Home WIFI isn't hard, just read on
Owning a wireless network router is a necessity these days, what with the advent of multiple household PCs, wireless printers, bluetooth, heck, even my Tivo has a wireless connection. There are many different standards out there these days and choosing the right wireless network router can be a bit confusing if you don't understand the different types of technology available. Read on to learn about what you should look for when you're in the market for a new wireless network router.
What different wireless network router standards are there and which is the best?
There are a few different wireless network router standards out there, some are getting old while others are just coming into the market. Truth be told the newest may not be the best depending on your situation. Let's go through the wireless network router standards and see in what situations they excel.
- 802.11b: This is by far the oldest wireless network router standard and has been surpassed in capability by 802.11g and 802.11a. Why do I still list it here? Well, if you can find this type of wireless network router it'll be dirt cheap. Keep in mind that this wireless network router operates in the 2.4ghz range which is also occupied by cordless phones, baby monitors, microwave ovens and seemingly every other device out there. This is the slowest standard there is at about 5mbps (megabtes per second). Now, this may be good for you if you only need wireless access inside your home, say under 100 feet. Your neighbors are far away and your speed requirements are low, say for just cruising the net and email. The good thing here is that an 802.11b wireless network router will be compatable with just about everything.
- 802.11g: Pretty much the same as the 802.11b, the difference being that this type of wireless network router can attain speeds up to about 20 mbps. This one still operates in the crowded 2.4ghz range. I'd go with this one if you can expect little interference but need more speed, let's say for gaming or video streaming or even fast downloads.
- 802.11a: The main difference with this type of wireless router is these operate in the 5ghz frequency range, so they'll be immune to what you or your neighbors can throw at it. It has a slightly shorter range and a speed of about 20mbps. I'd go with this if you have many neighbors close by and interference can be a real problem.
- Dual band: The dual band wireless network router operates on two of the network standards, essentially this is two wireless network routers in one; a 802.11g and an 802.11a. This way you get the range and speed advantage of the 'G' and the lack of interference from the 'A' The downside to this is you'll pay essentially double for one of these.
- 802.11n: This is the holy grail of the wireless router standards. It has the range, speed and the resistance to interferance all in one package. It's new though, so it'll be expensive. Expect a range of over 250 feet, speeds in the 200mbps range and it operates in the 2.4 and 5ghz ranges. If you're an online gamer in an area with the potential for lots of interference then go for one of these.
Any other features I should look for in a great wireless network router?
Here are some of the other common features you'll find on a good quality wireless router
- Built in firewall, this will become your first line of defence against intrusion and virus's
- Built in wired ports, great for printers that don't have wireless capability
- One button setup. Some Linksys units allow you to setup the wireless network router and your devices with a simple press of a button
- Mac Address filtering. With this feature you'll be able to absolutely make sure only you can connect to the router for added security.
Here's an example of a top notch wireless network router, it's available on Amazon.
How much does a wireless network router cost?
Well that depends on what standard you decide to get as well as if the wireless network router is on sale or not. I suggest reading wireless router reviews on sites like ConsumerReports, ConsumerSearch and Amazon. These sites have unbiased wireless router reviews by consumers just like yourself and often times list the lowest price right by the wireless router reviews. You will, of course, find many useful links right here on this page too.