Looking to replace my WRT54G Wireless-G Router

dar124

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I've had my WRT54G Wireless-G Router for a while and was thinking about replacing it with some sort of Wireless-N Router. I'm sure I'm going to get a wide range of suggestions, but I'd still appreceiate some input on what kind of router to get. Or some reasons to just stay with my current WRT54G.

If I got a new routher I'd want it to be comperable in features, price etc to the WRT54G (except with Wireless-N). Thanks in advance.
 

toast0

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I'm interested in this too; it took me a long time to get a wrt54g, and it's been rock solid, would like to get something as solid for N, when I finally upgrade. :)
 

cyclone3d

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Consumer grade routers are pretty much trash.

If you either get a real router (enterprise grade) or build a router box and then use a real access point (enterprise grade) you will never, ever go back to consumer grade trash again.
 

Khadgar

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Or take a hybrid approach and keep using your WRT54G for its routing (if you like its features), turn off the wifi, and add a Ubiquiti access point.
 

dar124

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Consumer grade routers are pretty much trash.

If you either get a real router (enterprise grade) or build a router box and then use a real access point (enterprise grade) you will never, ever go back to consumer grade trash again.


I'm not 100% sure that I'd need an enterprise grade access point for the 1 laptop and 2-3 phones that connect to it. It might be fun to play/learn with, but not sure it the cost would be worth it. I might have to stick with the "consumer grade trash" :rolleyes: because of the cost!!!
 

iamwhoiamtoday

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The 1st Gen Unifi is around $60-$65 right now, and the one installed at my mum's place covers her whole property fantastically. Enterprise grade access point at a sane price xD


crap. I'm turning into a Ubiquiti shill. :eek:
 

mi7chy

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I kept my WRT54GS running OpenWRT as the router and for guest WIFI access then added a TP-Link Archer C7 v2 802.11ac dual radio. Works great and reliable.
 

diizzy

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TP-Link TL-WDR3600 is a rock solid router, runs OpenWRT and just works.
http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-WD...TF8&qid=1432326124&sr=8-1&keywords=tl-wdr3600

Highly recommended if you want to upgrade from the WRT54G/GL/GS.
You can either run OpenWRT vanilla images or something precompiled like this:
http://randominfo.pyret.net/index.php?controller=page&action=view&id_page=3
http://projects.pyret.net/dump/openwrt/r45385/
The link below is to the latest firmware I've compiled and it works fine for me (tm). I'm planning to update the main page soon.
//Danne
 

Demon10000

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If you don't need much, you can't beat this deal . I don't think you'll ever find something as reliable as what you have now... those things last forever. But you can snag two of these for cheap!
 

cyclone3d

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I'm not 100% sure that I'd need an enterprise grade access point for the 1 laptop and 2-3 phones that connect to it. It might be fun to play/learn with, but not sure it the cost would be worth it. I might have to stick with the "consumer grade trash" :rolleyes: because of the cost!!!

You can get a used Cisco AP off of Ebay for pretty cheap. The 1252AG is the one I was using for quite a while. I'm talking $50-$80.

Doesn't matter if you get the stand alone or lightweight version as you can flash the lightweight version to the standalone version.

A router box can be an old PC or laptop running ClearOS community edition or any number of other good router OSes.

Best setup I have ever had.

No more having to constantly reboot crappy routers or having to worry about wireless working with some stuff and not with others. It just works great once everything is set up.

And you get way better signal strength for wireless and you get way more options and better security than any consumer grade router.
 

diizzy

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@ Demon1000
From what I can find on the Internet it's an old Realtek platform so I'd say avoid unless you want a poor paperweight.

@ cyclone3d
I've had TP-Link boxes running almost a year before I needed to update firmware due to needing to have newer software installed for various reasons but they're very stable so I'd say that the PC argument isn't valid these days at all.

//Danne
 

cyclone3d

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@ Demon1000
From what I can find on the Internet it's an old Realtek platform so I'd say avoid unless you want a poor paperweight.

@ cyclone3d
I've had TP-Link boxes running almost a year before I needed to update firmware due to needing to have newer software installed for various reasons but they're very stable so I'd say that the PC argument isn't valid these days at all.

//Danne

In the past I have had Linksys, Netgear, etc. routers. They have all lasted about 1 year max before they started having problems.

I got sick of having to reset them on a regular basis, having them drop wireless on a regular basis, etc.

I've seen the same exact thing with other people's consumer routers as well.

Pieces of trash.. all of them.

Never again.
 

diizzy

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You're wrong, the WRT54G/GL/GS have lasted for ages and did work great (for its time) with a 3rd party firmware. Hell, the Asus WL500gP also worked great which is a slightly beefier platform than the WRT54G* but still using very similar hardware. That hasn't changed today as long as you get a decent platform. Software can do wonders :)
//Danne
 

bAMtan2

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these guys are right. if you read every review at smallnetbuilder and amazon, you'll realize almost everything out there sucks. r7000 and ac68 are the best. ( http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/tools/rankers/router/view ) WR1043ND v2.1 is simple and cheap (2.4ghz only) and has strong support from gargoyle's openwrt firmware. I can't recommend anything else
 

diizzy

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The TL-WR1043NDv2 is a cut down version of the WDR3600, as you've mentioned it doesn't have dual band, slower CPU and less RAM. Despite that it's good if you can get it around 30-35$ or so as the WDR3600 costs 50$ over at Amazon and it'll well worth it. Gargoyle does have _some_ features that isn't available in OpenWRT mostly due to the way they're implemented and/or performance concerns. Nowdays it doesn't really carry anything that OpenWRT doesn't have except working in a transparent wireless bridge in client mode (wireless --> wireless <--> cable ) but that's a pretty rare setup.

It should be mentioned that fastest doesn't mean that it's the best product out there, I'd much more go for the Atheros/QCA platforms (like the Archer C7 or C5v2) knowing that it works reliably than being flakey at best.

This pretty boils down to what you purchase like with everything else irregardless of category, a lot of PSUs are bad but there are good ones too (even "cheap"ones).
People here are raving about the EdgeRouter Lite, it's pretty simple hardware and there's no "enterprise"-ish about at all. It does however have decent software and runs reliably when it works (they do occasionally die). If its hardware NAT acceleration works for you it's great otherwise you'd be better off running the WDR3600 which is about half the price.
//Danne
 
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cyclone3d

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You're wrong, the WRT54G/GL/GS have lasted for ages and did work great (for its time) with a 3rd party firmware. Hell, the Asus WL500gP also worked great which is a slightly beefier platform than the WRT54G* but still using very similar hardware. That hasn't changed today as long as you get a decent platform. Software can do wonders :)
//Danne

I had 2 of the WRT54G routers at my house. Both started having problems in less than a year. And yes, I was running 3rd party firmware.

We still have one at work and it completely freaks out every once in a while and I have to power cycle it. It is running 3rd party firmware and it has wiped itself to default settings a couple times.

They were even worse with the stock firmware.

One of my other sites had a WRT54G with 3rd party firmware. A few months ago the wireless completely died on it.

I really don't see how this router is so highly regarded as every single one I have ever used or come across had had issues of one sort or another.

Maybe most people are just used to even worse hardware. That is the only thing I can think of.
 

mi7chy

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Not all 3rd party firmwares are the same. Have had good reliability from OpenWRT and Tomato but DD-WRT was flaky. Also, maxing your transmit power output may affect the life of your radio which most people tend to do. I leave mine at default on my WRT54GS that's been running for years. Also have Cisco 1200 series and Meru APs but mostly for lab since since there's really no need for them in a small home network.
 

diizzy

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I still have two WL500gP around, while they're not fast by any means they still work perfectly fine today.
//Danne
 

colinstu

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Buy one of these when they become available.

Expensive but I've been running pfsense on a custom low-power build for nearly a year and have loved it. The custom build was a little over $200, and very high performance, but that tiny pre-made option looks pretty great too.

Either select the built-in wireless upgrade or buy a UniFi like suggested above. Run one of those myself here and also been very pleased with the uptime & performance (it's never gone down except for firmware upgrades). You'll need to connect a gigabit switch to this regardless.

Routers aren't somewhere I'd cheap out. I've dealt with every make and model of $30-300 consumer-grade router and just cannot stand them. Top that with the weekly article about a new vulnerability (that will probably never be patched or can't be) with those... no thanks!

If you want I can tell you the parts I used in my build. Uses about 15w all the time, 20w peak on boot. Almost completely silent, handles torrenting/gaming/streaming/etc without ever going down.
 

REDYOUCH

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Replaced my WRT54GL running Tomato with this:

TP-LINK TL-WR841N

v9 is currently shipping. DD-WRT support for that should be soon (v8 is supported, v9 is in beta).
 

diizzy

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@ colinstu
Just because you can't handle a device doesn't mean that it's bad and we already mentioned 3rd party firmwares such as OpenWRT which exactly covers that.

@ REDYOUCH
I would think twice as 4Mb flash is really small and 32Mb RAM doesn't really help these days. If you need a personal firewall it might be enough but I'd highly recommend you to go with something that at least has 64Mb of RAM. It'll do fine on slow DSL connections but other than that I wouldn't recommend it.
//Danne
 
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Ocellaris

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Replaced my WRT54GL running Tomato with this:

TP-LINK TL-WR841N

v9 is currently shipping. DD-WRT support for that should be soon (v8 is supported, v9 is in beta).

I wouldn't worry about DD WRT support too much on those, it doesn't have the spec to do anything fancy and the stock TP Link firmware is fine.
 

REDYOUCH

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@ REDYOUCH
I would think twice as 4Mb flash is really small and 32Mb RAM doesn't really help these days. If you need a personal firewall it might be enough but I'd highly recommend you to go with something that at least has 64Mb of RAM. It'll do fine on slow DSL connections but other than that I wouldn't recommend it.
//Danne

Think twice about what? Throughput on the router is great. Wired desktop vs. iPhone 5S speed tests are below.

desktop.png


iphone.png


The TP-LINK TL-WR841N is an amazing deal costing less than $20 on Amazon. I don't understand why people find the need to unnecessarily overspend on hardware they are never going to use.
 

wrangler

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Some interesting info in this thread.
The AP connected to router looks good to me.
 

Ocellaris

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Think twice about what? Throughput on the router is great. Wired desktop vs. iPhone 5S speed tests are below.

desktop.png


iphone.png


The TP-LINK TL-WR841N is an amazing deal costing less than $20 on Amazon. I don't understand why people find the need to unnecessarily overspend on hardware they are never going to use.

Why does your iPhone have such a lower speed? That is terrible unless you are like 25 yards away :p

And really if people just want a wireless router that works, those cheap TP Links are fine. When you start thinking about multiple wireless connections, gigabit switching, range, and an ability to handle tons of connections without slowing down, people find good reasons to spend more money.
 
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diizzy

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@ REDYOUCH
The small flash and low amount of RAM can lead to issues due to usage and/or amount of devices.

I just took a quick look at one of my OpenWRT boxes (TL-WDR3600) and even though it's a bit tweaked to use less memory it still hovers around 28Mb of usage. 3 devices (Office usage) and an OpenVPN client running so not exactly heavy usage.

Code:
 Memory: 97584 kB / 126148 kB (77%)
//Danne
 

mi7chy

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Some interesting info in this thread.
The AP connected to router looks good to me.

Having three radios available work out perfectly for available bandwidth and separation of 2.4GHz 802.11g clients such as guests, 2.4/5GHz 802.11n for Chromecast streaming with Popcorn Time IO/Videostream Chrome browser extension which buffer with 802.11g and 5GHz 802.11ac for tablets/laptops.
 

wrangler

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Having three radios available work out perfectly for available bandwidth and separation of 2.4GHz 802.11g clients such as guests, 2.4/5GHz 802.11n for Chromecast streaming with Popcorn Time IO/Videostream Chrome browser extension which buffer with 802.11g and 5GHz 802.11ac for tablets/laptops.

I would shut off the 2.4 on the router I currently have since it is the one that always has me having to reboot. The 5Ghz is rock solid so my plan is to use the AP for the fam and leave the 5Ghz all to myself.
 

diizzy

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This however usually breaks broadcasting (packets) which some services uses.
//Danne
 

dar124

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So I'm leaning towards the TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 router. It seems to have what I need right now, plus a bit of room for me to "grow" into it.

Not that this has anything to do with the router, but I'm going to be adding a couple additional connections to the little 4 port Netgear switch I have down in my basement. So as long as I'm on Amazon placing an order ... I figured I'd pick up a TP-LINK TL-SG1008D 10/100/1000Mbps 8-Port Gigabit Switch. Again, more than I'll need now, but it seems to be good quality and it's an upgrade from the Netgear setup I currently have!!!
 

diizzy

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It's a very good choice, I would however look at another switch that feels a bit more solid such as the Trendnet TEG-S82g or TP-LINK TL-SG108.
If you want I have a recent version of OpenWRT compiled around.
//Danne
 

dar124

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It's a very good choice, I would however look at another switch that feels a bit more solid such as the Trendnet TEG-S82g or TP-LINK TL-SG108.
If you want I have a recent version of OpenWRT compiled around.
//Danne


Thanks diizzy. I'll look at the TP-LINK TL-SG108 switch. Network upgrades here we come!!! :D
 

diizzy

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You're welcome,

http://projects.pyret.net/dump/openwrt/r45385/
If you want to give it a go :)
After flashing telnet 192.168.1.1 and type passwd, set password and then exit
You can now access the webui, root / <password>
Please refer to the OpenWRT wiki for more information.
//Danne
 
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SiNGeD

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Buy one of these when they become available.

Expensive but I've been running pfsense on a custom low-power build for nearly a year and have loved it. The custom build was a little over $200, and very high performance, but that tiny pre-made option looks pretty great too.

Either select the built-in wireless upgrade or buy a UniFi like suggested above. Run one of those myself here and also been very pleased with the uptime & performance (it's never gone down except for firmware upgrades). You'll need to connect a gigabit switch to this regardless.

Routers aren't somewhere I'd cheap out. I've dealt with every make and model of $30-300 consumer-grade router and just cannot stand them. Top that with the weekly article about a new vulnerability (that will probably never be patched or can't be) with those... no thanks!

If you want I can tell you the parts I used in my build. Uses about 15w all the time, 20w peak on boot. Almost completely silent, handles torrenting/gaming/streaming/etc without ever going down.

This must be the new generation of small appliances for pfsense, I still run the old ALIX 2D13 DIY kit that works like a champ:

http://store.netgate.com/ALIX2D13-DIY-Kit-P172.aspx

In terms of consumer routers I also use a ASUS N900 RT-N66U, Dual-Band Wireless Gigabit Router as an AP and it has been problem free.
 

dar124

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I got the TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 router and TP-LINK TL-SG108 switch last week and set them up this past weekend. Everything went well with the install. There was a bit of configuring with the router. It had been a while since setting up my old WRT54G router, so it took a little trial and error to get everything set right. But I'm happy with how things are now!!! :D


I do have 2 questions about things after this upgrade.

First, I've got TWC standard internet, so I realize that for the internet I'm limited by the speed, but since the router and switch are both Gigabit, and all my network cabling is Cat5e does that mean that internally (in my house) I have a Gigabit Network?? I'm 98% sure all my NIC cards are Gigabit as well. If that's the case then should I notice a difference when transferring files between my server and desktop PC, streaming videos, etc from my server to my HTPC??

Second, the TP-LINK TL-SG108 switch has green lights that show a device is connected at Gigabit speeds. Initially all 4 of the devices that I had connected were lit up green. But yesterday one of them was amber (indicating 100Mbps). I unplugged the network cable and plugged it back in and it turned green again. I also checked upstairs to make sure that that network cable connection was good there, and it was. And today a different light was amber. Is something like that normal?? I was thinking that it may drop down to 100Mbps when not in use, then step back up when the PC, etc is transmitting/receiving, but that doesnt seem quite right.

Thanks in advance.
 

diizzy

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1. Yes, Cat5e is sufficient for gigabit network
2. Many network cards "idle" at 100mbit and then re-links at gigabit speeds when a certain threshold has been met.
//Danne
 

colinstu

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How long are the cat5e runs?

The connections on each end might not be good enough. If the switch/nic detects that the connection isn't good enough to handle gigabit, it will auto-negotiate to a lower speed (100mbit).

If the PCs are turned off or hibernate/sleep, then the connection speed might slow down or completely disconnect. When they're on however, regardless of data being sent, it should be @ gigabit the whole time.
 

tangoseal

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I like Ubiquiti.

I am going to upgrade my AP to one soon.

Right now I am using NanoStation loco M2s with about 600 feet between houses to send this internet signal for the time being. THey are outstanding devices. They are setup in transparent bridge mode as a wireless ethernet wire basically. They are capable of 13KM distances as far as transmission and receive is concerned.
 

dar124

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How long are the cat5e runs?

The connections on each end might not be good enough. If the switch/nic detects that the connection isn't good enough to handle gigabit, it will auto-negotiate to a lower speed (100mbit).

If the PCs are turned off or hibernate/sleep, then the connection speed might slow down or completely disconnect. When they're on however, regardless of data being sent, it should be @ gigabit the whole time.


I have my modem & router on the 2nd floor in our 2nd bedroom / office. From there a line runs from one of the router's LAN ports down to my basement (into port 1 of the switch). If I had to guess it's probably a 40-50ft run from the router around the office and then down thru the wall to the basement. That line is plugged into the 1st port of the switch. The switch has a 3ft cable to my server, a 7ft Cat5e cable to my HPTC and a 14ft Cat5e cable up to a keystone wall plate in my living room. I'm not 100% sure that the 3ft cable is Cat5e, it was the only short cable that I could find. But I bought all the other network cables, so I know that they're Cat5e.

And I bought all pre-terminated cables (from Monoproce), so that I could be sure that I wouldnt have connection issues with terminating the ends. The first time I saw the amber light it was on the 1st port (the line down from the 2nd level), the next time it was for my server, which is on the 3 ft network cable. And when I left for work today all the ports were lit up green.

None of the wired devices are set to sleep or hibernate.
 
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