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A wireless router is a networking device which is used to share internet with multiple devices. With the easy and cheaper availability of internet and increased dependency on wireless communication, wireless routers have become an essential device for every home and office to share internet with all devices. It is not rocket science to find and buy a router. Some internet service providers are giving it for free or for a small rent to their customers. However, these routers might be old technology and may stand as a bottleneck to get the full advantage of getting high speed internet. Rather than having service provider selecting the router for me, I rather prefer to have my own router so that I don’t have to pay the rent for a router which might be second hand and supports old technology.
The type of router and technology used by it determines the speed and quality of connection. Here are some tips on what to look for if you are planning to buy a new wireless router.
Features to look for in a wireless router
Check the Technology supported by the Router
If you find a reasonably priced Wireless Routers, most probably it will be the one which support 802.11n standards which claims to support transfer speeds upto 450 Mbps (megabits per second). If you have a 3G connection, an 802.11n is enough.
We now have 4G and very soon we will have 5G connection with insane internet speed. To get full advantage of these connection speeds, you need the latest technology 802.11ac. The latest router have three antennae and supports speed upto 1.5 Gbps. For those who are into streaming HD Video and online gaming, this is for you. As of now, the routers with this technology is a little expensive, but worth going for it if you want to future proof your router and get maximum benefit of high speed internet.
Check for built-in Modem
In old times, ISP provide internet using a modem and then they connect the modem to a router which allow sharing internet among other devices. In these cases, ISP charge a small amount as rent for these devices. Most of the devices provided by ISP’s are also outdated.
Now, Wireless Routers are available which comes with or without a modem inbuilt in it. The price difference is not much between the two. It is advised to buy a wireless router with a modem inbuilt inside.
Another advantage of having a wireless router with an inbuilt modem is that both the modem and router is in sync when it comes to the technology used. So you get the maximum performance out of it provided a good internet connection.
So, go for a one time investment for a good router with inbuilt modem rather than paying a rent and using the outdated device provided by your ISP.
Single Band Router vs Dual Band Router
Most wireless routers use 2.4 GHz frequency to communicate. If the wireless router is kept in a place where there are lot of other routers, for e.g, apartment complexes, offices etc, there are chances of interference and frequent disconnections.
Latest wireless routers use dual band frequency 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. These routers have multiple antennas. Users can switch between any of these frequencies. If it seems the internet connection is frequently getting disconnected or slow, switch to 5 GHz frequency to reduce the chance of interference.
Routers with USB Ports
Go for a router with USB port.
Inside home or office network, you may want to share a printer or an external hard disk on the network. Usually these devices are connected to a computer or laptop and then it is shared on the network. Instead, go for a router which got USB port, so that it can be directly connected to the router. The communication is also faster this way.
The best brands in Wireless Routers
Netgear, Asus, Linksys and Belkin are some of the best brands. Asus currently has some models in the top list, but these are costly and highly recommended only for professional use. Netgear, Linksys and Belkin have models that work well for home networks.
Hope you find this information useful. Use the comment section for any further queries.