I’d been having problems with my wireless router for quite some time, like about a year, and I really needed to get a new one. The old router was really quite old, probably about 5 years, and it just needed physically rebooted at least once a day, sometimes up to three times, to get the wireless function to work again, which was quite annoying. I have quite a number of devices throughout the house that use it, so the constant complaints about it from family members was getting to be a right pain.
After much deliberation, I decided to buy a Netgear WNDR3300, which is capable of 802.11n. Not only that, but it also dual band, which seemed cool, although ultimately wasn’t really going to bring me anything extra. What it did do, though, was make it clear to me which of my devices (PC, Xbox etc) was capable of the ‘n’ band, as it basically runs as two separate wireless routers with different names, so when I connected a device to the wireless router, older devices could only connect to the ‘g’ band while the newer ones preferred the ‘n’ band. So this was useful just so that I could see which devices supported ‘n’.
What a bad decision that was.
The problems were made very obvious by the fact that it was dual band – the faster band, the ‘n’ one, worked perfectly. I only have about 2 devices capable of connecting to the ‘n’ band, one being my main desktop, and they all connected no problem to it, and stayed connected to it.
However, the devices which couldn’t connect to the ‘n’ band, which accounted for almost everything else, had the problems. They could all connect to the ‘g’ band fine, but they then disconnected from it within a few minutes, and although they reconnected themselves again within a couple of minutes, then disconnected again. And so on. I know the problem was with the wireless router because I had six separate devices all having the same problem, and it was a wide range of devices, too (multiple PCs, Xbox, PS3, Nokia N97).
So back to the shop it went, and PC World were good enough to just believe me that it needed returned, they didn’t even ask what was wrong with it. Maybe they had seen many coming back before.
Another couple of days research then made me consider a different device. While the Netgear one had been £110, I discovered one by a company called Edimax, model BR-6574n, which was only £50 but supported ‘n’ band. It doesn’t have two bands, but as I say, that wasn’t really bringing me anything; we don’t run video feeds over our connection much, if ever.
So I got this Edimax device and all I can say is that it is one of the best IT purchases ever. It was fairly simple to set up, the instructions did not quite match the questions that the installer ultimately asked, but I guessed at what to do and it was a breeze from then on. It’s been running for many weeks and I’ve only had to restart it once, and even then I’m not sure that it was at fault, because I reckon it might have been the cable modem behind it. It even allows me to set static DHCP leases based on MAC addresses, which is something that no other wireless router has allowed me to do before. I find this handy for reasons that I’ll not bore you with; 99.9% of you won’t need this feature so don’t worry about it.
The bottom line therefore is that if you’re looking for a new wireless router for a broadband connection, then I thoroughly recommend the Edimax BR-6574n.