Single-Band v. Dual-Band.....

Discussion in 'Networking & Security' started by gregnash, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. gregnash

    gregnash 2[H]4U

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    Little bit of back story.....
    So I have had a Linksys WRT54G v6 running my wireless network flawlessly for the last 5-6yrs. After we moved into our new house about a year and a half ago it began to show its age and the "dirty" power in the house began to take its toll on the poor router. After brown-outs, breaker pops, etc. it would increasingly take the router longer and longer to come back up. Well a couple of weeks ago we had a power outage from a downed transformer in our neighborhood that ended up wiping it out... I tried everything I could think of to get it to work but it seems that the board is fried on it.

    We needed wireless within the house for my wife to be able to work (she uses a new Macbook Pro) so, against my better judgement, we impulse purchased something late at night from Target. We picked up a new Cisco-Linksys E2000, which I have to say was very similar and easy to setup just like my WRT54G. I picked it up because I mistakenly thought it was a "simultaneous" dual band instead a "single" dual-band router.

    Anyways, after all of this I have been doing some research on different routers (originally wanted to pick up a WNDR3700 but no one sells them around here) and it has really sparked the Dual-Band v. Single-Band debate within my mind. While the E2000 is a good router it is just...meh. Seems like the range is actually less since I used to be able to get a full signal out in my street and now I can't even get on in my garage (router is in exact same location).

    I have begun thinking about selling this router and picking something new up, but the question is do I spend the extra cast for a "simultaneous" dual-band or go for something that is Single-Band but can do multiple networks?
     
  2. crazyfinx

    crazyfinx Gawd

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    My suggestion would be to try increasing the power output of the antenna on the E2000 by using DD-WRT. More info here http://www.dd-wrt.com/site/index. It's a great opensource firmware replacement to almost all wireless gateways out there. I have a WRT54G v4, installed DD-WRT and increased the power output from the default 75mw to 150mw(225max) and was able to cover all of my house. There's also a lot of other features included with DD-WRT which would also allow you to setup multiple VLAN,s and SSID's on different channels. If you're still having coverage issues after this then I would pick up the E3000 which support simultaneous dual band and from the looks of it is only $50 more on newegg

    Note: Be careful with DD-WRT, read up on it first - go through the forums and understand every aspect of the installation process before going forward with the firmware installation. Its very easy to install but I would say ts also very easy to brick your gateway if miss a beat.
     
  3. keenan

    keenan 2[H]4U

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    Not sure if it's relevant in your situation, but one of the nice things about a dual radio router is that you can configure the 5GHz band for 802.11n clients alone, and segregate them from any 802.11g devices on the network that could be impacting performance. Other than that, I don't think there's a huge advantage, though 5GHz is better in some situations, and you probably do have some 802.11g devices that need 2.4GHz to operate, so it's nice to run both instead of the lowest common denominator.

    You could also just add a second router in parallel and operate one on each band.
     
  4. gregnash

    gregnash 2[H]4U

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I have thought about returning this one and getting something better but then realized that I have since lost the receipt. Anyways, I did check out DD-WRT first thing and the E2000 is currently not supported so I am stuck there.

    I was looking at the dual-band, dual-radio items because I would then setup our Macbook Pro, Xbox 360 and new iPhone 4 (when I get it) to work on the N network (5ghz) and the rest (Tivos, Laptop, etc) to work on the G network. However, I am worried about the coverage as our house is older, with thick walls and lots of "wood work" that can complicate things.. I have run InSSIDer and found that I am the only one in the neighborhood using channel 11 so it is not necessarily and interference issue.

    What I am directly wondering is with something like the Engenius ESR9855G that say "multiple SSID" does this mean that I can have multiple 2.4Ghz networks going at once? Or that I can create multiple networks to run at different times (similar to what I have now)?
     
  5. keenan

    keenan 2[H]4U

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    Usually means you can have multiple SSIDs with different security configuration (encryption settings and key) running at the same time; some gear will let you segregate each SSID onto a tagged VLAN or segregate it from the rest of the LAN to use as e.g. an open guest network. It still all operates from one radio though, so all SSIDs on the same channel, and 802.11g devices will still slow everything down.

    dd-wrt can do multiple SSIDs as well, if you were to go with a supported router.

    5GHz may not be beneficial to you as it doesn't penetrate as well. Have you tried your existing router on 5GHz to see if performance improves or gets worse? Have you considered setting up a second AP for improved coverage instead of going for one more powerful one?
     
  6. gregnash

    gregnash 2[H]4U

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    Actually I was thinking about doing a project this fall/winter to wire my house with a full wired network, adding jacks within all rooms and then having the Wireless network as a backup. I was planning on doing a GigE network within my house and adding a small media server and networked printer to it. Just haven't had time to spec everything out. I wonder if that would give me better capability for streaming HD to my Xbox now as before it was barely good enough for SD.

    RE: DD-WRT... it looks like they have added support as there is now a file there for my router. Guess I have some reading to do on my trip the next two weeks and will try it out when I get home.
    [​IMG]
    Ok I am really confused, it will let me download the item but when I click on the "yes" for documentation it says that this router is currently not supported? Well which is it!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2010
  7. keenan

    keenan 2[H]4U

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    Support is new and in 'beta', so I guess the wiki is just not up to date. Looks like the development thread is here:

    http://www.dd-wrt.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=73601

    Process seems to be to flash that image directly from the web interface, and if you want to there's a 'BIG' image of a slightly newer build with some fixes linked in the thread that you can update to from that.
     
  8. gregnash

    gregnash 2[H]4U

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    Yeah I did see that... looks like you have to modify it a bit and change some values... Again looks like I will have some reading to do on vacation to understand what is needed to install.. Once that is done then I can try when I get home..