According to a study done by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, there will be nearly 26 billion global Wi-Fi devices by 2021. That is a lot of devices that need access to the internet! In order for all those devices to have smooth and reliable connections, you need a good router. But with so many different models and features on the market, choosing the right one can be overwhelming, especially if you are a first-time buyer. This guide will help equip you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision and find the perfect router for your needs.
What to Look for When Buying a Router
When you are router shopping, there are several factors you should keep in mind. The most important thing is identifying what your needs are. Do you have a lot of devices that need to be connected? Do you stream movies or play video games online? Do you need long range or are you looking for something more budget-friendly? Once you know what your priorities are, here are some other things to look for:
There are two frequency bands available for routers: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz band has a longer range but is also more crowded because it is used by cordless phones, microwaves, and other household devices. The 5 GHz band does not have as much range but is less congested because not as many devices use it.
Data rates are measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and dictate how much information can be transferred in a given amount of time. If you do a lot of online gaming or streaming, you will want a router with high data rates so that there is minimal lag time.
Beamforming helps direct the Wi-Fi signal exactly where it needs to go instead of just broadcasting it in a general area. This can be helpful if you have spotty coverage in certain areas of your home.
A dual-band router broadcasts both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals at the same time which gives you more options when connecting devices.
Pros and Cons of Online Router Shopping
Like anything else, there are pros and cons associated with shopping for routers online as opposed to going into a store and talking to someone face-to-face.
Some advantages of shopping online include
- You can do extensive research before making a purchase.
- You can often find better deals online than in stores.
- You can have the router shipped directly to your door instead of having to lug it home from the store yourself.
On the flip side, some disadvantages include
- It can be difficult to get answers to specific questions that you may have about certain models.
- It is harder to compare different models side by side when shopping online.
With so many different routers on the market, choosing the right one can be tricky—but it doesn’t have to be! Keep this beginner’s guide handy next time you find yourself router shopping, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect fit for your needs in no time flat!