The internet has taken almost everything in its stride. Not long ago, the internet was just limited to computers. And then it reached our mobile devices. Now the internet runs on several household devices. Often termed as the Internet of Things, or IoT, this has changed many things. With IoT, we can enjoy greater connectivity than ever before thanks to them. IoT devices like smart TV, smart kettles, ACs etc. have definitely made life easier. Of course, the only way these devices can provide their great functionality is via constant Wi-Fi connectivity. If you came here looking for how to select the best Wi-Fi router for your home, you’re at just the right place. We are going to tell you the best features of good WiFi routers and what combinations to look for.
How to Choose Best WiFi Router According to Your Needs
Are Rental Routers Better than Purchased Devices?
This is a question every prudent person will ask themselves. Usually, when you opt for an ISP, you get to choose to have a router installed with the internet service. This usually comes at a cost of $ 5 to $ 10 per month. If you want a particular high-end router, you will have to pay a premium price for it.
While renting is always considered a better option, the cons outweigh the pros in the long-run. Further, ISP routers can come bugged or with tracking features unknown to you. This will compromise your online privacy as well.
The smartest thing to do is to invest in a router and have it installed. This will not only give you greater control over your Wi-Fi but also ensure enhanced security.
The Most Important Functionalities of a Home WiFi Router
Do you need a new router because the old one stopped working or because you want a speed boost? Whatever the reason might be, a new router can definitely enhance your online experience. Here are some features you should check before you get a Wi-Fi router for your home.
1. Single/Dual Band
Routers basically come in two varieties – single band or dual/triple bands. The basic difference is that they use unique frequencies for making transmissions. These are 2.4GHz and 5GHz respectively.
The most common routers are single band. They transmit data at 2.4GHz frequency. This is a highly congested channel. Naturally, this becomes a problem for optimal speed. This is particularly so for congested areas with a lot of users working on the same frequency.
So the best thing to do is go for a dual band which can offer both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. This will allow you to get the maximum performance for your router.
2. Range of Cover
If you live in a small apartment, you won’t get much trouble in finding a good signal. However, signal strength can be an issue if you live in a large place. Routers with less range cannot provide you solid connectivity all over your property. You might find yourself getting reduced speeds just as you sit on your patio. To solve this problem, it is best to opt for a wide range router. This might cost you a bit more but it is definitely worth the value it provides.
These days, every WiFi router comes with a tag. The standard is 802.11 and it denotes the most common router used all over the world. After confirming this, look for markings of AC and N. These are the latest versions of routers in the mass market. Choosing either is fine as they are compatible.
When choosing between AC and N, the former is definitely better. It offers the best Wi-Fi connectivity and speeds in the market right now. There are several 802.11ac routers in the market. You can find one without any issues. It will help you connect your laptops and smartphones with the internet without any issues.
The type of USB port will have a lot to do with your connectivity. Never settle for a router which offers no USB 3.0 ports. USB3.0 will give you a number of benefits such as using dongles to get connectivity.
5. Maximum Connections Possible
It is common for most routers to be able to provide connectivity to 8 – 10 connections at the same time. This is more than enough for most users. It is hardly possible for any home to have more than 10 devices requiring internet connectivity at your house. However, if you live in a place where many people use a single router, it is best to go for one that can offer the maximum number of connections. This will help ensure proper connectivity for each user.
6. Security Options
The first and foremost thing any router must have is encryption. The most basic encryption feature these days for routers in WPA2 encryption feature. This is not too expensive and worth the money it comes for. Don’t go for older encryption protocols like WPA and WEP as they can be easily compromised.
If you are a security conscious person, then getting a VPN-based router is the best thing to do. A VPN is basically an encryption software that can keep you protected from virtually all threats you could possibly encounter online. There are plenty of ways to install VPN on a router. Also, check our list of best VPN routers.
Aside from encryption, VPN-based routers can also offer additional features. For example, if your VPN router has integrated cybersecurity then it is quite secure. Some other features VPN routers can offer are:
- Protection from Malware
- Protection from Compromised Connections
- Safe Search Features
- Internet Filtering Facilities etc.
Another major advantage of having a VPN-based router is that it automatically provides encryption to all connected devices. Further, there is no need to install VPN on individual devices.
7. Guest Network Feature
A guest network basically is a temporary network you can set up for visitors coming to your home. Your visitors will only have limited access to your WiFi network and router. You also don’t have to share your WiFi password with your friends/family in order for them to get access to the Internet. If you have frequent visits to your house, make sure the router you are looking to purchase actually offers a Guest Network feature.
8. Bandwidth Control
A router that offers bandwidth management enables you to control how much bandwidth each of the devices that are connected to the router is allowed to use. For instances, if you have a roommate who’s constantly downloading stuff or watching videos online, you can prevent him or her from using up all the bandwidth.
The Choice Is Yours
The above is a comprehensive overview of the best features of Wi-Fi routers. It is not necessary for you to have all of them. Rather, it is better that you understand what you need and make a decision in accordance. Make a list of the most important features you want and set aside money for your router based on that. However, there is no doubt that VPN based routers can be the best for home Wi-Fi systems.