With the increasing number of connected home products, smart TVs, smartphones, gadgets, and other mobile devices ruling our lives, it’s more important than ever to outfit your home with a wireless router that can handle the increased demand for WiFi connectivity. When selecting a new router for your home, you should consider two important cases : the size of your coverage area and the number of clients, as well as the types of devices that will connect to the router. Not everybody needs the kind of performance that you get with the latest and greatest models, and there’s no reason to pay for features that you will likely never use. But if you have several family members competing for bandwidth for things like streaming Netflix video and playing PC games online, a new router can make a world of difference and help keep the peace. We guide you through choosing a router that will handle your current and future wireless networking needs, and offer our top picks to get you started.
Nowadays, any router offers at least two radio bands, a 2.4GHz band and a 5GHz band. The 2.4GHz band According to the laws of physics , has a better coverage and penetration in walls and other structures , but it doesn’t offer a reasonable bandwidth .In the opposite point, the 5GHz band , offers a better bandwidth , but with the least coverage and penetration level.Consider in mind that the 2.4GHz is more crowd than the 5GHz band, because your home Microwave Oven , Bluetooth devices and the wireless DECT phone are working in 2.GHz band also, therefore it may offers less bandwidth than you need . BUT , it is perfectly adequate for tasks like Web surfing and connecting to social media services like Facebook and Twitter. If one or more of your devices will be streaming video from a service such as Netflix, or connecting to an online gaming service such as Xbox Live, the less crowded 5GHz band offers significantly more throughput with minimal signal interference. If you have a busy network with numerous clients vying for bandwidth, a tri-band router is the way to go. They use three radios—one that operates at 2.4GHz and two that operate at 5GHz, for load balancing. For example, you can dedicate one of the 5GHz bands to handle tasks like video streaming and torrent downloading and reserve the other 5GHz band for online gaming, leaving the 2.4GHz band free for applications that don’t require lots of bandwidth.
Wireless Ethernet networks use 802.11 protocols to send and receive data. Up to now , the WIFi alliance has introduced 6 standards :
The most widely used Wi-Fi protocol, 802.11ac, allows for maximum (theoretical) data rates of up to 3,600Mbps raw data (up to 2Gbps throughput) and operates on 5GHz band only. It utilizes Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology, which uses several antennas to send and receive up to eight spatial streams, resulting in enhanced performance. It also supports beamforming, a technology that sends Wi-Fi signals directly to a client rather than broadcasting in all directions
The 802.11ac protocol also offers downstream Multi-User MIMO technology, which is designed to provide bandwidth to multiple devices simultaneously rather than sequentially. That means up to four clients can have their own data streams instead of waiting in turn to receive data from the router. In order for MU-MIMO to work, the router and the client devices must contain MU-MIMO Wi-Fi circuitry. MU-MIMO routers are widely available but client devices have been slow to catch on and are still relatively uncommon.
You’ll see 802.11ac routers with labels like AC1200, AC1750, AC3200, and so on. This designates the theoretical maximum speed of the router with all the bands. –> Let me to clarify more:
each router can be Single Band, Dual Band, Tri band. a single band router has only one radio which is working on 2.4Ghz band with the maximum speed of 450Mbps , the Dual Band router has two separate Radio and simultaneously working on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands with the overall speed of 1300Mbps , and Tri band router has three separate radios, one for 2.4GHz and two radio for 5Ghz bands with the maximum speed of 3200Mbps . The 2.4Ghz band is most compatible band for client devices and can serve every new and old wireless clients and suitable for web surfing purposes only, the 5GHz band is newer and suitable for Streaming and Gaming over WiFi. ( these numbers are theatrical speed , for real-world maximum speed , consider the 60% to 70% of them)So, you should choose a dual band or Tri band router for using at home,The latest Wi-Fi protocol, 802.11ax, also known as WiFi 6, is an evolution of 802.11ac technology that promises increased throughput speeds (up to 10Gbps), less network congestion, greater client capacity, works on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The WiFi6 has many complicated technologies like OFDMA , BSS coloring ,UL/DL MU-MIMO, we should wait for WiFi6 compatible devices for enjoying these capabilities.
- Look for a router with at least four 10/100/1000 (gigabit) Ethernet ports, which allow you to connect to wired devices such as desktop PCs, Network-Attached Storage,hubs, …
- at least one USB port makes it easy to plug in a printer or a USB drive and share it across the network,
- try to choose a router that offers removable antennas. Some router manufacturers offer replacement high-gain antennas that will help boost performance, and there are a number of third-party antennas available.
- For home usage, make sure your router has parental controls, this option allows you to control and limit the network access (websites, social networks and …)for children, for certain users to specific times and days ,
- Make sure your router offers the Quality of Service (QoS) options, for managing the users bandwidth and traffic control. You can decide which users or applications use more bandwidth.
- The Guest network is an important option for Home routers, allows you to make a separate and isolated WiFi network for your Guests , without leaving your entire network vulnerable . offer Wi-Fi connectivity to guests without leaving your entire network vulnerable. This lets your guests connect to the Internet, but doesn’t give them access to your files, printers, and other connected devices.
- Almost all routers offer several form of security, so just make sure your router supports the WPA/WPA2 security options and WPS push button. WPS is an easy connecting methods for the compatible devices.
- Make sure your router supports IPV6 , which is the new version of internet protocol addressing , the current one is IPV4 , but it is being replaced by the IPV6 .
- Mesh technology is an easy method for extending your WiFi network, without the need for additional wiring. If you want to use this technology for extending your coverage area in the future, consider in mind the Mesh-Networking is the best choice for you, so make sure your Router is compatible with Mesh technology.