After some calls to the Xnet Technical Support, they basically told me to come and post on here since you guys would have some more experience with different hardware setups.
I would really like to run one of the open source firmwares available on the internet; DD-WRT, Tomato, OpenWRT or any of the alternatives. The reason for this is I would like to have the router track the data usage of each of the flat mates, and if possible have it shape the speeds during on and off peak times after we hit a certain amount of usage. I haven't used any of these firmwares before so I don't exactly know what the features and limitations are but most people tell me they are leaps and bounds better than the standard firmwares.
My original plan was to go onto TradeMe and find the (being poor uni students) cheapest router there which would support either of those firmwares, then buy a modem and be done. I still don't have a specific model in mind, but I hear the WRT54GL is a good option (although some people seem thoroughly against it). Are there any good value (i.e. reliable with a decent feature set for the price) router/modem combos with support these firmwares, or can you can only find straight up routers, and need to by a modem seperate. It would be good to hear your opinions on Router/Modem combos or seperate Router and Modem.
So there's a few questions to begin with, but to complicate it even more we might even want to get VFX!!!!!
It would be fantastic to get a (VoIP) phone line to our flat - we weren't planning to because most plans charge extra for it, but Xnet include it for free. We just have to decide on the hardware. So now I'm trying to decide if it would be a better idea to buy the WAG310G (for around $240) which would fix our modem, router and VoIP needs - but none of the open source firmwares support it!! I am also wary of this part as it would be hard to upgrade to new technologies, such as Wireless N, without buying a completely new device. But we could always slap on an N access point, and a gigabit switch if needed (but it sort of defeats the ease of a combined device). Wireless is a must since we all use laptops and don't have any ethernet running thru the flat (it's a really old, scungy student flat).
Reading this post http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=65&topicid=41945, Niel suggests:
Modem: Included in the AG310.
Router: AG310 - $100 to $150 estimate in above post, WIP support for OpenWRT.
VoIP: Included in the AG310.
Wireless: WAP54G - $126 on PriceSpy, but I would probably go for an N model.
This works out more expensive than the WAG310G, plus it doesn't yet support any of the open firmwares.
Here's another post: http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=65&topicid=39549
Modem: RTA1320 - $30 estimate from trademe.
Router: WRP400 - $180 on PriceSpy, no open firmware support.
VoIP: Included in the WRP400.
Wireless: Included in the WRP400.
This is only $210 but there are some bad things floating around about the WRP400.
Then again, I could split off the VoIP with either a VoIP phone (which are damn expensive!) or an ATA. The consensis on the forums seems to be "get the SPA2102 over the PAP2T". The PAP2T is on PriceSpy for $90, but the SPA2102 is $120 - a $30 increase!! I guess I should talk to my flat mates to decide if the VoIP connection is worth that extra $90~$120.
IP Phones are even worse, with the SPA922 around $175.
I think seperating the VoIP from the rest of the hardware would be the best idea, since it opens up a whole heap of options for the router/modem/wireless. If I went with an ATA, what other hardware would you pair with it?
I know a lot of this has been covered on the forums before, but it seems like the hardware is changing pretty fast, plus the open source firmware complicates our requirements a bit (do you guys think it's worth it?) The other thing is, I've mainly focuses on Linksys hardware - which the ATA would have to be, since VFX doesn't support anything else. I'm a COSC student so I like to *think* I know a bit about computers, but I know absolutely nothing about Asterisk and the fact the XNet doesn't officially support it is putting me off. Using the Linksys ATA's, would you switch up the brands on the other hardware?
My flat wants me to sort out something by next week (since we are already paying $$$) but I would love to get any feedback to help save me making a terrible decision :-)