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Please help me find a decent router. LinkSys and Comcast is a nightmare.
January 14, 2014 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Hi everyone, For the past 5 years I've used LinkSys BEFSR41 (version 4) router and generally haven't had too many issues but for the past 6 months its been pretty hellish as I have intermittent dropped connection and LinkSys says that this model is no longer supported and has no active firmware upgrades. My household has 3 computers hard-wired and connect at all times. One of them is hooked up to online tv streaming so you could say the internet is always 'on' here.

Hi everyone,

For the past 5 years I've used LinkSys BEFSR41 (version 4) router and generally haven't had too many issues but for the past 6 months its been pretty hellish as I have intermittent dropped connection and LinkSys says that this model is no longer supported and has no active firmware upgrades.

My household has 3 computers hard-wired and connect at all times. One of them is hooked up to online tv streaming so you could say the internet is always 'on' here.

Issues:

1) Internet Connection drops every 2 minutes. Literally, every 2 minutes. I know this because I still use AIM and it blocks me every few hours because it 'I am reconnecting too often'.

2) The LinkSys BEFSR41 (ver 4) router is apparently known for these issues with intermittent dropped connection.

I've even called Comcast to upgrade my speed from 'Performance' which is capped at 20mbps to their 'Blast' option which is capped at 50mbps. Comcast claims that from their end -- the signal is 50mbps but when I do a speed test, it still shows 20. Comcast says this is a router issue with LinkSys.

Now this is the second time in past 8 years I've had to change my modem because of intermittent dropped connection. I am sort of annoyed that I have to keep buying a new router from LinkSys only to have them tell me 'oh sorry, that model is long gone, no updates to it or anything.'

For the love of everything that is Holy, can you guys please recommend a good router that will actually show my proper cable speed and not disconnect me every 2 minutes like I am back on AOL on a 28.8 modem that craps out each time someone calls my number.

Once more, I have about 3 computers hard-wired at all times and two mobile devices (tablets) that I use every now and then.

Thank You all very much.
posted by bostonhill to Technology (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you connected directly to the modem to check if the problem may be your Comcast service?

That being said, I have had great luck using Asus routers, though they are a little pricy. The RT-N65U model has worked very well for me.
posted by theory at 3:02 PM on January 14


The Wirecutter recommends the ASUS RTN66.
posted by Arthur Dent at 3:04 PM on January 14


Was just coming in her to recommend the Asus N56U, it's a little cheaper than the N66 at $89.

Something else to think about is that Comcast does engage is pretty heavy traffic shaping at peak times, using bittorrent (or things that look like bittorrent, like MMO updaters) can get your connection killed.
posted by Oktober at 3:08 PM on January 14 [2 favorites]


People recommend them on mefi all the time, but I resisted getting an AirPort Extreme thingy for ages because I am grumpily anti-Apple. However I am now forced to admit it was one of the best purchases I ever made. You can apparently get them used in good condition on ebay but I just got a new one from the Apple store.

Initial setup was more irritating than I'd expected but that is my sole complaint.
posted by elizardbits at 3:17 PM on January 14


You're going to be lucky to get more than 4Mbps sustained throughput on the BEFSR41, to say nothing to 20 or 50.

The ASUS RTN66 (or its successor, the RT-AC66U which does the draft 802.11ac stuff also) are solid products, but are also spendy, in the $150-$170 street price range.

For a cheaper alternative, look for anything cheap that 1) has 100Mbps Ethernet and 2) can run either Tomato or OpenWrt.

I'm using a Netgear WNDR4000 at home, which is ok if you find it super-cheap but doesn't amount to much otherwise.

Dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz is nice, because you can run mixed-mode on 2.4 and N-only on 5. This lets your old-and-busted gadgets work, while still allowing your new hotness to go fast.

Comcast is actually having a go at doing real IPv6, so all things being equal, you might look for a router that can do that.
posted by sourcequench at 3:25 PM on January 14


Asus routers seem solid. Even the lowly N10P works just fine and costs almost nothing. Not sure I'd rely on it with a 50Mbps connection for wireless, but it is fine at 20.
posted by ssg at 3:28 PM on January 14


Wait, your router was five years old? I wouldn't blame Linksys. Hardware ages, and as network hardware does so, it starts doing very irregular things, and gets into the cycle of needing to be restarted often to function, that sort of thing. Two times in eight years is not some sort of shocking failure on the part of Linksys. You can't buy a router, which is basically a tiny incredibly inexpensive computer with a barely-adequate cooling system, and expect it to run for a decade at a time.

I mean, not that you must buy a Linksys, but all these problems read to me as "showing its age", so don't go trying to buy another manufacturer thinking you'll get markedly longer out of it.
posted by Sequence at 3:34 PM on January 14


I have a NetGear R6300. It has all sorts of bells and whistles and overall, has functioned. However, it has an odd habit of crapping out when I try to get too fancy with settings. While I can try to optimize things, invariably the routers just stops...umm...ROUTING and I have no net access. The solution has always been to knock it back to factory defaults.

It was also a pricey unit and with what I know now, I would have gone for a cheaper unit.

In the end, it works, it seems pretty consistent when left as close to its default state (not including passwording and other security) but I feel as if I am not getting full use out of it. On a good note, I seem to be getting the speed that I am paying for as tested over at speedtest.net.

Finally, there is apparently a v2 version of this unit.
posted by lampshade at 3:43 PM on January 14


What Sequence said. You got five years out of it, and were happy with it until recently. Get another one.
posted by intermod at 3:45 PM on January 14


I'm shocked that people think 5 years is fine for a router - I agree functionality changes which leads to performance issues and the need to upgrade, but a router with no moving parts should last longer than 5 years...

I've had success with dlink with devices running much longer than 5 years with no issues...
posted by NoDef at 3:56 PM on January 14


The n66u is spendy, but IMHO worth the money if you are willing to spend that much for a router. It seems to be a well behaved device, with a substantial heat sink and large external antennas. I work from home, so I'm using the internet in one way or another about 18 hours a day from any one of a dozen devices. And while I wont claim that its been flawless, it has been very good.
posted by wotsac at 6:12 PM on January 14


If everything important is hard wired, how about the Asus RT-N16? I use one at home (with an N12 elsewhere in the house to boost signal). It is pretty much rock solid, and has full gigabit throughput (including on the WAN port, where a lot of routers put a 100mbit WAN). Only main difference between it and newer Asus routers is that it isn't simultaneous dual-band. Mine runs TomatoUSB firmware (Shibby build). After a few tweaks to QoS settings I haven't had to touch it. Also on Comcast. And make sure you have a decent modem, too; bought a Motorola DOCSIS3 model because I was tired of paying the $8 monthly rent on the crap modem they supplied.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:58 PM on January 14


Just came here via a search looking for something to replace my Asus RT-N56U with. I've been really unhappy with it since I got it and finally disconnected it today and dug up my ancient WRT54G and put the most recent Tomato build on it but that's only a temporary solution.

The N56U has had terrible range and flaky connectivity ever since we got it. Speed has been good but that's not very useful if you can't even connect from two rooms away.
posted by octothorpe at 6:19 PM on January 16


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