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Thread: Can Routers Accelerate Net Speed?

  1. #1
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    Can Routers Accelerate Net Speed?

    With all the new faster routers on the shelves, I'm wondering if the ones that meet and exceed the 802.11g standard are capable of making an internet connection faster than it is.

    In otherwords can they work like those dial-up accelerators and increase connection speed beyond it's preset speed?

    I currently have a Linksys BEFSR11 802.11b router. 802.11b standards are supposed to support up to 11Mbps speeds. My Roadrunner account speed is 7Mbps. Would a 802.11g router increase my speed beyond the 7Mbps?

    I am asking as so far I have tried the Belkin G Plus router (and matching card) and the Linksys WRT54G (and matching usb adapter) and I have had no increase in internet speed. In fact with the Linksys my speed tested lower than it does with my built in adapter and the BEFSR11 router.

    The Speed Test results using the 1.04Mb file with 5 itinerations averages 10Mbps download and .49Mbps upload. (test link: http://speedtest.cfl.mybrighthouse.com)

    I ran the test again after using the optimizer tool and the results were the same.

    The other computer on the network has an average download speed of 16Mbps and download of .52Mbps. The main difference in the 2 systems is that the second one (16Mbps) has the Intel Pro gigabit adapter built on which is 10/100/1000. Mine is just 10/100. I am assuming this would account for the speed difference.

    So would a new router increase my speed at all? Would I be better off keeping the old router and buying a pci 10/100/1000 card?

    I'm also wondering if it turns out a new router will help, if I need to use the matching network card? I ask as when I tried the Belkin router and card, we couldn't get it to connect to the internet or the home network. So we called tech support. The tech said that their matching card wouldn't work, that we needed a 3com card instead. Needless to say, the response was confusing at best.

    Sorry to go on so long, I am just trying to give as many details and combine my questions.

    Thank You,

    Betty

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    Brighthouse Cable/RR 7Mbps/Webstar Ethernet internet & voice modem/Linksys BEFSR11/Via Rhine II Built-on MSI KT4AV MB

    Win XP Home/KT4AV MB/1gig PC3200 ram/AMD XP 3000/Radeon 9200 256meg graphics

  2. #2
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Moving from B to G, you should have seen a gain in internet speed...depending on what your B setup was actually giving you for throughput (often just 2-3 megs).

    G usually gives you more reliably around 15 - 20 megs.

    The newer Pre-N/MIMO routers are quite strong in throughput, such as the wrt54gx4...those are excellent.

    For the actual speedtests...try averaging a few other more neutral sites, such as http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ Curious what you'd get if you plugged your PC right into the cable modem (make sure you at least have your XP firewall put up, and the local admin password on your PC has a real password.

    To sum up what you're asking...routers don't accelerate your internet speed...but some don't slow you down as much as others. You can establish your baseline by plugging a PC directly into your broadband modem. Just..take precautions in doing so to protect this PC, as you don't have your hardware NAT blocking you.
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    For the actual speedtests...try averaging a few other more neutral sites, such as http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ Curious what you'd get if you plugged your PC right into the cable modem (make sure you at least have your XP firewall put up, and the local admin password on your PC has a real password.
    As suggested I tried a few more tests on different sites with my 802.11b Linksys. According to Brighthouse/Roadrunner the home account I have is 7Mbps.

    Brighthouse: 10Mpbs download .49Mbps upload
    Speakeasy: 8308Kbps download 444Kbps
    TheBandwidthPace: 6536Kbps download
    Cable-Modem.net: 5.9Mbps download
    Dslreports.com: 2772Kbps
    PcPitStop: 7422Kbps

    I have tried a few times to do a direct connect with the modem, however it can never find the internet when I try it. I have no clue what I'm doing wrong, or what I need to do to make it work.

    Do the corresponding network cards for the routers increase speed at all? So far the sets I've tried haven't gained me anything. Would I be better off just getting a gigabit pci card instead?

    Thank you again for the advice,

    Betty

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    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Nah don't bother with gigabit LAN.

    What's hard to figure out...is your large difference in speeds between your two systems.

    Add to the fact, that the tests internal to your ISP, the Brighthouse speed test, shows a rate higher (10 megs, and 15 megs) than what your package is supposed to be, 7 megs.

    A unique circumstance.

    Routers....a quick overview. Most broadband routers designed for home, are combination gateway devices. They share the internet, and usually have a built in 4 port 10/100 switch, and some models have a built in wireless access point, for example, lets use a wireless G unit, up to 54 megs. The built in switch can transfer across the LAN up to its rated speed, 100 megs. The built in wireless can transfer up to its max rated speed, lets say 54 megs (really less due to wireless factors...but into that later). However, any traffic from PCs...out to the internet...are bottlenecked by your connection to the ISP...in your case, it's supposed to be 7 megs.

    So even though a PC could be connected to your router using a patch cable on a 10/100 NIC...any online speed test should max out at 7 megs. Or...if any PC is connected to the router using wireless, the max speed should still be 7 megs. In theory, the bottleneck should be the WAN connection..7 megs.

    Wireless speeds...what they can get "up to", and what they realistically get, are usually 2x different things. It may tell you it's connecting at 11 megs, or 54 megs, etc...but if you run a good beefy file transfer, you may find it's actually 3 or 4 megs worth of throughput for a B wireless, or 15 megs worth on a G unit. Or on some of the new MIMO units like the wrt54gx4...closer to 80 megs worth of the 124. So from what I've experienced with wireless, and based on your broadband speeds, B should be the bottleneck in your case, since real throughput should actually be 3-4-ish megs worth..maybe 5 or so on an ideal setup, G or MIMO should not be.

    Now, you have some weird factors here..it's tough to decide without getting an actual baseline measurement..meaning a PC directly connected to your broadband modem....and running several speedtests from several different sources to get a good average of each. Seeing you mention your connection should be 7 megs...and seeing you mention that one PC gets a 15 meg test...just makes me raise my eyebrow. Unless your ISP hosts its speedtesting site before the point where they throttle you. Dunno. That's why I'd also want to factor in several other speedtest sites. Get an average for each, on each PC..then start with that.

    Wow I'm rambling today. Time to finish my coffee and get to some onsites....clients waiting.

    Bottom line....todays current generation of routers are faster, more powerful, than older models of routers. The new wireless technologies are also much better, more secure, etc. Especially new MIMO routers. They should slow you down less than older routers. An excellent model that I'm setting up lots of lately for clients...the Linksys wrt54gx4. And...with Pre-N/MIMO, you don't NEED a matching NIC, you can still use older B and G NICs to benefit from the distance gains. Each NIC will only max out speeds at what its rated for though..if you need the increase in speed past 100 megs..you'll need a matching Pre-N/MIMO NIC also.
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    Thank you so much for all that info. I have been searching for those answers for quite a while. I guess I just hadn't found the right site yet

    I was looking through Compusa on line this afternoon and came across the Netgear WGU624 Double 108 Mbps Wireless Router, 802.11g, b, a. It operates on both 2.4 and 5ghz.

    What drew my attention is the fact that until 4/15 there are mail in rebates through Compusa only that take $80 off thus making it only $19.99 after rebates. They have a similar deal with the matching pc and laptop adapters that end up being $9.99 after rebates.

    The only bad part is the closest store where they are in stock is about 50 miles from me. However for that price it would be worth the trip.

    Another downside is that I know nothing and have heard nothing about this router. I don't know if it is reliable, holds a connection, etc. I also don't know if it's one of the ones that would get rid of my 802.11b bottleneck, or if it's one I need the matching card to get the most out of it.

    If I do need the card, would I also need it on the system that has the gigabit network adapter?

    Any advice on this router and card would be greatly appreciated.

    Betty

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    ok... is your wireless NIC 802.11b? or g? if it is b... then you will need to upgrade your NIC to get rid of the potential bottleneck in your network.... as far as that router goes.... i have 2 friends that have that exact one... i dont as i am stil using my netgear one from like 1.5 years ago... sooo... from what i have experienced... netgear routers are very reliable... my friends with this router agree and add that they really enjoy the added distance they get... they now can use the laptop in the bathroom thats in the back of the house near the washer that never got signal before... why do they need the internet in there? ill never know... but my guess it that it stems from their IRC addictions.... if you get your router and your wireless NIC to operate at g or above... you will be able to use the full through-put of your roadrunner connection... in thoery.. this does not take into consideration if you are reaching extremely long distances with this wireless network... on a further note.. you do not need a 10/100/1000 (gigabit) NIC for your PC.... it would be a waste of money if your goal is to get your max internet connection... as a normal 10/100 NIC will be more than enough.

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    Hi Britten,

    Thank you for the info on the router! I had returned the Linksys G and the usb card I bought for it earlier today as it actually operated slower than my Linksys Wireless 802.11b router. I have no clue why, but it did. I thought maybe with the card it would speed up, but alas I was wrong.

    Although compared to the Belkin Super G I bought and returned, the Linksys was a dream to set up. Tech support at Belkin finally told us to return theirs...lol

    With the rebates on the Netgear (only thru 4/15 through Compusa), to have it ending up costing only $19.99 is a deal I need. My monthly disability only goes so far when it comes to the real and tech worlds.

    I had also considered getting the matching wireless network card as after rebates it is only $9.99, as is the laptop one. According to what I read on the Netgear site (I think it was there) that in order to get the optimum results on the modems that are rated between 54Mbps and 108Mbps, that you need to get the card.

    I tried to find the network specs for my built in adapter and can find nothing other than 10/100. I don't know if they get rated like the regular cards as to 802.11b, a, g, etc.

    My other halfs system downloads faster than mine. I'm guessing it's because his built in adapter is the Intel Gigabit which bypasses PCI and uses something different and so doesn't have to share the 133mhz pci with anything. (or so I read - I'm not that smart!)

    So taking the rebates into consideration, what is the general opinion on getting the wireless card to go with the router? Would it be a wast of money, or be worth it now, or if roadrunner increases their speed again?

    If I get the router it will be later today (argh it's getting late here in FL!), as he has the day off and the store is 50 miles from here that has it in stock (the big O town ).

    So any advice on the card will also be appreciated.

    Thank you again for the info about the router. Real life as opposed to some review sites says a lot more as they don't need to keep their sponsors happy!

    Betty

    <BTW since I have mentioned this Compusa rebate sale twice, I just want to add that I am in no way affiliated with, own shares in, work for, know anyone that works for, or have any associations with Compusa or any other computer supplier>

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    lol... your disclaimer is funny... ok heres the deal... the 10/100 card buit in to your computer, is a wired ethernet card.... you have to plug an ethernet cable into it.... and then the other end... into the router... this is NOT wireless... when we are tlaking about 802.11b/g we are tlaking about your computer and the router talking to each other using NO wires... i think that the matching card for 9.99 is a good deal... assuming you dont forget to mail in the rebate... if you are using a wire to plug your computer in to your router right now.. you probably will not get any difference in speed no matter how many routers you use, as they all run at either 10 or 100 Mb/s. now that gigabit you are mentioning... again part of the wired world... that is a wired card... for using a cat5 cable.... this will let you increase the speed between your router (if it is gigabit) and your computer.. but this is unnessisary as your ISP limits you to 7Mb/s and your current wired connection will run at 100Mb/s... there i no need to goto 1000Mb/s untill your ISP increases your speed i would say anywhere over 66Mb/s... which i dont see hapening in the life of your router or network card.... so the bottom line is.... do you want to use a wire or not?

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    Glad you liked the disclaimer I figured since I just joined yesterday and had mentioned the rebates so many times, I better let the resident guru's know that I am not associated with anything. Which actually makes me sound like I need a life...lol

    Again thank you for the great advice.

    If I understand you correctly, the system with the gigabit adapter will probably be a pile of ashes before the roadrunner connection gets too fast for it.

    My system is kind of on the border for the network card. It might help bottlenecks and may go faster or may not. It will mainly allow my system to add portability. For the end price of $9.99, provided I rmember to mail it in, it couldn't hurt one way or the other. (feel free to correct my assumptions)

    When I think about the price and the wirelss feature especially for extended ranges, I am leaning toward getting the card. It's a bit early but sometime in the coming months I will need a serious surgery on my left ankle, which will have a minimum of 6 months healing time. The wireless card would enable me to move my computer to the bedroom, or livingroom or wherever I could sit comfortably in a wheelchair on on the edge of the bed.

    So barring any warnings of buyer beware or cons about the router and/or card, I guess I'll be going to Orlando tomorrow. Of course with the prices that gas hit today, we may burn up the rebate driving there!!

    Thank you again Britten,

    betty

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    Ok, now I'm tired and confused..again!

    I just went to the site with the rebates on the Netgear products and the desktop card is sold out now.

    So I went to Circuit City to see if they had it and started to read the user reviews on the cards. Apparently some who have purchased it have had serious install and usage problems on AMD systems (which I have).

    Another user said if you have AMD not to get anything Netgear.

    I hate it when a plan goes awry! Any suggestions on a good compatible card, or does anyone know of an AMD friendly router/card?

    Thank you yet again!

    betty

    Added-
    I just read abut one of these gaming routers. Are they any good for regular internet speed if you don't play games? I looked at the D-Link Broadband Gigabit Gaming Router (DGL-4100) which has 4 gigabit connections in it and one 10/100. Would this be useful at all to break over the 802.11b barrier, or is it a waste of money if you don't play games?

    betty
    Last edited by bettysue; 04-12-06 at 02:33 AM.

  11. #11
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    The gigabit connections won't really do much for you unless you have several computers on the LAN side with giga NICs...and even then..it will only be for PC to PC transfers across your LAN. I'm not sure if it supports jumbo frames either...to get true giga performance.

    If I'm not mistaking...you're looking for top wireless performance?

    I'm not a fan of Netgear products..so I wouldn't worry about the loss of that deal at Comp. If you come across it again, it's such a deal, might as well try it...but of the popular brands of routers that I work on for my job..some of the recent Netgear products have given me quite a bit of grief. I used to love them as a brand years ago..when they were owned by BayNetworks. Something changed with them as a company...stuff has gone downhill IMO.
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    what do you recommend now? Linksys? D-Link? just curious... i have had alot of problems with my linksys routers and switches (that was 4 years ago now) so i got a bad taste in my mouth... just wondering if they had made a come back in the problems area....

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    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    I tend to lean more towards Linksys routers...out of all the brands I've worked with for the home market (it's covered most of the brands over the years)...having installed several hundred of them, there are a few models I stick with, some I stay away from, and knowing which firmware versions are most stable.

    Netgear...I used to like, but around 4 or so years ago..started disliking them. Also I got burned several times from the so called support..left me hanging in a bad way with some clients.

    DLink...I'm so-so on.

    Belkin...I used to hate them years ago...but in the past 2 years they've gotten quite decent.
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    YeOldeStonecat-

    I know it's difficult to recommend a specific model for fear of users coming back here and if they have a problem try and blame the source. The old shoot the messenger theme.

    Saying that, is there a review source on te site that might indicate which routers and cards have been tested and found to work better than others?

    You mention Linksys quote often. As your post said some have worked great, others not so good. Could you let us know which models have worked best for you based on your experience? It would help if you also have had experience with any routers on AMD systems which seems to be a new issue I found.

    I know at least in my case, I can read any suggestions posted in these forums and any others I find, but ultimately it's up to me to make the final decision and research the recommendations based on my use, machines, etc.

    For example, you posted a day or so ago that there was new firmware out for the WRTGX4 (which you replied to my question on), so I'm assuming that is a Linksys model that you either use or have used.

    We have a total of 3 computers that use the network, an Intel p4 2.6Mhz desktop, an Intel p4 3.06Mhz laptop, and my AMD 3000+. Has anyone had network experience with a "mixed family" of systems similar to mine? If so what worked and didn't workfor you?

    My decision will not be solely based on recommendations, as I'm a big girl and need to decide for myself. The issue is that there are so many choices, sppeds, brands with more coming out every week that we who are more users than techs get lost in the land of speeds and specs.

    Our main use of the network is to work on e-commerce stores that we design and do a lot of ftp client uploading and downloading. Despite the sites I connect to and the variety of ftp programs I own, I always get connection problems, time-outs, and slow uploads and downloads. It gets very frustrating and slows down the process of working on the sites.

    The only games we ever play are on pogo.com. We are also MS beta testers and are downloading files over 2gig in size. While the MS site gives us the highest transfer rate of any downloads, quite often I have to download more than once due to corrupt files.

    Our computer to computer file sharing is our lowest priority as we tend to each keep copies of what we are working on and only transfer a few files back and forth each day. Although when finances allow, I would like to get a USB drive to share for back-up purposes.

    So there it is, what I use the network and router for. I thought perhaps it may help in trying to figure out the best combination for my systems.

    thank you,

    betty

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    I guess I must be the only one here that has an AMD based pc as opposed to Intel (or the only one to admit it..lol).

    While in my pursuit of a wireless router system, I came across another spec. that has me wondering if there is any advantage to.

    Is there any benefit from the routers that have the 3 main standards, i.e. 802.11a, b, and g?

    Thank You,

    betty

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    you wanna get 802.11g

    also... i have several computers running AMD processors... i havent had any problem with ANY router EVER becuase of the CPU of my computer. Now i have heard of issues with certain cards... but i have never experienced any.

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    Thank you once again Britten

    For you systems, have you noticed any particular brand or model that seems to work better than others?

    Also (yes I've been reading again!) is there any advantage to having the computer to computer connection sep. from the shared internet connection?

    In otherwords the internal wired connection going through a switch for computer to computer, and a router with wireless cards for internet only?

    As usual, thank you,

    betty

  18. #18
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    No difference in mixing AMD and Intel systems....I've often various combos like that at home and at my office.

    Benefit of mixing wireless technologies A/B/G/Pre-N? No, no benefit, unless for some reason you have a computer with an A wireless NIC. Pre-N/G/B all use the same spectrum....so it's backwards compatible. B/G work on Pre-N...B works on G also.

    My vote would be to go with the latest..Pre-N/MIMO...based on my experience in setting wireless networks....the amount of Pre-N wireless networks I've done in the past year...it really is that much better than old G. Every single wireless network I've been installing since they hit the stores shelves has been Pre-N/MIMO...no reason to go back to old G. The increase in range and coverage really is far superior.

    Lately..if I've setting up a small network that needs wireless...I'm using the wrt5gx4...yes I've had great luck with them. Prior to that model...I used their earlier SRX models...and had all good stuff with them also. I've also done a few wireless networks with the Belkin Pre-N units...had good luck with them. I do tend to lean towards Linksys/Cisco as a brand though.

    However....if people demand the highest of speed, more features, stability of their network...especially in a business environment...I'll usually split the router and wireless...getting a business grade router...and sling a wireless access point or two off of it. Two separate devices. I'm running this at home right now...I have a Linksys RV082 as my main router...built in 8 port switch. Very high performance, high stability router...533 MHz processor, 32 megs of RAM...she's got power. I have a Linksys router running as an access point slung off if it.

    I do a low of remote work, file transfers, file downloads, VPN sessions to clients, run a server with e-mail, etc..from home...so stability and speed is of concern to me.

    Highest cost....you're going to spend more with this setup. Will it be a benefit for you over a single setup? Overkill? Pretty much impossible to answer...sometimes you just have to decide on what you'll go for, based on your budget 'n stuff...and go with it. But sometimes it doesn't hurt to shoot high in design.

    This router also has a solid business grade managed switch built into it...a higher grade than the basic 4 port switch in more entry level routers. Again...it's meant to be a workhorse 24/7 under business loads.

    Writeups comparison how brands of hardware work with each other? I've not seen one...I have 3x wireless NICs for my laptops...a Cisco B, a Linksys B, and a Belkin G. I use the Cisco only when doing Cisco wireless networks..because of their pain in the butt software, but the other two...I've found them very compatible with other brands of WAPs. I would just stay away from ones that focus on "turbo" technologies...get ones true to their wireless flavor...not proprietary ones. Or..one that matches your WAP.
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    Wow YeOldeStonecat, what an excellent and informational post!

    The details also address some of the questions and terms which I have tried to read and learn about and just get more confused. I still remember the days where one computer had to have 2 network cards to create a home network. Now there's wired, wireless WEP, WAP, access points, routers, switches, and the list goes on.

    I even read Cnets Networking Guide:
    http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-7605_7-...html?tag=dir#2

    to learn what some of the different terms meant. I concentrated on the Home Office networks. That's where my question about a set-up of more than just a router and nics came about.

    For a home office, they say you need a VPN firewall, Cable/DSL broadband router, Wireless adapter, and now the 2 confusing items:

    Wireless access point Connects wireless adapters to your network
    Power-line adapter Connects computers to your power-line network

    I had thought that all you needed to connect the wireless adapters to the network was the wireless router. Like I do now only I used wired adapters on a wirelss router. So does this mean I have to buy even more equipment?

    I have no clue what the Power-line adapter is, that's a new one to me.

    I looked at the wireless access points on the compusa site, and to me they look like routers. What is the difference in an access point and a router? Is the lack of one why I could get the Linksys 54g to connect to the internet on both main machines, but could not get them to connect to each other?

    Does a switch, i.e. Linksys Gigabit EG005W 5 Port Workgroup Switch, work like an access point except the switches are wired vs. wireless? I had thought by using a switch, I could use my wired connection to go computer to computer with their built in nics, and thus possibly having more stable and increased speed with the router being solely dedicated to the internet.

    I can't believe all the confusion I've caused myself just by wanting a reliable and faster internet connection, while continuing to access the other systems as I always have.

    So with this said, if I were to get a pre-N/Mimo router (torn between Linksys and Belkin), what would I need to go with it to have my 2 desktops and laptop be able to transfer files to each other, and to have a stable and hopefully faster internet connection on all 3 systems? This also taking into consideration at this time all 3 systems have built in wired nics. The desktop (with the gigabit nic) does not need to be wireless, my desktop and the laptop do need to be wireless.

    Look at it this way, all this confusion has finally led me to the bottom line on what I need to accomplish the above

    Thank you again for the great post!

    betty

  20. #20
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    I'll dig more into that CNET article later when I get time...gorgeous day outside...raking the yard and doing spring work on the boat to get her ready to launch.

    Powerline adapters...basically a bridge that allows you to network computers over your existing powerlines/outlets in the house. No need to run network cables...can use your electrical lines for networking. Mixed results in the real world...usually works "OK". Often used to get networking down to the other end of a house..instead of trying to run long lengths of network cable.

    VPN Firewall...this is mentioned in the "home office for telecommuters" section...say you're on the road and you need to access something at home...you can securely VPN to your home network and get access to it. Many business grade routers have this built in as a feature, such as the Linksys RV0 series I mentioned above. I use it often...VPN to my home network.

    Wireless Access Points (WAPs)...this is basically a wireless version of a switch, or a hub. It does not do any routing....does not provide any firewall protection...it's just for connecting wireless computers to each other/and/or to an existing wired network.

    Now lets step back a minute and look at "routers". A very basic definition of a router, is to connect one network, to another network. 5-10 years ago most people never heard of the term "router"..unless you worked in IT..since they were basically these big expensive devices used in large corporate networks...to tie together branchs of a big company, wide area networks, campus networks, etc etc. A device often with just 1x WAN port and 1x LAN port. You'd plug them into a hub or switch...

    ...but these days, since the explosion of broadband in the home (cable/DSL)...the term "router" has become practically a household word. Except...these units are really more like "gateway appliances"...they are usually the combination of several separate devices rolled into one little box.
    *A router
    *A built in 4 port (or more) switch
    *Some have a built in wireless access point
    *Some have built in VPN endpoint servers
    *Some have built in cable modems or DSL modems (bridges)

    So...if you have an existing router...and you wish to introduce wireless to your network...you generally either:
    *replace your existing router with a new wireless router
    or
    *add a wireless access point to your existing network...keeping your existing router

    If you wish to keep a network the same..you generally don't want to add a router to an existing router. "Technically" it can be done with some paperclip and bubblegum tricks.....but in theory, follow the rule of..if you have a router..add an access point.

    However to throw a monkeywrench into that statement and confuse things further..you can purchase a wireless router..which supports being fully flipped over to access point mode. (such as Belkins and some Linksys models)

    I'm just still concerned about your "quest for faster internet speeds"....afraid since your results are so irregular...no matter what path you take might lead in disappointment.

    Back later tonight...gotta head over my moms house for Easter dinner...get there early so she doesn't overcook the lamb.
    MORNING WOOD Lumber Company
    Guinness for Strength!!!

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