What to Look for When Choosing a Router

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A router is becoming a very essential part of our homes nowadays with the number of network-enabled devices that we have at home and in our pockets day by day. Everything from a laptop to a PS3 can be connected to a home network to stream movies and music. There are routers to suit every budget and requirement, if you are looking to buy a Wi-Fi router for your home and are not sure about what to buy, you should take a look at some of the points mentioned below.

Connectivity

Consider the number of devices that you are going to connect to your network and the number of wired connections that you are going to use. Entry level routers usually come with 4 ports which are sufficient for home use, but if you are going to use it for connecting a large number of computers you have at work, you will need a heavy duty router that can handle a large number of computers along with the network traffic produced by these computers. The number of ports in a router does matter, especially in cases where you want to connect computers through the LAN ports.

Budget

Money matters. If you have a tight budget, then you should sacrifice on things like the USB ports and print servers since you can share them using your host computer. Also, you might need an additional print server even if your router comes with the ports.

Speed

Different routers offer different speeds. Some may offer you speeds up to 300 Mbps, but these speeds are usually never required especially when your Internet is running at a few Mbps. These speeds are viable only for commercial use and home networks require speeds of around 54 Mbps. Also, a reasonably fast router with a speed rating of around 54 Mbps will be much cheaper compared to the ones with a higher speed rating. Try to go for an 802.11g device instead of the older 802.11n ones as these are much faster than the latter.

Brands and Warranty

Brands like Cisco, Netgear and Belkin are all very popular names in the router market, but Netgear has been known to be troublesome at times especially when it comes to dealing with after sales customer service. Make sure that you inquire about the after sales service and the warranty support on the router. Some manufacturers allow offer you direct replacements within a particular warranty period while others offer warranty on certain hardware on the router. It’s best to pick up a router with a replacement warranty because it is very difficult to get a router repaired and you might have to end up throwing your router away in case of a defect.

There are a lot of other features that you should consider while buying a router like built-in firewalls, parental controls and ease in setting up. Finally, do not let the experience of others influence your decision as your requirements may not be the same as theirs.

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