A EUR 50 WLAN router is better than an EUR 200 one

Through some random accident I got my hands on a Linksys WRT610N-EU WLAN router. It’s a newish 300 MBps model with a gigabit router built in and usually costs around EUR 200. Great, you’d think. The problem is, this device is an utter piece of shit. My five year old WRT54GL, bought for around EUR 50, is better in every regard except for WLAN speed.

I did get connections of over 100 MBps on the WRT610N, but there was packet loss, there were weird “hanging” packets, there were glitches while watching even simple 720p films on the Popcorn Hour, and things that sent many small HTTP requests (think AJAX) felt sluggish. It just wasn’t fun anymore. Not as much fun as my old router.

So now I downgraded from EUR 200 back to EUR 50. The big difference probably is in the software. The EUR 50 router has DD-WRT on it, a Free Software firmware with balls the size of planets. This is one area where FOSS well and truly destroys proprietary software in terms of quality. I’m much rather using a slower router that is old enough to go to school than a newer, faster product that is crippled by Linksys’ mediocrity.

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