I guess inexpensive wireless routers are a technology in its infancy because any set of reviews I read are full of negative experiences whether with Netgear, Belkin, Linksys, or DLink.
I'm currently using a cheap 2-week old Belkin "wireless G" router that has been great until it recently began to randomly kick me off line, requiring a new log-in. It's not locking up however, like most reviews indicate is the most popular problem; it just requires me to reconnect often.
Like just now. Wt??
It's still covered by my 30-day refund thing at Best Buy; don't know what brand to turn to. I don't know of any reason more expensive models would have any more robust tech going for it, as far as inexplicable drops. Any suggestions?
All reviews are full of negative experiences. I once reviewed some hardware for a magazine. I couldn't find anything really wrong with the router in the time allowed (about 24 hours). My editor demanded that I find something wrong as few of the readers would believe that any such complex product could be anywhere near perfect. Although the magazines will deny it, there's also a apparent correlation between vendor advertisements and reviews.
The users comments on various sites also need some filtering. I ignore any "one line" comments, such as "this product sucks" and similar remarks. The ones worth reading are those by users that have obviously done their homework, actually used the product for more than a few seconds, and appear to be knowledgeable. Those that appear to be generally helpful instead of judgmental are also worth reading. That eliminates perhaps 90% of the user comments.
One particular generalization also causes problems. The comments fail to distinguish between a vendor and a manufacturer. None of the commodity vendors manufacture their own hardware. They buy it from manufacturers in China, Taiwan, Japan, etc. In some cases, they do their own firmware, but mostly just "brand" it with the vendors name. The result is that a given vendor might be selling products from multiple manufacturers, all of which differ radically in quality, features, reliability, and design. In some cases, a given product name may have identical plastic cases, but the electronics inside is radically different between various hardware versions. In other words, you can't just say "Buffalo is the best" or some such generalization. The comments have to be specific to the product, model, and hardware version.
It could be interference from an external source. It could also be a problem with your unspecified model Belkin router. It could also be a problem with whatever you're using for a client radio or computer. The best troubleshooting method is to isolate the problem by replacement. Try a different channel. Can you move the router into a basement or some RF free environment and try again? If that works, it's interference. Try it with a known working laptop. That will eliminate the client radio and computer as a problem. Lastly, borrow a different model wireless router and see if it works any better.
I have my favorites but they probably don't apply to whatever you're doing. You apparently just want it to work and are not into monitoring, traffic shaping, long range, etc. I also don't like to recommend anything that I haven't tried. If cheap and simple is your thing, I suggest Netgear WGR614 v5 or v6. If you have some special requirements, please advise and I'll see if there's something else more suitable.
I resold a WHR-HP-G54 to a customer to get some experience with the products.
What immediately caught my attention was the bogus hype claiming "Wireless-G MIMO Performance* Router & Access Point". There's nothing MIMO about this router. The accompanying footnote explaining the abuse of the term MIMO explains: *This product uses a two antenna/single high power transmitter technology. It is not designed to anticipated 802.11n standards. Based on Buffalo Technology outdoor tests (see accompanying chart), this product outperforms two radio/three antenna MIMO technology beyond certain distances. Buffalo Technology testing also shows that this product equals or exceeds the performance of two radio/two antenna MIMO technology at all distances.
In other words, they claim that they use of a higher power transmitter allows their marketting department to abuse the term MIMO in an apparent attempt to cash in on the lastest buzzword and acronym. Never mind that even the IEEE can't figure out what constitutes MIMO.
Of course, a different page modifies the claims somewhat:
*This product uses a two antenna/single high power transmitter technology. It is not designed to anticipated 802.11n standards. Based on Buffalo Technology outdoor tests (see accompanying chart), this product outperforms two radio/three antenna MIMO technology beyond certain distances. Buffalo Technology testing also shows that this product equals or exceeds the performance of two radio/two antenna MIMO technology at all distances. When operating in High-Speed Mode, this Wi-Fi device achieves an actual throughput of up to 34.1 Mbps, which is the equivalent throughput of a system following 802.11g protocol and operating at a signaling rate of 125 Mbps. Actual data rate, features and performance may vary depending on your computer system, the environment and other factors.
I would be really interested in knowing how they performed this test as it's not possible to lock the signaling rate in firmware to
125Mbits/sec, only to 54Mbit/sec. Also, if you look at the lower right of the graph, you'll note that one of the client PC used was running Windoze XP with only 112MBytes of RAM. I don't think so. They were also using XP SP1 which has serious wireless driver problems not present in SP2. The test was apparently conducted in 2005, but SP2 has been available since Aug 2004. Hmmm....
It's too soon for me to tell if this router is a winner or loser. So far, the range is quite a bit better than the BEFW11S4v2 that it replaced. I disabled auto channel selection because it was causing wireless disconnects. I also disabled Turbo-G because there were no Turbo-G client radios in the system. 802.11b compatibility is on so I can use my 802.11b only PDA (XV6700). AOSS turned itself on without invitation twice, so I disabled it. I had a problem running both the internal antenna and an external panel antennas. My PDA would sometimes connect using the wrong antenna on the router (judging by the indicated signal strength), so I disabled diversity reception.
So far, other than the advertising hype, it looks good.
consider the Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 to be the cheapest router that runs well with the DD-WRT third-party, open-source, firmware.
Personally, I've been running a Linksys WRT54GL with DD-WRT firmware for several months now, and I've had no problems at all. Note that I have a very simple installation, so I'm not pushing anything too hard. Nevertheless, my previous router, a Netgear WGR614v4, needed to be re- booted every couple of days. I've never had to reboot the Linksys - and if it *did* need regular rebooting, the DD-WRT firmware has an option for auto-reboot at fixed intervals.
Yeah, me too, I guess. I have a conglomeration of a Speedstream modem, a Linksys 1 port router, a Dlink 8 port switch, and an Engenius access point, all of which have been running for over 5 months now without a reboot, servicing a motley crew of OEM network cards and noname wireless network cards. It all seems to work. They are powered by a good battery backup power supply, which I think has more to do with electronic glitches than most folks think. BTW, only Buffalo unit I have is a network Link Station, which is very good, also.
I've resold 5 Linkstation NAS (network attached storage) boxes.
No major problem, but a few hickups I could have done without.
Windoze network domain authorization (password) is a mess and does some really weird things. There's a cryptic note on the problem in the manual. Buffalo blames Microsoft. I don't think so because I have other NAS boxes that don't have the problem.
USB port only handles simple printers. Multifunction devices are not supported. That's because the print server is LPR/LPD and not the newer CUPS.
The internal web based administration windows have very slow response time. I can click on something and it always takes 10 seconds to respond.
The Buffalo device is actually a Kuro Box. I played with one and found that it had none of the aformentioned problems.
Massive copying to and from the drive was seriously asymmetrical. Read performance seemed adequate, but write performance was very sluggish. The Kuro Box was easily twice as fast on writes.
I just received 3ea SimpleTech STI-NAS/250 devices, which are quite similar to the Buffalo Linkstation. I'll be trying these as a Buffalo replacement.
I've already slammed into one idiocy with this product. The setup screen requires Active-X which means it will only run with MS IE6 or IE7.
I agree with your points. Guess my standards have been worn down to the point where if it works without crapping out, I overlook hiccups. Think Microsoft started me down that road? Oh, heck, that's a whole 'nother thread.