What to Know Before You Choose a New Wireless Router

Published On November 26, 2013 | Electronics

Long gone are the days when you had to run wires and cables all over your house just to get the internet into your bedroom. The Wi-Fi revolution has spread to our homes and given us the freedom to use our devices wherever we choose. As the technology continues to evolve it can be difficult to know which features and products in the marketplace best suit our needs. Whether shopping for an upgrade or for the first time, let’s take a look at a major component of your wireless system, the wireless router.

The Router Itself

A wireless router allows wireless (and wired) devices to connect to your Internet connection and to communicate with other devices on your home network. So if you enjoy taking your laptop from room to room, have multiple electronic gadgets in your household or might enjoy streaming music or video to all your devices simultaneously, you’ll need a wireless router.

What You Want and What You Need

What you really want is the fastest wireless router with the farthest range, at the best price. You are going to need a router compatible with 802.11n standard. Look for a dual band wireless router that supports both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. The 5 GHz is less crowded and may perform better but has limited range. Also, be sure to purchase a wireless router with an antenna that can easily be upgraded once newer and better technology arises.

The Software

With just a little extra effort and configuration, today’s wireless routers can boost your system’s performance and tighten its security. Be sure that WPA2 encryption is a security option. Be aware of your ability to set parental controls and try prioritizing net traffic from your favorite sites. USB support allows you to link up a hard drive or printer and share with the entirety of your network. Check out other features that allow new devices to be connected with ease and let visitors get guest internet access without ever accessing your network.

Be Wary

Your ISP will have wireless routers bundled with their cable modems or DSL modems. The price will be high and there is no need to lease an affordable product that you can buy. Don’t worry about network incompatibility — it is now mostly a relic of the past. There is a faster and newer 802.11ac standard, however at this time most devices do not support this technology and there is currently not enough reason to overpay for it. Don’t believe the hype of performance numbers — they rarely stand up under real life circumstances.

What’s Right for You

Be sure to choose the wireless router that is the best fit for how you use or plan to use your Wi-Fi. If you aren’t into a lot of customizing or modification, Apple routers are a great choice. For the more tech savvy, Netgear, D-Link, and Linksys products may be what you are looking for. And finally, it pays to shop around. You should be able to find an 802.11n standard dual band wireless router that supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz for under $100.

How does Wi-Fi make your day better? What kind of software do you run? Have you tried moving up to the 802.11ac?

Norman Fong is Co-Founder of www.buyvia.com, an online, Android and iOS App smart shopping service that lists reputable products from top online stores, at the best price available. By downloading the BuyVia Android and iOS App to their Android Device, iPhone or iPad, consumers can be alerted to the best deals on the most popular products, anywhere and anytime.

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