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Routers and Wifi - Recommendations?

ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
So I'm in the market for a new router. I'm currently running a Belkin 802.11b router I picked up about 6-7 years ago for $10 on black friday. It now needs to be rebooted about 3-4x a day to keep it working.

What's the current good model out there?

I was looking at the Linksys stuff since they're owned by Cisco, figuring that would be a good brand to go with since Cisco is known for networking, but reviews still seem to be hit or miss. The models I was looking at were WRT54G2 @ $45 and WRT160N @ $75.

I'm open to either G or N, my desktop has a G adapter and my laptop has an N adapter. Cost isn't entirely a problem, but the cheaper the better, so long as quality isn't sacrificed. Range isn't a huge deal, just a 3 bedroom rancher with basement, and the router is practically in the middle of the whole house.

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    HallucinogenHallucinogen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'm about to grab this one: http://www.dlink.ca/products/?pid=670

    So far D-Link hasn't failed me. My old-ass ethernet router is still going well. I've never had to reset it, though, ironically, I reset it this last weekend and messed it up and had to re-reset it. Part of the reason I've picked this model is because I live in an apartment with loads of other wifi networks around me, so dual band is a must.

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    ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    That does look nice! And for $70 on Amazon it's not bad in price! I love the shareport, since I can then hook up my external HDD to it and access it more easily.

    Does any draft-N device support dual band? I have a G adapter in my desktop, and a draft-N in my laptop, so I don't know if I could use the 5GHz band.

    And what is taking so long for N to be finalized? It's been like 6-7 years I've seen draft devices being sold!

    ArcSyn on
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    Rigor MortisRigor Mortis Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I have a TP-Link WR-340G that I picked up for $22 Cdn. It's been great.

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I just bought the wrt54g2 today and it seems pretty nice so far, I'm thinking of installing dd-wrt down the road, because the QoS settings are pretty limited and I like to make my router automatically reboot at night. But so far it works pretty well.

    Visti on
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    Dark ShroudDark Shroud Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I would recommend either the WRT160N or the WRT310N.

    The WRT310N has a gigabyte lan which is really nice for media streaming. Especially if you have a PS3. You can fine the WRT310N as low as $75 so it's worth it just for future proofing.

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    ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Well, gigabit would be nice but I'm never wired. Wii is wireless, laptop is wireless, and desktop is on the other side of the room and doorways prevent wires from being run. So don't know if that is going to be worth the extra cost. I'm not too concerned with future proofing since I've been using a wifi-b router for the past 5+ years.

    I did just see on linksys' site that a new model is coming out. WRT160NL, which is the WRT160N with dual antennas (no longer internal) and USB port for network storage. May wait to see what that is going to cost. I like Cisco (we use it exclusively at work) and connecting my external 500GB drive to the router for both the laptop and desktop is ideal. Though there are a few other brands that already have this. Will have to really check it out.

    ArcSyn on
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    HallucinogenHallucinogen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Just thought I'd mention, seeing as you said you're open to using G, that this seems to be the most solid router in it's price and performance range:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320023

    And it's compatible with both Tomato and DD-WRT, and apparently the default firmware makes using them a default choice anyway.

    Seeing as my ipod touch and PowerBook both use G, I'm going to pick this up instead of the D-Link. As well I discovered most devices compatible with N still require an adaptor to make use of the 5Ghz band, and also it doesn't transmit both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz simultaneously. On top of this apparently draft N is going to be finalized early 2010(hopefully). So I'm holding off on getting an N router until then(and until I have a device cable of using N).

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Just thought I'd mention, seeing as you said you're open to using G, that this seems to be the most solid router in it's price and performance range:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833320023

    And it's compatible with both Tomato and DD-WRT, and apparently the default firmware makes using them a default choice anyway.

    Seeing as my ipod touch and PowerBook both use G, I'm going to pick this up instead of the D-Link. As well I discovered most devices compatible with N still require an adaptor to make use of the 5Ghz band, and also it doesn't transmit both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz simultaneously. On top of this apparently draft N is going to be finalized early 2010(hopefully). So I'm holding off on getting an N router until then(and until I have a device cable of using N).

    I had an Asus WL500W that I unfortunately bricked by using the recommended version of dd-wrt (sp1), so just mind that if you go that route, use the beta release. Worked perfectly for a month or so with dd-wrt and one morning: screwed. But if you get the performance I saw out of it for the duration, I can only recommend it.

    Visti on
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    HallucinogenHallucinogen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    It seems Tomato works great on it, so I'll try that once I figure out how to flash it in OS X. Apparently it can be done through a tftp client, but I'm still figuring out the process.

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    In Linux it was just tftp 192.168.1.1 (default IP) / PUT firmware-file

    Then power-cycle and voila. Except with dd-wrt, you had to flash an intermediate asus firmware first, so I had to do something like that twice. Still, very quick and easy.

    Visti on
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    HallucinogenHallucinogen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I'm assuming I can just throw that command into OS X's Terminal?
    Visti wrote: »
    Except with dd-wrt, you had to flash an intermediate asus firmware first, so I had to do something like that twice.

    That's part of the reason I'm going to use Tomato instead, and because it seems more people found Tomato to be all around better if you don't need the robustness of DD-WRT I don't have the router to test yet, but I'm betting the Asus software isn't mac-compatible. Funny thing is the 520gu isn't listed on their site to check.

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I assume that you can use a similiar command, but with a slight variation.. For example, tftp on Windows is a bit different and uses a syntax like tftp your-ip router-ip PUT firmware-file instead of giving you a little interface.

    But I don't understand software for routers, I always configure them through their web interfaces by plugging them into my computer and going to the default IP. Wham, platform independence.

    Visti on
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    HallucinogenHallucinogen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I never install that junk. It's usually worse than useless and causes problems rather than solves them.

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    templewulftemplewulf The Team Chump USARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I never install that junk. It's usually worse than useless and causes problems rather than solves them.

    Tomato is great, and DD-WRT is feature-rich. However, on my WRT54G v7, I had to install the mini version due to the small RAM and flash memory on v7, and I had all kinds of stability issues. I would play Street Fighter or Soul Calibur over my wifi connection, and I would go from top-of-the-line connection to literally unplayable 2fps slideshow.

    So, I don't know if it was that particular model or the mini version of DD-WRT, but it blows the stock firmware out of the water in every other situation.

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I think he's talking about router management software?

    I wish Tomato was available for the wrt54g2, it looks really nice and the method for flashing dd-wrt to it seems.. difficult!

    Visti on
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    templewulftemplewulf The Team Chump USARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Visti wrote: »
    I think he's talking about router management software?
    Ah, never mind then.
    I wish Tomato was available for the wrt54g2, it looks really nice and the method for flashing dd-wrt to it seems.. difficult!

    That part isn't super hard, but I don't think the WRT54G2 has enough flash memory to support it, does it?

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    HallucinogenHallucinogen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Another suggestion for you in the G range of routers:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124190

    It's probably the precursor to the WRT54G2 you were looking at, and not as pretty, but it seems to have better reviews, and a lot more people have reviewed it... 2151 reviews and it's still at 5/5 eggs. That seems to be the best you can get for G, provided you flash it with Tomato, DD-WRT, or OpenWRT.
    You could also get the WRT54G, which seems to be pretty much the same(the GL is meant for use with Linux, but as far as I can tell it doesn't differ in hardware specs), though for some reason it's more expensive here in Canada, but cheaper than the WRT54GL in the U.S.

    Luckily for me the only one available at any stores near me is the GL. For some dumb reason everyone seems to want the more expensive regular one, and so they're sold out. I guess the GL must not come preloaded with anything and average joe customer isn't keen on getting his own firmware and flashing it. Works out better for me!:P

    On a side note, NewEgg.ca sucks. Do they not check prices in Canada? Nearly everything they have is marked up by at least $20 compared to what I can get things for in-store. Their Apple products are even more expensive than Apple sells them to Canada for and still they have the nerve to charge shipping despite the fact Apple ships for free on items over $50. And adding insult to injury is the fact that so many items are listed as free shipping, with the caveat that some locations are not included in the deal... the thing is I live in a major/capital city near the border and I never get the free shipping. SO where are these mythical locations they ship to for free? To top it all off, I can get 95% of their products in stores here. They really didn't research the Canadian market before launching their Canadian site. I was hoping to get the great deals you guys seem to get, but no such luck.

    Sorry for the rant.

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    templewulf wrote: »
    Visti wrote: »
    I think he's talking about router management software?
    Ah, never mind then.
    I wish Tomato was available for the wrt54g2, it looks really nice and the method for flashing dd-wrt to it seems.. difficult!

    That part isn't super hard, but I don't think the WRT54G2 has enough flash memory to support it, does it?

    Well, I've flashed other routers with dd-wrt before, there's just a specific method to the G2, that I have to figure out how to work under linux. Also, it is, in fact, now fully support by dd-wrt using the micro firmware. And supposedly running great.

    Edit: The WRT54GL is really great, I hear. With third party firmware, it should be one of the best and more stable routers around. In fact, I was dead set on getting it, but they only had the 54G2 at the store when I went (damn you, brick-store!) and I was seriously in need of a router/switch.

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    templewulftemplewulf The Team Chump USARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    (the GL is meant for use with Linux, but as far as I can tell it doesn't differ in hardware specs),
    The GL has more RAM and flash memory, and I feel like I get better signal with the GL's external antennae than the G2's internal.
    Visti wrote: »
    Well, I've flashed other routers with dd-wrt before, there's just a specific method to the G2, that I have to figure out how to work under linux. Also, it is, in fact, now fully support by dd-wrt using the micro firmware. And supposedly running great.
    It's no different than flashing the micro version onto anything else. IIRC, you just need to run the correct VxKiller first, then tftp the micro version onto the router.

    I flashed my G2, but I wasn't happy with the results. I'm pretty sure it was the G2's fault and not DD-WRT, but either way it didn't work out for me. Older WRT54Gs and WRT54GLs work much better for me.

    G2 works excellently as a wifi bridge, though.

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Hm, it's just that it seems to drop connection every now and again. I can flash back to the original firmware if it doesn't improve, right?

    Visti on
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    templewulftemplewulf The Team Chump USARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Visti wrote: »
    Hm, it's just that it seems to drop connection every now and again. I can flash back to the original firmware if it doesn't improve, right?

    Yeah, that's the exact same problem I had. I flashed the router back to stock, and it's much better now.

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Oh, but I'm talking about the stock firmware! I flashed to dd-wrt now and that seemed to clear it up for me. One of us must be living in opposite-land.

    Visti on
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    ZeonZeon Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    templewulf wrote: »
    Visti wrote: »
    Hm, it's just that it seems to drop connection every now and again. I can flash back to the original firmware if it doesn't improve, right?

    Yeah, that's the exact same problem I had. I flashed the router back to stock, and it's much better now.

    There was one version of the mini-ddwrt that was really unstable on the V7/8's. I ran it for all of about... 20 minutes before i found the RC2 and installed that instead. Now they actually have a release version which is amazing.

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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Yeah, from all accounts I heard the beta SP2 version is the one to go for - In fact, I bricked my ASUS WL500W (I think) by running the stable release, because I didn't read through the forums.

    The SP2 beta is running like a champ over here on the wrt54g2 - fully stable, reboots at 4:00am, QoS works like a charm.

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    gneGnegneGne Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    So I can run DD WRT on a v7 WRT54G?

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    templewulftemplewulf The Team Chump USARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    gneGne wrote: »
    So I can run DD WRT on a v7 WRT54G?

    Only the micro version. Linksys reduced the RAM and flash memory on later versions of the WRT54G (including the G2), so you'll need to go the micro route. It's a little more complicated to set up, but it's pretty straightforward once you get all the instructions in order.

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    HallucinogenHallucinogen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Or you could install Tomato, if you don't need all the features of DD-WRT.

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    ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Ok, due to pricing and some good reviews so far (but mostly pricing), I ordered the WRT54G2. Figured I'll give a run with the default firmware for a bit and see if it meets my needs, and worst case I'll be installing Tomato or DD-WRT on it.

    ArcSyn on
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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Tomato isn't supported, but DD-WRT v24 SP2 Beta Micro Plus is running like a champ on mine.

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    templewulftemplewulf The Team Chump USARegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Or you could install Tomato, if you don't need all the features of DD-WRT.

    As Visti mentioned, the later versions of WRT54G (including G2) don't have the hardware to run tomato. Only the micro version of DD-WRT is small enough to run on 54G v5 and later. I think it's one of the primary reasons they're able to sell the WRT54GL alongside the 54G with such success.

    Also, Visti, how is the new version of SP2 running for games? The reason I dropped dd-wrt from my router is that it utterly failed at conducting SC4 and SF4 games. Have you been able to run consoles through wifi?

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    ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Visti wrote: »
    Tomato isn't supported, but DD-WRT v24 SP2 Beta Micro Plus is running like a champ on mine.

    Awesome. Glad to hear it! I'm looking forward to it arriving since my current router is driving me nuts.

    ArcSyn on
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    VistiVisti Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    templewulf wrote: »
    Or you could install Tomato, if you don't need all the features of DD-WRT.

    As Visti mentioned, the later versions of WRT54G (including G2) don't have the hardware to run tomato. Only the micro version of DD-WRT is small enough to run on 54G v5 and later. I think it's one of the primary reasons they're able to sell the WRT54GL alongside the 54G with such success.

    Also, Visti, how is the new version of SP2 running for games? The reason I dropped dd-wrt from my router is that it utterly failed at conducting SC4 and SF4 games. Have you been able to run consoles through wifi?

    Hm, I have my 360 hooked up, but through one of the LAN ports. That seems to run without a hitch.. I have two laptops and two desktops and the 360 hooked up through it, UPNP works and everything is dandy so far.

    But I'm still feeling the buyer's remorse, because of the hardware limitations. Chances are that I'll never notice it, but I still want that wrt54gl for trying out tomato and dd-wrt mega and whatnot.

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    HallucinogenHallucinogen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    templewulf wrote: »
    Or you could install Tomato, if you don't need all the features of DD-WRT.

    As Visti mentioned, the later versions of WRT54G (including G2) don't have the hardware to run tomato.

    Whoops. Right you are. I for some reason thought it was supported up to V7, but it stops at V4(for the 54G).

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