Sourced from: NepaliTelecom.com.
Choosing a reliable router is critical for getting the best WiFi performance out of your home network. Discover how to choose the best wireless router for your home WiFi.
In Nepal, we have routers ranging from low-end to very high-end for various customer classes. TP-Link, Nokia, NETGEAR, Digicom, and other brands are available. When you setup a new internet connection, you are given a default router that meets the most basic criteria. However, if you want to ensure optimal performance as well as improved security for your home network, you must consider a number of variables.
More antennas (MIMO) correspond to improved signal direction and allow you to receive the maximum bandwidth equitably across all of your devices. Using numerous antennas generates numerous streams of data packets over radio channels, increasing data speed to the devices.
Routers with only one antenna are a thing of the past. All ISPs now provide their clients with dual antenna routers. However, if you want greater confidence, you can purchase a router with three additional antennae if necessary. However, there are more performance criteria than just antennas, which brings us to frequency bands.
Dual-Band Or More
As our internet requirements grow, so should the functions of routers. We require routers that provide continuous connections while using the same bandwidth. This necessitates the use of a dual-band router capable of delivering a continuous connection. Routers operate on two frequencies: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. A 6 GHz model is on the way.
2.4GHz is a dated technology that works with old standard configurations such as 802.11 covering up to 150Mbps mostly. It is compatible with most networking devices. However, 2.4GHz incurs network congestion because many households have WiFi on this band.
5GHz router is now becoming the new standard as a replacement of the 2.4GHz band routers. Such router provides transmission speed faster than its predecessor and runs on modern network standards such as 802.11ac or 802.11ax which is capable of 1Gbps data transmission.
So, the dual-band router (having 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz support) is ideal for those who want a better internet experience with multiple connections, frequent Ultra HD video streaming, and plays games.
ISPs such as WorldLink, Vianet, Subisu, and others have pitched for a 5GHz router to help their customers rid of the network congestions and offer better connectivity. You can buy one to get maximum bandwidth and user experience by your router.
WiFi Speed Specifications
WiFi package comes with its peed labels and it varies from one to another. The speed may range from 8Mbps to 1900Mbps. Although the higher number tends to mean better, it is not entirely.
Practically, you can see routers with specs such as AC1200 you’ll likely see labels touting AC1200, AC1750, and so on. Here the AC relates to the wireless standard and the number represents the speed.
For example, if you find a router with a 450Mbps data rate on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on a 5GHz, it will be considered an AC1750 router.
The quibble is no device, your smartphone, a laptop or your smart TV can use all the bandwidth at once. Furthermore, each device can use one band only. Most importantly, for normal usage, you do not need a speed of more than 54Mbps on your router.
A router with a maximum link rate of 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band is considered an AC1750 router. But no individual client device, like your Apple TV, uses all that bandwidth at the same time, and each device can only use one band or the other. Plus, for normal WiFi usage you only really need 50Mbps down consistently throughout your home.
How to choose though? There are many factors that determine your wiFi experience and not just the theoretical speed of your router. The actual speed will rely on ISP connection, physical barriers, area of the house, etc. Choose a router that meets your needs rather than. Spending big bucks for higher specs won’t necessarily reflect its justification.
Router With Ports
Having more ports is another essential aspect of a modern router. The more ports the better. Ports for LAN cables and USB let you connect more peripherals to boost productivity. So, if you are planning to buy a new router, look for the one with more ports, especially a USB3.0port.
If you are buying a router for office purposes, it’s likely you have several desktops. The LAN ports will give you the convenience of several port connections to it cutting costs and increasing utility.
Currently, most routers that come included with ISPs include a USB 2.0 port. If you want to go a step further, get your new router with USB 3.0 and USB-Type C capability.
Router For Smart Home
In recent years, the concept of smart houses has grown in popularity. Although the definition of a smart home is hazy, it includes the use of IoT, Alexa, Chromecast, Sensors, and other devices that require a stable internet connection with a high bandwidth speed.
A router that is linked with Alexa or Google Assistant is required to supplement the demands for a Smart Home connection.
Having a router with smart home integration will allow you to run many apps and devices at the same time, resulting in a domestic eco-system. You can control the router by speaking commands to Alexa. You can enable or disable WiFi, switch off the router’s LED lights, and so forth.
If you want to buy a router that works with Alexa, you can go with the TP-Link Deco Voice X20 or look for others available in Nepal.
Also check: Why Do You Need 5G Internet At Home?
Mesh WiFi Router
To extend your WiFi signal, you can have two options: either buy a repeater or a mesh router. The former sits at the dead spot where you need the better signal. It just repeats the router’s signal with a new SSID. This means it does not render a separate network for better connection. Meanwhile, the mesh router consists of ‘nods’ in between dead spots which deliver data packets across its own eco-system for a uniform connection. It is better than a router extender or repeater because it uses an advanced software system to relay network traffic between the nodes.
Mesh routers use two or more connected devices to provide a consistent WiFi signal throughout your area. It’s similar to configuring a slew of routers at home. Mesh router settings will provide you with a flawless WiFi connection in any room or region of your home.
Mesh WiFi routers can easily found online.
Security features are critical for protecting your home network from hackers and spies. Routers do include security measures such as antivirus software, VPNs, and other extensions to help safeguard the connection. The issue is that these features are not properly supported by routers with low-cost hardware.