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The humble router is more than likely working behind the scenes as a key part of your browsing, online gaming, media streaming, and chat experience, yet it's often the most neglected piece of hardware in your setup. Some tips to improve router performance in today's Loading... Optimizing Your Router.

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The Pulse

You vote with what you
view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the
is the Ten Ton Pulse ( href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/thepulse/">What
is The Pulse?).

Today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow">World
    of Warcraft
  2. Warhammer Online (UP 6)
  3. EVE Online (UP 6)
  4. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aoc">Age
    of Conan
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">EverQuest II

movers this week

  1. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/998">All
    Points Bulletin (UP 26 to #17)
  2. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2">Guild Wars 2 (UP 6 to #12)
  3. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/fallenearth">Fallen
    Earth (UP 5 to #19)
size="-1">Recent Releases
  • size="-1">5/1
    - href="http://www.cityofheroes.com/news/game_updates/issue_17/issue_17_overview.html?utm_source=COHemail&utm_medium=US&utm_campaign=banner"
    of Heroes - Issue 17: Dark Mirror
  • size="-1">5/11
    - Age
    of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer
  • size="-1">5/26
    - EVE
    Online: Tyrannis
  • size="-1">5/27
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2422">Craft
    of Gods size="-1">


  • size="-1">June
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1004"
    Online (release)
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    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/998"
    (US release- July 2 in UK, EU)
  • size="-1">July
    13, 2010
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1801"

  • size="-1">July
    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2461"
    for Speed World (release)
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    - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2079"
    Fantasy XIV size="-1">


  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">6/15 -
    6/17 - href="http://www.e3expo.com/" target="_blank">E3
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">6/25 -
    6/27 - href="http://www.lfgexpo.com/" target="_blank">Looking
    for Group
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">7/22 -
    7/25 - href="http://www.comic-con.org/" target="_blank">Comic-Con
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">8/5 -
    8/8 - href="http://events.station.sony.com/fanfaire/" target="_blank">SOE
    Fan Faire 2010
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">9/3 -
    9/6 - href="http://www.dragoncon.org/" target="_blank">DragonCon
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
    10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y" target="_blank">BlizzCon
  • size="-1"> style="font-weight: bold;"> 3/24
    3/26 (2011)- href="http://fanfest.eveonline.com/" target="_blank">CCP

Loading... Daily

Computers and printers come and go, but the most trusted, hardworking, and long-lasting piece of hardware in my home office is my trusty old Linksys WRT54G router. Chances are you depend on a well-functioning router as much as I do, and there are a few tips and tricks anyone can do toimprove their overall Internet experience. Here's a few:

  • Minimize interference on wireless networks - Believe it or not, cordless phones are noisy, powerful, and the biggest contributor of interference to your wireless network. 802.11b, 802.11g routers transmit at 2.4 GHz, while the newer 802.11a and 802.11n routers transmit at 5 GHz. Both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz are common frequencies for cordless phones and Bluetooth devices, though Bluetooth as well as wireless-n networks minimize interference through different frequency modulation techniques. Smartphones are a more intermittent contributor of interference as well, but that usually can't be helped.

    Suffice it to say that it's best not to have a cordless phone base station near your router, or if you must, consider changing channels (1 - 11 wireless channels are available for 2.4 GHz routers and phones - try setting your phone and router to 1 and 11 respectively). Wireless-n routers offer more channels (13) and better modulation (a good option if you live in an apartment building or dorm), but may not be compatible especially with older computers and hardware.

  • Access your router's setup by find your default gateway - If you've never beheld your router's inner workings, now's the time. You'll at least want to secure your network if you're setting up wi-fi or wireless internet. In most cases, typing into your browser's address bar will bring up the router setup screen. If this doesn't work for you, find your default gateway by typing in "ipconfig" at a Windows command prompt (or "netstat -nr" in Mac OSX termainal), then use that number in the address bar instead.
    Gaze upon the wondrous variety of settings, but be sure to read up before you start making changes.
  • Check for new firmware - Just like with your graphics cards, it's important to keep your router up-to-date with the latest firmware. It's necessary both for security and performance reasons. Jot down the make and model of your router and head to the manufacturer's website to check for updated firmware. Here are some commonly used router links: And if you do need updated firmware, it's usually just a matter of downloading a self-executable file and a double click (but, as with any firmware update, it's super important to maintain a stable connection throughout the update process!).
  • Secure your wireless network - A huge performance drain on wireless networks is unwanted users tapping into your bandwidth, and that's especially true in urban or dense household arrangements. You should take some steps to secure your wireless network. How far you go on this front is largely a matter of hardware compatibility (and paranoia, perhaps), but experts unanimously recommend WPA over the now-outmoded WEP security mode. I've had no compatibility trouble over a vast array of devices with WPA-PSK (pre-shared key) with AES algorithms and a 64-character randomized key (a pain to deal with, but I keep it stored on a thumb drive for when guests stay over).

    If you want to make your network truly bulletproof, consider setting up MAC filtering (each wireless device has it's own MAC id, and only devices with whitelisted ids can tap in) and turning off the SSID broadcast (in which case, your network won't be discoverable unless you know the wireless network's name. Unfriendly for houseguests, but it works.

  • Avoid doubling up on the firewall, when possible - Multiple firewalls are a performance drain and can in some cases cause a grouchy security setup and false conflicts. If you have a router from a reputable manufacturer (Linksys and Apple are always among the top-rated) and you've kept your router's firmware up to date, you have an excellent firewall working for you already. If your router's firewall is enabled (by default it should be), there's no reason to run a second firewall under Windows security (that is, unless you're using a laptop and accessing public networks frequently).
  • Learn about QoS and traffic shaping - Many routers allow you to set different priorities for different ports or different kinds of traffic. If you're using a TiVo as a DVR or pre-fetching content only (and not for streaming), for example, that port or MAC address could be set to lowest priority so that it doesn't interfere with VoIP or gaming. The same goes for a computer you might have set up to do torrents - you don't want it interfering with tasks where latency is a killer. How to set this up is beyond the scope of this article, however do be aware these options exist and can make a big difference to your Internet browsing, chatting, and gaming experience.
  • Maintain your port forwarding list- For most people, setting up port range forwarding is the second most common reason (after setting a wireless password) to dive into your router setup. Skype, the WoW downloader, and torrent programs are some of the biggest culprits in terms of asking for tunnels through your security setup. While these connections are inactive, the port is closed and isn't vulnerable, however be aware that you are opening a hole in your router's security setup especially with programs that run full time (like BitTorrent). The greater danger comes from the files you're torrenting, of course, but you might want to maintain your list of port forward ranges from time to time to disable any inactive forwards.

These are a few tips to optimize one of your hardest working pieces of hardware, but since I'm not a network engineer (and I know at least a few of our readers are), I suspect you might have some tips of your own. Share them in the Loading.. forum!

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of
the Day

From our WoW: General Discussion Forum

The Stigma of Playing WoW

Mem kicked off today's Epic Thread (based on his article)
by asking the perennial question: "do you live in your mom's basement
and force her to make you Hot Pockets?" If you do, you just might be a
WoW player, and among your friends and peers, even those who game, you
may be considered a true omega nerd. Have you come across people who
just don't seem to get the whole World of Warcraft thing or online
gaming in general? What sort of stereotypes have you run into? Share them with us!


Awesome Quotes from the
Epic Thread

at work knows I play WoW and frankly I'd be more concerned about their
opinion if more than 40% of them knew how a paperback worked. Being
ostracized [by people] only works if you consider them people you'd
want to hang around in the first place

- Titchsqueak

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell

and Exclusive Content
Today at Ten Ton Hammer

7 new Ten Ton Hammer
articles today! 26 Ten Ton Hammer
in June! 616
in 2010!


Alpha Protocol (PC) Review

Protocol is the new espionage-themed RPG from Obsidian Entertainment
and Sega. Is this the next Deus Ex or just another wannabe out to make
a quick buck? Mattlow takes the game through its paces and reports.

Craft of Gods MMOG Review

of Gods, created by Kalicanthus Entertainment, is a fantasy MMOG based
upon Slavic mythology. The game boasts a unique mount system where you
can charm any creature within the game to use as your own mount and a
wide open world to explore. Do features like these push a solid game
over the top or are they the high points of a mediocre one? Jeffprime
ventures into the world of Akvilon to see if Craft of Gods is truly
worthy of your gaming dollar.


Analysis of Recent Guild Wars 2 Gameplay Reveals


have been a lot of recent gameplay reveals about Guild Wars 2. We know
a lot now about the combat, the dynamic events system, and your
character's personal story. We've got these three topics condensed and
analyzed in an easy to understand article in addition to links to where
you can find out more about each of these gameplay mechanics.


One Man Stealth Bomber Gate Camps In EVE Online

your feet wet in EVE Online's PvP is hard. Space Junkie is here to help
you experience it under reasonably controlled conditions, so you can be
a bit more choosy about what you fight. It's all in this guide to
setting up a one man camp.

EQ2 Neutral Deity Miracle Updates

II deities are yet another way players can customize their characters.
Earn the favor of your chosen god and they will endow you with powers
in the form of Miracles and Blessings that can give you helpful
abilities to use during your Norrathian travels. To aid you in choosing
the perfect deity for you, we have updated the Miracles and Blessings
of all the neutral deities. Both evil and good players may choose from
these gods making them especially versatile regardless of faction.

StarCraft II - The Hidden Costs of a Strategy

Every decision you make, every click you press, and
even where you are centered on the map at any given moment can cost you
in the fast paced world of StarCraft 2. Your actions have costs and
consequences far beyond the minerals and Vespene gas associated with
them, and those costs are emphasized far more in the sequel than they
were before. We go over some of the most important ones to keep in mind
as you adjust on the fly in the heat of battle!

The Stigma of Playing WoW

you live in your Mom’s basement and force her to make you Hot Pockets?
Are you afraid to venture outside, or do you have no real life friends?
The grand majority will answer these questions with a resounding no.
However, despite the fact that none of these descriptions apply to the
majority of  World of Warcraft players, this is how many view
them. Join Mem as he explores the stereotypes attached to playing WoW,
what perpetuates them, and how these myths can be dispelled.

Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features

  1. Analysis of Recent Guild Wars 2 Gameplay Reveals
  2. Alpha Protocol (PC) Review
  3. StarCraft II - The Hidden Costs of a Strategy
  4. Reducing the Stigma of Playing WoW
  5. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/podcasts/live/9"
    Ton Hammer Live Ep. 9 - TERA's
    Sam Kim and Matt
  6. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/apb/impressions/community-day-2010"
    Community Day Q&A and Hands-On Impressions
  7. Techno Beat-Down – A
    Perpetuum Online Preview

  8. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/features/editorials/personal-story-continued"
    Impact of Story Pt. 2 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/gw2/features/editorials/personal-story-continued"
    Wars 2
    Interactive World
  9. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/previews/cataclysm/zalazans_fall"
    PTR Patch 3.3.5 - Glory of the Darkspear
  10. href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/interviews/dev_talk/2010/may"
    Talk: Top MMOG Devs Weigh
    in on User-Generated

for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and
the Ten Ton Hammer team

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016

About The Author

Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.