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Hellbent

Excellent Wireless Modem?

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Like for a home router with wifi?

My pick would be a Linksys WRT54GL with DD-WRT installed on it. The WRT610N will also run DD-WRT if you want draft-n wireless.

It doesn't have a modem built in, so you'd need a separate DSL/cable modem which you then use as a bridge.

For DSL, I like the Siemens Speedstream 4200, they got both the fastest and most stable linerates when I ran tests working at a residential ISP doing DSLAM rollouts. Billion make some good ones too, just stay away from their 5000-series.

Massive "avoid avoid" brands in huge red letters are D-Link and Netgear.

If you have a spare $600, buy a Cisco 877W, which is the sort of stuff I spend my days working with now.

I don't have any experience with cable.

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Super Jamie said:

Like for a home router with wifi?

[/b] yes.

Just a regular wireless modem with wifi. I have a wireless router, but my current modem died (was a POS). I don't remember the name of the modem, but it's a PCI slot with an antenna connected to a wire. I just want something that will work well. My tech knowledge of this stuff is on the low side.

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Not particularly.

Good wireless comes from matching powerful antennas and using directional antennas, though if you're just in a normal house you don't really need that stuff.

Reliable wireless and fast download speeds all depends on the router. I've used some routers whose CPU couldn't even keep up encrypting wireless WPA and downloading at any more than 5mpbs. You'll be lucky to push much more than 10-15mbps through even the best consumer-grade hardware.

Your computer is powerful enough to keep up with that, and in my experience no one brand is much better than the other. There's only a handful of chipsets they all commonly use anyway. Often two wireless cards from two different manufacturers will have the same chipset and essentially be the same hardware.

About the only thing I'd recommend is an antenna that unscrews, so you can get a larger antenna on a long cable if you ever move your PC to a room where the wifi coverage is crap:



Edit: any of the cards in that Newegg category will do fine. The one you chose is more expensive because it does N wireless, which is the latest fastest standard, but useless if you don't have an N wireless router.

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ok, thanks Jamie!

What about this one I found for sale on craigslist?
Linksys WUSB54G ver. 4 USB wireless adapter for any computer with a USB port, 802.11g, $25
I'm pretty sure my router is consumer grade without N or other fancy cutting edge tech.

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That will do fine.

It's USB, so instead of using an antenna extension cable, you'd just get a USB extension cable to relocate it if you ever need to. It's also alot easier to install than a PCI card.

You can get new USB wireless adapters on Newegg for $17/$18/$19 plus shipping. Keep in mind buying new means you get warranty if it goes faulty.

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Hellbent said:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833127244

This one looks pretty good, but it's a bit expensive.

I bought a similar-looking Netgear adapter that works quite well, though USB dongles tend to have a shorter range than an adapter with a proper antenna - even when using their extension lead as a signal booster.

Super Jamie said:

get a larger antenna on a long cable

Don't go overboard with the cable - you lose about 2dB per metre when using RG-174.

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Super Jamie said:

Like for a home router with wifi?

My pick would be a Linksys WRT54GL with DD-WRT installed on it.


You stole my reply. I have the exact same wireless router with dd-wrt (I love the feature set it offers). I have never had a problem with it. Unlike the netgear I had previous to it.

Edit: Must learn to read thread.

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Hellbent said:

Any recommendations on an excellent wireless modem? Thanks!

Do you REALLY need a wireless modem? If yes, ignore.
----------------------------------
If not, just go wired. Why?

(1) Much cheaper.
(2) Far more secure.
(3) Can't leech bandwith off a wired modem, without massive physical tampering/effort.

This is also why many experts tell you if you bank on the phone, to use an "old-skool" wired telephone, that is, a cord to the base, and a cord to the phone. It's a lot harder to tap into a physical connection, versus simply receiving a boradcast signal.

Sure, you can add security and firewall to your Wi-Fi, but again, do the same with a wired modem, just that much safer.

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Georgef551 said:

just go wired

Is there an easy way to do this without:

    running ugly wires throughout your house
    having someone run wires through your walls
I've always preferred wired connections, but sometimes it can be really hard to hook up several computers to a network. I've never really looked at how people wire up a house to one connection.

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DuckReconMajor said:

I've never really looked at how people wire up a house to one connection.

Depending on the number of wall sockets - by using a 4/8/12 port switch to share the connection.

Georgef551 said:

just go wired.

I went wireless in order to avoid the expense and inconvenience of wiring most of the house and running armoured cable to an outside workshop. Using MAC filtering, WEP and not broadcasting the SSID means the only intrusion threats I've had to deal with in the last 5 years have arrived via the phone line.

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GreyGhost said:

Using MAC filtering, WEP and not broadcasting the SSID means

Means that if someone can get sufficiently close to your house they could sniff and crack your wifi in about 120 seconds. Forget the MAC filtering and SSID hiding and switch to WPA.

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Super Jamie said:

Forget the MAC filtering and SSID hiding and switch to WPA.

Would buy me maybe another 10 minutes of privacy. Not all of my hardware supports WPA, though I'll probably have upgraded by the time fibre to the home hits my neighbourhood. In the meantime I'll continue to keep an eye out for slow-moving cars with Pringle's cantennas being waved out the windows.

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GreyGhost said:

.I went wireless in order to avoid the expense and inconvenience of wiring most of the house and running armoured cable to an outside workshop. Using MAC filtering, WEP and not broadcasting the SSID means the only intrusion threats I've had to deal with in the last 5 years have arrived via the phone line.


Yeah, there's definately a point to go wireless there, but as I said initially, if you really need it, ignore that message. :)

Good point you made, to Wi-Fi it.

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Well, I think they're talking more about people who will do this



There are certainly times when it is better to run a short cable to get the adapter out of the way of interference.

Also, make sure you take more of a "repeated trials" approach to speedtest. Depending on your situation, a lot of outside circumstances can affect the results.

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Something like speedtest.net is going to be pretty useless to test wifi speed over home DSL/cable. Your internet connection is far slower than the max 54Mbps you can get out of the network adapter.

If you really want to see what's going on with your wireless, learn about decibels in relation to signal strength and get NetStumbler.

The Windows connection thingy in the system tray will also give you a rough idea (weak, strong, etc) and what speed you're at.

Generally your wireless will try to go as fast as it can, but if there's not enough signal then will drop the speed to raise the signal strength. The way I understand it, a weak but useable signal at 54Mbps is better than a strong signal at 11Mbps.

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Speedtest doesn't work with my connection at all.
Someone on Youtube gave me alink to another site, which did
http://dslreports.com

Got a 2.78 on my 3 MB/s download.
Surprisingly, only a 555KB upload on my 1MB (seems wrong,since I can usually get almost exactly 100 kilobytes/second uploading YouTube vids.)

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All speedtest sites are shit for testing your actual connection speed. They rely on your ISP's bandwidth to the testing site being uncongested. This is not how the internet works, as oversubscription is the pricing model that enables ISPs to survive.

If you want to test your actual connection, use your ISP's FTP server or something else within their border routers. Often they'll have a test file to download, uploads may be problematic.

If you want to test your provider's upstream, check the latency and bandwidth to sites that matter to you. Once you start getting past about 4Mbps to the home, outrunning webservers is not unheard of. Just because I have 24Mbps to my ISP's core doesn't mean everyone else gives me 24Mbps.

Larger companies like Google and Microsoft have CDNs to save traffic and have their site appear fast and useable no matter where you are. This is why YouTube will be fast for everyone regardless of location and a traffic spike in one area doesn't affect others, but if a single-server site likes Doomworld gets smashed then it goes slow for all.

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Super Jamie said:

Generally your wireless will try to go as fast as it can, but if there's not enough signal then will drop the speed to raise the signal strength.

A drop in speed can improve the signal-to-noise ratio by making the signal easier to resolve but it doesn't raise the signal strength.

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Yeah, I relaized with a 555kb/s rate was wrong. The download speed is in-line with numbers I crunched from actual downloading.

Speaking of YouTube, the server near me is hitting a major bottleneck. I used to be able to watch hugh quality and HD videos without letting it buffer (sometimes the HD ones would need to be paused about 30 seconds). Now, I can't even watch a mobile phone video without having to pause it for 5 minutes for a 7 minute video. It works perfectly well if I use it at about 5 and 6am. Found that Californians are not having an issue (hence verifies your explaination of how they work), and people here on the East are struggling just to get a no-def video to buffer in less time than it's length. Someone in Philly told me his bandwidth issues are far worse than mine. He can't get a 5 minute video to buffer 25% of the way over a 7 minute timeframe. At least I can watch most videos, so I really feel for him. Same deal, he tried off-peak hours, runs fine.
Apperently, it's become a common issue in the help forums as of late.

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Report it on the YouTube help forums or wherever the official channel is. They almost certainly monitor their network for capacity issues but the more people complaining, the quicker it might get fixed.

Good end user feedback is actually quite valuable.

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The adapters you're using create a network topology that behaves like 10BASE2, which falls somewhere between wireless and what we now like to think of as hard-wired. It's an ad-hoc broadcast network that utilises your power points (and most likely your neighbours) as a passive hub and - like wireless - works best with two adapters but starts slowing down once a third or subsequent adapter is added to the network, turning it into a collision domain.

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I'd never considered that about ethernet power adapters. I wonder if you could sniff traffic if your neighbours had them, of if the implementation is very different between vendors?

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I don't know what differences or incompatibilities there might be between the various proprietry systems but would assume they're not modifying the underlying ethernet packet structure, using an existing encryption system (instead of re-inventing the wheel) and mainly differ in their mode of modulation - in which case a universal demodulator might be feasible. It should then just be a matter of getting close enough to the network to start sniffing packets. Depending on how the street's wired, it mightn't matter if you're few houses away so long as you're on the same phase - or - if you're feeling adventurous, climb a power pole and attach inductive loop pickups to the wires.

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