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New wireless router

I'll be explaining the new router talked about here in a work article, so if you follow me there as well as here (which several of my readers do), watch for that next week. 🙂

Today my lil' Belkin F5D7230-4 Wireless G router (the gray one with the single antenna) starting making a high-pitched electronic whining noise. It was barely audible, but I could hear it. This was most likely indicative that a capacitor was going bad and threatening to erupt/explode. I decided to retire the router, because a little noise like that can turn into a big noise, and that's usually followed by a loud SNAP accompanied with a burning smell and/or smoke. Ah, the wonders of electronics.

It was ruled out that interference was causing the noise, and being that wi-fi signals and network cables don't whine like the noise I heard, a semi-bad capacitor was most likely the culprit.

I really can't complain because the lil' Belkin did provide somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 or 5 years of faithful service. Home routers typically do conk out in that amount of time, so to gripe about it would be pointless. It lasted as long as could be expected, given what it was.

Being I need Internet to do of lot of the things I do (including my job), I trotted on down to Target to buy another router. I bought a cheap 30-dollar Belkin F7D1301, otherwise known as the Belkin "Basic". Heck, the price was right so I couldn't say no to that.

Big mistake.

The Belkin Basic is absolute garbage. Ridiculous setup process, bad network choke.. it was just awful. I returned it less than an hour later.

Target refunded the full price, and then I bought a Linksys WRT120N. Fifty bucks.

The difference between the 30-dollar Belkin and the 50-dollar Linksys is like night and day. No problems whatsoever with the Linksys. Easy setup, easy connect, no network issues whatsoever. It's a darn fine unit.

I haven't tried the wireless yet, but the wired performance is excellent. My Internet hasn't been this fast in a good long while. Had I known replacing my router would have given me an instant speed boost, I would have done it a lot sooner.

The WRT120N is also my first Wireless N router, but like I said I haven't tried the wi-fi yet. My Dell mini 10v does have a Draft N card in it, so it'll be interesting to see if N truly performs better than G does. Everything I know about N tells me it won't.

Wireless G has a raw data rate of 54Mbit/s. Wireless N because of something called "four spatial streams" at a "channel width of 40MHz" can supposedly deliver a raw 600Mbit/s.

But as anyone knows, "raw" is not what you get. Instead you get something much slower.

G on its best day is dog-butt slow compared to wired even at 10Mbit/s, never mind 100. N is supposed to be far superior - but we'll see about that.

To be blunt honest, I'm not putting high hopes into it. I have my WRT120N purposely configured to be N-only on wi-fi so my netbook is forced to connect using N and nothing else.

If N proves to be stable and works good, I'll use it. If not, I'll just go back to G. I know G is slow, but it's stable and gets the job done.


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