Wireless wisdom

02 January 2020

Paul Routledge, country manager at D-Link

Paul Routledge, country manager at D-Link

Finding your perfect router can be a headache with options that include different wireless speeds, security standards and extra add-ons.  Here’s how to decide which key features matter to you.

While it’s still possible to purchase a wired-only router – using an Ethernet cable – wi-fi models are the most flexible and popular.

These are the two features that matter most:

Wireless range depends on factors such as how many radios and antennas, frequencies used, interference and so on.  All you need to know is that Wireless AC routers provide the best connectivity at the farthest range, followed by Wireless N.  For reliable wi-fi throughout the building, stick to AC; steer clear of Wireless G.

Wireless speeds have come a long way.  Wireless AC routers are three times faster than Wireless N and Wireless N routers are 14 times faster than Wireless G.  If you use real-time applications, Wireless AC will offer a superior experience to N or G.

Features to look for:

Dual band connectivity  Single band routers operate only on the 2.4GHz band, fine for surfing the Internet, but can get congested and unsuitable for high-bandwidth apps.  Dual band routers use the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band, which is less prone to interference from other devices.  With dual band, you can browse the Internet on the 2.4GHz while streaming on the 5GHz band with neither overloaded.  Dual band means less interference and faster speeds.  All Wireless AC routers and select Wireless N routers offer dual band.

Tri-band connectivity means simply adding another band, specifically 5GHz.  Each added band means less chance of congestion.

Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO), a newer feature is going to really make a difference as more devices become compatible.  MU-MIMO allows multiple devices to get high-bandwidth wi-fi signal at the same time, distributing data more efficiently and the fastest speeds. 

Wireless signals and MESH technology  Typically, wireless routers  broadcast using multiple antennas and Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology.  MIMO allows for higher data transfer rate by simultaneously using multiple antennas.  Signals are broadcast in a doughnut shape to blanket the area.  Instead of a doughnut broadcast, routers with MESH technology find and track devices and aim wi-fi signals directly at them, providing a much stronger signal.

Quality of Service (QoS)  Routers with QoS traffic controls track the type of network traffic and decide and deliver to the application deserving higher priority, ensuring the best quality.

Gigabit Ethernet  If you are using a wired connection, choose Gigabit Ethernet for up to 1000 Mbps, not Fast Ethernet (up to 100Mbps).

By Paul Routledge, country manager at D-Link