The best router is not only wireless Internet distribution to several devices within the apartment. It is also a device designed to protect sensitive data that is transmitted over the network. In addition, it must be able to provide the signal with stability and proper speed.
To choose just such, you need to know what to look at when buying. A detailed guide will tell you the nuances of choosing a cool router for home and office, tell you which criteria are top-priority and which things are not so fundamental.
When choosing a router, you first need to determine the purpose of its acquisition. For a small office or apartment, some requirements apply, for a large room, where there are quite a lot of connected devices, others.
All routers have the ability to transfer data via Wi-Fi and withstand a large number of connections, but in order to choose the right device, you need to be attentive to its characteristics.
It is important to determine how fast and stable work can be expected from the device, to know its range, the level of signal encryption (if necessary), as well as additional features. It is also necessary to take into account Wi-Fi standards. This will help you understand what a particular model is capable of. It doesn’t hurt to see how many ranges of wireless data transmission the device supports: this affects the quality of the device’s operation, as well as its price.
For whatever room a router is chosen, an important criterion is the number of ports, since the wired connection of routers is used quite often. It is better to buy a model with more inputs than is necessary at the moment, in order to avoid a shortage of free connectors in the future.
Support for the necessary protocols and connection standards affects both the speed of information exchange and the quality of interaction with connected devices, so this should also be taken into account.
What other selection criteria are there:
- LAN type – affects the speed with which the device is able to transfer data via a wired connection;
- the presence and number of built-in USB ports – if there is one, you can connect peripheral devices such as printers , flash drives, etc. to the router ;
- manufacturer and reviews – even models with the same characteristics can work in different ways: products of well-known brands that have collected good feedback from users, as a rule, work more stable and last longer than non-name models;
- the number of antennas and their type – affects the passability of the Wi-Fi signal.
This is about the main functions. But there are also a number of features that can be very useful:
- Integrated firewall – provides additional information protection by preventing third-party connections without the user’s knowledge.
- Parental Control – allows you to block access to sites. This feature is useful not only when it comes to children. Blocking of various sites, social networks is also actively used by management in offices to minimize factors that distract employees from the work process.
Interesting : TL-WR840N V2 allows you to assign the allowed speed for each connected device.
- Remote access to editing parameters makes it possible to distribute the speed of reception, as well as data transmission for specific users, based on their tasks. This allows the network resource to be optimized.
The way their owners speak about devices should not be discounted. Often, it is taking into account the reviews that ratings and top selections of goods are formed.
However, you need to understand that each user has individual requirements for performance and parameters. The conditions in which the device will be used may also differ. It takes into account a lot of factors: from the number of connected equipment to the area of the room, its layout, wall thickness, etc. Accordingly, what may seem insufficient for one user is enough for another. With speed – the same theme. The faster the router can transmit information, the better. However, it is important to consider that even the most powerful router will not be able to provide faster data transfer than the network provider has installed.
The number of additional device features also affects cost and response. Someone needs them, while someone will not use them at all. In this case, you can get two opposite responses: those who need functions will be happy, and those who don’t need them will be upset that they overpaid.
It is better to filter the product with the characteristics of interest in the search. This way, you can quickly choose the option that is optimal in terms of price-performance ratio from a lot of offers.
Advice : if you need a cool router that provides the speed of information exchange both via Wi-Fi and by wire, then this Archer is perfect.
However, if the buyer liked the device or cannot decide on the choice of a router (for example, he liked two options), then referring to the reviews is an excellent solution. Especially useful are those messages from owners who talk about the experience of using and the behavior of the router after some time, for example, three months, six months or a year. So you can find out what to expect from the device in the future.
Read also: TOP 10 best Wi-Fi routers TP-LINK
This criterion greatly affects the speed of the connection that the router can provide. The table will help you figure out which option is better.
|Protocol||Features of the router|
|xDSL||Connection to the provider’s network is implemented using one of the technologies of the xDSL family, for example, ADSL. The maximum transmission rate for ADSL2 + is 24 Mbps.|
|3G / 4G||Wi-Fi routers are based on EVDO-IO technology and provide a maximum speed of 14 Mbps.|
|Ethernet||Twisted pair is used to connect to the network. A popular modern solution, thanks to which the maximum data exchange rate is equal to: 100 Mbit / s – with a Fast Ethernet connection and 1 Gbit / s – with a Gigabit Ethernet connection.|
|Interesting: TD-W8901N , in addition to this protocol, also supports ADSL2 +.|
|SFP||The connection is via fiber-optic cable, they provide speeds up to 1 Gbit / s.|
|EPON / GEPON / GPON||These Wi-Fi routers are connected to the PON network. Used to connect the private sector, such as villages and cottages. The technology is capable of providing speeds up to 1 Gbps, and 10GEPON – up to 10 Gbps.|
|DOCSIS||These routers are connected via a TV cable. EuroDOCSIS 2.0 technology provides 50 Mbit / s reception and 27 Mbit / s transmission.|
Most modern Wi-Fi devices are universal. They are generally compatible with several protocols. DSL-2640U is just that.
Number and type of LAN ports
This parameter determines the number of devices that can simultaneously work with the router using a cable connection. One simple rule applies here – there are not many ports.
Four LANs is the optimal minimum, but some compact models may have two or three or even one port. It would seem that what’s the point in these connectors if there is an alternative option in the form of a wireless connection. But:
- Not all system units have Wi-Fi integrated, and if there is no adapter, then connecting via cable is the only way out.
- In addition, it is recommended to connect desktop PCs, smart TVs, multimedia devices, game consoles using this method, even if they support Wi-Fi. This reduces the likelihood that the signal will deteriorate, and the reception / transmission of information will slow down. Accordingly, the level of stability of the connected devices is increased. However, a lot here depends on the model of the router, the power of the antennas and the thickness of the walls, the location of the furniture, etc.
Interesting : there are devices with 8 inputs .
In addition to the number of ports, their type should also be taken into account, which affects the speed of work. There are only two popular ones:
- Fast Ethernet – Provides speeds up to 100 Mbps.
- Gigabit Ethernet – Allows the router to transmit up to 1 Gbps.
Curious: How to set up a site-to-site PPTP VPN connection on a TP-Link router in 3 steps
Wi-Fi encryption and standards
The safety of the information transmitted in this way is an important aspect of choosing a good router. Below are three options according to which routers can protect information.
- WEP – the first encryption option, was declared obsolete in 2004.
- WPS – cannot guarantee a high level of security because it does not ask for a password.
Note : In theory, an eight-digit code is required to connect to an access point, but in practice, sometimes four characters are sufficient.
- WPA / WPA2 is the best option that protects data well due to AES encryption. The password can be 8-63 bits.
Also, when selecting a router, you should pay attention to what standard of Wi-Fi it functions by. For 802.11 network, there are only five options, which vary in speed.
|Standard||Features of work|
|11a||54 Mbps in the 5 GHz band.|
|11b||improved version of the previous variant to support 5.5 and 11 Mb / s.|
|11g||54 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band.|
|11n||2.4-2.5 GHz range – 150 Mb / s;|
|5 GHz band – 600 Mb / s maximum.|
|11 ac||the modern IEEE standard provides up to 6.77 Gb / s for devices with 8 antennas.|
It should be borne in mind that the data shows the speed of the connection, and not the maximum bandwidth of one channel. In addition, the values are stated under ideal conditions. This means that in practice the figures are often lower. However, for everyday tasks, “reactivity” is not at all necessary. It is also worth noting that 11ac is mainly used to connect to an ISP, but most gadgets are compatible with it.
Newer standards are compatible with older ones. So, if a laptop only supports 11b, it can still work with an 11n router.
But the speed indicators will be equal to those produced by the device that works according to the older standard. It should be noted that in this case, the entire access point will work in this mode, and therefore all other devices connected to it.
Multi-frequency DualBand 2.4 / 5GHz
The router can send and receive information via Wi-Fi in several frequencies:
- 4 GHz is one of the most common, and therefore often overloads, which causes slower performance. The main advantage of this frequency is that it is supported by most devices.
- 5 GHz is a faster option, which is often used by providers if it is not possible to connect to the Internet via a cable.
Important : some devices are multi-frequency . They are more expensive, but provide a more stable signal.
- There are routers that can operate in other frequencies, such as 3 GHz or 900 MHz. But usually the options for apartments and offices are not compatible with them.
Instruction: How to set up ASUS router as a VPN server in 5 steps?
Number and type of antennas
To choose the “right” device, it does not hurt to take into account how many antennas it has and what kind of antennas they are: external or internal.
The number of antennas and their power indicator affects the speed of information exchange and signal throughput. For example, for a router with one antenna that supports 802.11n, the figure is 150 Mbps, and with two, it is twice as high. Each antenna adds one hundred and fifty megabits to the speed. And in the case of 802.11ac, the gain is even greater – 433 Mbps.
It is worth remembering: the above are the maximum indicators. In addition, the device will not be able to work faster than the speed set by the provider. In most cases, models with two or four external antennas will suffice.
External antennas can be detachable or not. The first option is suitable for an upgrade in the future: it is possible to replace the factory antennas with more powerful ones and thereby increase the signal transmission through obstacles, or you can immediately spend money on an 8-antenna version like the GT-AC5300 . There are also models with internal antennas. As in the case of outdoor ones, their power indicators depend on the signal gain.
The presence of a USB connector or even several in many ways expands the capabilities of the device. With its help you can:
- connect a flash drive and / or 3G modem;
- connect an external hard drive that can act as a “cloud” or use the Download Wizard, thanks to which you can download files when the PC is turned off.
All other things being equal, routers with built-in USB do not cost much more than those devices that are not equipped with such a port. Whether you need a USB input or is it better to do without it is up to the user. In principle, for an apartment or house this is an optional condition, but in an office a router with such a connector will come in handy.
Find out: How to open ports on a router: instructions and 3 ways to solve possible problems
- Naturally, appearance does not in any way affect the quality of the device, and therefore personal preferences play the main role in the choice. However, you can give a couple of recommendations regarding the case:
- Matte or glossy. On the glossy one, fingerprints and dust, scratches, abrasions are much more noticeable. The matte version is more resistant to external influences, at least visually.
- Rounded or rectangular – a lot depends on the location and how the router will look.
- Vertical or horizontal mounting method. The first option is better if there is little space in the house or there are small children.
- Everyone has a backlight, but the number of indicators is different. Signal level, malfunction and other changes are displayed by LEDs, which makes it possible to respond quickly if necessary.
Interesting : RT-AC5300 is good not only for its unusual design, but also for its super-speed, as well as the ability to provide wide coverage.
- Buttons: for quickly setting up the router, resetting the parameters to the factory settings, etc. In some models, the controls are implemented with standard buttons, but there are some that are not easy to reach: you may need something like a paper clip.
Tip : usually there is a sticker on the bottom cover of the case, where the manufacturer indicates the IP of the device, the exact model name and other data. You do not need to rip it off: the information can be useful when changing the parameters of the router.
To choose the right router that will also last a long time, you need to look closely at the devices that are produced by trusted manufacturers. Below are four cool firms that make awesome routers.
- TP-Link is a company that has been taking its place under the sun on the international stage since 2005. Provides quality product and has over 20 years experience in manufacturing. Routers from TP-Link are distinguished by a set of various additional functions, for example, “guest mode”, “parental control”.
- Asus – the company closely monitors the development of technologies and successfully implements new products into their products. Thanks to the proprietary software, the devices of this brand are easily and quickly set up. There are other interesting features, for example, the AirPlayer utility, which is provided in models with USB. It is designed to broadcast content from an external storage device connected to the router. Among other things, it is worth noting the high level of protection against third-party connections.
Alto: Asus RT-AC88U router
- D-Link is the best option for those who need an inexpensive device that can provide a high-quality and secure connection. High speed and the ability to distribute it to devices within the network, as well as other useful options make the use of the company’s routers comfortable.
- Tenda is a brand with twenty years of experience. Three reasons to pay attention to its products: ease of use, decent performance and reliable connection protection.
In the topic: The best TENDA WiFi routers: TOP-8 routers and the manufacturer’s lineup
Choosing the right Wi-Fi equipment is not difficult, especially if you know which characteristics to pay attention to, as well as understand which parameters are important for a particular case. For example, for an office or a large house, where a bunch of devices are connected to the network, it is better to take a more expensive and more powerful option: dual-band, with at least four antennas and at least 4 LAN inputs. But for an apartment where a couple of people live and there are no smart home systems, a single-band model is also suitable, which transmits three hundred megabits of information per second via Wi-Fi. Additional features and appearance are another conversation: it depends on the specific needs and wishes of the buyer.