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2014-10-07 : 40112 Hit

7 Steps on how to choose a Wireless Router



A wireless router is a critical piece of hardware in a home local area network, or LAN. It can also be troublesome and difficult to install and maintain. Looking carefully for the best wireless router can be helpful for those who want to profit from a wireless high-speed Internet connection in the home or a small business, or anywhere else that wireless routers are used. Although everyone's shopping experience is different, here are some common steps to help you choose a wireless router that will be a good fit for your wireless network.
1. Evaluate signal strength.
Different wireless routers are rated for different signal strengths. Even for a small apartment, signal strength can be an issue even with the most-up-to-date router. Figure out which one fits your network needs. Signal strength is best evaluated by real-life tests, and not from manufacturer's published specifications.
  • Understand obstacles in an interior home environment, as well as the specific distance that the signal will need to go for use in any particular part of the building.
2. Decide on speed.
Make sure the router will support an existing Internet connection (Cable, DSL, etc.)
  • Look at Mbps, or megabits per second. For the latest routers, the theorethical limit is 600 mbps; most up-to-date routers support 300 mbps (802.11N standard). The previous standard (802.11G) is 54 Mbps. Check the manufacturer's documentation or ask a knowledgeable salesperson about the specifications.

  • 802.11N. Find out whether your client devices all support 802.11N standard. If all of them do, you are safe to choose 802.11N router. If they don't (and have 802.11G instead), keep in mind that when N device is used at the same time with G device, effective speed is greatly reduced.

  • 2.4 GHz, 5GHz and non/concurrent dual-band:
  • If you need to use G and N devices at the same time, a dual-band router will help to avoid interference: you can connect a G device to 2.4GHz, and an N device to 5 GHz.
  • 802.11N. Find out whether your client devices all support 802.11N standard. If all of them do, you are safe to choose 802.11N router. If they don't (and have 802.11G instead), keep in mind that when N device is used at the same time with G device, effective speed is greatly reduced.
  • 5GHz gives weaker signal compared to 2.4GHz, especially at longer distance from router.

3. Test your choice of equipment.
Find a real-life speed throughput and range tests for the models you consider. Specifications give only a theoretical maximum, while tests will show how it will actually perform.
4. Choose encryption.
Think about the need for encryption. Wireless routers often employ WPA or other kinds of encryption to protect the network from intruders. You may need technical assistance from your router's manufacturer.

5. Keep in mind compatibility issues.
One of the other essential elements of choosing the best wireless router is to figure out how it will complement existing pieces of hardware in a home network.
  • Understand obstacles in an interior home environment, as well as the specific distance that the signal will need to go for use in any particular part of the building.

  • Look at matching the brand of a wireless router with the brand of existing network cards. For computer workstations or other hardware without built-in network capability, some network cards or cartridges allow the computer to access the wireless network. When the router matches these small adaptors or cards, the LAN connection may have better speed.

  • Think about matching a video game console. For example, the Nintendo Wii is a household hardware element that is often connected to a home wireless network. Although Nintendo does not promote a specific brand of wireless router, understanding compatibility with video game consoles can be another factor in choosing your router and other network equipment (client Wi-Fi adapters; NAS etc).
6. Evaluate customer support.
Buy a wireless router from a company with good customer support. Technical support and assistance may be critical for installing or dealing with the device.
7. Compare warranties.
One strategy for buying the best wireless router is to select one that will be guaranteed to last a certain length of time. Look carefully at warranty provisions and make this part of the pros and cons list for specific brands and models.
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