Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide Tutorial

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Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide. WiFi Router Buying Guide. With the increase demand for Wi-Fi connectivity. It’s more important than ever to equip your home or business with a capable wireless router. Best routers to buy.


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Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide

Choosing a Wireless Router

When choosing a new Router, you should always consider:

  • The size of your covered area.
    The number of connected clients.
    The type of devices that will connect to the router.
    Do you need the performance offered by the latest models?
    And there’s no reason to pay for features you’ll probably never use!

But if you need bandwidth for things like streaming video or playing online games, a new router can make the difference.

Single-band Router operate on the 2.4GHz WiFi frequency.
They are the least expensive, but they have to compete with other devices on the same radio band, such as microwave ovens, Blue tooth devices and wireless phones. They are perfectly for Web surfing and to connect to social media services.

If you have devices that will be streaming video from a service such as Netflix, or connecting to an online gaming service, such as the Xbox Live, you should consider a Dual-band router.
The 5GHz wifi band is typically less crowded, has minimal signal interference and offers more throughput. It’s ideal for video streaming and games.
You can also free up the load by assigning one Band to a specific application or client.

Tri-band Router. These routers operates with one of 2.4GHz and two of 5GHz bands.
These routers are a good for multi-device house holders with heavy network traffic, with lots of video streaming, torrent downloading or even file transfers and online gaming.

Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide

Wireless Protocols

To send and receive data the Wireless networks makes use of the 802.11 protocols.
Devices with older standards are limited to data rates of 11 and 54Mbps. And they only operate on the 2.4GHz band.

The most used Wi-Fi protocol is the 802 11n. It as a maximum of data rates up to 600Mbps, and operates in both 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi bands, it utilizes MIMO technology, which uses several antennas to send and receive up to four spatial streams resulting in better performance.

The 802.11ac technology, brings several improvements over the previous protocols. It offers wider channel bandwidth. More MYMO spatial streams, and beamforming. A technology that sends Wi-Fi signals directly to a client, rather than broadcasting in all directions.

The 802.11ac protocol also offers downstream MU-MIMO technology. Which provides bandwidth to multiple devices simultaneously rather than sequentially. This means, 4 clients can receive their own data streams instead of waiting in turn to receive data from the router.

But for MU-MIMO to work. The router and client devices must contain MU-MIMO Wi-Fi circuitry.

A Router with a label like AC1200, means the maximum speed of the router. For example a Dual-Band Router can achieve data rates of 400 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, and 800Mbps on the 5GHz, but in real-world applications Routers rarely reach these maximum speeds.

Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide

FEATURES

To connect to wired devices look for a Router with at least four Gigabit Ethernet ports. At least one USB or USB type-c port. And try to choose a router that offers removable antennas.

If you want to manage your Wi-Fi network. Make sure your next router has Parental controls, Quality of Service options and a guest-network feature.

Parental controls allow you to limit network access for certain users in specific times and days. Is Ideal for parents who want to manage their child’s online gaming and social net working activities.

With Quality of Service settings (QoS), you can decide which applications and clients get network priority. For example if one device is streaming video and another is downloading files, you can give priority to the streaming device to avoid the out of sync video.

With a Guest Network you create a separate network with a Service Set Identifier and password. This way you offer Wi-Fi connectivity without leaving your entire network vulnerable.

Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide

SECURITY

WPS is one of the less secure Wi-Fi set ups. Is when a router allows you to add compatible devices
with the push of a button. You Just press the WPS button on the router, and then press the WPS button on the client device to add it to your network.

More secure connections is with Wi-Fi Protected Access, which requires entering a network password for each device. Routers with WPA-Enterprise security, offers a higher level of security than WPA and WPA2, But it requires a RADIUS server to authenticate each client.

The technology currently used to assign IP addresses is the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). A 32-bit addressing scheme that will run out of addresses due the number of devices conecting to the internet ant it will be replaced by its successor, the Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6).

Most routers have built-in support for IPv6 addressing, but it’s a good idea to verify this before you buy your next router.

Most routers have built-in support for IPv6 addressing, but it’s a good idea to verify this before you buy your next router.

Extend you WiFi Signal

If you live in a large home you may have Wi-Fi “dead zones”, areas of your home where your main router isn’t able to reach with a wireless signal.

An easy way to solve Wi-Fi dead zones is with a wireless range extender, which will pick up your router’s Wi-Fi signal, amplify it, and rebroadcast it. They are relatively easy to install but they have some limitations, the rebroadcasted signal is usually half the strength of your main router. And they create a separate network that difficults the roaming through your home.

Another option we have is to use a router configured as a repeater bridge. Custom Firmwares such as DD-WRT and OpenWRT are commonly used for this.

Wi-Fi Mesh Network Systems, a technology that offers an easy way to cover your home with Wifi without additional range extenders.

A Mesh network system is a technology that uses extension nodes or satellites that extend your Wi-Fi signal over a larger area. Systems like Google Wifi and Linksys Velop, employ mesh technology. The satellites communicate with each other to provide coverage throughout your home.

While others like the NetGear Orbi High-Performance System, use a dedicated Wi-Fi band to communicate with their satellite. Depending on the number of nodes in the system you choose, you can extend a consistent internet connection across 4,000 to 6,000 square feet of space.

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