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Topic # 96679 2-Feb-2012 09:20 Send private message

I currently have a Netgear DGN3500 modem/router, which has recently become increasingly unstable. I suspect that it is groaning under the weight of the number of wifi devices now connecting to it, as since Christmas its load in this respect has jumped from handling 6 connected devices to handling 12. And it has been since this time that stability has decreased significantly, especially with regards to wifi connectivity.

We have many Apple devices connecting wirelessly to the router, and it is common for the iPhones, iPods & iPad to "lose" their wifi connectivity with the router, requiring a router reboot to resolve this situation. When they get into this state, the devices indicate only 3G is available (or there is no Internet connectivity in the case of the iPods and wifi only iPad), but going into the network settings reveal that they are connected but have been assigned an IP address outside of the range set up in the router. When this happens it is usually not all devices that are affected, but only one or two of them.

In addition to this problem, I've also had a few spontaneous router reboots recently, further indicating that it's not coping well with its current workload. This is something that never happened under its lessened pre-Christmas workload.

It is also common for the Apple TV to lose wifi connectivity, but I suspect that may be more an issue with that device, as a reboot of the Apple TV will resolve it (which doesn't work with the other Apple devices).

As a result, I'm looking for a replacement modem/router that will be Apple friendly. It also needs to support the Bonjour networking protocol, which as I found out when I got this router isn't always supported (Belkin Share, looking at you here), resulting in significant issues on a LAN with multiple OSX machines.

I'm wondering whether it would be a good idea to consider an Apple Airport Extreme. They seem pretty overpriced for a wireless router, but I'm working on the logic that it would be designed to play well in an Apple ecosystem. I also have a few non-Apple devices that connect, so it would need to be able to cope well with those too. Does anyone have any experience with the Airport Extreme, and could offer any insight into how good this device is?

In order to do this though, I'd need to be able to configure my existing modem/router so it would effectively only act as an ADSL modem, and have the Airport Extreme act as the router for the LAN. Does anyone know if this is possible?

Finally, I'm happy to take suggestions for other modem/routers which may fit the bill, provided they aren't too expensive. I'm looking for a device that has at least 4 Gigabit LAN ports, must work well in a networked environment with both OSX and Windows machines, and be able to handle the load of multiple wifi connections. Below is a list of all the devices that currently connect (wireless connectivity unless specified otherwise:-

iMac (wired)
Macbook Pro (wired and wireless)
2x iPhone 4
2x iPod Touch (latest gen)
iPad 2
Apple TV2 
HP Laptop
Huawei X3 Android phone
Huawei X5 Android phone
Tivo
PS3 

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  Reply # 576201 2-Feb-2012 09:56 Send private message

My only recommendation is to get a dual-band router. I've heard good things about the Airport Extreme but never used it. I've got Linksys but I'm not keen on it.

I don't buy combined modem-routers. I've found it is much easier keeping the functions separate.




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  Reply # 576207 2-Feb-2012 10:04 Send private message

Hammerer:

I don't buy combined modem-routers. I've found it is much easier keeping the functions separate.


The reason for getting an combined device was primarily cost. If I disable the DHCP server in my existing modem/router, disable the wireless router radio, would I have then effectively converted it into only being an ADSL modem which then can be paired with a dedicated router? I understand this may not be as good as a dedicated ADSL modem, but it may be a good first step to obtaining that.

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  Reply # 576216 2-Feb-2012 10:19 Send private message

With all of those Apple devices, I'd definitely go with an AirPort Extreme. They're very good routers overall, and of course play very nicely with Apple gear (which prefers dual-band wireless).

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  Reply # 576220 2-Feb-2012 10:33 Send private message

I have no issues with my linksys WAG320N, setup is easy and i have a similar amount of devices mac iphones etc , wired and wireless,  although dual band its not simultaneous, but have no issues streaming wireless to apple TV, though about 4 walls, a floor and the router being about 15m ( in a line), all the bonjour printing services show up and the networked time machine backup.

 If its just a router, the e3200 as well is supposed to work well.

Shame there isnt a way you could borrow one for use, and see what suits you best or works well, although you may be able to do that under the 7 day return thing, with the airport extreme, and or other makes providing everything is pristine when you return it.



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  Reply # 576225 2-Feb-2012 10:42 Send private message

keepitwarm: 

Shame there isnt a way you could borrow one for use, and see what suits you best or works well, although you may be able to do that under the 7 day return thing, with the airport extreme, and or other makes providing everything is pristine when you return it.


Yeah, that would be good.

As I mentioned in my initial post, I initially had a Belkin Share, but after a week with it, it became clear that it wasn't designed to work in a LAN with OSX devices on board. I even contacted Belkin support, who scratched their heads over the issue for a few days before conceding that unfortunately the Bonjour protocol wasn't supported (despite the box advertising Mac support). Thankfully the retailer was more than happy to offer me a full refund, and I purchased the Netgear, which had been working mostly well*, until the increased wireless workload we've asked of it.


*one quirk its always had is that I have to manually re-establish my ADSL connection after a reboot.
 

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  Reply # 576226 2-Feb-2012 10:46 Send private message

I am using the NETGEAR WNDRMACv2 and it's "MAC" compatible - in the sense it has support for Time Machine, etc... It's gigabit in all ports, 802.11n, etc...







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  Reply # 576227 2-Feb-2012 10:56 Send private message

freitasm: I am using the NETGEAR WNDRMACv2 and it's "MAC" compatible - in the sense it has support for Time Machine, etc... It's gigabit in all ports, 802.11n, etc...



I'll have to investigate that one. 

As I stated in my original post, due to the large number of Apple devices in our household, I really need one that will play nicely with them, especially WRT wifi connectivity. This is where our current router really seems to be struggling. We have at least one device per day that loses its Internet connectivity, requiring a router reboot to resolve.
 

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  Reply # 576317 2-Feb-2012 14:27 Send private message

Do not under any circumstances buy a Cisco/Linksys WAG160N. DNS becomes unstable over wireless even after numerous firmware releases. Google it if you need more info. I've long since given up on/retired mine.

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  Reply # 576323 2-Feb-2012 14:38 Send private message

+1 for the Airport Exteme. It just works, never have to reboot unless changing firmware or settings. Depending on your needs you could pick up a second hand one tha's not dual band or gigabit ethernet.

List of models here.



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  Reply # 576326 2-Feb-2012 14:52 Send private message

RunningMan: +1 for the Airport Exteme. It just works, never have to reboot unless changing firmware or settings. Depending on your needs you could pick up a second hand one tha's not dual band or gigabit ethernet.

List of models here.


If I was going to go this route, I'd also need an ADSL modem. I THINK I may be able to change the configuration of my current modem/router (Netgear DGN3500) to accomplish this. But does anyone know if this is actually possible?

Looking at the admin interface for it, I think I should be able to achieve this by unchecking the 'Enable Wireless Router Radio' and 'Enable SSID Broadcast' options under the Wireless Settings page, and uncheck the 'Use Router as DHCP Server' setting under the LAN Setup page. I should then be able to connect the DGN3500 to my new dedicated wireless router, which would be configured to be the DHCP server for the LAN and also as the wireless access point. Does this sound feasible, and will there be any gotchas to be aware of?

And would the connection between the two be done using a standard ethernet cable from one of the existing ports on the DGN3500 to an ethernet port on the dedicated router, doing the same but using a crossover cable, or c) <some other method>?

The last thing I want to do is spend $300 on a solution to our current problem, only to find that there is more spend required. If this does need to be done, then I'd really like to know this up front so I can consider all options. I'd love to say "money is no object", but a poorly performing USD is making this impossible right now :-) 

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  Reply # 576333 2-Feb-2012 15:27 Send private message

Will the DGN3500 do half bridge, so you can use the AE for PPPoE authentication?



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  Reply # 576335 2-Feb-2012 15:44 Send private message

RunningMan: Will the DGN3500 do half bridge, so you can use the AE for PPPoE authentication?


I'm not sure. Networking isn't my strong point.

Looking at the router config, on the Basic page I see it has Encapsulation set to PPPoA (PPP over ATM), and also has an option to set this to PPPoE (PPP over Ethernet). Would choosing the latter equate to setting it to half-bridge mode with PPPoE handled by the Airport Extreme?

There is also an 'Enable PPPoE Relay' option under the WAN Setup page, which is currently deselected. 

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  Reply # 576865 3-Feb-2012 15:17 Send private message

dclegg: Would choosing the latter equate to setting it to half-bridge mode with PPPoE handled by the Airport Extreme?


No. 




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  Reply # 577360 4-Feb-2012 22:03 Send private message

If you're looking for a standalone modem, you can't really go wrong with a Draytek Vigor 120, but they are quite expensive. A cheaper option would be to pick up a Dynalink RTA 1320 v6 (the newer model in black plastic casing) from TradeMe. There are usually a few listings for around $10. The modem can run in half-bridge mode and seems fairly solid.

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  Reply # 579582 10-Feb-2012 09:47 Send private message

I put in a TP Link modem/router in for my in-laws and it has been really good, but they only have one apple device. I know a lot of people recomend the TP Link gear but I don't know how apple friendly it is, maybe other have more experience.

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