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 Post subject: Best-of-the-Best ... Wifi Router update?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 4:54 am 
Little Foot
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Love the mag, been a subscriber for many years. Looking to get my first wifi router, of course respecting the opins of the MaximumPC staff I came here first.

However, it appears the Wifi Router 'Best-of-the-Best' is severly out of date, by computer timeline standards at least.

Can MaximumPC do an update to this section? Perhaps a future mag article on the lastest-greatest wireless routers?

Mucho thanks :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:57 am 
Super Mario Banhammer
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please update the ancient 2.1 speaker section too.


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 Post subject: Re: Best-of-the-Best ... Wifi Router update?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:29 pm 
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Zelpo wrote:
Love the mag, been a subscriber for many years. Looking to get my first wifi router, of course respecting the opins of the MaximumPC staff I came here first.

However, it appears the Wifi Router 'Best-of-the-Best' is severly out of date, by computer timeline standards at least.

Can MaximumPC do an update to this section? Perhaps a future mag article on the lastest-greatest wireless routers?

Mucho thanks :wink:


After much reviewing, reading and testing, I ended up recommending one of two routers to my brother-in-law.

D-Link DIR-825 Xtreme N Dual-Band Gigabit Router

or

D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N Wireless Gigabit Router

If you want the flexibility of dual bands, the 825 is awesome, but make sure you run the latest firmware. I have this one, thanks to my bro-in-law ordering one for me for helping him, and I've seen 1.1-1.3MBps throughput wirelessly with WPA2 enabled. That's thru two walls!

The 625 is getting hard to find, but OfficeDepot had it regular priced at $99. That router is worth every penny and both of them have gigabit switches.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:35 pm 
Little Foot
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Thanks for the suggestions Quake ... curious, what is your wired MBps?

I enjoy an average ~20 MBps from a Comcast Cable connection, but I'm worried how much of that I'll lose going wireless. Relocating my computer to a room w/o a coax cable, so wireless seems the only way to do it unless I butcher my house and run coax cable half way around it & punch a hole in the wall, which I really don't want to do.

I have no experience with wifi, it's all new to me :?:


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:29 pm 
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I've also had great experiences with D-Link. I got the DIR-615, their standard N router, worked great. I upgraded it to their ExtremeN dual-band along with a D-Link dual-band USB adapter, and both of those work wonderfully well and go through two walls, and all the way to the other side of the house and still get stellar speeds- I usually get around 1.5MB/s transferring from the wireless PC to one on the wired network, with WPA2.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:04 pm 
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Image

I just did that test in my garage. And one of my computers hardwired is currently d/l'ing a torrent @ 120KB/s.

I have a 20MBps down, 1.5 up connection and my router maxes it out. Real life speeds on an unlimited down load I've seen sustained 20MBps with 50 feet and two interior, double insulated dry wall walls between me and the router. Although, I typically see 1.3-2.0 downloading torrents in the garage.

I have yet to even try channel bonding, but with the N wireless maxing out my actual ISP connection, there's been no reason to. I can easily stream HD content over the N channel while two other laptops use the G channel. The 825 has intelligent QoS prioritizing for downloading and gaming. I can be downloading a torrent in the garage and my son in playing COD-MW2 on his computer that's wired and his ping stays at 38 and he has zero lag. I can be playing FlightSimX online while he is playing his game and my wife talks on the phone via VOIP.


The best thing besides the speed and gigabit ports is that I have my printer installed on the D-Link SharePort and everyone has access to it now. It's an older Dell Laser printer without it's own Network capable hardware. Just a plain printer that now is network shared. I also have a 1TB external drive that's two years old that can be hooked up to that Shareport and be used as NAS.

For $129, you can't beat the performance. And OfficeDepot still has the best deal in the store. Just make damned sure the router is running this firmware version! The routers currently in stock don't have it, but the router performs only so-so with the firmware that comes with it. It's very easy to update it yourself.

By the way, my garage computer is using one of these for N traffic or G. And there's Linux drivers for it too!

After turning off the torrent on the other computer, here's what I just got, yay for Turbo boost! LOL:

Image


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:29 pm 
Little Foot
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Wow, great info guys, thanks for taking the time to post it.

I have a novice question: Do I have to have a computer wired directly to the router, or can all of them be wireless? (that is, the cable modem to the wifi router, then nothing) I ask this because my main PC is going in a room w/o coax cable :?:


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:51 am 
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Zelpo wrote:
Wow, great info guys, thanks for taking the time to post it.

I have a novice question: Do I have to have a computer wired directly to the router, or can all of them be wireless? (that is, the cable modem to the wifi router, then nothing) I ask this because my main PC is going in a room w/o coax cable :?:


Yep, you sure can. But for the initial set up, you will HAVE to use a wired computer with the router to get things ready for wireless. Make DAMNED sure you do the firmware update while hardwired, otherwise, you could brick the router.

Also, make sure you get a high quality USB adapter like mine. It's going to cost more than $20-$30, but it's well worth the $50-$70 you would pay for it. I don't like the PCI adapters because typically, you can't get the antenna high enough for great reception.

Image

That's what I've got going on in my garage. 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:26 pm 
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hows the reliability? most of the complaints i'm seeing over at newegg seem to deal with random restarts and dropping connections, have you run into any of this with the new firmware?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:14 pm 
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bathtbgin wrote:
hows the reliability? most of the complaints i'm seeing over at newegg seem to deal with random restarts and dropping connections, have you run into any of this with the new firmware?

not me. Neither the Extreme-N adapter, nor the two D-Link routers I have owned have had these problems.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:26 pm 
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Spartacus wrote:
bathtbgin wrote:
hows the reliability? most of the complaints i'm seeing over at newegg seem to deal with random restarts and dropping connections, have you run into any of this with the new firmware?

not me. Neither the Extreme-N adapter, nor the two D-Link routers I have owned have had these problems.


I usually dont put too much faith in newegg reviews, since most people on that site dont know WTF they are talking about. I just look at the negative reviews to see if there are several people complaining about the same thing. Resets and disconnects were what people were talking about the most their, but that could be caused by the old firmware, or user error. To be honest i'm not sure I've seen a router on newegg that didnt have a few reviewers complaining about random resets and dropped connections, so i just wanted to double check with people who know their stuff.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:44 am 
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bathtbgin wrote:
Spartacus wrote:
bathtbgin wrote:
hows the reliability? most of the complaints i'm seeing over at newegg seem to deal with random restarts and dropping connections, have you run into any of this with the new firmware?

not me. Neither the Extreme-N adapter, nor the two D-Link routers I have owned have had these problems.


I usually dont put too much faith in newegg reviews, since most people on that site dont know WTF they are talking about. I just look at the negative reviews to see if there are several people complaining about the same thing. Resets and disconnects were what people were talking about the most their, but that could be caused by the old firmware, or user error. To be honest i'm not sure I've seen a router on newegg that didnt have a few reviewers complaining about random resets and dropped connections, so i just wanted to double check with people who know their stuff.

they probably placed the router too far away from their machines. N has long range, but far from limitless, and of course you'll be constantly dropping the connection if you put it on the other side of 6 walls and a floor 100 feet away.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:37 pm 
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If you plan on having more than 2 wireless computers or perhaps more to build a home network, I'd go with the DIR-825x. If you just want to be use what you have now, the DIR-655 is pretty killer.

I still use the DIR-655 and it's a great router. It has limitations once expanding the house though. Once a A/B/or G hop on the wireless, it all drops to G (if not less. I don't know, I don't have any A or B). Even the wired side has issues with down-grading. I stuck an Xbox 360 on a port and it sure drug down the entire network.

It's pretty trick though. Choices galore in the settings and the USB port now becomes an actual shared port finally. Back up drive, printer, scanner, or an all-in-one can go right in there and all can use it. Just 4 wired ports, but that's not always an issue for most households and the port count is pretty typical of all wireless routers regardless. That's the expansion issue I mentioned I'm having as I grow out of wireless and back into wires. If not for the garage computer and the eePC, I'd just turn the radio off.

-----------------------------
I've long been against the Best of the best listings. This is one prime reason; they just don't update it to be worth while. It was that way before it went away and is like that now in it's return. The next reason in line is that it's just one source. It negates us shopping around and comparing what others have found. It leads most to NOT read reviews and just set up their newegg shopping list to what one source states we need.

My biggest personal gripe about it is that I wouldn't run any of that stuff in my own search for best of the best. Maybe 2/3 of that stuff is #2 or #3 on my own list, but none are #1.
Sina wrote:
please update the ancient 2.1 speaker section too.
I only see 2.0 listed now. If they had a 2.1 in the best of the best, it'd be the Klipsch ProMedia's still today. $350 for the Axioms and $180 to get a sub is just silly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:27 pm 
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I agree. Best of the Best ... for what?

A wifi router for 2 connections, or 12? Lots of bandwidth to a couple of devices or constant streaming to many? One n device and 6 b?

Do you want a router that picks up new connections quickly .. so that my phone hops quickly onto the network when I walk into the apartment .. or one that maintains many connections solidly?

Do you want a router that has a really long range, or really high speeds?

If you can find one that does all of the above, you've got a winner. If not, you've got a compromise and that makes creating a list pretty freakin' difficult.

Now .. imagine all the categories for all the different uses of all the different hardware we use? I see why they canned the list .. just thinking about it gives me a nasty headache.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:26 pm 
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We did a router roundup in the February issue, which will be going online before too long. The best of the best was updated as a result, and that will go online. Things are janky now because of the holidays and CES.

FWIW, if you buy a D-Link router, make sure it's not a gen-1 of any of the current product lines. They should be out of circulation, but the DIR-855 I have is almost useless after the last firmware update, which causes it to get very very slow after 4 or 5 days.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:34 pm 
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willsmith wrote:
We did a router roundup in the February issue, which will be going online before too long. The best of the best was updated as a result, and that will go online. Things are janky now because of the holidays and CES.

FWIW, if you buy a D-Link router, make sure it's not a gen-1 of any of the current product lines. They should be out of circulation, but the DIR-855 I have is almost useless after the last firmware update, which causes it to get very very slow after 4 or 5 days.

huh. I didn't know that, my DIR-855x has been running like a champ since day one.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 9:07 am 
Little Foot
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I picked up a DIR-825 a few days ago, and it worked great for a day. Then it started constantly dropping out. Using a D-Link wireless adapter on the main PC btw. Updated the firmware and that made things even worse.

After visiting the DIR-825 forum, it looks like I'm not the only one. I've spent way too much time trying to get it to work, now I'm just frustrated and ready to take it back.

I tried every setting the stock software would let me try, to no avail. Router is about ~30 feet from the adapter, 1 wall between them.

Newegg reviews, even adding a grain or two of salt for the people/reviewers that just like to complain, is also mirroring the forum opinions. Seems like this particular router doesn't work well for a majority of users. For $130, I feel like this thing should just 'work', but it doesn't. At least for me :?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:55 pm 
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willsmith wrote:
but the DIR-855 I have is almost useless after the last firmware update, which causes it to get very very slow after 4 or 5 days.
Why update the firmware then? What did it fix that was worth updating and the slowdown?

Firmware, drivers, BIOS'...it's not a "fix it until it's broke" mandate. It's "don't do it unless you have to". Right?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:35 pm 
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Zelpo wrote:
I picked up a DIR-825 a few days ago, and it worked great for a day. Then it started constantly dropping out. Using a D-Link wireless adapter on the main PC btw. Updated the firmware and that made things even worse.

After visiting the DIR-825 forum, it looks like I'm not the only one. I've spent way too much time trying to get it to work, now I'm just frustrated and ready to take it back.

I tried every setting the stock software would let me try, to no avail. Router is about ~30 feet from the adapter, 1 wall between them.

Newegg reviews, even adding a grain or two of salt for the people/reviewers that just like to complain, is also mirroring the forum opinions. Seems like this particular router doesn't work well for a majority of users. For $130, I feel like this thing should just 'work', but it doesn't. At least for me :?


Dude, I'm sorry you're not having a good experience with the 825. Try the 655 if you don't need simultaneous transmission 2.4GHz and 5GHz capability.

My 825 is friggin ROCKIN with the firmware update I linked to above. I found that the large majority of folks on Newegg and D-Link forums either never updated the firmware, I recommend manually downloading it and then pointing the router to the bin file instead of allowing the router to update itself, or the folks just weren't setting it up properly. I'm NOT saying that is you. But you may want to go through the whole set up process again by pushing the reset switch on the back. Did you update to the firmware I linked to? I apologize again for having been absent from this thread too. I had shoulder surgery last Thursday and ended up "undoing" some of the repair work by trying to push that arm too much while working around the house. I've been down, or up if you like Percocet! :wink:, for the last few days because they stabbed my main nerve with a block that lasted for 30 hours. I couldn't move my damned arm! But now I'm having to take it very easy and this post alone constitutes all the allowable movement I have for the day on this arm! LOL!

I'm currently running my 825 with G-Band only on the 2.4GHz band with WPA and then on the 5GHz band, N only with WPA. My son is in the house playing COD-MW2, my desktop in the house five feet away from him is downloading a torrent at 420KBps while my wife is on Facebook, I'm out here in the garage surfing the 'Net with 14 tabs going and my daughter is in the kitchen on her G-band laptop on Facebook. No one is having any issues although, the router gets a little warm like that. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:59 am 
Little Foot
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Quake, I did reset the router and reapplied settings. I also updated the firmware per your instructions, but I'm just not having any luck. Going to give it one more try tomorrow (day off, at work right now) by uninstalling everything & starting over. I'll try the g band only if I'm still having trouble.

I understand about the surgery thing. I've had 3 hernia operations, and every single one of them laid me out for weeks and productivity went to zero lol. That's how it goes for us old guys. How old? My first computer was a VIC20 8)


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