I need a new Router/Firewall

My trusty Instant Internet box was assassinated by lightening this morning.  My back finally felt good enough tonight for me to look at the “state of my network”. 

It isn’t pretty – only computers on the Wireless LAN can connect – the Instant Internet box is still kind of alive, but not delivering DCHP anymore, and I can no longer connect to it.  For ten year old technology, it has served me very well.

But it’s time to replace it.  I need a decent (NOT DLINK/Linksys) Router/Firewall. Something with at least 8 ports on it.

Any suggestions?  I don’t want to pay for Cisco, but I don’t want to buy Linksys.  What is in between?

Any ideas?


  1. @RL – Thanks – I know those products VERY well – I did the Quality testing on them! A couple of the other readers here wrote the firmware – so I am very happy to hear that you are pleased with it. I probably even have one in a box somewhere…


  2. Rob, check e-bay for a Microsoft Wireless broadband router (if you are looking for a consumer grade device). They are no longer being manufactured, but I have owned two of them since 2003 and have only had to reboot them a total of 4 times over the years. Kill the wireless, add your access point, and add a hub and you should be pretty good.

  3. @David – have you noticed any spontaneous reboots? Those are the ones that annoy the heck out of me (because they normally happen 99% of the way into transferring a 5 GB ISO image!)


  4. Rob,

    Since I put the DD-WRT firmware on my DLink I havent had to reboot it in months.


  5. No .11n is not ready yet, but it’s firmware, so you can upgrade it.
    What WE have sofar works great: easily beats .11g throughput with much better range. Alas, we’re still testing it .. no products use it yet…

  6. Yes, the SC101 is total crap. It’s a shame though that the software is so bad – the hardware is fairly nice! It seems amazing that Cisco would give up the Linksys brand. I imagine most consumers recognize Linksys over Cisco. But I’m sure they’ll spend a fortune “re-educating” all of us 😉

  7. Cisco is killing the linksys brand according to /.

  8. Owning an SC101 from Netgear has made me doubt their competence, though NAS isn’t a core competency, OBviously 😉
    .n isn’t published, and I thought it was more set in stone. But, I understand that it could still change and draft n hardware would work better with the same brand of networking equipment. Gigabit switches are my next upgrade, maybe the n standard will be set by then.

  9. Is .11n really ready for prime time? I’ll be hard pressed to give up my Cisco 1200 Access Point – it’s just a workhorse!


  10. @Deannoe: what’s wrong with Best Buy?

    And Rob… if you DO go wireless .. consider .11n!

  11. Yeah, I was kinda surprised that you don’t want Linksys either. They have a reasonable product… JUST DON’T BUY IT FROM BEST BUY.

  12. @Jon – I considered going that route – but I already have too many PCs here – and adding one more power-sucking, heat-generating PC doesn’t appeal to me.

    @David – I’ll look at it – but honestly I find most of the DLINK and Linksys cheap WLAN Routers reboot themselves far too often for my liking (most likely some watchdog timer in them).

    @Paul – Yes, I know Cisco owns Linksys. But Linksys makes cheap crap and Cisco makes expensive stuff that generally works, but costs a ton and is difficult to manage. My Instant Internet box lasted longer than any Linksys or DLINK stuff I have ever owned.

    And yes, comment editing is off – I found a security problem with it and am waiting for that to be addressed before I turn it back on.

    Thanks for all the advice – I am temporarily running by stringing cable all across my office… that will get old fast!


  13. HEY! I can’t edit my comments anymore! (wanted to make the links a bit more friendly) ..

  14. What’s wrong with Linksys and/or Dlink?

    Anyway, his stuff is a commodity nowadays. Pick up a $17 router at tigerdirect (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=506421&Sku=N100-1473) and add an 8 port $15 switch (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=860227&CatId=2786) and you’re all set.

    As for your remark ” I don’t want to pay for Cisco, but I don’t want to buy Linksys” … Linksys IS Cisco!

  15. Rob,

    there is the http://www.dd-wrt.com/ which will allow you to replace the firmware image on a varity of wireless routers and then configure it to your life’s content. I’ve been running it on my DLINK wireless router with 8 machines (5 of them wired) going through it.


  16. For the money Rob, I would just find an old box set up your favorite flavor of Linux on it and set up Internet Connection Sharing, Routing, and DHCP on it. There are actually distributions geared towards this very feat, including m0n0wall and others but personally I prefer Ubuntu cause that is what I run on lots of other machines in the house and on the net so the commands are all the same…

    Then just hook up a switch to the second NIC in the box that is shared and you are good to go.

    Way more configuration options when you consider you can run things like squid for website filtering for the kids and enable QOS for gaming and instant NAS if you throw a couple of drives in it…

    Try to find all those options in a router for under $300-400…