When I moved into a new office location recently, we had to get an internet connection organised, so I decided to try out one of the new-fangled dual band routers which I had read about recently. Was I in for a surprise!
In the old office, we were using a couple of Netgear routers which we already owned (one was a DGN1000N which acted as the gateway router and the other was an old MBR624GU which was only being used as a wifi router). They were both linked via a wired LAN, but while the DGN1000N was quite reliable, the MBR624GU would crap itself every couple of days.
The solution was quite simple, we restarted the MBR624GU every couple of days, as somehow it seemed to not allow me to connect to our ip camera after a couple of days. The other issue was the main router (the DGN100N) would for some reason suffer from wifi seizure every now and then. I figured this was probably caused by interference, as the wired connection was solid. I noticed that there were at least twelve other routers in the neighbourhood.
So in my wisdom, I was keen to try out one of the new generation of wifi AC routers in the market. I figured that having dual band and a higher powered transmitter might mitigate some of the effects of neighbourly interference. These considerations led me to purchase a Netgear R1200 unit from my nearest Officeworks.
When I took the router home, I quickly took it out of the box and connected it to the ADSL line and then I started to configure the wifi. The wifi configuration was nice and easy and predictable. This was something that I liked about the old Netgear routers that I owned. However, after nearly an hour of testing different configurations it just refused to connect via the ADSL connection. It also seemed to “forget” my desktop machine that was connected to it via LAN, after a little while. After a couple of resets, I gave up and took it back with receipt in hand.
Since the shop only carried the Netgear R1200 and the Dlink DSL-2880AL, I took the Dlink home and was quite happy to discover that it would connect to the internet straight away, however, when it came to configuring the wifi network, no matter what I did it would not take the settings (when I set the wifi password and hit “save” it kept going back to the “security:none” default factory setting. In the end I was able to remedy this problem with a new firmware update (AU1.01).
One issue that I could not resolve, though was that the router would not let my desktop machine connect to the wireless ip camera. Even when I had unchecked wireless isolation. My laptop could connect to it effortlessly on the wifi, but on my desktop I would just get a timeout. I also found that periodically, it would just randomly not pass the DNS settings to computers connected via DHCP. Bizzare!
I tolerated this router for a month, then there was a new firmware, version AU 2.00. I downloaded the update and tried to flash the router, however, the router seemed to die half way through the update. With only the LAN connection lights lit up, it refused to do anything, even after a couple of factory resets.
Fortunately, I still had the receipt, so I returned the unit as faulty and ended up with another unit. While I liked the Netgear better for its interface and seeming sure-footedness when applying settings, I could not recommend it since it did not want to connect for me. So now I am on my second DSL-2880AL unit and it has the same issues as the one I returned, except it, at least, works. I only have to restart it every three or so days when it refuses to set the DNS for DHCP clients.
While I am not saying that they are both bad routers, my experience with them has not been that positive either. In my opinion, maybe best to keep your existing router and just buy an AC dual band wifi access point.