Purchasing a new wireless router may not be at the top of your list for the most exciting activity of the day, but it can save a lot of headaches further down the line. They are the epicentre of any home or business network and, therefore, it is imperative that you receive the best service for your money.
At home, we tend to just plug in the free router that our internet service provider sent to us. However, these can be basic and often not ideal for business internet connectivity. It can often be best to spend some extra money and upgrade your router to receive better speeds and improved performance, as well as extra features such as file or printer sharing.
What makes a good wireless router?
In basic terms, you want your router to help you get the most out of your internet connection. The best routers on the market are so far evolved that you will not experience any congestion, even if your whole office is watching HD videos at the same time. Furthermore, very many are so powerful that it will not matter where your router is located, they can penetrate through walls and floors with little interference.
Even if you are an IT expert, there is no reason to buy a complicated router with a web of wires. The most effective routers are extremely easy to set-up; a simple plug in and go.
What features should I look for with a new router?
When browsing for a new router you will be met with single and dual-band options. For businesses, dual-band routers are best. Single band routers are ideal for homes as they operate on one frequency and, in the workplace, this can become congested.
Granted, dual-band routers are more expensive, but they suffer less interference and will deliver you the top speeds. They run on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, which means neither band will become oversaturated.
After opting to purchase a dual-band, you will notice each generation of router is distinguished by a letter. The first generation of wireless routers was ‘b’, followed by ‘g’, ‘n’, and ‘ac’ today. As the models have evolved, each offers a longer range and faster speeds.
It may seem obvious to purchase an ‘ac’ router, however, you must ensure that your devices support the same technology. If you don’t, you will purchase an expensive router that will have to revert to running a less powerful standard, such as that of a ‘g’ or ‘n’ router.
A last handy feature of a router can be USB ports. Like the USB slots on our laptops and modems, it means you can plug in a hard drive or memory stick, and share all the information on it network wide.
What type of router should I buy?
We have outlined the key features you should be looking for in your router upgrade, but they are some areas when you can trip up. We tend to assume that we can plug in a router and get wireless access instantly. However, routers actually transfer data from a modem and stream it to your computer, laptop, phone, or tablet. It is the modem that controls the internet access.
The free routers we receive from providers usually have a built-in modem which is ideal; everything is in one plug in and go package. However, the best third party routers will require you to plug it in to a separate modem to be able to transmit wireless internet.
Why am I not receiving fast speeds from my new router?
Although having a new and powerful router can improve your internet speeds, it will be your broadband provider that is the cause of the underlying issue. Your all-singing all-dancing router will be able to deliver superfast connection, but if your maximum download speed from your provider is 10Mbps, it will not vastly improve this. You will need to get in touch with you provider for a solution. Whatever your new router can deliver, it will, if the broadband is strong to begin with.
However, if you already have a speedy internet connection, or are planning to upgrade, your router will be able to emit this signal further and make file sharing and connecting to the internet seamless.