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albecker   , 36

from Scarsdale

How to choose the best router for your connected home


When you are getting ready to pick the best wireless wifi router, you may feel as though one is very much like the other. After all, as long as you can connect the household computers to it, and as long as everything mostly comes up, it's all fine, right?

The truth of the matter is that routers come in all sorts of specifications and if you want to get the top performance out of yours, you will need to make sure that you are thinking this through. Getting a good router that will take care of your needs is a lot simpler than you might think, but there are some basic considerations that have to be made.

In the first place, start with speed. This can be quite important if you do a lot of downloading or uploading, or even if you play a lot of games. For the most part, routers will advertise their speed in megabits per second, written as Mbps. Older models claim that they will transfer 11 Mbps, while currently, the mid-grade routers offer 54 Mbps and the top of the line will boast 300 Mbps. These are just the top that they will ever achieve, so take the time to match them to the internet speed that you are getting in your home.

Another point that you will want to look at is warranties. How long will the router be ensured to last, and what are your options for return in case something does go wrong. Remember that a better warranty is likely indicative of a better service. If a company is confident in their service, they tend to be able to provide a significantly higher package when it comes to replacing the occasionally faulty model.

You will also find that you will have a fair amount of luck by matching your router to the network cards that are used by your computers. This is something that most people do not do, but the rewards can be significant. Most router companies, while their routers are considered universal, will tend to optimize their routers for their network cards. This can help you make a choice between a few different models, and at the very least it gives you a place to look. Some people will suggest getting all of your networking equipment in one fell swoop if at all possible for this very reason.

Finally consider where you are going to be installing your router. Some routers are meant to be packed into a confined space, while others are meant to be freestanding. Consider the area where you are going to be installing it, and make sure that you purchase a router that will work well with it. This can be instrumental in making sure that the router stays a functional part of your network for years to come.

There are a number of different things that you can do to ensure that you get a good model that will work for your home network, so consider what your choices are and what parameters you can use to make your decision.