How to Choose a Router (2022): Tips, Technical Terms, and Advice

How to Choose a Router (2022): Tips, Technical Terms, and Advice Leave a comment

Everyone desires dependable and quick web, and a good router might help. The trick is to work out how the difficult mess of requirements, complicated acronyms, and sci-fi-sounding options translate to higher Wi-Fi in your house. Join us as we tear again the curtain to reveal the pertinent info about Wi-Fi, routers, mesh programs, and different jargon. Hopefully, you may be higher geared up to purchase a router by the tip. 

Updated June 2022: We added to the mesh programs part, linked to our router information and Wi-Fi 7 explainer, and up to date the newest broadband speeds.

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Who Is Your Internet Service Provider?

Internet service suppliers (ISPs) join your property to the web, and they normally ship you a modem and router (generally in a single gadget). The modem connects your property to the broader web; the router hooks up to the modem, and you join all of your devices—with wires or wirelessly—to the router to entry that connectivity. ISPs typically cost you a rental payment for this tools, and their routers are normally primary by way of efficiency and options. The excellent news is that ISPs are by legislation not allowed to power you to use their tools or cost you to use your own hardware, although you should still have to return their stuff to keep away from costs.

We’re largely taking a look at utilizing your individual router on this information and utilizing your ISP’s modem. By utilizing your individual, you’ll be able to doubtlessly lower your expenses in the long run, however you can even take pleasure in sooner Wi-Fi, higher protection, simpler configuration, and further options like parental controls and visitor Wi-Fi networks. We will run by means of your router choices, however no matter system you resolve to go together with, examine compatibility together with your ISP earlier than shopping for. You can even search your ISP’s boards to discover posts the place folks focus on utilizing totally different routers and modems. Some research earlier than you store can prevent a massive headache down the road.

What Kind of Router Do You Need?

Photograph: Netgear

There are numerous ways to make your Wi-Fi faster, and shopping for a new router is among the most evident. To allow you to resolve on the kind of router to go for, calculate the tough sq. footage of your property earlier than you start.

Single Router

The easiest resolution for most individuals is to select a single router or a router and modem combo. Bear in thoughts that this gadget can have to plug into your present socket or modem by way of Ethernet cable, which restricts the place you’ll be able to place it. The Wi-Fi sign can be strongest close to the router and will step by step drop off and decelerate the additional away you get.

Routers ought to at all times state sq. footage for protection, however sure kinds of building—thick partitions, insulation, and different gadgets—can intervene with Wi-Fi indicators, so don’t anticipate to take pleasure in full-speed Wi-Fi at longer distances. Powerful routers with broad protection are sometimes massive gadgets with a number of exterior antennas, however they’re normally very costly.

Mesh Systems

If you will have a massive house and need strong protection in your backyard, or you will have thick partitions and particular useless spots together with your present setup, then mesh Wi-Fi may very well be the reply. Mesh systems encompass a central hub, which connects identical to a single router, in addition to extra satellites or nodes you’ll be able to place across the house.

Devices join to the web by means of the closest node, so you’ll be able to obtain wider Wi-Fi protection and a extra dependable connection in several areas by including a node. Just keep in mind that every node will want a energy outlet. Mesh programs are sometimes costlier than single-router setups (though not always), however they improve protection and reliability, and they typically boast extra options and management choices. They additionally have a tendency to be smaller than common routers and are sometimes designed to mix in together with your decor.

Most mesh programs are expandable, and some producers permit you to hyperlink particular person routers to create a mesh, so you can begin with a single router and add extra as required. Just be sure you perceive which gadgets are suitable. For instance, any Asus router that helps AiMesh can work as a part of a mesh system, however TP-Link’s OneMesh expertise solely permits you to add suitable Wi-Fi extenders—you’ll be able to’t hyperlink routers collectively.

Alternatives to a New Router

Photograph: Eskay Lim/Getty Images

If your problem is extra about protection and you will have a single downside room the place you need to enhance Wi-Fi, or a specific gadget that wants a sooner connection, you may not want to purchase a new router. Try one in all these alternate options. They every have their very own technical challenges and potential points. Even when efficiently deployed, they gained’t come shut to matching the comfort of a good mesh system, however they’re all less expensive.

Wi-Fi Repeaters

You can use Wi-Fi repeaters to unfold the Wi-Fi from a single router a bit additional and doubtlessly increase the sign in a useless spot. These gadgets are a good resolution for some folks, however they are often inefficient, susceptible to interference, and typically create a secondary community with a totally different identify out of your common Wi-Fi.

Power Line Adapters

Sold in pairs, energy line adapters cross an web sign by means of your electrical wiring. You plug one into a energy outlet close to your router and join it with an Ethernet cable, whereas the opposite energy line adapter plugs into a energy outlet within the room the place you need sooner web. They might be a good resolution if in case you have a console or good TV in your lounge in the back of the home, however your router is within the entrance corridor, for instance. Unfortunately, effectiveness relies upon closely in your electrical wiring.

MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance)

If your property already has coaxial cables put in (maybe for cable TV), you need to use them to create a dependable wired community that provides excessive speeds and low latency in contrast to Wi-Fi. You should purchase routers, community adapters, or Wi-Fi extenders that assist the MoCA standard. Much like energy line adapters, this may be a wonderful means to cross an web sign to a good TV, recreation console, or desktop that does not get a robust Wi-Fi sign.

Access Points

If you don’t thoughts a problem and have a spare outdated router mendacity round, you’ll be able to look into configuring it as an entry level or utilizing it as a Wi-Fi extender. This might be significantly efficient in the event you’re ready to join it to your principal router by way of cabling, however configuration can show tough.

Photograph: Getty Images

There’s lots to contemplate once you’re attempting to resolve how briskly your router needs to be. The most pace of your web is decided by your ISP. Internet speeds are acknowledged in Mbps (megabits per second). The median international mounted broadband pace is 64 Mbps for downloads and 27 Mbps for uploads, in accordance to Ookla’s Speedtest. Most ISPs will state up to a sure pace or provide you with a vary—like 300 Mbps obtain and 30 Mbps add—however what you really get is usually decrease than the utmost (particularly add speeds), and it have to be shared between your entire related gadgets. 

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