There are a lot of routers on the market from a lot of different makers, and choosing the right one for your home or office will depend very much on your particular needs. This article looks at some of the things you should consider when choosing the right wireless router for you.
There’s a big difference between the router speed advertised on the box and the actual speed you will achieve in your home or office, where conditions are less than ideal. Consider something like an 802.11n, which is now the standard in wireless networking and delivers around 300Mbps. However, if you want to do a lot of gaming and file streaming, then something like an 802.11ac may be a faster choice.
Before choosing a router, you need to make sure it will cover the areas of your home or office where you need it. Routers are rated for different signal strengths, so you would be best to confirm with the vendor the strength you will need to cover a certain area, taking into consideration things like walls and other obstacles.
Single or dual band
If you’re just looking for something that is easy to set up and offers simple WiFi connectivity, then a single band router is generally all you will need. If you are planning to move lots of large files around or stream HD video, then a dual band router may be a better choice.
Security can be an issue in a home setting if you have children, in which case you should look for a router that offers parental controls. In an office setting, security can be a problem as WiFi signals are not always confined within the walls of a building, so if you work with sensitive data you would be best to look for a router that offers WPA2 encryption.
Compatibility with your wireless network adaptors can also be an issue. One good way to almost guarantee compatibility is to stick with the same brand of manufacturer for all your WiFi equipment.
Some routers offer a range of extras, including SD card slots, USB ports for printer sharing and external drive sharing, but you will naturally pay more for added features so it pays to work out what you need now and in the future very carefully before deciding on a particular model.
As with any product, price will vary in accordance with features and quality. Budget routers will be the most basic, while top of the range will have all the bells and whistles and a price tag to match. Once again, working out what you need your router to accomplish will save you from spending more than you really need to.
No matter how high-end your new router may be, things do go wrong, so make sure it has a decent warranty. Technical support may also be required if you have a problem with installation or operation, so look for a product with guaranteed customer support.