It might be time to upgrade your router.

Ah, the wireless router. Easily the most underappreciated device in everyone’s household. When it is working perfectly fine, nobody remembers it. And But once it stops working, it takes the entire home’s wi-fi down with it. It is no surprise in the last few months, with everyone in your household being home at once, you may have noticed your internet is not as efficient as you thought it should be. Could it be your internet service provider? Maybe, but in most cases, with the usage overload created by working from home and remote learning, it is most likely your router. With people across the nation finally settling into the “new normal” with their work setups at home, people’s biggest problem (and still have) outside of physically getting the equipment for their home office is internet connectivity and internet speeds. The world of purchasing a new router can be daunting, but if you know the few key things to look for, you can decide which is the best option for your situation.

Router Speed:

When it comes to wireless routers, speed is only one factor, albeit a significant one. When browsing the internet, you may see models with 102.11g or 802.11n, or some may advertise “150 Mbps”, but what does it all mean? Wireless transfer speeds are measured in Megabits per second (Mbps) and dictate how fast your router can receive your modem’s data and send it to the device requesting the signal. The 802.11X is the wireless specification. Without getting too technical, the essential thing for modern-day modems is to get an 802.11ac router. This provides both a 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal to allow short and long-range wireless signals to all points of your home. It is important to note that your router will only go as fast as your internet service provider’s internet plan allows. If your router can push out 500 Mbps, but your internet plan is only 250 Mbps, you will be limited to 250 Mbps.

Wi-fi range:

When deciding on a router, ask yourself the following questions:  

Will your router only need to reach a couple of rooms? Is your router in the basement and has to try to get the 3rd floor in your house? Do you have devices located outside that rely on a router to carry wi-fi? Your answers will dictate the amount of router strength you need. A standard or long-range router will work just fine if you live in an apartment or small home. Suppose you have a larger home with multiple stories or outside living spaces. In that case, you may want to consider a mesh network with several routers bundled into one package; or Another option would be a long-range router with a wi-fi repeater/range extender. Ultimately, it will come down to your specific needs and what works best for your living situation.

Smart home integration:

With the rapid advances in technology in the last few years, many people have begun to adopt smart home apps such as Amazon’s Alexa, Smart Things, Ring Devices, and Google Homes. If you have equipped your household with such devices, it may be worthwhile to investigate a smart home compatible router. This will essentially allow your devices to talk to each other with more ease and integrate well into your home network. Some manufacturers have even gone as far as to deploy smartphone apps, enabling you to control your router anywhere you want. Moreover, these have a more consumer-friendly interface than logging into the router, which can be daunting if you have never tried it before.

Conclusion:

Your router requirements boil down to your living situation and what you need to use your router for the most part. While your internet service provider plan does indeed play a role, if your hardware cannot support your internet plan, then you will become bottlenecked by your router. Suppose you have been experiencing slow internet or overall internet issues after transferring to a home office work. In that case, an excellent wireless router may be the single most important piece of hardware that you can get ahold of. Wireless routers also have ethernet ports in the back of the device. While the number of ports may vary depending on which router you decide to purchase, there is always the option to hardwire your device into the router to get better internet stability. Overall, make sure to get an 802.11ac router with a good transfer speed up to 1Gb/s and have a good internet plan to support it. Pairing an adequately configured router and high-speed internet provider will allow you to accomplish all the work you need without compromise.