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suggestions for wireless router.
Old 05-13-2014, 08:08 AM   #1
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suggestions for wireless router.

I have 4 computers, 2 tablets and a couple kids using netflix, plus ipods. I notice my bandwidth is slowing way down when a lot of these are used at the same time. I was wondering if any of you have had this problem and how you fixed it. I was thinking about a dual band router, but again I don't know if this will fix the problem. I have read some reviews and some say dual band is the way to go and some say that if your wireless cards are not the same manufacturer as the router they will not work together. any suggestions? thanks

frank
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:21 AM   #2
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You might consider one that can run the "tomato" system (open source), considering the back doors recently discovered in the proprietary systems.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:18 AM   #3
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The dual band routers go to 300 mbits/second on the old n band and 1300 mbits/second on the ac band. Now the next question is do any of the devices have the new band? If not they wont help. You also might check the incoming internet bandwidth, and see if it is adequate. One way to do this is at least between the computers try copying some files back and forth and compare the speed you see in task manager to the speeds you see accessing the network.
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Old 05-13-2014, 09:27 AM   #4
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frank,
It is hard to define "slows down" but we know when we hit that bump in the road. It takes too much time to isolate the problem(s), so buy a new router with dual band and so on.

Then the fun begins. You'll set it up with a password, and maybe tweak a few things. It'll be great. Then the kids come home...

One nice thing is that you can put your streaming system on the dual-band, and the kids on the G.
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Old 05-13-2014, 11:12 AM   #5
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Dual band is OK if you need to run two high speed WLAN's at the same time.

Routers can be slow enough, just in processor speed, to bottleneck your data to the internet. Or if everyone has a marginal wireless connection the wireless speed could be lacking. It seems likely that you have an older router that may be slower than your internet connection.

I just bought an ASUS RT-AC66U which has been rock solid for a month now, unlike my old Linksys E3200 I bought a year or two ago. That is the part that you can't really judge.

Look at this website for technical info and nice reviews:

Router Charts - WAN to LAN Throughput - SmallNetBuilder

According to their chart my new router can handle 836 Mbps of internet to computer throughput. That should be OK until I get Gigabit internet. They also recommend something less expensive than mine. I liked ASUS because they seemed to be a little more reliable (from user reviews), have a VPN server that I can use to remotely login to my home network, and had external antennas. So far so good.
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Old 05-13-2014, 12:50 PM   #6
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This is a little off topic, but as to the "streaming" part.
A slowdown based on shared bandwidth, is not always what you'd expect. I have a Roku with NetFlix and Amazon... and 50Mbps burst from Comcast wired/wireless router. While Amazon streams at about 27Mbps, NetFlix, with the same quality settings never goes beyond 7Mbps.
I don't understand the tecnical part, but those speeds are consistent. Is NetFlix throttled and Amazon not? Would have expected the opposite.

When we moved in, here in 2004, I hard wired CAT5 cable to the different rooms... Never regretted that decision. Leave an old wireless N router connected for when my kids and their families visit.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:06 PM   #7
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I just bought an ASUS RT-AC66U which has been rock solid for a month now, unlike my old Linksys E3200 I bought a year or two ago.
+1 Very nice router IMO.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:19 PM   #8
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We have an Apple Airport Express that works fine for a couple of phones, 2 iPads, Apple tv and 2 computers. Also had the airport express at work for primarily non apple devices. worked fine there too.
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Old 05-13-2014, 05:16 PM   #9
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All Apple high speed WiFi here.
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Old 05-13-2014, 06:23 PM   #10
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I just bought an ASUS RT-AC66U which has been rock solid for a month now, unlike my old Linksys E3200 I bought a year or two ago. That is the part that you can't really judge.
I bought the Asus RT-AC68U, and have been very pleased with it. The 68U was on sale, and only about $20 more than the 66U, so I splurged. But both are great routers, because I did read the reviews for both.

I also like that it has a button on the side so you can turn off the radios if you want. Even though I use the security settings, and MAC access list, I still like to turn off the radios when I'm not at the house, just in case. That's just the super-paranoid part of me, but I'm glad the Asus has that ability.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:14 PM   #11
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ASIs 66u here - nice features, great performance, rock solid.
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Old 05-13-2014, 08:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by frank View Post
I have 4 computers, 2 tablets and a couple kids using netflix, plus ipods. I notice my bandwidth is slowing way down when a lot of these are used at the same time. ...
frank
To solve the problem, you need to identify the weakest link in the chain.

What is your typical max internet bandwidth? How much bandwidth does each of those expected simultaneous uses require? If your internet source is the limiting factor, faster routers will just be throwing money and complexity at the problem, w/o fixing anything.

-ERD50
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank View Post
I have 4 computers, 2 tablets and a couple kids using netflix, plus ipods. I notice my bandwidth is slowing way down when a lot of these are used at the same time. I was wondering if any of you have had this problem and how you fixed it. I was thinking about a dual band router, but again I don't know if this will fix the problem. I have read some reviews and some say dual band is the way to go and some say that if your wireless cards are not the same manufacturer as the router they will not work together. any suggestions? thanks

frank
Before you buy a new one, check the settings of your current router. If QoS is enabled and you don't use it, disable it. It consumes a lot of processor power and that may be slowing down the router.
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:51 AM   #14
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sengsational: what is the tomato system or open source? and how do I find it? will be looking at the asus routers you guys mentioned and wanted to mention that my download speed is only about 2gb and was wondering if that might be the whole problem. thanks again.
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:10 AM   #15
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Tomato is a linux based open source replacement for a routers firmware. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato_(firmware)

Probably not what you want if you are not familiar with it and comfortable wiping and reloading firmware on the router

you need to check to see where the problem is. Download speed may be your ISP. As other mentioned it could be your ISP, your router, the clients or a combination of these.
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:27 AM   #16
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I've used most brands of routers over the years and I've gravitated to a pure Apple Airport system. At home I use a few Airport Extremes to cover the house. These have been excellent workhorse routers and work as a integrated system for us.

In both of my folks homes, they now use Airport Express routers. These are cheaper than the Airport Extremes, but with less coverage and throughput. It's the right trade off for them. These routers just work. The old Linksys and Belkin routers we used to use needed a kick ever so often.

The Apple Airports are worth it for their reliability and almost zero maintenance.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:07 AM   #17
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s ... will be looking at the asus routers you guys mentioned and wanted to mention that my download speed is only about 2gb and was wondering if that might be the whole problem. thanks again.
Again, if your ISP is the limiting issue, changing routers won't help at all.

Can you double check your rated ISP speed, and run a speed test and post the results? Here's a speed test site I use:

Speedtest.net by Ookla - The Global Broadband Speed Test


Run it with nothing else going on on your network (no one else streaming, downloading, active web browsing, etc).

For streaming, the 'download speed' is the important number. And note that it is important whether that is an UPPERCASE 'B', or a lower-case 'b'. 'B' is a 'byte', which is 8 'bits (lower-case 'b'). Speedtest.net gave me a report in Mbps (Millions of bits per second).

I'm on a 'fixed-wireless' ISP, which isn't as fast as most cable providers. I get ~ 3Mbps from that test. Streaming can be a problem for more than one stream, and I can't always get the highest quality stream.


For reference, even the oldest, slowest routers are spec'd at 11Mbps, and current ones are rated at 54Mbps or more (likely faster than your ISP provides). So unless you have an interference or coverage problem, router speed is unlikely to be your problem.

You need to understand the problem before you can fix it. Please report back on the speedtest.

What is the make/model of your current router?


-ERD50
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:04 AM   #18
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Frontier DSL here and using their router.
Ran your speed test for grins = 6.5 Mbps, I'm paying for 6 Mbps service.
Later this evening when everybody in the surrounding area gets home from work, school, etc... buzzz thanks for playing.

I get 0.7 to 1.0 Mbps on average during the evening time frame, even loading this forum is slow at times.
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:44 AM   #19
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I am on centurylink and ran the test it turned out 2.1gbps the router is a linksys wrt5462 v1. where do you find the airport routers? I am thinking I should upgrade my speed through centurylink and it might take care of the problem. what do you think?
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Old 05-15-2014, 08:49 AM   #20
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I am on centurylink and ran the test it turned out 2.1gbps the router is a linksys wrt5462 v1. where do you find the airport routers? I am thinking I should upgrade my speed through centurylink and it might take care of the problem. what do you think?
I think you mistyped or misunderstood something.

Did you mean 2.1 Mbps?

What service level are you paying for now ( advertised Mbps rating)?

What service level are you looking to upgrade to ( advertised Mbps rating)?

For Netflix, they recommend the following capabilities (double them for two streams at once ('Bandwidth' and 'speed' and 'bps' are used interchangeably):

https://help.netflix.com/en/node/306

Quote:
Internet Connection Speed Recommendations

Below are the Internet download speed recommendations per stream for playing movies and TV shows through Netflix.

0.5 Megabits per second - Required broadband connection speed
1.5 Megabits per second - Recommended broadband connection speed
3.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for SD quality
5.0 Megabits per second - Recommended for HD quality
...

Netflix Bandwidth Usage

Higher quality video uses more bandwidth than lower-quality video. If your service provider applies a bandwidth or data cap to your Internet service, you can Manage Bandwidth Usage by changing the video quality settings to Low or Medium to consume less data.
Instructions on how you can 'lock' Netflix to a lower quality, which uses less bandwidth.

https://help.netflix.com/en/node/87

Bottom line, 2.1Mbps (if that is what you have) will be troublesome for two streams I think, even if you set the limits on the quality, maybe OK at the lowest quality setting on Netflix (try it and see if the Quality is OK for everyone).

I'll look up specs on that router later....

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