The first and the foremost thing you should know about routers is that there are many similarities between different router models, but that doesn’t mean that all these models provide you with an identical set of features.
Your choice of routers must be based on a handful of desirable features ranging from connectivity to security. You need to research well before you go out and get a new router for your business connectivity.
Here are a few indispensable router features that you must consider before purchasing a new router.
1. Go for one having the dual band feature
Dual band’s the capability of a WiFi router to transmit on two different bands (namely the 5GHz band and the 2.4GHz band).
The 2.4 GHz wireless airspace is excessively crowded. This might result in many performance problems and interference with other devices.
That’s why having a router that supports both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands can be a boon in disguise, especially for business purposes.
2. Your WiFi network should support a guest wireless network
If your private network allows guests to frequently get onto your internet connection, it would be better to go for a router that actually supports a guest network.
Your visitors will have their very own (SSID) Service Set Identifier to connect to. You, on the other hand, can isolate these service set identifiers from your main network. This will ensure the fact that your guests won’t be able to access your local network resources such as printers, PCs etc.
You can also configure different security settings on the guest network (such as WPA for guests, WPA2 for your private access).
3. Go for a router that supports WPA Enterprise
There’s no doubt that wireless networks can be kept secured through WPA/WPA2 PSK. But if you want to include an added level of security, go for a router that supports WPA Enterprise.
WPA Enterprise validates users to an external server through username and password. Along with that, it gives each and every PC a distinct encryption key.
Note: Users won’t be able to see the encryption key and hence, they won’t be able to share it.
4. Your WiFi system must possess an on/off button
You may want to temporarily switch your WiFi off at some point or the other (in times when you are troubleshooting interferences or for any reason related to extended absence).
A physical button makes this task convenient and easy to do. And also remember that pulling the power cord isn’t actually a decent solution; is it?
5. A router having detachable antennas
Routers having internal antennas are exceedingly common.
Opting for a router having external and detachable antennas is more than capable of giving you the flexibility to upgrade to directional varieties if necessary.
6. A Gigabit Ethernet
Gigabit Ethernets would probably not do anything to improve the performance of things like video streaming or file downloads.
But at the same time, it can make a heaven and hell difference at times when large data transfers occur between network devices. For e.g.:
At times when you do a backup of your PC to a NAS device/home server, this is going to come handy.
7. Traffic meter
Whether you know it or not, your ISP enforces a maximum monthly data transfer limitation on your internet data consumption.
A router having a traffic meter helps to monitor data consumption (that includes both uploads and downloads). It will notify you when you approach a predefined data threshold.
Based on your data consumption, it can also put a hold on the internet connection to avoid overuse charges.
8. USB port
A router having a USB port has several benefits. It gives you an easy way to share your storage device contents across your private/business network.
You can use this feature to stream media to personal computers or any other networked device through DLNA/UPnP. A router having USB access also offers access to secondary devices like printers or webcams.
9. Support for IPV6
Do note that the internet’s supply of IPv4 addresses is already on the verge of depletion. All eyes are on IPv6 now.
Most router vendors have recently taken notice of these things. So if you are thinking of getting a new router, it’s worth a check to see whether the router you plan to purchase will be capable of handling IPv6 natively (through any firmware upgrade in future) or not.
10. Get one that supports DHCP reservations
IP addresses are normally assigned dynamically through DHCP. But what happens in cases where the IP addresses are fixed and pre-defined?
You’ll probably notice that certain devices such as printers, servers or even in some case, certain PCs have fixed IP addresses.
In such cases, manual configuration of static addresses can be time-consuming and tiresome at the same time. A router supporting DHCP reservations sets aside a particular IP address that can be used exclusively for a device, thereby ensuring the fact that it always gets the same address.
Hope you people remember these features while going for a brand new WiFi router for any purpose o yours. It’s time to sign off for the time being. Hope you had a good read.