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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.
Today's top 5 Pulse results:
- Warhammer Online (UP 6)
- EVE Online (UP 6)
- href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2">EverQuest II
movers this week:
of Heroes - Issue 17: Dark Mirror
of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer size="-1">
Online: Tyrannis size="-1">
of Gods size="-1">
2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1004"
2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/998"
(US release- July 2 in UK, EU)
13, 2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1801"
2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2461"
for Speed World (release)
2010 - href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2079"
Fantasy XIV size="-1">
style="font-weight: bold;">6/15 -
6/17 - href="http://www.e3expo.com/" target="_blank">E3
style="font-weight: bold;">6/25 -
6/27 - href="http://www.lfgexpo.com/" target="_blank">Looking
style="font-weight: bold;">7/22 -
7/25 - href="http://www.comic-con.org/" target="_blank">Comic-Con
style="font-weight: bold;">8/5 -
8/8 - href="http://events.station.sony.com/fanfaire/" target="_blank">SOE
Fan Faire 2010
style="font-weight: bold;">9/3 -
9/6 - href="http://www.dragoncon.org/" target="_blank">DragonCon
style="font-weight: bold;">10/22 -
10/23 - href="http://us.blizzard.com/blizzcon/?rhtml=y" target="_blank">BlizzCon
style="font-weight: bold;"> 3/24
3/26 (2011)- href="http://fanfest.eveonline.com/" target="_blank">CCP
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 192.168.1.1 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
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
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."
Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell
and Exclusive Content
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of Gods, created by Kalicanthus Entertainment, is a fantasy MMOG based
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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
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EQ2 Neutral Deity Miracle Updates
II deities are yet another way players can customize their characters.
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in the form of Miracles and Blessings that can give you helpful
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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
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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.
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the Ten Ton Hammer team