fussing and googling, it seems that his adapter doesn't support WPA2.

    So until he decides to evolve that dinosaur of his, I'll have to keep us with an open connection. Unless there's an adapter that DOES support WPA2 and should give him a slightly bigger signal boost.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Okay, so I made a WPA2 connection with password, and managed to get it working on every computer in the house.

    .....except my dad's. After much fussing and googling, it seems that his adapter doesn't support WPA2.

    So until he decides to evolve that dinosaur of his, I'll have to keep us with an open connection. Unless there's an adapter that DOES support WPA2 and should give him a slightly bigger signal boost.

    Anything that's come out in the last several years should support WPA2. Just get an N adapter, and if this is a desktop for the love of god get an internal card. They are a billion times better than the USB adapters.

    Try to use WPA or even WEP until the upgrade. You do need something in place. WPA and WEP won't stop someone determined, but it will stop random easy leeching.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Something like this, right?

    For now I'll probably leave the encryptions alone until he gets a new adapter or finally trades up to that notebook he's been looking into. I have a feeling the other options won't work on his clunker of a desktop, as things are. Besides, we live in a private community, and the odds that someone is leeching off of us isn't very likely, anyway. I just wanted to add the WPA2 encryption just to be on the safe side.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    That card would work for a laptop. According to your OP your dad is rocking a desktop, which means you can get the best of the best. You'll want something like this.

    And just so you know, I'm 99% positive your dad's machine can handle WEP/WPA. And it really is vital. The second one of your neighbor's has a network issue they will be leeching for you, and god help you if they do anything illegal with your internet.

    I can't stress enough that you always want some form of protection on your internet connection.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Can't go wrong with three antennas.

    But is it a given that this thing will be compatible (via attachment) with my dad's PC?

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    StaxeonStaxeon Buffalo, NYRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    As long as he's got an open slot it should be, with the right drivers.

    You know the 3 antennas doesn't mean more/stronger signal right? Its the MIMO of N.

    Staxeon on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Can't go wrong with three antennas.

    But is it a given that this thing will be compatible (via attachment) with my dad's PC?

    No matter which of these cards you get, all of them are PCI cards, every machine made in the last 15+ years will have a couple of them.

    When you go into the store just ask to make sure it is a PCI card, not PCI-E. But it shouldn't really be an issue as 99% of desktop wireless cards are just plain old PCI.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Staxeon wrote: »
    As long as he's got an open slot it should be, with the right drivers.

    You know the 3 antennas doesn't mean more/stronger signal right? Its the MIMO of N.

    I was being sarcastic. :?

    That doesn't mean I don't think this will work though. I'll be sure to seek it out for him.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I have to ask:

    You've changed the default admin password on the router. Right?

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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I haven't, because should a real emergency come up and someone in the family besides me has to access it, it needs to be with an easy to remember password. Trust me, they're hopeless with such things.

    Besides, the IP address isn't the standard 192 type, and I can't certainly vouch that no one in the neighborhood is smart enough to even know how to configure an IP address.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Why not pick a password everyone will remember?

    Pick a tv show that everyone in the household likes, and use a phrase from it or something. Put a stickynote with the password on it on the router.

    Besides, if they are too hopeless to remember a basic password they should not be fucking with router settings anyways.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Well, I was exaggerating slightly, since I don't think it's real necessary to change the password. Again, it isn't likely that there are any tech savy people in the neighborhood, but I suppose I should stick to my motto of "better safe than sorry".

    Also I could give WPA a try, see if my dad's PC will at least support that. I don't like the idea of people potentially leeching off the connection, and I know that'll always be in the back of my mind when I get my ass kicked in a round of Street Fighter IV. :?

    Edit: Okay, seems his PC supports WPA. I enabled it, and so far there hasn't been any problems. Changed the IP address password too.

    Surprisingly, I didn't have to change any settings on the PS3 or 360 after the WPA fix. Is it because they're directly connected to the router?

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Correct. That WPA stuff is wireless only.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I haven't, because should a real emergency come up and someone in the family besides me has to access it, it needs to be with an easy to remember password. Trust me, they're hopeless with such things.

    Besides, the IP address isn't the standard 192 type, and I can't certainly vouch that no one in the neighborhood is smart enough to even know how to configure an IP address.

    I dunno, that seems pretty risky. Theres a lot of really nasty things someone can do with the password. Plus, in an emergency, your family could always just reset the router.

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    VelmeranVelmeran Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Put your new password on a sticky note thats on the top of the router, done. It might seem like a pain now, but just wait until the police are knocking and taking all the computers in the house since some guy near by has been using your open network for child porn. Seriously, don't have an open network!

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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    It's done, guys, no biggie. I got the password up, and everyone's cool about it.

    The only question is whether I should switch to WPA-2 should my dad upgrade his PC to something compatible with it.

    Also, the next step I should do to secure maximum speed. I guess I'll use that program from page 1 to see what channel my neighbors use.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    It's done, guys, no biggie. I got the password up, and everyone's cool about it.

    The only question is whether I should switch to WPA-2 should my dad upgrade his PC to something compatible with it.

    Also, the next step I should do to secure maximum speed. I guess I'll use that program from page 1 to see what channel my neighbors use.

    Yes. WPA is better than nothing, but WPA-2 is way more secure. That should be the second thing you do after upgrading him.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    AyulinAyulin Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Just want to chime in here: I had that exact adapter that your dad's using, and it was really quite bad. The connection would drop randomly for no reason, it wouldn't detect the network, and other things like that.

    Definitely say upgrade the adapter and switch over to WPA2 when you can.

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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    So there's been at least two occasions where the wireless users in the house weren't able to connect at all, forcing me to unplug/replug the router.

    What gives? I thought that stuff was over and done with.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    That just sounds like it might be a cruddy router.

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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I've never had terribly good luck with Netgear routers. It could be that the included firmware is crappy.

    Normally I'd suggest flashing some new firmware for it, but from what I can tell neither Tomato or dd-wrt will work on that router, and those are the only firmwares I've had experience with.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    The IP address has a firmware check, which says the router's firmware is out of date.

    Problem is every time I try to update it, it says "update failed". I'll check later if I can download and install it manually.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    You probably can, and that is definitely a step you will want to take :)

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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    It's been done, so let's see if any more problems crop up.

    I did everything feasible, other than use that program to check the neighbor's channels. Wouldn't work for some reason.

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    Professor SnugglesworthProfessor Snugglesworth Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Sigh....not sure if this related to my router, but my laptop has been extremely slow when it comes to opening up pages, and especially with downloading: a 3mb file would have a download time of 45 minutes, for instance.

    I've tried cleaning it with Spybot and CC Cleaner, and restarted my Router twice, but no luck. And it seems to be just my laptop, as all other computers in the house are fine.

    Any ideas?

    Professor Snugglesworth on
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    mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I haven't, because should a real emergency come up and someone in the family besides me has to access it, it needs to be with an easy to remember password. Trust me, they're hopeless with such things.

    Besides, the IP address isn't the standard 192 type, and I can't certainly vouch that no one in the neighborhood is smart enough to even know how to configure an IP address.

    I know you already did so, but I'll reiterate for anybody else reading: with home wireless security, your home's physical security will keep your passwords safe. This is different than, say, a workplace or public hotspot where you have to worry about who will come across the passwords. So there's no reason not to go ahead and throw a sticky note with your admin password, as well as the WPA/WPA2 password, right on the router. You're primarily concerned with those who have not entered and will never enter your home getting on, not visitors.

    Also, if you're really concerned it's always possible to simply use the reset button on the router to reset it to the default password anyway (you'll lose settings, but be able to configure it again).

    mcdermott on
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