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Home Network Wireless Routers

To set up a wireless network, you will need a home router and modem. While the modem brings the internet to your home, the router manages the connections between all the devices that need access to the internet, including mobile phones. Whether you have a single computer or a large network of computers, laptops, and printers, you'll want to choose a product that is capable of providing fast service to all your devices.

What are some common wireless router brands?

Several different companies sell wireless routers, including:

  • Netgear
  • Linksys
  • Asus
  • Belkin
  • Cisco
What speed do you need?

Speed is measured in megabits per second. A high-speed router won't improve your Wi-Fi performance if you have a slow connection. If you pay for a higher speed internet connection, it's worth getting a product that delivers top speeds. For lower connection speeds, there is no need to go overboard on your Wi-Fi router capabilities. Common speeds include:

  • 802.11n This type offers speeds between 150 Mbps all the way to 600 Mbps.
  • 802.11ac This router delivers speeds over 1 gigabits per second. This is larger than megabits.
Do you need dual band capabilities?

Dual band allows your wireless network to be set up for more than one band, such as 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz. With the rise of consumer gadgets using 2.4 gigahertz, you can experience wireless interference in your home. The ability to switch to 5 gigahertz reduces this interference because fewer electronics are using it.

How do you choose signal strength

The signal strength you need for your home Wi-Fi network depends on the layout of your home and how far away your computers and other equipment are from your modem and router. Even the building materials of your house can affect the strength. Check to see what the throughput is on the wireless router you are considering. Here is how to select the right strength:

  • Near and mid-range: For a small house or a setup where your computer and your Wi-Fi router are in the same room or only a short distance apart, products that provide near to mid-range coverage should be enough.
  • Far: If your computers are spread out across different parts of the house or are some distance from your Wi-Fi router, look for throughput that states it provides far coverage.
What additional features should you consider?

Common specifications to check include the number of LAN ports and USB ports. Depending on your home network setup, you may need these to connect multiple computers or printers. If you plan on using both Ethernet cables and Wi-Fi connectivity, you'll want enough LAN ports to support the number of wired connections. If you cannot find a product with enough ports, an Ethernet switch can work instead.

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