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Best Wireless Routers 2018 Buying Guide

  • Member since January 2018
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About Best Wireless Routers 2018 Buying Guide

Before Getting the Best Wireless Router, Consider This

 

Because getting the best home wireless router is no light decision

 
There are lots of wireless routers available. Choosing the best wireless router that will suit your needs can be very overwhelming, especially if you have not bought a wireless router before. Most manufacturers brag about bandwidth, AC, Beamforming and more. But all that doesn’t matter when you are choosing a wireless router. However, if you are ignorant about what you want to but, you will end up buying the wrong router. 
 
So here are ten key points to look at when choosing a wireless router.
 
1.       Price. The price of the router is one of the most important points to look at when choosing a wireless router. The price of routers ranges from $30 to $400 upward. So you have to choose routers that fit into your budget. If you just need a router to provide wireless access and your home internet speeds are as low as 20Mbps, you don’t need to opt for pricey routers. But if you need a top-tier router with the best performance, you should go for pricey routers (at least $100 or $200 will do).
 
2.       The lifespan of the router. The last thing you want is to choose a router that doesn’t have a long lifespan. I am not saying that the router should last forever, I am saying that it should at least last long. Your Wi-Fi connection is stretched across your smartphone, tablet, computer, gaming console and streaming devices. With more devices being added to the router, its performance can reduce. So you have to choose a router that has a long lifespan.
 
3.       Range. The positioning of your router is very important. It has to be in a central location, kept away from other obstructions and gadgets. Even with a great positioning, there will still be some places in your home where the wireless signal cannot reach. This is where the router’s range comes into action.
 
For your router to reach every place in your home, you need a better range. Buying an expensive router might provide a better range, but it doesn’t guarantee that the wireless signal will reach everywhere in your home. You don’t have to break the bank to get the best wireless router. Choosing an affordable router and a couple of powerline adapters will provide you a better range.
 
4.       Speed. The truth about routers is that when reading the specifications of a wireless router, you don’t actually know the real-life speed of the router until you start using it. My advice is that you should read reviews (user and specialist reviews). From the reviews, you should know how fast the speed of the router is.
 
5.       Single band or dual band. Routers work on two different frequency bands – 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band is usually used by a large number of devices around your home. It is also more susceptible to congestion and interference than the 5GHz. The 5GHz provides a faster connection, and it is less cluttered.
 
So single band or dual band: which is better? Both bands are good, but if you live in a crowded neighborhood, you should go for a dual-band router. But if you don’t need faster wireless speed, you should go for the single-band router.
 
6.       Security. Security is one of the biggest points you should consider when choosing a wireless router. You should know the types of security different routers offer. You should go with the router that supports WPA2 and provide strong security. WPA2 stands for Wi-Fi protected access II. Wpa2 is very essential to protect your Wi-Fi connection. Otherwise, anyone can use your Wi-Fi without asking.
 
7.       Quality of service. With a wireless connection in the house, there is going to be lots of electronic equipment fighting for their shares of the connection. This is where Quality of Service comes in. The Quality of Service controls the amount of bandwidth each equipment will consume. QoS also lets you block or limit various types of traffic according to your preference. The QoS is an effective and useful feature, but unfortunately, it is not available in all routers. So if you want to be in control of your wireless router, you should get a router that has the Quality of Service feature.
 
8.       USB ports. Before the arrival and popularity of printers with built-in wireless capabilities became common, a USB port on a router was very important for networking your printer. Unlike before, routers with USB ports are now used for cheap networked storage. Now you can plug a flash storage drive or an HDD into the back of your route and share the data with any device connected to your network. You can also use it to create a media hub for streaming music, movies or television shows you own.
If you don’t need a networked storage, you shouldn’t worry about USB support on a router.
 
9.       The network type. The network type of a router differs according to its speed. However, the most common network types available are:
•        1n
•        1b
•        1g
•        11ac
 The alphabets at the end stand for the wireless communication standards. ‘n’ is the most popular network type among businesses. ‘b’ is the first generation network type. ‘ac’ is the fastest network type.  However, if you want to achieve backward compatibility and higher speeds with slow networks, the ‘ac’ network types best.
 
10.   The wireless standards. There are various wireless standards. There is the 802.11a, 802.11b/g/n, and 802.11ac. The standards decide the compatibility if your router with all your devices. If you want to buy a router, I recommend you going with the 802.11n as it is supported by almost all the devices in your house. You can also go with the 802.11ac. The 802.11ac is more advanced, and it will give you better speed and range compared to 802.11n.
 
So these are 10 points you should look at when choosing a router to get the best wireless router.
 
 
 
Anyone who’s lived off wifi might have already heard of a wireless router. You can’t have internet connection without it, after all – and if you’re one of the many who’ve availed of a home broadband package, you might even have a unit from your service provider that’s both a router and modem in one[1] . But if you’re like most of us, you probably only have a modem, leaving the task of seeking out the best wifi router to you.
 
However,  if you’re new to having wireless internet at home and are looking to install a broadband package soon, you might be wondering why you need a wireless router in the first place. After all, it’s important to know why you need something in the first place before discerning whether you’re up to make the purchase, and what exactly the best wireless router is for you.  Your purchase is only as good as what you want out of it.
 
So before looking into the best wireless routers, here are a few things you need to know about them:
 
They connect your devices to the internet – but not directly
 
Contrary to what you might think, routers don’t connect you to the internet directly – not even the best wifi router does this. Instead, they create a  local network within the devices you want to connect, which it then connects to the modem. The modem, in turn, connects the network to the internet. 
 
Why is this so? Well, when you have wifi, you usually want to connect as many gadgets as you can to the internet, like your TV, phones, or other computers – especially if internet connection is necessary for your day-to-day activities. And with the best home wireless router, you are not only able to connect multiple devices at once to the internet, but also allows you to share data with devices within that network as well.
 
That said, you’ll often be prompted to choose whether you want your network to be public or private when you connect to the internet – a freer network preference, like the “Home” option, allows you to share data with other devices more freely. This can take up a lot of traffic and data, however, so choose the best wireless router for home that can handle higher capacities of data transfer.
 
There’s a difference between a modem and a router[2] 
 
A lot of people tend to confuse the two, and for a good reason. The best wifi router, once activated, is responsible for creating the wifi network, but connecting to it doesn’t mean you are connected to the internet. As mentioned before, the router creates a local network among your needed devices.  You need another device to connect it to the internet, which is the modem. 


But if the modem connects you directly to the internet, why do you still need to go through a router? While it is possible to connect to the modem via an ethernet cable, you actually don’t want to do that. Believe it or not, the best wireless routers are meant to protect your devices from being directly exposed to the internet, since doing so can leave your device vulnerable to any malicious cyberattack, especially if your computer contains a host of open ports and security problems. The best wireless router is your first line of defense.
 
Aside from this, connecting to the modem directly is only possible with one device; and a device that can connect to an ethernet cable. So if you’re looking to connect your phone, for instance, you won’t be able to. With the best wireless router for home, on the other hand, you can connect as many gadgets as you can to the internet.  And even if you have five different devices making use of the wifi, with the best home wireless router, all the traffic from your gadgets will appear to come from a single device. And according to HowtoGeek, the router “keeps track of what traffic goes to which actual device on your network,” which makes for a more organized data flow.
 
They assign and keep track of IP addresses per device
 
According to PC Mag, another major function of the router is to assign IP addresses to your devices, so you don’t need to. It also keeps those addresses private and within the network, giving that extra layer of security. That said, when a device sends in a query to the internet, the best wireless routers use the IP addresses to take note of which device has sent in the query, so it can forward the response to the right unit.
 
They can also act as a firewall
 
That said, knowing how a router assigns and keeps track of IP addresses also helps us understand how it can defend your computer. When you send a query to the internet with a router, the best wireless router for home will only allow traffic that has been requested by the device. As such, if it detects unusual activity that was not asked for, it will automatically block it. And since the router is the access point to the internet, this works for all devices within the network.
 
They transmit data via radio signals[3] 
 
But how is your wireless router able to create the network? Upon connecting with the modem, the router converts the data received from the modem into radio signals, which are then picked up by your devices. That said, placement of the router is key when it comes to maximizing its reach to other devices, even for the best home wireless router. Putting it in within the vicinity of all your desired gadgets makes it easier to connect to the internet.
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