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Asus RT-N16 vs Cisco E4200 for Tomato If 5GHz doesn't Mater.

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by wit100, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. wit100

    wit100 Networkin' Nut Member

    If you don't care for 5GHz (only use 2.4GHz), which is the better router for 30+ connected wired devices? I plan to run Tomato and do currently have a RT-N16 but never used E4200. Looking to get another nice router to run Tomato.

    They have the same CPU and the Asus has more RAM and flash RAM and is also less expensive but if $ isn't the point here, which would be the better router for better wired performance using Tomato?

    Gotta love Tomato!

    (Initially posted into the wrong forum... Now corrected in the Tomato Forum here...)
  2. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    Another RT-N16 would be my choice at the moment.
  3. wit100

    wit100 Networkin' Nut Member

    Hi Toastman,

    Thank you. Love your build (which is what I run right now on the current RT-N16).

    May I ask why? Obviously, I run your build so if you say get another RT-N16, that is what I will do. :) A bit curious to know the reason if you don't mind me asking. Thank you for all the great Toastman Build!
  4. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

  5. shibby20

    shibby20 Network Guru Member

  6. jsmiddleton4

    jsmiddleton4 Network Guru Member

    Can't believe I'm going to suggest something other than shibby and toastman but in my mind at this juncture in the industry I would not buy anything that is not dual band. I said that in the other thread as well. The price difference is not that great and today do you need and use 5 ghz? No you aren't. Tomorrow? I'm pretty sure you will be glad tomorrow that you bought a dual band router today.
  7. eahm

    eahm LI Guru Member

    I don't use the 5Ghz either and after long test I sticked with the E4200. It's better, it handles more simultaneous connections.

    The RT-N16 is cheap though.
  8. wit100

    wit100 Networkin' Nut Member

    I went ahead and bought a RT-N16 as suggested by Toastman and Shibby. I have had good experience with RT-N16 myself.

    Quite curious though, did you run your long test on E4200 using stock firmware or Tomato? There are also two versionis of E4200. If you could please elaborate on which routers you compared, and the methodology, stock firmware or Tomato or DD-WRT, it would be most informative. Thank you.
  9. Catalin

    Catalin Addicted to LI Member

    I own both a RT-N16 and an E4200. Both modded with coolers. E4200 has stronger wifi signal over the 2.4G band.
  10. eahm

    eahm LI Guru Member

    E4200v1 + Tomato Shibby

    Simple test: load 30 torrents from a private tracker at full speed. NETGEAR is the worse, the RT-N16 locks, the E3000 runs perfectly, the E4200 same.

    I did other test just because I liked to but after that one I was done choosing.

    Even the 2.4Ghz WiFi is better/stronger. Streaming Blu-rays to the Boxee Box at 30 feet the E4200 is perfect.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk.
  11. wit100

    wit100 Networkin' Nut Member

    Thanks for elaborating a bit more about your experience. Appreciate it.

    I assume that means Shibby on all the routers and same version for comparison. That seems odd if we are talking about wired speed since E4200v1, RT-N16, E3000 all have the same CPU so the performance should be essentially identical. RT-N16 also has external antennas which should help it receive wireless signals or at least the option to replace them and Tomato also allows you to adjust signal strength. (RT-N16 also has more RAM and flash memory, but they shouldn't play a role in such a test either).

    I would expect a thorough test using the same Tomato firmware version to perform exactly the same with E4200v1, RT-N16, and E3000.

    As mentioned, I went ahead and got a RT-N16 in the end.

    The reasons are simple:
    - Toastman and Shibby both recommend and obviously use it. :)
    - Since both Toastman and Shibby both recommend and obviously use it, there is more trust that it will continue to run in a very stable fashion as future Tomato releases are made.
    - More RAM and flash memory, even though I most likely won't use that much but it's more future proof.
  12. crashnburn

    crashnburn LI Guru Member

    Interesting BURN-IN experiment. Anyone got other feedback regarding multiple torrent handling on RT-N16?
  13. xtacydima

    xtacydima LI Guru Member

    I can say that I loaded over a hundred torrents one day (all very large filesize HD content), my speeds where I am from my ISP are 50/8 and all downloaded within a few hours, my router did not lock as results from user eahm, heck even web surfing was not affected, although gaming was not possible. So all I can say is that not everyone's results here are typical, they are dependent on their specific user setup and environment. My router is modded with a cooling fan and extra vga heatsink's on all chips inside, so this is my experience that I can offer to share.
  14. eahm

    eahm LI Guru Member

    Maybe was just an older mod (~1 year ago). I should get one now and test it again with Shibby (or Toastman) mod...
  15. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    You know what I find works great for getting better signal strength on a RT-N16?

    Replacing the antennas.
    crashnburn likes this.
  16. mito

    mito LI Guru Member

    Yeah, replacing antennas gained 8% signal strength and obviosly speed a little more far away from router. Both antennas are in "A" and Transmit Power found that 62 runs great and smooth. Checked with Inssider at 50 feet.
    crashnburn likes this.
  17. xtacydima

    xtacydima LI Guru Member

    I agree, I have antennae similar to the ones in the avatar pic of mito, I purchased them sold as 16dbi or 17dbi, I forget now, overall you can't really complain, for under a hundred bux you get a great little machine. I mean lets face it, if you want a real router then invest a few hundred or more into a real cisco and sit there with Telnet which isn't too friendly and you will have your ultimate network, but for the common user or SOHO business, these are all great devices.
  18. though

    though Network Guru Member

    i can confirm that i have had zillions of torrents running on my N16 and have not had any problems whatsoever.

    another to consider is the newer RT-N66U
  19. crashnburn

    crashnburn LI Guru Member

    Can you please share the DETAILS (Specs (dB) | Size | Price | Brand/Model | Location / Product/ Purchase Link) of your replacement Antenna?
  20. xtacydima

    xtacydima LI Guru Member

    Generic non brand made in china purchase off of ebay, 2 antenna seem good, the third a bit cheap and droops from time to time, but hey, they work, and work better than stock - I paid approx $10 per antenna
  21. Toastman

    Toastman Super Moderator Staff Member Member

    For the price one can't complain. But that figure of 16 or 17dBi - I'd certainly caution anyone to ignore claims like that. I reckon they stuck a 1 on the beginning "by accident". :D
  22. mito

    mito LI Guru Member

  23. mito

    mito LI Guru Member

  24. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Sorry for not replying earlier, I got swamped at work and forgot all about this thread.

    Aside from obvious places, like NewEgg, there are some other sources for antennas. Currently my favorite is L-com because they publish each antenna's gain pattern.


    You need antennas with RP-SMA connectors for an RT-N16. The WRT-54GL used RP-TNC (I think). As you can see from the gain pattern from this antenna:

    the vertical gain offers a fairly even pattern aside from a pair of dead spots. While this antenna, despite having higher gain, has a really uneven vertical pattern with larger dead spots:

    The problem with buying the antennas from other vendors is you have no idea what their pattern is. This is a 9dBi antenna, but will it have the same pattern as the one above?

    And if you buy antennas from more traditional merchants, like NewEgg, often times the manufacturers themselves don't have this information (though I might've just hit first tier support and confused the non-native English speaker on the other end, so far nobody has provided anything besides reiterating dBi). That said, I have a set of Rosewill antennas on mine now, bought from NewEgg, and they cost WAY more than comparable units from fab and L-com, but when I bought them I didn't know about either merchant... and I'm starting to think the dead spots I don't like are due to the new antennas (though, with the stock antennas, those spots were also dead).
    crashnburn likes this.
  25. crashnburn

    crashnburn LI Guru Member

    Lovely post Monk E Boy. Exactly what I wanted to see. Its funny that even with tons of googling and searching forums I did not find this L-com website. They definitely have to AMP up their SEO and marketing because they seem to have the BEST information about their Antennas and pricing seems pretty DECENT.

    Any other such hidden gems / sites/ stores/ sellers ?

    I am also wondering if its possible to determine RANGE / RADIUS of that Radiation Pattern ? I am mostly looking for Horizontal spread, because I am in a 2 level Condo and the Vertical radiation gets screwed over by Steel enforced CONCRETE slabs for ceiling / flooring.

    PS: While exploring a bit more .. with reference to this page: http://www.l-com.com/category.aspx?id=2073

    There are 2 categories out of the many.. Rubber Duck v/s Omnidirectional. Are they really that different? How are they different? They seem to have similar structure & radiation patterns.

    PS: Which specific/ dBi antenna did you install?
  26. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    Rubber ducks are omnidirectional antennas, on L-Com's site what they call omnidirectional antennas are ceiling or externally mounted antennas that would be attached to the router via a long cable. They make externally mounted directional antennas, which only broadcast in a particular direction, hence the omnidirectional category. Rubber ducks directly attach to the router. I believe the term rubber ducks comes from old walkie talkie antennas, which were actually made out of rubber (router antennas are plastic), but (key point coming up) were directly attached to the walkie talkie.

    I just ordered a set of 5dBi antennas from l-com, currently I have 7 or 8 dBi antennas from NewEgg. While they tremendously extended the range, there are still dead spots fairly close to the router. It may just be a combination of metal/wood/brick that no signal is going to penetrate, but it might be the antennas. If you look at the gain patterns the higher dBi antennas are basically trading horizontal coverage for vertical coverage - the stronger the antenna gets the more oddball it's vertical gain pattern gets.

    I used to live in a 3-level townhouse which got spotty coverage on the 3rd floor with the router in the basement. Got hotter antennas and it worked better but was still not perfect. Getting a 2nd router for the 3rd floor, setting it to another channel, configuring it as a secondary router, then connecting the two via ethernet worked excellent... actually used some powerline networking boxes to do the long run between rooms, but within each room it was ethernet. Sadly I had to stick the primary router in the basement because Comcast's craptacular signal insured a spotty internet connection anywhere else in the house.

    As far as how far a particular antenna is going to work, that's really determined by your environment. We're not just talking about penetrating solid objects, we're also talking about interference from other 2.4Ghz signals as well as harmonic interference from signals on other frequencies, etc. that are within range of your location. This is why wireless vendors always insist on site surveys (at least the decent ones do, Jimmy's House of WiFi might not). Every site is a little different... while you can always measure & extrapolate (e.g. use 2dBi stock antennas, buy 5dBi antennas, then measure differences between the two and guess at how far 7dBi/9dBi will work based on that), actually knowing takes trying it with hardware similar to the proposed installation and taking measurements.
  27. crashnburn

    crashnburn LI Guru Member

    Thanks for the great inputs Monk E Boy. I've got 2 options now to get the signal across a Nice Thick Concrete Slab:
    - Use an old Airlink G-Router as AP on the other Level connected via Ethernet [Ends up with G]
    - Extend one of the 3 antennas on the RT-N16 using Cable (Approx 2/3 metres) [Gives G & N ..Hence N speeds]
    (Any recommendations on the kind of Cable for the above length)

    Thoughts on the above?
  28. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    One problem with attaching a cable is that every meter of cable introduces signal loss, and there's some really lossy cable out there. So you could make a long run and end up with a 0db antenna after combining loss (from the cable) & gain (from the antenna).

    However the real problem is you can't get a good connection to a single antenna and have a quality signal, unless that's the only antenna on the router. With it in auto antenna mode you need connections to at least 2 antennas (send & receive), and with MIMO it can require 3 or more antennas.

    I'd say repurposing your old router and having G at one end and N at the other is your best bet. Unless you they have a sale on RT-N12s again, we bought ours on sale for a little over $30 last year...
  29. crashnburn

    crashnburn LI Guru Member

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