SOLVED Fast wireless router for $29.88 @ Wal Mart


catilley1092

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My neighbor (also my landlord) is moving this month, so my free internet for my notebook is gone. They're moving right behind us, but there's many trees, and my room is in the front of the apartment. Not an ideal environment for a good signal, and their ISP's speed isn't that fast anyway.

So I went to Wal Mart (despite all of the advice to stay away, I'll get burned), and came away with a Belkin N150 (their lowest cost one) for $29.88 + taxes. Not a bad buy at all. But many has equated cost (as in higher priced models) for higher speed. This is totally false. I plugged it into my cable modem, followed all instructions, the only change that I made was the password.

Using the stock Intel 2945 wireless card that's installed on my ancient Latitude D610 (a "G" card), it downloaded Safari + Ouick Time at an amazing 1.3MB/sec (avg). I trashed the download, I just needed something to test it on.

And my desktop is plugged into the back of the router, with no decrease in speed whatsoever. And Time Warner can't afford this for their customers? I was paying $10 extra monthly for "home networking", if you want to call their router that.

So for those who feels that you have to spend a fortune to get wireless speed, think again, before spending $100+ (as some suggests) for a "premium" router. The Belkin N150 offers 802.11n networking (backwards compatible with "g" or "b" cards), at speeds up to 150Mbps (54Mbps for "g" cards, 11Mbps for "b" cards). It is recommended for small homes or apartments, and you're up & running within 5 minutes.

It is only a 2.4GHz, their premium models offers higher, 5.(something) and 300Mbps speeds, but the price more than doubled, the next one was $69.98, and there was a $89.98 model. It also carries a two year warranty. Plus, if you're not satisfied, Wal Mart will fully reimburse you, in the manner which you paid.

But for those who are on a budget, the Belkin N150 will do, as long as your home's not too large, and you have a router already installed (phone co. or cable). It runs cool, too.

My point is, you don't have to spend a ton to get a "N" based wireless router, and have lightning fast downloads. In this day and time, most of us needs to hold our expenses down to a minimum. I happen to be one of those, too.

Cat
 
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Nibiru2012

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All wireless N routers use the 2.4 GHz band, then some use the 5 GHz band for dual banding networking. So to say it's "only a 2.4 GHz" may confuse some people new to wireless networking.

My Netgear is a WNR2000 and I get up 300 Mbps. It's a settable option in the "Wireless Settings" page of the router.

You're correct in the fact that one does not need to spend a bunch of money on a good wireless router, usually it's the features that make the biggest price difference.

My Netgear WNR2000 retails on the web for anywhere from $55 to $74 USD. I got mine on eBay for $24 or so including shipping because it was an "out of box" but brand new and never used. Just missing the box, user manual and setup CD, but I didn't need that because I just download what I needed from the product page at Netgear's website.

Neat thing is this puppy has 5 internal directional antennas and I'm 35' away from the router and my signal is 5x5.
 
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Nibs, you got me thinking about mine. So I went and had a look see. My max transmission rate is set to auto by default. Checking the drop down menu I see that the maximum rate is 54mbps. I guess it's time for a new router, this one (WRT54GL) was a freebie so no complaints and has served me well.
 

Digerati

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But many has equated cost (as in higher priced models) for higher speed. This is totally false.
It is not "totally false"! In fact, it is very true. While I admit claims may have been exaggerated and perhaps some folks have been misguided, the reality is you are totally ignoring many other significant factors for buying current and higher-end models, as opposed to legacy technologies and entry-level models.

802.11n was designed to improve on 11g in the amount of bandwidth supported by utilizing multiple wireless signals and antennas (MIMO technology) instead of one. This translates to "effective" range to include working through x-number of walls, floors and ceilings, and through interference from other electrical devices (to include wireless "crowding" from neighboring networks). And "range" greatly affects speed and 11n excels in that manner. 11n does in fact, provide higher speeds for devices that are physically located further away (or on the other side of barriers) from the WAP.

This greater range and bandwidth is of significant importance (and well as worth the money) for people who don't live in a small apartment, or they live in a crowded wireless environment or have more than one or two computers using the bandwidth at once.

More expensive models tend to have more features, including firewall-"like" features, such as SPI - static packet inspection and a 1Gbit Ethernet switch as opposed to just 10/100.

Many people buy routers to support local networking and streaming/transferring data across their local networks and in that respect, higher bandwidth/greater range and especially 1Gbit networking, ie; spending more for more, has significant tangible advantages. More expensive model support mixed technology networks much better - specifically, the more expensive simultaneous dual-band routers can support 11g and 11n devices at the same time without degrading 11n performance - which again validates the claim that more money equals higher speeds.

Finally, for Internet use, whether your wireless access is rated for 54Mb/s, 150Mb/s, or 300Mb/s - it hardly matters if your ISP is only providing 10Mbs.

So bottom line, if your local network is confined to a relatively small area with a minimum number of walls, floors, and ceilings between the networked devices and the WAP, and your networking requirements involve primarily Internet traffic (as opposed to streaming data across your network), and only one or two computers at a time will be using that bandwidth, then an entry level wireless router may suffice - as long as due diligence is taken to secure both the WAP and the networked devices. But if you live in a crowded wireless environment, a larger house or apartment, have several people/computers needing access at once, or require fast streaming capabilities, buying legacy technologies and entry level models will not suffice.
 

catilley1092

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I most certainly agree that the more expensive models, especially the dual band models, provide more speed, less interference, and has more features than the single band (entry level) models go. But my post reflected the fact that the model I'm referring to is for small homes/apartments, and doesn't have all of the bells & whistles of the higher priced ones.

However, my model is an 802.11n router, it does have a firewall, in addition to the modem (wired) that Time Warner provided, and is plugged into. It also has a firewall, giving me a total of 3 firewalls, 2 from my routers, 1 is the default Windows Firewall. It also has WPA2-PSK security, where I changed the router's password to the one of my choosing. It is "only" N150, while not able to fill a two floor home with a strong signal, there is a plus to that, too. The signal cannot be "seen" far away from the home, making it less noticeable to attackers. On the other hand, the N300 has a very strong signal, viewable from several homes away.

The main reason for me to even get a wireless router was to use my notebook for folding, I don't conduct business through the air any longer, it is too much of a security threat to my liking.

My main reason for the thread was to point out that everyone doesn't have to spend a fortune for a wireless router, there are decent ones for less. Note that I stated decent, not optimal under all conditions or circumstances. For me, an average download speed of 1.3MB/sec is fairly impressive, especially with the notebook two rooms away. And it's still 802.11n, and I have an 802.11n USB adapter attached to the notebook, as well as it's built in Intel 2945 wireless "g" adapter.

But if you have a large home, or live in a highly congested internet traffic area, a higher priced one will be needed. I spent an hour looking at the different models & brands, as well as the specs and capabilities of each one. Amazingly, Netgear had 802.11g routers for twice as much as my 802.11n router, and the other specs were no better, in fact the speed was lower (54Mb/sec).

However, the router does what it says it'll do, that's why I bought local, and not over the internet, where there are shipping/restocking fees, RMA, etc. Had it not worked as promised, I would've simply carried it back for a full refund, but it has worked well, and I'm satisfied.

Cat
 

Nibiru2012

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Here's an inSSIDer program shot of my new neighborhood. Fairly crowded as you can see.



I am in the Red on the line graph below and listed at the top on the section above. Since a lot of people leave the router to choose the channel, etc., you can see I am on channel 3 and avoiding as much interfering traffic as possible. I could also go to Channels 8 or 9 if I wanted.

inSSIDer is handy free app and you can get it from: http://www.metageek.net/products/inssider

It really helped me to optimize which channel to use and avoid as much crosstalk interference as possible.

That's why I went with wireless N because of it's better features and benefits.

I did not know that cable modems have a built-in firewall. I knew routers have them, but never heard of a cable modem firewall. (My friends say I'm 'culturally disadvantaged.' "

The Netgear WNR2000 at eBay is one of most cost effective and useful purchases I've made.
 
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Digerati

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catilley1092 said:
My main reason for the thread was to point out that everyone doesn't have to spend a fortune for a wireless router, there are decent ones for less.
While that may be true, I replied because you also said,
catilley1092 said:
But many has equated cost (as in higher priced models) for higher speed. This is totally false.
And that is not true. Had you not been so absolute with "totally false", I would have let it slide, but that statement, which is false, is misleading. And this, being a technical forum, needs to present accurate information for those reading presently, and in the future.

And to your point about "small apartments", I note a small apartment in a big complex could easily have 3 more small apartments below, 2 on either side, 3 more above, then 9 apartments across the hall, and dozens out the back window, each potentially with wireless networks, and nosy users.

Nibiru2010 said:
I did not know that cable modems have a built-in firewall. I knew routers have them, but never heard of a cable modem firewall.
I have never heard of a modem having a firewall either. What is the brand and model number? And note that NAT is a not a firewall.
 

Nibiru2012

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Originally Posted by catilley1092
I don't conduct business through the air any longer, it is too much of a security threat to my liking.
That all depends upon the strength of the password you use to secure the network.

According to a password checking website, my router's password would take about 19 million years to crack with a desktop PC. Now I do take all of that with a grain of salt, but at least I know my WAP is fairly secure.

Also remember that your cable modem does NOT have a firewall, none do as Digerati confirmed my suspicions. Your wireless router has SPI (stateful packet inspection) and NAT (Network Address Translation), but not a really true firewall. Also you can use the 4 ports on the back to run your wired ethernet connections through.
 

Digerati

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Your wireless router has SPI (stateful packet inspection)
Oh? I don't think so. If a router has SPI, it will say it has that enhanced security feature and I don't see it listed anywhere here.
 

Nibiru2012

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Okay... my bad. Didn't have my contact lenses in so things happened! LOL!
 

TrainableMan

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This is from my ZyXEL 660R DSL modem ...
M-FIRE1.jpg M-FIRE2.jpg M-FIRE3.jpg M-FIRE4.jpg
...so, yes, it's possible.
 
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TrainableMan

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That's what my ISP provides and is all that I need for connectivity. ADSL and router in one tiny little package.
 
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Core

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I think your router will serve you fine. As a general rule I don't buy el cheapo routers anymore. I paid around $80 for the Belkin N I have now and it has served me for years very well. I've bought a lot of cheap routers in my time and I've regretted every one of them (then again with Linksys you really do get what you pay for). In my opinion, pay a bit more now and save yourself some headaches later on.
 
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I have an el-cheapo D-Link DI-624 that runs without the slightest issue ever and even streams Blu-Ray across the network, wireless or wired, while other machines are being used on the net for YouTube or whatever.

It's all in the configuration of things.

~11 MB/sec internal transfers.

I use the NetBEUI protocol instead of normal NetBIOS.
 

catilley1092

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Oh? I don't think so. If a router has SPI, it will say it has that enhanced security feature and I don't see it listed anywhere here.
That's not my router at all. Yes, it's a Belkin N150, but the P/N is F7D1301, mine has internal antenna, and a 2 year warranty. The router that's pictured must be the one it took the place of.

Cat
 

Nibiru2012

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Linksys makes good NIC PCI cards, but their routers are a P.O.C.!

Netgear rocks, and so do the higher-end D-Link units.
 
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catilley1092

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That Netgear router pictured looks just like the one that Time Warner first issued me, after only a month, it burned out. It ran so hot that you could hardly hold it (the bottom of it across your palm). Then, they replaced it with the last one that I had, it looked liked it was pulled out of the garbage can, and ran like it, too.

That's when I finally said enough was enough, and asked for a wired connection, and for the first time ever, I reached 1.0MB/sec, it runs from 980KB/sec to 1.4MB/sec on a daily basis. It runs at 980KB/sec when the lines are congested. Then, a couple of days ago, I bought an elcheapo Belkin N150 wireless router, hooked it up to my existing modem, my speeds have held their same since having it.

Cat
 

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