Most routers today come with an integrated wireless access point. A Wi-Fi router is the heart of the home or small office wireless or mixed wired/wireless network, enabling your desktops, laptops, mobile phone and Wi-Fi gadgets not only to use the Internet connection, but also to exchange data, to use external data storage devices, printers, faxes and other equipment plugged in the router’s USB ports.
Even though wireless routers appear very much alike at first glance, there are a few key features you’ll need to compare in order to pick a router that will work best for your wireless home or office network and make the most of your Internet connection.
5 GHz vs 2.4 GHz
A Wi-Fi networks can operate at radio bands 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz, with dual-band wireless access points using both bands. A 5GHz Wi-Fi connection can carry more data, so if you’re into gaming or video streaming, the 5GHz Wi-Fi network will run significantly faster.
Megabits per second
The speed range of Wi-Fi routers includes 802.11g models (54 Mbps), 802.11n models (150—600 Mbps) and 802.11ac routers (connection speed above 1 Gigabit per second). However, the router’s actual performance will depend on the Internet connection parameters and in most cases won’t reach the maximum rate. A fast router may not be worth the extra cost when the wired connection from an ISP hardware or the mobile connection from a mobile network operator fail to offer a connection speed of over 500 Mbps.
A Wi-Fi router is a wireless access point operating a wireless LAN that any Wi-Fi compatible devices can join. On average a Wi-Fi hotspot has an indoor signal range of 60—70 feet, but it can be smaller or larger depending on the router specifications and the parameters of the building where it is used.
Most users are conservative in their choices and select network gear from well-known and highly reputed international brands such as D-Link, Linksys, 3Com, Netgear, Asus. The top brands offer competitive prices, extensive warranty and support. In addition to comprehensive and user-friendly web interfaces for router administration, configuration, setup and debug from within the local network (access via web browser at 192.168.1.254, 192.168.1.1, 192.168.0.1 or a custom router IP address), the leading manufacturers also provide a remote web access to their products.