Skip Navigation

How to Choose a Wireless Router

Setting up a wireless network in your home or office can be tricky. The specs can throw strings of numbers at you, and the various prices can leave you confused. Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing a wireless router for your network.


Single vs. Dual Band Routers

The two bands that you'll see on router boxes are 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. If you use the Internet to browse news sites or perform other tasks that don't demand a lot of your connection, a single band router is ideal for the job. This model will be able to handle casual Internet surfing and even light media streaming. However, if you have multiple people on the network who are gaming, file sharing and streaming HD media, the 5 GHz channel will provide the additional bandwidth you need.

Single vs. Dual Band Routers

The Mbps Discussion

Mbps, or megabits per second, is the rating that denotes how much information can be transferred per second. A modern wireless router has the ability to reach theoretical speeds of up to 1900Mbps. Although, due to various interferences they rarely reach those speeds, even reaching half of their rated speed is incredible. A fast router won't increase the speed of your Internet, though. Your ISP determines this. A router will only be as fast as the service you're paying for, but it will enhance the performance of streaming video, games and music.

The Mbps Discussion

Security

Many of today's routers support WPA2 security, and you'll want to make sure that yours does. If you're purchasing the router for your home and you have young kids on the network, a router that has Nighthawk installed will allow you to set parental controls.

Security

Distance

A wireless router has a maximum range. For large homes, offices any houses with large amounts of interference, you'll want to invest in a Wi-Fi booster. This small device will help repeat the wireless signal, so a device that is further from the source will receive a steady signal while in use.

Distance

Price

The cost of a wireless router is something that can't be ignored. You'll need to consider many of the above factors and determine if you need to upgrade to a premium priced router. Make sure to consider all of the factors above, which should help you nail down the price range you should target.

Price