The small non-profit I do volunteer work for had their Netgear wireless die recently. I do not know the model number but it has 4 wired ports in addition to the WAN port and is probably 802.11n.
I'm looking for recommendations for a replacement that is hopefully less than $100, supports WPA2, and at least 100mb on the wired ports. With Cisco's recent heavy handed attempt to have the ability to deprive owners access to their own E-series routers, I don't think I'm interested in a Cisco/Linksys product.
Have you tried raising the dead? Open up the unspecified model Netgear router. If it's one of the flat sided "boxy" type of routers, it will probably have bulging electrolytic capacitors on the main board. Replace them and it will work again. I've done about a dozen such routers without much difficulty.
You may also have issues with the power supply.
Unfortunately, that description fits about 12 different Netgear routers. I'll guess WRN2000 only because I have one sitting next to me.
Lots of reviews, performance tests, and comments. I can't really offer a recommendation with such minimal requirements. It would be nice to know if you need dual band, QoS, WMM, guest account, dual SSID, and other optional features.
Hmmm... one screwup negates years of doing it right? Got it.
Cisco apparently didn't realize the implications of what they were doing and probably didn't bother asking any home users if they actually wanted Cisco to manage their routers via the Cisco cloud. If you think about it, there are some rather useful benefits. Cisco changed their position almost instantly when the mistake was discovered. There was no coverup. I wouldn't call that heavy handed. I don't see a problem.
Not too horrible a wireless router. I had problems with the switching power supplies on that series. Photo in previous posting. You might borrow another 12V 1A power supply and see if it revives.
Careful with the reviews. I usually ignore the one or two line comments as they offer a clue as to how much effort the user put into making it work. Despite all the aids to easy setup, getting wireless to play nice is still a challenge.
Most of the current Belkin routers also fit that description.
If you don't need dual band, may I suggest the WNR3500L.
The main advantage is that it will work with various open source firmware, all of which offer more features than the stock firmware.
The WNDR3700 barely squeezes by your less than $100 requirement. It also run various open source firmware:
However, you can get it refurbished for $64.
However, if you look through the 171 out of 820 negative comments on this router, about a third seem to hardware failures of some manner. This is consistent with my experience with the current Netgear wireless products and possibly explains the existence of the refurbs.
I should probably kick myself for recommending Belkin products. I've had good results with some of their current wireless routers. Unlike the products sold 2 years ago and before, these seem solid. I have a F5D8235-4 v2000 running. The only problem is that it might need a reboot once per month, when someone's wireless client can't connect. Not bad for a 4 year old router. Customers with some of the current models seem to be doing about the same. Not perfect, but good enough.
I much prefer Linksys/Cisco hardware but since you have political objections, I won't offer any suggestions.
The power light comes on, but the wireless light never does and the laptop doesn't see the router. Since the problem happened when there was a nearby lightning strike, and the wired port it was connected to also is dead, I suspect it got zapped pretty good. All my testing was done with a known good wired port and cable.
I've read the reviews on newegg and amazon and a high hardware failure rate with the horrible Netgear technical support trying to sell people a 3rd party support contract rather than trying to troubleshoot the problem makes me leery of going with a Netgear product. If this was for my own use, I'd probably take a chance on getting a bad unit, but this is for use in an environment where there is no technical support available other than me after working hours.
I'll even push for spending more than $100 if that's what it takes to get reliable hardware.
I agree with your assessment of older Belkin products. After hearing all the horror stories from early Belkin products, I've never given them a second thought. I'll take a look at suggestions if you have any.
I have a Linksys WRT54GL that I use at home. I don't have any problems with it but before I'd recommend a Linksys/Cisco product I'd want some assurance that they won't play anymore games with people.
Yeah, lighning damage is difficult to repair. OK, it's dead.
Hint: All commodity router tech support sucks. However, you can get decent results from users on their forums. Watch out for those expiring articles after very short periods in order to avoid embarassing questions. I forgot who was doing that and am too lazy to check.
When they work, the current "boxy" style of Netgear routers are fine. However, I got tired of replacing electrolytics and gave up on them about 6 months ago.
What's a service call cost the customer? If the cost of a single service call exceeds the cost of the router, I suggest you get something better than bottom of the line. Look at Sonicwall wireless routers:
Prices are high, and there are user count licensing issues. However, they don't break. I have about 6 of them in service, and know of about 5 more installed by others, mostly at businesses, medical offices, and hospitals. Other than firmware updates and snarling with security issues, I've had no surprises.
If you want reliability from commodity junk, the easiest fix is a nightly reboot. DD-WRT has this built into the firmware. I'll confess that I do that with my few remaining coffee shop customers. It's nice to show off high uptimes, but I just want to keep the phone from ringing. If the router doesn't have cron to do reboots, then I add an electronic AC power timer. Woods is better than Electromec but either will do. Be prepared to replace batteries about every 2 years.
Ummm... quite a bit more than $100.
Either buy something good up front, or pay for it over the years in service calls. Do the math.
I had fairly well given up on Belkin as a lost cause. Bad hardware, lousy reliability, hangs, missing features, incomprehensible manuals, and wide variations in wireless performance even among units with the same model numbers. Costco was carrying Belkin for a while, so some of my customers bought them. They immediately had QoS issues running VoIP (both Skype and SIP). That was later fixed with a firmware updates, but meanwhile, I replaced the routers with Linksys hardware (mostly E1200 and E2000). Meanwhile, I decided to try the various Belkins in my office to see if I could duplicate the symptoms. That was about a year ago, and it's still there, mostly because I'm too lazy to put the Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 with DD-WRT back. Except for erratic failures of various wireless devices to connect, they've been totally stable and free of surprises. I recently bought a feature starved Belkin N300 router on sale at Radio Shock for $30 just to see how it works.
Don't ask me. I don't work for Cisco. Try the support forum:
OK, the sonicwall and similar products are out of their price range. I have no problem telling them that for what they want to spend they are going to get a piece of equipment that they will throw away when it breaks and all the company's tech support is useless.
What would you suggest for a consumer grade router?
I only recommend routers that I've used or at least setup. Since the customer doesn't want to go for higher quality, the 2nd best strategy might be to keep the price low, and replace it with the latest when it blows. Considering the obvious lightning hazard, that might be the cheapest way. You haven't supplied a real list of "must have" features, so please double check the spec sheet to make sure everything you need is present.
Spend the first $15 on a timer for nightly reboots.
For 2.4Ghz only, I suggeest the Linksys E1200 v2 (N300) for $45. One item I like is QoS by MAC address. DD-WRT does not have this in the free version, which is why I bought this router.
Try the reviews on Amazon. Note that there's some baloney mixed in with the "most popular" reviews, such as someone claiming that it only supports 802.11n.
Dig through the emulator and see if it has all the setting and features you'll need.
It's fairly new and too soon to see if there are any complications. It's cheap enough that you could purchase a spare if reliability is an issue. Too soon to get a track record on longevity.
For dual band, I don't have any recommendations. The E3200 for $77 will probably be good enough since you're not into multimedia or useless speeds.
However, I haven't had the opportunity to play with it, so can't be sure there are no surprises.
Thanks for your suggestions. I haven't specified a list of "must have" features because I don't know exactly what was the purpose of the dead one. It sat one one person's desk connected to the internet via that person's wired drop. This person then used the wireless connection on their laptop to connect to the the wireless router sitting less than three feet away. No one has seen this person carry their laptop around and use it anywhere, so the wireless router may have just been a toy. I do recall some one once asking for the password so they could download a book to their Kindle that they forgot to do before they left home. Yes, we live in a very strange world sometimes.
I just want to have a recommendation ready if and when it's decided to replace the dead one.