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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Router Recommendations?

    Hey guys.

    Router has finally given in after 8 years of acceptable, but not entirely loved, service. Are there any recommendations for any in particular that are worth having? Or to look online?

    And as a stupid question, if we got a wireless N router, would PCs/laptops that didn't have an N adapter still be able to access the network save being able to take advantage of that extra N-ness, or would they not work at all?

    Otherwise I was just going to look on Overclockers or somewhere like that. Ta for any help!

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Most routers support b/g/n mixed mode, which means that devices working on another standard (like g) will still connect but they only work in that mode, they don't "upgrade" to N (to use a dodgy phrase). Actually I don't know how many support b/g/n mixed, most today probably only support g/n. Not sure, haven't really looked into it, but if your adapters are 802.11g you should be fine, it hasn't died out.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was aware you couldn't 'upgrade' to N. As it stands, there are two PCs that are currently using N enabled cards, this laptop which is more than likely G and an older laptop which is hopefully G too, but I'll check that. It was essentially a case of seeing if they were 'backwards compatible'. I suppose that's my main worry gone. Thanks! Although now actually getting one is still an issue!

  4. #4
    Network Hub Megagun's Avatar
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    TP-Link's TL-WR1043ND seems to get great reviews, and I've happily had it running myself for quite a while. It's also very cheap, mine was 50 euros. Has quite a lot of settings and tweaks you can do out-of-the-box, or you can install custom firmwares such as DD-WRT or Open-WRT on it to get even more out of it. It has a USB-host port, which you can use for all kinds of things. On the default firmware, it lets you share USB harddrives over your network, but if you use one of those custom firmwares there's all kind of nifty things you can do. I mainly use my router (with OpenWRT) to be able to print stuff over the network. I also sometimes use it for bittorrent, an IRC client, or a Mumble server.

    There's a fairly extensive review of it over here, but it's in Dutch. Does have pretty screenshots, photo's and graphics, though. :)

    My advice? If you're into using custom firmwares to do awesome stuff with your router (which may require some Linux knowledge, depending on which firmware you decide to use), then the 1043ND might be your best option. If you're not into that, then there might be some better alternatives. When I was searching for a new router, the ability to run OpenWRT or DD-WRT on it was a requirement I had, so I didn't really look for other alternatives.

    Note: I've heard some reports from people that the build quality isn't top-notch, and some units may have odd USB Host ports. Some people claim that those can be fixed with official firmware updates, yet some people claim that they had to have their unit returned.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Thanks man, that's really useful. Not really looking for anything too complex; it's a router for a house where I'm the only one technologically minded and so long as it Does Games, I'm more than satisfied. Definitely noted though, looks a good one. And who can resist 3 attenae? That's 2 more attenae than standard!

    EDIT:

    Looking around, I've settled on that one. Hopefully it'll channel all the goodness Virgin Media decides we're worthy of getting into nice speed. Thanks very much!
    Last edited by The JG Man; 21-06-2011 at 09:12 PM. Reason: Router found?

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    Okay so here's something. Got the router (the one mentioned above) and plugged it in. All the computers/laptops/aliens that can be connected have been, successfully. However.

    After a few minutes, the connection speeds will plummet to anywhere between almost non-existent and dial-up speeds. If the router is reset, I'll have a few more minutes of regular, good, speeds before it goes really slow again. I've tried two different PCs using N connections and a laptop using G (the router is currently set to broadcast on all, so that's fine) and they're all suffering from inevitable slow-down. Does anyone have any recommendations on what to do?

    The firmware is up-to-date, all cables are connected securely, blinkers are blinking. I'm out of ideas.

  7. #7
    Network Hub Megagun's Avatar
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    Hmm, that is very unfortunate. Here's list of things you could try in roughly "try this first, then try this" order:


    First of all, ALWAYS have a command prompt window open running 'ping -t IP address of your router'. This should tell you more clearly what's happening. I'm guessing that whenever your connection starts being terrible, ping times to your router start going crazy too.

    Try disconnecting all wireless devices from the router, then use one laptop to connect wired to it. Use your laptop as you normally do, and see if this fixes things. If nothing happens, start connecting other wireless devices to the router again.

    Remove the wireless antennas from the router, disconnect all devices from it, then connect with one laptop through wire. Any better?

    Disable wireless completely, remove the antennas, and use one wired laptop. This probably 'fixes' your issue. If it doesn't, it at least gives us a lot of information about what might be wrong. :)

    Now we should more or less know if wireless is the issue or not. If wireless seems to be the issue, reconnect all the wireless antennas and try the following:

    -Install Network Stumbler, figure out what channels are being used in your neighborhood, then switch your router to a channel that's barely being used. You may be able to select channel 13 and 14. If you do so, keep a cat5 cable with you as you may not be able to connect to it wirelessly anymore. (My main guess is that your router is on a channel that's being used by a lot of people in your neighborhood)
    -Go from B/G/N mixed mode to N-only.
    -Also try B/G only
    -Try both WEP and WPA. Sometimes, increasing or decreasing security may do wonders. You really don't want to be running WEP, though, so this is more of a debugging step..

    This should be more or less the basics to figure out what's wrong and what might be possible solutions.

    Lastly, provide us with a rough detail of your network topology. Here's mine, so you know what I'm asking for (I don't need to know your WAN IP address (the one reported by whatismyip.com), but the WAN/LAN IP addresses of the TP-link router may be interesting)

    Davolink DV201AM (ISP provided)
    WAN: the Internet. WAN IP provided by ISP
    LAN IP address: 10.1.1.1
    Wireless: WPA2-PSK B/G
    DHCP on 10.1.1.100-254

    TP-Link 1043ND
    WAN IP address: 10.1.1.2 (connected to Davolink router; static IP address)
    LAN IP address: 192.168.1.1
    Wireless: WPA2-PSK B/G/N
    DHCP on 192.168.1.100-254

    Other devices
    These devices connect to either one of the wireless networks, and get IP addresses assigned though DHCP.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus The JG Man's Avatar
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    I really should've updated my post - the router is mostly fine now, with the usual hiccups associated with wireless use.

    That being said, I was going to look into it in a couple of days to see if I could tweak it to be any better. This will be incredibly useful, thank you very, very much!

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