Southern Man

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Tale of Two Routers

For a computer geek, Southern Man's current setup is...well, pretty lame. One game PC (Windows 98 2nd Edition for those good old games that just won't run on XP), one ancient box hanging on the cable modem for Internet access, and a closetful of machines that need work (like the XP Game PC and the two good office machines that won't boot or post for some reason or another, teenage son's virus-laden PC from his mom's house, the old laptop, and a bunch of others that need to come up just long enough to copy stuff from their hard drives). So there is currently no home network at Casa Southern Man.

Then teenage son purchased a subscription to XBox Live.

After a week of passing the cable modem back and forth Southern Man did a little research and nabbed a used Logitech Play Link (a product so ancient that it no longer appears on their web site, but Southern Man is a long-time fan of Logitech mice and keyboards and decided to just trust the reviews) for about forty bucks on's marketplace. Then after returning from a week of vacation in Branson, MO and finding that said Play Link had been safely delivered to Casa Southern Man by the US Mail Southern Man and gf and teenage son ventured into the 100° heat in search of a router. The first store we hit, Circuit City, had three perfectly acceptable products for $50 each. And Southern Man selected the one he'd never heard of - a Buffalo Technology Wireless-G High-Speed Router - even though there were more familiar DLink and LinkSys products right there on the same shelf because the Buffalo came with a $25 rebate. Gonna save some money this trip, said Southern Man! Right.

Now, while Southern Man makes no claims to be any sort of network engineer, hooking up a router is well within his skill set - or so he thought. But a frustrating hour-and-a-half later it was obvious that he was buffalo'd by this one, so he and his entourage again braved the heat and swapped this not-quite-a-bargain-after-all for a tried-and-true LinkSys WRT 54G that worked just fine right out of the box and Southern Man once again had the foundation for a legitimate home network.

The Play Link is as simple as can be - two power supplies, two cables, and two transmitter/reciever boxes that act just like a hardwire connection. We plugged one unit into the router and the other into the XBox and XBox Live lit right up, so Southern Man can sit upstairs in the study and blog work while teenage son (aka EmoKid185) and his equally emo-ish best friend simultaneously wreak havok in Halo 2 online.

So it is probably no surprise that the LinkSys router and the Logitech Play Link earn the Southern ManTM Seal of ApprovalTM but that Buffalo got sent back to the range, never again to roam on the fertile fields of Southern Man's new network.


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