Tuesday, April 15, 2014

[Gadget] Bought a new Wi-Fi router–NEC Aterm PA-WG600HP

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Why? Just because I wanted to get a faster router. The one I had wasn’t a dual band router. YouTube streaming performance is usually choppy on wireless devices. It must be because of the interference caused by all the microwave devices that make use of the public 2.4GHz spectrum.

I originally wanted to get a 802.11ac router. I currently don't have any devices that support the new standard. Still, I figured that the stuff that I would buy in the future will all be supporting 802.11ac - iPhones, tablets, laptops and even the PC. Remember I'm so turned up by these mini-ITX rigs and most of the mini-ITX boards come with built in Wi-Fi.

In fact, I almost bought an 802.11ac router but I held back the second I saw it didn't support Gigabit Ethernet. Sadly, most of the routers that were in the JPY5,000 range didn't support Gigabit Ethernet. The one I had supported Gigabit Ethernet and I'm mainly using the desktop PC which is connected through wire, so I didn't want to downgrade anything.

The only one that was worth buying was the Aterm. Sofmap was selling it at the cheapest price. Plus, I had more than 6,000 points at Sofmap. So I could get it almost without paying any cash out of my pocket.

The new router is smaller than the old one. The admin interface was almost look alike so there was no learning curve required. I just set everything as the way they were set previously and it worked fine. I also updated the firmware as there was a newer one available. That went through fine without any drama. One thing I forgot to mention was that it also has support for Windows 8/8.1. I don't know why a router has to have support from the OS because you don't need a driver for it to work as the router is connected via the network cable. Maybe that's for the media server features. I don't use that feature as I cannot plug in a big hard drive to the router via USB. It only supports FAT32. Why cannot they just support NTFS? This feature is almost a useless feature to me.

Just like the old one, the router can setup two SSIDs. But in this case, you could set two SSIDs for each bandwidth. I setup all four of them. I originally thought that only the IPhone 5S and the ASUS T100 Tablet will support the 5GHz band. But the 2011 MacBook Air did too. Only my wife's iPhone 4S is connected to the 2.4GHz band. Since there are more than enough SSIDs, I decided to pair the devices that supported the 5GHz band only with the 5GHz SSIDs. That way, they won't connect to the 2.4GHz ones if they were discovered first. There is no way to prioritize the SSIDs in iOS or Windows 8.1.

So far everything has been going well without any issues. It's not a really exciting purchase though. I haven't really compared the performance between the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band. Maybe I should do that when I find some spare time. Perhaps YouTube streams better on the tablet when it is connected to a 5GHz SSID. It should but I don't know if I will really will be able to see the improvements when browsing. Sure, the internal network should be fast.

Wait a minute now. What happened to the old router? Rakuten Auctions, baby!

Wi-Fi router

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