Technical Discussion
  >> Home Networking, Internet Connection Sharing, etc.


Register (or login) on our website and you will not see this ad.


Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)   Print Thread
Standard User rpb
(newbie) Fri 14-Oct-11 14:29:03
Print Post

Help picking a new wireless router for small home network


[link to this post]
 
Hi, I'm wondering if someone could give me some advice on selecting a new router.

Current situation:

- Be Broadband (which I'm happy with)
- Supplied Thomson 585 router.

Problems:

- Extremely slow computer-to-computer LAN file transfers (I'm talking low-kB-per-sec rather than expected MB/s speeds - Windows-7-to-Vista transfers, both PCs wireless) to the point of it being unusable. Internet download speed itself is fine.
- Lack of parental controls for limiting or monitoring what kids are up to on all of their modern gadgets. I'm relying on OpenDNS for domain blocking this at the moment.
- Somewhat limited WiFi range within home.

Features desired:

1. *Fast* LAN speeds between devices connected to router. I'm not expecting the theoretical limit here, but I would like to copy photos from my camera from one machine to another before the heat-death of the universe.
2. Time controls so I can automatically turn off WiFi after hours.
3. Ability to block domains at the router.
4. Logging of websites visited (ideally a large-ish buffer so it will persist for at least a few days.
5. Multiple-SSID/hotspots would be nice, so time limits/blocks can be placed on one but not the other. Also for guest/visitor access.
6. Ideally ability to limit bandwidth on different SSIDs so Guest/Public one could be bandwidth-limited but priviledged one wouldn't.
7. ADSL2+ if router includes modem (or alternatively a router-only that I can plug in to existing Thomson modem/router)
8. Ideally N as well as b/g WiFi. Maybe dual-band if that will reduce interference.
9. Secure (obviously)
10. Not too expensive (c. £50, perhaps?)

I've tried browsing Amazon, PC World and a few forums, etc., but I can't really find information on router features, particularly for items 2-6 on my list (time controls through logging).

Any help advice much appreciated!

Richard
Standard User baby_frogmella
(committed) Fri 14-Oct-11 14:55:04
Print Post

Re: Help picking a new wireless router for small home networ


[re: rpb] [link to this post]
 
I'm not sure if there's a router which can do all of the things in your list, but if you can afford it the Billion 7800N is arguably the best wireless N router/modem out there. Have a look at the Amazon reviews smile
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Billion-BiPAC-7800N-Broadban...

If you cannot afford the 7800N, then 7700N is the one to go for. Again very highly rated smile
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Billion-BiPAC-7700N-Wireless...

TalkTalk Plus LLU ADSL2+ connected @ 18015/1019 kbps
Attenuation 27db down / 9db up
Noise Margin 2.9 db down / 12db up
Powered by Billion BiPAC 7800N
Standard User rpb
(newbie) Fri 14-Oct-11 15:26:33
Print Post

Re: Help picking a new wireless router for small home networ


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
Hi baby_frogmella,

Thanks for the quick reply and the suggestion.

As usual, the Amazon pages don't give very many details. I've had a look at the online manual for the Billion 7800 (couldn't find the one for the 7700) and even in the actual product manuals the descriptions of some of these features is very sparse. It mentioned URL (and domain) filtering but I couldn't see if it would log accesses as well. Also not sure if you can set up multiple hotspots. Time restrictions seem to be per MAC address, so I'm guessing the way to use that is to limit all access by default (say, from 10pm-7am) and then have a wider range of allowed times for specific (i.e. adult) PCs? If you just limit known MAC addresses then if the kids get a new gadget (with a different MAC) the time restrictions wouldn't apply!


Register (or login) on our website and you will not see this ad.

Standard User prlzx
(committed) Fri 14-Oct-11 23:27:06
Print Post

Re: Help picking a new wireless router for small home networ


[re: rpb] [link to this post]
 
If both PCs are using the same band of Wi-Fi (whether 2.4GHz or 5GHz), that cuts by half the speed you can get in PC to PC transfers.

What kind of Wi-Fi do the PCs have? (b / g / a / n)?

If one of the PCs does a 5GHz flavour you will get a faster PC-to-PC transfer by putting one PC on 2.4GHz and the other on 5GHz.
Likewise if at least one of the two PC could be wired.

Therefore, another way of looking at your requirement would be a 5GHz access point (and an a/b/g/n dongle or adapter card if necessary) to run alongside your existing router. A simultaneous dual band AP (or router) would work but may be a more expensive option.

Also, are the PC's wireless USB or internal adapters (you may need to extend the antenna to a better position).



prompt $P - Invalid drive specification - Abort, Retry, Fail? $G
prlzx on n e w n e t: ADSL2+ / 21CN at 2.5Mbps / 800k
Standard User rpb
(newbie) Mon 17-Oct-11 09:11:30
Print Post

Re: Help picking a new wireless router for small home networ


[re: prlzx] [link to this post]
 
Hi prlzx - thanks for the comments.

I think it will probably be mixed. My laptop supports N, I believe, internally but only on 2.4GHz. The desktop has a USB dongle that came with the original Thomson router (probably g) so I would guess the dongle is b or g only on 2.4GHz. In addition we have an iPod touch and a couple of phones - I would guess they would be b or g on 2.4 GHz. But as newer devices come along more are likely to support N and a few may permit 5GHz as well, I'd guess. But as I mentioned, Internet download speed is pretty good on all devices (4-5 Mb/s, which is as much as I get wired at my distance from the exchange) but device-to-device-via-LAN speed is appalling (perhaps 2-3 minutes to copy a 5MB photo, hours for a folder of 40-50 photos) and I'm blaming the router. Signal strength is fine. I used to have the desktop wired to the router but that involved a lot of telephone extension cable trailing across the room, and our cat liked to play with the cable too much so now the router is plugged right in near the master socket in the loft and everything is wireless.

Edited by rpb (Mon 17-Oct-11 09:42:28)

Standard User rpb
(newbie) Tue 18-Oct-11 09:14:13
Print Post

Re: Help picking a new wireless router for small home networ


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
I've been having a dig around, and it looks like very few routers do the logging I've been looking for, with a number of comments along the lines of "if you turn on URL logging your router's memory may fill up very quickly and cause odd errors", and someone else commenting that router memory typically means the logs will fill up many times over in a typical day.

So maybe I'm not going to have any luck finding a router that can log URLs. OpenDNS only logs blocked domains, and not all URLs (because it's only called for DNS lookup, of course).

And with various non-PC appliances on my wireless network (iPod Touches, mobile phones, etc.) I can't install software on each of those to do the monitoring.

If I had the time and the know-how I would probably set up a little low-power dedicated general purpose Linux PC-in-an-appliance thing and run my Internet through that, but I don't!

Isn't this the sort of thing lots of people would want to be doing these days: keeping tabs on what their kids are up to online on laptops and mobile (non-PC) WiFi devices (where you can't install client software)? How do people do this?
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 18-Oct-11 09:21:56
Print Post

Re: Help picking a new wireless router for small home networ


[re: rpb] [link to this post]
 
Part of monitoring kids is just letting them know you can see things,

So even a router with an incomplete URL/domain list would suffice, i.e. ask once or twice about unsavoury site and either

1. It stops
2. They find a way around it
3. They just go to a friends

Total logging is more of a business environment, and comes with the price tag associated.

Andrew Ferguson, andrew@thinkbroadband.com
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User philippercival
(committed) Tue 18-Oct-11 11:31:04
Print Post

Re: Help picking a new wireless router for small home networ


[re: rpb] [link to this post]
 
A solution which would achieve the monitoring and logging would be to install a linux box.

If you have an old computer (desktop) you could install a second network card in it, then:

Connect one network card to your router and the other to your internal network.
Set the linux box up as a gateway and your users would then get all their internet services from the linux box.

You can then get the linux box to log and monitor things as well as using it to block sites.

The main snags are that:
you need a spare old computer - it does not need to be particularly powerful
you need to have some knowledge of linux or be prepared to learn
there are rather a lot of sites to block.
Standard User rpb
(newbie) Tue 18-Oct-11 12:01:05
Print Post

Re: Help picking a new wireless router for small home networ


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
Thanks, Mr Saffron,

Yes, you're right about letting the kids know. I plan on putting time limits on a new router because OpenDNS is showing a certain amount of activity late at night, but I can't see what it is.

One of the problems is it's all well and good saying "make sure the computer is in the living room where you can keep an eye on what they are doing", but these days the kids access the Internet from all manner of small pocket-sized devices, so they essentially have full Internet access from the bedroom and bathroom to the cupboard under the stairs. [And once data rates come down on mobile networks they'll be bypassing our fammily router as well, so then any control will be gone!]
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 18-Oct-11 12:06:36
Print Post

Re: Help picking a new wireless router for small home networ


[re: rpb] [link to this post]
 
On the mobile networks, parental controls are at your whim at the network level, i.e. they let you block adult content.

In terms of networking under the bed covers, akin to kids reading books for hours in the past, if there is a mobile signal they will manage to use facebook and twitter

The key really is ensuring they are aware of the risks, e.g. exchanging personal information, and you been someone they can come to about things like bullying or inappropriate emails they get.

Personally for under ten year olds, I favour the whitelist approach, or being present. Once they get to the teens years, taking too much control can be counter productive.

Andrew Ferguson, andrew@thinkbroadband.com
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)   Print Thread

Jump to