Advice on network routers
1. What's a router for?
A router distributes the internet connection within a household or business, providing multiple devices – wired or wireless – with access to the Internet. Most internet service providers supply a modem that already has an integrated router. That router usually has limited range, limited security options, low speed, and few handy additional functions. HD or 4K video streaming, online gaming without lag, quickly sending large photos and videos, or connecting an external hard drive via USB is often not possible. By buying a new router, you can get more control over your Internet connection at home.
2. What determines the speed of your router?
Internet on your device is possible in 2 ways: with a network cable, and wireless via WiFi. Because both methods use different technology to send and receive data, the speed differs. With WiFi, the signal can be disturbed by other networks or thick walls. This slows down the speed of your internet. A 5GHz network also offers a higher speed, but less range. With a network cable, the speed is guaranteed.
3. What determines the range and stability of your network?
The wireless signal from your router has a certain range. This range is continuously influenced by many factors. For example, the location of your router, the construction of your home or office, and the interference of other devices. Because there are so many different factors, routers use different technology to keep your range and connection stability optimal. This way, you won't suddenly face a slower connection or completely lose connection. With Multi-room WiFi, you have stable Internet everywhere.
4. What do the different WiFi frequency bands mean?
The widely used 2.4GHz WiFi band is limited and increasingly overloaded. From smartphone and game consoles, to car alarms, more and more devices are using the busy 2.4GHz band. The 5GHz band, on the other hand, is much more spacious and less crowded, resulting in higher speed and a more stable WiFi range. Simultaneous dual band routers use both frequencies to transmit the signal. This makes your WiFi faster and more stable.
With a simultaneous tri-band router, you can even operate on 3 WiFi frequency bands simultaneously. They have one 2.4GHz band and 2 separate 5GHz bands. They can also have a 60GHz band instead of a second 5GHz band. This ensures a stable WiFi signal with good range. Do make sure that your wireless network equipment supports the 5GHz frequency band, or you won't get the most out of a dual-band or tri-band router.
5. Which additional accessories do I need?
It's preferable to connect large devices that you don't move around regularly – such as desktops and smart TVs – with a network cable. That reduces the strain on your own network and keeps your connection stable. Because you connect to the Internet via a cable, you don't have to worry about invisible obstacles. Most routers come with a (too) short network cable. That's why it's a good idea to get an additional network cable. Choose a Gigabit Ethernet for the highest speed.
Sometimes, you don't have enough network ports to connect all your devices. A switch is a small box that splits 1 of your network connections into at least 5 extra network connections. That means that you can hook up extra devices to your router.
Do you have that one room in your house where you just can't get an internet connection? A powerline adapter is the right solution for you. This is a device that you plug into a socket and that uses the electrical wiring to transmit internet data. You always need at least 2 powerline adapters. One is connected to your router with a cable. The other is placed in the room where you want to extend coverage to.
Do you have a laptop or desktop without WiFi, do you want to increase the wireless speed of your current device, or make it suitable for the faster 5GHz WiFi frequency band? A WiFi adapter is what you need. Connect it via a USB port, set it up, and connect to your router.
Does the range of your wireless router not reach far enough to cover a particular room? In that case, you can place a WiFi repeater that receives and retransmits the signal. Because a WiFi repeater works like a walkie-talkie and uses half the bandwidth to 'talk', you will lose speed. That's why a WiFi repeater is only suitable to extend the range a bit in rooms on the same floor.