As you add more Internet-hungry connected devices in your home, you will need to consider the replacement of your existing router to ensure uninterrupted connectivity for all users in the home.
“Choosing a new router is definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are a number of factors to be considered to minimise frustration and increase system uptime,” said Tobie van Schalkwyk, product manager at Duxbury Networking.
While there are a multitude of routers available on the market, consumers often find it is difficult to get objective advice on the best router for their specific needs.
Van Schalkwyk suggested that home users decide which of the following five categories most closely resemble their’s as a starting point:
- You have a few computers in your house using high-bandwidth sites such as YouTube, ShowMax or Netflix, often all simultaneously;
- You have entertainment systems such as Xbox or PlayStation, with family members playing against various opponents online;
- You download a large volume of large files;
- You have one or two devices streaming HD-quality videos and content;
- You have a large house and your current wireless router doesn’t cover all the rooms and spaces you need it to;
- You have entertainment systems such as Xbox or PlayStation, with family members playing against various opponents online, and you need your other computers to be able to stream video at the same time, without affecting connectivity performance;
- You have more than three devices streaming HD-quality videos and content and/or you are copying large files on your network.
“For options 1 to 4, your needs can be fulfilled by a Wireless N router, which provides transfer speeds of 300-600Mbps. These single- or dual-band routers are ideal for web browsing, streaming music, streaming low-quality videos and downloading medium-sized files (for example, MP3 and photos). Adding an extender can provide additional coverage in dead spots within your home,” Van Schalkwyk said.
For options 5 to 7, Van Schalkwyk suggested purchasing a Wireless AC router, as it can provide connection speeds of 1 Gbps and higher. These dual- and tri-band routers are the ideal choice where users wish to stream high-quality video, participate in online gaming, or download large files such as Blu-ray-quality videos.
Again, an extender may be added to the system to provide complete coverage in dead zones within the home. A Wi-Fi router is best placed in a central location in the home, with no obstructions around it.
“Which router you select is not only dependent on the speed/performance you require from your Internet connection, but is also influenced to a large degree by your available budget. For this reason, we suggest that you firstly determine the best fit for your household – Wireless N or Wireless AC router – then select a router that allows you to maximise your connection, within the constraints of your budget,” Van Schalkwyk said.