Wireless Routers?
March 8, 2005 4:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the market for a good wireless router.

What are some good brands/models? I'm going to be hooking up a broadband connection to my desktop, and sending it wirelessly to my laptop, which is about 100 feet away. I need something strong, but also something with good security features so that other people don't bum off my connection (mostly 'cause they won't let me bum off theirs.) I need something that won't be completely worthless in six months. Thanks for any suggestions.
posted by shangomoons to Technology (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Linksys is your most reliable bet. If you want both an access point for wireless and a router for sharing your Internet connection, the WRT54G is a good bet. Steer clear of the WRT54GS; the speedbooster stuff isn't such a good idea, and the v1.1 of that router has a bug that causes packet corruption. Serious security is still hard to implement across a heterogeneous network, but even basic WEP will keep the casual snoops out.
posted by Nelson at 5:14 PM on March 8, 2005

I have a Netgear, which I bought the day after Thanksgiving for $20 after rebate, that has reliably served my needs. It's a WGR614; before that I had the 802.11B version and it also ran like a top.
posted by britain at 5:25 PM on March 8, 2005

The linksys wrt54g is a pretty remarkable little router. It's a little linux box, really... and capable of pretty spectacular things, given the price. The base setup should serve your needs just fine, but if you ever decide to get crazy with your network, there are people who've built their own, advanced firmware for the thing.
posted by ph00dz at 5:35 PM on March 8, 2005

When I was researching this about 1-2 years ago, I decided that Netgear made higher quality gear than Linksys or D-Link. More expensive, but better. My Netgear FM114P has worked flawlessly ever since. It logs into the DSL automatically, and I have it set for WEP *and* only allowing certain MAC addresses.
posted by intermod at 5:43 PM on March 8, 2005

WRT54G, hands down. Check out linksysinfo.org for all your crazy advanced firmware needs.
posted by maniactown at 5:51 PM on March 8, 2005

Another vote for the WRT54G. It does what it says on the tin (and, apparently, a lot more, if you're that way inclined).
posted by pompomtom at 5:59 PM on March 8, 2005

Linksys also seems to have a broader line of consumer products than the others, at least that's what I concluded in my searching. I have a WRT54G running my WLAN. I get network drops here and there, but overall I'm satisfied. it was plug it in, insert CD, it cloned my modem MAC, set everything up, ta-da.

When I logged into it via Firefox to do some tweaking, etc.. I found the description of all the various features that are over my head to be quite comprehensive and understandable.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 6:48 PM on March 8, 2005

The other great thing about the WRT54G is that it is quite a bit cheaper than a lot of the other kit in its class. So as a router it's a good deal (and very capable), but if you later need a range expander another wrt54g will cost less than a dedicated box that will do the same thing, and if you want a standalone access point later another wrt54g will cost less than a dedicated AP, and so forth. I really have no idea why, but that's how it ends up.
posted by mendel at 7:15 PM on March 8, 2005

I have a Netgear router/WAP. I had to replace it when the previous Netgear router/WAP was stolen. It would not work with my Netgear Wireless USB NIC. Netgear would not provide free support since the NIC was over a year old, even though the router was brand new. No more Netgear for me.
posted by theora55 at 7:39 PM on March 8, 2005

FWIW, I have a D-Link WAP that works just fine.
posted by pmurray63 at 8:13 PM on March 8, 2005

Another vote for Linksys routers. For wireless range, the HyperWRT firmware has features that boost the wireless signal and very advanced security features (once you learn how to use them). As ph00dz mentioned, it's basically a linux-based router so if you know how you can use ipfilter to setup advanced firewall rules.

The most popular firmware is the Sveasoft version, however, it requires a subscribtion fee ($20) in order to access some of the later versions. Based on my experience it is fairly unstable (at least on my router) and I did not need a lot of the features included in the firmware to begin with.

Last, I use the WRT54GS v2 (not v1.1) which apparently fixes the packet corruption issue that Nelson mentioned (I have not noticed anything). At the moment, 3rd party firmware support is a little sketchy for the entire GS series but I'm sure that will change in the near future.
posted by purephase at 8:30 PM on March 8, 2005

after going through TWO fucking linksys wireless routers in two days at my office (phantom dropping issue) before getting a third one that wasn't bunk, I've decided their build quality was such that I wouldn't be purchasing from them again. When you get one that works, it works fine, but I'm reluctant to support a company with such crappy quality control.

of course, all that firmware stuff looks awfully sweet, and would totally make me consider buying a linksys again. FWIW, i have had similar problems with D-link gear at my current office (router resets after overheating, afaik).

My netgear setup at home has never had any problems.
posted by fishfucker at 8:34 PM on March 8, 2005

I'm just chiming in as another happy WRT54G owner (and Sveasoft firmware user, though I'm using an older version of it).
posted by box at 10:29 PM on March 8, 2005

I have a Linksys WRT54G myself, and it has worked flawlessly for me since new. I have used Linksys/Cisco stuff many times in the past and have been completely happy with them (as long as you don't actually have to contact their *useless* phone tech support). Having said that, I'm about to abandon the Linksys for either a SonicWall TZW or a Belkin Pre-N. The SonicWall unit offers the best security while the Belkin offers the best range, speed and performance in a mixed environment (802.11b/g/etc..).
Netgear also makes a very nice 802.11g unit that is dirt cheap (I picked one up for my dad at TigerDirect for ~$20).
posted by Lactoso at 10:31 PM on March 8, 2005

Response by poster: Hmmm.... so it looks like I'll be getting the Linksys WRT54G after a landslide win in the votes. Thank you all very much for the help.
posted by shangomoons at 11:21 PM on March 8, 2005

I've currently got the Netgear WGR614, which is fine, but I also recently signed up with Vonage, which presents me with two problems:

- No phone port, which means I have to hang an additional VOIP router off it. Not a huge deal, but it's another box, another ethernet cable, another power supply.

- No QoS functionality.

What's my best solution to this? Does the Linksys have a phone jack?
posted by mkultra at 6:41 AM on March 9, 2005

My Netgear sucks. We've had tons of problems with it. Go with Linksys.
posted by exhilaration at 12:50 PM on March 10, 2005

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