Considered upgrading my Netgear DG834PN modem/router a while back but as I had few issues with it I just left it well alone. I have however noticed, using iStumbler and Air Radar (both mac apps), that the wireless signal on this has often been around the 49% or just below. We live in a rural area and there is no interference and I have already tried the usual suspects (channel change, checking for other devices etc etc) but it's still amber/45 - 49%. I have the latest Netgear firmware and wondered if a DG Team firmware flash may boost the router's performance. Yet to work up the courage to try and not sure if it improves THAT kind of issue??
Few days ago I thought I'd try the BT Homehub 2 I've had in a box for 8 months since upgrading to BT option 3. I wasn't expecting much as I have read a lot about these being rubbish (there is always the issue though that there may be so many more of them out there than most types of routers the complaint/problem ratio, the aspect that sparks many forum posts, may well be a lot higher) but, once I'd connected it all I found my signal strength up to around 60% from 50% (effectively a 20% performance improvement) and it's noticeable!!
This got me thinking that if the HH is (supposed to be) poor and it STILL gives me a 20% signal boost is it time to relegate the 834 to the spares box and try another more modern offering, maybe we'll get up to 70 or even 80%??? I looked at Netgear but they actually don't seem to offer much given that I want a modem/router that is BT/ADSL compatible. There is the DGN3500 which has had a LOT of bad reviews on Amazon (not the best source I know but the level of complaint is worrying) and I looked at the WNDR3700 which is only a router and that has mediocre reviews, even on technical sites. I believe the WNDR3500 is coming soon (combined router/modem).
Out of them all the one I was most taken with is the Billion BiPAC 7800N which seems to get rave reviews everywhere. Not cheap (but I figured I could always take good care when unpacking and return it to Amazon if it doesn't better the Home Hub by some margin and live up to its claims. I hoped that it would also be as easy to set up and configure as the Netgear.
Having got the Billion a few days ago and been none too impressed with the wifi signal strength I spent the most boring morning of the year yesterday (thankfully it's only January 16 but I don't think it will be beat) trying both the BiPAC 7800N and the BT Homehub v2 on EVERY channel using two Mac laptops in different rooms (the ones we use the most) using two wifi checkers (iStumber and Air Radar) with all the options (e.g. router on 1 and Sonos on 11 etc etc) and the Billion scored the lowest on EVERY setting.
Changing the Billion from 20/40 to 20 Ghz helped but not enough. I also tried changing the signal combinations (e.g. from b/g/n to g/n and b/n) on both but it made little difference. The BT Homehub is simply as good as or better (despite the poor press they get at times). I have raised a support ticket to Billion detailing the issues and will see what the reply is and what help they can give. I can't see what else they can try though. As I type a new firmware has been mailed to me to try (which is another issue as their site is a mess, different pages take you to different 'current' firmware versions and the numbering alone shows many of the 'latest' links aren't). I will try it tomorrow.
There may be a better router for me out there but at the moment this Billion is certainly not it. . I suspect tomorrow it will get the Returns Label treatment. Terrible really but for a £115 it needs to be SIGNIFICANTLY better, not just different!
I did think about trying one of these 2700HGV but it's not the broadband signal I have a problem with (I understand they can hang on to a poor line), it's just the wifi I'd like to boost but I seem to be stuck with 50% or so max in the lounge 😞 I could try other Netgears but I'm not sure any will be better over the 834PN and I really just want a modem/router, I don't need another box into the equation with separate modem and routers.
After all this I'm beginning to think there is no better option and no 'golden device'. I'm certainly more confident of the Home Hub quality now and a bit maxed out on router trials!!!!
I have heard other people complaining about the wifi on various routers. In my view, the Billion is grossly overpriced and is the subject of a lot of grumbling on-line. The 2700HGV should be no more than about £20 including postage.
If you have got a good BT HH2, then stick with it. The 2700HGV is b+g only, but has a very good wifi signal as well as the ability to squeeze the maximum possible out of the line. I used a 2700HGV for several years before I changed over to Infinity and found it gave a better signal and held the line better than various Netgear and Linksys N models I tried.
As a Mac user, you might possibly consider using an Airport Extreme hooked into one of the Ethernet Ports on the BT HH2 and turning off the wireless on the HH. If you order an Extreme from the Apple Store online and are not happy, you can return it. They are expensive (consider a refurbished one to save money . . . I got one and it is fine), but have dual-band wifi. I can get a decent signal at the bottom of my garden, nearly 75m from the router whereas on a HH2 as supplied for Infinity, I could barely get a signal 10 metres from the back of the house.. They can support a USB printer or external HD for backup purposes, too.
If you move to Infinity in the future, you can use the Extreme with the Infinity modem. as I do and it goes like a train.
I've recently swapped out my home hub for a Netgear DGND3300
Have a very long line to the exchange and have always struggled to get the best possible speed with the Home Hub that was always very flakey - drop outs/ re-sets etc.
Got to a point where so many disconnects meant my IP Profile was at 135K most of the time.
Took a chance with the Netgear and it has been brilliant. Not impressive stats for most but my connection is rock solid at 740K down and 350K up. I use Macs and PC's on my network and Apple TV with no problems
and with a 45ms ping xbox gaming is spot on with no lag
System Up Time 172:49:34
|Connection Speed||960 kbps||448 kbps|
|Line Attenuation||63.5 db||31.5 db|
|Noise Margin||6.3 db||12.0 db|
Thanks for replies. Just to be clear, it's only the wifi signal in the house I have concerns with, not broadband speed or dropping connections.
I'll look at the 2700 and Airport. Billion have sent a new firmware and offered to swap it out for a new one but I really can't see either fixing anything.
Just for reference here a review of the 2700hgv http://www.kitz.co.uk/routers/2wire_2700_HGV.htm
Well, tried the new firmware. Still no better than Home Hub. I doubt I have a faulty one, I suspect that in some cases they fall short of the hype.
Sending it back. My try other options in future but 'routered out' for now!!!