Belkin Play Max or D-Link DIR-825?

Huisie

New Around Here
Hi, there

My first post here so let me start off by saying thanks for all the helpful advice - been referring to this site a lot over the last few days as I try to decide on which router to get.

I live in the UK and have just moved into a 2-bed apartment on one floor of a small block of flats, with several other small blocks nearby.
My work and personal info and large media collection syncs between 2 PCs and is obviously important to me, representing years of effort

My setup is
-----------
Desktop PC by TV in lounge as backup pc/file+media server (gigabit NIC, no wireless)
Laptop in office, which I sometimes use in other rooms (gigabit NIC, Intel 5300 wifi)
Laser printer with network/USB connectivity
AIO HP printer, with USB/network/wifi/buetooth connectivity
PDA
SIP modem
4-port Gigabit switch

Considerations:
---------------
I use MS Live Sync to keep desktop and laptop synced (laptop has 2Gb external drive)
That way, I have backups of everything and, if one PC fails, I can continue working (I work from home, run small business)
I have a fair chunk of info and downloads that get synced daily
My laptop's wifi picks up about a dozen signals, plus 2 hotspots
I am getting Sky ADSL next week - their contract states you have to use their modem/router
Fibre might come to this area next year
So, a router with WAN port seems better than a combined ADSL modem router
BUDGET! - I don't want to rely on yet another crappy piece of unidentifiable hardware from my ISP, yet can't splurge. The Netgear WNDR3700 looks tasty, but it is over £100 here.

Wants:
-------
Dual-band, dual-radio
Gigabit ports

Likes:
------
Guest mode (keep family and friends away from my stuff)
USB printer/drive functions on router (not pc)

Candidates:
-----------------------------------------
a) Belkin Play Max (F7D4301) - £66
b) D-Link DIR-825 (don't know which Rev) - £85 with free DWA-160 dongle

Questions:
----------
a) Are these 2 more than I need or require?
b) if not, which seems the better choice?
c) Belkin is Broadcom, D-Link is Atheros - does this make a difference?

Other considerations:
--------------------
I know the Belkin is hobbled by the bundled apps, but those can be circumvented
Both routers can be flashed with DD-WRT
I believe both can be extended with Optware
Though speed over the network is important to me, stability and reliability win out as the most important factors

Having spent the better part of the last week's spare time reading up on and learning about the state of, and options for, home networking, I find myself deadlocked between these two choices.
I'm hoping that wiser heads can point me in the right direction and help me make a more informed choice.

Thanks in advance and please keep up the good work.
 

Osamede

Regular Contributor
I had the DIR-825 and it was so bad (unstable, poor speeds) that I returned it for a refund.

Dont get me wrong - I'm not an anti D-Link type or anything. I replaced it for wireless access with a DAP-2553 that is superb. But in my personal opinion I would not touch the DIR-825 with a 10 foot pole.

I've not tried the Belkin model you ask about, but I dont have any good story to tell on Belkin products and I no longer buy them.

Personally I would up the budget - you often, not always, but often, get what you pay for with routers.
 

tipstir

Very Senior Member
I had the DIR-825 and it was so bad (unstable, poor speeds) that I returned it for a refund.

Dont get me wrong - I'm not an anti D-Link type or anything. I replaced it for wireless access with a DAP-2553 that is superb. But in my personal opinion I would not touch the DIR-825 with a 10 foot pole.

I've not tried the Belkin model you ask about, but I dont have any good story to tell on Belkin products and I no longer buy them.

Personally I would up the budget - you often, not always, but often, get what you pay for with routers.

Did you get this from Costco? I've seen a good number of these routers returned. They have Belkin N600 HD Max dirt cheap which comes in second/third to TEW673GRU which is second to WNDR3700 for Wireless. Of course my DIR-655 rooted running at peak 100% has gone DOA! So ESR9850 acting up and can't manage my tablets (not pills) TEW691GR can't breakthrough solid oak wood floors but in the area it's great! I got 673GRU but it's odd how these WiFi routers don't seem to last no more than 2 years.
 

Osamede

Regular Contributor
Did you get this from Costco? I've seen a good number of these routers returned.
No, I am in Europe. Got the DIR-825 at a local retailer here. Worst I have had since like 5-6 years ago when I bought my first - and last ever - Netgear router.
 

Huisie

New Around Here
Thanks for the comments, folks

Ended up going with the DIR-825 and (touch wood) glad I did.

Easy to set up, all devices talking (incl temperamental HP printer), dual band networking a breeze, gigabit all over, stable and fast.

Guess I got lucky - also got a free dual band dongle thrown in, so can use wifi for 2nd pc. Nice!

To the forum - thanks for all the help. This place is a gold mine of useful info.
 

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