I have been wanting to replace my old (but tried and tested) ADSL2 Wi-Fi router for quite some time. It has been working fine, but there were two shortcomings that my family members kept pointing out to me time and again: one was its slow speed (54 Mbps) and the second was its distance reach (it was not able to broadcast Wi-Fi waves all over the house).
I was not much bothered about the first point, as I continue to use a Windows XP Professional laptop, which does not support the latest Wi-Fi standard and cannot be upgraded. And, I was seated just next to the router, so distance did not bother me. But what I could not withstand is the comment on “the lousy-looking, old-technology, slow-speed” router that has been delivering the goods for a long time.
Well, sometime we have to give up. So, after much rather useless defense, I started looking for a more powerful router.
It is always an interesting exercise – when there is just too much information, your decision process takes that much longer ! With the plethora of data floating around on everything imaginable via a google search, one can imagine the amount of time one has to spend just looking for things out there. The search did take a long time for me – almost a month I should say (albeit intermittently focused on this search in the midst of other work obviously).
The criteria I set were simple: (a) the router speed should be minimum 300 Mbps ; (b) it should be powerful with minimum two antennae, capable of reaching all over my apartment, with minimum two Wi-Fi bars on either the iPAD or the laptop in the remotest room ; (c) should have support for b/g/n standards so that it has latest standard support while at the same time backward compatible (I don’t wish to be left high and dry if my XP laptop cannot function !).
Ofcourse, one other criteria was that the cost should not exceed INR 3,500 (USD 65) which I believe was generous considering the fact that routers were available at half that cost budget (though without the ADSL2 modem support). I found a number of devices in the range of USD 40 to 60, but then I was concerned about meeting the above criteria successfully without any kind of compromise. I also had many options above my budget – some devices were priced at USD 100 and much above (the N600 variety with frequency switch between 2.4 and 5.0 GHz).
Finally, I shortlisted TP-Link and NetGear as the only two providers for my selection of ADSL2 routers. Unfortunately the TP-Link modem router that I shortlisted was not available in India, so I had to forego that, but the NetGear modem routers were available (with good localized support as well that I discovered only after the purchase though).
The device that I finally selected and purchased was the NetGear N300 Wireless ADSL2+Modem Router – Model DGN2200, though it is not absolutely the latest or the fastest. It had good product reviews and met my technical and price criteria. And, I got a discount when I shopped and paid for it online at the Indiatimes online shopping website.
I got this device recently and installed it today – though I faced some trouble, NetGear and MTNL (the phone company) technical support helped me out. I could set different speeds for different devices – my laptop still operates at 54 MBPS, but my daughter’s Windows 7 laptop operates at 145 Mbps (yet to try out the 300 Mbps speed). I am yet to increase the data transfer speed between the router and the iPAD.
Overall, I believe it is a good investment.
1st September 2012