When you are buying a wireless router for home, you want something that is reliable, easy to set up and relatively cheap. Most of us are not computer networking experts, and do not expect to use our wireless networks for more than web surfing, watching streaming video or listening to music. Even cheap wireless routers these days can perform these basic functions adequately. Of course, if you have several users on your network simultaneously, and if some of them are likely to consume a lot of bandwidth (which could be the case if some of your roommates or family members are avid gamers) then you may want to spend a bit more on your router, but for most of us, our home wireless internet needs can be met with relatively cheap routers.
Still, it would be worth your while to compare wireless routers before making a purchase. Here are some of the factors to consider while choosing the best wireless router for your home networking needs:
Will you just be surfing the web? If so, you don’t need a heavy duty router like you would if you were into a lot of online gaming. A good option for a home wireless router for you would be the Cisco Valet Plus. This router normally retails for around $130.00, but Amazon.com is selling it for around $90.00. It is a relatively cheap wireless router that is also easy to set up. Indeed, PCMag.com says that even though this is a relatively basic router, its performance is as good as that of pricier models. It comes with an Easy Setup Key that makes it easy to manage your home wireless network and to connect all your wireless devices, including printers.
This router also makes it easy to set up temporary passwords to allow guests to access your network, and also allows setting of parental controls to restrict children’s access to certain sites and at specified hours of the day. Thus, it is a very home-friendly router. Customers on Amazon.com also have generally had positive things to say about the Cisco Valet Plus, especially about how easy it was to set up, and the good customer support from Cisco in case they needed help in setting up the router.
On the other hand, if you are likely to do a lot of online gaming or file streaming, you may want to go for a higher end wireless router like the D-Link Xtreme Duo Media Router, which allows traffic prioritizing and virtual servers.
You also may want to consider whether the router is Single Band or Dual Band. The two bands used for wireless networks are 2.4 and 5 GHz. A basic wireless router for home use just needs the 2.4 Ghz band, which is available on 802.11 B and G devices, while an 802.11N device can use either the 2.4 and 5 GHz band. The 5Ghz band works better for file streaming and gaming, so if you plan to do a lot of these activities, you might want to put down the extra cash needed for am 802.11N router. The Cisco Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N router is a good choice for a dual band router.
Another thing to consider is whether you work primarily with PC or Mac devices. In theory, it shouldn’t matter, as routers should work on any wireless device regardless of operating system, but some people have said that their Apple products work better on an Apple router. On the other hand, my personal experience has been that my old Linksys router plays better with Macs than with Windows laptops, even though I personally use it with my Windows machines. But if you work exclusively with Mac products, you could potentially save yourself some aggravation by purchasing an Apple wireless router.