How to choose wireless router

If you don’t have special knowledge, you can be confused because of huge number companies, that make wireless routers, and buy product, which will disappoint you. So it’s necessary to know what advantages are necessary to be remembered by someone, who plans to buy wireless router in the near future. After you read this article, you will be prepared to go in electronic store and choose product, which won’t work bad.

Connection type

Firstly, you should find out what type of connection and protocol are used by your internet service provider. You can get answer on this question from technical support of your ISP.

What technologies are usually used:

  • Default twisted-pair Ethernet cable, which is laid in customer’s apartment or office from switch, installed in building.
  • Digital subscriber line xDSL. Simply put, you get access to the Internet via telephone network.
  • Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks technology. ISP, that use this technology, provide to their subscribers their own equipment and configuration for correctly work of all services. There are few wireless routers, which supports Gigabit-capable Passive Optical Networks technology, so you can’t be sure that your Internet Service Provider supports this type of routers.

If you use Ethernet or xDSL connection, your wireless router’s compatibility with ISP will depend on the support of the one or another connection protocol. Talking about protocol support, most of the modern wireless routers can be called “omnivorous”, but old models of router may not support some protocols. Therefore, when choosing a Wi-Fi router, carefully read the specifications to don’t have to return your device to store because of incompatibility with the Internet provider.

Purposes for which you have purchased the router

If you just need to connect some device to the Internet using cable and wireless connection, you can buy cheap old wireless router without special functions.

If connection to the Internet some devices isn’t your main purpose and you need to high-perfomance LAN for fast transfer of large amount of data between devices in this Local Network or to make entertainment center for watching movies in Full HD or Blu-ray in your house, you should buy powerful wireless router with Gigabit technology, special function support, protocols and available nests for external device.

Connection speed

Nowadays there are two basic wireless network standards — 802.11 n and 802.11 ac. 802.11n devices operate in the frequency range of 2,4 GHz and provide data transfer speed from 150 to 600 Mbps, depending on the class. 802.11 ac provides greater performance due to the increased bandwidth, operates in the frequency range 5 GHz, provides data transfer speed from 433 Mbit/s to 4 GB/s, depending on the class. All devices are 802.11 ac compatible with 802.11 n.

It’s necessary to remember, that specified by manufacturers connection speed is theoretical maximum value achieved in ideal conditions. In practice, the rate will be much lower due to obstacles in signal path and electromagnetic interference from other devices. Moreover, it should be noted in practice Internet connection speed doesn’t exceed the speed of ISP, and connection speed to certain website doesn’t exceed the capacity of the channel.

However, high connection speed is so important for LAN. If you want to organize multimedia wireless network, you should know that better if connection speed will be high.

Ports speed

Fast Ethernet technology provides ports speed about 100 Mbps, while Gigabit Ethernet makes ports speed 1000 Mbps.

There are some Internet Service Providers that provides Internet connection with speed more than 100 Mbps. If you are customer of one of these ISPs, you should choose wireless router with Gigabit ports.

If you prefer to transfer your data on high speed between devices in your Local Network, you should choose router with Gigabit ports too. Every modern personal computer has Gigabit Ethernet interface.

Working in two frequency bands function

This function provides you to divide the load between two wireless networks. First network can be used for different Internet activity (surfing the Internet). Second wireless network, which uses 5 GHz bands, can be used for streaming high-quality video, fast transfer of large amounts of data between devices and use the speed demanding applications. It’s important that all these actions can be done at the same time, without interfering each other.


Antennas can be internal or external. They are characterized by the amplification factor, which influence on the distance of wireless network coverage. Internal antennas gain is usually about 2-3 dBi, while external antennas has about 5 dBi. Better to use router with internal antennas in places, where are a lot of open space. Offices and large apartments, where you can find a lot of walls and ceilings, are appropriated for devices with external antennas. External antennas can be fixed and removable. You can’t change fixed antennas on antennas with higher gain.

USB ports

Some wireless routers have USB ports (2.0 or 3.0). If you are owner of this device, here is a list of available for you functions:

  • You can connect external hard drive and share data to all devices, that connected to your network. Moreover, DLNA server and a torrent client functions can be realized too by usage of USB ports.
  • Your printer or MFP can be connected to router, using USB ports. This will open access to them for every device in your LAN.
  • You can connect LTE modem to provide Internet access using mobile operator’s network. If your router supports LTE connection, you are possible to use two Internet connection at the same time. One connection can be used as additional, while second is primary. In case, when there are some troubles with primary connection, your device will switch on additional connection. This function provides you assurance of uninterrupted Internet access.

Multiple technologies of Internet connection support

There are Wi-Fi routers, which support three Internet connection technologies simultaneously: Ethernet, xDSL, LTE. These devices provide to configure a few additional Internet connections and specify usage priority. It is more safety than use only two connection.