Network Routers beginnings

One of the things to take into consideration is a Router. There are many types of routers for the network for wired and wireless networks.

The basics that you need to know

Wired Networks

10/100/1000 based wired networks. The most common 10/100/1000 are meant as megabits per second over the wire. the 1000 is a gigabit. So if you see a router say it is a gigabit network router it supports up to 1000 megabits.

Wireless Networks

b/g/n There are the different wireless standards. The most recent and “fastest” being an “N” Wireless router.

Then there is dual band. This can have the N wireless using both 2.6 to 5 mhz. Without dual band and your router can use both streams, then you would have to choose one over the other.

The first question is do you need Wireless N or gigabit speed.

STREAMING: If your internet connection is not faster than 56Megabits per second, regardless of G or N, it will still be the speed of your internet connection. So here it doesn’t really matter

CONTENT FROM HARD DRIVE ON NETWORK: If you want to play full BluRay ISOs with lossless data, then a Gigabit router and Wireless N makes sense. The speed needed over wireless for clean streaming of BR is 11 mbps.

Other types of media over the wire or wireless has lessor requirements and would not require dual band, wireless N or a gigabit wired network speed.

So today the top of the line Router will be a

Wireless N dual band Gigabit router, giving you the fasted wireless and wired network speeds

Do you need the top of the line?

If you want the best, then get the best. There are three products out that support N dual band gigabit and attaching USB Hard Drives to the router. (Using a NAS Server/Drives versus USB External Hard Drive is for another topic.)

One from Netgear the WNDR3700

One from D-link the DIR-825

One from Linksys the WRT-610N

Recently I have tested the Netgear and the D-Link.

My first opinion is skip the D-Link, the sharing the USB Hard Drive requires you to run a special program on your computer to be able to access the hard drive from that machine. Also, only one device can access the Hard Drive at a time, so if one computer is using it, another computer cannot. Also, it is supposed to support uPnP or Universal Plug and Play, so that you can access it from devices like a Tivo, PS3, or other Media Server. From my usage, I never could get that to work.

The Netgear is a better product, and you can map your attached hard drive to a drive letter on your computer. You can have multiple computers access the same hard drive at the same time, where the D-Link could not. From reading comments online, some people have found that the dual band connection would lose connectivity. CNet, in their review found some speed issues with accessing files on the Hard Drive.

I also have noticed that the D-Link and the Linksys get the same average reviews of 2-3 star out of 5, whereas the Netgear gets higher average reviews.

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