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I have had a LevelOne wireless router G which I have been using for over 5 years without much problems with WEP encryption.

As recently I have added a ROKU player for TV streaming in a different floor (wireless connection) of my home, I was trying for an upgrade to the new N routers - even though the G router was able to support the streaming without much fuss.

First I bought a dual band N600 belkin router which had so many connection drops, I had to return it in a week. Now I got a 300 MBps ASUS single band (2.8 GHz) router which too makes my devices - computers and ROKU struggle to connect wirelessly. There are so many connection drops and buffering - it's not even close to the G router.

I've now temporarily switched back to the G router, and it's working quite flawlessly. The difference was so clear -- the whole family feels it readily because now the TV is dependent on it too.

Now, I am perplexed what's wrong with the newer and faster technology that I have had this problem in two separate occassions -- The only difference to my knowledge was - I used WPA2 encryption on the new N router vs. WEP password on the old G router. Other features including MAC filtering and Firewall function, DMZ etc are all turned off.

I have a time warner cable internet, which first connects to my VoIP (Ooma) phone adapter and then in turn to the wireless router. All these are in an upstairs room closet -- there are quite a few walls between the family room where I actually use the computers and ROKU to the closet in which I could place the routers and VoIP adapters etc (This is the only place I have the wall phone connection and cable connection, and therefore the only place where the VoIP adapter and wires can be setup...There is one more place but it is in high traffic area and therefore would look messy.)

Thought of asking an expert forum before deciding to return even the 2nd router and say good bye to the 802.11N for a few months/years.

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Do you have a 802.11g device in your network? – Ali May 22 '12 at 5:11

This is a shot in the dark, but when you set up your N routers, you didn't set N-only mode (disable G and B rates) did you? Because turning off G and B rates can kill your range.

You should also note that some N routers can be configured to use wide channels (40MHz-wide channels, a.k.a. "HT40") in the 2.4GHz band, which can give higher throughput in clean environments but because it uses 2 contiguous channels bonded together instead of just one, you have to make sure that both channels are clean. Let's say you'd been doing G on channel 1 and it had been working fine. Now you set up an HT40-capable N router on channel 1. When it transmits a 40MHz-wide signal, it uses channels 1 and 5 together. So if your neighbor's network was on, say, 6 (the channels in 2.4GHz overlap quite a bit), it will interfere with your HT40 N gear when it never would have interfered with your old G gear. Usually N routers allow you to select 20MHz-only mode if you need to, so that you don't have to worry about your transmissions going across so much of the band.

If I were you, I'd set 20MHz-only, leave G and B support enabled, and put my N router on the same 2.4GHz channel as I had been running my old G router on. Then I'd see how that works. If that doesn't work I'd return the router and buy a higher-quality N router. If that limited setup worked fine, then I'd test using wide channels or using the 5GHz band, knowing I could always fall back to the more limited config that worked fine.

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Thanks for your answer. I've already checked this to be only 20 MHz and b/g are on too. Only the signal is weak and it drops very often. Higher end -- I doubt it -- because already these routers that I bought have too many features I guess (which may be hampering their basic function) But if you could, any specific model number/make would help. – Ram PV Aug 3 '11 at 0:02
@Ram Apple's newest dual-band, 3 spacial stream AirPort Extreme (the revision that just came out in June - part number MD031LL/A, model number A1408) is very nice, as is the Cisco-Linksys E4200 and the Netgear WNDR3700. I've actually worked with all three of them, and they're all strong contenders for the "rate and range" crown. – Spiff Aug 3 '11 at 2:50

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