There are hundreds of types of routers on this planet earth. The article will provide some information on how to choose one that best suits you.
If you are not familiar with technology, stepping into a tech-shop to buy a router could be hectic. Imagine a color blinded man without a shred of fashion sense, trying to choose the best shoes for his girlfriend or wife.
If you are a female, imagine stepping into a game store and choose the best RPG game for your boyfriend or husband. I think you get the gist by now.
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If you are a total stranger to technology, this article should be able to let you know what kind of “I-do-not-know-anything-and-ask-randomly-and-hope-it-works-out” questions should not be asked.
How To Choose A Router That Best Suits You
Firstly, you need to work out the purposes of the routers. The reason is that, depending on the destiny that you are going to bestow on your router, a butler or slave, the criteria may differ slightly to majorly. The factors to be considered include:
- How many people are using it
- What is it being used for? (i.e., movies streaming, online gaming, facebook browsing, emails, etc)
- Other electronic equipment at home including microwave and wireless phone. (Basically, devices which are also using the same frequency)
Type of router
There are a lot of categories for routers out there on the market, though the following are the main ones.
The most basic router out there, I guess. These routers are a special type of modem that has both the Ethernet jacks and phone jacks.
This one is quite self-explanatory by its name, to be honest. It’s a router that creates a wireless signal and let you connect your devices to the internet wirelessly.
Nowadays, when you register for internet service, it usually comes with a wireless broadband router, which is a combination of both types. Apart from the two main types above, there are also other types on the market which might or might not be relevant to the most household consumer though. Regardless, I thought I might as well mention them a bit in this article even though there will be some technical terminologies. So if you are one of those non-IT tech-savvy folks, you should just skip this part.
They are usually configured to an external protocol such as Border Gateway Protocol to other BGPs of a big company, and people usually put at the edge of the ISP network.
Subscriber Edge Routers
I would recommend this kind of routers for the end-user company and configure them for external BGP broadcasting.
Inter-provider Border Routers
They are most commonly used ISPs interconnecting purposes.
Which band to choose?
Remember when I suggest thinking about the fate you are going to bestow upon your router? Here is the reason why. Wireless connection happens through communication on frequency bands. These bands are more or less like highways for Wifi signals, and what happens to the highways when there are too many vehicles? Traffic jam and the same thing happens to your router.
Thus, if you have a big family or are purchasing a router for your small business where there will be 20+ devices, you should consider buying one that is strong enough to serve them all. On the contrary, if you only have a few devices to be connected to the internet, then an “old-butler” type of router should be enough. Alright I think I am done with the metaphors, here is the important stuff:
Single-band routers only offer 2.4GHz band, which essentially means that they only have 1 highway for your internet traffic (sorry for the metaphor again, they are so useful). They are perfectly suitable for people having only a few devices, and Facebook browsing and sending emails are the main activities as they do not worry about congestion.
The solution to 10+ devices is the dual-band routers as they can operate on the 2.4GHz band as well as a 5GHz band. Pretty self-explanatory from the metaphor I have provided above. This means they have two highways for wifi connection, and it helps with the congestion. Though I do have to mention the fact that the 5GHz band has a higher speed limit, which would be significant in a later part of this article.
Sometimes, you might not have that many people, but if there was a device streaming high definition content, the radio frequency would also be slowed down. Similar to having a massive truck on a not so busy highway, not many vehicles but the traffic gets slowed down anyway. As such, other devices would be slowed down. Tri-band routers operating on three frequency radios can solve this problem by switching the other devices to the third highway.
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Purchasing the biggest, most bad-ass, ten antennas, Lich King’s Throne looking router would not magically give you hyperspeed internet if you only registered for the cheapest internet package. So the most straightforward way is to give your internet provider a call to work out your internet speed and consult the salesperson. If that option is not available, you could always determine which one by looking at how routers are advertised, for example:
- AC5000: Though the “5000” does not mean its peak performance would be 5000Mbps, but rather a combination of 600Mbps from 2.4GHz highway, and one 2166Mbps each from the 2Ghz highways (assuming you are looking at a tri-band router).
- AC1200: should be a combination between a 300Mbps from the 2.4Ghz highway and 867Mbps from the 5Ghz highway (assuming you are looking at a dual-band router).
There you go folks, hopefully, I have touched on enough information for you to at least have a general idea of what you want. You could always consult the salesperson, but it does not harm to have a bit of knowledge on the products. Good luck with the purchase.