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  A Spec that Router Mfrs Avoid to Tell You, the Myth of 10/100/1000 
 Date Written 
Dr. Peaceful Apr 24, 2012, 09:48am EDT Report Abuse
I recently discovered that my router, a ProSafe series of Netgear, was the bottle neck of my network. While my ISP gives me ~30 Mbps download / ~6 Mbps upload, the max the router can give me is no more than 6 Mbps download / 1 Mbps upload. Nearly 5 times lower than what I paid for! I was thinking, wait a minute, it's a 10/100 router, should it be able to handle max 100 Mbps?! And 30 Mbps is within 100 Mbps right?! Turned out the max WAN to LAN Throughput for my router is only at 7 Mbps.

My router did serve me well for years, so I thought it may be just that it's old and have low processing power. But when I start to look at other routers, I realize this is nothing from unusual. First, a lot of the routers out there have huge variations in WAN to LAN throughput. For example, for those advertised to do Gigabit speed (1000 Mbps), you could be getting only 60 Mbps of max throughput. Talk about rip off and false advertisement! Secondly, a lot of the manufacturers make this particular spec hidden, especially if the router is not doing well in throughput. For some, you can't even find this spec in their product website under specification. Thirdly, even more outrageous, a lot of the manufacturers still sell old / near obsolete routers (with very low throughput). I was surprised my router is still for sell for nearly the same price as 5 to 6 years ago, regardless of inflation!!

And this not really like hard drive manufacturers, with GiB vs. GB, binary vs. decimal conversion thing. There is really no math to figure this out, because the throughput variations are just too great between product to product.

Buyers be really aware of this! Look closely or research on the WAN to LAN throughput before buying. Here is a chart you can look at.

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Dr. Peaceful Apr 24, 2012, 11:59am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Spec that Router Mfrs Avoid to Tell You, the Myth of 10/100/1000
Just want to emphasize that I am not just talking about one, but many router / network equipment manufacturers. Including name brands like Netgear, Cisco (along with previous Linksys), and more. Also, throughput specs is not limited to routers, but also switches, APs, etc. Furthermore, the WAN to LAN throughput is just one spec out of many to measure network speed, and it's only for wired network. You may also want to look at Wifi throughput, if you have a wireless router.

It's especially important in these days when ISPs provide faster and faster internet speed. You either have to rely on the equipment the ISP provides you, which probably not optimized either (remember ISP is there to save cost too), and probably you need to pay a premium for lease / service. Or you have to get the right equipment with the right spec yourself to get all the benefits of your fast network. Don't buy an obsolete product, which the manufactures are still shamelessly selling, and which also waste your money by slowing down your network!

Reason Apr 24, 2012, 03:17pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Spec that Router Mfrs Avoid to Tell You, the Myth of 10/100/1000
I don't know enough about networking - is this something that could potentially be corrected with the appropriate settings and/or firmware?

Ultima Ratio Regum
john albrich Apr 24, 2012, 09:26pm EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Spec that Router Mfrs Avoid to Tell You, the Myth of 10/100/1000
I'm curious if open-source firmware (e.g. DD-WRT and OpenWrt) would do anything to address this deficit. It's something into which I've just started looking.

Dr. Peaceful Apr 25, 2012, 01:20am EDT Report Abuse
>> Re: A Spec that Router Mfrs Avoid to Tell You, the Myth of 10/100/1000
Reason, from what I read, WAN to LAN Throughput is actually hardware related. It depends on the CPU and RAM used inside the router. Older routers have slower CPU and small RAM, hence slower throughput. Also, the more features you have, e.g. SPI firewall, VPN, access control, etc, the more demanding it will be to the CPU / RAM. As you can see, there is little set standard in the router industry, so everyone uses different type / age / grade of hardware for their routers, which cause the wide variation of throughput performance.

John, there are cases that using the stock (Mfr) firmware actually provide faster throughput than DD-WRT, because the DD-WRT firmware needs more overhead on the RAM and CPU, due to all the extra features it provides. Again it all depends on the hardware. Also depends on how compatibly written that version of DD-WRT to that model of router. It's not unusual to see bugs and incompatible hardware functions in certain version of DD-WRT. Obviously, some hardcore network geeks (me not yet in that level ;) ) can add their own command scripts to fix bugs and tweak the router beyond the DD-WRT GUI already provided.

Another point is, as far as I know, DD-WRT is written for Wifi routers only, so it's incompatible with wire only routers. I've never use OpenWrt, may be it can be used for wire only routers. So far from what I read, it provides even less GUI, and more scripting / Linux commands controls. In another word, even more hardcore to use.

Yet another hardcore networking way to do this is to build a computer, put Linux in it, and then configure it as a router / firewall / dhcp server.



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