First time network purchase. Help me make decision.

Discussion in 'Cisco/Linksys Wireless Routers' started by Mr_Reorg, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. Mr_Reorg

    Mr_Reorg Network Guru Member

    Greetings all. I'm glad I discovered this website. I've been lurking for about a week now and I now need to ask a question.

    I'm about to purchase my first router and thought I was going to get the WRT54G (a good buy I thought at $40 AR), but I'm having 2nd thoughts reading about all of the problems people are having. So I started looking at the netgear WGT624 and I find that plenty of people have similar problems with it.

    I'm really confused and now don't know what to do. But I really need to get a router, a.s.a.p.

    Is it worth it? Should I get the WRT54G? You all have this one, but do you still recommend it? Especially with the many drop issues? Should I look elsewhere?

    Help! Your advice is desperately needed.
  2. gotamd

    gotamd Network Guru Member

    I have two WRT54G's and they've always been rock-solid (one at home and one at college). Mine are both revision 2's though, which is generally said to be the "best" revision as far as stability and compatibility with firmwares goes. If you can find a revision 2 WRT54G, go for it. I'd probably still get a WRT54G over any other 802.11G router because of my experience with the two I've already gotten. Just set your wireless beacon interval to 50 instead of 100 and you're good to go with no connection drops (on the revision 2's I have at least).
  3. marbss

    marbss Network Guru Member

    not sure if you'll get unbiased answers in this forum -- WRT54G v3 for me! just put the Sveasoft Alchemy firmware on it and it's great!
  4. gotamd

    gotamd Network Guru Member

    Well, I also had an SMC 7004VWBR which is only 802.11B. It was very stable, worked well, and had decent features. However, the main problem I had with it was range and the fact that you couldn't replace the stock antennae with better ones. That's actually the only reason I got a WRT54G. It solved my range problems though...especially being able to boost the signal power and use different antennae.
  5. Mr_Reorg

    Mr_Reorg Network Guru Member

    Does Linksys own firm ware include QoS and WPA, or are those features only made available through one of the 3rd party firmwares? I've read so many posts I can't remember?

    I want to connect an Xbox (for my son) (not sure if it'll get wired or not)together with 2 desktops (at least 1 wired) and a laptop (wireless). I want the QoS for my son's xbox live and the WPA to lock out my neighbor's (I live in an apartment building).
  6. DennisI

    DennisI Network Guru Member

    Mr Reorg,

    I don't believe xbox supports WPA. But WEP should be fine for what you want if you combine it with MAC filters.

  7. gotamd

    gotamd Network Guru Member

    I'm pretty sure that the WRT54G supports QoS with the plain firmware and I know it supports WPA. One really neat thing about the DD-WRT firmware, if you choose to use it, is that it can serve as an XBox Kai server so you can play on the Kai network (which is like Live but you don't have to pay). You can check that out here:
  8. Mr_Reorg

    Mr_Reorg Network Guru Member

    Being a noob to networking, I don't yet really understand everything regarding all of the security features, so please bear with me.

    Are you saying I won't be able to use WPA at all if I want to connect PC's & Xbox? The only reason I say I want to use WPA is because I understood it to be more secure than WEP, at least from what I've read. Will there be a conflict using the xbox if I have WPA turned on?

    By the way, I went to CompUSA last night to pick up a WRT54G. They had only one box left. (In fact there were no more on the shelves. I asked the salesman to check their stock and he found the very last one in the back room.) Checking the serial number it was a v.2.2.

    I want to set it up today. Should I return it? (Hard to beat the $39.99 After MIR). I am somewhat concerned having read all of the problems people have had with this version, but I don't know how much PC to PC transfering I will do.

    By the way, and I don't know if this matters, I will be using my laptop (with the WPC54G) mainly to connect to my job's network via software VPN. Also, the laptop runs Win2000Pro but my desktop is XP Home (which I plan giving to my son) and I plan on building my first rig and I'll put XP Pro on it.

    Advise/suggestions needed immediately!
  9. gotamd

    gotamd Network Guru Member

    I haven't had any experience with the v2.2 routers, so I don't know firsthand what the "problems" are like and if they effect everyone or not. Anyway, if your XBox is wired, you don't have to worry about wireless security being incompatible, but if you plan on using wireless to the XBox, you're going to have to use compatible security settings (which may not include WPA). However, on that note, I've heard of people actually using a WRT54G instead of the XBox wireless adapter. Read this thread:

    That should be a good resource because it's also dealing specifically with the WRT54G and XBox's. If you do it that way, it should be cheaper and I'd think you'd also be able to use WPA (since the router supports it).
  10. odessit

    odessit Network Guru Member

    Here is my opinion. All routers and other network equipment from many manufacturers will have some problems. You won’t find the perfect one. But my story is that I had Netgear 624 v2 for almost a year. Worked perfectly. Until recent time when it started to drop signal (wired and wireless) every now and then, sometimes every 5, 10 minutes when there are more than one computer connected. End up buying WRT54GS v1.1. Load Alchemy Public 1.0 and so far (about a week) it’s working great. One more thing you should consider is technical support. Compare to Netgear – Linksys at least have one. Not much helpful but at least you can always talk or chat with someone.
    As to Xbox – I have no idea. Never play games :). And yes – WPA is better than WEP

    Dell Inspiron 8200
    WinXP Pro SP1
    WRT54GS v1.1 – Alchemy Public 1.0
  11. gotamd

    gotamd Network Guru Member

    As for cracking WEP encryption...

    It takes someone a long time. You can't just break in immediately. It relies on the amount of network traffic as well. However, someone can work a small amount at a time at cracking it. I'd say, though, that if you change your WEP key every month or so you should be fine. I doubt anyone would have the time or resources to break into your piddly home network if you did that. Also, using MAC filtering is a very good idea and also easy to do. That way people won't be able to access your network unless they have an approved MAC address on their network adapter. I'm not sure if that can be cracked, but it probably can be with time and people can spoof MAC addresses as well. Again, I don't think anyone would bother on a home network even if he had the ability. There are a lot more networks that'd be easier to get into.
  12. Mr_Reorg

    Mr_Reorg Network Guru Member

    That link on the xbox was an interesting read. But I don't think I'm ready to get that into it. Right now, I just want to allow my son to get and use xbox live.

    I think I'll try to run some Cat 5e to the xbox as long as my wife dosen't complain about the wire running up/down walls and across the celing. (I don't want to start fooling around with getting the wire behind the walls).

    It will be about a 40 to 50 foot run from the router to the xbox. Cat 5e can can be run up to 100 ft without signal degradtion, right?

    As far as security goes, this is want I want to accomplish:

    1. lock out any other PC's so that neighbors wont use/share my bandwith/internet connection. Make it that only my laptop will be allowed.

    2. Encript my wireless to prevent packet sniffers. Most often I'll be connecting via a software VPN to my office and I can't allow private info from being intercepted.

    Other features:
    1. I want to use QoS so that my son can play on xbox (with least amount of lag) while I'm uisng one of my other PC's.
  13. gotamd

    gotamd Network Guru Member

    I think there are a few wireless gaming adapters that support WPA, but beware of the D-Link, I heard that it overheats and needs to be rebooted every few days. Other than that, the WRT54G should do everything you need. I haven't used the standard Linksys firmware in...forever. I actually never used it. I went straight to Satori (Sveasoft). I'll repeat, though, that the latest versions of the Linksys Official Firmware supports all these features as far as I am aware. Here's a PDF that might help you too:
  14. Mr_Reorg

    Mr_Reorg Network Guru Member

    Thanks for all of your help.

    I was thinking about going over to Circut City today to see which hardware version they had, but it been raining all day and I just wasn't in the mood to drive over. I guess I'll kept the v2.2 that I have and try to set it up tonight.
  15. gotamd

    gotamd Network Guru Member

    Is there a way to tell what version they have without opening the box??? I didn't think there was.
  16. Mr_Reorg

    Mr_Reorg Network Guru Member

    Hardware versions identified by S/N located on box
  17. gotamd

    gotamd Network Guru Member

    Hmm, pretty cool :)
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