Our home is a wireless nightmare. We have several simultaneous dual-band routers which we used to spread the wifi throughout the house. All of these are running dd-wrt because their stock firmware cannot do what I want them to do. We have:
- A Cisco E4200 which is the main internet router and is positioned in the middle of the house. It provides two separate wireless networks.
- A Cisco E3000 which is bridged to the N network. This provides another G network and also acts as our print server (printer is connected to a USB port on the device).
- A Netgear WNDR3700 which is bridged to the N network and provides yet another G network. Our TV is also connected to this box so it can talk to our media server.
All of these devices are fantastic. I have never needed to reset any of them (yes, never). They just work all the time. However, the above description of my wireless setup is not the point of this post. While I have had a good experience with the reliability of my “routers”, my experience with modem/router combo devices tends to have been less positive: they have never been particularly reliable when placed under load. Using a router, however, means that a separate modem is required to connect to the internet.
Over the last few years, I have had a bunch of different modems and almost all of them have been complete rubbish. Here are the last four which I have had:
- A Netgear DGND3300. This is actually a modem/router, but it can be placed into a modem only mode via a hidden page (http://(ROUTER_IP_ADDRESS)/setup.cgi?next_file=mode.htm). I used the device initially in the normal modem/router mode until one of its wireless devices started to fail. At which point, I bought the WNDR3700 and continued to use this device as a modem. It lasted probably a year and then it started to crash (the modem had to be power cycled on a more-than-daily basis) but I have a feeling this was triggered by a surge. I give this device a 3/10 – I don’t blame Netgear for the modem component of the device failing, but I do blame them for the wireless giving up so quickly.
- A Netgear DM111P. This thing was a complete pile of rubbish. From the day it was bought, it needed to be power cycled at least daily. I give this device a 0/10 – it was almost totally useless. This is also why I started to buy Cisco gear.
- A Cisco X2000. Again, this is another modem/router which can be placed into bridge mode (much more easily than the DGND3700). I thought it was going to be great when it held the connection for 3 days… then it crashed. We kept the device for a few months and it would last anywhere up to 7 days before crashing. I give it a 1/10. It gets one point just to make it clear that it was “better” than the DM111P.
- A DrayTek Vigor 120. This is the latest modem I have bought. I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now and it has been rock solid. I get good speeds and it holds the ADSL connection excellently.
Unstable modems suck – especially if you are running remote services from a home server. If you go away from home and the modem dies – you’re stuck being unable to log in until you can manually reset the modem. So yeah, thanks DrayTek for making my wireless setup something I don’t need to think about anymore.