It might not seem like a big deal but picking the right Wi-Fi router requires just as much thought as choosing a reputable wireless internet provider. A router, the backbone of a network, is the small device that beams your internet connection to connected devices throughout your business, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TV sets, and wireless printers.
You need a router that won’t hold you back in terms of accessibility and performance. However, it can be rather confusing sorting through the wide range of features and device types available nowadays. If you’re not sure where to start, this article will help you narrow down your choices and find the best router for your business needs.
Here are the top features at a glance
– Dual WAN connection
– 802.11ac or 802.11n
– WPA 2 security
– Guest Wi-Fi capability
Let’s take a closer look at what each function offers.
Look for dual capability
When it comes to bandwidth — the capacity of a connection — 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands are the most widespread spectrums available in modern routers. They offer different speeds and signal strengths; 2.4 GHz has a slower band but a stronger signal, while 5 GHz has a faster connectivity but limited coverage. Being able to combine these two bands means that your business can enjoy the best of both worlds, which is especially helpful if you need Wi-Fi in a larger area and need to connect multiple users and devices. Many routers are compatible with both bands therefore it’s possible to configure your network for better bandwidth and speed.
Choose 802.11ac or 802.11n
To get the right speed for your business, you need to consider the wireless network standard that a device supports. There are two types of wireless standards that will give you great connectivity speeds: 802.11n (a.k.a Wi-Fi 4) and 802.11ac (a.k.a Wi-Fi 5).
Routers that come with the 802.11n specification allow for usage in two frequencies – 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and are capable of speeds of up to 600Mbps. Most of the newer routers built since 2015 use 802.11ac. Also able to broadcast the 2.4GHz and 5 GHz band, this is currently the fastest available Wi-Fi standard, with speeds of up to 1.3Gbps per second, depending on the router, client device, and environment. So if you’re looking for optimal range, reliability, and speed, choose either 802.11ac or 802.11n.
WPA2 security protocols
Routers have never been as safe as they are today. Smarter Wi-Fi access control technology and encryption means that businesses can protect their network better than ever before. The most common router encryption types are Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access), WPA2, and WPA 3. The first two are older security features so be sure that you choose a router that supports at least WPA2. It offers better protection than WEP and WPA because it uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to scramble encryption keys during data transfer, which is more difficult to crack than previous protocols.
Guest Wi-Fi may be important to you if visitors or clients often request access to your company’s wireless network to browse the web or check their emails. You’ll want to create a welcoming, convenient, and productive environment for them but your security may be breached if you give away your password. A router that has guest connection capabilities offers a separate access point blocking access to your main network. This way you don’t have to worry about guests downloading malicious programmes or connecting an already infected device to your network.
When setting up a network, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of not thinking about the router until internet connectivity issues start to crop up. Once you’ve considered these factors, you should have a good idea of the kind of router you should be buying.