So far I'm fairly impressed by how much difference changing a router can make. For the past eight months I'd been living with an inconsistent wireless home network, mostly evident with my Nintendo Wii.
My Nintendo would connect via wireless one day, and then with the identical settings throw up an error message the following day. I'd change my router to channel 11, and the Nintendo connected... and then it wouldn't next time I tried. Channel 1? Eureka -- but, no. I finally gave up and decided to try a new router.
Why did it take me so long to make the decision? I'd always thought that different routers differed in strength, speed, and area of coverage, and that's about it. Based on this erroneous assumption I wasn't optimistic a new router would change anything. After all, my Nintendo connected fine... sometimes. PS3, no problems.
Anywhoo, I started reading up on routers and my error quickly became evident. Most routers work at a 2.4 GHz which apparently is a frequency prone to interference from microwaves, cordless phones and the like. Living in an apartment building I can easily imagine my locale being full of potentially interfering devices.
So... I considered purchasing a "N" (or pre-"N") router with simultaneous dual band ability (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). Dual band, because much fewer devices use 5 GHz so there's less chance of interference. Simultaneous, because the mere thought of having to manually switch between 2.4 and 5 GHz depending on what device I'm currently using annoys me to no end.
After all this, as you may have guessed from the post title, I decided to buy a Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router (WRT54G2), broadcasting at a frequency of 2.4 GHz.
Unfortunately, all the simultaneous dual band N routers reviewed in my price range were lacking in some manner -- mostly poor efficiency/speed data transfer while in simultaneous mode. Still, this wouldn't have held me back from buying one, but I began to wonder whether any of my electronics were even compatible with this latest and greatest 5 GHz wireless "N" router technology, let alone being capable of taking advantage of it.
Anywhoo, my primary uses of a wireless router is to connect my Nintendo Wii and PS3, which I learned, after further reading, both operate at 2.4 GHz using "G" protocols/technology. Interesting.
The WRT54G2 is an older router, but the reviews I read were mostly positive; I decided to go with a proven performer rather than a router with all the latest bells and whistles. So far I haven't regretted my decision. Not only has my Nintendo Wii been connecting without fail, but another issue, one I had thought was unrelated to the router, has also been fixed. Thunderbird software on my desktop frequently failed to check/download POP3 e-mail, giving out "unable to connect" error messages for some or all of my e-mail accounts. No more.
The only negative of the WRT54G2 I've experienced is with its MAC filtering. My previous router allowed me to label each MAC address I added eg. "PS3" or "Nintendo" . With the Linksys... no. There's no way I'm going to be able to remember which MAC address is associated with each device. Still, all in all a minor quibble.