This time, we will try to tell you how to choose a WiFi router and what criteria you need to pay attention to. To do this, we will listen to the expert opinion, consider different types of equipment, the importance of individual characteristics, including the broadcast range, standards, types of antennas. In addition, let’s talk about important points that novice users often do not pay attention to. In particular, whether you need a USB port, VPN and so on.
Before you consider the rating of the best routers, we recommend that you decide on a number of parameters. Answer the following questions for yourself:
- How many devices will you connect to the network;
- How much you are willing to pay for the device;
- How important is the level of security.
Knowing the answers, you will quickly determine the optimal model among the variety of equipment.
Router broadcast range
Modern models broadcast the signal at a frequency of 2.4 or 5 GHz. When choosing a router for several users, the first one is enough. More advanced models support both frequencies. Rarely there are exceptions focused on the corporate segment of the market, but they are not interesting to us.
The advantages of the 2.4 GHz frequency include low cost, good range (up to 15 meters) and good cross-country ability of obstacles. The downside is that frequency congestion is observed due to the operation of microwave ovens, wireless controllers, and other equipment.
The advantages of the frequency of 5 GHz include the lack of congestion, which eliminates the likelihood of interference from a number of working routers and other equipment. At the same time, due to restrictions in the coverage area, it is more difficult to connect to such a router from the outside, which reduces the likelihood of hacking. The downside is that the signal is more difficult to pass obstacles. In addition, the cost of such devices starts from $ 25. Thus, for a private house, you can use the frequency of 2.4 GHz due to the lack of other access points nearby. But for an apartment building it is more expedient to buy a router with a frequency of 5 GHz.
This parameter is responsible for the maximum throughput. All standards are marked with Latin letters at the end of the numeric set. A, B, G are considered obsolete. Therefore, when choosing a WiFi router for an apartment or house, it is better to focus on n and ac standards since they have more attractive characteristics:
- 802.11 n – the maximum data transfer rate varies from 55 to 220 Mbps, depending on the number of antennas. This standard supports both frequencies: 2.4 and 5 GHz;
- 802.11 ac – maximum speed from 220 Mbps, but only at a frequency of 5 GHz.
There is another AD standard, but it is not common, as the initial cost is $ 250.
How many WiFi router antennas do you need?
Antennas are classified by location, mounting, quantity and mode of operation. Collectively, this is one of the key points that need to be considered when choosing a router for an apartment because the speed of data exchange and the range of signal transmission depend on it. By location, the following types of antennas are distinguished:
- internal type – less preferable, but cheap option. The signal transmission range is lower;
- external type – are in demand because they allow you to adjust the direction of the signal. In addition, external antennas have a large coverage range.
According to the method of fastening, there are the following types:
- fixed – do not imply power amplification;
- removable – provide for the dismantling to change the basic version to reinforced antennas.
The number can vary in the range from 1 to 8 antennas. In some cases, install more, but for the house is enough 1-4 pieces. On average, the bandwidth of one antenna is 150 Mbps. Of course, much depends on the quality of the product.
Expert advice on choosing a router
Quite often, novice users are not interested in antenna modes, focusing only on their number. Let’s say the buyer is not enough 1 antenna, and he decides to purchase a model with three without paying due attention to their modes of operation. The result? Naturally, he will regret the wrong choice of WiFi router when he realizes that 2 of them work to send data and only one received. At the same time, in models with 6 antennas, a maximum of 2 is assigned to work with a frequency of 5 GHz. And this is also preferred to keep silent sellers-consultants and manufacturers of equipment. Therefore, the quantity should be given less attention than the purpose of these elements.
Number of ports
To connect the router to the Internet, one of two types of Van-port is used. In rare cases, the device includes 2 outputs for the following types of wires:
- DSL – a telephone line is used to connect to the Internet;
- Ethernet – the provider’s equipment is required for connection.
The first option is cheaper but does not involve unnecessary hassle if you decide to change the provider. The second is preferable since the cable itself is a twisted pair – a durable, reliable option with good bandwidth.
To connect equipment to the router, a Lan port is used. Can be from 1 to 10 connectors. When choosing a WiFi router, pay attention to the type of ports. If the speed is less than 100 Mb/bit, Fast Ethernet is sufficient. If more, it is desirable to connect laptops, PCs, and other Lan-port format Gigabit Ethernet equipment.
Availability of USB-connector
Some models are equipped with 1 or more USB ports. This allows you to connect drives for the organization of cloud storage of information. Another connector is useful for connecting a modem as a backup way to access the Internet or the torrent download wizard when the PC is turned off. If even now you are not interested in these functions, in the future they can be useful when you have already mastered all the capabilities of this type of equipment. Therefore, it is better to be prudent and purchase a model equipped with this port.
Some routers are equipped with additional functions in the form of a built-in VPN and firewall. This will allow you to control and filter traffic. In addition, you can protect yourself from unauthorized access from the outside.
In conclusion, I would like to note that when choosing a router for the home, you should not ignore the hardware components: memory and processor. Since the deficit 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.