10 Key Points to Look When Buying a Wireless Router
Gone are the days when you had to have a large mansion and fancy cars for you to enjoy the good life. With a good router and a really good internet connection, you can easily feel like Alice in Wonderland. The internet life is so amazing.
You can watch, download and stream anything you want any time unperturbed. You can also work peacefully for any person from any part of the world with tons of internet resources at your disposal. Of course this is only possible when you choose a good router that has everything from good speed, a wide coverage and good security.
It is all about the little details which when ignored will turn your streaming experience into a buffering hell. So how exactly does the best router for your home office look like?
Buying a Wireless Router? Points to Consider
1. “AC” Classification
First of all, you don’t really have to get into the technical jargon but if your router is not in the latest “ac” classification then you will have a big problem. All routers are made under the 802.11 international standard.
Even though they evolve over time, only the classification changes but the set standard is a constant. In layman’s terms, when shopping for a home router for your home office, make sure the router number is something like ‘802.11ac’. If it’s anything like ‘8-2.11c’ or any other letter like ‘a’ or ‘b’, those models are practically obsolete (picture buying an iPhone 3G when the iPhone X just came out).
It’s quite annoying to find out that while you are toiling away at your home office trying to keep the lights (and Wi-Fi) on, some delinquent is busy streaming YouTube videos next door at your expense. Your home Wi-Fi should be your own private network where you can work with confidential documents securely.
Make sure the router you are choosing has WPA2 encryption. This should be fairly easy since every ‘ac’ router comes with it. WPA and WEP encryptions are outdated so try your best to avoid them.
3. Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Your local Internet Service Provider plays a very big role in your internet connectivity so finding the right one is imperative.
It will be much easier for you to settle on a router that is compatible with your ISP and weed out fake routers depending on whether they support your ISP or not. Some ISPs are known to rent out routers or even manufacture their own in which case, problem already solved.
4. Top Speed
Once you have your ISP, it’s time to determine the top speed of your internet. The easiest and most reliable way is to contact the ISP and ask them. If you internet speed is 1000mbps, you have to make sure the router you get supports up to 100mbps. It will be of no use to come home with a router that only tops 400 mbps.
How big is your home office or home? How far do you want your Wi-Fi to cover? If you want the internet to only be visible within your home office then you get a router with a smaller coverage.
Alternatively, if you want your Wi-Fi to be available at all corners of your home so that you can catch up on unfinished work in your bedroom or stream some funny YouTube videos in the living room during your free time, make sure the router you get has a wide coverage.
6. Number of Devices
Once you have determined how far you want your Wi-Fi to reach, it’s time to get clear on the number of supported devices you have in your home.
Are you only going to use it on your laptop for work or should all the devices you own have access to it? Will your two best friends who visit you regularly, your kids or your other half also have access? List down all these devices so that you have a clear picture of how many they are or might be. If they are about 10 or more, you will definitely need a very large router.
7. MU-MIMO vs. SU-MIMO
Here is where things get a little complicated. MU-MIMO simply means, multiple users connected at the same time can get equal flow of data simultaneously. SU-MIMO is obviously the opposite; only one user gets uninterrupted data flow at a time.
If you want to serve your clients on your PC while catching up on the latest news on your phone then you will need MU-MIMO. If you would rather have one device get all the attention while you are using it, SU-MIMO will be great.
There is no guarantee that the router you have bought is the best for you. A good warranty is your safety measure. In case you get home and the router does not perform the intended purpose, you should be able to return it and replace it with a more suitable alternative.
A proper warranty should ensure that you get proper support for a certain period of time until you are able to handle things on your own.
9. Trusted Brands
The safest way to get a router you won’t regret is to go for the obvious brands. You know, the ones that have been tried, tested and everybody uses them because they are so reliable. Ask around for router brands that people regularly use and experience the least problems. It will make the work so much easier for you.
Lastly, you bank account or pocket will have the final say. Buy something that is within your budget. Once you have a list of routers that meet you demands, narrow them down according to your budget so that you find something worthy without necessarily breaking the bank.
Don’t forget to do a little research of your own so as to familiarize yourself with how routers work. You should have a good grasp of basic troubleshooting techniques so that you can quickly remedy certain situations and get back to work. A little knowledge will also help you avoid being conned when buying or after installation.