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So, it looks like within a couple weeks we will finally be graduating from dial-up (a super user on dial-up? I know, I know). My dad has tasked me with finding out about a wireless router; he seems to just want something basic and dependable. So, not being too experienced with wireless routers myself, I decided to pass the buck, so to speak.

So, the important info: our house is ~2200 sq. feet, with a full basement, floor one, and an upstairs. It would be nice to have decent reception in most spots. Also, if it ends up being somewhat weak in some areas, I might buy an antenna with more power, so if that would affect a choice of router, that would be nice to know.

The internet won't be pushing our router bandwidth or anything - it'll be either 256/256 K or 512/512 K, I think.

And... that's it, I think.

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closed as off-topic by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, teylyn, Tog, gronostaj, Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Aug 9 '13 at 10:48

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking product, service, or learning material recommendations are off-topic because they tend to become obsolete quickly. Instead, describe your situation and the specific problem you're trying to solve. Here are a few suggestions on how to properly ask this type of question." – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, teylyn, Tog, gronostaj, Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This should definitely be a CW, if it is allowed on here at all. – MDMarra Nov 5 '09 at 20:53
Yeah, maybe. But I am talking about a specific situation. IDK, maybe if it gets too repy I'll CW it (or maybe someone else will first). – Nathaniel Nov 5 '09 at 21:28
Since there is no right answer, only suggestions it belongs as a CW – MDMarra Nov 6 '09 at 2:15
Dial-up?! This is not the kind of thing you mention in polite society... – Manos Dilaverakis Nov 6 '09 at 15:38
You are probably correct, Mark. Thus I acquiesce. – Nathaniel Nov 8 '09 at 0:47
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The most common wireless router that is typically a fan favorite is the Linksys WRT54G/GS. You can use Tomato or DD-WRT ROMs if you want uber-nerd options. It's fairly mature and well supported.

If you want something a little more heavy duty with a few different features (and have money to spare), I'd suggest the DLink DWL-3200AP. It's probably overkill for your situation as the price is much higher than the Linksys one, but I figured to offer an alternative. It's really geared more towards businesses than consumers but I figured you might want a more "rugged" alternative. I own a DWL-3200AP and it's extremely rugged, with solid software and is relatively flexible in comparison to DDWRT/Tomato and the like.

P.S. Make sure to use a good power strip or (if you have the means) a UPS. I've owned about 3 WRT54GS and most of them died out as I didn't use a power strip on the first one. The second one eventually died out with a crappy power strip. The third one is held up as it was attached to my UPS. Power spikes happen all the time and as far as I'm concerned, consumer level devices don't hold up too well to power fluctuations whether they be spikes or brown-outs.

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Definitely recommend the UPS for routers. Some of those buggers just reboot if the voltage isn't steady. – epochwolf Nov 6 '09 at 0:58
+1 for the good, old WRT54 ... one of the finest routers ever made. – Molly7244 Nov 6 '09 at 14:34
Got our WRT54GL today and it's working fine. Have it plugged into a surge protector as per your warning. Broadband this weekend hopefully. Thanks. – Nathaniel Dec 15 '09 at 0:24
Glad to hear it. UPS would be better but a good surge should do just fine. – osij2is Dec 15 '09 at 6:35

The apartment building I live in has two Engenius EOC-2610 access points and they are sufficient to blanket the entire 3-floor, 80 apartment building. They're pretty inexpensive and the software they come with is a lot more configurable than your typical Linksys WRT54GL. The only catch is they come with a patch antenna, so you'd probably want to get an omnidirectional one.

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the EnGenius router is supported by the paid version of DD-WRT (though the Linksys is supported by the free version, as well as by OpenWRT, which is completely free). – quack quixote Nov 6 '09 at 15:41

I would highly recommend not getting a wrt54G. They used to be the gold standard, run it ot of the box solution but since cisco bought them out they have really gone downhill on quality. I can't speak to the wrt54gl thought I think it has better underling hardware (more RAM etc.).

I've been happy with the netgear I recently bought. I've found the setup for the netgear to be much more user friendly.

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you're quite right, a recommendation for the WRT54G should not go without the warning that later models are crippled indeed, damn Cisco! :) little research however will reveal the the versions you better not touch. – Molly7244 Nov 6 '09 at 14:40
Nice thinking there. I'm thinking 54GL if I go that way; it seems to be a friendly model (hardware and Linux). – Nathaniel Nov 8 '09 at 2:58

I would suggest Linksys WRT54G/GS with firmware DD-WRT. I have been running this setup for almost 4 years now without any issues.

Good luck. Hope this helps.

[update] Default firmware doesn't provide any control over "transmission power" which may extend the range of your wireless signal.

I have my wireless router setup on first floor of my house (in room on front side of house). Previously, I was barely able to get good signal on first floor or basement. It was impossible to get good wireless signal in backyard as well. I didn't wanted to shell out $$ for wireless repeaters. Researched for sometime on what settings can be changed to extend wireless signal and that's how i found DD-WRT firmware. All of the above problems are fixed when i increased Xmit power setting from default (~25) to (50-70). This might overheat your router a little bit. So monitor your router for overheating while slowly increase this setting over 2 to 3 days.

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If you get one of these, make double sure that the exact model you're looking at supports custom firmwares, if that's what you want to do. – Ryan Thompson Nov 5 '09 at 22:38
Good catch.---- – Nathaniel Nov 5 '09 at 22:49
BTW, why do you run DD-WRT, priyankpatel? It would be nice to hear you're reason in context. – Nathaniel Nov 5 '09 at 23:20
-1 osij2is posted the very same recommendation 1 hour earlier, if you want to second it, upvote this answer. – Molly7244 Nov 6 '09 at 14:33
I have updated the comments with why i use DD-WRT firmware. – priyankpatel Nov 6 '09 at 14:58

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