Need to replace Netgear Wireless Router

Discussion in 'Network Routers' started by Bob, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. Bob

    Bob Guest

    The small non-profit I do volunteer work for had their Netgear wireless die
    recently. I do not know the model number but it has 4 wired ports in
    addition to the WAN port and is probably 802.11n.

    I'm looking for recommendations for a replacement that is hopefully less
    than $100, supports WPA2, and at least 100mb on the wired ports. With
    Cisco's recent heavy handed attempt to have the ability to deprive owners
    access to their own E-series routers, I don't think I'm interested in a
    Cisco/Linksys product.

    Thanks!
     
    Bob, Jul 24, 2012
    #1
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  2. Have you tried raising the dead? Open up the unspecified model
    Netgear router. If it's one of the flat sided "boxy" type of routers,
    it will probably have bulging electrolytic capacitors on the main
    board. Replace them and it will work again. I've done about a dozen
    such routers without much difficulty.

    You may also have issues with the power supply.
    Unfortunately, that description fits about 12 different Netgear
    routers. I'll guess WRN2000 only because I have one sitting next to
    me.
    Start here:
    <http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-charts/view>
    Lots of reviews, performance tests, and comments. I can't really
    offer a recommendation with such minimal requirements. It would be
    nice to know if you need dual band, QoS, WMM, guest account, dual
    SSID, and other optional features.
    Hmmm... one screwup negates years of doing it right? Got it.

    Cisco apparently didn't realize the implications of what they were
    doing and probably didn't bother asking any home users if they
    actually wanted Cisco to manage their routers via the Cisco cloud. If
    you think about it, there are some rather useful benefits. Cisco
    changed their position almost instantly when the mistake was
    discovered. There was no coverup. I wouldn't call that heavy handed.
    I don't see a problem.
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Jul 24, 2012
    #2
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  3. Bob

    George Guest

    I think it reflects a broken corporate ethic. It doesn't take much
    thinking from someone with a moral compass in any business to realize it
    is wrong.

    It is heavy handed to do something like that without asking. A much
    better approach would be to pitch their idea and ask folks who purchased
    and own the products to opt in.
     
    George, Jul 24, 2012
    #3
  4. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Jeff,

    Thanks for the reply. I found out the router is a NETGEAR WNDR3300-100NAS.
    Reading reviews for the replacement models of this, I'm seeing a lot of
    negative reviews, especially in the past 6 months.

    Something like the WNDR3700 is good feature-wise because of the ability to
    have a guest account, dual band, and the gigabit ethernet.

    Thanks,

    Bob
     
    Bob, Jul 24, 2012
    #4
  5. Not too horrible a wireless router. I had problems with the switching
    power supplies on that series. Photo in previous posting. You might
    borrow another 12V 1A power supply and see if it revives.
    Careful with the reviews. I usually ignore the one or two line
    comments as they offer a clue as to how much effort the user put into
    making it work. Despite all the aids to easy setup, getting wireless
    to play nice is still a challenge.
    Most of the current Belkin routers also fit that description.

    If you don't need dual band, may I suggest the WNR3500L.
    <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122334>
    The main advantage is that it will work with various open source
    firmware, all of which offer more features than the stock firmware.

    The WNDR3700 barely squeezes by your less than $100 requirement. It
    also run various open source firmware:
    <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122326>
    However, you can get it refurbished for $64.
    <http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833122470>
    However, if you look through the 171 out of 820 negative comments on
    this router, about a third seem to hardware failures of some manner.
    This is consistent with my experience with the current Netgear
    wireless products and possibly explains the existence of the refurbs.

    I should probably kick myself for recommending Belkin products. I've
    had good results with some of their current wireless routers. Unlike
    the products sold 2 years ago and before, these seem solid. I have a
    F5D8235-4 v2000 running. The only problem is that it might need a
    reboot once per month, when someone's wireless client can't connect.
    Not bad for a 4 year old router. Customers with some of the current
    models seem to be doing about the same. Not perfect, but good enough.

    I much prefer Linksys/Cisco hardware but since you have political
    objections, I won't offer any suggestions.
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Jul 25, 2012
    #5
  6. Bob

    Bob Guest

    The power light comes on, but the wireless light never does and the laptop
    doesn't see the router. Since the problem happened when there was a nearby
    lightning strike, and the wired port it was connected to also is dead, I
    suspect it got zapped pretty good. All my testing was done with a known
    good wired port and cable.
    I've read the reviews on newegg and amazon and a high hardware failure rate
    with the horrible Netgear technical support trying to sell people a 3rd
    party support contract rather than trying to troubleshoot the problem makes
    me leery of going with a Netgear product. If this was for my own use, I'd
    probably take a chance on getting a bad unit, but this is for use in an
    environment where there is no technical support available other than me
    after working hours.

    I'll even push for spending more than $100 if that's what it takes to get
    reliable hardware.

    I agree with your assessment of older Belkin products. After hearing all
    the horror stories from early Belkin products, I've never given them a
    second thought. I'll take a look at suggestions if you have any.
    I have a Linksys WRT54GL that I use at home. I don't have any problems with
    it but before I'd recommend a Linksys/Cisco product I'd want some assurance
    that they won't play anymore games with people.

    Bob
     
    Bob, Jul 26, 2012
    #6
  7. Are you suggesting that Cisco intentionally set themselves up for a
    fall? I don't think so, at least not while they're busy laying off
    3-6% of their workforce (depending which news source you believe):
    <http://www.businessinsider.com/cisco-layoffs-three-percent-report-2012-7>
    The last thing they needed was a PR screwup in the middle of a layoff.
    See a problem perhaps?
    <http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=CSCO+Interactive#symbol=CSCO;range=6m>

    My guess(tm) is that they decided that since everyone else was
    blundering headlong into the cloud computing business, Cisco should
    test the waters. That's tricky because Cisco going into cloud
    services potentially competes directly with Cisco's largest customers.
    So, the grand plans of trashing their customers were scaled back to
    the one area where Cisco was least likely to attract any attention,
    home router management. Secret meetings were probably held, none of
    their customers were contacted, user groups were ignored, etc. Secrecy
    was paramount. Too bad those at the helm didn't have a clue that home
    users and small businesses are a rather independent group, that really
    don't like the idea of buying a "service" rather than a product. Had
    it succeeded, I'm fairly sure the next product would have been a cable
    modem like router, that has no user accessible settings, and is
    managed solely by the ISP. That was probably the original intent of
    the remotely managed routers, but got lost in all the media attention.
    Such products exist today, but not via the cloud. If you were selling
    software as a service, distributed via the cloud, wouldn't a router
    managed via the same cloud make sense?
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Jul 27, 2012
    #7
  8. Yeah, lighning damage is difficult to repair. OK, it's dead.
    Hint: All commodity router tech support sucks. However, you can get
    decent results from users on their forums. Watch out for those
    expiring articles after very short periods in order to avoid
    embarassing questions. I forgot who was doing that and am too lazy to
    check.

    When they work, the current "boxy" style of Netgear routers are fine.
    However, I got tired of replacing electrolytics and gave up on them
    about 6 months ago.
    What's a service call cost the customer? If the cost of a single
    service call exceeds the cost of the router, I suggest you get
    something better than bottom of the line. Look at Sonicwall wireless
    routers:
    <http://www.sonicwall.com/us/products/TZ_Series.html>
    Prices are high, and there are user count licensing issues. However,
    they don't break. I have about 6 of them in service, and know of
    about 5 more installed by others, mostly at businesses, medical
    offices, and hospitals. Other than firmware updates and snarling with
    security issues, I've had no surprises.

    If you want reliability from commodity junk, the easiest fix is a
    nightly reboot. DD-WRT has this built into the firmware. I'll
    confess that I do that with my few remaining coffee shop customers.
    It's nice to show off high uptimes, but I just want to keep the phone
    from ringing. If the router doesn't have cron to do reboots, then I
    add an electronic AC power timer. Woods is better than Electromec but
    either will do. Be prepared to replace batteries about every 2 years.
    Ummm... quite a bit more than $100.
    <http://www.sonicguard.com/TZ105.asp>
    Either buy something good up front, or pay for it over the years in
    service calls. Do the math.
    I had fairly well given up on Belkin as a lost cause. Bad hardware,
    lousy reliability, hangs, missing features, incomprehensible manuals,
    and wide variations in wireless performance even among units with the
    same model numbers. Costco was carrying Belkin for a while, so some
    of my customers bought them. They immediately had QoS issues running
    VoIP (both Skype and SIP). That was later fixed with a firmware
    updates, but meanwhile, I replaced the routers with Linksys hardware
    (mostly E1200 and E2000). Meanwhile, I decided to try the various
    Belkins in my office to see if I could duplicate the symptoms. That
    was about a year ago, and it's still there, mostly because I'm too
    lazy to put the Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 with DD-WRT back. Except for
    erratic failures of various wireless devices to connect, they've been
    totally stable and free of surprises. I recently bought a feature
    starved Belkin N300 router on sale at Radio Shock for $30 just to see
    how it works.
    Don't ask me. I don't work for Cisco. Try the support forum:
    <http://homecommunity.cisco.com/t5/Wireless-Routers/bd-p/Wireless_Routers>
    <http://homecommunity.cisco.com/t5/Wireless-Routers/About-Cisco-Connect-Cloud/td-p/536584>
    and see if you can find or extract any promises.
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Jul 27, 2012
    #8
  9. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Jeff,

    OK, the sonicwall and similar products are out of their price range.
    I have no problem telling them that for what they want to spend they are
    going to get a piece of equipment that they will throw away when it breaks
    and all the company's tech support is useless.

    What would you suggest for a consumer grade router?

    Thanks,

    Bob
     
    Bob, Jul 27, 2012
    #9
  10. I only recommend routers that I've used or at least setup. Since the
    customer doesn't want to go for higher quality, the 2nd best strategy
    might be to keep the price low, and replace it with the latest when it
    blows. Considering the obvious lightning hazard, that might be the
    cheapest way. You haven't supplied a real list of "must have"
    features, so please double check the spec sheet to make sure
    everything you need is present.

    Spend the first $15 on a timer for nightly reboots.

    For 2.4Ghz only, I suggeest the Linksys E1200 v2 (N300) for $45. One
    item I like is QoS by MAC address. DD-WRT does not have this in the
    free version, which is why I bought this router.
    <http://home.cisco.com/en-apac/wireless/e-series/specs>
    <http://home.cisco.com/en-apac/products/routers/E1200/>
    <http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wire...s/31727-inside-story-cisco-linksys-ea-series>
    <http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wire...charts-cisco-linksys-e1200-wireless-n-router>
    Try the reviews on Amazon. Note that there's some baloney mixed in
    with the "most popular" reviews, such as someone claiming that it only
    supports 802.11n.

    Dig through the emulator and see if it has all the setting and
    features you'll need.
    <http://ui.linksys.com/files/E1200/2.0.00/>
    It's fairly new and too soon to see if there are any complications.
    It's cheap enough that you could purchase a spare if reliability is an
    issue. Too soon to get a track record on longevity.

    For dual band, I don't have any recommendations. The E3200 for $77
    will probably be good enough since you're not into multimedia or
    useless speeds.
    <http://ui.linksys.com/files/E3200/1.0.00/>
    However, I haven't had the opportunity to play with it, so can't be
    sure there are no surprises.
     
    Jeff Liebermann, Jul 27, 2012
    #10
  11. Bob

    Bob Guest

    Jeff,

    Thanks for your suggestions. I haven't specified a list of "must have"
    features because I don't know exactly what was the purpose of the dead one.
    It sat one one person's desk connected to the internet via that person's
    wired drop. This person then used the wireless connection on their laptop
    to connect to the the wireless router sitting less than three feet away. No
    one has seen this person carry their laptop around and use it anywhere, so
    the wireless router may have just been a toy. I do recall some one once
    asking for the password so they could download a book to their Kindle that
    they forgot to do before they left home. Yes, we live in a very strange
    world sometimes.

    I just want to have a recommendation ready if and when it's decided to
    replace the dead one.

    Thanks again,

    Bob
     
    Bob, Jul 28, 2012
    #11
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