How to Choose a Router (2022): Tips, Technical Terms, and Advice

How to Choose a Router (2022): Tips, Technical Terms, and Advice Leave a comment

Everyone needs dependable and quick web, and a good router might help. The trick is to work out how the difficult mess of requirements, complicated acronyms, and sci-fi-sounding options translate to higher Wi-Fi in your house. Join us as we tear again the curtain to reveal the pertinent information about Wi-Fi, routers, mesh methods, and different jargon. Hopefully, you will be higher geared up to purchase a router by the tip. 

Updated June 2022: We added to the mesh methods part, linked to our router information and Wi-Fi 7 explainer, and up to date the newest broadband speeds.

Table of Contents

Special supply for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This consists of limitless entry to WIRED.com and our print journal (if you would like). Subscriptions assist fund the work we do on daily basis.

If you purchase one thing utilizing hyperlinks in our tales, we might earn a fee. This helps assist our journalism. Learn more.

Who Is Your Internet Service Provider?

Internet service suppliers (ISPs) join your house to the web, and they normally ship you a modem and router (typically in a single machine). The modem connects your house to the broader web; the router hooks up to the modem, and you join all of your devices—with wires or wirelessly—to the router to entry that connectivity. ISPs typically cost you a rental payment for this tools, and their routers are normally fundamental by way of efficiency and options. The excellent news is that ISPs are by regulation not allowed to power you to use their tools or cost you to use your own hardware, although you should still have to return their stuff to keep away from costs.

We’re largely taking a look at utilizing your individual router on this information and utilizing your ISP’s modem. By utilizing your individual, you possibly can probably lower your expenses in the long run, however you can too take pleasure in quicker Wi-Fi, higher protection, simpler configuration, and additional options like parental controls and visitor Wi-Fi networks. We will run via your router choices, however no matter system you resolve to go along with, test compatibility along with your ISP earlier than shopping for. You also can search your ISP’s boards to discover posts the place individuals focus on utilizing totally different routers and modems. Some research earlier than you store can prevent a huge headache down the road.

What Kind of Router Do You Need?

Photograph: Netgear

There are varied ways to make your Wi-Fi faster, and shopping for a new router is without doubt one of the most evident. To allow you to resolve on the kind of router to go for, calculate the tough sq. footage of your house earlier than you start.

Single Router

The easiest resolution for most individuals is to select a single router or a router and modem combo. Bear in thoughts that this machine can have to plug into your current socket or modem by way of Ethernet cable, which restricts the place you possibly can place it. The Wi-Fi sign will probably be strongest close to the router and will regularly drop off and decelerate the additional away you get.

Routers ought to at all times state sq. footage for protection, however sure kinds of building—thick partitions, insulation, and different gadgets—can intrude with Wi-Fi indicators, so don’t count on to take pleasure in full-speed Wi-Fi at longer distances. Powerful routers with large protection are sometimes massive gadgets with a number of exterior antennas, however they’re normally very costly.

Mesh Systems

If you have got a massive residence and need strong protection in your backyard, or you have got thick partitions and particular lifeless spots along with your present setup, then mesh Wi-Fi may very well be the reply. Mesh systems include a central hub, which connects similar to a single router, in addition to extra satellites or nodes you possibly can place across the residence.

Devices join to the web via the closest node, so you possibly can obtain wider Wi-Fi protection and a extra dependable connection in several areas by including a node. Just keep in mind that every node will want a energy outlet. Mesh methods are sometimes costlier than single-router setups (though not always), however they improve protection and reliability, and they typically boast extra options and management choices. They additionally have a tendency to be smaller than common routers and are sometimes designed to mix in along with your decor.

Most mesh methods are expandable, and some producers enable you to hyperlink particular person routers to create a mesh, so you can begin with a single router and add extra as required. Just ensure you perceive which gadgets are suitable. For instance, any Asus router that helps AiMesh can work as a part of a mesh system, however TP-Link’s OneMesh expertise solely permits you to add suitable Wi-Fi extenders—you possibly can’t hyperlink routers collectively.

Alternatives to a New Router

Photograph: Eskay Lim/Getty Images

If your subject is extra about protection and you have got a single drawback room the place you need to enhance Wi-Fi, or a specific machine that wants a quicker connection, you may not want to purchase a new router. Try one in every of these alternate options. They every have their very own technical challenges and potential points. Even when efficiently deployed, they received’t come shut to matching the comfort of a good mesh system, however they’re all less expensive.

Wi-Fi Repeaters

You can use Wi-Fi repeaters to unfold the Wi-Fi from a single router a bit additional and probably increase the sign in a lifeless spot. These gadgets are a good resolution for some individuals, however they are often inefficient, susceptible to interference, and typically create a secondary community with a totally different title out of your common Wi-Fi.

Power Line Adapters

Sold in pairs, energy line adapters move an web sign via your electrical wiring. You plug one into a energy outlet close to your router and join it with an Ethernet cable, whereas the opposite energy line adapter plugs into a energy outlet within the room the place you need quicker web. They could be a good resolution in case you have a console or good TV in your front room behind the home, however your router is within the entrance corridor, for instance. Unfortunately, effectiveness relies upon closely in your electrical wiring.

MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance)

If your house already has coaxial cables put in (maybe for cable TV), you should use them to create a dependable wired community that gives excessive speeds and low latency in contrast to Wi-Fi. You should purchase routers, community adapters, or Wi-Fi extenders that assist the MoCA standard. Much like energy line adapters, this may be a smart way to move an web sign to a good TV, sport console, or desktop that does not get a robust Wi-Fi sign.

Access Points

If you don’t thoughts a problem and have a spare outdated router mendacity round, you possibly can look into configuring it as an entry level or utilizing it as a Wi-Fi extender. This could be significantly efficient in the event you’re ready to join it to your foremost router by way of cabling, however configuration can show tough.

Photograph: Getty Images

There’s loads to take into account once you’re making an attempt to resolve how briskly your router ought to be. The most pace of your web is decided by your ISP. Internet speeds are acknowledged in Mbps (megabits per second). The median international fastened broadband pace is 64 Mbps for downloads and 27 Mbps for uploads, in accordance to Ookla’s Speedtest. Most ISPs will state up to a sure pace or offer you a vary—like 300 Mbps obtain and 30 Mbps add—however what you truly get is usually decrease than the utmost (particularly add speeds), and it should be shared between your entire linked gadgets. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.