Because Everyone Needs a Router

Do you remember when a router used to be an exotic bit of network kit?

Those days are long gone. A router is one of those salt-of-the-earth items now; anyone who pays for an internet connection needs a router, for:


This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2010/09/because-everyone-needs-a-router.html

Also, if you’re upgrading your router, don’t forget to choose fast DNS nameservers when setting it up!

http://code.google.com/p/namebench/

The NameBench tool will use your browser’s history to tell you which (free) DNS servers are optimal for you. Very, very slick tool. (and yes UltraDNS wins for me as well.)

I see you’re sharing your MAC address. Is it risk-free? Don’t you fear being tracked?

MAC addresses are routable only on the local ethernet, so feel free to post those all over the place :slight_smile:

I’m so enamored of this one-two punch combo, in fact, I might even say it represents the future

It has been for some time with a range of manufactures, so that is a safe bet! I mean, using the GPL sources the vendors are obligated to share it, and the community has pretty much ‘forced’ the issue by providing forked versions of the firmware.

By now, vendors are beginning to understand.

These open source firmwares are indeed great, but I have one major problem with them: They are just inferior to my old clunky USR Robotics Router when i comes to QoS/Traffic Shaping (a very importing feature for me).

I am still using a 2005 US Robotics 9107 (http://www.usr-emea.com/support/s-prod-template.asp?loc=grmy&prod=9107), which has a horrible web interface and doesnt have a lot of options, but its QoS Technology is, for some reason, just way better than anything else i tested. I wanted to replace this router for years and tested a couple of different models (dlink,linksys,zyxel) with a lot of differnt firmwares (openwrt, ddwrt, tomato, oem firmware) but a soon as i turn on my Torrents web access becomes slow. If you use Traffic Shaping with them it gets a lot better. (Accessing web pages is not slow anymore, but you can still tell if your torrents are running or not).

With my old USR i can upload with uTorrent at 80Kbyte/sec (~85 is my connection’s maximum) and ping/latency goes up from around 40 ms to around 50-55 ms for most of the web sites i visit. I can even play online shooters without noticing that my torrent-pc is pumping stuff at almost full throttle. When using other routers you can just feel that web pages come in more slowly.

Maybe it has sth. to do with the way the USR applies his rules to the traffic. On the webinterface you can specify an ‘atm priority’ which I havent seen on other firmwares.

Forgot to mention, that the issue is even bigger when working remotely.

I do a a alot of stuff over ssh/rdp and with ddwrt/tomato i always had to close uTorrent or limit the upload rate. (I hate it when a console has a delay for every keystroke you make, really annoying) With the USR router the ssh/rdp connection stays responsive.

I know im whining like a crybaby here, but does anyone know a router/modem which has a simliar QoS?

thanks,
erik

The problem I have with routers is that I prefer the adsl/router combo (because buying two devices seems silly), but the product lines in that area seem a lot more crappy, for some reason.

Oh, and don’t buy anything from Linksys. I’ve got some of their stuff and it is some of the worst hardware I’ve used so far.

@Erik Winter

Look at this: http://ace-host.stuart.id.au/russell/files/tc/tc-atm/#details

If this is indeed your issue, you can get an experimental build of Tomato with the tc-atm patch here: http://touristinparadise.blogspot.com/2008/04/linksys-wrt54gl-routers-improving.html

The implementation of the tc-atm patch is very early, though, and it hasn’t yet been integrated with the web GUI.

Which version did you flash? mega, VPN, voip, etc?

Interesting. I would have expected you to go for a DrayTek (what with being geeky and having built in VPN endpoints…).

If the author cares that much he really shouldn’t be using an all in one anyway. He should be rolling with separate access points and router. I do the whole Airport Express (for music streaming) and pfSense / m0n0wall thing (lately I’ve been using the ALIX boards from PC Engines http://www.pcengines.ch/alix.htm).

I’m so enamored of this one-two punch combo, in fact, I might even say it represents the future

So…does this mean that you will be replacing your iPhone with an Android phone?

I’m still running a router from circa 2001.

I tried upgrading once. The results were… less then acceptable.

I just ordered an ASUS RT-N16 two days ago. It was pretty much a tie between that and the Buffalo, but I decided to go with the ASUS because, if you’ll skim over the Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH forum thread on dd-wrt.com, you’ll notice that there are different versions of the router, and some simply refuse to work normally with that firmware. Also, I haven’t seen much info on Tomato being able to support the Buffalo router, and I’ve been itching to try it and maybe even get away from DD-WRT, which my current router is running.

To some extent you get what you pay for. My old Linux-based router would break persistent SSH tunnels after about 24 hours. When I upgraded to an expensive but rock-solid Cisco 877 (running IOS, not the consumer Linksys crud), my problems stopped.

Good article, but would have been better without the sexism.

What about using a Mac Mini? We don’t own any desktop computer, and as much as I love my TimeCapsule it doesn’t do all the nifty things I’d like it to do, like upload the weekly snapshots to S3, for example. Right now I use the Capsule as a router, but as it’s now time to move on, I was wondering if replacing it with a Mini made sense? Any insight on this?

I recently went and replaced my modded ASUS WL500gP (32MB ram stock, 128MB ram after mod) with a newer Netgear WNR3500L. The L = Linux as would be the case alot so it was easily modded and I dropped DD-WRT almost the day I got it. Internally it contains a 453Mhz Broadcom BCM4716 processor, 8MB flash, and 64MB ram which is plenty. The added bonus is that this particular router came with a TTY interface not only available but the header was already installed. :wink: Therefore if I do happen to brick it then I can easily recover. The cable can be had for $20 and modded to work with the TTY pinout on the router. It went for $90.

Oh and it is gigabit ethernet too.

Forgot to mention that I usually go by the “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” rule but my ASUS was going on the fritz on me.