Wireless internet router and age

I’m going to be moving to a new place in a bit. Back in 2005 I bought a Linksys wireless router that seemed to work just fine. I don’t have the model number at the moment.

I’m wondering if the technology has changed enough to consider getting a new one and forgetting the one in storage. My guess is that nothing much has changed, except on the software side and encryption (back then I didn’t even bother with a passcode).

I just purchased one new for my sister a few months back (forget the brand/model) and was surprised how cheap it was and how easy it was to setup the passcode.

So is it worth it to dig the router out of storage, or should I consider purchasing a new one?

Well, the wireless-N networks are pretty nice. If you have a newer laptop, or ipod, they really do get a higher speed from the stream.

For me, the upgrade meant I could get an 8-port wireless router, and replace my old configuration of an 8-port router and a separate wireless broadcaster. The space savings was worth the expense.

It all boils down to what kind of system you’re connecting to it. If you’re computer can’t take advantage of newer technologies then you may as well use the older router. You’re wireless adapter type is basically going to dictate what you can take advantage of.

Unless you have some pretty serious internet bandwidth, like 30+Mbps you probably won’t even notice an N vs a G. The internet connection is usually the bottleneck in any network. Computer to computer transfers will be much faster via and N wireless than a G.

For example: We have 25Mb internet service in my shop I can swap between a 100Mb and 1000Mb switch and my internet speed does not change a bit.

A circa 2005 linksys router is probably uses a “G” protocol and does your notebook or desktop PC, unless you bought it in the last year or so, then it would likely be an “N” protocol. If it’s a “G” use it. If it’s an older “B” protocol replace it.

One thing to consider: if it is the venerable Linksys WRT-54G (quite likely), then you might consider giving DD-WRT a whirl.

If you are remotely geeky and like to try new things, then DD-WRT is a really nifty open source firmware for wireless routers that gives you many features only available on relatively high end network hardware.

This is the important point to think about, if you only have one computer or you don’t transfer files between multiple then you aren’t going to see any speed increase between G and N, G will connect at 56Mbps and your internet connection is likely to be half of that at best. The only other real advantage of getting wireless N is that it has better broadcast range, so if your wireless point is a long way from where you use the computer you may get a stronger signal using wireless N (provided that your computer is able to use wireless N as well).

One important point when setting up wireless routers is to try and find a clear signal, I sorted out a customer’s laptop that had (using online speedtests) an internet connection that was 11Mbps when wired into the router but only around 6Mbps when using it wirelessly. Switching the broadcast channel brought the wireless speed back up to around 10Mbps.