Every day the number of new users of the world wide web is growing, and the technologies of mobile devices and television do not stand still. More and more want to have constant access to high-speed wireless Internet at home and at work. In this case, so-called WI-FI routers or routers will come to the rescue, allowing you to distribute both wired (LAN) and wireless (Wi-Fi) Internet signal from the is provider to computers, smartphones, printers and other equipment.
But how to make the right choice? How not to make a mistake in choosing among the market number of all sorts of routers, differing both externally and internally? We will help you understand and understand what this device is and how to use it correctly. And, of course, how not to get caught by cunning sellers who from time to time try to implement unprofitable, sometimes just stale goods from the shelves of their stores.
The newcomer will decide with the choice is quite problematic, because you can easily confuse Wi-Fi router and access point, which on the one hand are very similar, but on the other hand are completely different in the type of device.
Wireless Access Point is a base station that provides wireless access to an existing network. There is no way to connect and create a wired network. Wireless data transmission, as well as routers, carry radio waves, which are defined by the standard IEEE 802.11. Routers operate exactly the same standard of wireless connection, but at the same time as all of these have the ability to connect to the network of devices using the wired standard Ethernet, so that on other desktop computers, where there is no possibility of connecting over Wi-Fi, there is the Internet. So we’ve figured out what the router’s difference is from the access point. Now it is necessary to understand how the routers differ from each other. After all, their number on the global market is not even tens, but hundreds, if not thousands!
You will understand the main difference after you decide which network you need to maintain. You may need a device either under the RJ-45 connector – the most common Internet connection in Russia, or under ADSL – an Internet connection via the phone cable, often offered by providers at the same time as TV and telephony. There are also routers that allow you to use mobile operators’ modem to connect to the Internet via 3G4G. And some are even equipped with a slot for the SIM card, which eliminates the need to buy and connect a separate modem – it is actually built into such a model.
If the RJ-45 connector is simple enough, you need to make sure that the phone line connector is smaller than the traditional WAN connector when choosing a router for ADSL. If there is no such port on the hull, it is impossible to use such a router to connect to ADSL. To connect the USB modem, you need, as you can guess, a USB 2.0 port or its faster counterpart – USB 3.0. However, there is one important condition! Router should support your model USB modem, which now has a great many. Some routers have USB on their board, but they are not equipped with modem connectivity support – this also happens. The connector is then only used to connect external drives (then their contents are available to any other device in the Wi-Fi network you create).
We can say that we have decided on the purpose. Further attention will be focused on the cost of the device. The price range now varies from 500 rubles (for entry-level models) to 20,000 rubles (for top models). Accordingly, the functionality between them will be very different.
THE MAIN CRITERIA FOR SELECTION
The first thing to look out for is what standard Wi-Fi supports the router. It is designated as IEEE 802.11n – be sure to look at the letter at the end of the numbers. In the above example, this “n” – this letter indicates involvement in one of the most common standards today. Next, your attention should be drawn to the option of wireless data speed. It is desirable that it should be 300 (Mbitzek) or even reach larger values. Speed depends on the Wi-Fi standard. And you need to understand that real bandwidth will always be lower. To translate the specifications into the megabytes we’re used to, you need to divide megabits by 8. In the case of Wi-Fi 802.11n, the speed is more than enough for you to perform home tasks. A higher-speed standard may only be required if you have a huge number of gadgets that constantly require a large amount of Internet traffic.
The router’s characteristics necessarily indicate the number and speed of the ports. If you want to connect as many devices as possible with them, their number should be four, and the standard speed is 10100 (Mbpsek). One important point, you have to understand that to get the real speed of the Internet, which provides you provider, get only using a wired connection. By air, some crumbs of the signal are sure to get lost. If the speed given to you is 100 Mbpsek, but it will show up as 90-95 Mbpsek, then do not worry. This is the best you can count on when using a home router. The speed of data transmission also depends on the skillful setting of the connection itself, and the compatibility of your router with the provider.
Well, if the provider gives you access to the Internet at a speed of more than 100 Mbpsek, then approach the choice is a little more attentive. In this case, you can think about the router, which has the following characteristics:
- The WI-FI IEEE 802.11ac standard – in this case, the device runs at 5 GHz, the bandwidth of this standard starts from 433 Mbps and ends at 6.77 Gbps (as long as achieved by some manufacturers only experimentally). The reverse is compatible with the less speed standard 802.11n.
- LAN 1000 Mbpsek are so-called gigabitniks. Such high-speed ports are necessary when the information you are about to transmit through the cable is calculated in gigabytes.
Number of external antennas
Next, note how many antennas the device has. Ideally, there should be two for each of them to receive and transmit data. Then you can’t wait for the speed to drop, as is the case with one antenna. Well, if your choice falls on the router with three antennas, then one of them will accept, and the other transmit data. Or vice versa, if the load on one of them increases too much. As you understand, the more antennas, the better. Look at the strength of the recoil and the signal, which the manufacturer indicates in the characteristics. The ideal will be removable antennas with a gain factor of 5 dBi.
Ask how many ranges the Wi-Fi router works on. Of course, if it’s just a home router, you’ll choose a single-frequency device that operates at a standard 2.4GHz (2,400 MHz – 2,483.5 MHz) frequency range. If you have flagship smartphones and tablets, you can think about a two-range router capable of working at frequencies of 2.4 and 5 GHz. Switching between them is usually automatic. And if there are a lot of antennas on the device, both ranges work simultaneously.
Also take care of your router’s security system, and more specifically, which encryption method it supports. This is to protect the network from third-party connections to it. Please note that in addition to the popular WEP and WPA, there is also a method of encryption WPA2,as client adapters have long supported such an algorithm.
MINUTES AND SOFTWARE
Notice what protocol your ISP provides Internet services on and whether the device you choose supports it. In most cases, PPPoE and PPTPare preferred. But if you find out in the support service of the provider that the Internet is provided on the L2TPprotocol, then you should know that it is not supported by every router, as opposed to the above.
An important factor is the availability of service support – you will contact it in case of device failure. It is also desirable to have constantly updated software (firmware). Ask on the company’s website how long ago the software update was released and how many firmware there were. You can also see whether the device supports alternative firmware from other manufacturers. Finally, it’s worth knowing if the software is Russified.
MEMORY AND PROCESSOR
The router, like the PC, consists of RAM, processor and permanent working memory. Manufacturers very rarely specify this information, so it is the most difficult to look for it. In any case, you should have an idea of what to start from.
- The amount of RAM should be considered from 64MB. It depends on the speed of the router.
- The processorinside is very different from the chipsets we’re used to seeing in a personal computer. But the main parameter remains the clock speed of the processor. The higher it is, the more bandwidth the chipset will be. Ideally, this should be at least 300 MHz.
- Permanent memory,its volume should be at least 8 MB. It contains all the software. And the larger the volume, the more the functionality of the device with future firmware updates can be expanded.
THE MOST POPULAR PRODUCERS OF ROUTERS
As for the manufacturers of routers, today their number is in the dozens. Their products differ in price, functionality, appearance, performance, etc. The most popular models are presented by manufacturers such as TP-LINK, Xiaomi, NETGEAR, Tenda, D-link, zyXEL, ASUS. Take into account the fact that the price will always be the determining factor for quality and stability. 95-98% of all devices delivered to our market are collected in China, it is not worth paying attention to.
COMMON CUSTOMER ERRORS
- If you buy a low-power router for a room with a large area, then get attached to the fact that in the far part of it the signal will be caught almost will not.
- Pay attention to the budget models of routers. They can have the IEEE 802.11g communication standard, which is far from the maximum speed.
- If you have purchased a router with an outdated encryption method, the security of your connection will be at great risk. This is especially true when the device is used in the offices of large companies, afraid of leaking important information.