Wireless routers (part 2)

Guides By 5 years ago

In my previous blog post, I mentioned why simultaneous dual band routers are good and why you should throw away your old G series and get an N series!

Now I”m here to say that get the N series router if you”re still using a G one, but don”t spend too much money on it, here”s the reason why:

N was originally announced back in 2006, 2007 isn and it was finalised in 2009. So it”s already reaching towards the end of its cycle and 802.11ac will be finalised by the end of next year.

What”s 802.11ac?

802.11ac is the next generation of 802.11 standard which is still under development (draft 4.0) which runs over the 5GHz band. Theoretically, this spec allows a WLAN throughput of at least 1 gigabit per second and a maximum single link throughput of at least 500 megabits per second (500 Mbit/s). According to a study, more than 1 billion 802.11ac devices will be around by 2015.

Some of the big players like Asus and Linksys already have ac models in the market which are priced more than AU$200, but what”s the point since our devices aren”t compatible with it.

Also, Apple who is one of the early adopters of wireless technologies hasn”t implemented ac in their latest products (iPad Mini or iPhone 5), so it”s safe to say that there”s at least another year until ac becomes more mainstream.

I was willing to pay more than $200 to get the based simultaneous dual band device out there a month ago but after reading more about ac, I realised that in a years time, the finalised version will be released and I”d have to spend another $200 to get the latest one.

Instead I decided to get a cheap N series router which could also be used as a repeater so that in the future when I get a better router, I could still use this to extend my range. Cheapest stuff in the market are about $40-$70. I was also looking for something with USB capabilities since I”ve got XBMC on my Apple TV.

In conclusion, my suggestion is that if you”re happy with what you”ve got, don”t buy a new router. If you really NEED TO upgrade, get the cheapest option that would solve your problem and invest in a better one next year (I suggest getting one that could be used as a repeater).

One last suggestion, when buying a router, make sure you go through the DD-WRT list of Supported Devices and make sure you buy a device that”s already on this list. (This is more for those who like to play around with capabilities of their router)

What is DD-WRT?

DD-WRT is a third party linux based firmware for a huge range of wireless routers. The community is big and lots of people contribute to it. 

I recently bought the Asus RT-N13U B1 which had a lot of issues with the original firmware especially after I updated it to the latest one. I figured before returning it, I should give DD-WRT a go and see if that fixes the issues. After installing it (which took less than 10 minutes) the routers runs perfectly fine. So yes, I highly recommend a DD-WRT compatible device.