[kwlug-disc] Router to be run on explorenet

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Sun Jan 26 20:42:52 EST 2014

What's an xplorenet?

Quick Answer: 'Recent' kwlug threads seem to think kindly of (now 
dated?) $85 ASUS RT-N16 

I have recently been looking at routers too. I would appreciate any 
commentary to the below. (Assume for home, and I'm a skinflint.) All my 
words / impressions.

Cisco - needlessly expensive
Linksys - Cisco looking to divest / wants out of home/low margin 
business. Recent experience indicates mediocre with too much 'make it 
superficially easy for home user at expense of really making use of the 
hardware present' (my words).
D-Link - poor support (user web forums mostly), artificial ui 
limitations to access of hardware functionality present. I've vowed 
never to buy again / corporate attitude ridiculous. 'If you want to put 
on a LAN static route you will have to buy our business class (rather 
more expensive) routers ...'
Netgear - uses open source but does not readily / easily expose it, 
including some unreleased customizations.
TP-Link - seems to be improving with better hardware than the cheapest 
possible in recent years, seems to use open source and make it available.

802.11ac - probably worth going for. Now a standard. Range not a lot 
better than just n, but apparently should support more single-antenna 
devices at their fuller speed. I expect future proofing. Look for both 
bands and as many external antenna as you can get. e.g. I am tempted by 
$130 TP-LINK AC1750 Archer C7 
Recent googling said this one isn't so bad, avoid Belkin, and the weird 
D-Link shapes.

Canada computer search results for in stock, Waterloo, Wireless AC and 

Check the openwrt site for gotchas before you buy, and do a google or 
two for reviews. A comment I saw regularly was that it's hard to buy a 
bad router these days. e.g. With the above search I'd be looking more 
towards the more expensive multi-antenna devices, $180 - 230, but that's 
just me / openwrt comments. At least with OpenWRT (or the like) you can 
access the full functionality of the hardware (by GUI, too) rather than 
just the limited GUI's the manufacturer's put on. Which comes in handy 
when you least expect it, particularly when you never expect to need it 
as of initial purchase.

Go to the manufacturer's web site and take a quick glance through the 
manual. I've been bitten countless times for reasonable routing settings 
not being exposed by the GUI. Really bites to discover that after the fact.

We / you can better advise if you indicate how many wi-fi devices you 
expect (and nature, e.g. Android with one antenna is never going to use 
more than 65Mbps, currently, but coming devices will use more channels - 
2 or 3?). With more and both smart phones and tablets each will get 
their own slot. Nature of premises? e.g. Go with 5GHz if you can, much 
less interfering, faster, and much less impacted by neighbours, due to 
decreased distance range. My 5GHz at home (3 floor town house) is 
covered end to end with router sitting in middle, while at OOTC, through 
a stud wall, can't turn the corner outside the gym without losing it 
(40'? away.)

Also, what devices might you like to connect. Not that I trust the wee 
beasties to keep up external hard drive transfer speeds (like backups), 
if there's a usb port it will take a hard drive. Many appear to take usb 
printers. Some usb webcams for nanny cams - surprisingly useful. (In my 
case, sadly necessary!), but not many.

Sadly, don't see many that will take an SD card - e.g. Pop camera sd 
card into router and get on with your day. (Many routers seem to expose 
their storage both as files and as upnp. With intelligent TVs etc, I 
believe you can pop the sd card into the router then view your pictures 
all but instantly on your tv.) In my case, I'd want the SD for 
additional openwrt storage without risk of breaking off / losing a usb 
key in transport.

Some have or tried to serve up their music via their upnp routers. I 
expect performance varies, particularly if you're trying to stream full 
HD off the wee beasties. Others can comment on that, I've never tried.

Note that it seems not infrequent that file sharing is only via windows 
clients / additional (free) software installed on windows machines. [vs 
UPNP, that is.]

Comments welcome.

On 14-01-26 02:58 PM, John Kerr wrote:
> Hi everyonen
> My friend on explorenet needs a new wireless router.
> Are there any brands to avoid when dealing with explorenet?
> Anybody been wowed! with any of the routers below $100.00

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