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View Full Version : Help me choose the right router!



autopilot
2006-05-14, 15:30
I have not got a clue about routers. My home network is simply an adhoc wireless connection between my PC and Squeezebox. It's worked perfectly for the last few months, but i would like to get my new PDA in on the action, so i guess i need a router.

Basically, i want something that will just network all my WiFi devices with the DSL/Cable modem bit as I dont/cant have broadband (stuck on dial up). And of course it needs to work well with my SB3. I am also on a tight budget.

So what models should i look at and do you have any buying tips for me?

Thanks again people :)

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-14, 20:19
Basically, i want something that will just network all my WiFi devices with the DSL/Cable modem bit as I dont/cant have broadband (stuck on dial up).

? DSL/cable modems are usually for broadband.

But anyway, most routers will work even without an Internet connection. No niceties like timestamping or DNS server, but the router should still work.

I've never tried it, but if you had your modem-equipped PC using Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) with an integrated or add-on NIC you could tie that NIC into the router's WAN port and get DNS/timestamping!

In a wired network, you could get by with a switch. For a wireless device, you'd be best served with a router as an AP usually doesn't have more than one LAN port and does not function as a switch.

Wire the modem-equipped PC up to one of the router's LAN ports, activate ICS and then any devices connected wired or wirelessly to the router will also have Internet access when the PC's modem is active.

In regards to which router to use, I went with one of the most popular routers ever made, the Linksys WRT54G, and it's been rock-solid for Internet access, general LAN and Squeezebox use, with all router firmware (including 3rd party Linux firmware) and all Squeezebox firmware.

I went with it simply because it's so popular and so common that it was bound to work and it did. That's not to say it's the best - my old SMC 2804WBRP-G router had greater security, range and throughput but it didn't work with the SB3 until firmware 36 and won't ever work with WPA2. But stick with something very common.

rudholm
2006-05-14, 22:43
The Siemens Speedstream 2623 is a wireless/wired router that has, in addition to the usual ethernet upstream connection, a serial port so that you can use a dialup modem connection as your upstream connectivity. This is sold as a fallback feature for when your broadband connection fails, but there's no reason you couldn't use it full-time.

autopilot
2006-05-15, 06:26
? DSL/cable modems are usually for broadband.

Sorry, i meant to say "Without the DSL/Cable modem".

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-15, 06:46
Sorry, i meant to say "Without the DSL/Cable modem".

Ah. Makes sense now. :-)

rudholm's mention is interesting - however the only modems I've seen with serial connections are really old U.S. Robotics "Sportster" (?) 19.9 kbps antiques.

funkstar
2006-05-15, 07:04
I know i replied on Hexus, but i just had a thought.

If you are not using ADSL and aren't going to be in the near future, then all you need in an access point.

Do you have any wired devices you want to connect as well?

Basic access points should be dirt cheap these days.

bobharp
2006-05-15, 07:16
Not doing the wireless thing at my house but I've been happy with my Linksys stuff. I have had the 8 port BEFSR8? router for as long as I've been off dial-up. 7 years maybe?? Simple and idiot proof (good for me) and solid.

You could go with an access point like the WAP54G
or get a at router WRT54G. They are all about the same price.
Check out http://www.linksys.com

As far as getting good prices check out
www.pricegrabber.com they even seem to have a UK version www.pricegrabber.co.uk
and
www.pricescan.com

Good luck,

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-15, 07:44
Basic access points should be dirt cheap these days.

Good idea, but as bobharp points out, there isn't much of a price difference between that and a router.

A router will give you more LAN ports, a WAN port for future use, a firewall, greater flexibility, DHCP, DNS, etc. If it doesn't cost much more, why not go for it?

Although I just realized something - dangerous_dom, you can probably add another wireless device to your ad-hoc network without changing much. There could be some issues. This will be controlled by the wireless software provided with your wireless NIC. If this software is advanced enough, you should be 802.11g and it's possible you have security up to WPA2/AES.

However you're entirely dependent on this software. If it doesn't have the features you need, you're out of luck. It's not likely to be as reliable as a router/AP and your PC needs to be on in order for it to work. Your wireless NIC won't have the range or throughput of a full-fledged router. In terms of security, all your devices will be directly connected to the Internet and theoretically hackable, although with dial-up you won't present an attractive target.

If your wireless NIC doesn't have wireless software on its own you're limited to Microsoft Wireless Zero Configuration. Its ad-hoc features were originally 802.11b and WEP security but this may have changed with SP2 (I don't know, I don't use it.) It's not the most stable piece of software.

autopilot
2006-05-15, 09:06
Although I just realized something - dangerous_dom, you can probably add another wireless device to your ad-hoc network without changing much.

But i thought adhoc only allowed 2 devices to be connected (peer-2peer), no?

Can anyone confirm this? Would it be possible to adhok 3 devices and use them at the same time?

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-15, 09:19
But i thought adhoc only allowed 2 devices to be connected (peer-2peer), no?

Can anyone confirm this? Would it be possible to adhok 3 devices and use them at the same time?

Surprisingly, most of the information on the web is dated - most of it is oriented around 802.11b and WEP.

I suppose this is due to the low cost of routers these days.

But, you can try it out at no cost. If it doesn't work, then you may want to get a router.

I was certain I had read that multiple clients could be used.

This page seems to indicate that multiple clients are possible: http://compnetworking.about.com/cs/wirelessfaqs/f/adhocwireless.htm but also indicates they must each be capable of ad-hoc mode (this makes sense because it forms a mesh network where each device talks to its closest device and that device relays the data on behalf of the first). The Squeezebox doesn't have ad-hoc mode although it can act as a client and a PDA won't likely either, although it can also act as a client.

Again, you can try this out at no additional cost.

rudholm
2006-05-15, 20:24
Ah. Makes sense now. :-)

rudholm's mention is interesting - however the only modems I've seen with serial connections are really old U.S. Robotics "Sportster" (?) 19.9 kbps antiques.

Only a few of the cheapest modems have only USB. Most new ones have either serial or serial and USB.

For dangerous_dom, I think a modem and a SpeedStream 2623 is clearly the best way to go.

I'd have mailed him both items if I hadn't already given them away.

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-15, 20:33
Only a few of the cheapest modems have only USB. Most new ones have either serial or serial and USB.

For dangerous_dom, I think a modem and a SpeedStream 2623 is clearly the best way to go.

I'd have mailed him both items if I hadn't already given them away.

The last modems I remember seeing were all internal devices on PCI cards. No serial or USB ports at all.

Come to think of it, I haven't even seen a modem for sale in about 3 years. If I had to buy one today I don't know where I'd get one.

rudholm
2006-05-15, 22:17
The last modems I remember seeing were all internal devices on PCI cards. No serial or USB ports at all.

Come to think of it, I haven't even seen a modem for sale in about 3 years. If I had to buy one today I don't know where I'd get one.

There's bajillions of 'em:

http://shopping.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AnT9vxBvTPZrbmsI7sqd0BEEgFoB;_ylu=X3oD MTBhNjRqazhxBHNlYwNzZWFyY2g-?p=external+modem&did=
http://froogle.google.com/froogle?q=external+modem&btnG=Search+Froogle
http://www.mwave.com/mwave/doSearch.hmx?SCriteria=external%20modem&CartID=done&nextloc=
http://castle.pricewatch.com/s/search.asp?s=external+modem

And they can be had for reasonable sums of money, apparently.