Router fail - D-link DIR-825. Decent replacement, Linksys WRT1200AC

Discussion in 'Nerd Squad - Electronics Talk' started by odingalt, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. odingalt

    odingalt Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, my D-LINK DIR-825 wi-fi router (Which by the way has been a piece of junk from day 1) finally failed today. After bringing my Mac Pro on-line apparently so much data is now traveling through this router that it just randomly shuts down all the ports and wi-fi channels and re-boots itself every 45 seconds or so.

    No thanks to D-LINK this router has been on ancient, non-updated firmware and has been buggy - so I had upgraded it to the DD-WRT (even though DD-WRT for this particular model DIR-825 was sketchy at best). It took several hours to load DD-WRT onto this unit, I almost bricked it in the process. I loaded DD-WRT in order to get better bridging options so that all the computers on my home network could see each other.

    I was in a desperate jam for a quick replacement (this unit served my home office and I didn't want to have to run a temporary fix while I waited to get a replacement from NewEgg) so I hit up BestBuy.com and OfficeDepot.com and tried to find mid-range consumer grade AC routers available locally.

    I looked at reviews of NetGear R6400, NetGear R7000, Asus RT-AC68P (AC1900), and WRT1200AC. Best Buy reviews of just about every router were 4.5 stars plus with no real meat in the review descriptions. NewEgg and Amazon.com told a whole different story. NetGear got rampaged on Newegg, with some products receiving over 25% 1-star reviews. The LinkSys WRT1200AC had about 67% 5-star reviews on Newegg and a "normal" distribution of 4, 3, 2, and 1 star ratings. It was also priced less at $129.99. I originally intended to spend $200 or even $300 if that is what it would take to get quality top-of-the-line home wi-fi router, but the reviews of the NetGear equipment were so poor, I opted for the cheaper router with better reviews.

    WRT1200aC on my desk (with a chapstick on top of it for size reference)

    IMG_20151101_084409_851.jpg

    This all in spite of what TheWireCutter.com said. TheWireCutter recommends the TP-LINK Archer C7 and unfortunately this was not available locally any where. On-line reviews of TP-LINK Archer C7 are solid reviews. If I were to order a unit from the internet it would be from the TP-Link Archer family. I own a TP-Link TL-R600VPN switch and I liked the software and set up on it. It's my main distribution switch and I haven't had any network issues in the past couple of years since I bought it.

    I ended up purchasing LinkSys WRT1200AC from Best Buy for $139.00 including state sales tax (eery that it worked out to an exact amount). Set up was easy but documentation is piss poor. The on-line knowledgebase Q&A has a few good nuggets of information for for anything beyond easy wifi setup the user's manual is useless.

    Now, I do own a NetGear wndr3700v4 and it is a rock solid awesome device that was easy to set up and has a lot of nifty little features. So it was a hard decision to go with LinkSys, because LinkSys was one of my least favorite brands due to owning the WRT54G era of hardware. WRT54G works good, once you load DD-WRT - it's complete trash without it.

    Things I like:

    -The unit is huge. Most people would hate this. In my case it's a nice big fat solid thing that stays on the desk even with lots of cables hanging out the back. Also I am secretly hoping heating won't be an issue since this is a monster of a unit.
    -Gets good signal in the master bedroom with 28mbps up/4mbps down on both 2.4 and 5. Our master bedroom is the hardest-to-reach location for signal strength. This unit gets it done in my house.
    -Pretty easy to find the setup parameters I needed (static IP address for the router, disable DHCP as I am using an up-stream switch to dole out IP addresses)
    -Has indicators to tell me which devices connect at 10/100 and which devices negotiated at 1000
    -Has eSATA and two USB connections for external drives (not that I use them)
    -Has bridged mode available
    -Had firmware updates available on-line and the firmware update went smoothly through the unit's web interface
    -Documentation in the box told me the default IP and default login/username (I guess that's standard these days)

    Things I don't like:

    -The orange "internet" not detected light flashes forever. Since this router is not directly connected to a router (and I couldn't get it configured in a true bridge mode) the internet light will flash forever like this
    -Since it can't find internet, the automatic firmware update feature doesn't work. (Kind of ironic since all the devices plugged into the router can find the internet just fine). Every router I've ever purchased has this same problem.
    -I would have loved this when I was a heavy gamer but I woudl have preferred something more "pro" looking for my home office, since everything else in my home office is also bland.
    -Bridged mode requires you to enter DNS address. (Bridged mode on this device basically means it wants to bridge to your cable modem. It can't really bridge properly to an upstream switch. Maybe I just don't know what I really need).
    -Forces you to use NO-IP or DynDNS for dynamic DNS service. No other options available. When are router manufacturers going to throw us a bone on this one?
    -LinkSys Smart Wi-fi Link software. Some people may find this as a good thing to have, I just look at it like a security problem. This software supposedly lets you manage your router from anywhere in the world (seems like a really bad idea from a security perspective). Requires you to register with an e-mail address and a password, which is not how I want to be using my home router.

    Overall recommendation:

    If you are looking for a standard mid-range wifi router, LinkSys WRT1200AC is for you, available at $129 plus shipping off the internet. (I can't believe that $129 is now mid-range, mid-range used to be $40-$50! Routers are getting expensive). Ironically, my living room router is an old WRT54G running DD-WRT and it's been working great for a decade.

    Long story short, D-Link is at the bottom of my list. TP-Link at the top of my list, with NetGear and LinkSys as buyable. These could shift and change places at any time.
     
  2. modded matt

    modded matt Active Member

    I agree with your review. I fond long ago that D-link was not for me and quote frankly, I was never happy with the linksys once my ISP started opening up 150mbps. I actually ended up spending the money on a nighthawk and have never looked back.
     
  3. odingalt

    odingalt Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That is good to know. Sometimes what happens with high end products, is that people's expectations are super ridiculously unrealistic (due to the high price tag of said high end product). A phenomen can actually happen where a great product gets bad reviews.

    Or in other words, lots of rich people are actually very stupid, they end up buying all high end products and then end up hating half of them (whereas the rest of us are always happy just to be able to blow money on a couple nice purchases a year!)
     
  4. odingalt

    odingalt Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yeah man those nighthawks looks awesome. Well I guess I still got something better than my DIR-825 but now I'll always wonder if my life would be different if I had bought the nighthawk lol.
     
  5. modded matt

    modded matt Active Member

    LOL your welcome.
     
  6. nigelnevin

    nigelnevin New Member

  7. Storm

    Storm Member

    Hey I may be a Johnny Come Lately but I have been trying to find a router that won't break the bank and is worth a sh**. The one I think is the best is hAP ac router board. Check it out if you are in the market for a router that is fully customizable by you. You can get this router to do anything that you want to, best part is that you can monitor it from a remote location. I will include a link, check it out if you like. This is what I have now and I am glad that I got it and saved a fortune over the nighthawks.

    https://routerboard.com/RB962UiGS-5HacT2HnT
     
  8. DirtyyDann

    DirtyyDann New Member

    Wow. I wish I had that luxury! I'm happy for yall. ATM I have to suffer for the last 3 years and probably maybe one or two more years with the download speed of 500kbps-(if I'm lucky) 3mbps... xD
    I'll get it fixed eventually.. lol
     

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