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How to choose a wireless router

Both at home and in offices, these small boxes with antennas provide stable and fast Internet access. In recent years, Wi-Fi technology has become much more reliable, stable, and faster. The need for using wires has practically disappeared. But choosing a router is now very difficult than ever. Models of approximately similar costs do not differ much from each other in terms of characteristics. But in reality, they can show themselves in different ways.

Perhaps the main tip when choosing a wireless router for your home or office is to rely on brand awareness. Big-name companies like Asus, Netgear, and Apple rarely make models that could be called bad. But there are still a lot of nuances.

In the next section, we will talk about the main characteristics of wireless routers that you should consider when choosing. Then we will give some tips, and at the end of the article, we will tell you about five models worthy of your attention that you can buy from sellers in our catalog.

Key features to look out for

Wi-Fi standard

Routers that support the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard can transfer data at speeds from 433 Mb / s to 6.77 Gb / s. If you plan to transmit high-quality content over your home network, then such a router will help a lot. Routers with 802.11ac support are significantly more expensive than others. And if you are on a budget, you can limit yourself to the previous generation standard – 802.11n, but not older.

Simultaneous dual-band operation

Routers with this function have two wireless chips inside. It can operate at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies simultaneously. It allows you to significantly speed up the transfer of information and make it more stable. If this mode is enabled, then devices with support for Wi-Fi at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz will not “interfere” with each other on the air.

USB connectors

A USB router usually allows devices on the network to easily and quickly access content, such as a USB storage device, and stream videos, music, or view photos from it. Also, the USB port can be used to set up Wi-Fi on new devices in the network. You only need to transfer the corresponding settings to them using a flash drive.

MIMO support

Without going into excessive technical details, this technology can significantly increase the range of a wireless network and the stability of data transmission with its help. This support is a big plus.

The ability to work as a DLNA server

Routers with this feature allow you to easily and quickly access multimedia files on devices on the network. DLNA supports any modern mobile device or TV, watch videos, and listening to music within your local network is much more convenient than using many other methods.

Print Server

If there is a print server in the router, you can connect any printer to it by making the latter a network one. It is a handy feature for offices.

Ethernet ports

If you plan to connect some devices to the router using wires, then this is an important parameter. Ethernet ports with a maximum speed of 100 Mb / s (slightly more than 8 MB / s) are simply not suitable for modern tasks. And 1 Gb / s is already more than 80 MB / s. It should be enough for copying a large amount of data and viewing the high-quality video.

Guest network

This feature will allow your clients or guests to connect to the local network without using a master password. 

Repeater mode

This mode will allow you to use the router as a repeater (repeater). It will repeat all signals coming from the main router. 

It allows you to expand the range of the wireless network.

Firewall

The built-in firewall (Firewall) is one of the primary measures to protect the local network from outside intruders. To use it effectively, you will have to set the settings manually – you need to have some network administrator skills.

NAT

Allows you to use one IP address for the local network, with the help of which servers and PCs from the Internet access all devices on the network. An important feature is if your ISP only provides one IP address.

VPN support

VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology allows you to organize secure data transmission over the Internet using the most powerful encryption. Two or more devices with its help make up a “virtual local area network.” VPN support is essential for companies whose employees often access crucial information from home, other branches, or business trips.

DMZ (Demilitarized Zone)

This feature allows you to target individual devices to the weaker area of ​​the firewall. Useful for running servers and some network games.

Antennas

In general, routers with external antennas do their job better than routers with internal antennas. Their number also directly affects the signal quality. But at home, 1 or 2 antennas are enough.

Useful Tips

Be sure to determine in advance the place where the router will be located. Ideally, this is the approximate center of an apartment or office, high on the wall. Between it and any point where access to the network is needed, there should not be many obstacles – walls, doors, and metal structures.

Wi-Fi AC support is not always needed. The Internet access speed under normal conditions does not exceed the maximum data transfer rate in the Wi-Fi N specification. So the AC standard will only be needed if you plan to transfer large amounts of data in a local network. For example, stream a high-quality video stream from a PC to a set-top box.

Routers issued for free by Internet providers usually do not shine. If you are concerned about the stability and speed of network access, it is better to replace such a router as soon as possible.

Top 5 wireless routers

ASUS RT-AC88U

ASUS RT-AC88U is a top-of-the-line Asus model with almost all the features a power user might need – both at home and in the office.

Features:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
  • frequency range – 2.4 / 5 GHz
  • data transfer rate – up to 3167 Mb / s
  • 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 2 USB ports (2.0, 3.0)
  • file server, FTP server
  • print server
  • guest network
  • download files
  • firewall
  • DMZ
  • 4 detachable external antennas
  • 512 MB RAM

ASUS RT-AC3200

It is an Expensive and powerful Asus wireless router for enthusiasts and professionals.

Features:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
  • frequency range – 2.4 / 5 GHz
  • data transfer rate – up to 3167 Mb / s
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • USB port (2.0 / 3.0)
  • file server, FTP server
  • print server
  • guest network
  • download files
  • firewall
  • DMZ
  • 6 detachable external antennas
  • 256 MB RAM

ASUS RT-N66U

Mid-budget Asus model, which is perfect for use in small apartments and offices.

Features:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n
  • frequency range – 2.4 / 5 GHz
  • data transfer rate – up to 900 Mb / s
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • file server, FTP server
  • print server
  • guest network
  • download files
  • firewall
  • DMZ
  • 3 detachable external antennas
  • 256 MB RAM

TP-LINK Archer C9

TP-LINK Archer C9 is an inexpensive, sleek, and fast TP-Link wireless router.

Features:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
  • frequency range – 2.4 / 5 GHz
  • data transfer rate – up to 1900 Mb / s
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • USB port (2.0 / 3.0)
  • file server, FTP server
  • print server
  • guest network
  • firewall
  • DMZ
  • 3 detachable external antennas
  • 128 MB RAM

D-link DIR-890L

D-link DIR-890L is a good-looking, expensive, and highly capable D-link router.

Features:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
  • frequency range – 2.4 / 5 GHz
  • data transfer rate – up to 3167 Mb / s
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • USB port (2.0 / 3.0)
  • file server
  • firewall
  • DMZ
  • 6 non-detachable external antennas
  • 256 MB RAM

What do you think?

Written by HackerVibes

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