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Looks like the WRT54G is no longer adequate for our needs. At first with only a 2-3 people on the router it was ok, but now with more people and devices it's just no longer reliable. Crashes almost every day.

What device do you guys recommend recommend for around a dozen or two people and devices that probably has more than normal bandwidth usage?

PS: I'm not looking for anything more complex in terms of configs on this device/appliance, I just want it to be able to handle more throughput without crashing so regularly.

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Right now I'm looking at sonicwall but I don't know how good a solution this is. I'd like to keep the budget around $300-$500/year if possible –  Steph Sep 29 '09 at 19:03
    
I reset the firmware on my wrt54 and it worked much better. –  Sam Dec 22 '09 at 21:06

8 Answers 8

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Netgear WNDR3700

  • IEEE 802.11n draft version 2.0
  • Simultaneous Dual Band - 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz operation
  • 5 (1 WAN, 4 LAN) Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 680 MHz powerful MIPS 32-bit Processor
  • Memory: 8 MB flash and 64 MB RAM
  • ReadyShare USB Storage Access - support FAT16/32, NTFS Read/Write, Ext 2 Read/Write, Ext 3 Read/Write
  • Denial-of-service (DoS) and stateful packet inspection (SPI) firewall
  • WPA/WPA2 - PSK and WPA/WPA2 Enterprise
  • WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) - Pin and Push Button
  • Advanced Quality of Service (QoS)

alt text

Notes:

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Also, Max Simultaneous Connections is 200 smallnetbuilder.com/component/option,com_chart/Itemid,189/…, though there're no guarantees for throughput at that level –  hyperslug Sep 30 '09 at 18:16
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It even runs OpenWRT forums.smallnetbuilder.com/showthread.php?p=12999 w00t! So DD-WRT shouldn't be too far behind... –  hyperslug Sep 30 '09 at 18:36
    
2nd place goes to D-Link DIR-655, 802.11N, gigabit, #6 on throughput chart, USD 93 @ newegg. Customers like it -> amazon.com/D-Link-DIR-655-Extreme-Wireless-Router/dp/B000LIFB7S/…, newegg.com/Product/…, (lukewarm at cnet) reviews.cnet.com/routers/d-link-dir-655/… –  hyperslug Sep 30 '09 at 21:12
    
No DD-WRT for DIR-655, though, since Ubicom is not open source dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=263824#263824. bummer. –  hyperslug Sep 30 '09 at 21:18
    
Also looked at Zyxel NBG-420N, X550N, they're ok. The higher end of this is Cisco (800 series?), Ruckus ruckuswireless.com, maybe Aruba. Good performers but they exceed budget and probably don't fit your simple-config criteria. –  hyperslug Sep 30 '09 at 22:24

DD-WRT may be supported for that device and it can easily handle well over 2-3 users. It's a third party, linux-based firmware you can install on your router that makes it far more stable than the stock.

Once installed, it's just as easy to use as the stock firmware, so it's pretty much set and forget. You'll have to download the correct firmware based on your exact WRT54G version (v1.0 - v8.2).

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Looks like v7.0 isn't supported so let's hope you don't have that one. –  hyperslug Sep 29 '09 at 18:56
    
I had the same problem, with I think the same netgear router, and it seemed to me that the router would overheat, causing the crashing, not the software. I tried DD-WRT on it as well, and it crashed too. –  Roy Rico Sep 29 '09 at 20:06
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Well if the hardware is bad then, yes, no firmware will help, but I think a lot of folks have found WRT54G's pretty reliable in general. –  hyperslug Sep 29 '09 at 21:26

Have you tried alternative firmwares such as Tomato or DD-WRT. I have been using Tomato for quite some time now without any problems, and I have found it much more reliable than the stock firmware (and DD-WRT for that matter). Third party firmwares can also add additional features not available in the stock firmware that may be useful for managing more nodes.

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Do you think a home device can handle 24 users at once? I doubt it. –  Sam Sep 29 '09 at 19:02
    
I have looked at Tomato but I believe we're beyond what even a change in firmware can do. The machine just isn't powerful enough to handle the amount of data going through it. –  Steph Sep 29 '09 at 19:02
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"Do you think a home device can handle 24 users at once? I doubt it. – Sam", 25 users for this guy serverfault.com/questions/32999/… –  hyperslug Sep 29 '09 at 19:15
    
24 users is NOTHING! I had an office of 30 people running on wrt54gls with openwrt! Perfect linux routers! –  Jakub Jun 13 '11 at 18:52

You will need a more powerful commercial router. I see a company called bountiful, but their page is down.

Netgear has some 'solutions' here: http://www.netgear.com/Solutions/BusinessSolutions/Small.aspx

Looks like you might go with this: http://www.netgear.com/Products/APsWirelessControllers/AccessPoints/WNDAP330.aspx

You might need a switch if you want to connect other devices with wired connections: http://www.netgear.com/Products/Switches/SmartSwitches/FS726TP.aspx or maybe this one: http://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-ProSafe-Gigabit-Ethernet-Desktop/dp/B00006RVPW/ref=pd%5Fsim%5Fe%5F3

I'd call and they could straighten you out.

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I'm not so sure. The power of the WRT54G after replacing the firmware can scale for a bit; the other answers here indicate you can hit about 25-30 users without a hitch. –  Broam Dec 4 '09 at 15:57

If you have an old machine laying around a Smoothwall / pfSense / Monowall firewall might prove to supply better QOS with the current Linksys router acting as a switch (or dump the router and use a dedicated OTB switch instead)

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You could use DD-WRT or Tomato, but in my (limited) experience they're a bit hackish. What you want is a more small business level product, such as this DLink. If you want to go full-on professional, you could get a Cisco but expect to pay considerably more.

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smallnetbuilder only tests simultaneous connections upto 200, so when their chart says 200 it means at least 200 not maximum 200, keep that in mind

Note that in their review they were told that the wndr3700 can support upto 1000 encrypted WPA2 wifi connections (or 350 when it's PKI), and on the netgear forum a moderator claims the router can handle 4096 simultaneous connections (via the LAN ports), but that might be based on the specification of the gigabit chip's VLAN table size? Their forum is maintained by volunteers and not netgear personal.

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I don't understand how you would 'outgrow' a linksys WRT54G in your situation (2-3). If you have CONSTANT crashes, you either have:

a) bad hardware

b) bad configuration for your needs (standard linksys sw? try another firmware flavor)

c) router not configured to limit - uncontrolled people bittorrenting (ton of open sockets) the crap out of the router (which is known to lock up almost all home/small biz routers due to ultra high throughput without config changes).

I have run the Linksys WRT54G with 29 people (small office env), I used OpenWRT on it successfully and have had no problems, it was stable as a rock, complete with full QOS funcationality and a 10mbit inbound/1.5mbit outbound connection.

The WRT54G's only limitations IMHO is 100mbit if you want 1GB+ pay more. If you are fine with 100mb (for internet access!) then WRT54G is perfect.

Myself I ran the WRT54G as the gateway & internet traffic QOSing. With 2 16x1GB switches for network (LAN) traffic. I just had one of the 16xers plug into the router for outgoing/incoming internet traffic. That way nobody was limited by 100mbits until they came off the LAN.

Just some food for thought, don't dismiss the Linksys WRT54G, its a great little router, thats why there is such large community support for it.

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