What is the best wireless router for home use?

Well, one of the guys showed up to the last meeting with a very troubling situation. His wireless router at home died and he came to the meeting looking for help and consultation on what type of router to replace it with. One thing let to another and…well you know the rest.
Here’s a few snippets of the conversation…


-My linksys finally shit the bed. I need a new one. Any recommendations?

-As a wireless geek I use enterprise wireless stuff behind a cheap firewall. If you want I can send you some really good but old Oronico/Proxim 2.4Ghz 802.11b/g access points I have just decommissioned. (I need to check my storage unit to see if I have the old power bricks, I was using a POE switch)

Additionally, as a word of warning, I was in brentwood two weekends ago at my Bro-In-Law’s house and he asked me for some advice on his new router, it was a dlink, not sure the model, that had B/GN and AN (2.4 and 5Ghz), 2 multi band antennas(for 2 spatial streams in each band), very nice… but when he set it up, he used the “wizzard” and it defaulted to no less than 6 very non-standard settings; 40 meg wide channels in B/G and A, auto switching between the 20 and 40 meg channels, auto switching of channels, it applied WPA2 with TKIP(WPA1 should go with TKIP, or WPA2 should go with AES-CCM), it encouraged him to set 2 different SSIDs and security settings to the 2.4Ghz and the 5Ghz radios, and it defaulted to a DHCP range of only 10 addresses (his family has just over that amount of devices, when my family visits, it more than doubles that)…

During the time I watched it in my analyzer, over the course of about 2 minutes, I saw it switch channels a few times, and expand and contract the channel width from 40Meg to 20 and back. That behavior is complete shit.

It was completely unusable. The most noticeable issue was with… wait for it… the iPad, with the draconian powersave algorithms that are used on the iPad it was most susceptible to the shortage of DHCP leases. Every time the screen darkened, it released its lease (it does this so it doesn’t have to respond to mandatory beacons), when it started up again with no lease available, it failed to get an address. this was not perceptible to the user, as it doesn’t even try (part of the power save issue) until it needs to do a network operation. So, randomly into the session, it display the “choose a network to join” as if you just roamed into the area of new networks, but really, it had already tried and failed, and was prompting you to pick a different one… she typically had to “try” to join their network 3 or 4 times before it would let her back on… until the next time the unit slept, repeat.

His wife had him on the doorstep on the way to the apple store to get an airport, It took me and him longer to remember/figure out his password than it took me to fix all the stupidity. after which it was rocking for him. He was able to stream video content uninterrupted from Netflix, which had never worked before, and Pandora audio through the iPad back up to the network and then down again to the airport express for analog delivery to the whole home audio system he uses… that’s 3 trips across the WiFi….

Lesson learned… beware the setup wizard!

-So did you configure the Dlink, or take it back ?

-Once properly configured it is rocking… just a warning about using the wizard.

-Roger that. My Cisco has dual radios too. I have all the video stuff
running on the 5meg, and the computers on 2meg. Don’t know how much it
actually helps.

-Holy shit that sounds involved. Not to mention I don’t even understand half of what your talking about. I appreciate to offer but I think I’ll just go to best buy and scoop up another linksys and run it till it dies. The current one lasted seven or eight years.

Sent from my iPhone

-You will be fine with that. Most of them are branded Cisco now. If you get
a dual radio model, let us know the model number and we can recommend some

-10 4



-No one saw that coming


Long story short, he did get a new router, and it’s working fine. There’s actually some useful information in this rant, hope it helps you decide which router to buy when you are in a similar situation.

Until then,
Carry on!

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