More 802.11n draft technology is coming on the market and the router market continues to be super confusing. The big
announcement this week is that Dell will shortly have an internal adapter for their laptops that uses the Broadcom chipset. This
suggests to me that if I’m going to get a new router (and I’m getting really unhappy with my Belkin Pre-N) I probably want
one of the the Broadcom ones.
The other interesting new development is that Netgear finally introduced a router that has the high-end networking (N) and
gigabit Ethernet ports. Since I use gigabit Ethernet at home its somewhat painful for me to be hooking in a 100mbit router since I
hang a few devices off the router’s wired ports. The tricky part is that Netgear has two versions of their 802-11N routers- one
use the Broadcom chipset and one uses the Marvell chipset. The bad news is the gigabit version is only available with the Marvell
chipset and eWeek has reported that it has more compatibility issues talking to other devices than the other chipsets.
All this is made much worse by my experience with the quality of router firmware. It tends to just be terrible, and the bleeding
edge models are even worse- I’ve seen horror stories of routers that show up and have such buggy firmware they barely work at all. It
really feels like some event will have to happen to shake up the home router market since in its current form it really isn’t serving
customers very well. It sure is nice that the prices are so low, but I’d pay an extra $100 easily for a router that actually works 100%.
Tip- you can tell what chipset the NetGear routers have by the last letter of the model name. The NetGear WNR834B is a Broadcom router, the
WNR834M and WNR854T are Marvell.