I pulled the trigger and paid Verizon $80 for a new Actiontec MI424wr router

Two years of waiting and thinking. I wanted a new router that supported 802.11n speeds. It wasn’t important for years, as most of our devices ran on 802.11g. I do admit to buying a Wireless N adapter for the Tivo Premiere, with an expectation of one day moving to an 802.11 home network. For a time, I was transferring tv shows from the Tivo to the home PC (and later my iPhone 4), but Verizon and many other cable providers now block any copying. Since last year, however, we’ve added two new smartphones and one Nexus 10 tablet that all support 802.11n speeds. I eventually would like to finally get a tablet of my own this year, so that would make 5 devices that could take advantage of faster wireless speeds.

I’ve never been a fan of how Verizon forces customers to use Actiontec routers. There are so many nice and feature-packed routers out there on the market, but unless I want to maintain two devices, and figure out how to properly bridge them, I’d be stuck with the best Actiontec I could get. In the end, I wanted to keep it simple — one networking device. Verizon now offers the Actiontec MI424WR GigE router, which is the latest router to support 802.11n. It also has Gigabit Ethernet and a number of other features, but I’m mostly interested in the faster wireless speeds. What’s not so good about it? It’s a single stream router. In a mixed network (comprised of devices that run on g or n), the Actiontec’s compatibility mode will drop the entire network down to g speeds. The nicer dual band routers on the market will support both g devices and n devices — each would run on their own frequency band, and not impact the other. Sweet for everyone else, big caveats for me.

I would also have jumped in earlier, except Verizon will not just send you the new router when your original basic 802.11g router is working fine and dandy. To get the newer Actiontec, you have to pay the $79 fee, and that’s why I’ve waited two years. This year, I decided to pull the trigger on it. Verizon broke the fee up over the next three bills, and let me know that the router would arrive in 3-5 business days. In 3 days, it was here.

In slightly related news, we also acquired a new (and free) table with drawers that we put our black-and-white laser printer on, instead of using a tv tray that we purchased back when we were newlyweds. Sensing an opportunity to reorganize, I cleaned up, and changed the layout for a bit. I had no real issue with setting up the router,  though I had some difficulty to get the Tivo wireless N adapter onto the network, but eventually reran setup on it, and all was good again. Well, mostly good. It’s supposed to light up green on 802.11 g networks, and blue on 802.11n networks. Right now, it’s green, and that perturbs me. Luckily, I can still sleep at night, but I’d still like to figure out what the deal is with it.

After dabbling with the router settings, I’m sticking with 802.11n-only (“Performance” mode) for now, but I’m sure I’ll have to dumb it down to the slower speeds later. For now, I just want to see if there is a noticeable difference in speed.

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8 Responses to I pulled the trigger and paid Verizon $80 for a new Actiontec MI424wr router

  1. Kryten says:

    FWIW, you only need to use the Verizon Actiontec router if you use a Verizon STB (or want to use MoCA). If you only want to use say, a Linksys or D-Link router, you can request the WAN link on the ONT be switched from coax to ethernet (they can do this remotely). I did this since I only use a TiVo and it works just fine.

  2. Joel says:

    Wow thanks for letting me know. I had been researching this option, and it seemed possible. I would just need to figure out what I would do about rewiring the cabling.

    Question – so from where do you hook up the coax to the multistream card on the Tivo? Straight from the FiOS ONT?

  3. Pingback: Got the new Asus RT-AC68U router last night - Tales From The Ipe!

  4. Mike says:

    Hi Joel,

    Great site. Just curious, what was the final verdict? Did you get a noticeable increase in speed from the upgraded router? I saw your speed test results too. Do you mind saying what your download/upload speed you pay for? I am am thinking about getting the new router too. All of my devices are n capable.


  5. Joel says:

    Hi Mike. The final verdict is that the Asus RT-AC1900 is a pretty nice router, with a handy dandy GUI interface. The funny thing is that you it’s fairly unlikely to get speeds on the high end of the range. You would need the special/unique wireless adapters. When I’m using my Galaxy S4 (which supports 802.11ac), I have gotten 430 Mbps. That’s the highest I’ve seen.

  6. Matt says:

    I find it infuriating that VZW wont upgrade their existing customers to a newer router…I’ve been a loyal FiOS customer for years and have been stuck with the same crappy Actiontek 802.11b/g router.

  7. Rick says:

    Speak to an online FiOS Tech rep. Just got my MI424WR (GigE) for free. Possibly because I have “Quantum” speed. I knew when i upgraded I should have gotten it then for free but after a few months I noticed speed issues and wifi issuse.. went on the chat and being nice pays because instead of making me do bunch of non sense i told him i did all the necesaary steps. WiFi channel change, in Home agent tool, and such he just said well i’ll just be sending you a router. Hope this helps..
    Sidenote: I want to get an in home WiFi Extender… Will this work? I have a feeling the Techs over at VZ might say no..

  8. steven says:

    for cox at work, YOu supply your own wireless router, they only provided a wired connection. and it is slow.

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