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Advice on new router / access point

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I'm looking around for a new router / access point as my D-Link DIR-655 got really messed up with D-Link's latest firmware updates..

It's a real shame how we can't downgrade the firmware of the DIR-655 after updating to firmwares like 1.2x and 1.3x! I remember the good old days with the stable 1.11 firmware! But then I updated to 1.2x and there was no way back.. From firmware 1.2x and forward D-Link has just added more and more not needed features and become more and more unstable and the performance has simply drown down the toilet!

With the latest 1.32NA my DIR-655 A3 has to be rebooted at least twice a day, or my wireless performance goes down the drain! It's quite sad looking at D-Link with the most powerful router hardware to this date really mess everything up with horrid firmwares! With no option to downgrade?!

I would simply replace my DIR-655 with a new one if I could, but frankly it's not possible to purchase any new DIR-655 with firmware 1.11, all you can locate here in Norway these days is the A4 with 1.22 or higher, which makes the DIR-655 a no go for me after experiencing these horrid 1.2x --> firmwares for too long.

This puts me in a situation where I'm looking for a new wireless router / access point, I don't really need a router as I just disable the DHCP and use it for wireless only in our basement, feeding it with information and router services from our D-Link DVG-5802S located upstairs through CAT6a cabling.

So basicly all it does is providing me with wireless connectivity downstairs where I'm mostly located. But as there is not really that many Draft-N wireless access point to chose between I mostly end up with a wireless router that I turn into a access point, I've also got a 8-port HP ProCurve 1400 Gigabit Switch which sorts out my cable network.

So what I' am looking is a stable wireless router / access point with very good wireless-N performance. The range doesn't really need to be that terrific as our basement isn't that large, and upstairs I've got Draft-N 2.4GHz network of the DVG-5802S. The routing performance does not really matter as I just turn the device into a access point.

I've been looking that the SmallNetBuilder charts and find the DIR-685 to impress A LOT when it comes to both routing and wireless performance, but a bit disappointing when it comes to range and not to mention that stupid noisy fan? (can it be replaced or something?) And the silly price tag?!

As I'm the only one going to use the wireless down here, I'm considering going for a 5GHz N-only 40Hz, SSID hidden not protected setup as that would most likely give me with my Intel WiFi 5300 the best possible performance?

And when it comes to 5GHz / 40Hz performance these routers seems to provide the best performance:

-Linksys WRT320N
-Linksys WRT610N
-Linksys WRT600N (discontinued and impossible to obtain here in Norway at the given time)
-Linksys WRT400N
-Linksys WET610N
-Netgear WNHDE111
-D-Link DIR-855
-D-Link DIR-685
-D-Link DAP-1555

After reading the charts closely, WRT320N seems to come out the best when it comes to raw 5GHz / 40Hz wireless performance, with the DIR-685 not far behind followed by WNHDE111, WRT610N, WRT400N, WET610N all coming in very close.

One benefit routers like WRT320N, WRT400N, WRT600N and WRT610N might have is the support of third party firmwares like DD-WRT which gives me the opportunity to boost the antenna power, which might result in better coverage, not to mention even higher and better throughput? Sad thing with those Linksys routers are the internal antennas, I can't really see anything good with having internal antennas? Even though I did try to replace my DIR-655 standard antennas with some Linksys / Cisco High Gain 7dBi enormous ones it didn't give me any better coverage at all, in fact the signal got even more unstable? Might be become they weren't design for Draft-N and MIMO techonolgy? I don't really know, but I couldn't find any logical explanation for how three Linksys HGA7S High Gain Antenna 7dBi antennas could perform worse than the three standard D-Link ones?

Of course I could drill some holes and mount some higher gain / higher dBi antennas onto one of those internal antennas routers, but is there really any point in doing so?

What router / access point would you recommend me to buy?
I'm considering going for a 5GHz N-only 40Hz, SSID hidden not protected setup as that would most likely give me with my Intel WiFi 5300 the best possible performance?
Man, your neighbours are gonna love this one! ;)
Fact is.. With 5GHz / 40Hz only the signal wont even reach to my neighbours.
Today we've got our DVG-5802S and our DIR-655 running 2.4GHz WPA2 / AES secured G / N mode on the DVG-5802S and N-only WPA2 / AES secured on my DIR-655 and the signal is barely usable in our garden.

If I take my computer to our closest neighbour they don't even pick up our signal and that's with 2.4GHz, image 5GHz? This combined with the facts that I know two of our neighbours, and trust me they don't even own a Draft-N compatible computer so you can dream of 5GHz support over there, along with them not being even close to having enough computer experience to pick up a Mac filtered hidden SSID.

Our other two neighbours are in the upper 60's, so I wouldn't worry about them either.

I don't really see why I should give up wireless performance for added security when I know that none of my neighbours will even pick up my signal? Not to mention the lack of 5GHz capable Wireless NIC's or having enough experience to pick up hidden SSID's and bypass the MAC filtering.
Don't get hung up on internal vs external antennas. Either can produce good performance. (When was the last time you saw a mobile phone with external antenna?)

There is no product that has best performance in both bands and 20 / 40 MHz modes.

So far, I have liked the WRT400N the most for a dual-band router. The Netgear WNHDE111 had very good 5 GHz performance.
After what I could read from your reviews and charts the WRT320N outperformed the WRT400N when it comes to 5GHz / 40Hz peformance?

Actually the WRT320N seemed along with the DIR-685 to be the best performing 5GHz / 40Hz router of them all?

Don't see the point with Dual-Band really, my wireless computers are all 5GHz / 40Hz ready so I'll use 5GHz / 40Hz only anyway.
On the DIR-655 (which I'm currently using as an access point), if you look hard enough you can generally find ways to get back to the older firmware. But you have to look, and will have to take a risk to do it. On the other hand, if you take a risk and it works for you, then you have another router that you can use for backup or for an access point, or whatever, instead of a useless piece of electronics.

Just a thought.

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