“You will need to provide a wireless router.” is a phrase that we use all the time when talking to clients who are being setup with Rhyzome services. Choosing the right wireless router is essential for having a strong signal and good coverage from your wireless internet and oftentimes people are unsure of what they should be looking for in a wireless router in order to ensure they purchase a unit that will meet their needs.
Consideration #1: What is your range?
How far do you need your wireless signal to reach? A number of the higher end wireless routers boast ranges of 150 feet indoors—this can be less depending on the number of walls and objects that the signal is required to penetrate as well as the materials your home is constructed from. The number of connected devices can also affect the range of the router.
You may want to purchase a wireless router that allows you to swap out the unit’s antennas for higher powered ones that will allow you to extend the range in order to provide better coverage to the area where you require connectivity.
Consideration #2: Level of Control
Some routers will support the installation of third-party firmware that will offer advanced features allowing you to control the information that flows through your wireless router. This includes features like parental controls and firewalls that will add an extra layer of protection for your family and your home networking devices.
Do you often have guests? Wireless routers are available that will allow you to have dual SSID’s. One of which can be used to allow guests access without having to supply them with your primary password!
Consideration #3: Speed
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are looking at the speed of a router.
First, unless your previous router was a bottleneck, the router will not increase the internet speeds that you are seeing. The router determines the speed capabilities of your home network only—not your actual internet connection.
Secondly, these speeds are all “in theory”. In a real world application the speeds that can be realized will likely be less due to obstacles and structures that will impede the signal.
That being said the speeds are still a good guideline to consider when you are selecting a router in order to choose one that can perform as needed.
Consideration #3: Managing Your Resources
Another feature that you may want to be sure your router has included in its firmware is QoS or Quality of Service. This will allow you to allocate resources where they are needed and prioritize your more important applications in the instance that they are competing for bandwidth with other devices and applications using your network. For instance, if you use a VoIP service and make calls via your WiFi connection, you can set the VoIP as the priority so that the service is not degraded by gaming or downloads.
Consideration #4: What is your return policy?
The best way to see if a particular unit is right for you is to take it home and set it up. You may find that the first router you try doesn’t fit your needs quite like you had hoped and expected. So make sure that the retailer you are dealing with will allow you to return or exchange it for a different model or device that will fit your application and environment better.