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Router and computer questions

First off, we need a new router. We’ve always used Linksys, but this last one has never performed up to hype. Our Tivo hasn’t gotten a 5GHz since the first few months. (I forgot its little reception light was supposed to be blue not green.  It was blue early on, but when I got to trouble-shooting our mediocre streaming, I realized it was green and had been for as long as I could remember.)

Anyway…every time I buy tech, I’ve got to come up to speed on the current state of, and I’m short on time, so would love some advice. We have lots of streaming going on in the house. Want to keep it under $200 but also have something that will last for a few years.

Now I’ve got to contact Comcast for the newest modem. ARGH.

Next question: I’ve just discovered I’ve not been getting emails from people who have gotten through in the past with no problem. If anyone has written to me and not received an answer in the last month, could you leave a comment here?


29 comments to Router and computer questions

  • chondrite

    I’m surprised. Linksys is one of the routers DH recommends; another one is D-Link. Maybe you got a bad one? How old is it? If it frequently gets hot, that may be part of the problem, as cooking your router is never good for it. The newer routers are flakier than the old ones, but you shouldn’t have to spend too much to get a new one and test — maybe $60. You may have a problem upstream, if your cable company has been playing with things.

  • dhawktx

    I’ve asked the ‘laser boys’ for input too… they’re web and hardware nerds who should have some good suggestions.

  • dhawktx

    The guys have the following questions:

    What are the issues?
    Is TiVo streaming failing?
    Devices reporting low signal strength?
    What is the email domain being used?

    I didn’t give them the whole post (shoulda) – will send that to them now…

  • Walt

    The latest WiFi standard is 802.11ac, just finalized. I got a Linksys EA6500 about 10 months ago–recommended to me by a friend who does this stuff for a (very good) living–and I’ve been happy with it: good range, dual band, firewalled guest account (I don’t like that the guest acc’t is WhateverYouNameYourRouter-guest, but it’s not odious). It runs 1750 Mbps using both bands, and restricts the guest account to the slower 450 Mbps lower (2.4 GHz) band. It has two USB 2.0 ports and four LAN network ports.

    Weird news: EA6500 is in itty-bitty letters on the upper left corner of the box, while AC1750 is in the huge type you’d expect for the model name.
    Bad news: it’s right at $200.
    Good news: I found it at $200 at Best Buy–but for bleep’s sake, they want to ream one for cables! Given that availability is the same in your area, you can get out the hammer to try to persuade your router to do its duty.

    The EA6700 and EA6900 (and some slower models) have one USB 3.0 connection, replacing one USB 2.0. The EA6900 improves the speed of the lower band, I suppose because of its external antennae. The EA6700 is $200 on sale at NewEgg; they do not (yet?) have the EA6900.

    Wikipedia has a nice summary of the Linksys line, though they state (apparently incorrectly) that the EA6700 is not available in North America. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linksys_routers

  • Do you need a cable modem / router or DSL? If Comcast or other cable, then you need a cable modem / router. If AT&T or other DSL, you need a DSL modem / router.

    I’ve had good luck with Linksys in the past, but as Chondrite said, any of them can overheat or get an electrical surge and fry. I’ve also had good luck with Motorola.

    When I last looked, there was the Motorola SurfBoard SBG650. The price is reasonable. You’ll have to call your cable company and their tech will need to copy down a few long strings of information in order to get you connected.

    Note: If you buy and use your own router / modem, you can save a bit monthly on your bill, as you won’t have the monthly modem / router rental fee. They will be limited in the help they offer, but you can stay connected.

    One possible fix is to (1) Warn the housemates you’re about to do this, and (2) Unplug the router’s power (electrical) plug for 15 to 30 seconds, then plug it back in and let it reconnect. After about 30 seconds to a minute, it should be reconnected if it’s going to. This is an easy diagnostic. Heck, you probably already know that. (3) Let said housemates know the house internet connection is back up.

  • Hello, World!

    I have just upgraded the forum at my site and have re-opened it for registration and posting.


    • Sent in my registration and waiting for approval!

      I took some more photos for you this weekend while I was dealing with my Ares’ head’s eyes becoming loose. I took him apart, put him back together and took photos to help you when you get yours. I haven’t scripted the tutorial yet but this could be my first post for your Toys section.

      • Onna, I’ve approved your registration and asked it to send the Activation email. If you don’t get the Activation email, please let me know. Ditto if you have trouble logging in.

        I commented in the previous thread (“Who Knows What When?”) with questions about the BJD’s.

  • I have a Linksys WRT54G Wireless router that’s been around for about 3 years. I haven’t had any trouble with it in the house at all, especially when I use the WEP encryption. However, when I got my new DSL modem from CenturyLink, it incorporates a router in the modem.

    I’m wondering if a cable modem does “double duty” as well, modem and router together. If so, it’s a lot less hassle, fewer connections, etc. I know that DSL modems aren’t always compatible with whichever provider you happen to have, and I don’t know anything about cable modems. I’m not concerned with speed so much as not wanting to share the same data stream as everyone else on my block. It’s an individual choice, so if you’re on cable and like it, by all means, stick with it. DSL isn’t always as fast as they’d like to claim, and FiOS isn’t available for me, yet.
    I used to rely on sites like motherboards.org, but I’m not sure if they’ve gotten way too commercial, and stuff that I used to find easily is now harder to locate on their website.

    • Walt

      Joe, WEP is depreciated, which is computerese for, “It really sucks. Stop using it!”

      “Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) are two security protocols and security certification programs developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance to secure wireless computer networks. The Alliance defined these in response to serious weaknesses researchers had found in the previous system, WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).”

      You may be able to get a firmware upgrade by asking your router to upgrade itself, or it may be even simpler, just going to the router configuration screen (opened with a browser) and switching from WEP to WPA2.

      Happy I could help, Jane!

  • Thanks, everyone!

    What we have is an E4200, coupla years old, if that.

    The problem is the Tivo receiver is only receiving at 3GHz rather than 5, which the router is supposed to be sending out. I haven’t really looked into whether or not it’s sending at that speed; I assume there’s a way to check. But while it streams, it’s slow communicating back and forth with the online companies like netflix and hulu, and getting worse. Our internet is also getting slower every day. I think it’s just failing.

    But our modem, (cable. ComCast supplied,) is older. I’m going to make sure we’ve got the newest model of that tomorrow….probably order the 6500 (which was the one I was looking at; thanks, Walt!) at the same time. We just can’t be without the internet, sad to say.

    I’m familiar with the idiosyncrasies of networking; been doing it since it had to be done manually. 😀 I just didn’t want to take the time to research what Walt just told me re: the newest wifi standard and the reliability of the 6500. It’s gotten mixed reviews, but everything does. I’ve been happy with Linksys…what we’ve always had…don’t see much reason to change now.

  • Oh…router has good ventilation and the room is in the middle of the north side of the house, so well-insulated.

    It just bugs me that the Tivo isn’t receiving the faster signal and hasn’t for a long time. I have a feeling we got a buggy one and I should have exchanged it a long time ago. But I didn’t, so there y’go. Pay for it now I will. 😀

    • I’m a little behind, I see, but… Do you have another dual band device? It would help you decide whether your router or your Tivo lost its top band. (iPad 4th gen * iPad mini do, for sure) My Playbook tablet has both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz radios, and it is interesting to wander about and watch the respective signal strengths. The 5 GHz signal drops off faster as I put drywall between the tablet and the router. Even where I put my hands on the tablet makes a difference! But it’s great on direct line of sight!

      • Good question! Durned if I know. My computer says it’s the network signal type is 802.11n, which I thot was 5Ghz, but I don’t know if that means anything.

        • 802.11n allowed both 2.4 and 5 GHz; the other change was that n allowed MIMO – multiple input/multiple output – 2 or more antennas, actually. So a 802.11n router or device isn’t necessarily dual band, usually only the high-end equipment, so far. A newer laptop may be dual band (like my mid2007 MacBook 🙂 ) It’s worth checking…

          • I’m pretty sure I mean dual band. The router, a 4200, is supposed to be able to handle both 2.5ghz and 5ghz “receptor” at the same time without slowing down the faster one. We have some older laptops around and I didn’t want them slowing the whole system down.

            Both our laptops are new, with high-rated cards. The Tivo receiver lets you know if it’s receiving 2.5 or 5 by the color: it was blue (5) when I first set the current system up, but it’s been green (2.5) for a long time now.

            I’m wondering about getting the 6500 from Amazon, then if it doesn’t fix the problem, I can just send it back. The gorilla does have some advantages….

  • I have also added a blog. I’ve never run a blog before, so this is something of an experiment.


    Note: I’d appreciate advice on running a blog. Thanks!

    • Hey, there! I love your registration plugin! What is it? And what’s the plugin that’s allowing users to edit comments? I want that, too! PWEEEEZE!

      • Hey Jane. 🙂 I commented over on my blog. Look for “Jetpack for WordPress.com” version 2.4.2 by the WordPress Team. The theme “Twenty Thirteen” 1.0 may also have what you need. I’m n00b enough that most of what I’ve done for the blog so far is from looking over the install from my web host and fiddling in the admin control panel.

        If I can help with something more specific, just let me know via email (and where / what to look for) and I’ll tell you whatever I can find. But (lol) I expect to be asking you and other tech-savvy folks questions.

  • He’s here! I’ll post pictures soon.

    It’s rainy here today and probably for the next few days. I was supposed to remember to pick up some foam core board and a couple of other things, but of course, I forgot to get them. So later in the week, I’ll do so. It depends on when I can schedule a ride. Certain days are good, others are a pain, for that.

    I have a backstory for the character, but I don’t have a name for him yet. As with cats and dogs, I’m presuming he’ll name himself.

    Updates forthcoming!


    Also, a few ppl who follow the blog here have registered in the past at my forum. Please try to login at my forum again and post, if you haven’t done so recently. If you’ve forgotten your password, you can ask the forum to reset it. If you have further problems, please email me at my site, and I’ll make sure it’s taken care of.

    New registrations have gone through fine.

    Likewise for my new blog.

    Everyone’s welcome!

  • Thanks, Onna! — I’ll add some links soon at my site.

  • Posting to my forum and blog, arts and crafts stuff.

  • Ah, that’s ’cause it’s on the site itself. — Organizationally, some things make more sense to me to put on the site, versus the blog or forum, and then have the blog and forum point to them. (The blog, from the ease of use and front-end aspects, is easy to work with.) Yup, I need to have the blog point to things on my site, with a “what’s where?” index.

    Here are the relevant pages on the website:


    Click on the Links in the Notebook section. 🙂

  • I’ve moved things in the Toy Box. 🙂 But now it should be organized and stable for a good while.

    Correction to the links given above:

    The Toy Box

    New stuff is upcoming. I’ll have occasional Toy Box Tales. Right now, I’m thinking up names for our hero and a friend, who have placeholders, poor guys. I found something surprising and special, and have in mind a buddy character.

    Jane, even though Wiishu probably can’t wear Ken-sized clothes, I found something for you and CJ, too good to pass up, and will get it in the mail to you, likely on Tuesday. So if you have a Ken or Barbie or similar handy, they’re getting something cool. B)

  • OMG…your site is so much more organized than mine! 😀 I’m not, by nature, the least bit organizationally-inclined. Sigh….

  • Hah, I’m both a neatnik and organizationally challenged, depending on the subject and how I’m doing. (My house is still in vast need of a full-on cleanup / reorg.) The Toy Box is new. The rest of my site is…sometimes, it’s hard to decide where things should go. Is it this, is it that? 🙂 Thanks, though! I try.

    Psst, I ordered something cool for you and CJ, for Wiishu, Ken-sized items. If it/they arrive when expected, I’ll ship ’em off Tuesday. If not, then Thursday or else next week. When I saw it, it was too cool to pass up. Not ‘pensive, either.

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