what router should I buy: choose a router for your Home Buyers Guide

No home can be imagined without Wi-Fi, how to choose the right router

Almost every home has a router, as all family members want to use a stable and uninterrupted Internet. If you buy the cheapest device, you can face a lot of troubles (interruptions in communication, poor performance, severe overheating of the device). That is why you need to know how to choose a router for your home and what router should you buy, so as not to waste material resources and use the device for a long period of time.

What Router Should I Buy

how wifi router works: Principle of operation

A router (the second name is a router) is a device that allows you to combine 2 or more networks. An electronic device controls a process called routing. This means that network-layer packets are forwarded between all network segments based on the network topology. Using a router, networks are combined: local (home) and global (world).

Households understand that choosing a good router for the home is a difficult task if they do not understand how the router works, what its features and technical features are.

A Wi-Fi router for home works thanks to a contract with an Internet provider. Company employees connect the router to the cable. In this case, the router acts as an intermediary. He receives a signal from 1 source, and then distributes it to households or consumers in offices, shops, cafes and restaurants.

The principle of operation of the device is the same: a routing table is used. It is stored in the device memory and contains a list of addresses, various values ​​(metrics, masks, interfaces). The table can be compared to an address book, as it contains the path to each device connected to the router.

Active consumers get access to internet data packages. This means that if the user turns off the phone or laptop for a while, the router will stop transmitting data to the device.

Features of the interaction of devices with a Wi-Fi router:

  1. Personal computers are considered wired devices because they do not have their own Wi-Fi module. They need to connect to the router with a cable.
  2. Laptops, smartphones and some televisions are wireless devices. This category also includes tablets. They have a wireless module and are connected to a Wi-Fi network via a radio channel.

For home, you can choose an economical router model. Experts warn that wireless connections have speed limits. The indicator is supported by the Wi-Fi standard and is determined by the antenna power. Various factors directly affect the data transfer rate, but the most significant one is thick walls. If there is a long distance or a thick wall between the gadgets and the router, the data transfer rate will decrease.

You may like Best Router For Spectrum Internet.

Criteria for choosing router

A properly selected device will last longer if you determine the purpose of its acquisition, learn a little more about the characteristics and selection criteria. It is worth determining how the device works, what is the range, what additional features. An important criterion is the level of signal encryption.

If you pay attention to the Wi-Fi standards in a timely manner, then you can understand what this or that router is capable of.

How to choose a good Wi-Fi router for your home considering the criterion:

  • it is worth finding out how many ranges of wireless data transmission the router supports;
  • you need to buy a model with more than 2 inputs;
  • it is advisable to ask the store if the product supports the necessary standards, protocols;
  • it is worth finding out if it is possible to connect a USB flash drive, printer and other devices to the router;
  • it is worth considering the type of LANs, since the data transfer rate depends on the parameter.

An important criterion is the number of antennas and their type. The indicator affects the throughput of the Wi-Fi signal. Be sure to read real reviews of the models. It is best to choose products from branded and trusted manufacturers. Experts point out that models with similar characteristics can function in different ways. Detailed reviews help you decide which router to choose for your home in 2020 or older, how to connect and use the device.

Some buyers look not only at specifications, but options as well. If there is an integrated firewall function, user information will be maximally protected. Also, unauthorized persons will not be able to connect to the Wi-Fi network without the knowledge of the owner.

A good Wi-Fi router has Parental Controls. The option allows you to block access to certain Internet resources, for example, adult films, scenes of violence.

Check also Best Routers For Home.

Speed

Budget routers transmit a signal over the network at a speed of 50-150 Mbps. The parameter is considered sufficient for ordinary consumers. Service providers are trying to offer faster speeds to meet the needs of households. It is ideal to choose a model with a 10% margin of the maximum speed available on the provider’s network.

Distribution of a Wi-Fi network up to 300 Mbps is the best option for residential buildings. 802.11n standard. The mid-priced devices support the 802.11ac standard. It is profitable to buy such a router, but you should take into account the error in the operation of the device, which affects the speed.

Stability of work

The question of how to choose a router for a private house must be taken with responsibility, since routers cost a lot. It is necessary to understand the characteristics and criteria for choosing products. An important point is the stability of the router.

If the router is unstable, lags, transfers data with a delay, hangs, then the purchase was unsuccessful. Reliable routers: “Kinetic”, “Asus”, “TP-Link”. The operation of these routers is stable. They do not require any special settings. For them, updated firmware is regularly released. The device warranty provides peace of mind to users.

Providers help manually configure routers so that they distribute the Internet to all household members. If something does not work out for a person, then he can call a company specialist who will help set up the router.

Wi-Fi coverage radius

Store managers answer the most common customer questions. They help with which router to choose, explain how to set it up. But you also need to know about the coverage radius provided by the modem.

The range depends on the power of the device and its location. If it works through the wall, the signal will be worse. You need to find out if the signal will resonate with other networks.

In a small living space, you can install a model purchased at an average price tag. It must have at least 2 antennas. The average signal gain is 5. If you buy such a router, you will have a stable Wi-Fi connection throughout the apartment.

The coverage radius is also affected by repeaters. Special signal repeaters amplify it and make the use of the global Internet network comfortable and smooth.

Availability of ports

Special ports in routers are considered an important criterion in the question of which wi-fi router for the house to choose, so as not to make mistakes and not throw a decent amount of money down the drain. Modern models usually have 4 or more ports. A home computer or video game console can be connected to the port through a network cable. Also, a smart TV and other similar equipment is connected through the port.

More expensive devices have USB ports. Experts advise that you should buy a router with at least 1 port. You can connect a modem, external HDD, peripherals to it.

What do you need to know about Wi-Fi when choosing a router for your home?

Choose A Router For Your Home

Providers make sure that customers know how to choose a router for the home, which is the best, how the device works, what are the pros and cons. When choosing a device, all Wi-Fi standards must be taken into account.

Data transmission occurs in frequency intervals:

  1. The most demanded 2.4 GHz frequency range. Modern gadgets support this standard. The marking of devices with this range is 2.
  2. A 5 GHz router is suitable for supplying the Internet if you cannot distribute it through a wired interface. Some routers support 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. Instrument marking – 5.
  3. 3 GHz and 900 MHz are not supported by almost all home gadgets.

Before you know which 5 GHz router to choose for your home, you need to find out about its features: the first is the supported 802.11a standard, the second is the data transfer rate from 40 to 108 Mbit per second, the third is worse because of obstacles in the form of thick walls … If you choose a device with a frequency of 2.4 GHz, then their speed is much lower. If you connect an antenna, then the speed increases by 3-4 times.

Experts point out that the speed of the wi-fi cannot be lower than the speed of the Internet, because a failure will occur. When choosing a router, it is necessary to clarify the maximum number of devices that can be connected.

Are routers with external antennas better?

The most common questions regarding the purchase of a router: which router to choose for a private house, whether an external antenna is needed, what parameters are considered the most optimal, are there any budget devices.

Experts explain that routers can have 1 or more antennas. There are internal and external antennas. Experts advise taking with an internal antenna when choosing a router for an apartment. It will provide the best signal transmission speed. The main thing is to install the router in the right place so that no objects and obstacles interfere with it to function as expected.

An external antenna is not always needed. It all depends on the router model. For example, the power of a device with an external antenna is 25dB, and with an internal antenna it is 32.5 dB. If the user wants to connect an external antenna, then he needs to purchase a router with a special connector. Usually, internal antennas are enough for all household members to use the Internet at any time of the day or night.

Check it out Best Long Range Routers.

eco friendly wifi

A really good router is green. It does not have a negative effect on the human body. The products have an option to reduce the transmitter power. Thanks to her, the negative effect of the device on households is reduced.

Models with low radiation power still have a stable Internet connection. Routers are divided into 3 types according to the transmitter power level: low, medium and high. It is best to give preference to routers with low to medium transmitter power.

Router software

The user should understand the basics of the router software. Knowledge will help you understand the characteristics of the product and determine which Wi-Fi router to choose for your home.

All routers have special software. It is called in simple words firmware. The manufacturer for each device creates its own software used in most devices, or develops software for a series of routers.

Software features of many routers:

  • resources of the device are used rationally;
  • users are often reminded by developers about updates;
  • new protocols appear periodically;
  • it is possible to make an alternative firmware.

On the official Internet sites of manufacturers, information about the original firmware is often indicated. Typically, information is collected in the “Technical Support” section.

The software for the router lines is updated regularly. The devices function correctly and without interruption. Some routers have proprietary operating systems. Thanks to this, even at home, you can use the capabilities of professional devices.

Modern routers support all known protocols. They can work in the network of absolutely any provider company. To know for sure which router to choose for your home, you need to contact the provider before buying and clarify the requirements for the equipment. The company may not work with some models for a number of reasons.

Router hardware

The router is considered a minicomputer, as it has a processor, RAM. The better these characteristics are, the better the products are. It’s good if someone you know knows about technology and can tell you how to choose a Wi-Fi router for your home.

The hardware is very important. If a user needs Internet at a speed of more than 50 Mbps, then he will need a powerful router. If households do not often play network toys, are not addicted to torrents, then the Internet with a data transfer rate of up to 50 Mbit per second will be enough for them. In this case, the RAM will be about 32 MB, and the processor frequency will be around 300 MHz.

Many devices have multiple ports through which wired gadgets connect to the Internet. If a user plays over a local network, often uses various complex programs that require a stable Internet connection, he should look at a router with excellent hardware. Quite good products from the MicroTic company.

Additional functions and capabilities of WiFi routers

The price of the router depends on the options and auxiliary capabilities. If there is a built-in firewall, the cost of the device will be increased several times. The function protects the home network from access from neighbors, unauthorized persons.

The capabilities of the router increase if it has a USB port. If your router supports the print server option, you can connect a printer to it. Supported by an IPTV router, it can be connected to a smart TV and watch many channels over the Internet. User can connect special package to support IPTV option.

Other useful functions of routers:

  • torrent client;
  • support for virtual networks;
  • repeater;
  • FTP server;
  • traffic tagging;
  • option “Samba”.

To choose the right and reliable router, it is worth exploring similar models. There is no need to chase a lot of options in the router, because many may not be useful at all. A multifunctional device is more expensive. It will come in handy for people who surf the Internet from home and need powerful equipment, including a top-quality router.

Each option places additional load on the router and therefore degrades performance. This must be taken into account when choosing and ordering goods.

Cost and manufacturer

Many sites create their own router ratings. It is based on real user feedback. They talk about the pros and cons of the devices, compare prices and equipment.

The cheapest models can be bought on Aliexpress and similar sites. They cost in the range of $ 10-20. Products from $ 35-40 are considered reliable. For an average price, you can get a minimum set of options, good speed and a manufacturer’s warranty.

If you pay extra, you can purchase goods from brand developers such as Asus, TP-Link. For an apartment there will be enough power and characteristics of these manufacturers.

TP-Link offers routers with “guest mode” and “parental control” options. Products with additional features and decent power. The manufacturer delivers quality goods and has been holding a good leading position on the market for over 20 years.

The Asus company follows the new products and constantly improves its products. New technologies are being introduced into routers and other equipment. Proprietary software allows you to quickly and easily set up devices. In models with USB ports, the AirPlayer utility is provided.

A brand with many years of experience – “Tenda”. Product advantages: good performance, ease of use (everything is clear at an intuitive level), reliable protection against connections by unauthorized persons.

The best option for those who want to buy an inexpensive device for more than one year of operation is “D-Link”. The company’s equipment provides a safe and high-quality connection. Useful functions and high speed are the advantages of the manufacturer’s routers.

Professional advice

Experts suggest how to choose a Wi-Fi router for your home. The first tip is to call the provider and ask questions of interest not to the sales staff, but to the technical support specialist. A person with many years of experience knows what to look for when choosing. He can recommend both budget and expensive router models.

There are times when a person buys a powerful device for an apartment, and the provider company cannot provide the required Internet speed. Then the user will spend a lot of money and will not get the desired result.

Experts emphasize that if there is an opportunity to spend a little more money on equipment, but get a few additional useful options, then it is better to be generous and not save. It is also not worth paying for a large set of features that simply won’t be useful. 

Products “Asus” are considered universal devices that distribute Wi-Fi. Routers from providers: “Cisco”, “MicroTic”. If the buyer will install the router in the coverage area of ​​other Wi-Fi networks, then it is advisable to choose a device with a frequency of 5 MHz. The main thing is to find out from the provider whether it works with such routers.

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