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You might as well use your neighbor’s unencrypted wireless network
Sep 13, 2010 (Updated Sep 13, 2010)
by Thomas Wikman
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Combined modem/router, wireless router + four Ethernet jacks.
Cons:Problematic as a modem, poor WiFi signal, no IEEE 802.11n, expensive, AT&T customer service.
The Bottom Line:
This combined modem/router does not any of its two tasks well. Well, the Ethernet connections seem fine.
Some years ago we changed our internet provider from Comcast Cable, which was a disaster, to DSL with AT&T. As part of the deal we got a modem/router which pretty soon had to be replaced, and it was replaced with this one, the 2Wire 2701HG-B modem and router. This modem/router also had to be replaced and we had to pay for it. It is an expensive modem/router so that was a bummer.
Recommend this product?
Unlike with Comcast Cable we had an internet connection but it was not fast, neither as a modem or a router (see below). Also unlike Comcast Cable the AT & T customer service was not atrocious and pure evil but it was not great either. Now we have switched to "CLEAR" 4G network and we have a CLEAR modem and I bought the cheapest NETGEAR router available at Best-Buy to connect with the CLEAR modem. As a wireless router the cheapest NETGEAR router from Best Buy (WGR614) is as fast as a lightning bolt on caffeine in comparison to our 2Wire 2701HG-B modem/router which we soon will be returning.
2Wire 2701HG Modem/Router Overview
The 2Wire 2701HG-B Modem/Router is a DSL Modem and a Router. As a router it features four Ethernet ports and supports the IEEE 802.11b and IEEE 802.11g wireless communication standard. It does not support the newer IEEE 802.11n standard. It supports 64-bit and 128-bit encryption and features a firewall. It lies flat on the table but it can also stand vertically if you use stands. It has LED indicators that indicate network status (a must). It comes with an external power supply.
You connect it to the DSL port (phone jack) and also to one of your computers. You need to install software on this computer for the modem/router to work. Among other things, this is how you name your network and assign it an encryption key (if that is what you want). Then you can connect to the router via WiFi or via Ethernet cables.
Modem Experience and Opinion
Our experience with AT&T DSL and this modem/router has been mixed. We have lost signal quite often and the modem has gone bad. I should say it is not just the modem that might be problematic it is also the DSL signal in. However, the modem could not handle fast signals.
AT&T called and asked us if we wanted extra fast DSL 5Mb/sec. It was only$10.00 extra per month. After doing this we had problems with lost signals or excessively slow signals (less than 30Kb/s). It turned out that the modem could not handle this setting so they set it back to 1Mb/s, and it ran faster. So we paid $10.00 for nothing for a few months.
However, even with the 1Mb/s we sometimes lost the DSL signal and we rarely got above 200Kb/s. That may not be the DSL modem, but it could have been.
Well, as mentioned we switched to the CLEAR 4G Network 6Mb/s and our in-signal is now much faster. The difference is big and very obvious. I uploaded a large amount of files yesterday and it took a few minutes. I uploaded almost the same files a few weeks ago using this modem and it took half an afternoon. Again this may not be directly related to the modem. However, the signal speed for the router is a different story. In this case we can clearly blame the modem/router.
Router Experience and Opinion
In our house we also have a wireless network with eight computers and two printers. If you moved 10-15 feet away from the 2Wire 2701HG Modem/Router you lost signal strength to the point where the connection speed dropped noticeably. In fact, the kids, who had their computers across the living room (20-25 feet), had so much trouble using the wireless signal from our 2Wire 2701HG Router that they started using our neighbor's WiFi instead, without her permission. She did not encrypt her network. Considering that when you are using somebody's wireless network you are also taking some of their DSL/Cable bandwidth she might have had some slow days when my kids where playing World of Warcraft. I told them they should not do that without her permission. I bought Ethernet cables instead, and connected them to the router. This worked better. However, we had Ethernet cables crossing our living room.
When you moved into the kitchen the wireless network became painfully slow and when you moved into the dining room it was barely useable. I typically had one red bar or two red bars, sometimes on a good day three yellow bars, and the record was three green bars. I can assure you that we do not live in Ceausescu's palace. Our house is of normal size.
With the new NETGEAR router I get five green bars in the dining room and noticeably faster internet.
So in conclusion the 2Wire 2701HG Modem/Router was problematic as a modem and provided a slow and quickly dissipating wireless connection.
Customer service AT&T
The AT&T customer service is not directly related to the modem/router. However, I believe that most people using this modem/router got it as internet customers from AT&T and it is originally provided by AT&T. So it is not totally irrelevant.
AT&T customer service is not the best. You have to pay for non-functional routers yourself and they often rather sell you new stuff than fix your problem. Their standard answer to all modem/router problems are; disconnect the power supply, wait 30 seconds, and start over, and for that you have to go through several steps of automatic voice recordings with selections. However, I should also add that sometimes we have encountered some really helpful people on the other end. AT&T customer service is hands down 10,000 times better than the evil Comcast Company, but not as good as CLEAR (so far). I say they are average.
If you sign up for AT&T DSL and this is the modem/router they give you free of charge you might want to accept it but check your options, you are not getting a good modem/router. In all other cases; stay away from this modem/router. Even the cheapest NETGEAR router provides a much better wireless signal.
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