[PLUG] Tale of 3 routers .. what has happened to reliability?

Mayuresh mayuresh at acm.org
Sat May 31 09:50:07 PDT 2014

Long story:

1. Circa 2007. Bought Linksys WRT54GL.

Since that day, the router has been relentlessly working nearly 24x7 for
home wifi network consisting of 4-5 devices of various kinds and OSes.
Only twice its firmware was upgraded to DD-WRT. Really those were the only
times router had to be taken out of service.

It has delivered excellent performance with multiple devices, multiple
OSes, multiple ISPs etc. But never felt this to be something extraordinary
till next 2 routers occurred to me:

2. Mid 2013. Lava W150

Sole reason to buy a new router was, my wired ISP was not anymore reliable
and in my area the only option was to adopt a 3G service.

Immediate problems with this router were, poor range, incompatibility with
some devices, extremely poor performance if even 2 devices connect to the

The problems were partly mitigated by again roping in WRT54GL as a
repeater and the old workhorse dutifully played this new role well as

3. Mid 2013. Lava W520

Fed up of the performance of W150, bought a supposedly improved version of
it - W520. The performance was indeed better than W150, though within 6
months of usage it has gone kaput. It is still under warranty and the
company agreed to replace it, though it will take its own time. Roped in
poorly functioning W150 as a backup again.

One might say, with poor experience with one device, I should chosen a
different brand for the next purchase. But I was looking for a router with
battery, to avoid breaks in internet connectivity due to power cuts and
there weren't too many options.

So the short story:

1. With too few real reliable reviews, I am again having no clue, how to
   choose my next 3G router. Advices most welcome. (With/without battery -
   both options are acceptable this time, but reliability and performance
   are most important.)

2. Can't stop but wonder: What makes such a big reliability difference
   between products with more or less same functionality?

- Brand? I would be willing to buy again from Linksys. But don't think
  they make 3G routers at least not portable ones - which is a necessity
  for 3G, as you often need to move them around to get better quality

- Is it that 3G routers are new/complicated to make and hence they have
  reliability issues? I'd not think so. At least not in 2014.

- Have times changed so much that it is no big deal to use and throw a
  device away within a few months anyway?  Nobody even expects such
  devices to last for years together? So I should just adjust my
  expectation level?


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