dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
2043
share rss forum feed

dslissues

join:2006-01-28
Maryville, TN

Buying a router

Hello, I have spent a lot of time looking for a "post G" router. One thing comes out of all the reviews even world wide reviews. We are asking for the features of a $1300 business router in a $200 box.

We all know the best brands. But if you look at all the reviews (G routers not included) retailer and customer I find all these companies are shipping about 20% bad units on all models. Most places today, that is an unacceptable Quality Rating. But because the demand is here, this rate of faulty units is allowed.

With only an 80% chance of getting a good unit, replacement becomes a big issue. I don't want to sound like I am pushing certain retailers, but I am recommending a better way of getting a good unit with the least hassle.

The issues with routers is mostly quality control in China. Most of us would be happy with a good unit from any of the top four manufacturers. And we will not be happy with a bad or marginal unit from any of them.

Standards being put out every year does not allow much for design. The manufacturing faults, aside from design faults, will cause an unlimited number of different failures over a wide time of use. However we only have two recourses, that is to return it and try again or wear out our time and warranty and keyboards trying to find a fix that is often not there. I am turning to the first recourse.

There are some online retailers that have very good return policies and that works for a lot of purchases. I don't think any of them can match drive up and go home with a new unit.

There are retailers in your cities that have very short (14 day) and some that have longer (30 to unlimited days) refunds. I believe refunds are preferable to replacements. I am saying that paying the local price for these easier /quicker / cheaper returns will pay you back.

I am trying to put a limit on the expectations of consumers and our frustrations.

Now I start looking for a third router in one week.



Optimus2357
Premium
join:2010-11-21
West Warwick, RI
kudos:3

1 recommendation

I have no idea what this post was supposed to say. Was there a question there? A point? It sounds like a journal entry. ::chuckle::


dslissues

join:2006-01-28
Maryville, TN

Hi Optimus, I gave it a subject and a closing. It is to inform that 20% or more that do not get a good unit what ever brand that may be.It was supposed to discuss the merry go round of buying a router that does what you want it to do. It points out that most of the problems we have are not the brand, but the lack of quality control. I see many complaints on forums across the internet about this model or that brand, but when you look at all of them there is no brand or model that is free of this QC problem. And finally where you purchase makes a big difference in how easy a return is.

Thank you for the response.



Hagar

join:2004-10-31
Sunnyvale, CA
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to dslissues

I think the statistics on reviews are skewed. I.e. you are more likely to post a review if you have problems than if all is well. I also think there is some amount of pilot errors.

That said I think your premise is correct, quality of cheaply manufactured devices is not as good as we would like it to be.

There is also the issue of fake positive reviews. Unfortunately I am not sure that the two cancel each outher out.

I personally have not gotten 20% bad units and I buy enough that statistics on my purchases should be valid.
I agree that you need to look at return policies. I tend to pick my models carefully so in-store does not work well for me, stores do not seem to have what I want.

I tend to read the max -1 reviews, they tend to deduct one for something that might be important to me. Then I read the min + 1 reviews, the product is not DOA but it has some serious issues that you want to know.

I hope your third router works out for you.


dslissues

join:2006-01-28
Maryville, TN

Hello Redholm, Here is what I am looking for:

a few consistent WiFi points
a Gigabit Ethernet
QoS
security

I did TP-Link 3600 DOA
I did Netgear 4300 (DHCP bad on arrival)

I am looking at either the Netgear WNDR3700 or the Linksys EA4500

Do you think the distributor is an issue as far as obtaining a good unit?



Optimus2357
Premium
join:2010-11-21
West Warwick, RI
kudos:3
reply to dslissues

Ahh, apologies. Im not used to people posting for conversational value, so I thought it was a rant. I was trying to figure out what you were asking for help with, but I understand now you weren't asking for help.

I agree with that quality control is a issue, especially with manufacturers pushing hardware to market as fast as possible to compete with what the other manufacturers are pushing fast to market. I have seen the WiFi AC be a kind of arms war in that way. Which I found to be kind of funny since they are so few decent AC adapters out at the time. Things are starting to settle down, but I still wouldn't suggest buying a AC router until things become more standardized.

On thing I always do is check out Newegg for user reviews, and then cross reference with Smallnetbuilder for a good break down. Then before I buy, I check the different hardware revisions on FCC ID database, because many times routers of the same name can be quite different. This is especially true with older models are hardware bugs are fixed, firmware updated, and the general decline in build quality as manufacturers figure out cheaper ways to accomplish the same stats.

I agree that brick and mortar store can be convenient, especially if they have floor models on display so you can get hands on. But watch out for Walmart and Costco and other bargain outlet, because they can sometimes work out deals with the Manufacturer for cheaper (both price and quality) versions of the normal units. Thats where S/N come in handy, or check the FCC ID code on the box.

If I had to pick one consumer level router brand that has really impressed me over the last 2 years or so, it has to be Asus. The RT-N56U, RT-N66U and RT-AC66U were all great routers IMHO. Alot can be seen by just looking at the internal pictures and see how the thing is put together. I think Asus took their experience in quality Mobo's and put it to good use in making routers. Compared to a 400$ Motherboard a 200$ router is simple to make well. And one only has to look at their quality control numbers on Mobo's to be impressed. To be fair though, I am kind of a Asus fan boy, but I used to be all Dlink, I just fallow the quality.



Hagar

join:2004-10-31
Sunnyvale, CA
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·AT&T U-Verse

1 edit
reply to dslissues

said by dslissues:

Do you think the distributor is an issue as far as obtaining a good unit?

Not the quality of a unit of but I agree with Optimus some bargain outlets pick brand/models that are cheap in price and quality.

I have a Netgear WNDR3800 also know as 3700v2 (v3 is a different chip set). Bought from a bargain outlet

I agree 100% with optimus post above. The Asus models he listed are great. I also like Smallnetworkbuilder site for info.

I would have bought an Asus except I wanted to run CeroWrt so I had to get a Netgear. The Linksys models did not make the cut.

/edit typo


Hagar

join:2004-10-31
Sunnyvale, CA
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·AT&T U-Verse
reply to dslissues

Dslissues, you spent a lot of time looking for a router.

Here are my thoughts on finding a decent quality electrics product when there are a gazillion models and all of them have good and bad reviews.
First we need to define what we mean by quality. Quality issues come in two categories software issues and hardware issues.

Software issues can be put in two categories;
1) The model can do this but my unit does not, i.e. software support. All companies have bad support and often bad manuals because we are not willing to pay for it.
Solution is an active user/hacker community that helps each other out.
2) The model can not officially do something and will probably never get new software capabilities since there are newer models the vendor wants to sell.
Solution is unofficial hacks or 3rd party firmware that the user/hacker community will find/create.

Hardware issues are difficult but there are 2-3 categories that you can do something about;
1) Bad power, one of the most common issues is bad power. Hard to diagnose when power is not enough intermittently so you get strange errors.
Solution is to replace the power unit with one that has 20% more max Amp than spec.
2) Heat issues, models are tested in a cool lab often with an open box. Then a designer creates a case. When the case is manufactured cheaply the vents are not properly made and unit overheats.
Solution is to fix the vent slots or if the ambient temperature is to high add extra cooling fan. The user/hacker community often have a how to guide.
3) Failing components most often capacitors. You will easily recognize them with the swollen bulging caps.
Solution If you have the skill, and it is worth your time and effort, buy good capacitors from Japan and replace.

So my buying strategy is something like this
1) Do not by the latest and greatest. Latest with new capabilities/spec/standard often has over-clocked CPU (runs hot) and too little memory (no room for new features) so the model will quickly be replaced and discontinued.
2) Read reviews but not all reviews are created equal. Site that specializes in an area and user/hacker communities have much more knowledgeable reviews. E.g. if you write a 3rd party software for a model you tend to know what you are talking about.
3) Pick a model that has an active user/hacker community. I prefer an OK spec unit with an active community that a better spec unit without a community. Do not buy a locked down unit if there is alternatives that have 3rd party firmware. Chances that stock firmware and 3rd party firmware has the same bugs are almost zero, unless it is partly a hardware defect.

I use the above strategy for all my electronic gadget purchases, router, NAS, table, phones etc.



dslissues1

@charter.com

Hello again, I have been on the road. I just placed the order with Fry's for the Asus N66U. It is way over in features and budget but I could not see a lower price with the quality. I went to the smallnetworkbuilders site and even they had design issues with the N56U. Fry's had the lowest price and 30 day return vs 14 day local.

Referencing my original thoughts about manufacturing, I found similar thoughts on Smallnetbuilders also. That person's take was it's only $100 to $200 so we just have to take our chances and keep returning till we catch a good one. I don't like that but I think that describes the quality issue.



Hagar

join:2004-10-31
Sunnyvale, CA

Good luck with your N66U, I think it will satisfy you requirements with some margin but it is nice to have some head room.



dslissues1

@charter.com

Hello, back home and opened the router 3 hours ago. it will not acquire IP.
This is one RJ45 connection. All the LED's indicate a connection, both lan and wan are blinking
Sets the lan up but no wan connection.

Shouldn't this connect with out any configurations? Cable co does not require a sign on and the old router and my desktop both go online with out any interaction. The FAQs did not mention anything other than check cable.

I did a restore firmware - no change
I did a firmware upgrade - no change

Connect desktop directly to cable mode - it acquires and goes online.
reconnect old Netgear G router - it connects online



DSLissus1

@charter.com
reply to Hagar

I don't know what it was but, I tried the 30 30 30 reset and it connected.

I would have thought the ordinary reset or the firmware update would have caused a reset.

Anyway we are going and will do some testing with it before my 30 days are up.



StevenP88

join:2010-11-01
Springfield, MO
reply to dslissues

You need to either clone your mac address of your old router to the new one or call your cable company and have them release your old MAC address


dslissues

join:2006-01-28
Maryville, TN

Thanks for the reply, I don't recall doing that. The setup listed it as a may be required. I will check and see if the routers have cloned my pc MAC and report back.



Optimus2357
Premium
join:2010-11-21
West Warwick, RI
kudos:3
reply to StevenP88

I don't think Charter uses any kind of ARP cache, so I don't know why you would need to give them your MAC. If you get a DHCP from them, then trust me, they know your MAC. The main issue was probably that the network needed a power cycle after the hooking the new router up. Otherwise the modem will still be thinking your connecting to the old router. And when it comes to power cycles, its all about the timing. If you power up the router too early, it will sometimes lock with a 169 or 192 IP and need more aggressive steps to fix. Thats why the 30/30/30 worked, because it made the router take longer to load, so the modem was probably ready for it by the time the router was asking for a new IP.


dslissues

join:2006-01-28
Maryville, TN

This is Charter Cable. I just finished following a neighbors installation. I asked the tech and he said that with the DOCsis 3 they do watch the mac addresses to follow rented routers and modems. But they do not bond to them. Optimus, I like your explanation for the delay in getting access. So in future equipment changes, should I just let the router set for 30-60 minutes after doing the cables. Will it then at sometime update and all is good?

PS: Charter installed a Netgear 3800 (rental) and a Cisco DCPXXX for my neighbor.



Optimus2357
Premium
join:2010-11-21
West Warwick, RI
kudos:3

Hmm, well I guess I could be wrong about the MAC binding. From my experience ARP caches only come into play for static IP's to keep people in your neighborhood from stealing your IP. Maybe there is some other method they use other then ARP though. I tried googling it but came up dry. Oh well.

As for network power cycles, waiting a certain amount of time is a method technical support and IT people give because the reality is a little more complicated. When you plug a modem in, it starts to boot. This boot is kind of similar to the one you see your computer do. It has to go through certain steps before it is ready for input. With a modem, the process is a lot simpler and has to do with the communication process between the modem and Charter. This sequence is visualized by the light sequence on the front of the modem. What the sequence is varies from modem to modem, but all modems have state which the lights tell you the modem is done booting up and ready to go. Its usually in the manual for the modem. If you understand what the lights need to be, then you will know exactly when to power up the router, when the lights are correct on the modem. The reason the timing method is not as accurate as it used to be is DOCSIS 3.0 modems take longer to "boot". And sometimes it can restart half way through a boot and have to start all over again. The happens more when the modem is new, because it has to learn all the frequencies Charter uses, and might have to do a firmware upgrade, etc.

I hope I didn't over complicate it, but I thought it might help if you understood the man behind the curtain, so to speak.


dslissues

join:2006-01-28
Maryville, TN

1 edit

I don't think it sounds like MAC binding but more of a MAC server like a DNS. Just a quick reference. Once that MAC is registered on my list it will access quickly like the other two that connected quickly. As you said, the details are not there.

This Asus N66u is also DOCSIS 3.0 which may add to the setup. Would enabling the IPV6 on this router help on a small LAN?
I started down this new router road just for my Magicjack and QOS.

I do appreciate the details that may speed installs. Like most families or groups, there is one that has more capability than the rest in a given area. God has selected me to be it for about 12 families in three states and one province. I did manage with God's grace to get through A+,B+ and CCNA. But with all learning, if you don't use it you loose it.

Thanks to all that have helped me understand the selection process better.

I will start a new thread for Asus questions.



Optimus2357
Premium
join:2010-11-21
West Warwick, RI
kudos:3

Maybe this list of MAC's allow those their own DHCP IP so the modem doesn't have to reboot to re-assign the IP, it just assigns a new IP to the new device. Thats my best guess. If thats true, I wonder if you could pull more then 1 DHCP IP by going modem > Switch > multiple routers. But thats just the nerd in me asking, as long as it works.

Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) refers to the method of which the cable modem talks to the ISP (Charter). Its not so much a protocol like TCP, but more like a standard like USB. So the RT-N66U can't be DOCSIS, but it is a complex router, so i think i know where you were going with that. And actually, I have that same router and it boots pretty quickly. If you just look at your modem and router while they are working (but no activity) that is what each device should look like when it's "ready" With the exception of the LINK light on the modem.

IPv6 won't really make that much of a difference on your LAN. I find it complicates matters more then it help.


dslissues

join:2006-01-28
Maryville, TN

Yes, I confused that both were IPV6 with DOCSIS 3.0
My next venture is the QOS for Magicjack.

New Asus Thread


dslissues

join:2006-01-28
Maryville, TN
reply to StevenP88

I think you are right that cloning the old MAC would have worked. As it turned out after a period of time the cable Co updated and made a connection with the new router.
Thank You