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Wirelessly Cursed

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

I've had pretty bad luck with wireless routers over the years. Back in 2002 when I moved off RIT's campus I got a D-Link DI-714 802.11b router but only used the wireless and the switchports. Since I wasn't using it as a router I had to turn off its internal DHCP server, but it didn't really like my choice of settings; why would I ever want to turn off the DHCP service? That caused a few problems, but I lived with it.

When we moved to Brighton in 2004 I bought a new 802.11g router. After a while this one would just start dropping the wireless connections. It started just disconnecting and then reconnecting immediately, but as time went on it eventually stopped connecting. I did a firmware update which seemed to fix it, but as time went on it got quirky again. I finally broke down and bought another 802.11g router around 2006. This one obeyed my settings unlike my first and didn't drop wireless connections like my second, but this one would mysteriously drop packets between the wireless and certain wired computers on the same lan (not even plugged directly into it). Back then it didn't pass any traffic between the wireless and my home theater pc, even though the wireless would talk to our desktops and my other server and all the other wired computers in the house could talk to the HTPC.

This past Christmas I asked for a new router, one that supports 802.11n, and my dad got me a Linksys WRT150n. I only have laptops that support the G standard currently, but I wanted to be future-proof. I set up the new N router right next to the G router in the basement to do some comparison and I wasn't too thrilled with the results:

G router speed N router speed

These routers are right next to each (on different channels with different SSIDs) and the laptop was on my lap on the couch in the same exact spot. The pic on the left at full speed is my old G router and the slow connection on the right is my new "fast" N router (in G mode). I can't believe the newer device is so much slower. That is the fastest I saw it too, it would bounce between 11Mb and 18Mb. Maybe they'll fix it with the next firmware, but who knows when they'll release it. I must be cursed.

I have 10Mb cable right now so it's not like the speed will affect my internet usage, but I do copy a lot of big files around at home so this isn't going to work for me. 

Comments (2) Subscribe

#1 - Apr 7, 2008 at 3:18 PM
You sure have your moments. I had a problem one time trying to hook up my computer to the wireless router on Robert's, to tap into the DSL line instead of dial-up. I had it physically plugged into the router at one point, which worked fine, but would always after awhile boot me off. I broke down and bought a wireless USB connector and hooked that up to my computer and have had no problems at all.
#2 - Apr 9, 2008 at 7:00 AM
I read that the WRT150n that I have has a habit of disconnecting wireless clients if more than 2 connect to it. Now I'm really looking forward to a new firmware release.

I have a feeling a lot of this gear is pushed out the door way too fast with too many bugs.

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