With more and more people taking up higher speed broadband packages, it has become increasingly popular to distribute the broadband to a variety of devices around the home. This can be anything from smart TVs to tablets and mobile Smartphones. At the centre of this home network sits the wireless router quietly distributing the broadband signal to all of these devices. Some broadband packages offer a free wireless router while others will require you to supply one. Here we present a guide to the wireless router and just what it does, so that you can choose one that is suitable for your needs.
What Does a Wireless Router Do?
The wireless or WiFi router becomes the access point for your broadband data. This is achieved by connecting your broadband line into the Wider Area Network (WAN) port of the router. The router then takes the data that it receives; for instance a web page, and converts that data to a signal that it distributes wirelessly to all points within its range. Any device with the right equipment to receive that signal can then convert it back to data and display it for you.
In addition to the WAN port, the router will also have a number of Local Area Network (LAN) ports that allow you to connect cable devices such as desktop computers that are not able to convert the wireless signal and therefore need to be fed the raw unconverted data. In this case it is passing straight through the router to the device. Some routers will have to LAN ports and others will have 4 or more. You need to consider how many devices will actually need to be directly cabled to the router before you buy one.
Wireless Speeds Through the Router
Wireless speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and particularly with a view to accommodating the new super-fast broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps, you will need to make sure that the speed of your router is up to the job and will not create a data bottleneck that slows down your connection. Most modern routers have a speed of at least 248 Mbps which means that unless you run a lot of devices simultaneously, your router should be up to the job if it runs at that speed. Some older routers run at speeds of 11 or 54 Mbps and if you have one of these it might be time to consider an upgrade to accommodate higher speed broadband packages.
Gradually as time has progressed and wireless technology developed, the wireless standards that were developed have slowly become standardised to make sure that a range of wireless products all conform to one standard that allows them to work together. This standard is known as 802.11 and should be supported by any router you buy.
These are the things to consider if the broadband package that you take up requires that you supply a router. Most of the main providers now supply a free router that is capable of supporting your broadband package. If you are unsure about the right router to buy you can always as the supplier which router they recommend.