Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wireless N

I recently upgraded my home wireless network to wireless N. Several reasons prompted the decision:
  1. I'm streaming video to my Xbox 360. Using my former wireless G yielded a bumpy, choppy playback. Wireless N provides almost 6 times the bandwidth and my streamed video looks just like a TV show now.
  2. My area is saturated with interruptions: plenty of wireless networks, bluetooth devices, cordless phones and other devices using the 2.4GHz band (even microwave ovens emit radiation on that wave length). This causes network degradation and sudden drops. N allows using the 5GHz band, which is less crowded.
  3. I'm in the process of deploying a NAS (Network Attached Storage) to my network, for backup purposes. Since large amounts of data will be transferred, I needed the most bandwidth I could get.
After some research, I decided to go with the D-Link DIR 825 Xtreme N Dual Band Gigabit Router. My deciding reasons were:
  1. Backwards comparability to wireless B and G.
  2. Support for both 2.4 and the 5GHz bands. While this is offered by many competing products, the 825 offers them simultaneously (in other routers you have to choose one or the other). By using 2 radios, I can use the 5GHz band with my T400 and Dell Mini (after I upgraded its wireless card), while legacy devices like my D630 can use the 2.4GHz band.
  3. For NAS purposes, the router supports gigabit Ethernet.
  4. The router has a USB port that can be used to share a USB device (or more, if you use a hub) between all machines, through a utility called SharePort. i use it to share my printer between all my machines.
  5. The router supports dynamic DNS name like DynDNS (see Get yourself a static IP), providing remote access to my machines from the outside.
  6. If guests come calling, an ad-hoc guest network can be started, allowing access to the internet, but not the internal network.
I waited for the price of the 825 to drop for a while, but to my surprise, over the last few months, the price just went higher. Finally, I got it on eBay for $80. It works great and my streamed video is fluid. I highly recommend stepping up to wireless N.

No comments: