- Modems & Networking
Modems & Networking
The Essential Guide to Buying a Wireless Router
Buying a wireless router or modems as they are often called, can be a surprisingly tricky affair. Understandably, you want to choose a router that satisfies all your connectivity needs such as ample wireless coverage, decent speed, and reliable performance. However, wireless routers can cause a lot of confusion with their geeky technical terms, numbers, and competing industry standards. Nobody can be blamed for not knowing their 801.11 n from 802.11 ac.
Do not despair. In this article, we will demystify the technical jargons, so that you can buy the wireless router you truly need with full confidence.
Determine Your Need
The key to shopping smartly, and not just for wireless routers, is to know exactly what you want. Indeed, a great question to start with would be to ask if you even require a wireless coverage. If you are a single user who only uses a computer for general net surfing, then a cable/DSL line would suffice.
In the case of modems, you should ask yourself if you only need a simple wireless network for your home, or small business, as the case may be. Or do you want advanced features such as enhanced security, parental controls, ability to connect multiple USB devices, or sharing of data via external drives as well? While a simple wireless coverage can be provided by a basic inexpensive router, , higher end frills would require an advanced, and higher priced, modem.
Next up, review your internet usage. Do you use the internet for light tasks such as web surfing, emails, etc? Or are you a power user who streams high definition videos, plays bandwidth-heavy games online, or generally use a lot of data heavy applications in the course of your business? For a light user, a basic single band router would suffice. For the power users amongst you, consider a getting a dual band, high end router that can handle demanding speeds without breaking down.
The Modem Speed
One of the most discussed aspect of routers, one that you will always see prominently mentioned in adverts and packaging, is the speeds, written in the form of Mbps. The first thing to be very clear about here is that this advertised speed has nothing whatsoever to do with your actual internet speed. Your internet speed is determined by the plan you buy from your ISP. In other words, a 1750 Mbps router wouldn't shore up your internet speed compared to a 300 Mbps one.
The router speeds make a difference within the sub-network you create at your home or workplace. Thus, a higher router speed means faster transfer speed in transferring videos and music between devices connected to the wireless network.
What does 802.11n mean?
That intimidating alphanumeric code denotes the standard in wireless networking. In simpler words, you want a standard that can support all kinds of wireless devices. A wireless router with 802.11n standard means it can even support devices that do not conform to its own standards. If you want a future proof device, choose a router with 802.11 ac standard which supports all kinds of wireless devices, and delivers faster speeds as well. Choosing a wireless router that supports IPv6 would also obviate need for upgrading it any time soon.
Choose a router that provides WPA2 level of security. If you want advanced security features such as parental control, consider one that offers Nighthawk.