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  • I Need Router Recommendations, Please

    I am about to pull my hair out. I have a D-Link DIR-655 router. It is a gigabit, N type router, but when I bought it a while back it was a Draft N router. All has been well until recently. I am getting dropoffs on many occasions and sometimes wireless doesn't work at all. I can reset the router and all is well for a day, most of the time. There are times that I conclude that my ISP is the problem and there are times when the router appears to be the problem. The problem is the same for all my wireless gadgets (iPad, smartphones, XBOX and laptop).

    A couple of my friends have recently purchased the updated N type DIR-655 and all is well with their system. I have almost arrived at the conclusion that my router is faulty.

    With all this in mind, what are some good and fast routers I should consider?

    Thanks for any help.

  • #2
    The router I had the most luck with to date has been my Apple Airport Extreme. Never had a dropout and speeds have never been an issue for me.

    Linksys has been stable the few that i had as well. The 2 brands that I tried and will never use again are NetGear and DLink. Don't remember the particular models, but I constantly had issues with signal drops.

    I actually have an Airport Extreme sitting around that I could sell. Thought I lost it during a prior move and ended up buying another. If you do research and find that you're leaning that way, ping me.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have the dir655, verA2, Running firmware 1.35NA.

      I guess a question would be what firmware are you running on yours?

      Take a look at this - http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwa...er-charts/view

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks, guys. Let me study this.

        Also, I am now wondering if I need to replace my cable modem. It is an SA, but I do not recall the model.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cburbs
          I have the dir655, verA2, Running firmware 1.35NA.

          I guess a question would be what firmware are you running on yours?

          Take a look at this - http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwa...er-charts/view
          I updated to 1.35, but no change in behavior.

          Comment


          • #6
            Who is your ISP provider and do they have a different version router they can bring out to your house. I would start there not saying the Dlink isn't the issue but I really like the Dlink so far and I have had it for a while with different carriers such as AT&T DSL, TWC, and now Verizon FIOS/Frontier Communications.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have the same exact setup as cburbs and the only issues I have is a slower internet speed (I'm using Cox 10Mb/s I think?) and that is because I'm seeding the hell out of the ScubaSteve HT Torrent and other HD movies....

              I'd look at the provider or change location and reboot it all, which you've probably done a million times.

              I hate how cellphones, internet, computers never seem to be as fast as we want them to be. :)
              -Greg

              Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple. - Barry Switzer

              HO's Basement Take 2

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              • #8
                I use Charter. The router is supplied by me. I am using a Charter supplied cable modem.

                BTW, I am typing this on my iPad and the wifi is working great. Man, I hate these mysterious tech problems.

                Thanks for the help.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I meant maybe see if they have a newer version of there cable modem.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    well there could be a mysterious new router in the area that is broadcasting on the same channel and is more powerful and messing up your routers broadcasting. the only way to know is to do a frequency sweep of the area (known in the IT circles as a "site survey") and see what is running and where it is. Which means taking multiple measurements in multiple locations so you can triangulate the positions of the networks and also allow you measure dB of signal attenuation in various locales and if need be you can plot it over time to show if there is something in the area that perhaps is causing issues at various points in time. That is the only way you can tell if it is your device or something external. Course the other option is to attach the antenna outlets to an oscilloscope and measure the output over time and see if the router signal is cutting off.

                    Both strategies are what I do in my job as a sys admin when I have to go onsite.

                    Course you could always just purchase another router and see what happens. lol

                    Matt
                    Still think Craig is in the "Chase" for that sense of humour. :neener 1:

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cburbs
                      I meant maybe see if they have a newer version of there cable modem.
                      I have been thinking a lot about this problem and have realized that the problems started happening a few months after Charter upgraded the cable modem.

                      As much as I hate to get on the phone with Charter, I guess I will. Man, I do not look forward to that.

                      Thanks a bunch.

                      Mike

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Possible it could be the modem or a setting on there end for that particular modem that they need to turn on/off that was OK with the last one.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The cool thing about networking is if you understand it, it's generally pretty easy to pinpoint what's going on.

                          (I'm a network "engineer" for a retailer.)


                          I'm a charter customer, and I have a cable modem and my router hangs off it to provide wireless to the house.
                          Is your setup the same, or do you have a modem/router combo?

                          Secondly, charter charges me $7 to rent the modem. I tossed it and went out and bought my own. It was $80, so it'll pay for itself by the time the warranty expires. I suggest you do the same.

                          My symptoms that were bugging me were sluggish internet page loads, my router would not pull a lease from charter if it rebooted, and general DNS errors and drops on my PS3.

                          My charter supplied modem was not DOCSIS 3.0, but 2.0. (The lady on the phone was wrong when she said it was 3.0) You need a 3.0 to get the full speed out of charter; or at least I did. (I'm on 18mbps down.) This helped me decide to go buy my own.

                          Then I noticed I still wasn't getting my advertised speed even when hardwired into the router, so I replaced my router. Because of what I do for a living, I almost went with small business cisco, but instead went with a Linksys e4200. Well worth the money, if you have it, to futureproof your router a bit. This Linksys was the first series to be designed by Cisco instead of Linksys. A LOT of care went into the omnidirectional antenna inside to maximize range and heat dissipation. Routers are a "get what you pay for" technology. Just because something says gigabit doesn't mean it can really 4 PCs trying to share files in a small home network.
                          *I bought mine on sale at MicroCenter if it helps.

                          So...back to your problem, if you want to do a little diagnosis instead of blind replacement...
                          I'm assuming you're on a Windows machine. I'm also assuming you're not using a wired and wireless connection on the same PC.
                          Go to Start>Run, type 'cmd' and click ok. (on win7, just type it in the search box in the start menu)
                          This will bring up the command prompt. Type "ipconfig" then enter. Scroll up until you find your wireless IPv4 address. It PROBABLY looks like this:

                          192.168.xxx.xxx <---ip address
                          255.255.255.0 <---subnet mask
                          192.168.xxx.1 <----default gateway
                          Note that your IP address can change between reboots. Try to have this window open then wait for the problem to happen. You can retype the ipconfig command at the time of the problem to make sure you know what your current information is.

                          Now, during normal functioning times, type in the command prompt "ping <type in the address of your gateway>"
                          You should get 4 replies.

                          then type "ping <the address of your gateway> -t" (the -t makes it run constantly.
                          open another cmd window and put it side by side with your first window.
                          type "ping 8.8.4.4 -t" (this will ping google's open DNS server.)

                          Wait for the problem to happen.

                          Take a look at your two windows. If your gateway AND google stop responding, it's your router, interference in your house, or your PC.
                          If just Google that stops responding, it's either your router, your modem, the cabling, or your ISP. The last is probably not likely.

                          If they are BOTH responding, but you're having the problem, it could be a DNS issue. DNS is the network function that converts "www.chasehometheater.com" to an IP address that your router understands.
                          If you open a third cmd window, try pinging www.google.com. If you're having a DNS issue, it will tell you something like "unable to look up host www.google.com"

                          Typically, if there's interference or dead spots in your house, you will see some pings go through, some will fail.

                          You can verify your troubleshooting with another PC plugged into one of the ethernet ports on the router. Does the wired PC show the same symptoms?

                          Ways to check for interference

                          If you want to check your microwave, all you need is a 2.4 ghz cordless phone. Put it in the microwave. Obviously do NOT turn on your microwave. Call your house phone. If you hear your cordless ringing, your microwave shielding has a hole in it and should be replaced. That also means that every time you turn on your microwave, you're getting an unhealthy dose of microwave radiation.

                          If you have other wireless devices, make sure they are kept at least 6 feet (12 is preferred) from your wireless router and PC. Wireless speakers and subs are notorious for ruining wifi networks.

                          Download something like NetStumbler. It will help you scan to see how many wifi networks are in your area, along with signal strength and (this is important) what channel that network is on.

                          In a 802.11b or 802.11g network (the ones before N), there are only 3 non-overlapping channels: 1, 6, 11. Your router needs to be on one of those channels and you should pick the channel your closest neighbor networks are NOT using. If everyone's using those three, you may want to ask them if they can reduce their router signal strength, or switch to a different channel.
                          Avoid picking the closest correct channel to any neighbors that are on 2-5, 7-10, 12-15. (eg if your nextdoor neighbor is on 4, don't pick 1 or 6. Pick 11.)
                          The reasoning is that each channel is a frequency specification and bleeds into neighboring channels. (Hence what I meant about non-overlapping.)

                          Wifi is a broadcast technology. If you have too many devices working in the same frequency, PC, microwave or other, they will destroy your ability to get full speed out of your wifi router. Divide max wifi speed by 2 every time a device comes within close range/frequency of your router.

                          I still have to read up on the channels in N, but I can tell you that Draft N sucks. Get away from it and get a Real N router.

                          You can also use NetStumbler to walk around your house and see if you have any dead spots. If you do, buying a wifi repeater is generally not a great idea, especially if you can pull cabling and just add an Access Point. If you do have to use a wifi repeater, you should keep it within 50% of the range of the primary router to avoid errors and data loss.

                          Finally, make sure you don't have any uninvited guests using your wifi connection. Change the password of your admin page on your router if you haven't done that yet. (check your manual)
                          Make sure your router is using WPA2. Do not use WPA, or WEP: they are easily hackable. If your router can't do WPA2, upgrade. Even a cheap N router is better than having this happen to you:
                          http://news.yahoo.com/minnesota-wi-f...032803295.html
                          P.S. Pick a good WPA password. If your dog is sparky, don't pick "sparky" A couple numbers or symbols, uppercase and lowercase are your best bet. Don't pick anything directly relevant to your life that your neighbors would guess.

                          P.P.S. One of the coolest features about my new router is there is a guest network, separate from my own. This guest network is not allowed to talk to my personal one, keeping my devices safe from when mom comes over with her virus laden computer. Linksys is no comparison to a real Cisco network, but they do get some of the cool stuff.


                          I know it's a lot of info, but I hope it helped.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I forgot...

                            Plug your PC into your cable modem's ethernet port (assuming you have a separate modem and router).

                            Go to www.speedtest.net and run a couple speedtests with the closet triangle to your location. (do this in off-peak hours, usually outside of 2pm-10pm).

                            Make sure you are getting your advertised charter speeds. If you are not, your modem needs to be swapped with a current model.

                            If you are....then next, plug your router back into your modem.

                            Plug your PC into a wired port on your router. Run a few more speed tests. If you are not getting your advertised speeds, your router is too old and needs to be replaced. The circuitry in older routers wasn't meant to handle past 5-10mbps.

                            If you are still getting advertised speeds, run the test again from wireless. You should see some slower latency, and potentially some drop in speed, but you should still get pretty close. If you are not, replace the router or troubleshoot for interference.

                            Finally, don't forget that sometimes the problem is your PC. (Virus/spyware/too many programs installed/running.) malwarebytes/spybot/lavasoft adaware are great anti-malware programs. Avast antivirus is a free AV program if you need one (don't run more than one antivirus program on the same machine), otherwise make sure your existing one is up to date and actively protecting your PC.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              gwilks....awesome stuff....man, thanks for all this. I will study hard!

                              I became convinced that the culprit was my router and I bought a 5th gen Airport Extreme. I hooked it up last night. At this point, I am not sure that the router was the problem.

                              I would rather undergo waterboarding by the CIA than to get on the phone with Charter about this. That is a totally frustrating experience!!

                              My next thought, without studying your most helpful stuff, is to buy my own cable modem. I have no idea what I should get, nor do I have a clue about how to set it up. Charter sent me a new cable modem a year or so ago and I installed it simply by following the instructions. I am willing to buy one and try my hand at installing, if I knew of some good ones to consider.

                              BTW, these dropoffs are not limited to just my wireless laptop. My iPads are also affected.

                              Let me also mention that my neighbors, who also have Charter, are not having these problems.

                              I just thought of something. I do not recall having these problems before Charter sent me the "upgraded" modem.

                              Hmmm....it sounds like this is going to be a Coors Light weekend!!

                              Thanks

                              Mike

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