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Old 2009-03-07, 06:52   Link #1
Renegade334
Exitus Acta Probat
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Permanent retirement from raws-hunting
Age: 28
Looking for a new modem/router...

A particularly annoying thing happened to me - starting not even a week ago: my almost two-year-old Linksys WAG54GS started disconnecting for no visible reason, with increasing frequency. At first, I thought it was because my ISP decided to up my connection to 12Mbps (yeah, I know, Belgium ain't up to the U.S. or even France's standards, but that ain't my gripe here - let's save that for another hypothetical thread about ISP services) and the router had problems adjusting to the changes, although that theory was a veeery long stretch to me in the first place and I wrote it off as a coincidence. As far as I'm concerned, it shouldn't even pose a problem.

Usually, I'd lose connection to the router every three-four days (a quick power cycle would fix everything and renew my bail), but now it's happening on a daily basis. Days became hours, hours became quarters of an hour...and even minutes. I upgraded the firmware to the latest version and...the WAG kept going nice and smooth for 48 more hours before the problem resurfaced with all of its virulence. Right now...it's stable, but then again, nothing says Fate will decide to bite me in the ass right after posting this.


So...I'm now thinking about replacing it. I know Linksys has a good pedigree what with being part of Cisco...but looking at a few forums also informed me that the company has had a long story of disconnects, poor firmware updates (never fixes what everyone's been hammering on about) and whatnot. Someone mentioned me the WAG160N, but apparently it ain't the next best thing since sliced bread - the lack of an antenna also means I can't maximize the signal strength on my PC one floor below just by changing its orientation. The WAG200G seems to benefit from more positive criticism, but then again, reviewers being reviewers...either they're there to dub the product as Satan's spawn or go 'W00t! Kickass!!!1one' and all kinds of churlish whatnots. Kinda hard to know in which category you'll fall.

So...I'd like to know which brand seems the best right now and what kind of model would answer my needs the best, knowing that: it has to be a modem/router, have 802.11b/g, must cost somewhere between 60-120 euros, offers a good wireless signal, doesn't have a reputation of disconnecting quite frequently and includes security features such as WEP, WPA, MAC filtering and the like.

According to my friends' latest scuttlebutt on networking and hardware (one even offered some exotic router with some unheard-of Linux distribution on it O_O), D-Link doesn't appear to be any good, whereas NETGEAR and Linksys sound like the ideal choices. Right now I'm leaning towards the WAG200 or the WAG110 (the brand AND model must at least be commonplace enough, since I'm not much into ordering and whatnot - I'd rather have it available at the nearby PC parts store rather than wait one or two weeks while dealing with a problematic modem), but if there is any better, then I'm all ears.


Thanks in advance.
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Old 2009-03-07, 09:07   Link #2
SeijiSensei
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Join Date: Nov 2006
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I suspect the router itself is fine, but you're encountering a common problem with consumer routers if they're used with BitTorrent. If you can clear the problem by power-cycling the router, that's even more evidence in support of the following:

Consumer routers have limited memory, and many of them cannot maintain large numbers of simultaneous parallel connections to remote hosts, the key defining characteristic of BT traffic. I solve this problem by limiting the number of connections (note, not the bandwidth) my BT client may establish. After some experimentation I settled on a figure of 90, which seems to be sufficient to run half-a-dozen torrents and still not knock the router over.

Of course, maybe you do have a faulty router, and maybe you never use BitTorrent, but if you do, I'd try reducing the connection limit first before heading off to the store.
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Old 2009-03-07, 10:24   Link #3
Renegade334
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Permanent retirement from raws-hunting
Age: 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
I suspect the router itself is fine, but you're encountering a common problem with consumer routers if they're used with BitTorrent. If you can clear the problem by power-cycling the router, that's even more evidence in support of the following:

Consumer routers have limited memory, and many of them cannot maintain large numbers of simultaneous parallel connections to remote hosts, the key defining characteristic of BT traffic. I solve this problem by limiting the number of connections (note, not the bandwidth) my BT client may establish. After some experimentation I settled on a figure of 90, which seems to be sufficient to run half-a-dozen torrents and still not knock the router over.

Of course, maybe you do have a faulty router, and maybe you never use BitTorrent, but if you do, I'd try reducing the connection limit first before heading off to the store.
I do use Azureus for my downloads, but this particularly irritating problem (one minute you're fine, the next you're not; there is no disconnect frequency or pattern to discern and both the power cycle AND the 'connect' button in the 192.168.1.1 interface page don't always fix the thing) has never affected me before - even when I went as far as downloading a couple gigabytes of data (I hardly go over the 500Mb mark in terms of individual AND simultaneous downloads, to show how...'exceptional' it is for me). Compared to my activities from a year or two ago...I'm a little more moderate in regards to P2P, so I don't think it's the source of my woes. Nah, it only started manifesting itself two, three weeks ago, and it only went truly bad this Wednesday, which is when I applied the firmware upgrade and observed no resolution to my problem. I can understand if there was a snowball effect eventually culminating in a total FUBAR device, but...well, I tried replacing the firmware, moving and/or changing the cables, looking at the filter...no use.

Anyway, looks like my pops will be hitting the stores this evening as he really needs a new router for work, so I believe I started this topic a lil' too late. Still, I'd like some suggestions or feedback on which brand appears to be the top dog - and why (critical). Just to keep myself informed, as I don't exactly follow the current hardware evolution paths and all that. One never knows.
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Old 2009-03-07, 17:53   Link #4
IRJustman
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Join Date: Apr 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Consumer routers have limited memory, and many of them cannot maintain large numbers of simultaneous parallel connections to remote hosts, the key defining characteristic of BT traffic. I solve this problem by limiting the number of connections (note, not the bandwidth) my BT client may establish. After some experimentation I settled on a figure of 90, which seems to be sufficient to run half-a-dozen torrents and still not knock the router over.

Of course, maybe you do have a faulty router, and maybe you never use BitTorrent, but if you do, I'd try reducing the connection limit first before heading off to the store.
Some routers even have the ability to raise the limit, but again, as you've said, that's a direct function of the router's available RAM. DD-WRT supports up to 4096 translations, which I have it set to by default now. It seems to work fine.

In my case, given the fact I have a rather specialized setup, I might put a torrenting machine on the outside IP block via a different VLAN on my core switch (I have eight bridged IPs and everything is segmented via a Cisco Catalyst 3548 switch). That way, no NAT is taking place, and as such, there's nothing to break other than speed records. ;)

--Ian.
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Old 2009-03-07, 18:47   Link #5
chikorita157
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Try installing DD-WRT on your router. I have installed DD-WRT on my Buffalo WHR-G54S (which they do not produce anymore) which solved my connection and wireless strength problems. The downside is that it was a lengthy and difficult process, but it can be simple depending on who made your router.

Be careful though... some routers don't come with that much flash ram which makes it difficult to install DD-WRT with full functionality.
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Old 2009-03-07, 19:05   Link #6
IRJustman
Founder, Sprocket Hole
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Fresno or Sacramento, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chikorita157 View Post
Try installing DD-WRT on your router. I have installed DD-WRT on my Buffalo WHR-G54S (which they do not produce anymore) which solved my connection and wireless strength problems. The downside is that it was a lengthy and difficult process, but it can be simple depending on who made your router.

Be careful though... some routers don't come with that much flash ram which makes it difficult to install DD-WRT with full functionality.
Actually, there's a reason (more here) why they don't "produce" it anymore. It has to do with patent problems in the United States, and if this case is upheld, the wireless networking market in the United States is in grave danger. Buffalo was a test case, probably because it was considered a "small potatoes" target, unlike Linksys (which is owned by Cisco), D-Link and others.

Personal note: I own three of them myself and I want more because they work very nicely with DD-WRT. I want more. :(

--Ian.
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