Saturday, July 03, 2010

Internet Bouncer

It doesn't take me long to figure things out.  OK, sometimes longer than others but I usually, eventually get there.  Eventually.

Summer is an interesting time at my house.  My boys think that summer is the time for them to vie for the ultimate laptop bum award.  They have Olympic caliber skills when it comes to playing games and goofing off online.

My old TrendNet router has been the best router I have owned to date.  It is about 3 years old and has been the most stable router of the three I have used - the other two were a Linksys and a NetGear.  The Linksys was a piece of shit.  The NetGear was good but often needed to be reset. 

I figured out how to limit the boys' access to the internet using the TrendNet's settings.  While I have tried in the past to use the Windows Parental Controls they don't allow the boys to play their favorite online games so I had to abandon that effort to limit their usage.  This has come in incredibly handy.  Nothing incentivizes my children to do just about anything more than turning off their internet.

Since getting my new ASUS laptop and upgrading my netbook's wireless card I have been more interested in getting a Dual Band Wireless N router since these devices are compatible with the 5ghz band.  I did some research on Newegg and Amazon.  I neglected to check with my buddy (not Zerb) who has had a dual band router for a few months now.  I did recall that he had a couple issues but was happy with it for the most part.  I did read some recommendations for the Linksys E3000 router on a forum related to my ASUS laptop.  I ended up ordering one.

After flashing a firmware upgrade and making sure I set up the access program we started using the new router.  It wasn't long before the boys were complaining that their internet went out.  I did a little troubleshooting and eventually settled on a router restart.  When it came back up it had lost all of the settings.  Every last one.  Sigh.  Good thing I had backed them up as part of the firmware update but still, if this thing wasn't going to save settings between reboots I was sending it back.  The same problem happened again.  I immediately set up the old router and had my finger on the return button when I decided to reflash the firmware update one last time and see if that didn't fix these issues.  And, so far so good. 

Not long after getting the new router back up and running I watched a Tekzilla webcast specifically because it discussed Wireless N routers.  They seemed to like the NetGear version that, it turns out, my buddy (not Zerb) owns.  My buddy (not Zerb, no really ;) sent me a link to a site that evaluates and tests router noting that this place just loved his model.  I looked at both the NetGear and the Linksys models and both had there strong and weak points.  I found a good deal on the NetGear so I ordered it with the intent to run both for a week and decide which I like better.  So far the Linksys is not having any issues - the first firmware update must not have 'taken' - operator error I'm sure. 

The best part of having dual bands is being able to stick the kids on their own while I get one band all to myself.  I download a lot of content and I have noticed a HUGE improvement since I kicked them off my bandwidth.  I doubt they have noticed any difference at all.

Before I even bought the new router I had set up the old one so that I could access its control interface remotely from my phone or any internet connected computer.  Think about that for a minute.  Remotely access my router.  Why o why would I want or need to do that?  Have you ever tried to get your kids to do anything WHEN YOU WEREN'T HOME?  Epic fail, amirite?

I had to run some errands the other day and the boys were not being cooperative.  I had already disabled their internet with the promise to turn it back on if they would only do their chores, etc.  It wasn't until I was ready to walk out the door that they even began to show any interest in doing their jobs but suddenly wanted me to turn the internet back on before I left with the promise they would do all their stuff.  Hahahahahah, as if.  I said, "Nope.  You do your stuff.  Text me pictures of your clean rooms, clean closets, clean kitchen, clean garage..." you get the picture.  And so did I.  Lots of stunningly beautiful pictures of clean places.  I was standing in the Walmart checkout line when I finally turned their internet back on.  [Fist pump!]

My sons might have professional caliber goof off skills but those are no match for my geek cred. 


Anonymous said...

That's just awesome... gotta learn that soon!


am said...

I have the Linksys WRT series dual band wireless router, but it looks very similiar -- so I suspect it has similiar architecture. One of the problems I have had is heat build up -- causing the router to reset. I have had to prop the backend up in sort of a wedge configuration in order to let air circulate underneath the device. Since I've propped the device up, I haven't had that issue.

gadzooks64 said...

I read about the heat issues before I bought it. Luckily, I have a plate holder similar to this one that I have used since day one to prop it up. I haven't had any heat issues at all.

Plate holder