So anyway, I had a Vodafone Broadband Complete modem/router (Huawei) and I have upgraded this to a Draytek Vigor 120 in bridge mode and a Netgear WNDR3700 dual band wireless router flashed with Gargoyle Router v1.5.6
The first issue I had before was with interference from our microwave oven when streaming music over WiFi to our kitchen stereo. See post:
Not only would the microwave stop the streaming, it would then require a restart of the stereo and reboot of the router to get the signal back. I was basically looking at having to wire ethernet under the floor from the router to the stereo. However, now using the WNDR3700, the microwave has basically no effect on wireless streaming to the stereo. i.e. not only do we not have to retstart/reboot after using the microwave, but we don't even lose the stream while actually using the microwave. So problem solved. By comparison to the WNDR3700, the Huawei is really just a toy in this regard.
The next big issue we had was with sharing our WiFi connection with tenants in a flat in the basement of our house. See post:
The problem was worrying about how much bandwidth we would be left with if our tenants were maxing out our connection and also possible concerns about what sites etc they would access. Thanks to advice from Ragnor, I gave Gargoyle a go and it has done the job superbly. This was my first foray into third party firmware, but it has all been fairly straightforward.
Specifically I gave fixed IP address to all our own devices (Apple TV, laptop, bluray player etc) in the range between 192.168.1.64 - 192.168.1.127. Then I set anything else (the tenants' devices) to acquire IPs from DHCP in the range 192.168.1.128 - 192.168.1.159. Then in the Gargoyle QoS I set up a "Main" class with CIDR address 192.168.1.64/26 and a "Flat" class with CIDR address 192.168.1.128/27. Then finally I allocated the Main class 80% of bandwidth and the Flat class 20% for both upload and download. This will mean that if our connection is saturated, then we will be guaranteed 80% of it (around 9 Mbps), which should be fine for everything we need. Note, when the link is not saturated, then the Flat will get as much as they are requesting, even if it is more than 20%.
So problem solved again. Note, with Gargoyle we also get web site monitoring etc, so we can ensure our internet connection isn't being used for something undesirable - although we know our tenants well enough to think that is fairly unlikely. Also, at some point I'll probably get competing requirements for bandwidth within our own family (kids with gaming etc). At that point Gargoyle has the flexibility to easily tailor the QoS to our needs.
Couple of things I learnt along the way:
1. If you want to set your router to 192.168.1.x, then change the Draytek to something else (e.g. 192.168.2.1) BEFORE connecting the router to it.
2. If you reset the Draytek to factory settings, then you're not resetting it to NZ settings. i.e. they are preset with NZ settings before sending out (thanks theEd) (http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumId=66&topicId=107891)
So in my view, a very good set up for busy home requirements - especially where you have QoS type needs.
Any down sides? Well I guess a couple:
1. The cost. If you're on a budget, then $90 for the Draytek plus $165 for the Netgear may be too much. However, you can achieve a similar set up with a cheaper router like the TP Link TL-WR1043ND. In our case I decided that the dual band was worth having and our tenants are paying us for their share of the WiFi, so it's sort of self-funding.
2. As at the latest version of Gargoyle (1.5.6), the dual band support is fairly poor. e.g. you can't have different passwords for each band, or choose to publish only one of the SSIDs etc. In our case, none of these were show-stoppers and I'm guessing that dual band support will improve in subsequent versions.
So anyway, thanks for the help from Ragnor, theEd, sidefx and others and I hope some of this helps someone else along the way.