How to Shop for a Router Without Losing Your Mind in the Process
The router is your gateway to the Internet. It plays a vital role in using the Internet, especially considering how much you spend on your ISP, cable provider, or mobile carrier subscription. Any choice you make in a router can impact your Internet experience. Whether using the wireless router to provide the Internet service to all your wireless devices or using a rigid wired connection, choosing with care is very important.
Since modern routers come equipped with all sorts of features, picking one that fits your needs can be tricky. Here are just a few tips to help shop for a router without losing your mind.
What Does a Router Do?
Before we get to the fun part, let’s take a moment to understand just what does a router do and how it helps.
A router is an electronic device that allows wireless internet users to connect to the Internet. It starts by creating an encrypted network and broadcasting the network name and password over your home network. Your computer, tablet, or mobile phone will then associate with this network, identify itself as belonging to the router (aka “The Hub”), and access the Internet directly through this device.
Tips On Picking Out a Router Without Losing Your Mind
Here are some tips on picking out a router without losing your mind:
1. Consider How Much You Want to Spend on A Router
Routers can vary in price dramatically, depending on their intended use. A primary router should do the trick if you only have a couple of devices that need to connect to it. However, if you have many devices to connect and multiple people in your home will be connecting simultaneously, you’ll need to spend a little more on a higher-end router.
2. Check to See If Your New Router Is Compatible with Your ISP
Just because you have a new router doesn’t mean it will connect to your ISP. Be sure to read the compatibility information on the package before setting up your router. This information should be in the manual or on the manufacturer’s website.
3. Make Sure Your Router Supports the Internet Speed You Pay For
Not all routers are created to support the internet speeds you pay for. Therefore, it’s recommended you have a router that supports at least 50% of your internet speed. If a router is slower than the speed of your service, then you will experience prolonged downloading and loading times on the Internet.
4. Look for A Newer Wireless Protocol
Wireless technology has gone through many changes since the first router was introduced. Several new technologies are in use today, but not all routers support them all. Therefore, it’s good to read up on the latest and greatest protocols, so you know what to expect from your new router.
5. Consider the Range of The Router
If you’re buying a router for gaming purposes, you’ll want to make sure that the router has an adequate range. This is especially important if your console will be in a closet or room far away from your internet hub. Most routers are rated by the signal strength they transmit and can be found within their product information online or in the manual.
6. Don’t Forget Optional Features
Routers come with many features that can help both the user and the Internet. For example, some routers will include parental controls, so you can block specific sites or disable internet access altogether. Other routers may include one or more USB ports for sharing Internet connections. Or, you may want to look for a router with an app for controlling your router via your phone.
There are many factors to consider when shopping for a router. Remember that you don’t have to buy the most expensive router. It’s all about finding the one that fits your needs and budget. If you educate yourself before you buy, you’ll be better positioned to make the right choice for your home network. You’ll enjoy all the benefits of a router while maintaining a happy connection to the Internet.