My ASUS RT-N66U arrived from Amazon.ca yesterday. I installed Tomato (Shibby) on it and have it up and running.
The build quality helps justify the $150 price tag. It has heft and a solid feel unlike any router I’ve ever owned. It even has a power button and a stand which may seem like odd things to highlight but these are the kinds of features that I expect from a router this pricey.
Initial performance impressions are positive but it did not quite achieve the level of exterior wall performance I was hoping for. The 5 GHz antenna on my E4200 was good. It was able to reach all the way from the top floor to the basement with a reasonable signal. The RT-N66U signal, however, is excellent no matter where I am.
The WDS performance is better but it’s not a night and day difference. The signal strength and quality seems to be more stable than with the E4200 I previously used though. Stability with reasonable throughput (10+ Mbps) is the goal here and so far this RT-N66U is delivering on that front. I’ll check in after some days have passed. Hopefully the link stays up.
Here are some random wireless tips and tricks that I discovered/learned. I picked these up while trying to tweak and improve my own Wireless Ethernet Bridge’s performance on my E4200 router running Tomato firmware.
- ‘Singapore’ region unlocks channels 1 – 13 plus raises the transmit power limit of the wireless transmitters.
- ‘Japan’ region enables channel 14 but it actually does cap transmission speed to 802.11b speeds (11 Mbps)
- Some wireless clients like the iPhone 4S support channel 13 without region changes while others like the PlayStation 3 will not pick it up at all.
- Higher transmit power does not always offer better range or performance.
- 802.11n speeds require at least WPA2 Personal + AES
That’s all for now.
I’m going to keep a log of all the little changes and tweaks I do to this wireless distribution system setup.
Sep. 11, 2012
The WDS experiment is over. I called it quits after two noted instances of inexplicable drops in wireless performance. I’m experiencing the same “wireless pit of despair” as described by others.
My final WDS router settings were as follows:
- Channel 6
- Channel Width: 20 MHz
- 2.4 GHz band
- WPA Personal + AES encryption
- Spanning Tree Protocol disabled
- Wireless Transmit Power of 64 mW
- Routing Mode: Router
- Use user-entered gateway if WAN is disabled: On
Like the fellow from “OldSpeak”, I’m converting over to WET or Wireless EThernet bridging
. I’m using the same settings as above and it’s been working well thus far. Hopefully it lasts for more than a few days.
Wireless Distribution Systems could end up saving us a lot of money. Unfortunately there are issues with stability and consistency which may scrap the whole initiative. I’ve learned a lot about wireless technology over the past week just by tinkering with this WDS idea.
With Tomato and a couple of E4200 routers, I was able to setup a WDS. I configured the wireless network as indicated below:
- Channel 6
- Channel Width: 20 MHz
- 2.4 GHz band
- WPA2 Personal + AES encryption
- Spanning Tree Protocol enabled
- Wireless Transmit Power of 84 mW
For my parents’ wireless access point solution, I picked up a refurbished Linksys E4200 from FutureShop for $60 + taxes. I was skeptical because it was a Linksys router and it was refurbished. But I went ahead and picked it up because it supported Tomato custom firmware which I wholeheartedly support.
Now that I’ve got it up and running for over a week, I’m regretting not picking one up for myself. This thing is wonderfully stable and fast. It also boasts some impressive looks.
I didn’t even have this kind of stability with my ASUS RT-N16 when I first installed Toastman’s Tomato on it. I haven’t actually tested its 450 Mbps speed but I did test out the impressive coverage. It covers the top and ground floors of their house and then some.
I was thinking about getting an expensive ASUS RT-N66U or the absurdly expensive ASUS RT-AC66U but after trying out this silent performer, I’m keeping my eyes out for other refurbished gems like it.
This networking wiring setup is taking longer than expected because I underestimated the tools and equipment required.
First of all don’t get these ethernet tips from Monoprice because they are terrible. I didn’t think it was possible to screw up ethernet tips but there you go. I forgot I actually own a bag of regular CAT5e tips so I got some of those awful tips from a friend.
I was planning to upgrade my gateway router after I moved to my new house, but a sale caught my eye and changed that.
I’ve been using factory firmware and routers for a long time. It started with Linksys, followed by another Linksys and then two identical D-Link routers. This ASUS RT-N16 router is my first custom firmware capable router.
I chose this particular router because it was affordable and recommended as one of the best custom firmware capable routers. It also featured 802.11n, four gigabit ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports.
And I got all of it for $90 some odd dollars after shipping and taxes. There was also a $10 mail in rebate offer, but it’s coming in as an inconvenient MasterCard debit card. I hate those things. Maybe I’ll donate it to Child’s Play or something.