Due to the increasing popularity of tablet, Smart Phone, gaming consoles, multiuser households and offices, the popularity of the wireless router has increased manifold as there are scores of people who want it. Once you have one, you will be finding it easy to not only browse the Internet from any corner of your house and give Internet to your game console but you will also be able to share music, photos and videos with all the connected devices in your home or office. Question is, do you want to be able to perform these tasks? If yes, you definitely require a wireless router.
For a simple web surfer, choose a router meant for heavy-duty gaming, a multimedia person or a small business will not be a good idea. If you want a simple WiFi connectivity and easy setup, you should go for a single-band router like Almond, which is a decent performer. Also, it is the only and the first touchscreen router in the market. That’s a bonus!
For performing high bandwidth demanding tasks like HD video streaming or moving big files between NAS devices, Netgear’s R6300 or ASUS RT-N66Uat amazon are good ones. With them, you also can get best gaming experience! High-end routers like the N66U are pretty costly. As a matter of fact, the average street price of the R6300 is $149. There is always this common easy thumb rule: as the price of the WiFi router goes up, the number of features contained will also go up along with the performance.
The following is the comparison of top five wireless routers for home user:
|Models||NETGEAR R6300||ASUS RT-N66U||Airport Extreme||Almond||Medialink|
|Wi-Fi Max Speed||1300 + 450Mbps||450 + 450Mbps||400Mbps||300Mbps||150Mbps|
|Processor||Broadcom 4706 (600MHz)||Broadcom 4706 (600MHz)||Marvell 88F6281 (1.2GHz)||MIPS architecture
|Ram||128 MB||256 MB||128 MB||No Data||No Data|
|Flash||128 MB||32 MB||16 MB||No Data||No Data|
|Port:||2 x USB 2.0
4 x LAN ports
|2 x USB 2.0
4 x Lan ports
|1 x USB 2.0
3 x Lan ports
|2 x Lan ports||4 x Gigabit|
WEP, WPA and WPA2 Personal and Enterprise, RADIUS
|More Information||Go to Amazon||Go to Amazon||Go to Amazon||Go to Amazon||Go to Amazon|
Wireless Router Buying Guide for home user:
Do you want to go for single band or dual band?
You will begin to come across the term “bands” during your router research. Generally, wireless communications operate in the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands. The 2.4 GHz band is normally used by 802.11 B and G devices, while the 5 GHz band is used by 802.11N. Sometimes the 802.11N even uses the 2.4 GHz band. For simple WiFi networks, a single band, 2.4 GHz router like the $49 Medialink Wireless-N Router works the best. While if you want dual-band routers like the R6300, you can operate on both frequencies- 2.4 and 5 GHz. There are less number of devices that run on 5 GHz now. Thus the 5 GHz band is spacious and less crowded as compared to the 2.4 GHz band. So, higher band routers are better for throughout-intensive work in your home network like gaming and file streaming. Your internal network will also perform well.
Which speed do you want: 300 Mbps, 450 Mbps or 900 Mbps?
During shopping, it is important to know that the three digit numbers flashed on the routers’ packaging indicate its speed. For the last 5 to 6 years, the standard speed of most wireless routers was 300 Mbps. Standard speed means the speed achieved in an empty room with no inference. So the router could manage only upto 300 Mbps in such ideal or perfect and impractical situations. But, even both 450 Mbps and 900 Mbps routers are being marketed aggressively. Netgear’s N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router is promising a whopping 900 Mbps. This device can give a good speed of 450 Mbps on both bands- 2.4 and 5GHz. Now obviously, twice of 450 is 900, isn’t it?
Now, the important point is that fast router speeds have no connection with fast Internet connection. It’s quite obvious that a 300 Mbps router will not improve your Internet connection speed as fast as a 900 Mbps WiFi router, isn’t it? Your Internet service provider(ISP) sets the speed. The key thing to remember is that the performance and quality of your internal network will improve aggressively when using a faster router. Thus sharing files and streaming music and videos will become better. If you are looking for security, you ought to catch upon the latest routers. They mostly support WPA2 which ensures the highest level of security. Now if you are fishing in a market for newer routers, just see to it that it supports WPA2. If you are a parent of small children, then its needless to say that you should consider a router having the parental controls 802.11n or 802.11ac.
Decision Time: 802.11n or 802.11ac?
Nowadays, the 802.11n is slowing becoming the standard in WiFi networking. For both single and double band outers, you should always go for the standard 802.11n router. The older standard is the 802.11n draft. You must avoid it. To enable non-802.11n WiFi devices to connect too, the 802.11n routers can be run in “Mixed Mode”.
Now, you will the new routers in the market endorsed as 802.11ac ones. The latest 802.11x wireless networking standard is 802.11ac. As a matter of fact, the 11ac routers, along with supported dual-band routers like NETGEAR R6300 can give you upto almost 1 Gbps in ideal conditions. You can also enjoy upto 500 Mbps speed on a single-band router. This, Obviously increases the limitation of upto 450 Mbps on a humble single-band of 802.11n. Additionally, the 11ac has been designed specially to give a far better working range than what the 802.11n gives on the 5Ghz bandwidth.
But, the sad part is that the 11ac is still under development. To ensure you get the right product, you can also go for Wi-Fi Alliance which is an organization that tests networking products of the customers to make sure that the device works as it is advertised. Fortunately one can classify products into WiFi Alliance certified and non certified. The organization allows dealers to sell the certified routers. Sadly there are no certified routers in the market. The 802.11ac is also undergoing certification.
But good news is that the dealers are still dealing in pre-draft 802.11ac routers. Years ago, you might remember that before 802.11, 11n pre-draft had become standardized. As the 802.11n got ratified, the 802.11n routers gave a far better performance than the pre-draft router.
In the same way, the tested 11ac routers give a lower performance as compared to today’s 802.11n wireless routers. It is not because of the fact that it’s still undergoing ratification. It is simply because of the reason that the market has no other routers that can compete with 802.11ac.