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Questions re: current E3000 vs newer router like WRT1900AC

Discussion in 'Tomato Firmware' started by Hogan773, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    Hello - I have not been here in awhile since I installed Tomato on my Linksys E3000 several years ago. I use a Victek firmware and it has been working fine 24/7 for years and so I have moved on to other hobbies.

    Just a couple days ago my Comcast service was automatically upgraded to double the speed so now I get 120mbps down and 20mbps up. My E3000 connecting to our iPad and my Android phone is faster than it was even on 2.4G but I am wondering if my old hardware of E3000 is limiting us in any way. Also my range is not that great on the E3000 - it is OK but when I get up to our bedroom the signal is weaker and speed is slower.

    I have read all these rave reviews of the WRT1900AC as the second coming of christ, and they are talking about the incredible power and range that this router offers.

    QUESTION - do you think there is something in the hardware or software of an E3000 vs a newest generation router that is limiting my wifi speeds? Would a newest generation router noticeably increase my wifi RANGE too?

    If things have really advanced in the past 3 years then I am happy to spend $200 on a new router. If I will end up with basically the same throughput and range with a new router as I am getting on an E3000, then I would save my money.

    Thanks for your thoughts!
  2. FattysGoneWild

    FattysGoneWild LI Guru Member

    The model I replaced is just above the one you have. I just replaced my E4200 v1 on Monday with the WRT1900AC. I have had my E4200 since March 2011 bought brand new at the time. Pot meet kettle. Because I have read some issues with it and open source software is moving extremely slow. I admit to basically slamming it. I was wrong to do so because this thing is freaking awesome! The range is incredible.

    Especially using 5GHz. Spec wise compared to a E3000/E4200 from a hardware stand point. You just cant even begin to compare. Blows them both out of the water and that is a understatement. As expected though since this is top of the line consumer hardware for a router. NAS performance is the fastest yet on any thing out right now. You will love it. The firmware is no doubt bare bones and extremely simple to setup. Personally.

    I prefer stability over features. I bought the router to do just that and be extremely stable. 3rd party firmware. This is a Marvell based chipset. As I said. Its moving extremely slow. I imagine we will see it with Tomato and DD-WRT. But, I think it will be a while. I think others are also waiting for a new hardware revision 2.0 with Broadcom chipset. As for internet service. I have Charter cable 100mb/5mb service.

    In summary. If you have the money. I say its certainly a buy and deserves the glowing reviews it is getting. I got mine on sale for $234.99 @Best Buy. Getting back to range. It has external antennas compared to internal with E3000. That alone is much better. Throughput. The newer hardware will handle many more things at ease compared to the E3000.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  3. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    Thanks. I was curious since there wasn't much discussion on here and several posts from people sayin "this thing sux and is a waste of money"

    I have more money than smarts so I will probably buy it. Why? Not because getting 5 to 10 mbps is stopping anything I am doing on my phone. Although that said my wife sometimes complains about our laptop connection being slow when the door to the upstairs bedroom is closed.

    I assume maybe you researched. This is made now by Belkin (I hadn't even noticed that they bought the linksys name). Is there a Belkin or other router that is equivalent performance at lower price? I am wondering if the WRT is notably better hardware-wise too or if the awesomeness geek factor is just the promise of running OPENWRT or Tomato etc.

    Last question - I currently have a WRT54GL in my basement acting as a client bridge mode in tomato and have my ps3 wired ether net to that 54gl. Should I swap in my e3000 and run that in client bridge mode and sell the 54gl on ebay (maybe nobody buys them now though) or leave it and sell the e3000 on ebay? Or put the e3000 upstairs as a wireless repeater? Maybe the 1900AC is so powerful I won't need all the client bridges and repeaters and such anymore. I recall from 2011 that using wireless repeaters anywhere in the chain chops the network speeds in half.
  4. FattysGoneWild

    FattysGoneWild LI Guru Member

    I only replaced my router because of age. I thought 3 1/2 years was good enough and time for a upgrade. Build wise. Its built like a tank and heavy. A little over 2lbs I believe. Have you seen a tear down? Quality parts. One thing about being a early adopter. The initial parts they use are always better then down the line. That is with any new product. Once it is out for a while. They look to cut costs using cheaper parts. I don't see why the WRT1900AC could not do all the work for you.

    I would just try using that only personally. See how it goes for you. Fully aware of Belkin/Linksys. But did you know this. This is the same Linksys team that worked on and released the older rock star WRT. So, we know its quality. Not sure about Belkin branded router of their own. Never owned one. I guess until now with the WRT. At the same time. It still is Linksys. I simply just don't know why they went with a Marvell chipset instead of Broadcom. Like I said. That might be for 2.0 next. I would imagine Belkin had the pull on using Marvell maybe?

    I have had mine now for a week and could not be happier with it.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  5. Almaz

    Almaz Serious Server Member

    I'm running e3000 with Shibby firmware. You never mentioned what settings you have. 5ghz will be slower over the distance. Try to switch to 2.4ghz to get better speed. Your phone will be slower on Wi-Fi and that's normal on any router. Most of the phones are using Wi-Fi safe mode which doesn't use 100% of the signal to improve the battery. You can override it but depends which phone you have. I really doubt if you get better performance with a new router. If you don't mind to spend a few hundreds and get 10% better performance then it's Ok.
  6. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    I am running both a 5G and 2.4G channel. From memory 2.4G provides better range but typically slower speed since the neighborhood is jam-packed with 2.4G devices. I got the router 3 yrs ago in order to be able to run simultaneous 5G and 2.4G SSIDs. Our laptop has enough antenna strength to connect on 5G from the upstairs bedroom but our cellphones can't. They run on 2.4G.

    I'm sure you're right that in practice I am not going to notice major changes unless I am just looking to see that the signal is stronger and speedtests are faster. But sometimes I need a new toy and it seems like this WRT1900 is a pretty solid-spec'ed piece. Will see.

    I am running Tomato Firmware RAF1.28.9007 MIPSR2_RAF K26 USB VPN-NOCAT. From 2011! I'll bet there are some newer versions but the question is would they do anything to improve transmission speed or range. Were there any new tricks to get more out of the hardware or just more "features" added that I am not really using anyway.

    I am running the 2.4G on 20mhz channel width and the 5Ghz on 40mhz channel width. Both WPA2/AES password protected. Transmit power 60 on 2.4 and 65 on 5.0 channels. I recall that I had read that running it higher than that might "burn up" the router so at the time I just left it there, hoping to get good reliability and longevity from the E3000.
  7. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    So Broadcom is better chipset than Marvell but the WRT is still a killer unit nonetheless? What is 2.0? You mean they will release a WRT1900AC with a Broadcom chipset at some point?
  8. Almaz

    Almaz Serious Server Member

    are you having problem only with a wireless or wired as well? Test it with speedtest and see if you can get a good speed with a wire connection. I know what you mean, you just want a new toy :) to play with but if you don't do anything else with a router besides using it as a router then try stock firmware as well and see if it helps. I don't think a new router will make it a lot better than what it is already, besides for AC you need a new wireless AC adapter and your phone probably doesn't support AC. The main idea getting AC router is to use AC. If you are planning to use AC then go for it but I don't think it'll solve your current problem. I might be wrong as well. Buy it, try it out and if doesn't work as you expect then return it back to the store.
  9. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    My "problem" is not really a problem per se. It is just that the E3000 doesn't have a super-large range especially on 5G which is my faster throughput option. I realize 5G is a signal that degrades much more quickly over distance. My house is probably 45' by 45' square, and the router is in the first floor corner room and our bedroom is upstairs in the opposite corner, so maybe it is 55 or 60 feet away at that point. I can only connect on 2.4G at that distance with our phones. The laptop has an internal antenna and usually picks up the 5G. Sometimes while my GS3 is on the nightstand I think it loses connection temporarily even with my 2.4G and it can't see the 5G while upstairs.

    But certainly there is some toy aspect too since I haven't really thought much about routers for 3 years and in reading the reviews of the new WRT it seemed to me that technology has advanced during that time period.
  10. Almaz

    Almaz Serious Server Member

    I agree Galaxy S3 doesn't have a super WiFi signal. I have a similar issue with S3 but it's been working fine even on low Wi-Fi signal. If you end up buying AC1900 or similar R7000 then let us all know the difference. In regards to your S3 try the following.
    Go to your phone dialler
    2. Dial *#0011#
    3. When you see the "ServiceMode" screen, press the left menu button
    4. Select "WiFi"
    5. See that "Wifi Power Save Mode" button that is "ON" - well turn it "OFF"
    6. Exit this menu, turn off your Wifi and turn it back on. If you already entered all your wifi credentials, forget your network info (remove it) and re-enter it again,"

    Once the phone is rebooted it'll go back to save mode "ON", you would have to repeat these steps.
  11. Almaz

    Almaz Serious Server Member

    On the other hand if you have a spare router then you can use it as a repeater to extend the range.
  12. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    Doesn't that chop the speed of the network in half though? I thought that's what I remembered from 3 years ago when I would read about this stuff.

    Also I have the settings on my 2.4G network to "auto" instead of "N-only" because I think I needed to have the ability for b/g clients to connect and maybe my WRT54GL could only connect in b/g mode IIRC. If I got the WRT1900, and then didn't need to use the WRT54GL anymore, should I then keep the network on 'N-only" and will that increase speed overall? I assume that all electronics today like my GS3, and the Vizio TV I just bought, and the Sony BluRay player, all have "802.11N" as standard.
  13. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    maybe a question for Viktek but do you think that flashing to the 2014 version of Tomato for the E3000 will in itself bring any noticeable improvements in speed or range? Remember I am on the 2011 Tomato right now.
  14. Almaz

    Almaz Serious Server Member

    If you have b/g enabled and if anything connects to N router with b/g connection then N network will be disabled on 2.4ghz and only be used as b/g. If you have b/g enabled and nothing connects to it as b/g then N network will be used. I hope it makes sense :)

    In regards to repeater, if you are connecting 2 routers via wireless connection then speed will be chopped in half but if you connect them via wire then you have a full speed. On the other hand if your device, which connects to the router and has very low signal then the speed will be chopped about 5 times :). Lower signal, lower speed.

    I don't use Viktek version but I use Shibby version which is 90% similar and from change log, I've never seen any driver changes for E3000. In regards to connections, some versions worked better and some worse a little bit. Try a new version and try stock. One of them might suit you better but don't test it on the phone, test it with your laptop because your phone wireless antenna is much weaker than in your laptop.

    All new electronics have N network standard but some of them don't work well on 5ghz. For example: Google Nexus 7 v1 don't work well with 5ghz and 40mhz. Known problem.
  15. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    Thanks. I don't think I am going to string Ethernet cable all through my house to attach a wired repeater

    When will AC become common? Is it in GS5?

    Does network speed slow down to the slowest device? So if my wife's iphone in her purse is getting weak signal then the whole network slows down even for my laptop with it's strong antenna?
  16. Almaz

    Almaz Serious Server Member

    Currently GS5 is capable of handling AC, 2 WiFi streams. Low signal won't slow down other devices. It only slows down when network switches to a different Network from N to G or B. 5Ghz only runs on A, N or AC. Just to let you know AC is just like N. The main difference between them AC is capable to be on multiple streams. AC just like N might not suit you in a long distance. It's all about trial and errors and it's hard to say without testing. I'm sure you can find some reviews and how far GS5 is capable to work with AC routers.
  17. FattysGoneWild

    FattysGoneWild LI Guru Member

    3rd party firmware devs. like Broadcom (Tomato, DD-WRT) and prefer it. Heck I don't even think Marvell has ever had Tomato or DD-WRT use yet. This would be a first with the WRT1900AC. I could be wrong but pretty sure. As for hardware revisions. Linksys is known to do that like other vendors. Like mine is 1.0 but they update the parts inside the router or go with another chipset. So it would be 2.0 Example. My E4200 v1 is 3rd party firmware friendly. Version 2.0 is not and you cannot run 3rd party firmware as they went with another chipset. I believe it was Marvell based with the 2.0 As for Linksys releasing a 2.0 with Broadcom hardware. That is complete rumor, speculation and what people would like to have. Does not mean it will ever happen.
  18. Edrikk

    Edrikk Network Guru Member

    I believe there was one (a big one at that, as it caused issues on the very first boot up after flash on E3000) at 1.3d.

    Definitely update to 1.3g
  19. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    Ok will look into that. I assume that 1.3g is the Linksys stock firmware and not a Tomato release

    I am worried that I spent so much time playing around with and tweaking stuff back when I was paying attention to this in 2011 that now I will forget something that needs to be changed again. Short preamble, jumbo frames, etc all was coming back to me when I logged into the router a couple nights ago to check what I had set up in there :)
  20. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    I somehow remember that the WRT54GL operating on Tomato can only operate on B or G. (or maybe the WRT54GL itself can't do N). So basically if I have that WRT54GL sitting in my basement on client bridge mode to hook up to my PS3, then the simple fact that it is accessing my E3000 means the E3000 is downgrading the whole 2.4ghz network to G rather than N, correct?

    So I guess I need to go unplug that WRT54GL and then the E3000 should spring back to N-mode (or I could force it to N-only mode) and then see if that improves throughput on all my phones and iPad and laptop. That would be the test.
  21. Almaz

    Almaz Serious Server Member

    If you setup your E3000 2.4ghz only to N mode then it'll disable G and force N only. Short preamble and big jumbo frames might hurt throughput. Best way to test, measure your throughput and set it back to default mode and test it again. Who knows maybe one of your settings might cause a problem. In regards to a distance problem then try to rotate your router or put it on a side which might work much better. I'm running E3000 on a side which gives me better signal and better cooling.
  22. Marcel Tunks

    Marcel Tunks Networkin' Nut Member

    1.3g refers to Victek's version of Tomato.
  23. Monk E. Boy

    Monk E. Boy Network Guru Member

    No. It just means one of your devices (the WRT54GL) is connecting to the router in 802.11g mode.
  24. Almaz

    Almaz Serious Server Member

    No, if one of the devices connects to N network using 802.11g mode then it will switch the whole band to G. Band can't be N and G and the same time.
  25. Marcel Tunks

    Marcel Tunks Networkin' Nut Member

    Client devices from 802.11g and 802.11n can coexist and each negotiate their own speed with the access point. The main problem for the 802.11n devices in a mixed setting is that they will spend time waiting for the slower devices when they are actively communicating with the access point. If the g devices are not actively transmitting then the performance hit will be negligible.
  26. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    Darn - I looked at Tomato and now I remember that we also have the Wii in the basement connecting wirelessly. So I have a G-only WRT54GL and a G-only Wii.

    But you are saying that if those items are not really downloading much then my GS3 or IPad could connect at N-speeds?

    I see that one can buy an Ethernet adapter for the Wii (I'm surprised there isn't an Ethernet port on the Wii already) but now I'm not sure this is worth it. Again I guess I need to try a before and after test - throughput currently, and then power off both the WRT54GL and Wii and see if anything gets materially faster
  27. Almaz

    Almaz Serious Server Member

    From my experience over the distance N works much slower than G. Don't pay much attention between N and G at 2.4ghz 20mhz is not much different in speed wise. I'm using my GS3 with 2.4ghz 20mhz and I won't tell the difference if it would be AC connection.
  28. Marcel Tunks

    Marcel Tunks Networkin' Nut Member

    That's likely related to the specific devices. For example, the WRT54G series devices that I have worked with have generated stronger and more stable signals than more recent Linksys E series devices with integrated antennae. With equivalent signal to noise ratio and channel width, n will be faster than g. The problem is that wireless is such a mess in populated or "noisy" environments that performance is often poor regardless of whether the device is n or g.

    802.11ac similarly should be faster than 802.11a for a given signal to noise ratio, though I haven't tested it myself.
  29. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    So if I still want to have the "best" network available for a reasonable price on consumer level equipment, I would buy a WRT1900AC and try to run it on n-only mode, which would mean swapping my e3000 in as a wireless client bridge for the wii in the basement and hooking up the wii via ether net adaptor.

    All other devices include galaxy s3, iPhone 4s, two week old Vizio TV, Sony Blu-ray player last year's model, iPad, and a laptop with an internal wifi card that I updated in 2011 (Intel wifi) that runs dual band. I assume all of those devices can handle n-only.

    This is the problem with men and tech... We just want to upgrade not because the current doesn't work, but just because the mere knowledge that there is something "better, stronger, faster" makes us want to have it ☺
  30. FattysGoneWild

    FattysGoneWild LI Guru Member

    It is completely worth the upgrade regardless. Latest hardware, way better coverage and the NAS. Wow! I have mine set to 2.4GHZ N only and 5GHz to Mixed. That way you get AC and N. You also must leave the channel width set on Auto to get 80MHz. E3000 while a great router. Its really old now. Just like my E4200.
  31. Siff

    Siff Serious Server Member

    @Hogan773: I have my main router (RT-N66U) set as "N-only" and I have wire-bridged an old WRT54GS2 to it, which is running as a "G-only" router with a different SSID. This way I have support for my "G" devices and I'm also using WRT54GS2's LAN ports to connect my Blu-ray, TV, etc.
  32. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    Ok there is that too......

    I guess in reality the ONLY "G-only" item that I have is that dang Wii. It is in the basement and currently connects wirelessly to my E3000. If I leave it that way, it will "taint" my WRT1900AC (if and when I get one) off of N-only mode. I also have a WRT54GL in the basement ethernetted to the PS3 (because the PS3 is down low in a cabinet in the basement), which also would taint. If the new WRT1900AC is that much stronger that it can allow the PS3 to connect wirelessly, then the WII would still be the only device on G-mode since I could jettison the WRT54GL client bridge if the PS3 no longer needs it. I guess I could either move the E3000 downstairs and put it in as a client bridge, then wire it to the WII and the PS3, but that requires me to buy an ethernet adaptor for the WII since they stupidly don't have an ethernet port. Or just leave the E3000 upstairs and keep in running in auto mode on a different SSID so the WII can connect to it that way.
  33. Hogan773

    Hogan773 Networkin' Nut Member

    Wow so tonight for fun I decided to unplug the WRT54 and the Wii, set my E3000 on "N-only" and then take some speedtests around the house (did them before and after the switch). Didn't notice too much improvement close-in....went from 15mbps on my GS3 to maybe 16-17. But from DISTANCE, WOW. When the network had G clients on it, over in the corner of my house I got 1.5 to 2.0mbps on the GS3. On an N-only network, that number jumped to around 14-15. Big jump!

    So I guess N seems to extend the range where you can still get good speeds....at least according to my less than scientific test

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