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mdf



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Topic # 151887 9-Sep-2014 09:19
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Router advice needed.

We're on Telstra/Vodafone cable in Wellington. For a *really* long time I was happily using a venerable Linksys WRT54GL with DDWRT. Things change and I've now ended up with a free Netcomm NF5, which has thoroughly underwhelmed me. There was a long rant here about all the ways it has disappointed and frustrated me, but deleted in the the interests of everyone reading this. Essentially its wireless is slow and unreliable, with poor range (compared to the rock-solid, although slower rated Linksys). It's recently added random resets and dropping internet connections to its repertoire, so it's got to go.

I've read on Geekzone and elsewhere about the benefits of 5GHz and am definitely looking at a dual band router, although 2.4GHz doesn't seem to be too congested around here.

But I do have some other queries I'm hoping for some help with:

- My main notebook's wifi card is an Intel Dual Band Wireless-N 7260. According to Intel, this is rated up to 300Mbps. In real world applications, would an N600/750/900 router deliver better performance than an otherwise similarly specced N300 router, even if both only connect to a 300Mbps notebook? At most, there would only be 2-3 devices using the wifi at the same time.

- Similarly, am I going to get any real world benefits from getting an AC-class router, when the main notebook it is connecting to is only N? My phone has AC-wifi, but I don't really care what speeds it can connect at. I'm sure I've read somewhere that the AC standard includes some provision for beamforming that boosts something (signal? performance?), but is this backward compatible or something that only works with other AC products?

I don't really think I can justify a really top-of-the-line router. The only really data-intensive thing I do is stream recorded Freeview from a NAS to my notebook. There are a couple of TP-links on PBTech that seem to offer a good amount of bang-for-buck. A WDR4300 N750 for $130-ish (that has the added bonus of DDWRT compatibility, and the online reviews seem okay) and an C5 AC1200 for $155.

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  Reply # 1124807 9-Sep-2014 09:22
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I have had a max of 250Mb/s on 5Ghz.
Never hit AC spec.. Ever...




 


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  Reply # 1124814 9-Sep-2014 09:34
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What are your expectiations of wireless?

In the real world you're simply going to struggle to realistically get any more than 30-40Mbps over anything using 2.4Ghz in a typical environment. This includes wireless N 300, of which the first thing you need to do typically anyway is change to 20Mhz channels.

With anything 5Ghz N based if you can get 80Mbps in real world performance you should be happy. With AC kit you should be able to get some real world results of 200Mbps with decent equipment.





 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1124833 9-Sep-2014 10:19
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I'm hoping to be able to watch streamed 720p video. With the current router, I can just about manage this in ideal conditions (3 meters away, no walls, nothing else connected, no other sources of radiation, no obvious wifi interference from neighbours etc). There are still some occasional stutters (that I can live with), but I also get a problem where the video will freeze and the audio goes into about a 20 second loop - this seems to be linked to the wireless, because the ethernet connection to the NAS never gets this problem. So given I'm not too far away from my goal, I am hoping that a modest upgrade will allow streaming video more smoothly.

The current router is also dropping connections and resetting, so its definitely on its way out. I guess my queries were more about how much of an improvement (if any) could be obtained from feature X/Y in my circumstances. i.e. will I get any benefit from (say) an N750 dual band router compared to an N300 router?

Can you tell me more about your 20MHz channels point? When I first got the router, the wireless speeds were terrible (less than the 54MBps I got with a G router). I was fiddling (cough, I mean, making measured experiments based on my in-depth understanding of physics and computing). The channel widths for my notebook (Device Manager -> Network Adapters -> Wireless Card -> Properties -> Advanced -> 802.11n Channel width for 2.4GHz) were set to 20MHz by default. I canged this to "auto" and the link speed (Network and sharing center -> Connections Wifi -> Speed) shot up from <50 to between 170-270Mbps - it varies up and down as I watch it over the course of a minute. I assumed this means it is using two 20MHz in parallel, but from your point, this may actually make things worse?

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  Reply # 1124835 9-Sep-2014 10:21
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And sorry, there are some stray capital "B"s in my previous post. They should be Mbps.

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  Reply # 1124843 9-Sep-2014 10:31
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More bandwidth.





 


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  Reply # 1124850 9-Sep-2014 10:40
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Typically speaking, yes. Using 40Mhz channels can often result in worse performance than using 20Mhz.

Link speed at the end of the day isn't really related to actual real world throughput at layer 3 with plenty of variables which will affect this.


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  Reply # 1124851 9-Sep-2014 10:41
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And is more bandwith a good or a bad thing? For me, increasing the bandwidth increased the speed. But I am guessing more interference too? Or at least, the potential for more interference?

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  Reply # 1124852 9-Sep-2014 10:43
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mdf: And is more bandwith a good or a bad thing? For me, increasing the bandwidth increased the speed. But I am guessing more interference too? Or at least, the potential for more interference?


Good for speed bad for crosstalk.

Maybe less stable, You know :).




 


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  Reply # 1124853 9-Sep-2014 10:45
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Thanks. I've just flicked back to 20MHz. Link speed has halved but I will see if there is a real world improvement.

I'm thinking I'll go for the N750 TP-Link router. It'll add 5Ghz to the repertoire if nothing else, and its not too spendy.

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  Reply # 1124856 9-Sep-2014 10:48
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Any thoughts on 20 vs 40 MHz for the 5GHz spectrum? Less users, so less potential for cross talk, so higher bandwith may result in better performance? My notebook/Windows 8.1 defaults were 20Mhz only for 2.4GHz, but auto for 5GHz.

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  Reply # 1124857 9-Sep-2014 10:49
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80Mhz for 5Ghz is better!




 


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