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In the market for a new router

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I'm coming from this router:
http://www.amazon.com/Cisco-Linksys-WRT54G2-Wireless-G-Broadband-Router/dp/B0014J07R2

Upgraded my modem recently and I'm probably going to bump up my internet speeds a tier, so I decided it was time for a new router as well.

I have my router connected to my computer via ethernet cable, where I game/upload to youtube/stream. I also use OpenVPN on it. I have a PS3 in another room (where I watch Netflix and Crunchyroll, besides gaming), and I besides me, 1 other person in the household occasionally uses the internet as well.

I work at Microcenter, so I can get a pretty decent discount. I'd appreciate it if you can give me any reccomendations on routers so I can check the price today, and we can decide which is the best one for the price! thumb.gif

So far in store I've looked at the Netgear N600: (for $80)
http://www.amazon.com/Netgear-WNDR3400-N600-Wireless-Router/dp/B0041LYY6K

and the Linksys N750: (for $84):
http://www.amazon.com/Linksys-EA3500-App-Enabled-Dual-Band-Wireless-N/dp/B007IL6OR2

I understand Wireless AC is the new standard (although not fully implemented yet). Should I consider that instead for future proofing? I'm looking to keep things close to $120 (should be $100 with my discount that way), but I'm up to suggestions beyond that. Oh, I think I need one with internal antennae, because there's very little clearance where I put my router.

Have any recommendations for me? Thanks! smile.gif
Edited by apav - 8/20/13 at 7:33am
post #2 of 6
This is just my personal experience (and opinion) but the best four routers I've used personally, setup or played around with have been;

Asus RT-N65U

Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC 1750

D-Link DIR-655 (price category leader)

Netgear WNDR3700-100NAS

Another router that is getting rave reviews is the D-Link DIR-855L and I've got that one on my short list should I ever have to retire any of my current wireless routers.

Good luck.
Edited by wevsspot - 8/20/13 at 8:25am
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've had nothing but Linksys routers. Are they still a good brand? And you'd recommend the Netgear over the Linksys?
post #4 of 6
Hi Apa

I don't have anything bad to say about Linksys routers. In fact the WRT54 you've got right now was a solid piece of hardware.

Please keep in mind, I was only recommending routers that I've had personal experience with and in my judgment offer great performance and high levels of first time quality and long term reliability.

That certainly doesn't mean they are the only options out there. For me personally, when I run across a wireless router that performs flawlessly for a couple years, I tend to gravitate back to that same brand because of their track record and the familiarity with their setup routines.
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post #5 of 6
I'd look into this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122326 (Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002HWRJY4) for $85

It's an older 2011 router though, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2381363,00.asp

also see http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/31396-netgear-wndr3700v2-n600-wireless-dual-band-gigabit-router-reviewed?showall=&start=2

If you pay a bit more (~$100) for an ASUS RT-N56U you will *supposedly* get better signal (see below note) at longer ranges of 35+ feet between walls (see http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-howto/30488-how-we-test-wireless-products-six-location-open-air-method). That router competed with the liked of the Netgear WNDR4300.

If you stretch your budget to $130 or $140 you can get a "three-stream" N900 from ASUS such as the RT-N66U but unless your ISP is giving you > 30Mbps there's little advantage except in media streaming. There's also "three-stream" N900 routers like the Netgear WNDR4500 which are pretty pricey.

On the "cheap and cheerful" side, there's the TP-Link TL-WDR3600 which is ~$60-70 and sometimes even $50 or less when on sale. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=884838&is=REG&A=details&Q= ; http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-WDR3600-Wireless-Gigabit-300Mbps/dp/B008RV51EE http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833704144
Reviews: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The TL-WDR3500 (~$55) is the one without Gigabit Ethernet, so I'd advise against saving less than $10 and forfeiting gigabit Ethernet.


Linksys got bought by Belkin. They've gone downhill since the WRT54 days.

Netgear doesn't perform as well as wireless N days. The ac routers they're putting out are more for looking pretty :/

For wireless N I'd advise against anything but ASUS, Netgear, and MAYBE TP-Link (for cheaper stuff ~$50, not necessarily better quality). You have to buy based on hardware not brand but in general that's what'd I say. For some reason even if the D-Link and TRENDNET stuff are fast , reviews on Amazon and newegg as well as reviewers suggest that there is spotty reliability (see http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2392549,00.asp & http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/31571-trendnet-tew-692gr-450mbps-concurrent-dual-band-wireless-n-router-reviewed?showall=&start=3 for example).

ASUS recently got sued by Netgear for breaking FCC regulations though. Apparently their superior wireless was due to exceeding FCC limits. rolleyes.gif

see http://www.maximumpc.com/asus_mum_netgear_sues_company_falsifying_wi-fi_router_test_results_fcc2013
Quote:

If Netgear's allegations are true, it means the routers in question could interfere with other electronic devices and potentially pose a safety hazard. The FCC won't take kindly to that, nor would it be happy that it was duped, if that's in fact the outcome. On the other hand, if the FCC finds that Asus is in the clear, Netgear could be hit with a countersuit.
Since all this went down, Asus issued a new set of firmware that lowers output levels and deleted all previous versions from their website. Netgear believes Asus is trying to cover its tracks. David Henry, Vice President of Product Management for Netgear's Retail Business Unit, provided the following statement to Maximum PC:

After Netgear filed its formal complaint and lawsuit against Asus in July 2013, the company released a new firmware update for both routers mentioned in the lawsuit. Typically, when Asus releases updated firmware they continue to provide access to previous versions, but Asus has deleted all of its old firmware from their website for each product. One month ago they had seven firmware versions available for each product and today only one (RT-N65U) or two (RT-AC66U) is available. People can draw their own conclusions about what that means, but we find it very suspicious that they would do that.

Netgear's lawsuit against Asus accuses the company of all kinds of tomfoolery, including false advertising, unfair competition, violating the Sherman Act, and other monkey business translated into legal speak.

The problem with reviews is reliability and stuff like FCC regulations cheating are not part of any normal review. However, smallnetbuilder is the best site to look for reviews of routers.

As far as wireless ac, unless you're on 5GHz (wireless ac only works on 5Ghz) or 2.4Ghz is crowded, then don't bother. N900 is the same as wireless ac on 2.4Ghz and some N750 routers put out 450Mbps on 2.4Ghz also.

Also as far as wireless, the lowest linkrate is the one that matters. So for you to get all your devices to wireless ac (assuming that you won't be putting them on 2.4GHz with N750/N900 adapters) it would be an initial investment considering wireless ac is not standard hardware on laptops, motherboards, tablets, phones, etc.

see this retest after FCC compliance
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/32177-asus-rt-ac66u-second-wireless-retest
Edited by AlphaC - 8/21/13 at 5:52pm
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post #6 of 6
The Asus and Netgear are definitely top notch, but I don't ever see myself spending almost $200 for a wireless router smile.gif
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wevs rig
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 3770K Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H MSI GTX 670 PE OC x2 SLi Team xTreem 16Gb (2x4Gb) DDR3 2400Mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Crucial C300 128Gb x2 RAID0  SK Hynix SH910 128Gb x2 RAID0 Western Digital Black Edition 1Tb Western Digital Black Edition 640Gb 
Optical DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Asus DVD / Bluray LG Bluray / Burner Custom H20 - Swiftech, XSPC Windows 7 Pro x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Acer P243Waid Razer Black Widow Ultimate Corsair HX1000 Corsair C70 White Edition 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Razer DeathAdder SteelSeries Creative Soundblaster X-FI Titanium HD 
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