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tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 30, 2016 07:33PM
My small apartment is a wifi nightmare. I need two routers to cover about 650 sq. ft.

I have a Netgear WNDR3700 that 'runs the network' and a linksys e1200 thats an additional wireless access point. the linksys has been flaky lately - occasionally i'll have a frustratingly poor or no connection to it thats solved by rebooting. the netgear and anything connect to it is _solid_. the linksys had its firmware and settings flashed about a month ago...i suspect it simply needs replacing.

i went over to newegg to find the placement. i've been a fan of the asus line - lots of dd-wrt compatible routers at a range in prices. then my head started to spin, lost in feature lists. what do i need? what, practically, would i notice?

has anyone gotten a high end router and noticed a dramatic difference? or should i keep the price below $100 - after all, tech can do little to cut through wire mesh walls and a crowded wifi spectrum.

whats your advice?



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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: April 30, 2016 08:34PM
T-mobile branded Asus AC1900 router for $100?
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: April 30, 2016 08:40PM
For about $100, you could get this one. Works OK for us. In fact, I sometimes discover that I'm still getting a weak signal outside across the street, where I really don't want or need it.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 30, 2016 09:44PM
Quote
ka jowct
For about $100, you could get this one. Works OK for us. In fact, I sometimes discover that I'm still getting a weak signal outside across the street, where I really don't want or need it.

which one?

...where would i get the tmobile router? i can't find it online.



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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: freeradical
Date: April 30, 2016 10:16PM
Run some wire and forget about wireless.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: Forrest
Date: April 30, 2016 10:47PM
Have you considered getting a new 802.11AC router with external antennas and make the Netgear the wireless access point? The TP-Link Archer C5 (AC1200) sells for $80 and is on the DD-WRT compatibility list.

The external antenna's may give you slightly better range than the Netgear router.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: sekker
Date: April 30, 2016 11:08PM
My power line internet connectors solved a major wifi challenge for me in my house. I ended up being able to use older wifi tech separately.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: ka jowct
Date: April 30, 2016 11:20PM
Quote
mattkime
Quote
ka jowct
For about $100, you could get this one. Works OK for us. In fact, I sometimes discover that I'm still getting a weak signal outside across the street, where I really don't want or need it.

which one?

...where would i get the tmobile router? i can't find it online.

Doh. Forgot to add the link.

[www.bhphotovideo.com]
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: numbered
Date: April 30, 2016 11:51PM
The Archer C7 is the top choice router at The Wirecutter. I have installed a couple of them and they seem to work very well in performance/range. I managed to get one for $82 on Amazon. It is showing $90 now. It will handle ddwrt and gargoyle.

I have been an Asus fan as well. It looks like TP Link is stepping in front of them with good hardware and lower pricing.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: May 01, 2016 12:13AM
WLAN extender. $50.



It is what it is.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 01, 2016 01:05AM
T-mobile router can be picked up in store or online.

[www.t-mobile.com]
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: GeneL
Date: May 01, 2016 01:21AM
Thanks for the link, numbered.

Although, I'm not router shopping right now, I learned some useful information on that website.



gl @ Dana Point, CA
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: jdc
Date: May 01, 2016 02:03AM
Seems kinda crappy that the one your ISP gives you wont cover 650 sqft.

The included one I got with Uverse, ATT branded covers our 2000 sqft house just fine. It is dead center in the middle of the house and 5 feet off the ground, but still, full 45/5 speeds in the farthest corners.



----


Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: Bimwad
Date: May 01, 2016 02:41AM
We have two WNDR3700s in the office. The building is kinda odd, L-shaped. I know they were "the" popular router at one point, but I've never been impressed by their range. I could be sitting across the hall and not get full signal strength, according to my phone.

The T-Mo Asus AC68U would be a good deal if you're eligible for one. With some work, I think it's possible to re-flash it to a stock Asus state.

I have an AC56U, which has been good. I don't have any complaints about its range, but YMMV. It runs about $80 on sale, and has a decently fast dual-core processor, and a generous amount of RAM. I like AsusWRT, and it's still being continually updated. They also have an open-source friendly attitude.

TP-Link has stated they're going to follow the strict interpretation of the FCC rules, and ban open source firmware from its routers beginning in June. I don't know the details of how, but it's worth looking into if open source firmware is a factor.

I wouldn't buy one of those mega buck high-end routers until they've been proven. They promise a lot, but they're also bleeding edge, and it takes time for the firmware to stabilize, and some of the newer radio hardware features can be problematic. I came upon an AC5300 on display today, and the thing is silly based just on looks.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 01, 2016 08:20AM
Quote
jdc
Seems kinda crappy that the one your ISP gives you wont cover 650 sqft.

It mine, not ISP provided. The apt is lath and plaster construction (at least older walls) that wifi has trouble penetrating.

If i was to purchase such a building i might be tempted to redo the walls for better wifi alone. its crazy.



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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 01, 2016 08:45AM
I think I'm tempted to go for this guy - [www.amazon.com] - its on amazon warehouse deals for $102.15

...unless an argument can be made for better reception from the TP-Link model. The wirecutter described it as an upgrade and the amazon warehouse deal brings it within a few dollars. doesn't look like the dd-wrt firmware is quite there yet but it should be supported in the near future. i like the idea of having an alternative firmware available but a) i use the features less than i used to b) stock firmwares have grown more advanced.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2016 09:46AM by mattkime.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: tenders
Date: May 01, 2016 09:01AM
Quote
numbered
The Archer C7 is the top choice router at The Wirecutter. I have installed a couple of them and they seem to work very well in performance/range. I managed to get one for $82 on Amazon. It is showing $90 now. It will handle ddwrt and gargoyle.

I have been an Asus fan as well. It looks like TP Link is stepping in front of them with good hardware and lower pricing.

Ditto, I've been using this with dd-wrt for a few months and range in my plaster and lathe house is notably improved over the last router. Another good rec from thewirecutter.com.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 01, 2016 09:42AM
Quote
mattkime
I think I'm tempted to go for this guy - [www.amazon.com] - its on amazon warehouse deals for $102.15

Not a terrible router at all, but I think you are a T-Mobile customer and ordering the AC1900 CellSpot would seem like a step up for slightly less money, no?
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 01, 2016 09:43AM
Quote
tenders
Quote
numbered
The Archer C7 is the top choice router at The Wirecutter. I have installed a couple of them and they seem to work very well in performance/range. I managed to get one for $82 on Amazon. It is showing $90 now. It will handle ddwrt and gargoyle.

I have been an Asus fan as well. It looks like TP Link is stepping in front of them with good hardware and lower pricing.

Ditto, I've been using this with dd-wrt for a few months and range in my plaster and lathe house is notably improved over the last router. Another good rec from thewirecutter.com.

I love Gargoyle. Much easier for a moron like me to manage. The interface is much simpler for all the basic options.
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More food for thought...
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: May 01, 2016 10:18AM
AC1200 - [www.smallnetbuilder.com]

AC1750 - [www.smallnetbuilder.com]

AC1900 - [www.smallnetbuilder.com]




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* Sigs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 01, 2016 10:36AM
hm, according to smallnetbuilder the C7 is better at whats important to me - a strong and reliable connection.



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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 01, 2016 10:37AM
Quote
Bimwad
I have an AC56U, which has been good. I don't have any complaints about its range, but YMMV. It runs about $80 on sale, and has a decently fast dual-core processor, and a generous amount of RAM. I like AsusWRT, and it's still being continually updated. They also have an open-source friendly attitude.

Yes.

Quote
Bimwad
TP-Link has stated they're going to follow the strict interpretation of the FCC rules, and ban open source firmware from its routers beginning in June. I don't know the details of how, but it's worth looking into if open source firmware is a factor.

Yeah, that bums me out.

Quote
Bimwad
I wouldn't buy one of those mega buck high-end routers until they've been proven. They promise a lot, but they're also bleeding edge, and it takes time for the firmware to stabilize, and some of the newer radio hardware features can be problematic. I came upon an AC5300 on display today, and the thing is silly based just on looks.

I don't mind the looks so much as the buggy firmware (hardware too) on nearly every higher than AC1900 rated consumer device.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 01, 2016 10:46AM
Quote
mattkime
Quote
jdc
Seems kinda crappy that the one your ISP gives you wont cover 650 sqft.

It mine, not ISP provided. The apt is lath and plaster construction (at least older walls) that wifi has trouble penetrating.

If i was to purchase such a building i might be tempted to redo the walls for better wifi alone. its crazy.

Yep.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: Fred_Also
Date: May 01, 2016 02:05PM
I got one of these with DD-WRT preinstalled. Had it about a year and like it. Of course I don't have lath in the walls.

Buffalo AirStation N300 Open Source DD-WRT Wireless Router (WHR-300HP2D)

$52.49 Amazon Prime

Fred
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: GeneL
Date: May 01, 2016 03:13PM
Quote
Bimwad

TP-Link has stated they're going to follow the strict interpretation of the FCC rules, and ban open source firmware from its routers beginning in June. I don't know the details of how, but it's worth looking into if open source firmware is a factor.

I hate to say that I have never understood what DD-WRT is about.

I have owned routers that, I believe, could utilize this technology, but still haven't figured out the value.

Could someone explain?



gl @ Dana Point, CA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2016 03:14PM by GeneL.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 01, 2016 03:32PM
Quote
GeneL
Could someone explain?

Its open source software for your router. router software use to be pretty terrible. its gotten better. dd-wrt is 'full nerd' though - you need to know what you're doing and even with that you'll ignore most of it. but it was nice because you could get exactly what you wanted out of it. it is/was a sign of a high quality router. some companies have started using their own ports of dd-wrt



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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 01, 2016 04:22PM
Quote
GeneL
Quote
Bimwad

TP-Link has stated they're going to follow the strict interpretation of the FCC rules, and ban open source firmware from its routers beginning in June. I don't know the details of how, but it's worth looking into if open source firmware is a factor.

I hate to say that I have never understood what DD-WRT is about.

I have owned routers that, I believe, could utilize this technology, but still haven't figured out the value.

Could someone explain?

mattkime has it right, but there's other options besides "full nerd". I like Gargoyle because the basic, and even slightly advanced features, are really easy to manage.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2016 04:24PM by silvarios.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 01, 2016 06:46PM
not in the market for a new router but this thread has solved the mystery for me of why my friends in chicago have such a difficult time with wifi in their home. plaster. lath. chicken wire.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: GeneL
Date: May 01, 2016 07:49PM
Quote
mattkime
Quote
GeneL
Could someone explain?

Its open source software for your router. router software use to be pretty terrible. its gotten better. dd-wrt is 'full nerd' though - you need to know what you're doing and even with that you'll ignore most of it. but it was nice because you could get exactly what you wanted out of it. it is/was a sign of a high quality router. some companies have started using their own ports of dd-wrt

Not being a full-fledged nerd, this post did nothing to make the technology clear to me.

What specifically does DD-WRT do for you and is it something that I want and need?



gl @ Dana Point, CA
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: Bimwad
Date: May 01, 2016 08:03PM
Quote
GeneL
I hate to say that I have never understood what DD-WRT is about.

I have owned routers that, I believe, could utilize this technology, but still haven't figured out the value.

Could someone explain?

Here's some background on what all the hoopla has been about.

DD-WRT is at one extreme, with a kitchen sink of features, but not the most friendly to set up and use.

There are mildly modified options as well, like Merlin for Asus routers. He adds some minor features, and acts a little more rapidly in fixing bugs and cleaning up things that Asus misses, while maintaining the same look as the stock AsusWRT firmware (which itself s actually based on Tomato, another open option).

Each different flavor of firmware goes to different lengths, features, or looks, and can sometimes be a source of continued support after the manufacturer has abandoned a model and stops providing patches.

Basically, it comes down to adding features that are absent in the factory setup.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 01, 2016 09:41PM
Quote
GeneL
What specifically does DD-WRT do for you and is it something that I want and need?

If you're asking the question that way then probably not.

port forwarding...quality of service...assigning ip addresses to specific machines...those are the basics. gets much more networking nerdy from there.

oooooh...i started using it because it allowed me to boost my router signal back when that was a thing you actually wanted. (too high == more noise)



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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: GeneL
Date: May 01, 2016 09:57PM
Thanks Bimwad! The link led me to some useful information, but...

it was aimed at PC users, not Macs. Also, it didn't go into a list of DD-WRT features, a basic user like me, might find useful.

Also, I have two routers to work with, so how do I find the appropriate website for my set up on a Mac.

I think I'm getting closer now. TIA, for filling in the blanks.



gl @ Dana Point, CA
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 01, 2016 11:24PM
Quote
GeneL
Thanks Bimwad! The link led me to some useful information, but...

it was aimed at PC users, not Macs. Also, it didn't go into a list of DD-WRT features, a basic user like me, might find useful.

Also, I have two routers to work with, so how do I find the appropriate website for my set up on a Mac.

I think I'm getting closer now. TIA, for filling in the blanks.

There's nothing really PC specific in that link. The update procedure for flashing third party firmware will differ on brand and even model of router. But the basic connection mechanism is similar on the different PC OSes.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: GeneL
Date: May 01, 2016 11:26PM
Okay, signal and speed, that sounds like a useful benefit.

I'm on Cox cable and mostly get some pretty high speeds. "Speedtest" just registered 94 mbps up and 14.4 down on my cellphone connected by wi-fi.

I wonder if it would be worth it to explore DD-WRT? Perhaps, to expand my coverage. Sometimes, it seems my signal gets weaker in certain spots.

Worth pursuing?



gl @ Dana Point, CA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/01/2016 11:27PM by GeneL.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: tenders
Date: May 01, 2016 11:28PM
Lots of proprietary firmware versions are out there with each manufacturer's hardware - many are buggy, many are not well-translated into English, their help files are not helpful, they are not updated too often while the router is in production and support often ends once the router is out of production. Then, every time you get a new router you have to mangle your way through the new firmware to establish the correct settings, etc.

DD-WRT (and other open-source firmware) is consistent across every router it's installed on. The help files can still be a bit cryptic but there is a ton of online support. And it allows you to mess with some settings that are not available on the proprietary firmware versions.

I found DD-WRT easier to figure out than the original firmware that came with my TP-LINK routers, which isn't saying much, because that company's firmware interface was pretty bad.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: GeneL
Date: May 01, 2016 11:31PM
Quote
silvarios
Quote
GeneL
Thanks Bimwad! The link led me to some useful information, but...

it was aimed at PC users, not Macs. Also, it didn't go into a list of DD-WRT features, a basic user like me, might find useful.

Also, I have two routers to work with, so how do I find the appropriate website for my set up on a Mac.

I think I'm getting closer now. TIA, for filling in the blanks.

There's nothing really PC specific in that link. The update procedure for flashing third party firmware will differ on brand and even model of router. But the basic connection mechanism is similar on the different PC OSes.

I saw this comment after I posted.

I was referring to the description that clearly referenced using a PC. Are you saying that there are instructions applicable to my using my Mac OS 10.7?



gl @ Dana Point, CA
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: mspace
Date: May 02, 2016 10:09AM
Don't know if you bought yet, but I live in a pre-war building, too. With other routers, I had to hard wire to the bedroom from the living room.

Got the Asus RT-N66U and have had NO issues getting a full and stable connection through the whole apt. While I definitely use the DD-WRT for tweaking some peripherals, I don't do gaming or much streaming, so I didn't go for the "latest, greatest". This one has been just fine.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 02, 2016 10:40AM
Quote
GeneL
I saw this comment after I posted.

I was referring to the description that clearly referenced using a PC. Are you saying that there are instructions applicable to my using my Mac OS 10.7?

Again, it depends on the router, but yes, the process is largely the same. Some routers are as simple as open web browser, type in router IP address, click on system settings, select firmware and click update. Some need more work. It just depends on the router.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: silvarios
Date: May 02, 2016 10:45AM
Quote
freeradical
Run some wire and forget about wireless.

Most tablets and cell phones tend not to have Ethernet. Many newer Macs as well.
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Re: tempted to get a new router - uncertain whether to go high or low end
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 02, 2016 11:54AM
I recently figured out that my Netgear WNDR3700 had been misconfigured in such a way that 5Ghz wasn't working (wrong value for security type).

Its much better now but we still need two routers. i think its because a bathroom divides our apt.



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