Enough is enough! Help me buy the perfect cable router!
October 13, 2009 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend me your cable router. I need to buy a replacement and want one that doesn't suck, slow the internet down, and basically does everything it should without interfering.

I currently have a D-Link DIR-655 and while it is great when it works, it has got to the point where we rarely have fast internet anymore and it needs restarting at least once a day. When I reset it it works fine for a while, sometimes for days, but it has just broken the internet far too many times. I know it is a router problem through extensive attempts at a fix, and the internet works flawlessly when I just use the modem.

I want a router that can handle intense internet use by four addicted students with too much time on their hands, this includes streaming, downloading and online gaming. I bought the D-Link on good recommendations for these very criteria but this huge problem snuck up on us.

What shall I buy?
posted by tumples to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I'm very happy with my Time Capsule. Of course I'm a Mac user but others haven't had trouble connecting to the network with their PCs. The built-in backup is nice, 802.11n is fast. I also have a network hard drive and network printer hooked up to it (via USB hub). After more than a year and a half it still works great and I never have to reset it. It's probably a little more gadget than you're looking for though. :-)
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:07 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've gone through several routers over the years. They were all pretty unreliable, requiring restarts often. But I've had the Belkin n+ for about a year now, and I am very happy with it. I think I've had one or two reboots, but those might have been related to my cable provider. I don't use the USB storage option at all, so I can't speak to that.
posted by The Deej at 1:18 PM on October 13, 2009

Nothing beats a Mikrotik in terms of performance or flexibility.
posted by odinsdream at 1:33 PM on October 13, 2009

Linksys is my favorite. I've used them for years, and if you keep the firmware up to date they should perform very well. I work with consumer routers professionally, every day.

I've upgraded my Linksys router with the dd-wrt (non-linksys) firmware. I LOVE IT.

If you just want wired, go for a BEFSR41. It has 4 ports and is solid. If you want wireless, the WRT110n has 4 wired ports and can do the standard wireless signals - b, g and n.
posted by cp7 at 1:35 PM on October 13, 2009

I know people are going to recommend various brands and models, and maybe there's one that's magic.

But, in my extensive experience, all consumer routers suck. They've all had the sort of issues you've described at some point in their lives.

If it's any help, I have a basic Linksys router that's been doing just fine for about a year now. The model number is BEFSR41. Of course, who knows if they still make that model.
posted by Netzapper at 1:36 PM on October 13, 2009

Certain Linksys consumer routers, the WRT54Gs, can be modified to enhance manageability. I've had pretty good service from mine, haven't bothered to mod it. The only annoyance is that if I don't specify the TLD, it goes to a Linksys search page, i.e., if I type metafilter, instead of metafilter.com, in the address bar, it offers search-based links, instead of autocompleting. It's pretty easily fixed, but I can't be arsed. They go on sale often.
posted by theora55 at 2:40 PM on October 13, 2009

I have the Belkin N (the N+ mentioned above without the USB port), my boyfriend has the N+, no complaints from either. He and I are both console gamers, and my roommate is into a few different MMO PC games. Works fine for us, and it's superior to the wireless G D-Link it replaced in most respects.
Average days might have one of us playing a game online while the other watches netflix on demand, and we have no lag. Even when I'm over the wifi.

I particularly love the lights on the front. There is a status light for every step of the network, so you can see if the issue is with the modem, router, wired, wifi, or local network. That made life easier when our actual modem took a dump this past weekend, for both us figuring it out initially, and for the Time Warner tech who came out to check it himself and replace the modem.
posted by Kellydamnit at 3:52 PM on October 13, 2009

Comcast customer here. Second the Linksys WRT54G. HUGE installed base / user support.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:18 PM on October 13, 2009

Comcast customer here. Thirding the Linksys WRT54G series. I've had mine for 2, maybe 3 years now and its pretty rock solid. ( I don't think I've ever had to reset it due to locking up or slowing down). For most of its life it ran the standard Linksys firmware, but I have flashed it to DD-WRT. Not sure if that makes it "more reliable" (it was pretty reliable to begin with).. but I enjoy flashing firmware(s)... :P

I will agree with what others have said... that most consumer level routers are fairly unreliable. The advice I've seen given most often that will extend their life/reliability is to make sure the router is getting clean/reliable power (surge protector/battery backup) ... AND.... make sure the router is located in a clean, dry, cool place. (dont stack it in-between components in your media cabinet.. or shove it in some bookcase or drawer... it'll overheat and shorten the lifespan of the router)
posted by jmnugent at 5:45 PM on October 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

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