Computers & Electronics

What is the best (most reliable) router?

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Deal Fanatic
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Aug 23, 2004
7706 posts
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London
Aske001 wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2010 12:18 pm
:lol:

Why would you want to mess around with third-party firmware when you just want to keep things simple?

Firmware options like DD-WRT or Tomato are good for:
- Last resort alternative when the stock firmware is giving you too many problems
- Messing around with complicated detail settings and diagnostics if you are keenly interested and you have lots of time on your hands.
- Adding optional capabilities that not too many people need (e.g., OpenVPN support on the router).
- Increasing the radio power beyond that legally allowed, if you don't give a fig about your neighbours (in which case I hope you live next to lots of other people just like yourself!)
+1 for my Linksys WRT54G v2.2, I have to reboot it nearly every month with stock firmware but once I flashed it with Tomato, I don't remember when was the last time I rebooted it.

For the TP-Link TL-WR541G v7 with latest firmware from TP-Link which I am testing for a month now...no problem..so 3rd party firmware is not really necessary if stock works fine.
Sr. Member
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Mar 17, 2005
964 posts
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Mississauga
I use newegg for user reviews when I'm looking for highly rated stuff. The WRT54GL is the top rated wireless router.

I went with the D-Link Dir655, also highly rated.
Member
Jun 13, 2004
277 posts
16 upvotes
Saint John
In order of price I'd recommend the following:

WRT54GL - I had a 54G for 5 years running dd-wrt and it has been rock solid. Can be found on sale fairly regularly.

DIR-655 - Heard nothing but good things, sometimes on sale for $89-$99

Asus RT-N16 - Also $99 at NCIX. 128MB Ram / 32MB Flash, 500Mhz processor. I just retired my WRT54G for this and running the latest DD-WRT and its also very solid with LOTS of room to grow. The only downfall is its single radio so no separate radio for Wireless N & G, they share.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 21, 2006
5148 posts
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timv wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2010 5:44 pm
The only downfall is its single radio so no separate radio for Wireless N & G, they share.
Actually N & G always share the same radio(s) in the 2.4 GHz band, since the channels are the same. The only difference is that N can allocate double-width channels by using 2 adjacent G channels. You are probably thinking about routers that have simultaneous dual-band operation with separate radio(s) for the 5 Ghz band for N or A (802.11a has always used the 5 GHz band).

There can be multiple radios in each band because N allows up to 4 simultaneously active data streams from 4 different antennas, taking advantage of spatial diversity to establish separate signal paths on the same frequency. In practice cheap N routers may have only 1 radio/antenna, most have 2, a few have 3, and no consumer models I know of have 4. It's generally diminishing returns after 2, because the antennas aren't far enough apart on the sender or the receiver to achieve much separation.

This is different from the 2 antennas you would find on the older G routers. In that case the router would automatically test which antenna is receiving the strongest signal by occasionally switching between them, but there was only one radio.
Deal Addict
Oct 4, 2009
1541 posts
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Look for an Engenius ESR-1221EXT. Excellent and extremely reliable G router. The nice thing, it does bridging, WDS, etc. out of the box with no third party firmware necessary.
Sr. Member
Feb 23, 2008
717 posts
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MMMMMike wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2010 11:32 am
Let's see...
4 PCs wired.
1 Mac wired
1 PC wireless
1 Netbook wireless
1 PS3 wired
1 Nintendo Wii wireless
1 Xbox 360 wired
1 Sony PSP wireless
FYI, that's more wired devices than the router supports. You have listed 7 wired devices and there are only 4 ports so you'll need to use a hub/bridge or wireless bridge. Also the PS3 can be setup to wireless.
Deal Addict
Dec 5, 2006
4205 posts
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Markham
apvm wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2010 12:49 pm
+1 for my Linksys WRT54G v2.2, I have to reboot it nearly every month with stock firmware but once I flashed it with Tomato, I don't remember when was the last time I rebooted it.

For the TP-Link TL-WR541G v7 with latest firmware from TP-Link which I am testing for a month now...no problem..so 3rd party firmware is not really necessary if stock works fine.
when you said WRT54G v2.2, is this the one you were talking "WRT54G2-CA"
http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/prodde ... 100&catid=

Thanks
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
18060 posts
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IBOPM wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2010 12:22 am
What is the best (most reliable) router?
pfSense

I used to recommend the WRT54GL, but even that gets crushed under heavy usage.
Then again... I've crushed everything from $20 D-Links to $500 Linksys SOHO routers.
The only thing I haven't crushed is a pfSense.

bolmsted wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2010 5:55 am
FYI, that's more wired devices than the router supports. You have listed 7 wired devices and there are only 4 ports so you'll need to use a hub/bridge or wireless bridge. Also the PS3 can be setup to wireless.
You mean a switch.
Deal Addict
Dec 5, 2006
4205 posts
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Markham
Gee wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2010 6:39 pm
That is not the router we are talking about. That one doesn't support third party firmware.
Thanks,so where I can get the one you mentioned? or could you give me a link? appreciate
Deal Addict
Dec 5, 2006
4205 posts
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Markham
Thanks.

Might I bother you one more time? I try to run it with laptop with Win 7 instead of Linux, can I still use this one or I should buy
http://www.canadacomputers.com/index.ph ... id=NTW.489

thanks in advance
Deal Addict
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Jan 22, 2004
2789 posts
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Might be better off buying a business grade product - something like a watchguard or sonicwall device, even if it used and using it simply as a router with DHCP enabled.
Deal Addict
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Aug 13, 2002
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The WRT54(G)(L) is extremely popular and was probably the best consumer router at the time (years ago), but having worked with over half a dozen of them, I found none of them to be reliable, regardless of firmware. They all died horribly if you did anything beyond basic browsing. At the time, the only thing I found reliable was an actual computer serving as a router (there's also pro gear, but that costs way more).

The only Linksys router I've found reliable is the WRT350N, two of which I've used with success. I suspect the WRT600N would also work well, but both have been discontinued. I haven't tried any other current routers from other brands lately, so I can't comment on them, but the older stuff from a few years back have also been problematic.

My current setup consists of:
Linksys WRT350N (main router, running DD-WRT) - 802.11n only
Buffalo ??? (secondary WAP, was the most popular model for DD-WRT back then) - everything else for backwards compatibility.
WPA2/AES on both.
6 wired devices.
5 wireless + occasional visitors.

Sadly, while everything else is stable, my cable modem frequently dies from overheating :( . I need to move it to a cooler place sometime.
Aske001 wrote:
Jan 2nd, 2010 12:18 pm
:lol:
Why would you want to mess around with third-party firmware when you just want to keep things simple?
You don't, you need it if you have anything beyond a very simple setup (which I never have, lol).

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