Need PC advise...router versus switch.
Nov 5, 2008 at 6:03 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

Blitzula

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I'm trying to have two pcs hooked up to my internet connection.

I've tried several brands of routers, Netgear and Linksys. In each case, the routers seem to have intermittent trouble with my connection dropping. Technical support has been unable to solve the problem long term.

Now that I work from home, this isn't acceptable anymore.

I don't seem to have issues when I connect my DSL directly to the PC.

I've looked online, and can't see a clear answer to this question: If I used a switch instead of a router, would I be likely to solve this problem? Is the switch far simpler, and thus less likely to interfere with my connection like the router seems to?

I'd appreciate any advise.
 
Nov 5, 2008 at 6:58 AM Post #2 of 18

cerbie

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It all depends on where the problems are stemming from, and what kind they are. FYI, most routers can be used as switches (just ignore the WAN port--also, ignore routers that auto-sense the WAN port).

Of the Linksys, did you try the WRT54GL? It's pretty much been the standard for years now. The 84% 5 egg reviews didn't come from a vacuum. Turn the wireless stuff off, and you've got a great wired router. If it can work well, flash it for future cool stuff
smily_headphones1.gif
.

Your DSL modem won't know the difference as to whether your PC gets to it through a single piece of Cat5, or two, with a router in between, or a switch in between. There's got to be more going on. Also, how do you plan to share the connection with a switch? "Router" implies NAT.

What brands/models of modem does your carrier offer/use?

Is your DSL modem dropping, or the router?
If the router, can you still connect to it (IE, it's lost the connection to the modem)?
Is cable internet available to you? If so, why are you using DSL? If you can easily get cable, it will generally be easier to work with (Surfboard->WRT54GL or other good router->PCs).

I can't say a switch won't be better, but it doesn't seem like there should be a real difference.
 
Nov 5, 2008 at 1:29 PM Post #4 of 18

Blitzula

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Quote:

Originally Posted by majid /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Don't use a switch alone. A router also acts as a firewall. An unprotected unpatched Windows PC will be discovered by worms and taken over in less than 4 minutes.


Sure, but I can't have the router preventing my internet connection through work. I'll still have antivirus and the windows firewall.
 
Nov 5, 2008 at 1:38 PM Post #5 of 18

Blitzula

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cerbie /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It all depends on where the problems are stemming from, and what kind they are. FYI, most routers can be used as switches (just ignore the WAN port--also, ignore routers that auto-sense the WAN port).


I'll talk to Linksys on that.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cerbie /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It Of the Linksys, did you try the WRT54GL? It's pretty much been the standard for years now.


My current Linksys router is a BEFSR41...that number sounds familiar though, I might have had one before. I'm probably going to try and avoid going router at all if possible.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cerbie /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Also, how do you plan to share the connection with a switch? "Router" implies NAT. What brands/models of modem does your carrier offer/use? Is your DSL modem dropping, or the router?
If the router, can you still connect to it (IE, it's lost the connection to the modem)?



Not sure on the NAT, the router is dropping and loses connection to the modem (a new Motorola modem specifically designed for my ISP, which worked much better with my router then my old one).

Quote:

Originally Posted by cerbie /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Is cable internet available to you? I can't say a switch won't be better, but it doesn't seem like there should be a real difference


I'm pretty happy with DSL...I'll see how the switch works and report back.

Thanks for the thoughts....
 
Nov 5, 2008 at 3:07 PM Post #7 of 18

Omega

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If you have a Linksys WRT54-soemthing, you can try installing one of the alternative firmwares like dd-wrt. That can solve a lot of stability issues.

If you are going to use your computer for work, DO NOT run Windows and connect directly to the internet, or via a switch to the internet (which is basically the same thing). As majid asserts, your computer WILL be compromised. If you must use a software firewall only, the built-in Windows firewall is very weak. Get an old version of Kerio Personal Firewall or a new version of ZoneAlarm. If you pick the right version, they are/were both free, so no excuses.

Is your connection drop problem occuring on a wired or wireless connection? If you are having problems with wireless, the first thing would be to change the channel...and then see if going wired can solve your problems.
 
Nov 5, 2008 at 3:50 PM Post #8 of 18

fzman

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i have a similar question. i have a 2-wire 4 port dsl gateway to connect to att dsl. if i want to set up a small network, do i get a router and put it between an 'output' port on the gaeway, and go from there????
 
Nov 5, 2008 at 4:35 PM Post #9 of 18

cerbie

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The thing is, with PCs, as in plural, you really want a router. It gives you a gateway w/ NAT, a basic firewall (quite respectable firewall w/ DD-WRT), defaulting to dropping all incoming connections, and DHCP.

Do you have any idea what causes the network dropouts? Is your modem getting a new IP, and doing something weird when it does? When you say it's a modem specifically designed for your ISP, what does that mean? I generally think well of Motorola (OT: though, their cell phone division's management must be pretty bad), but most ISPs can use any old cable or DSL modem.

For the most part, routers are not problematic. Tons of the little 4-port wired and wireless ones are used in business environments daily, and have been running for years without a hiccup, connected right to DSL and cable modems.

I normally would run screaming from this option, but does your ISP have any modem+router boxes that they use?
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 12:24 AM Post #10 of 18

Blitzula

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I use a wired router.

My modem is the one recommended by my ISP (and on the box mentions my ISP by name-they had some sort of partnershiop),that's all I meant by that comment.

I bought this modem hoping to solve my connection issues, and it has worked much, much better, my old one was bad.

I've confirmed repeatedly that the ISP line is fine.

I don't know what the issue is with routers and my connection, but I've had nothing but problems with both Linksys and Netgear, having to call tech support multiple times for both. I continually have to resync the modem to the router. When I bypass the router, voila, connection issues disappear.

I'm hopeful that the VPN/security measures on my work computer will most likely be enough to protect my data...I know my workplace-a very large and well known tech firm-does not require the use of a router.

We'll see how it goes with the switch....
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 12:52 AM Post #11 of 18

vegaman

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You can't just share a connection with a switch, you have to be using NAT to share the one external IP (so you could have a different setup if you had 2+ IPs, but I doubt this on a consumer DSL line) with more than one computer, so you need to use a router (doesn't have to be a hardware box, you can use a computer) to provide the NAT.

How is your connection set up?
Ideally the "modem" should be in PPPoE bridge mode, and the router in PPPoE mode, so the router establishes the connection itself. What do you mean when you say you have to resync them?
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 1:28 AM Post #12 of 18

Blitzula

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Quote:

Originally Posted by vegaman /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You can't just share a connection with a switch, you have to be using NAT to share the one external IP (so you could have a different setup if you had 2+ IPs, but I doubt this on a consumer DSL line) with more than one computer, so you need to use a router (doesn't have to be a hardware box, you can use a computer) to provide the NAT.

How is your connection set up?
Ideally the "modem" should be in PPPoE bridge mode, and the router in PPPoE mode, so the router establishes the connection itself. What do you mean when you say you have to resync them?



I've had the modem in both normal and bridged mode...each still has problems. By "resync" I mean I have to unplug the modem and plug it back in.

Damn, that's disheartening to hear on having to use a router, sigh. I'll go to my local electronics store and see what my options are.
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 2:33 AM Post #13 of 18

cerbie

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Blitzula /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've had the modem in both normal and bridged mode...each still has problems. By "resync" I mean I have to unplug the modem and plug it back in.

Damn, that's disheartening to hear on having to use a router, sigh. I'll go to my local electronics store and see what my options are.



"local electronics store" = Fry's, I hope...

If your cable option is Comcast, I can see having reluctance to change. If it's a bit better, though, going to cable internet with no PPPoE would likely fix it all. DSL usually only causes connection problems after power outages, or requires a certain order to powering up, where cable usually, "just works."
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 6:16 AM Post #14 of 18

Blitzula

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cerbie /img/forum/go_quote.gif
"local electronics store" = Fry's, I hope...

If your cable option is Comcast, I can see having reluctance to change. If it's a bit better, though, going to cable internet with no PPPoE would likely fix it all. DSL usually only causes connection problems after power outages, or requires a certain order to powering up, where cable usually, "just works."



Fry's it is: ).

I had terrible problems with my DSL at my prior address, but it's worked very well here.
 
Nov 9, 2008 at 4:51 AM Post #15 of 18

Blitzula

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Well, after three routers from two different companies (and going up the full line of tech support for each), I don't think it's a router functionality problem.

But, I don't have the issue when I plug my modem directly into my computer, so it's not a modem issue either.

Something is wrong in how my router and modem talk to each other, or maybe I have some power issue in my condo.

So I decided to buy an AT+T recommended modem/router two-wire combo....it should be arriving this week.

Frustrating because I'm very happy with my $80 modem that I just bought last month, so spending another $90 is not so fun. However, I do need a router.

At least this way, I'l have one point of contact...AT+T. We'll see how things go...thanks for the thoughts and pm's.
 

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