D-Link is chasing after the budget router crown with the release of its Wireless N 300 Gigabit Router, model DIR-651. It's a single-band router with 4 Gigabit ports, multiple intelligent antennas, and support for intelligent Quality of Service (QoS) to separate and prioritize different typs of data streams for smoother video streaming, gaming, and VoIP calls.
Woe is the home user in need of a new router. We say this because it's easy to be overwhelmed with all the choices out there, and if you go by specs alone, almost all of them are winners. Of course, we know better than that, and our current 'Best of the Best' pick for a Wi-Fi router is Netgear's Rangemax WNDR3700, which has held the top spot for a long while. The WNDR3700 has been able to deflect numerous attempts to pluck the performance crown from its head, and ironically enough, the one that finally does it might be from Netgear itself.
Like wings on a skydiving Penguin whose parachute fails to open, or racing tires on a 1971 Ford Pinto, Evercool's new Dr. Cool router cooler has us wondering if such a device is necessary. Even Evercool appears a bit uncertain. The company says its Dr. Cool device was designed with three features in mind, which include branding, creative aesthetics, and effective cooling. Notice that cooling is listed last, not because it isn't capable, but does your router really need a blast of cold air?
Netgear announced several new Wi-Fi routers and power-line networking devices at CES, including the successor to our current best-of-the-best pick, the WNDR3700.
Netgear is transitioning to a new model numbering scheme, so the new flagship is labeled the N600 Premium Edition but it’s also known as the WNDR3800. The N600 adds a number of features, including a much-improved user interface, a ReadyShare remote access feature that enables you to access attached USB storage devices from anywhere you have broadband access, Apple Time Machine compatibility for Macintosh backups, and DLNA certification. The router comes with 16MB of Flash memory and 64MB of RAM.
How strong is your Wi-Fi signal? Or, more importantly, how strong is your neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal? Where do you have to be to leech, er, acquire the best free Wi-Fi signal in your general surroundings? At your favorite strip mall? Outside of the local Starbucks?
Anyone can grab a Wi-Fi sniffer and go wardriving around to find the best possible signal for your personal or business use–that’s easy. Heck, you can even do that in Windows if you don’t mind staring at (and constantly refreshing) the tiny little “bars of service” meter in your wireless connections window. But this week’s “App of the Week” does a bit more than tell you the networks that give you the best signal, or when you might have acquired said signal in your trips around town. No, the app I’m profiling will actually go and map your connectivity as visualized “hot zones” overtop any map you’d like to use.
Let's not kid ourselves, Best Buy's Geek Squad division isn't exactly a respected establishment in DIY circles, and referring someone to Geek Squad for tech support is like, well, does this even need an analogy? No offense to any of our readers who may work as a Geek Squad tech, but you know what they say about a few bad apples.
What's even worse -- and we thought unthinkable -- is when the manufacturer of one your computer parts suggests calling Geek Squad to diagnose your failing gear before they'll replace it. That's exactly what one user who wrote into The Consumerist claims happened when his Netgear DGN2200 wireless router with DSL modem went on the fritz.
"Five calls to [Netgear's] tech department and it is still not working," the user claims. "On the fifth and final call they suggested I call the Geek Squad (approximately $139 for them to come to our home) to troubleshoot it and if it proves the modem is bad they will send me a new unit at that time (which I only paid $79 to begin with)."
It doesn't take a math whiz to figure out that's a bum deal. Assuming it all went down the way the user claims it did, let's hope this was an isolated incident.
The Asus RT-N16 is a single-band router with three removable (and therefore upgradeable) antennas, but the third antenna didn’t help the router rise above third place overall in terms of TCP throughput. It did, however, do a solid job of penetrating our media room.
The RT-N16 is equipped with two USB ports, so it can support both a portable USB hard drive and a printer. USB storage devices are shared using SMB/CIFS, so the shares appear when you use Windows to browse your network. This is a far superior alternative to forcing you to install a client to access the shares, as some of the other routers do.
Networking outfit Buffalo Technology this week announced a handful of new wireless products the company says take aim at budget shoppers looking for cost-friendly, easy-to-install solutions.
"Buffalo has always been committed to delivering high quality, high performance wireless solutions that consumers have come to rely on," said Ralph Spagnola, vice president of sales at Buffalo Technology. "With the latest additions to our wireless product portfolio, Buffalo is offering the best blend of robust value-model, entry-level, and high-performance wireless solutions on the market."
Buffalo's trio of products include a fairly standard wireless-N router (WCR-GN) with four Ethernet ports, a dual-port access point (WLAE-AG300N) that can be configured to operate in three different modes (Ethernet converter, access point, or repeater), and a USB 2.0 802.11n adapter (WLI-UC-GNM).
The WLAE-AG300N ($75), WCR-GN ($40), and WLI-UC-GNM ($40) will all ship later this month.
Stop whatever it is you're doing and visit your router manufacturer's website. Once there, drill down to the firmware section and bookmark that page, and then get in the habit of checking it regularly. The reason? Millions of routers are about to become extinct (sort of).
At this year's Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, one of the items on the agenda is "How to Hack Millions of Routers," an alarming keynote in which Craig Heffner, a researcher with security firm Seismic, plans to release a software tool he says is capable of cracking half of all routers in existence.
This isn't a new technique, but an altered version of "DNS rebinding," something that has been talked about for more than a decade.
"There have been plenty of patches over the years, but this still hasn't really been fixed," Heffner says.
In short, the hack exploits part of the Domain Name System (DNS) so that when an unsuspecting visitor surfs to a compromised site, their browser ends up hijacked, giving the attacker access to their router settings. Browser makers have already patched earlier versions of this attack, but according to Heffner, it's all for naught.
"The way that [those patches] are circumvented is actually fairly well known," Heffner explains. "It just hasn't been put together like this before."
More info here, including a small sample of routers Heffner has demonstrated this attack on.
I have a Netgear WNDR3300 dual-band router that broadcasts both 802.11g and 802.11n signals. Today, I noticed that in certain areas of my house, the 802.11g signal is actually stronger than my 802.11n signal, by a lot! Shouldn’t this be the other way around? Currently, the router sits atop a bookcase in my basement as I don’t have anywhere to put it upstairs. The signal comes from a cable modem and is attached to a Windows 7 Pro 64-bit computer. What gives?
Read the Doctor's answer for Brian after the jump.