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How To Buy a Wireless Router: The Short Version

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Example Products
Dual-band, dual-radio "N": Cisco / Linksys WRT400N, NETGEAR WNDR3700, D-Link DIR-825
Comment: ... All three have Gigabit WAN and LAN ports.

Tim, isn't the Cisco/Linksys WRT400N Fast Ethernet 10/100?
You're welcome! ;) Nice article by the way.
Very nice article. Thank you! One observation...

The advice to use channels 1, 6 and 11 is good for people located in the US. For people in countries where channels 1-13 are available, channels 1, 5, 9 and 13 might give sufficiently small overlap, so should the advice be to use these where available?
As noted here, even the "non-overlapping" 1, 6, and 11 do have signal overlap. So, sure, go ahead and use 1,5,9 and 13 in regions where Channels 12 and 13 are allowed.
How about channels 1, 7 and 13? :)

Excellent article. I have one request: Can you elaborate more on the SPI portion of the firewall?

I'm asking because I currently have an Apple Airport Extreme Dual-Band (I was surprised this wasn't on the list) and as you know it doesn't have SPI. I am currently in negotiations to get a refund on my DIR-855 which is my main router right now, and was curious if I need to setup my previous WRT350N in its place or if I can just put the Airport right in and not worry about it. I have FIOS, so I've been doing a lot of research regarding switching speeds and the like, as well as reading this article to help point me in the right direction.
I did not get into any routing features in the article.

In my opinion, SPI has no bearing on router choice. In consumer routers, it's primarily there to give marketing more buzzwords to throw at consumers.
Thanks, Tim.

So in your experience, NAT is perfectly fine for security on a consumer network connection such as FIOS or cable?

I ask because I'm looking at the Cisco RVS4000 as a cheap, yet seemingly high-performing, high-feature-set security router. If I can save the money, though, I will and use your recommendation and throw the Apple in place, disregarding the lack of SPI.

I apologize if this got more off-topic than intended... I was mainly interested in SPI use.
NAT provides the primary protection. SPI provides only a bit more protection for traffic forwarded through the firewall.

What you're buying with the RVS4000 is VPN capability. That has nothing to do with basic firewall protection.
The articles says: "I've stuck with the "big three" vendors because they are what you're most likely to find on store shelves. So please, no whining because you don't see other vendors listed here."

How are we every going to get anything else on store shelves if you dont bring forward the good but lesser known products.

And honestly its a bit bizarrre that your reviews consistently draw the conclusion that the "big three" tend to offer products that dont do what they say on the tin, are slyly gutted from what otherwise should be industry standards - and now are even flat out being sold under duplicitous and misleading terms.

And you "punishment" for this is to only recommend products from that same deceitful bunch of folks? Wow...ok. With this approach, I'd recommend that you save yourself - this will only guarantee that they remain the leading sellers year after year.

If you actually find their tactics bothersome, them you and other review sites better start bringing forward some new candidates who dont lie or cheat consumers- and direct people to their products.
Nice article Tim thanks. Now if friends or family ask me what router they should buy I'll at least be able to send them a link to a story with some really good straightforward information.

After my post about there being so many Linksys models(at least 5) when I was at a retail store I decided to go to the Netgear website where I found a similar array of confusing, overlapping and difficult to understand specs and models. Linksys is not alone.... I'm not sure about D-Link but I bet they have a similar thing happening. Hopefully this will all be over soon and each of the "big 3" will weed out their selection and focus on one or two models.
Yes, Dave, all vendors have a jumble of models. As I said earlier, some of this is reluctance to discontinue older models. But the option of 10/100 or 10/100/1000 ports is another factor that raises the number of router models.
Wouldn't it or will it be less expensive to just have 10/100/1000 ports on every box that the make? It seems like it wouldn't cost more at least not for very long anyway. I just wonder if as you've said earlier that they don't just have tons of unsold items which will take time to get sold off and then they won't be restocked again....
I have asked the Gigabit question many times. Manufacturers tell me that there is still enough of a price difference between 10/100 and Gigabit switches to justify separate products.

I'm sure that there is a price difference. I just don't think it is that big. But on the other hand, margins are pretty thin on routers, so they claw for every penny they can get.

Anyone out there have pricing info on switch chips?
Example Belkin N Wireless Router $69 10/100 switch add $10 dollars give you gig ports and USB Storage with Belkin N+ Wireless Router $79.
Really nice article and I learned a few things!
I have just one question that I would like to make 100% clear.
Dual-band dual-radio N routers, can serve PCs with both G and N capabilities, simultaneously?
And if yes, the setup will be different for each band (two different settings, etc) or there is just one setup and each PC will just connect to either G or N depending on available hardware?
Any 2.4 GHz draft 11n router will simultaneously support both G and draft 11n clients as long as it is set in its default mixed mode.

Any draft 11n router that supports the 5 GHz band will support both 802.11a and draft 11n clients, too.

Dual-band dual-radio routers do not allow both radios to be set to the same band.

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