Solved Should I replace my Linksys Wireless-G Router WRT54G?

September 27, 2012 at 22:15:07
Specs: Windows XP Media Center Version 2002 Service Pack 3, Intel CPU T2050 @1.6 GHz/512 MB
I have DSL service up to a max speed of 3 MBPS. My wireless router and laptop are many years old. The router is a Linksys 2.4 Ghz Wireless G 54 Mbps Model Wrt54g. When I connect my laptop to the internet wirelessly with the router the wireless network connection tends to read between 11-24 Mbps. Not sure if another router would result in a faster connection/less freezing of webpages. I also would like to purchase an external hard drive and need a recommendation. I was originally looking in to getting a wireless external hard drive so that it can sync automatically. It appears that these are expensive and I have read I may be able to connect a hard drive to my wireless router to make it wireless and be able to sync back up info from my computer to the external hard drive wirelessly. My laptop is slow to start up, seems to freeze when I try to view multiple websites at once and different programs freeze up (offline). I have a lot of photos and itunes stored on the computer so thinking memory slow. I believe in if it isn't broken don't fix it and don't want to throw away money on something I don't truly need. However, I am wondering if I should just be looking in to getting a new laptop or deal with what I've got. Sorry...lots of questions at once but basically will things work better/speed up if I move some of my pics/docs to an external hard drive and get a new wireless router to make my internet speed? Recommendations on a router and external hard drive would be greatly appreciated. I had looked into getting a ClickFree external hard drive that's wireless however they have been discontinued. Thanks in advance for your help!!

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✔ Best Answer
September 28, 2012 at 14:49:55
(i got scared to do this because I am not that experienced and heard it can be messed up if not done right)-

I've done this many times on a Linksys WRT54GL and had no problem. It only takes a minute to do and as long as you don't pull the power on the unit while the firmware is updating, it should work perfectly and go over without issue. The entire process is really quite simple to do.

Updating drivers on your computer's interface is less worrisome than updating firmware on a router.

If you buy a NAS, you will plug it into a LAN port on your router. Once you've done so, and configured the mirror and shared it, it will be available to all clients within your LAN regardless of whether they're connected wirelessly, or wired. A good NAS device will come with a nice easy to follow guide on setup and configuration.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***



#1
September 28, 2012 at 00:17:47
My son's PC gradually slowed to a crawl and took ages to do anything. He had loads of pictures and MP3 files on the system drive - and I mean loads. I suggested he bought an external hard drive and move all his data over to it, and in future save all his data to it. He did as I suggested and there was an immediate improvement.

The performance deterioration occurs because, as a hard drive fills up, and if installed RAM is not very plentiful, Windows must use the hard drive as "virtual memory" which is much slower. If you starve Windows of virtual memory by allowing the free space to get to low, performance will suffer a "double whammy".

I suggest you buy a Western Digital or Seagate external drive which runs on mains power - they are more reliable than small, portable drives in my experience. In fact, you need to buy two so that one acts as a mirror for the other. If you only buy one & it fails, your data may have gone forever.


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#2
September 28, 2012 at 05:48:22
"When I connect my laptop to the internet wirelessly with the router the wireless network connection tends to read between 11-24 Mbps"

Where is the laptop in comparison to the router? The farther away they are from each other, the weaker the signal will be. And if there's a wall (or walls) separating the 2, that will also weaken the signal. Same goes for floors - if the router is on the 1st floor & the laptop is on the 2nd, the result will be a weaker signal. Basically, it's all about location. The router itself should be out in the open, not tucked away in a corner or surrounded by other equipment, furniture, etc. And generally, the higher it's placed, the better. If possible, it should be on the 2nd floor.


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#3
September 28, 2012 at 07:26:35
Good points... I should have mentioned the details. Actually I live in a one floor apartment that's not super big. WHen I am in a room with the door open away from the router the connection decreases in speed. HOwever, when I move to the living room with my laptop within 2 feet from the router, sometimes it doesnt improve and still reads around 24 MBPS!

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#4
September 28, 2012 at 07:29:11
Thanks Phil22 for your thorough answer! I agree with what you are saying about the external laptops and am going to look in to this. However, I know myself..I hate having to physically connect my laptop to an external drive and never end up doing it. Any suggestions on the wireless external hard drives or connecting a hard drive external to a wireless router. Looking to maximize my system ;) Any models in particular when referring to external hard drives or things to look for will be greatly appreciated!

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#5
September 28, 2012 at 09:18:09
When's the last time you updated your wireless drivers or router firmware?

http://homesupport.cisco.com/en-us/...

As for the laptop's performance, do you practice routine maintenance? Regularly delete accumulated internet garbage files? Delete or uninstall unused/unnecessary programs? Manage your startup apps? Defrag? Do you run a cleaning program such as CCleaner-Slim? Are you running a lightweight anti-virus program such as Microsoft Security Essentials rather than bloatware such as Norton or McAfee?


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#6
September 28, 2012 at 10:48:09
I suggest you buy a Western Digital or Seagate external drive which runs on mains power - they are more reliable than small, portable drives in my experience. In fact, you need to buy two so that one acts as a mirror for the other. If you only buy one & it fails, your data may have gone forever

I would agree except that if you're going to go with a mirror, and you can afford it, buy a small (2 hard drive) NAS device (NAS = network attached storage) that is already RAID capable. Buy two drives as large as you can afford and put them in it and configure them in a RAID 1 (mirror).

Then you have redudancy as well as storage. I bought a small 2 drive NAS like this for my home and it works great. It's setup in my office but is accessible to all network clients, be they wired or wireless.

My wireless router and laptop are many years old

If your laptop is old, so is it's wireless interface. Unless you upgrade the laptop, or it's wireless interface, there's no point in upgrading the router itself. You're better off to update the firmware on the router as per riider's post above and the drivers for the wireless interface on your laptop than spend money on a new device.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#7
September 28, 2012 at 13:45:32
Thanks Phil22 and Curt R for all the great info and follow up! I am starting to envision that I will update the firmware on the router (i got scared to do this because I am not that experienced and heard it can be messed up if not done right)-what will this do anyway??? Then I will try to upgrade the wireless interface on laptop-not sure how much this will be??? And then look into getting the mirrored NAS external drives Curt R. suggested. In terms of the NAS external HDs -is this a scenario where I can backup my info wirelessly to the HDs without having to connect the drives to my laptop each time...other wise I know I won't!!! Thanks sooooo much you guys are awesome :)

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#8
September 28, 2012 at 14:49:55
✔ Best Answer
(i got scared to do this because I am not that experienced and heard it can be messed up if not done right)-

I've done this many times on a Linksys WRT54GL and had no problem. It only takes a minute to do and as long as you don't pull the power on the unit while the firmware is updating, it should work perfectly and go over without issue. The entire process is really quite simple to do.

Updating drivers on your computer's interface is less worrisome than updating firmware on a router.

If you buy a NAS, you will plug it into a LAN port on your router. Once you've done so, and configured the mirror and shared it, it will be available to all clients within your LAN regardless of whether they're connected wirelessly, or wired. A good NAS device will come with a nice easy to follow guide on setup and configuration.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#9
September 28, 2012 at 15:08:03
Thanks for all this great information!!! I can't believe how awesome this forum is!!! So....about to update my firmware for router. However, if I do so and then upgrade my wireless card/interface won't I want to get a new Wireless N Router to match the new wireless interface? I think I am understanding things thus far...wireless interface refers to upgrading my wireless card on laptop i think

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#10
September 28, 2012 at 16:07:32
Ok guys, so I successfully updated the firmware on my router as far as I can tell. The wireless network connection is still showing the speed from 11 MBPS to 5.5 MBPS and changes every few seconds and then goes back to around 11 MBPS just like it did before. Will web pages/internet be slower because of the speed of the wireless connection showing? This is what Im imagining. So back to my original question-is it the wireless router and interface that should be replaced or what?

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#11
September 28, 2012 at 20:44:12
Chance are both 11 Mbps and 5.5 Mbps are faster than your internet connection so it really may not be noticable from a "surfing the web" point of view.

If your connection rate is higher than what you're seeing between laptop and router, then it might be worth it to upgrade some hardware. Keep in mind though, where your laptop is concerned, your present interface is built into the motherboard. The only way you could replace it is if you have an unused PCMCIA slot that you could put a NIC into. If you do, and you buy a new one, you would also have to go into the BIOS on your laptop and disable the existing onboard interface to avoid conflict between the old and the new.

If you do have an available PCMCIA slot, then you have to consider, "is it really worth buying a newer/faster NIC for this old laptop?"

If you decide it's worth it, and you have an unused PCMCIA slot on your laptop, then you could look for a wireless N interface for the laptop and a wireless N router.

If it were me, I'd only consider upgrading that old laptop if your bandwidth is significantly higher than what you're getting. To be completely honest, I'd give serious thought to buying a new laptop and router.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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