So you’re looking for a new router? Of course, we know it can be challenging to decide which one will best suit your needs. You will want to keep in mind a few things, and we will be happily sharing those with you!
In this article, we share our tips on what you should consider before buying your router. We will go over what to look for when shopping for a router, so you can make sure you get the best possible device for your needs.
Whether you're a tech-savvy individual or someone who just wants to set up their Wi-Fi and be done with it, this guide will help you understand what to look for when choosing a router. Let's get started!
What to Consider?
Megabits per second or Mbps measure a router’s internet speed, indicating how fast data can be transferred between the router and any device. A router with higher transfer rates is ideal in any home or office, especially when connecting many devices.
It would be best to think first about the purpose of your router. If you use it only to browse the internet, you can probably get by with a slightly low Mbps router. But, if you need a router for multiple users, for gaming or video streaming, you need one that can provide the best speed for your requirements.
Many routers in the market offer higher speeds of up to 1Gbps to 3Gbps and most of them are mesh routers. So, if faster speeds are what you need, then look into mesh routers as these may be the best options for you.
Wireless or Wired
Another thing to research before buying a router is if you will be using wired and wireless connections. You may even ask some of your friends which connection they prefer using. Some people, specifically gamers and streamers, prefer wired internet connections as it is much more reliable.So, if you are one of the millions of gamers, you may consider getting a router with a Gigabit LAN port. Wireless routers still have benefits, especially for hand-held devices like smartphones. But, if you play online games, download content from the web, or stream your tv shows or movies, then having a router with a fast Ethernet port is a must-have.
Consider Number of Ports
The number of Ethernet ports on the router is another thing you might want to consider. This will determine how many devices can be connected simultaneously without using a Wi-Fi connection. If you have multiple devices that need a wired internet connection, you would need a router with more than one Ethernet port.
On the other hand, if only one computer is being used at a time, it might make more sense to buy a router that doesn't have so many Ethernet ports and save yourself some money. Some routers even come with USB ports that help you connect printers or storage devices.
USB ports are also helpful in updating firmware if the router supports the feature. If you need any of these functionalities, make sure to check the router you are considering buying if it has it.
Wi-Fi Range & Signal Strength
A router should have a strong signal strength so that your devices can easily connect with it throughout the house without any interruption. It will also help if your router has a wide signal range.
Routers that support long-range are recommended if you have a larger house or bigger office space. If the area is too big, don’t fret, as mesh Wi-Fi routers or support nodes can help you extend your signal.
However, please be advised that mesh routers are more expensive than regular ones. So before purchasing a router, you should also look into the size of your house or office to ensure you choose the router that can accommodate it.
Frequency Bands & Data Transfer Speeds
Another factor you need to consider is the router's frequency band. Wireless routers operate on two distinct frequency ranges: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The router you choose should support both frequencies to utilize your internet service provider’s bandwidth fully. Most routers already use dual-band technology that can operate on old or new Wi-Fi standards.
Many electronics utilize the 2.4 GHz band in your home, which means network interference and congestion are more common. The newer 5 GHz band is generally less congested and provides a quicker connection than the older 2.4 GHz band.
The router needs to support faster download and upload speeds for better connectivity between your gadgets even if several users are accessing the internet simultaneously. Using dual-band allows you to connect multiple devices simultaneously without any glitch in performance whatsoever.
If you want more than dual-band, then the latest tri-band is also available in the market. It allows you to use the router better and connect more devices simultaneously.
Features To Look For in a Router
This feature allows users to prioritize bandwidth based on traffic types such as video streaming which requires high speed but low latency connection over PING times. This router feature is most helpful when managing bandwidth for multiple users and devices.
Router Security Options
Some people overlook the significance of security on routers, especially those unaware of threats that exist on the internet. A router with built-in security encryption such as WPA/WPA-PSK, WEP, and VPN options can be configured by router manufacturers to secure networks from outside attacks.
But in addition to those, it is essential to consider router security and firewall options such as SPI or NAT, which help protect users from hackers and malicious threats online. Also, some routers provide more advanced features like an Internet kill switch that shuts down user internet connections if the router detects suspicious activity.
User-Friendly Interface & Easy to Setup
This feature should also be considered so that anyone in the household can easily configure it for multiple uses such as gaming, streaming media, VoIP communication services like Skype or Vonage. If you have elderly in your household, it would be helpful to get a router that is easy to set up and doesn't need to have a lot of configurations.
The router should also have parental controls to prevent children from accessing inappropriate websites at night when they should instead be sleeping! Most routers come with remote router management.
So, this router should provide you the means for parents to regulate access to their children's internet browsing time and limit them from playing games or watching videos online during specific times of the day.
You should consider a router that supports the latest wireless networking standards like 802.11n and 802.11ac. These should also be paired with the Multi-User, Multi-Input, Multi-Output (MU-MIMO) technology which provides speeds up to five times faster than regular router models available on the market today.
MU-MIMO technology enables you to experience faster and more reliable internet connectivity. Streaming HD Videos, faster download speeds, and lag-free gaming are some of the benefits of this, which of course, would be a great thing to have in any router!
Guest Network Access
The router you decide to buy should also offer a guest network access feature. This is because it gives users connected to your wireless router the option of creating a separate and secure Wi-Fi connection for guests only!
The same applies if you have children who want unrestricted Internet access – just set up a password-protected user account on your router, configure their devices with the new password, and voila! They now have full control over browsing the web without compromising your main home or office network!
Another router feature you might want to consider is beamforming technology. This nifty little function helps routers deliver a stronger and more consistent signal to connected wireless devices by shaping the Wi-Fi signal into a targeted beam.
It is also designed to focus the Wi-Fi signal towards your device rather than just broadcasting it in all directions. This means you can have fewer dropped connections and faster speeds even when you're further away from the router.
Advanced QoS (Quality of Service)
Another router feature you should consider is the (QoS) Quality of Service. This feature automatically detects and prioritizes different types of internet traffic on your network so that things like streaming video and gaming can run more smoothly without interruption. This feature can make a big difference if you have multiple people streaming or downloading content simultaneously.
Routers You May Want To Buy
FAQ About Routers
1. Is a high-priced router better in performance?
When comparing a $50 router to a $300 router, the new one will typically have better Wi-Fi coverage, faster speeds over longer distances, and the ability to support a large number of wireless users without slowing down. However, you don't have to get an expensive one if it doesn't suit your needs.
2. Is it possible to connect to the internet using only a router?
You cannot connect to the internet using only a router unless it has a built-in modem. A router simply routes information (data packets) to the various devices in a network; it does not create a new internet connection.
3. How long will the router last?
At the current rate of change, the average router lifespan is probably around five years. Upgrading every five years ensures that you always have the best features and performance available, with no unnecessary downgrades.
4. What router should I buy in 2022?
Look for routers with Multi-gig Ethernet ports to connect to wired devices, including desktop PCs, network-attached storage (NAS) drives, and home automation hubs. Look for routers that offer link aggregation if you need more speed for massive file transfers.
5. How long should a router last?
A router's average lifespan is probably around five years at the current rate of change. If you would upgrade every five years, it may ensure the most up-to-date features and performance without making any unwanted compromises.
So, those are some things to look for when buying a router. We hope this article made it easier for you and are now armed with the knowledge to make an informed purchase. By considering all the factors we’ve outlined, you can find the perfect router for your home or office.
Did this guide help you in making your choice easier? If so, fantastic! Be sure to share it with your friends and family who might also be in the market for a new router. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us in the comment section if you have any questions.
And don’t forget to come back and visit us soon – we’ll have more guides like this one coming your way. Thanks for reading!