Which Wireless Router Should I Buy? A Guide To Purchasing a New Wireless N Router

Updated: 11/29/2012

A Quick History of RoutersClassic Linksys WRT54G Wireless G Router

A router is a device that forwards data packets between networks. When data comes in, the router reads the packet’s address information to determine its final destination. Using information in its routing table or policy, it directs the packet to the next network on its journey or drops the packet. A data packet is typically forwarded from one router to another through networks that constitute the Internet until it gets to its destination.

Routers come in many styles, types, and colors. For a long time, Linksys and Cisco was synonymous for routers with their standout, unique looking WRT54G router. The WRT54G was a classic but if you are still hanging on to it, you have missed a lot of advances in router technology.

Most of these WRT54 routers don’t support the latest Wireless-N protocol which means it is preventing the wireless speeds from being up to 10 times faster. The strength of wireless signals have progressed, lessening the amount of wireless dead spots, further allowing for your home to be truly connected. And don’t forget faster Ethernet connections, USB ports to allow for networked hard drives, simultaneous dual band enabling stronger signals in areas with heavy wireless band traffic and much more.

Yet just buying a new router may not properly solve the issues that an old router is causing with its existent, basic, and user unfriendly software/firmware.

The Major Problem of a Standard (and Outdated) Wireless Routers

The one downfall for the classic routers is the awkward and almost ancient firmware that allows the user to control the unit. The basic firmware from Linksys has the appearance and customizability of a dead whale washed up ashore.

Imagine if you had a brand spanking new laptop with perfect specs: a large hard drive, 8GB of RAM, a i7 processor but it was running Windows 98 for an operating system. The poor OS can not possibly make proper use of the powerful hardware. That is the equivalent of what many of the routers people purchase today are running on especially from Linksys.

What DD-WRT does is bring the router controls and firmware or operating system up to par with the machinery it is running. Here’s a quick, bullet-point breakdown of the most apparent advantages and benefits of  DD-WRT firmware (linked items have full blog post explanations):

#1: Easily connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) inside the router.
#2: Advanced Quality of Service (QoS) management for prioritizing speed.
#3:  Network Address Translation (NAT) controls for online based gaming and console gaming on Sony PS3, Microsoft XBOX360, and Nintendo Wii.
#4: Adjustable antenna power to increase wireless distance.
#5: Client Bridge and Repeater Modes for seamlessly integrating the DDWRT router into more advanced networks.
#6: Configure router as a WiFi hotspot for a business or neighborhood using the integrated Chillispot.

Netgear WNR3500L Alt Side Lit Up with Wireless ActivityHelpful Advice For Choosing a DDWRT Router

FlashRouters flashes and customizes DDWRT routers that can be easily used for many of these purposes.

Separated into three categories: Economy DDWRT Routers for those looking for an quick and easy upgrade from a dying router that is no longer giving the wireless signal one desires, Mid-Level for those looking for advanced capabilities and specifications, and Business Class/High-End Router for enterprise level security and all the advanced specifications one could hope for.

To assist in finding the best router for your network, here’s our handy guide for purchasing a DDWRT routers based on the best selling VPN routers as well as customer recommendations from each class:

These models have been discontinued but we still provide support for them here.

Recommended Economy DD-WRT Flashed Router: Linksys Cisco E1000 VPN Router

Recommended Mid-Level DDWRT Routers:  Netgear WNR3500L (Pictured above), Cisco E3000 DD-WRT Router

Most Popular High End Business Class Router: DDWRT Linksys Cisco E4200

For a complete overview check out our full collection of DDWRT flashed routers available on FlashRouters.com.

For more DD-WRT routers news, latest FlashRouter product additions, advanced notice of future sales and specials, network security information and more, follow us on Twitter @flashrouters or “Like Us” on Facebook.

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