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Which is the best router.

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I need a new router. What is the best wireless router to buy.
post #2 of 24
That is such a genreal question to ask, the best is what works the best in your enviornment, and meets or exceeds your needs. The basic things we would need ot know are how much can you spend, what features are you looking for, what do you plan to do on your network (stream, just internet, ect)...There are a few forums dedicated to stuff like this which might be better palce to look, unfortuantely I dont remember off the top of my head...
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Currently I have a old linksys that keeps dropping internet. I have a newer netgear that work good but for some reason I can't seem to get port forwarding to work. I have set it up the same on the Linksys and the netgear but doesn't work on the Nertgear. I don't stream any movies but I do download a lot of stuff. I need something that has a strong WiFi signal and that won't give me problems port forwarding. I'd like to have something with more than 4 Ethernet connections but it looks like it will be cheaper to buy a network switch separately. As far as budget I'd like to stay under $200.00 but I am willing to go higher if it's worth it.
post #4 of 24
Take a look at this site, it may help you in your decision, I used it and the forums there when searching for mine a few years ago. I too had a Linksys that kept dropping wireless, once replaced I was all set....

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by freeon View Post

I need a new router. What is the best wireless router to buy.

I would echo the comments that you need to define what you need. Media usage, mobile coverage, how many devices connected etc.

Some of the top selling modles are the Netgear WNDR3700, Netgear WNDR4500 and Netgear R6300 or R6200. You can do a search on this forum for many posts on these models. I will tell you I am biased toward Netgear as they employ me to monitor this forum and help guide user needs and questions. But I am also a user and have all the routers I mentioned above in use now and they are all excellent. If you would like more info post back and i will be hap[py to answer questions.

Bob Silver
Netgear AV Consultant
post #6 of 24
Bobsilver-

Between the ones you mentioned, which would be the best for streaming hd (1080p), gaming, cloud, speed, etc..?

Thanks
post #7 of 24
I have a WNDR3700 and I downloaded DD-WRT for it. It made a great router out of a hard to understand one...
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbn008 View Post

Bobsilver-
Between the ones you mentioned, which would be the best for streaming hd (1080p), gaming, cloud, speed, etc..?
Thanks

Well your question needs to be more specific. If you want to stream 1080p I wired then they are all similar. Wirelessly on the R6300 would suffice BUT that would require an AC client which you do not have. In future when AC becomes mainstream that will work nicely with HD. But while the technology and routers are in place it will be a while before client technology catches up.

So here is what I would suggest.

If you can afford $199 I would buy the R6300. That will future proof you and you wont need to think about replacing this router for 5 years or so (till the next great thing appears). To save some money you can buy the R6100 which is a R6300 with 900mbs max as opposed to the R63001.3mbs max speed. Same issue applies with the need for AC clients so nothing changes. To save even more then I would look at the WNDR4500. This will offer higher radio output similar to the R6300/R6100 without AC technology. Advantage better range then standard routers like the WNDR3700. Increased wireless range will be 15-25% better. But closer to 15 then 25% in most cases. Then lastly I would buy the WNDR3700. This has been a best in class router for years. Works great and is rock solid. Downside to it is it does not have the update UI the 4500 or the R6300/6100 have.

There are other advantages to the 4500/6300 too in usb connectivity and other features that came after the 3700.

So if it were me Id either buy the WNDR4500 or R series routers. Unless budget is a major issue then the 3700 for sure.

The net is they are all excellent. There are added features and UI improvements on the newer units as well as some range enhancements. But budget wise that is up to your situation. And as I said for wired HD streaming they are all the same.

Hope that helps.

Bob Silver
Netgear AV Consultant
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsilver View Post

Well your question needs to be more specific. If you want to stream 1080p I wired then they are all similar. Wirelessly on the R6300 would suffice BUT that would require an AC client which you do not have. In future when AC becomes mainstream that will work nicely with HD. But while the technology and routers are in place it will be a while before client technology catches up.
So here is what I would suggest.
If you can afford $199 I would buy the R6300. That will future proof you and you wont need to think about replacing this router for 5 years or so (till the next great thing appears). To save some money you can buy the R6100 which is a R6300 with 900mbs max as opposed to the R63001.3mbs max speed. Same issue applies with the need for AC clients so nothing changes. To save even more then I would look at the WNDR4500. This will offer higher radio output similar to the R6300/R6100 without AC technology. Advantage better range then standard routers like the WNDR3700. Increased wireless range will be 15-25% better. But closer to 15 then 25% in most cases. Then lastly I would buy the WNDR3700. This has been a best in class router for years. Works great and is rock solid. Downside to it is it does not have the update UI the 4500 or the R6300/6100 have.
There are other advantages to the 4500/6300 too in usb connectivity and other features that came after the 3700.
So if it were me Id either buy the WNDR4500 or R series routers. Unless budget is a major issue then the 3700 for sure.
The net is they are all excellent. There are added features and UI improvements on the newer units as well as some range enhancements. But budget wise that is up to your situation. And as I said for wired HD streaming they are all the same.
Hope that helps.
Bob Silver
Netgear AV Consultant

Bob,

Your recommendations are your recommendations and I have no problems with your opinions. But as in your other thread discussing the Netgear pre AC routers, I have a fundamental problem with your statements that buying into any of these pre AC devices will future proof you at all. Your statements on the subject of pre AC devices is misleading and gives those that haven't dug deeply into the details the impression that the current AC products are based off of a solidified set of standards. The reason why there hasn't been more products and adoption of these pre AC devices is NOT because of the lack of supporting wireless NICs, it's because of the draft nature of what has been published. Again this is all just deja vu from the pre N period. The only reason why these products are out there is because of the bragging rights of being first to market regardless of whether the product is half baked. As I said in my other post on this, there are pending feature enhancements for AC which I feel are worth waiting for in upcoming phases which if you buy into the current pre AC devices you will not be able to take advantage of with a firmware upgrade.

As someone that positions himself as a subject matter expert, you need to be more forthcoming with your posts.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WonHung View Post

Bob,
Your recommendations are your recommendations and I have no problems with your opinions. But as in your other thread discussing the Netgear pre AC routers, I have a fundamental problem with your statements that buying into any of these pre AC devices will future proof you at all. Your statements on the subject of pre AC devices is misleading and gives those that haven't dug deeply into the details the impression that the current AC products are based off of a solidified set of standards. The reason why there hasn't been more products and adoption of these pre AC devices is NOT because of the lack of supporting wireless NICs, it's because of the draft nature of what has been published. Again this is all just deja vu from the pre N period. The only reason why these products are out there is because of the bragging rights of being first to market regardless of whether the product is half baked. As I said in my other post on this, there are pending feature enhancements for AC which I feel are worth waiting for in upcoming phases which if you buy into the current pre AC devices you will not be able to take advantage of with a firmware upgrade.
As someone that positions himself as a subject matter expert, you need to be more forthcoming with your posts.


Bob????
post #11 of 24
If your budget up to $200, I recommend the ASUS RT-AC66U $192.99. It adopt the latest IEEE 802.11ac IEEE LAN/MAN Standards, the same with other 802.11ac wireless router, it features Broadcom BCM4706 processor, and AC66U has a bigger ram memory, at 256 MB, and other routers’s ram are 128 MB. IEEE 802.11ac is the latest and most advanced standards for implementing wireless local area network computer communication in the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands. It has the best performance with great speed, advanced technology , good Compatibility, high security etc. It gains good reviews from the market.You can search some details about it. You can have a try.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WonHung View Post

Bob,
Your recommendations are your recommendations and I have no problems with your opinions. But as in your other thread discussing the Netgear pre AC routers, I have a fundamental problem with your statements that buying into any of these pre AC devices will future proof you at all. Your statements on the subject of pre AC devices is misleading and gives those that haven't dug deeply into the details the impression that the current AC products are based off of a solidified set of standards. The reason why there hasn't been more products and adoption of these pre AC devices is NOT because of the lack of supporting wireless NICs, it's because of the draft nature of what has been published. Again this is all just deja vu from the pre N period. The only reason why these products are out there is because of the bragging rights of being first to market regardless of whether the product is half baked. As I said in my other post on this, there are pending feature enhancements for AC which I feel are worth waiting for in upcoming phases which if you buy into the current pre AC devices you will not be able to take advantage of with a firmware upgrade.
As someone that positions himself as a subject matter expert, you need to be more forthcoming with your posts.

WonHung

Your points are well taken. I was incorrect in my statement about the AC technology. This was my error. I did not realize AC was still draft when I wrote the piece. I foolishly assumed it was based on my information but again completely my error and for that I apologize. That said I believe that it is safe to say that AC is the future. And unlike N it appears to be moving forward at a more controlled clip then we have experienced with prior technologies. Netgear for certain is betting the house on it as it relates to their wireless future. Their future product map for the most part is built around AC.

I would also say it is safe to say that not buying an AC product puts one at a finite level of the existing standard N. While for most things N is fine but many here in AVS want HD capable wireless. We know that N doesnt cut it for that. So in this audience's case going to AC would make sense but as I stated without the client devices it doesnt matter at least not at this moment. But the 1st batch of usb AC nics are out now. I just received a 900mbs AC NIC that I will be testing once I complete the test of the current batch of gear I am going through.

But if some asks me for a top end router I would be hard pressed not to recommend AC. And having lived with the AC based Netgear R6300 for 6 months or so it has been one of the most trouble free and stable routers I have used. But again that is using it in the N world not AC.

Where are are today though is a constantly changing product field. And unlike years ago at the dawn of N the cost difference to have AC is relatively small. So wouldnt a prudent buyer who can afford the additional $20 or so be better off buying what will be the next standard?

Bob Silver
post #13 of 24
Look at the wireless router reviews, hope it's useful for your decision
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsilver View Post

WonHung
Your points are well taken. I was incorrect in my statement about the AC technology. This was my error. I did not realize AC was still draft when I wrote the piece. I foolishly assumed it was based on my information but again completely my error and for that I apologize. That said I believe that it is safe to say that AC is the future. And unlike N it appears to be moving forward at a more controlled clip then we have experienced with prior technologies. Netgear for certain is betting the house on it as it relates to their wireless future. Their future product map for the most part is built around AC.
I would also say it is safe to say that not buying an AC product puts one at a finite level of the existing standard N. While for most things N is fine but many here in AVS want HD capable wireless. We know that N doesnt cut it for that. So in this audience's case going to AC would make sense but as I stated without the client devices it doesnt matter at least not at this moment. But the 1st batch of usb AC nics are out now. I just received a 900mbs AC NIC that I will be testing once I complete the test of the current batch of gear I am going through.
But if some asks me for a top end router I would be hard pressed not to recommend AC. And having lived with the AC based Netgear R6300 for 6 months or so it has been one of the most trouble free and stable routers I have used. But again that is using it in the N world not AC.
Where are are today though is a constantly changing product field. And unlike years ago at the dawn of N the cost difference to have AC is relatively small. So wouldnt a prudent buyer who can afford the additional $20 or so be better off buying what will be the next standard?
Bob Silver

Bob,

I have no axes to grind with Netgear as I own/have owned quite a bit of their products (FVS318, FVS338, WGR614, WGT624, WG102, WNDAP350, GS108T, GS748TP) and have been generally happy with the products except the WGT624. But like any manufacturer, they have a vested interest in creating hype and pushing an agenda to support thier sales. I'm not disputing AC is going to be the future. But it's just too early to start jumping on the bandwagon. Especially since the WiFi Alliance hasn't even published the phase one certification yet. The official certification is due out soon (end of 2012) with the certification program to launch early 2013. So if you've invested in the pre-AC devices, you're gambling that they will meet the as yet certifications. One can argue that if you buy everything from the same manufacturer, you'll be fine. But why lock yourself into this situation with no future flexibility? Also, the IEEE won't do final ratification of 802.11ac till end of 2013.

As I stated in my other post, there are features which will not be in phase 1 devices that no firmware upgrade will be able to add. The most compelling is multi-user MIMO allowing multiple wireless clients to be serviced by a single AP simultaneously. Current APs, to include pre-AC devices can only have a single device talking over the RF space at a given time. The other features forthcoming in future phases are more spatial streams (phase 1 devices can only support up to three where as the spec calls for a maximum of 8) and extention to 160 MHz.

I'm just curious as to why you say current N doesn't cut it for HD over wireless. With my current implementation, I have no problems with sustained 80Mbps data transfers with a relatively old laptop and a ASA5505 in the transmission path. I'm sure I can get higher throughput if I change some things around using my existing wireless setup.

My point is that it's fine to be an early adopter. But know the consequences of being one which would mean throwing away your pre-AC equipment to get the functionality of full AC certified equipment and possibly interoperability with other brands. A propper 802.11n system should still support the needs of most power users.
post #15 of 24
If you plan on using an XBOX 360 for media streaming DO NOT buy an ASUS xx66u. They have a known issue specifically the Broadcom 4706 is not compatible with the XBOX. They acknowledge the issue and at the same time have no fix for it. Apparently they are worknig with Broadcom but since it's a hardware problem don't expect a firmware fix. You buy one and you'll be stuck with the problem as long as you own the router.

Note that the following routers also use the Broadcom 4706 although I have not tested these routers with an XBOX360: NETGEAR R6300, Linksys EA6500
Edited by davessworks - 11/30/12 at 4:49pm
post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by WonHung View Post


I'm just curious as to why you say current N doesn't cut it for HD over wireless. With my current implementation, I have no problems with sustained 80Mbps data transfers with a relatively old laptop and a ASA5505 in the transmission path. I'm sure I can get higher throughput if I change some things around using my existing wireless setup..


I'm not Bob... but your results are _exceedingly_ a-typical if you're claiming you get 80 Mbps sustained down link throughput over wireless N.

If you check the charts resulting from pretty extensive testing on smallbuilder.net you'll see most wireless N setups deliver throughput in the 30-40 Mbps range, too slow for high bitrate video/audio.

Even the highest end ones don't get past 50-60 Mbps.

So you're claiming sustained speeds more than twice as fast as most folks get, and still about 50% faster than just about anyone gets....

(they test their devices in 6 different configurations to cover most scenarios)

5Ghz chart, average downlink throughput
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/bar/64-5-ghz-dn

2.4 Ghz chart-average downlink throughput
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/bar/58-2_4-ghz-dn
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurtz9 View Post

I'm not Bob... but your results are _exceedingly_ a-typical if you're claiming you get 80 Mbps sustained down link throughput over wireless N.
If you check the charts resulting from pretty extensive testing on smallbuilder.net you'll see most wireless N setups deliver throughput in the 30-40 Mbps range, too slow for high bitrate video/audio.
Even the highest end ones don't get past 50-60 Mbps.
So you're claiming sustained speeds more than twice as fast as most folks get, and still about 50% faster than just about anyone gets....
(they test their devices in 6 different configurations to cover most scenarios)
5Ghz chart, average downlink throughput
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/bar/64-5-ghz-dn
2.4 Ghz chart-average downlink throughput
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/bar/58-2_4-ghz-dn

You might want to recheck those charts again ( particularly the one below that shows test from location C.) If you're using the 5ghz band with the 40hz channel bonding enabled you can reach some pretty crazy speeds. If you're doing any type of HD streaming you will want to the take advantage of this. Please note the charts you presented are just overall averages for 5 ghz.

http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/bar/100-5-ghz-updn-40-3s

In my current setup I have an Asus RT66U paired with an Asus EA-N66 in a different room about 20 feet away through 3 walls. I consistently get 115 megabits/s in this configuration. Router is set to 5 ghz band with the 40hz setting and WPA2 Personal. If I go downstairs and test throughput it goes down to about 75 megabits. still pretty good and good enough for 2D bluray streaming. You can also checkout this thread and review of the adapter. It's definitely possible to get those speeds you just need the right equipment and favorable environment. At the end of the day I would still choose a wired connection but if that's just not possible this is a possible solution.

http://forums.smallnetbuilder.com/showthread.php?t=7061
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-reviews/31834-asus-ea-n66-dual-band-wireless-n900-gigabit-ethernet-adapter-reviewed?showall=&start=3
post #18 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurtz9 View Post

I'm not Bob... but your results are _exceedingly_ a-typical if you're claiming you get 80 Mbps sustained down link throughput over wireless N.
If you check the charts resulting from pretty extensive testing on smallbuilder.net you'll see most wireless N setups deliver throughput in the 30-40 Mbps range, too slow for high bitrate video/audio.
Even the highest end ones don't get past 50-60 Mbps.
So you're claiming sustained speeds more than twice as fast as most folks get, and still about 50% faster than just about anyone gets....
(they test their devices in 6 different configurations to cover most scenarios)
5Ghz chart, average downlink throughput
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/bar/64-5-ghz-dn
2.4 Ghz chart-average downlink throughput
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/bar/58-2_4-ghz-dn

My performance comments re HD on wireless N has to do with personal experience and the comments here in the forum. We must also remember the real world with wireless as other devices consume bandwidth that is shared. If one is completely isolated then yes one could see acceptable HD results although I think 1080p level streaming is pushing it. My experience is that in a dedicated situation the 720 level streams fine. But when there are issues you will see freezing or stuttering.

For someone who must use wireless I would suggest a dedicated access point for the media devices using the 5ghz band. But as a rule wired or power-line is the better choice. That is why AC is so compelling since the bandwidth is so huge (potentially) that even with other devices competing for bandwidth there will be enough to go around. But time will tell once we see client devices that utilize it.

But for today N is our only choice.

Bob Silver
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeabone View Post

I have a WNDR3700 and I downloaded DD-WRT for it. It made a great router out of a hard to understand one...

Where and how did you do this? I've got a WNDR3700 sitting in the garage doing nothing, and I am pondering if I should do the same to it and use it.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

Where and how did you do this? I've got a WNDR3700 sitting in the garage doing nothing, and I am pondering if I should do the same to it and use it.

http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Netgear_WNDR3700 make sure to read the known issues and also find what version you have.
post #21 of 24
I use a combo of an Asus RT-N56U and a Linksys AE1000 wifi adapter using 5 ghz on my WDTV Live Plus and have no trouble streaming Bluray from the 2nd floor to the first floor. The newer WD box with built-in wifi on 2.4 ghz couldn't do this using the same router -- a lot of freezes, though it's fine with Netflix, YouTube, etc.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfelite View Post

http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Netgear_WNDR3700 make sure to read the known issues and also find what version you have.

Thanks.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kurtz9 View Post

I'm not Bob... but your results are _exceedingly_ a-typical if you're claiming you get 80 Mbps sustained down link throughput over wireless N.
If you check the charts resulting from pretty extensive testing on smallbuilder.net you'll see most wireless N setups deliver throughput in the 30-40 Mbps range, too slow for high bitrate video/audio.
Even the highest end ones don't get past 50-60 Mbps.
So you're claiming sustained speeds more than twice as fast as most folks get, and still about 50% faster than just about anyone gets....
(they test their devices in 6 different configurations to cover most scenarios)
5Ghz chart, average downlink throughput
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/bar/64-5-ghz-dn
2.4 Ghz chart-average downlink throughput
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/bar/58-2_4-ghz-dn

ikecomp is right on with how one can achieve speeds faster than 50-60 Mbps. So it's not as a-typical as you might think.

Now my setup is a-typical as I'm using an enterprise level wireless system. It uses various technologies/features from RF management, to protocol/application prioritization, to load/band steering. As I said, what is probably limiting my wireless performance is probably my aging laptop and most definitely the Cisco ASA 5505 firewall the network traffic is currently traversing through. I'll probably try reconfiguring my setup so the wireless traffic when it hits the wire doesn't go through the ASA but stays on my GigE network.

And before anyone says it's unrealistic or unreasonable for a home user to purchase equipment like this, I say that's just a bunch of dribble. People here are not the average home user with their HTPC systems to their HT systems. Networking should also be viewed the same way. My assertion is that high performance and wireless is not mutually exclusive with current dual band N technology which doesn't neccesitate the need to go to pre-AC.
post #24 of 24
I prefer to stick with GigE vs wireless for a full setup.
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