Another wireless router for newbie thread

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3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
After lots of internet reading on wireless routers, I've probably learned just enough to get into trouble, so I'm going to ask here. grin My setup- older desktop computer on cable company supplied cable modem, through analog TV cable service. Our cable internet is pretty slow & balky at times, goes out fairly often, & I realize that the router can't help this. Still, it would be nice to have when inet is running well. What I want to do: add wireless internet access, so that I can use a WiFi capable eReader, or tablet(maybe a rooted Nook Color, or maybe one of the new Color Kindles) or laptop computer. It would be nice if would allow a guest unit or two so that my brother & his wife can use their laptops when they come to visit. I currently own no wireless internet unit of any kind, & may be in a Catch-22 situation- no wireless unit to test the new router, and no router to register the new gadget if I buy the gadget first. See what I mean about trouble? wink Apparently QoS is a good thing, as is the newer "n" standard(vs b or g), and WPA2 for security- though where we live security shoudn't be a big deal. Claimed fast apeeds should make no difference here, the cable internet we have will surely be the biggest speed limiter of all. Because of that I see no need to go to the dual-band fq models(2.4 & 5 GHz). Current contenders, all are single band ~2.4 GHz: *ASUS (RT-N10+) Wireless-N 150 Entry Home Router: Fast Ethernet and support upto 4 Guest SSID(Open source DDWRT support) Spcifically mentions QoS, N & wpa2, plus up to 4 guest capacity. Looks like a winner at $30 shipped. Link: http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-RT-N10-Wireless-N-Entry-Router/dp/B003H98YK4/ref=pd_cp_e_4 *D-Link DIR-601 Wireless N 150 Home also N, Qos, WPA2, unsure about guest capability but does mention keeping several computres connected.(maybe through ethernet cables?) under $25 shipped if I buy another $1 worth of something. Link: http://www.amazon.com/D-Link-DIR-601-Wireless-Home-Router/dp/B002VJL0OS/ref=pd_cp_e_2 *Asus 125M Broad Range Wireless Router (WL-520GC) No N, no mention of QoS, mentions WPA but not WPA2. $30 shippped, $10 mail in rebate(I do NOT trust m-i rebates, been stiffed too many times). Still might be good enough for what I want. Link: http://www.amazon.com/Asus-Broad-Wireless-Router-WL-520GC/dp/tech-data/B000WUAUOY/ref=de_a_smtd I've just about decided to flip a coin on the top 2 units listed above. I suspect that spending lots more $$ will not help anything. But maybe you have a better idea for a router- just keep our balky internet in mind. Any & all help and suggestions appreciated.
 
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40,839
Location
Great Lakes
I like the first one, mainly because you can run third party firmware on it, but if you're not very tech savvy, this may be of little importance to you. But in general, ASUS makes good routers on the low end of the scale. As far as supporting guests - all wireless routers can do it. All you have to do is provide your guests with the password. Never had any luck with D-Link gear.
 
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17,910
Location
Silicon Valley
WL520GC uses Broadcom chipset, it is a slower model but it is the most reliable in terms of DDWRT support. DIDR-601 is Atheros chipset, supposedly the best radio and it is N, version A1 has DDWRT support but not showing up on their database (concern), but there seems to be some questions about client bridge and repeater bridge support (using it as an access point or repeater) RT-N10+ is Ralink chipset. Personally I have a lot of concern about Ralink's signal strength, but not sure about open source firmware is supported as the title said (newegg review said not very reliable and not all version works). If you are not going to modify the unit and just use it as a router, I'd pick the DIR-601 because Atheros usually have better signals. If you are going to do some crazy stuff to it, like using it as a repeater to extend the range, then the WL-520GC is more reliable. Personally I wouldn't pick the RT-N10 due to bad review on newegg about stability and iffy DDWRT support (common on ralink chipset).
 
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Messages
3,517
Location
Austin, TX MSA
The third option is G only, using some kind of proprietary trick for higher speeds. Avoid it as it is obsolete, and would require your clients to support the same G extensions for the 125Mbps speeds. You can get N for the same price. The first option seems like the best to me. You can also run down to Walmart and get a Belkin 150N router for $29. I needed a router fast last month to help a non-profit get a grant request submitted in time. (literally, their Internet was down and they needed to get the grant proposal in by midnight that day). I got one of those $29 Belkins and it worked fine.
 

OVERKILL

$100 Site Donor 2021
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46,224
Location
Ontario, Canada
How fast is your internet? Do you plan on transferring any files between computers on your LAN? If not, get the ASUS WL-520gU. It is bulletproof. I'd recommend it over the other two ASUS models.
 

UncleS2

Thread starter
Messages
3,202
Location
Far North East Texas
After reading your helpful suggestions, I reasoned that there's no point using a non-N, no QoS unit- & so discarded both the ASUS Wx-520gC & 520gU, even though they are well established. The ASUS RT-N10+ : I found a few more internet reports on problems with them, the specs & all look fine but radio troubles negate those. So I passed on that too. Which left the D-Link DIR-601. Good radio, has the QoS & N, should be OK. For better or worse, I ordered it late Friday night- along with some Koss foam replacement cushions I need for two pairs of Koss headphones to get free shipping. Even later Fri night, the $149 Nook Color refurb finally got me, ordered that too. crazy FYI- shipping is free, but if Barnes & Noble has a store in your state you get to pay sales tax! That deal(you buy from B&N, but through Buy dot com) is good through tomorrow, 10/09/2011. Thanks for all the help- will post back when I have it up & running!(I hope grin )
 
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