Our old, cheap D-Link died last night - I could try to see if it's just the power supply, but we've had that since we moved here in 2004 and we've really been needing an "upgrade" for quite some time. It wasn't FLAKY, but it would drop just often enough when handling really high amounts of traffic to get us occasionally really, really annoyed.
I'm going to Best Buy pretty soon with the intent to have something to take home tonight, so quick! Suggest to me a brand name to look for at Best Buy - OR. Does it matter and they're all spectacularly equal?
I just bought a LINKSYS WRT400N Dual-N Band Wireless Router, and I am pretty happy with it. It runs both G and N simultaneously, so my laptop is able to take advantage of the 802.11n while everything else in the house still only runs off of the 802.11g.
I'm pretty happy with every Linksys router I've owned - with one or two minor exceptions.
The D-Link looked smashing, except that it wasn't available in the store...only online. Since I needed something RIGHT NOW, I opted for the Linksys. I wanted something on the N, and the WRT400N had it, so I splurged. (The last one, the cheapo D-Link, worked for five years, so I think it'll even out.) Both my brother and FLEA have also given endorsements to Linksys outside this thread as well, so even though I'd pretty much made my decision already, it was nice to have it reinforced.
Setup was actually a breeze - I'm getting that it's a lot easier to put together auto-configuration now than it was back then. It found Comcast's "modem" and successfully cloned its MAC to pass through my signal.
My ssh/telnets were dropping after about 30-45 minutes of idleness, which didn't happen on the old one, but I set up some keepalives in my ssh config to get around that. No big whoop. All appeared well. BUT.
Woke up the next morning to find that all the computers were dropped off the wireless with no obvious cause. I could reconnect manually, no trouble, but inevitably they would drop again.
I decided to bring it back to Best Buy and exchange it for another one this morning. Weirdness: some time between Monday and today, the box design that these things came in completely changed - which made me wonder if somehow I had bought the last of the "old" WRT400Ns and just got unlucky.
I set up the old one three hours ago and I still see that I'm logged into AIM at home, so hopefully I just happened to get a bad one first time and this is a good one which will work for at least another five years. As my old Chinese bosses used to say, STAY IN TUNE.
Of course, in the process, I completely destroyed my network interface preferences on the old laptop so that now the Aiport won't function, so now I have to decide if I want to start deleting/rebuilding preferences to try to get things working again, or create a new user with some blank preferences, or just save a lot of middleman time, dig out the 10.5 DVD and do a complete O/S reinstall. Fortunately since it was demoted to file server/Time Machine box, there isn't a whole lot of customization I'd be losing if I go that route.
Well the cards you want these days are PCI-E, and E is the important thing. You have to make sure your motherboard has a PCI-E slot on it first. Then you can get a cheap one that will work out fine to run games, just not at full resolution.