This time, we will try to tell you how to choose a wi-fi router, and what criteria you need to pay attention to. To do this, we will listen to expert opinion, consider different types of equipment, the importance of certain characteristics, including the range of broadcasting, standards, types of antennas. In addition, we will talk about the important points, which are often overlooked by novice users. In particular, whether a USB port, VPN, and other things are needed.
Before you consider the rating of the best routers, we recommend deciding on a number of parameters. Answer the following questions for yourself:
- How many devices you will connect to your network;
- How much are you willing to pay for the device;
- How important is security?
Knowing the answers will help you decide more quickly on the best model among the variety of equipment.
Broadcast range of the router
Modern models broadcast at 2.4 or 5 GHz. When choosing a router for multiple users, the former is sufficient. More advanced models support both frequencies. There are rare exceptions targeted at the corporate market segment, but we are not interested in them.
Advantages of the 2.4 GHz frequency include low cost, a good range (up to 15 meters) and good obstacle passability. The disadvantage is that due to the work of microwave ovens, wireless controllers and other equipment there is a frequency load.
The advantages of the 5 GHz frequency is the absence of congestion, which eliminates the possibility of interference from nearby operating routers and other equipment. At the same time, due to the limitations of the coverage area, it is more difficult to connect to such a router from the outside, which reduces the likelihood of hacking. The disadvantage is that the signal is more difficult to pass obstacles. In addition, the cost of such devices starts at $25. So, for a private house, you can use the 2.4 GHz frequency due to the lack of other access points nearby. But for an apartment building, it is more appropriate to buy a router with a frequency of 5 GHz.
This parameter is responsible for the maximum bandwidth. All standards are marked with Latin letters at the end of the numeric set. A, B, G are considered obsolete. Therefore, when choosing a wi-fi router for an apartment or home, it is better to focus on the standards n and ac, as they have more attractive characteristics:
- 802.11 n – the maximum data rate ranges from 55 to 220 Mbit/sec, depending on the number of antennas. This standard supports both 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies;
- 802.11 ac – maximum speeds from 220 Mbit/s, but only at 5 GHz.
There is another standard AD, but it is not widespread, since the initial cost is $250.
How many antennas does a wi-fi router need?
Antennas are classified by location, mounting, number and mode of operation. Taken together, this is one of the key points to consider when choosing a router for an apartment, because it determines the speed of data exchange and signal transmission range. According to the location there are the following types of antennas:
- Internal type – less preferred, but a cheap option. Range of signal transmission is lower;
- Outdoor type – are in demand because they allow you to adjust the direction of the signal. In addition, outdoor antennas are characterized by a larger range of coverage.
According to the method of attachment, there are the following types:
- fixed – do not involve power amplification;
- Detachable – provide for disassembly to change the basic version for reinforced antennas.
The number can range from 1 to 8 antennas. In some cases, you can install more, but for the house is enough for 1-4 pieces. On average the bandwidth of one antenna is 150 Mbit/sec. Of course, much depends on the quality of the product.
Expert advice on choosing a router
Quite often novice users are not interested in the modes of the antennas, focusing only on their number. Suppose the buyer is not enough 1 antenna, and he decides to buy a model with 3 antennas, without paying due attention to their modes. What will be the result? Of course, he will regret the wrong choice of wi-fi router, when he realizes that 2 of them work for sending data and only 1 for receiving. And in models with 6 antennas, a maximum of 2 are allocated to work with a frequency of 5 GHz. And about this too prefer to keep silent sellers-consultants and manufacturers of equipment. Therefore, the number should be paid less attention than the purpose of these elements.
Number of ports
To connect the router to the Internet, one of two types of ports is used. In rare cases, the device includes 2 outlets for the following types of wires:
- DSL – a telephone line is used to connect to the Internet;
- Ethernet – to connect you need a provider’s equipment.
The first option is cheaper, but does not involve too much hassle if you decide to change your provider. The second is preferable, since the cable itself is a twisted pair – a durable, reliable option with good bandwidth.
A Lan port is used to connect the equipment to the router. There can be from 1 to 10 connectors. When choosing a wi-fi router, pay attention to the type of ports. If the speed is less than 100 Mbps, the Fast Ethernet standard is sufficient. If higher, it is advisable to use a Gigabit Ethernet Lan-port to connect laptops, PCs and other equipment.
Some models have one or more USB ports. This allows you to connect storage devices for cloud storage. Also the slot is useful to connect a modem as a backup way to access the Internet or as a master of downloading torrents when the PC is switched off. Actually, even if you are not interested in these functions now, they can come in handy in the future, when you have mastered all the features of this type of equipment. Therefore, it is better to be prudent and buy a model equipped with this port.
Some routers are equipped with additional functions in the form of a built-in VPN and a firewall. This will allow you to control and filter traffic. In addition, you can protect yourself from unauthorized access from the outside.
In conclusion, we would like to note that when choosing a router for your home, you should not ignore the hardware components: memory and processor. Because the shortage affects the performance of the router, and will allow you to work with a limited amount of equipment. If you intend to connect several devices to work on the Internet, it is better to pay due attention to the power of the device.
An expert in household appliances and electronics. I prepare and publish reviews, ratings and instructions for choosing the best models and brands. Higher education – IT engineer.