04 March 2020
1 Before delving into router options and technologies, first identify what you intend to connect and how this will change over time.
Are you a technical wizard wanting advanced network reporting in an enterprise environment; a security boffin, requiring the latest systems to ensure your storage data is safe?
Or are you simply looking to connect a few devices (one or two laptops, iPads or mobile phones)?
Answer as honestly as you can – there are lots of routers and gateways to choose from.
2 Consider your current wireless performance, focus on where you would like to use wireless. If you require wireless connectivity while moving around, think about the distances to cover and walls and windows that might be in the way. Taking the time to find key areas of usage will help with positioning of access points.
3 Think about where the internet connection enters the building. It can be troublesome to move this location, so making the most of its placement can be essential, for example, a router with a very large broadcast.
If the internet point is far away from users – maybe two floors down – an alternative is a simple modem or router and add access points at key areas, instead of broadcasting your signal.
4 The type of internet connection you have bought can change the topology of your network. Many still use ADSL (copper cable to the exchange) and some use VDSL (fibre to the cabinet and then copper to the building). Some are lucky enough to have fibre to the premises. In order for these types of services to work you need to consider the end point. Some of these end points cannot be swapped easily, some are more difficult.
Clearly, for ADSL or VDSL to work it must have a modem. Your ISP will supply a router with a built-in modem or provide both a modem and a separate router.
In some case it’s possible to use an ISP’s router and turn off all of the features other than the modem. This way, you can keep your end point but still plug in a router of your choice to improve your network connection, such as a mesh gateway or more advanced router.
5 With access points, think about how you will both manage your network and power the devices. Many APs can be powered by the same switch used to connect its data, called PoE (power over Ethernet).
Cloud solutions allow you to manage not just APs, making installation easy, but also the switch itself. Keeping management of your devices in the cloud can also make it easy to control, manage and monitor for an enhanced set-up experience and top performance.