How to choose a router?
Reading on the packaging of routers about the speed indicators "up to 300 Mbps" or even "up to 1300 Mbps", you should not immediately reach for a wallet or get a credit card. Manufacturers are a little tricky and always indicate the overall maximum speed across all ranges, recorded in a laboratory test, under ideal conditions. In real life, there are always factors that limit performance.
The main wireless connection is on two frequencies - 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz.
2.4 GHz - is the most common. Radio waves have optimal penetrating ability and ensure correct signal delivery in a standard city apartment or house. On the one hand, this is good - all Wi-Fi devices support this frequency. On the other hand, it is bad, since the network is highly congested and subject to interference. Many devices operate in the 2.4 GHz band - household appliances with Wi-Fi support, wireless manipulators, Bluetooth devices and others. If a large number of home appliances are used within the range of the router, the data transfer rate will be low. This problem is especially acute in apartment buildings.
5GHz - router is more expensive, but Wi-Fi is more stable. The receiving device must also support 5 GHz to operate in this band. It transmits information at high speed and offers 23 communication channels that do not intersect with each other, which is especially important for apartment buildings. Sends a signal without interference over long distances through empty spaces, but may react poorly to obstacles such as walls.
802.11 ac is a high-speed data transfer protocol operating in the 5 GHz band. Routers that support it are more expensive and always come with multiple antennas to expand network coverage.
802.11 b/g/n - combines the three most common protocols in the 2.4 GHz band. An aging range, gradually being replaced by 5 hertz models due to their better speed. In view of the low cost of the segment and the high popularity of this frequency among other standards, routers of this type are overloaded with an abundance of connected devices. Due to the congestion of a single channel, routers that support 802.11 b/g/n often slow down data transfer.
The range of signal propagation directly depends on the base power of the transmitter. But buying the most expensive and long-range device is not always the only right choice. Client devices not only receive the signal, but also transmit it back. And the power of home computers, laptops and smartphones has its limits. Therefore, the effect of the operation of a powerful device is not always noticeable in domestic conditions.
The presence of antennas in the router allows you to strengthen the reception power and the base signal. The more antennas the router has, the more confident the reception. Some routers have internal antennas. They often have a smaller coverage radius, but they do not stick out of the case, which minimizes the risk of accidentally breaking the device. The router with 1 external antenna is suitable for a small room with a minimum of obstructions. A router with three or more antennas ensures optimal signal transmission in offices, apartments and houses, divided into separate rooms by walls.
In some expensive devices, it is possible to remove the base antennas and put more powerful ones in their place. In everyday life, such a model is not needed and there is no point in overpaying for the option.
For a router, these are connectors for organizing a local network at home or in an office.
Using cables through it, you can connect:
- smart tv
- SIP phones;
- other equipment supporting the network.
In budget routers, there are LAN ports of the Fast-Ethernet type, operating at a speed of 100 Mbit/s. More advanced, expensive devices are equipped with LAN ports Gigabit-Ethernet - 1 Gbps, operating at 1000 Mbps. Fast-Ethernet is suitable for general use. If you need Internet packets with a speed of more than 100 Mbps, you need a router with Gigabit-Ethernet.
The standard USB port in the router is for connecting external drives and sharing printers. On progressive models, special USB ports are installed, designed to activate additional devices such as:
- Web camera;
- 3G / 4G modem;
- printer for printing from local network clients;
- USB phone.
Additionally, the USB port allows you to transfer media files to a TV, multimedia center or other equipment. It also becomes possible to create an FTP server to gain access to personal information over the global network.
For ordinary users using the Internet for social networks and downloading torrents, a model with one USB port is enough.