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Topic # 57839 26-Feb-2010 10:42
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I'm in a flat of uni students (we're all at University of Canterbury, living in Riccarton) and we've recently signed up for Xnet's Fusion plan (on the Torrent option). I've been tasked with sorting out the hardware - and it's getting pretty urgent, since we are paying Xnet but still have no way to connect.

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, 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:

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 :-)

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  Reply # 302497 26-Feb-2010 15:14
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If you want the flexibility running software like DD-WRT offers your best bet is a router that runs this and a standalone ATA such as a SPA2102.

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  Reply # 302517 26-Feb-2010 16:30
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Yes I think I'll go with the standalone ATA to give me more options with the other hardware. Any suggestions for a Router/Modem/Wireless device that supports the open source firmware, or a combination of individual devices that would work well together for a low price?

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  Reply # 309501 21-Mar-2010 13:06
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Just a quick update to let people know what I finally decided. 

We went with a Linksys SPA2102 (which I am currently having a lot of trouble with due to me doing a factory reset, DOH!) as our ATA device. Currently I am using a Dynalink RTA1320 modem/router as our gateway to the internet, however I plan to (eventually) get a WRT54G or similar to load the tomato firmware onto. Until that stage the Dynalink is acting as the router as well, which then connects to a 2wire 2701HGV-W which acts as out wireless access point and switch. The Linksys ATA plugs into the 2wire.

The Dynalink has worked like a dream, although does run quite hot. I can't wait to replace the 2wire - it runs alright but unfortunately is locked into telecom firmware. 

Oh, and some prices. The Dynalink RTA1320 was $20 new off trademe (incl shipping, good deal or what!), the Linksys SPA2102-R was unlocked and 2nd hand for $89, and the seller was kind enough to drop off for free! Hopefully we will be able to pick up the dedicated router for around $50-$80, coming to a grand total of $159-$189 which I don't find that bad.

The ATA was the major cost, and it's annoying that Xnet only support a limited number of devices (but they have their reasons for this). For an extra $30 we could have got the AU version brand new, and this would have hopefully meant I could avoid the problems caused by the factory reset issue, so others learn from my mistake. Either buy new, or don't factory reset!

I'll probably do another post when I get a router, but hopefully others can benefit for my experience :-)

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  Reply # 309516 21-Mar-2010 14:24
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Should be pretty easy for the 2102 check this out

Yes I am a employee of WxC (My Profile) ... but I do have my own opinions as well Wink


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  Reply # 309524 21-Mar-2010 15:14
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Hi maverick, yeah it *should* be easy, but sadly the device I brought was a SPA2102-R which was originally configured to Sunrocket. After doing a factory reset it reverted to that configuration, which has admin mode disabled. I am trying to contact the person I brought it off on trade me to find out the method he used to unlock it.

I started a new post as I consider it a separate issue:

Cheers for your help!

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  Reply # 309525 21-Mar-2010 15:19
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oh .... crap :(

Yes I am a employee of WxC (My Profile) ... but I do have my own opinions as well Wink


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