Simple effective wifi router, help

Hi all, A friends daughter got an Ipad, he now wants to get a wifi router so she can get online at home, (she's 10). I don't know if the Ipad is G or N, probably doesn't matter, many are both now. I want to recommend a couple of routers he can get and be happy with. He's never had wifi in the house, so just a simple effective router. I'll probably send a couple of Newegg links. Thanks, Mikek

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She's spoiled.

Presumably, it's an iPad 2. That does 802.11 a/b/g/n

If she lives in a really RF polluted environment, I would be tempted to suggest getting a dual band wireless router or access point.

I only see broken routers, so I can't offer many recommendations for anything that works. Same with manufacturers. They all suck, but some suck less. This week, I like DLink, mostly because I can get them cheap in quantity.

For a 10 year old, I would expect whatever is purchased would probably be destroyed within a few months. Therefore, cheap is of paramount importance. I've had good luck (i.e. no failures) with bottom of the line DLink DIR-601 router. Priced around $25. It's 2.4GHz only, non-MIMO, and fairly basic. I've installed about 10 of them in the last 6 months, without any problems. No clue on long term life, but with a 10 year old, my guess(tm) would be it's not going to be an issue.

However, if you want all the fancy features, the DLink DIR-825 does it all. It seems to be targeted at the Apple market (i.e. white plastic box). About $100. I've only installed one, which doesn't offer much of a track record. There are also some models in between, which I haven't tried.

Speaking of selling to the Mac crowd, Netgear has an Aiport Extreme clone. Imitation and flattery?

Sorry, no experience.

Make sure she gets a not-easily-removable rubberized protective case and possibly Applecare in case it gets dropped anyway.

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Jeff Liebermann

Thanks Jeff, I'll pass it along. Mikek

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You know me and my netgear experiences. Of course maybe I emit some negative field that breaks netgear routers.

Before I trashed my last Netgear router, I opened it up to see what kind of antenna they use. It had diversity (I'm still not convinced MIMO does much good.) The antenna proper is about an inch of wire. It then connects to a tube that has an insulator in the middle and metal on the outside. The coax is then feed to what looks like a small ferrite filter.

Ironic, but the wall warts on my netgear never failed, so I use them for other stuff. Most people have the wall wart croak.

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When you use them for other stuff don't you get concerned if the output voltage and the mA exactly correct for the device? A friend gave me a Netgear router but didn't give me the wallwart until a few days later. In the meantime I used my previous D-Link wallwart, which had a slightly different mA rating.


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Here's how I look at it:

  1. The connector has to physically fit.
  2. The polarity has to be correct, (usually center positive).
  3. The current type (AC vs DC) has to be correct.
  4. The voltage should be close. Some devices are quite tolerant.
  5. The current rating should be close. Higher is fine.
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Char Jackson

Karma failure. Do good things and your equipment will work better.

Some things are best left unasked. For example, you really shouldn't ask what is inside salami and wireless routers.

Weird. The tube is probably a 1/4 wave sleeve balun. No clue on the ferrites. Probably something to make the FCC happy by blocking the radiation of lower frequencies.

We've been here before. Netgear power supply guts:

I should have taken a photo of the other side of the board. There were two jumpers and some component glued in place. As I recall, the one in the photo did not magically recover when I replaced the obvious bulging capacitor. However, 3 others recovered nicely.

The real problem is that many really good consumer devices get a bad reputation because of failing power supplies. For example, the consensus was that the 2wire 2701HG-B has a high failure rate. I certainly had my share of failures with this router. However, I kept the routers and wall warts because my sense of smell told me they were repairable. When I cracked open the PS, the problem was obvious:

I've been rotating out the power supplies with my customers, and have magically fixed several "reliability" issues (hangs, crashes, weirdness, etc). There are probably more routers that are perfectly good, but where the PS is junk.

Happy Friday the 13th.

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Jeff Liebermann

"Jeff Liebermann"

Unless something has changed Applecare does not cover physical damage.

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Assumptions vary:

but in this case, you're correct. The warranty and AppleCare only cover manufacturers defects.

Apple will label the slightest dent, ding, or crack as evidence of abuse, resulting in voiding the warranty. I played middleman for a friend trying to get her iPhone 3G fixed under warranty. Wi-Fi functionality had decided to quit. She had AppleCare. However, since the phone appeared to have been dropped (cracked glass in one corner), Apple declared the phone to have been abused, and therefore not covered. The debate went back and forth for about 2 months, with no progress.

Square Trade and others cover physical damage.

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Jeff Liebermann

Many walwarts are regulated these days. For the ones that aren't, generally they do 16V for a 12V wall wart.

Technically higher current can mean higher voltage if it is the unregulated type. You don't want to be too much out of spec.

The whole notion of a wall-wart is to have some hell hole in China have the legal responsibility of contacting the mains. If the wall-wart catches fire, good luck suing the manufacturer.

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The Repair FAQ section on wall warts is a useful read. There's a section on wall wart substitions:

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

That is really lame. Iphone glass cracks without doing anything to the phone. You can temperature cycle the phone and crack the glass. Apple usually replaces the cracked glass for free. Several times in the case of one woman I met.

I tell everyone to get an Otterbox for the iphone. You won't regret it.

The web is full of photos of cracked glass iphones. With the iphone4, you can crack the back glass too. What were they thinking?

The back glass is easy to fix. The front glass...well not so good due to the LCD glued to the glass.

BTW, some of these new phones with NFC are adopting the Apple model of no removable back. They put the NFC on the back and making it removable is expensive. The ones that have a removable back charge a lot to replace it.

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Reply to
Five Iron

Yep. It seems to depend on the Authorized Apple Service Provider or Store. The one in Salinas was useless and would use any excuse possible to avoid a warranty repair or replacement. The store in Los Gatos seems to be far more cooperative. Recently, we've added a ClickAway service shop that will do iPhones. I haven't talked to them yet.

On an iPhone 3G, it's very difficult to replace just the glass as it's glued to the digitizer section. The entire front panel needs to be replaced. That's like replacing half the iPhone guts.

However, you missed my problem. It's not the digitizer or front glass that needs work. It's chipped a little in one corner, but still quite functional. It's the wireless section, deep inside the phone. I've opened it up (suction cup method) and looked for any damage, but didn't find anything. There's a problem with the wi-fi section on the logic board.

I use a leather book-like case. Works fine. The owner of the 3GS didn't use anything and was planning to get a case. She says the wi-fi crapped out before she dropped the phone and cracked the glass, but I don't believe it. (The joy of being in the middle).

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks. It's the old story of form following function except Apple got it backwards. The iPad has style, great looks, elegance, sales appeal, but is severely lacking in ruggedness, repairability, maintainability (battery), and survivability (water). If you buy one, you just have to be more careful or more protective than the typical cell phone. Most adult can live with that. Few kids will understand.

One of my neighbors in the office complex bought two iPhone 4 phones for himself and his brother. Both now have protectors after both cracked the front glass. I vaguely recall that it was $225 for the repair.

I don't hang around 10 year olds much, but after repairing the neighbors kids toys, bikes, and electronics for many years, I'm beginning to suspect that no amount of protection is sufficient. If you cruise the isles of Toys-r-US, you'll see quite a few well protected devices made for kids. If the iPad crash protector doesn't look like that, the iPad 2 is probably not going to survive.

"Best iPad 2 case for kids"

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Jeff Liebermann

I saw the wifi part, but didn't know much about that. The cracked glass is everywhere.

The iphone as a radio basically sucks. Good gaming console. I don't have one, so I don't have to deal with the shitty construction, but I deal with people who use iphones and it's a PITA when you can't get a hold of someone or the call drops because they use that piece of shit phone. Needless to say, I have to loan my phone often because these iphone owners have dead phones or can't hit the tower. And I'm on freakin' T-Mob, which has way less towers than ATT.

Let's hope the iphone 5 sucks less.

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Need proof few people read something this dense?

"Attempt sapping at your own risk!!!"

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Hint. The hand test:

The worst phone I tested had a -12dB drop in indicated signal level when I wrapped my hand around the antenna. The iPhone 4 lost anywhere between -20 and -25dB depending on the test method. That's the difference between an x16 loss and a x100 -> x300 loss. Rumor has it that the Verizon iPhone 4 drops fewer calls than the AT&T version.

Bingo. That's the only reason people upgrade. I know several iPhone addicts that have purchased every upgrade as their contract expires in the vain hope that the next model will suck less. Yet, they're confirmed and dedicated fans of the iPhone. I've learned not to question their logic. Without deficiencies, nobody upgrades.

Right now, I'm still using my ancient LG VX8300 as a cell phone on PagePlus Cellular (Verizon MVNO). Small, cheap, reliable. I don't recall when I last had a dropped call (except in really lousy signal areas). I carry my iPhone 3G and use it as a PDA. I'm also playing with an original Droid A855 to see how it plays as a PDA. I have no intention of paying for a data plan, so neither will be activated.

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Jeff Liebermann

It makes sense that a phone with an external antenna would have less of a "hand effect." That other link has a funny definition of a field test. The Blackberry service monitor is so extensive that RIM locked it down and threatened legal action to those who provide the means to put the phone in the service mode. The article is correct that you can read signal strength in the Options menu.

T-mobile allows the iphone to be used on their network without a data plan. Of course you only get EDGE with the iphone, so who would pay for a data plan. There are over a million iphones on T-Mobile, probably run by kids for gaming. I guess they can buy apps via itunes.

Verizon has announced they will no longer accept smartphones phones that don't have LTE. I assume they will accept dumb phones.

At the peak of CES, Verizon was delivering 8mbps down in Vegas. It was

20mbps before the geeks arrived. I can get about 6mbps off of T-mob using the chipset capable of 7mbps. But only in a non-geeky town, not crowded parts of the bay area. I'm doing good getting 2mbps down in the valley with all those geeks streaming Pandora.
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