Help Me Choose A Wireless Router That Plays Well With An HTC Thunderbolt
June 21, 2012 10:03 AM   Subscribe

A few months ago I caught Amazon's sweet deal on an HTC Thunderbolt: A 4G phone for a penny, woo-hoo! All is good, except that no matter what I do it does not connect to my wireless router. Other Thunderbolt owner's have similar problems, and I've tried the suggestions from various Android and HTC forums, all to no avail. Now I'm ready to replace my router. Suggestions?

Before anyone asks, the Thunderbolt does work with wi-fi away from home, like at the hospital or in a coffee shop. The old router is a Belkin N1 F5D8231-4. I have tried and retried changing all the wi-fi settings on the Thunderbolt. I even went so far as to reset the Belkin to factory defaults with no security. Our laptops connect o.k., an iPod connects o.k., but the Thunderbolt refuses. I'm done with fussing and ready to move on. Since I'm in mid-contract and can't replace the phone, please help me choose a new wireless router.
posted by Robert Angelo to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Possibly overkill, but root the phone, and install CyanogenMod on it"
posted by inigo2 at 11:02 AM on June 21, 2012

If your router is more than a few years old, replace it-- those things go brain-dead after awhile, and they often go senile first, with unexplained small problems that don't point to any specific cause.

Is Wi-Fi crowded at your home? Presumably your resets have changed the channels now and then, but there are 11 channels (I think) to choose from-- see if you can find the emptiest one for the home router to use.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:09 AM on June 21, 2012

Do you have Mac filtering enabled on the router?

It's probably something simple. Though, resetting to defaults should have cleared that.
posted by rr at 11:21 AM on June 21, 2012

Empty channels aren't necessarily a good idea as each channel actually has bleed-through into adjacent ones. Picking an "empty" channel might be hosing your neighbor's wireless, so please be considerate and stick to the "safe" channels (1 ,6 and 11 in the US).

Weird that your device can't connect. I have had issues with my Mac not connecting to some brands of router in the past; in at least one or two instances I ruled out hardware as the cause by booting into Windows and subsequently finding myself connected. So it could specifically be a router incompatibility.

If you're looking for a better router I'd recommend one that uses open firmware (or is open firmware compatible). I've been running Tomato/TomatoUSB for years now and I won't go back to stock firmware. The added features you get are great, and with the USB ports on newer modems opening up possibilities like DLNA home media, network storage, and print servers, a newer router might be justifiable for more reasons than just connecting your phone to the network.

If open firmware is important to you check the hardware compatibility tables for your firmware of choice, it will help you narrow down the list of routers to consider. I finally ditched my WRT-54G (rev. 1!) for an ASUS RT-N16, because it was known to be reliable and was fairly cheap. ASUS has a newer (dual-band) router that also looks good, but it was out of my price range (and it was difficult enough convincing my wife that we needed a new one when the WRT-54G I bought used for $1 four years ago still works OK!)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:22 AM on June 21, 2012

Best answer: Here you go.
posted by Silvertree at 11:37 AM on June 21, 2012

This is a complete guess, but worth a punt...

I just bought a new router which worked with everything except my little netbook. After a lot of trial and error, I discovered that the netbook worked if I told it not to use wireless n to connect with.

My best guess is that the "N" draft changed somehow between my 3 year old netbook and my brand new router. If your router is old and your phone is shiny new, then it's possible you've got the exact opposite problem.

If you can tell your phone or your router to stop using "N" then your problems may go away...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 1:33 PM on June 21, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you all. All are good answers, but Silvertree's was the best. I ordered a more recent version of the same router from Amazon.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:11 PM on June 21, 2012

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