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which router to buy

Discussion in 'General Board' started by max99x, May 15, 2012.

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  1. max99x United Kingdom

    max99x Well-Known Member

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    Need bit of advice on which wireless router to go for, been told by a tech guy to go for a netgear one as they are good and reliable but not sure which.

    In terms of what is needed the wireless router is at the bottom of the house and needs to throw the signal through thick walls and up 3 stories.

    Any advice on which to get, there are about 3 or 4 on amazon that look good but really not sure which will be best

    Any help muchly appreciated :)
     
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. invincible

    invincible Well-Known Member

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    It's impossible for anyone to reliably give you a confident answer without doing a wireless signal site survey. Exactly how thick the walls and floors are and what they're made of will affect things. Other aspects that will affect it will be interference from other electrical devices, some which may only be in use at certain times. There are all sorts of factors. You need to go read about them in the appropriate place I'm afraid. A useful tool for ascertaining how many wireless networks in your vicinity can be downloaded for free from here.

    Remember that the further away you are from the access point the weaker the signal and thus the resulting bandwidth available there will be. So you might be able to sit underneath the antenna and stream HD video to a laptop but two floors above you could run into difficulty.

    Do you have any option to run structured ethernet from where you wish to locate the router to another part of the house further away? Alternatively could you utilise powerline style adapters to do this? If so, you'd be able to have multiple wireless antenna (i.e. a wireless router in one location and a wireless access point wired back to a switch port on the wireless router elsewhere). This would likely give you better signal. You put them on the same SSID but on different non-overlapping channels (1, 6 and 13 don't overlap). Only issue would be when roaming between them if, for example, you're walking around the house on a wireless IP phone. You'd lose the call when the IP phone switched between access points unless you has something that supported access point roaming. That's going to be more of an enterprise product.

    I myself have two Cisco 1252AGN access points. My router is separate and in a comms cupboard. These have quite large external antenna (3 for 2.4Ghz and 3 for 5Ghz). These antenna dramatically improve the range (I can connect to the one in the basement when I am three floors above, however I prefer to have two spread apart so I don't get slow wifi anywhere). Separate antenna won't look as attractive as something that is entirely self contained such as the BT Home Hub 3. However that's just how it has to be unless you add more access points in not-spots around your house.

    People can tell you what they have but you'll still have to go buy it to find out if it suits your premises. I doubt you'll find just one consumer device suffices, particularly for anything bandwidth intensive. :)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  4. rob

    rob Founding Member

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    [​IMG]

    I agree - you can do the wifi and the garden with the one device!
     
  5. Bailey United Kingdom

    Bailey Well-Known Member

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    Who supplies your telephone line Max ?, i pay a little bit extra for BT's Business services, for the service level and willingness to change/exchange hardware as and when YOU ask can be very cost saving in the long run
     
  6. invincible

    invincible Well-Known Member

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    It's great but one has to understand Cisco's IOS to make good use of it. I've got a maintenance agreement (£15 a year) on one of mine and luckily it was the one that failed after a power outage so Cisco swapped it out.

    I can appreciate why router/switch/wireless access point "all in one" devices have come along for the consumer market. Unfortunately if you have need for greater range then problems come in. It's still relatively easy to add extra access points via wired ethernet, or ethernet over powerline, if required. However the fun begins when you particularly need to keep a persistent connection open whilst moving around and roaming between access points. A wireless voip handset is one example of where that would be a problem without some form of inter-access point communication. At the moment I imagine most people don't roam around their homes and need to keep a connection persistent. That may change. :)
     
  7. expertc

    expertc Well-Known Member

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    Netgear is fine. For a home network you should check that your router:

    1. Supports ADSL2+
    2. Supports 802.11b/g/n
    3. Supports WPA2-PSK
    4. Made by a company that is specializing in such devices.

    About range: for an average house most of the routers are just fine. In some cases the very far end of the garden might have a weaker signal but simple device called "signal repeater" takes care of it. But I do doubt it should be a case. Simple check like how many network your computer "sees" will show you that you can often see networks for the half of your street. ;)

    Examples of good routers: Netgear DGN2200, D-Link DSL-2740R, etc. Don't pay much attention to reviews that say "difficult to set-up", check the performance reviews. CISCO is great, but it comes at a price and an average home user would only use about 5-10%% of what it can offer. :)
     
  8. invincible

    invincible Well-Known Member

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    With (1) it's important to consider that he may have cable, which is presented as ethernet, or FTTC (e.g. BT Infinity) which is also presented as ethernet via a VDSL2 modem. A router than only supports ADSL would be no good for either because it wouldn't have the correct WAN port interface. As cable or FTTC (and FTTH/FTTP in the near future) are increasingly taken up the number of ADSL subscribers is in decline. If one wishes to buy a router with an ethernet WAN port it's possible to use something like a Draytek Vigor 120 to bridge ADSL to it without doing double NAT. Sky are the only UK ISP I am aware of that implement techniques (i.e. MER instead of PPPoATM) to lock some of their customers to the supplied router only.

    From what OP had written his house isn't one of those ones with cardboard walls. One loses half the wireless speed with each repeater which is why I suggested a second access point to prevent that, because it doesn't function in repeater mode. My reasoning is people are more likely to want to stream more bandwidth intense applications over home wifi in future years. Just because one can get a signal from a wireless access point at the other side of the house doesn't mean the signal and resulting bandwidth is going to be usable for what one wants to do! :) Ultimately I feel it makes sense to do wireless right first time rather than do it, get annoyed about it being slow when hitting it with more bandwidth intense applications, and then wonder how to implement a better system at a subsequent date. I've thrown many Netegar wireless devices, including ProSafe ones, out because of poor signal. However these weren't any of the latest ones with multiple aerials or 802.11n. I expect more recent devices are better.

    Seeing them doesn't mean throughput would be sufficient if he could connect to them to do speed tests.

    I wouldn't recommend Cisco's to anyone who cannot spend time with its IOS via a command line, or pay for someone to set it up. However I'd rather do that, and have something working well with support for WDS (although other access points do support WDS to some extent) than have ropey wifi like I have had in the past.

    Something you missed off your list is ensuring the WAN port supports Gigabit Ethernet if the router is going to be used with fast cable or FTTC broadband. Many routers only have 100Mbit WAN ports and also the throughout that the router is capable of might not be anywhere near the theoretical throughput of the WAN port. My former router didn't go above about 50Mbit on WAN interfaces so I ditched it late last year.

    If anyone is interested in reading about WDS and fast secure roaming across multiple access points, here's a cisco document about it (it happens to be something that interests me).
     
  9. expertc

    expertc Well-Known Member

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    I have assumed it's ADSL based on the recommendation by a tech guy, I might be wrong :)

    I did support CISCO RV series for a corporate client with VPN requirements, it's no fun...

    To be honest gigabit ports you don't need until you Internet connection speed reaches fiber optic levels, unless you need it for your home network or use many hard-wired devices. Then you should think about proper cabling, at least CAT5e around your house. But even then you will not see much difference until you start using it for something above the average household level. What I am saying is: most of the devices made by Netgear, D-Link or even Belkin and Buffalo are more than enough for non-business application. I don't think future-proofing is a good idea in this case, as at £40-£50 for a pretty good wireless router you can discard of it easily if you need something more serious or change you connection type. Just my 2p...


    P.S. I don't use WiFi, my workstation is hard-wired.
     
  10. Aegean

    Aegean Active Member

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    I had a similar problem with a friends hotel in the highlands, 4 stories and very thick walls, it was a victorian building. But another friend of mine managed to get me two of those rabbit-ear wifi boosters, one antenna picks up the signal the other throws it out, it seemed to fix the issue with the guests on floors 3 and 4 not being able to use their laptops.

    Something similar to this.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
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