We at Linksys understand that picking out the right router can be a challenge. Do you buy the cheapest, most expensive or right in middle? Or is it not about price and all about function such as performance, dual band, features, or range? Or do you not really know?
60% of households are not wireless yet and we understand there are new users to wireless networking everyday and don’t really understand all the specs about a wireless router — only that they need one because they want to walk around their house with their laptop while still being connected to the internet or want to connect their new tablet to the internet wirelessly or maybe, just want to start a wireless home network.
All these reasons are good reasons to invest in a wireless router. The things you should look for are Wireless-N, which gives you the latest standard-based wireless technology with speeds up to 900 mbps (depending on the router), and Dual-Band which you should decide if you want or need this. If you have multiple users in your home, have a tablet or connect an internet enabled TV or game console you should look for a Dual Band routers, but if it’s just a few computers that want to connect to the internet wirelessly, a standard Wireless-N Router like the Linksys E1200 or E1500 will work just fine.
And lastly you should also look for features such as simple set up software, guest access, parental controls, automatic channel locator, Ethernet or Gigabit ports and USB ports that can connect printers and storage:
- Simple Setup Software – Like Cisco Connect software, the software enables users to setup all their wireless devices with ease
- Guest Access – Give your friends and family and kids friends their own connection to the internet without the worry of them connecting to your network and accessing your computer
- Parental Controls – basic parental controls for managing your kids use and the sites they visit
- Automatic channel locator – this is a feature that helps identify the best wireless channel to get the best performance possible automatically
- Ethernet or Gigabit ports – these ports provide you wired connectivity. Devices that are close to the router are ideal devices to connect to the ports.
- USB Ports- a USB port that provides connectivity of a printer, scanner or storage device. Connecting these devices to the router will enable everyone on the network to access and use.
- Single Band/ Dual Band: 2.4 GHz or 5.0 GHz- Look for frequency bands to know if you are buying a router that supports 2.4 GHz which is a single band router or 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz which identifies that it is Dual Band router.
- WPS – Wireless Protection Setup. This is a feature that helps configure and set up other devices to the wireless router if they also have the WPS feature.
- Speeds - 300Mpbs, 350Mbps, 400Mbps, 750Mpbs, 900Mbps. Looks for speeds of 300 Mpbs or more. This will also help ensure you are purchasing a Wireless-N router. The higher speeds helps to also determine which bands and how many spacial streams are used. The higher the speeds typically means that both the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz bands are being used and more spacial streams have been added to give you better overall performance.
- Range- Looks for Routers that provide good reliable range. If you live in an apartment or small condo the entry level Wireless-N routers should be good for you. If you live in a larger home and plan to do video streaming as well as have multiple devices connected to your home network – the Dual Band high performance routers like the Linksys E4200 are ideal for you.
- Security – Most Wireless-N routers now come with WPA/WPA 2 encryption which is the highest level of security you can get on your home network today.
- Also look for warranty and 24/7 support information. You never know when you’ll need it.
So that’s just a few pointers on getting you started when looking for a wireless router. If you have other pointers that helped you in your shopping experience – let me know, I’d love to share them with other readers!