How to Choose Best WiFi Router for Home
This pandemic has made us heavily rely on internet speeds. Be it on a mobile phone, tablet, or laptop, a slow internet speed or poor connectivity from the router can be frustrating. So, in this complex situation, how do you find the one that will best suit your personal and professional needs from a gazillion internet providers out there? We will tell you how.
Continue reading this guide to self-educate yourself in all aspects necessary to know before exploring the best WiFi routers for your home.
So as a first step, let us break the title into – What is a WiFi, What is a WiFi router, What is a Modem, How to pick the best WiFi router for home.
What is a WiFi Router?
The WiFi router is the gatekeeper to your wireless connection. It is that part of the WiFi technology that converts the wired internet connection supplied from the modem into wireless signals.
Basically, it’s the WiFi router because of which you are able to connect your devices to the internet freely from any space in your house. The WiFi router lets the internet connection travel via radio bands, which in turn manage the bandwidth of your devices.
Your WiFi’s efficacy depends on the type of router you are using. Essentially, there are three (3) different types of WiFi routers:
- Single-band: A single lane or band highway has one 2.4 GHz channel to support simultaneous users and usually has optimal speeds of up to 740 Mbps
- Dual-band: A dual-lane or band highway has one 2.4 GHz, and one 5GHz channel to support simultaneous users and usually has optimal speeds of up to 1625 Mbps. Dual-Band is an ideal choice for light internet users who primarily use the internet to send emails, browse social media, do video conferencing, etc.
- Tri-band: A tri-band highway consists of one 2.4 GHz and two 5GHz channels to allow simultaneous users to use the internet. In addition, it provides a speed of up to 1625 Mbps. Tri-band is a terrific choice for those families with an average of 8 users. Activities such as movie streaming, gaming, and working from home are best suited with tri-band routers.
We will get into more details in the coming sections, discussing the different considerations to make before choosing the best WiFi router for home.
What is a Modem?
A modem acts like a translator that absorbs the data signals coming from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and converts them to an internet connection. Post this, the WiFi router initiates its broadcasting.
The modem obtains data from your ISP via the phone lines or optical fiber and then changes it into a digital signal. The WiFi router’s work is to force this signal out to connected devices and give all of them access to the internet.
The WiFi router and ISP transmit different signal types. In simple words, they speak other languages and hence can’t communicate directly. Voila! This is precisely where the modem’s role becomes indispensable.
The question about modem vs. router is often difficult to answer as both have some critical roles to play.
What parameters to look for when examining potential WiFi routers for home?
Before you right on jump into reading about the different WiFi router companies available in your locality, take a moment to analyze your requirements or considerations in terms of speed, range, and other technical details mentioned below:
- WiFi Standards
WiFi routers stay at the forefront when it comes to deploying the newest WiFi standards. It is highly advisable that you future-proof your wireless connection with the latest WiFi standards. This future-proofing process will ensure that your router can support the most up-to-date products whenever they enter the market.
Primary routers used IEEE802.11a or 802.11b, but the world has significantly changed since then. The newest WiFi standard is 802.11ac, which you see on all the latest routers. This WiFi standard allows the router to support up to Gigabit speeds.
- Speed Specifications
The companies manufacturing the best WiFi routers for homes in India will promise you high speed when you go out WiFi shopping. The latest 8.02.11b WiFi standard offers spectacular speeds; however, these promises are fulfilled only under laboratory conditions.
The promised speed faces multiple hurdles like thick concrete walls, metal objects, and multiple simultaneous users. But there’s nothing to worry about, for the quoted speeds are way above that of an average home user’s requirement. Most of today’s routers provide uninterrupted HD video streaming and other quality services.
- Compatibility of Broadband Provider
WiFi routers need to be linked with a broadband provider. So the next item in your checklist should be to see if the router you are considering is compatible with your broadband provider. Before finalizing on the broadband provider, ensure that you will get a data supply at the speed of your choice. These broadband providers often quote maximum speeds, which can be dubious as the speed may eventually reduce with every new user accessing the network.
With the increasing use of fiber connections these days, it will be wise to check with your broadband service provider if the router will be compatible with fiber connections or not.
Hacking is the new form of burglary. And cyberattacks have been making headlines for the past decade. When you are in the process of choosing the best WiFi router for your home, ensure that it uses WPA2 (the 2nd implementation of the WiFi Protected Access protocol) at the minimum.
Don’t shy away from purchasing premium security features for your router, such as extra encryption, blockers for unwanted users, etc.
Don’t forget that wireless networks are as unsecured as they are convenient!
- Router Bands
We already discussed the different types of router bands earlier in the article. When you are shopping for the best wireless router for your home, pick a router band (single-band, dual-band, or tri-band) that best meets your needs.
- Router Antennas
When you compare WiFi routers, you may notice that some router models have antennas bulging typically from the top, whereas others have internal elegant-looking antennas
As a buyer, it is crucial to strike a balance between excellent WiFi coverage and the aesthetics of the router.
We’d like to conclude by saying that while looking for the best WiFi router for your home, be thorough with your knowledge about routers, modems, and broadband services. After this, go and dig for the smaller yet impactful elements like – the location, speed, and coverage of the chosen router. The benefits promised by the broadband service provider and the router manufacturer should match your genuine requirements.