What to Look For When Buying Wireless Routers
Posted: Feb 22, 2019
It is not an easy task to buy a good router that can deliver Wi-Fi reliably. Especially, if you are a beginner then this task becomes more difficult for you. The wireless routers are usually defined by using terms which are hard to understand as they have no connection with real-life. In order to make this task easier for you, we have listed the most important things that you should look for when buying a wireless router.
1. Do not go below AC1200!
The wireless routers include their bandwidth in their names. You may have heard of AC1200, AC1900 or AC5400 routers. From this naming convention, you cannot get to know the speed of the wireless router; hence, it holds no meaning in real life. Though, do not buy any router below AC1200. Hence, if you see any router in the market that is below AC1200, this means that it is an outdated technology which is no more useful. So, do not buy it. The old routers are not good for smart homes where you need fast speed, reliability, and security.
2. Choose a dual-band or tri-band router
You must choose a router that is at least dual band. Now, you must be wondering that what does this term mean? Basically, the router broadcasts the wireless signal on two frequencies in case of dual-band and more in case of tri or other bands. Therefore, you will see two or more wireless networks when you set up the connection.
One of the frequencies is always the same i.e., 2.4 GHz frequency. This frequency works only with old wireless standards like 802.11n. The advantage of using this band is that it is compatible with old networking devices and moreover, it also offers a large coverage area. Though this band is slow, and it also causes congestion issues especially in office premises where everyone has a Wi-Fi working on 2.4GHz band.
The dual-band or tri-band routers also use 5GHz frequency. This frequency is much faster than 2.4 GHz and uses modern standards like 802.11ac or 802.11ac Wave 2 (an improved version of the initial 802.11ac standard). In this case, congestion is a rare problem as this frequency is not much used and it has a wider coverage area. If you want a full HD streaming in your home, then dual-band or tri-band router is the best choice for you.
3. The router must support MU-MIMO or 802.11ac Wave 2
MU-MIMO, Multi-User MIMO or Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output is the capability of transmitting to multiple wireless clients simultaneously. It can also be defined as the ability to transfer data to a network client using multiple data streams at once. Hence, by using this transfer method, a wireless router can communicate with more than one client at a time on a single wireless radio channel or it can also talk to one client using multiple data streams on the same channel.
The Multi-User MIMO is part of the 802.11ac Wave 2 standard. This wave standard was issued by the Wi-Fi Alliance in the summer of 2015. So, whenever you buy a Wi-Fi router, always make sure that it offers MU-MIMO or support for 802.11ac Wave 2. This choice will provide you with faster internet facility and it will also deal with more wireless clients at the same time.
4. Fast processor and a lot of RAM
The hardware inside the router is of critical importance. The processor and the quality of RAM matters a lot. Nowadays, modern homes are smart, and they consist of a lot of devices that are required to be connected to Wi-Fi. Video streaming and online gaming, etc. consume lots of data; therefore, a WiFi router must have good processing power in order to transfer the data at a faster pace.
When you buy a wireless router, you should analyze its core i.e., whether it has a single-core, dual-core, or quad-core processor and its operating frequency. As obvious from the name, the dual-core processor has the ability to deal with more clients as compared to single-core. This rule is the same as in the case of mobile phones, tablets, PCs, laptops etc.
Always keep in mind that the processor should not be lower than a single-core running at 800MHz. This is the minimum requirement for smart homes. However, the dual and quad core processors are expensive, but they are the best choice as those processors can deal with more data.
Moreover, choose a router which should not have less than 128MB of RAM. If you can afford, then you should choose the one which has 256MB of RAM or more.
5. USB (preferably USB 3.0)
It is a must-have requirement to have at least one USB port. In modern homes, we usually need to connect the USB device to our routers such as external hard disks, printers, USB modems, etc. Therefore, the wireless router must have at least one USB port; USB 3.0 is preferred.
6. Real-life speed
The sellers do not tell you the real-life speed of a router while selling it. Even, you cannot get it by reading the specifications. In specifications, the manufacturers show the theoretical numbers that are measured in specialized labs. The environment of these labs is very different from your home or office. Hence, you must read the reviews of users and specialists before purchasing the router. Read the reviews of the people who are using real-life computers and devices to make measurements. Read the publications that use the gadgets and computers for measuring the speed and not any lab like equipment. This is the only way of knowing the real-life speed of the router which you are buying.
So, these were some tips that you should keep in mind while buying a new wireless router for your home or office space. We recommend you buy your wireless devices from online stores which offer different communication products and tools such as the crimper tool at reasonable prices.
Shawn mike provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. He occasionally writes articles for Dynamologic Solutions.