The bulk of mine has been going into buying coffee, and the occasional lunch in our cafeteria at work, so I have been running a small surplus for years. Today I decided to cash out some of that surplus and splurge in a new router. I have been convinced that our old router has been on its way out for months now, with sporadic slowdowns and disconnects, but I could not convince atara that we needed to invest in a new one.
I did some research on routers this morning and drove up to one of our larger computer stores with a shopping list in my brain. As I was looking over the selection, I was approached by one of their techs who had been stacking a nearby shelf. I don't know if he remembered me from earlier visits, but I remembered him as being very knowledgeable and helpful on earlier visits. He's the one who helped us trace the overheating problems in atara's computer to a faulty water pump (all the diagnostics said it was working, but he recognized the sound of a broken fin inside and got us a warranty replacement).
Once I had described what our router was doing, he agreed that it sounded like it was on its way out. When I told him the ballpark that I was willing to spend on a new one, he immediately dragged me away from the D-Links over to the Asus routers, assuring me that they were better performers in that price range. I knew that, because I'd had a couple of Asus models in my mental price list, but I've had decent luck with D-Link products and had naturally gravitated to that shelf.
In the end, he recommended the same model that I'd actually come looking for anyway, so it worked out well. Unfortunately they had none on the shelf, and only a display model bolted to the rack. Their inventory system showed a single one in stock, so he checked in the back room to make sure that it was not the display model being counted. When he returned a couple of minutes later, he advised me that the one they had was an opened box. They had inspected it, and tested it before putting it back in inventory, but because it was opened, they would give me a discount on it. Having purchased factory lemons in the past, I was OK with buying one that had been confirmed to be working.
I had to jump through a few hoops to get our ancient laser printer working on it, but the Internet came through on that front. One change I have noticed is that the wireless signal to our file server in the basement is much stronger, and I am getting about three times the speed on file transfers with that machine. Mind you, I wonder if I am getting that benefit at the cost of cooking my spleen from sitting this close to the transmitter. Oh well. Who needs a spleen anyway?