PDA

View Full Version : What Wi-Fi Router For UK?



rbz5416
2008-11-05, 05:41
I run a Netgear DG834g.

My furthest SB3 struggles intermittently (usually when trying to play music for a guest!). It's about as far away from the router as it could be in a small 3 bed semi with the added problem of a central chimney to obscure coverage. Having said that, a bog standard Centrino laptop placed next to the SB3 has no trouble maintaining 9Mbs throughput & Netstumbler shows a nice, steady signal. However, the SB3 struggles with a 1Mbs test & regularly shows signal dipping into single figures. These symptoms are identical with 2 different SB3s in this location & were much worse when I flirted with the first official release of SqueezeCenter. This seems to suggest that the Wi-Fi hardware implementation in the SB3 or drivers in the firmware aren't all that.

Now I know I can run homeplugs & it may come to that but I'd like to hear what routers other UK users are using & over what range. I have tried the DG834PN MIMO & also the DG834 draft "n" & found no difference at all.

It would also be very interesting to here from within Slim Towers what they use to benchmark Wi-Fi performance. And also whether hardware upgrades are ever likely to be available to take current products to "n" standard.

killie99
2008-11-05, 09:22
I user a Linksys WRT54G with the Tomato firmware - the great thing with this is that you can adjust the wireless power setting to increase your coverage. I live in a fair sized house (5 rooms downstairs and 4 bedrooms upstairs and I get great wireless coverage in every room.

rbz5416
2008-11-05, 09:42
I user a Linksys WRT54G with the Tomato firmwareTHanks.

Had a quick look at Tomato previously. The compatible devices list seems to only include cable routers (WRT) & not DSL (WAG). Is this correct?

jeebers
2008-11-05, 13:20
I use a Netgear WGR614v7 in an Edwardian terrace. The router is upstairs on top of the wardrobe with the server in the cellar and an SB3 on the ground floor and it works fine, and streams FLAC flawlessly.

Zaragon
2008-11-05, 13:42
I've never had much luck with the wireless on the Netgear routers. I like the routers but I too have struggled with getting range.

For various reasons I also have a BT router/hub (the slightly older one now) on my other DSL line and as an experiment I replaced the DG834 I have with the BT one and the range was significantly different. Where before I was struggling getting a signal around the house (and it ain't too big) the BT router will let me get to the bottom of the garden with a laptop.

I can't see it being wireless power, perhaps the aerials are better or the signal is better quality.

The BT router is I believe a Thomson device at core. It also has one or two other useful facilities like a local DNS resolver so you can actual use proper URIs for internal computers, everything becomes something.home ie http://musicserver.home:9000 works nicely.

What you can try with the Netgear is that since it has an external aerial you can get replacements, you could try one with a higher gain. This tends to make it more directional in the horizontal plane (or rather the plane perpendicular to the antenna) but can increase the range.

Not sure what the current price is I seem to recal around 90.

There are quite a few others around of course and some of them can be reflashed to support open source software which provides increased facilities.

superflyguy
2008-11-06, 04:13
I had similar issues.
Just get a couple Homeplug adapters. One in where your router is, the other where the SB is and job done.
200Mbps rate, you can stream countless audio over this. I've had 2 1080 HDV films running at once from my media pc to 2 other rooms, no slowdown or glitching.

Siduhe
2008-11-06, 04:34
To answer one of your original queries, streaming high bitrate music isn't quite the same as sending and receiving information via the wireless connection on a laptop. Your laptop is much more forgiving of dropped packets and doesn't need the same high quality, consistent signal to get short bursts of information (like email, web pages or internet radio).

The easiest thing that you can do to improve the consistentcy of your wireless connection is to change the channel on your router to the one with the least interference - although if you've downloaded Netstumbler, perhaps you've already tried this. Changing channels to a non-overlapping channel with any other nearby may slightly improve your signal strength, but what it should also do is improve the quality and consistency of the signal.

I use a Netgear router without too many problems - also a Rangemax DG834N and gives me good coverage over a three storey house. That said, I don't think the range is that special and I find the router interface isn't that friendly if you want to do anything slightly non-standard (like put a single computer into a DMZ for example). Prefered my old Belkin router for that kind of thing. Are you running the router in mixed mode or G-only?

killie99
2008-11-06, 08:42
THanks.

Had a quick look at Tomato previously. The compatible devices list seems to only include cable routers (WRT) & not DSL (WAG). Is this correct?

Not sure. I use a linksys ADSL2MUE modem in bridge mode that I got off ebay for 1 (Routertech firmware) connected to the WRT54G and have absolutely no problems with either broadband connection or wireless performance.

rbz5416
2008-11-07, 04:20
@ Siduhe

The router is already optimized in terms of channel, aerial orientation & mode ("g" only).

My laptop comparison was for transferring large files. As I said, it averaged 9Mbs where the SB test could only muster 85% at 1Mbs. Although I accept your point about the laptop being more forgiving, this seems to be a huge discrepancy.

The reason for the thread was seeing a group test of routers in PC Pro. Using a similar testing method as me for the laptop, they experienced wide variations of throughput at 25M from different routers. One of the best reported was the Linksys WAG325N with a throughput of 15Mbs whereas the Netgear DG834N wouldn't even connect at that range. However their reports are inconstant as another of their tests rates the same router at less than 1/3 of the throughput at 25M!

Hence my request for "real world" experiences.

rbz5416
2008-11-07, 06:43
@ Zaragon

That certainly seems to confirm that all routers are not created equal. I believe though that the BT Home Hubs are locked to BT unless hacked? I'm with Zen.


@ Superflyguy

Homeplugs are a consideration but I'd be slightly concerned about the heat generated in the confined space behind the Hi-Fi/TV where the SB lives. I've seen a Netgear in operation & it gets VERY warm (despite ventilation slots!). I've also seen reports of recalls due to potential fire hazard. What brand do you use & how hot do they get?

Zaragon
2008-11-07, 13:34
Your right, it does seem that they are locked unless hacked as you don't have the option to input a username and password for the DSL. On BT it doesn't use one but others do.

I have a pair of homeplugs which are spec'd to support up to 100Mbps duplex but in practice this pair don't. They seem to be a little asymetric with 85Mbps/60Mbps at the moment. They are quite sensitive to how they are connected such as being at the end of multigang sockets. They seem to operate best if they can be plugged directly into a wall socket. Unfortunately mine don't have a pass through socket on them which is both good since in theory they pick up less line noise and also bad since it takes up an extra socket.

Ross L
2008-11-07, 15:47
It doesn't surprise me that an SB3 doesn't perform as well as a wireless notebook, think about the antenna alone, it's smaller and covers a smaller area.

It sounds to me like Ethernet wall plug adapters are the best option. If I had one here I would plug it in and read the temperature of it for you, but I don't have one.

Anyone out there have a wall plug adapter and thermometer? :-)

HectorHughMunro
2008-11-08, 02:18
I went from Netgear DG834G to DG834N and got much better reception although obviously you need to change the card in the PC. Usually you can find offers for both in a package.

I understand that you've already optimized your channel but for those others who haven't, you should try. Basically, everyone in my street was using channel 1 and when I moved to channel 2, my speed went from 130 Mbps to 270 Mbps.

rbz5416
2008-11-08, 08:58
It doesn't surprise me that an SB3 doesn't perform as well as a wireless notebook, think about the antenna alone, it's smaller and covers a smaller area.How about giving us some guidance as to what we should realistically expect from the SBs Wi-Fi? Obviously there are many variables in the real world but in your lab, what are the testing conditions/results?
I went from Netgear DG834G to DG834N and got much better reception although obviously you need to change the card in the PC. Usually you can find offers for both in a package.

I understand that you've already optimized your channel but for those others who haven't, you should try. Basically, everyone in my street was using channel 1 and when I moved to channel 2, my speed went from 130 Mbps to 270 Mbps.Sadly, changing the card in the SB isn't an option. You will see in the OP that I asked for some input from the manufacturer re upgrades. So far it's not been forthcoming.

If your neighbours are all on channel 1 then you should switch to 6 or 11 as there is no overlap there. Channel 2 has a significant overlap with channel 1.

HectorHughMunro
2008-11-08, 13:14
How about giving us some guidance as to what we should realistically expect from the SBs Wi-Fi? Obviously there are many variables in the real world but in your lab, what are the testing conditions/results?Sadly, changing the card in the SB isn't an option & so far. You will see in the OP that I asked for some input from the manufacturer re upgrades. So far it's not been forthcoming.

If your neighbours are all on channel 1 then you should switch to 6 or 11 as there is no overlap there. Channel 2 has a significant overlap with channel 1.

My problem was getting from the PC to the router not from the router to the SB. In that instance, no, nothing was changed in the SB.

Re; the channel; yes, that's logical but in practice, trying each channel one at a time, the best speeds came in on channel 2 and they also stayed at those speeds for the longest time so I went with the trial-and-error results.

morris_minor
2008-11-09, 07:52
It doesn't surprise me that an SB3 doesn't perform as well as a wireless notebook, think about the antenna alone, it's smaller and covers a smaller area.

It sounds to me like Ethernet wall plug adapters are the best option. If I had one here I would plug it in and read the temperature of it for you, but I don't have one.

Anyone out there have a wall plug adapter and thermometer? :-)

Well - I don't have a thermometer handy, but my four homeplug adapters (http://www.solwise.co.uk/net-powerline-av-push-piggy.htm ) run lukewarm to touch. I certainly wouldn't say they get "hot" . . .

rbz5416
2009-07-20, 01:17
Just thought I'd update this.

I got absolutely nowhere with the original quest to find a router with significantly better coverage. I gave up & bought these (http://www.connectplayentertain.co.uk/product_ajax.php?id=10) homplugs which I can highly recommend. Being a desktop design they can sit behind the SB, which makes monitoring LEDs easier & relieves my concerns about heat build up in a confined space.

They've been running 24/7 for three months without any issues.