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What you should know before you buy a

Wireless Router or Modem Router.


What is a wireless router / Modem Router ?

Simply put a wireless modem router is a device that decodes the signal on your telephone line or cable system and allows you to connect to your Internet servicesprovider for the purposes of using the Internet. It will also allow you to connect devices, laptops or desktop computers wired or wirelessly.

How do I know what is the best Modem / Router to buy ?

Wireless modem routers quote their speed as Mbps or Megabits per second. The older wireless models are usually quoted at 11 Mbps, also called 'Type B' modem routers or using the 802.11b standard. Mid-range routers use the 802.11g standard which is typically 54Mbps. Modern routers from 108Mbps up to 450Mbps are usually referred to as either 'n-lite' or 'group n' modem routers. The standard for this is called the 802.11n standard.

It can be very tempting to simply buy the modem with the biggest number slapped on the front, after all the bigger number means it's better doesn't it ? Well no actually it doesn't as all modem routers will not necesarily perform as quoted in a given environment. In practice the maximum quoted performance will almost NEVER EVER be achieved and so is the extra speed actually worth the additional cost. Even high speed modem routers are not able to speed up your internet connection as this is determined by your provider or the package that you are paying for.

At Computer Solutions we'll happily advise on which model is best for your particular requirements. If required we'll also carry out a site survey for you too.

Popular Models

There is an old saying that says that if a lot of people are buying a particular product, then it must be good. Top selling networking hardware tends to be current technology but not necessarily "cutting edge". Check out the sales figures of some popular modem routers when you begin to make your shortlist.

Warranties

Some well known brands like Netgear for example carry a lifetime warranty. This means that if it fails and you can provide a proof of purchase it will be replaced free of charge. We've tested the Netgear claim and are happy to report that yes it is true. In fact their replacement service is also very quick too !

However you will pay more for a router with such a warranty but then you get what you pay for.

Brand Matching with Network adapters

Sometimes it can be a good idea to purchase the same brand of router as at least one of your wireless network adapters. The overall benefit might be small but sometimes vendors will optimise communication protocols of their own equipment and you might see a slightly higher level of performance. Buying all of your network equipment from manufacturer can make sense.

Size and style

Most homes will have their router installed in a high visibility area. purchasing a router that looks stylish can enhance the decor if this is the case. Routers come in a plethora of different sizes, styles and shapes. If the router is going to be installed in the cupboard under the stairs or other confined space, make sure you pick one with a suitable form factor.

Cost & budget

Manufacturers sometimes offer inducements for you to buy their particular router, such as a free USB wireless network adapter. It is worth shopping around, even if a router is last year's model it probably will still have all the features that you require and there are some good deals to be had. Computer Solutions will be happy to advise you in this respect.

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