A wireless router make connecting your devices to the internet easy. But how do you know which one is best suited for you? In this Start.ca support video, Keith from our service desk helps get to the bottom of this common conundrum.
This video features captions and descriptive transcript.
What is a wireless router, anyway? A router connects your devices (e.g., cell phones, tablets and computers) to the internet. Picking the right one is important, and there’s a few things to consider when deciding.
What to look for in a router
- Many wireless routers use the 2.4 GHz frequency
- Having other devices on the same frequency can cause interference that affects your internet connection and speed
- Cordless phones, baby monitors, Bluetooth, game consoles and microwaves are common sources of interference, especially in smaller homes or apartments
How to get a strong wireless connection
- Use a wired connection with an Ethernet cable to get a dedicated, strong connection
- Use a dual band router with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
- Try the 5 GHz frequency if there are a lot of other Wi-Fi networks nearby or a lot of other wireless devices in use
How to pick the best wireless router for you
Questions to ask yourself before choosing a router:
- Are there a lot of other Wi-Fi networks nearby?
- Are there a lot of other wireless devices in use?
- What internet package do you have?
When it comes to picking a particular router, remember there’s more technical support available for name brands. While we don’t recommend on particular brand of router over any other, there are several key things to look for that will help you pick one for you:
- Most routers follow a standardized naming system: a letter, followed by a number
- A wireless AC class router is the most recent technology and is less susceptible to wireless interference
- Wireless N class might be fine if you’re not worried about interference from other devices
The number in the name indicates the theoretical amount of traffic the router can handle, generally in Mbps. For example:
- A wireless N750 router can handle more local traffic than a wireless N300 router
- A wireless AC1200 router will handle more than a wireless N750, etc.
- The higher the number, the better but don’t buy more than you really need
Most routers used to use 100 Base T WAN ports, which meant the maximum speed they could take in was just under 100 Mbps.
- Router limitations like this cause bottlenecks for people subscribed to a faster service (e.g., 250 Mbps)
- Many routers today have a Gigabit WAN port (1000 megabits per second!)
- When in doubt, read reviews, and ask for recommendations