Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose A Wireless Router

A wireless router is a device that connects to your home or office modem, so that you may connect multiple devices, typically wired and wireless to your internet connection at the same time. Beyond the basic provision of wireless internet within your home or office, there are many additional features which should be considered when looking at buying a new wireless router. Please see below for the most common features of wireless routers, and read on for detailed explanations of what those features are, and how they may benefit you.

Range

The range of a wireless router is a measurement of how far (typically in feet) the signal of the router will travel. This measurement is typically determined in a lab-type setting, so you can usually expect a little less range when setting one up in your home or office. Many different things will affect the range of your router, from the physical placement near a wall or window, to interference from other devices such as cordless phones or baby monitors. Most good wireless routers are capable of broadcasting your signal to a range of around 150 feet indoors, assuming typical household conditions.

Certain wireless routers like the D-Link DIR-655 are capable of signal range up to 300 feet in your house, again – assuming perfect conditions. Range will also be affected by the type of antenna the router uses to broadcast the wireless signal. For more information about how antenna design affects wireless signal, see the antenna section below.

Single Band or Dual Band

When looking for a wireless router, you are going to come across two different types – single band and dual band. The ‘band’ is the wireless frequency at which your best wireless router outputs its’ signal, and will either be 2.4 of 5GHz (Gigahertz). As you might have guessed, dual band routers will broadcast your wireless signal on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, thus giving you a more robust and quality signal.

Although a dual band router will allow you more options for delivering wireless signal in your home or office, the 5GHz signal frequency has some caveats. Firstly, the 5GHz frequency won’t let your wireless internet signal travel as far as a 2.4GHz frequency signal will. Since most common household appliances don’t operate within the 5GHz frequency range, you will run into less interference which is nice, but you won’t be able to take advantage of that signal from too far away. The other downside to this, is that not all wireless devices are capable of accepting a 5GHz wireless signal, so not every device you own can take advantage of the added frequency.

If you have a lot of other wireless devices in your home, or live in a crowded area, you’re going to want to pick a wireless router with dual band. The added level of signal quality will help to deliver your wireless internet signal to your laptop or phone without getting mixed up with the rest of the signals moving through the airwaves. Picking a router that offers dual band technology is recommended – Although not every device can take advantage of the 5GHz band, having both bands broadcast means you’ll be able to serve up a wireless signal regardless of what’s connecting to your router.

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