Wireless Routers – oh the joy

Finally dumped my Netgear WGT624 v2 Wireless Firewall Router today. Since purchasing based on excellent reviews we had had issues with dropped connections and with machines returning from sleep mode being unable to connect. Talks with tech support and support forum surfing yielded that this was a common issue for DSL and Cable users. Firmware version 4.2.11 solved my sleep mode issues and provided better stability overall but we still would occasionally loose connectivity especially wireless (4.2.11 available only from the support pages, the Netgear automated system always reported I was running the latest firmware). Finally Yesterday after returning from an 8 day Holiday Tour De Indiana I fired up my my Motorola 5100 Surfboard Cable modem, the Netgear WGT624 router, my Windows 2003 Server and finally my laptop and desktop. 30 minutes in connectivity became very poor then varied from normal to null every randomly. 45 minutes in the calls can from about the house “where’s the internets!” Thinking Comcast plus 5 inches of snow (sunrise, sunset, light, dark… seems anything can affect ISPs….) to be the issue I power cycled the Cable modem and then the Netgear router. Same thing happened again. After the third time I simply hit the red reset button on the Netgear and that fixed the issue. Twice more with the red button over the next hour and I was in the car on my way to Best Buy.

At Best Buy I gravitated to the latest technology as I always do justifying it in that mad rush of flourescently lit spending adrenaline. “N” sounds nice, and it’s “faster”! But I knew it wasn’t an approved standard. It’s only on the shelves to help vendors sell more gear. But still it is faster, and it is the latest, and G seems like 20 years old right? So as I’m about to pull the N box of my choice a young lad walks up and asks the question I generally loathe at Best Buy “may I help you” which regardless of department on the sales floor often translates to “how may I embarrass myself”. But knowing that the “N” box in my hand was a bad decision I replied “yes you may”. My attention did not drift at all after the young lad rattled off spot on info about wireless spec and issues. Then he nailed me – “N” will not support some devices, like Nintendo Wii. Say that again please? No Nintendo Wii. Hell yes young lad just saved me from much teenage torture! He also confirms that he’s heard of the same issues with the Netgear though mostly from DSL users. So with “N” dumped I let him steer me to the G box of his choice. Young Lad hands me the one I had at the top of my list, the D-Link WBR-2310. He checks the price as it’s on the wrong shelf and the last one in the store – $34. It’s worth $34 to stop my sons whining about Call of Duty 4 drops let alone potentially solve my basic networking issues.

Setup was a snap
1. Power down Cable modem
2. Blow off the install CD
3. user = Admin, no pass
4. Setup exactly the same as my Netgear, same SSID, WPA password etc.
5. Get a connection
6. Download v104 Firmware upgrade from D-Link support
7. Upgrade Firmware
8. Disable DHCP server – FW update turned it on. (I use my own DHCP for a local AD Domain)
9. Add Port Forwarding exceptions to the Firewall (Remote Desktop etc)
10. Release/renew or reboot all machines in the house. Done!

Two days in and we’re good so far with the D-Link WBR-2310. At $34 an easy call as a device that can last me till I’m ready to go “N”… at which point there will surely be something new to tempt me!

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