Best 802.11n router right now?
July 16, 2010 12:50 PM   Subscribe

What's the best 802.11n wireless router out there right now?

We've got an old Linksys G router and it works OK, but we' actually have a few N capable devices now so I'm looking to upgrade. Being able to throw an open firmware on it would be great, but it's not a dealbreaker. Good range is a must though. And I assume I want a dual band router because there'll still be G devices on the network.
posted by kmz to Technology (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Be warned: if you put on B/G-only devices onto a shared N network, the entire network drops back down to B/G speeds.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:27 PM on July 16, 2010

I'll tell you what I do to deal with the problem that Threeway Handshake talks about, which is to run two separate access points for B/G and N devices. The FiOS router is set up as an access point for legacy devices, and the N router (an older AirPort Extreme) is set up as a greenfield N access point on 5 GHz only (so as not to cause any interference issues), with the two routers wired together.

In practice though, I don't know that the performance difference will be that perceptible to you unless you're streaming HD video wirelessly - which I do, and is why I went through the trouble. If you do this, you'll need to change some of the settings on one router so they're not both trying to do NAT translation. This was super easy to do on the AirPort - the configuration utility automatically detected the use I was putting the router to and suggested the correct settings.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 1:49 PM on July 16, 2010

Response by poster: I thought dual-band routers got around that problem? But I must admit I've not really studied the space as much as I should have.
posted by kmz at 2:07 PM on July 16, 2010

if you put on B/G-only devices onto a shared N network, the entire network drops back down to B/G speeds.

Good wireless access points get around this issue by operating in a dual-band mode. See: AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule.
posted by secret about box at 2:12 PM on July 16, 2010

Yeah, I should specify that the AirPort Extreme I have was from the first generation that supported N, before they had rolled out dual band for them - I don't know how the newer dual-band ones perform with legacy devices.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 2:19 PM on July 16, 2010

IMHO, Netgear is to N what Linksys was to B/G. I'm pretty fond of the Netgear WNR2000n v2. Its cheap, has great range, and works great. I don't have a need for dual band, and found dual band to be extremely flaked with my devices when I had a dual band router. I also found that Linksys's current lineup has a fatal flaw: they don't support PPTP VPN connections. I also got to play with a Buffalo with DD-WRT and was pretty unimpressed with its range.

I've read that DD-WRT now supports some of the WNR models. If this one dies I'll probably get one of those.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:27 PM on July 16, 2010

Correction, its WNR2000 not WNR2000n. 60 bucks at Amazon right now.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:31 PM on July 16, 2010

if you're worried about range, i'd consider an N-router that works in the 5ghz spectrum. since that's licensed spectrum (as opposed to the 2.4ghz range), there will be a lot less interference. caveat emptor, not all 802.11n mobile devices (smartphones, iphones, etc) can operate in the 5ghz range.

i'm a happy airport extreme customer, but it's a lot more expensive than $60.
posted by overbo at 12:49 AM on August 6, 2010

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