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Purchasing The Best Wireless Router

Your Wireless Router Connection Plays a Key Role

The best wireless router? It depends on your system needs. A wireless router connection must be robust; wireless router security is a key feature. Brands like Belkin, D-Link, Linksys, and Netgear wireless routers have key benefits and features that you need to compare before purchasing.


When looking to buy a wireless router, there are a few things to keep in mind before making the purchase.

  • Throughput on the Wireless Router
  • Wireless Range
  • Wireless Router Security

Note: If you have some experiences (good and/or bad) with wireless (or wired) routers, how about sharing them with the rest of us? Click here to share your thoughts on what's the best router available (and why you think so). We'd really like to hear what you have to say.

Throughput

When looking at the best wireless routers, one thing to consider is throughput. Throughput is the speed at which the data will flow between the router and your computer. This speed is measured in Mbps (Megabits per second). The current standard of 802.11g has a throughput of 54Mbps, with the new standard 802.11n having up to 540Mbps. Note that these are the optimum speeds, your 'mileage' may vary.

Range

Range is the maximum distance from the router that a wireless signal is accessible. If you are using a wired connection only, then you won't need to worry about this. Ranges that routers advertise, often tested in nice wide open spaces, may be quite a bit different from your house. Walls and other obstructions can lower the range of the signal. To get around this, you can install a wireless repeater that will boost the signal around your house.

Security

Most routers today will come with WEP (Wireless Equivalent Privacy) which is a first line of defense. However, that is usually not enough. When looking for a router, try to find one with WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) or the newer WPA2. The built-in firewall will also help to protect your computers; we wouldn't make a recommendation unless it had good wireless router security.

Purchasing Your Router

The first decision when looking for the best wireless router is: Wired or Wireless?

Best Wireless Router

If you are planning to go with a 54 Mbit/s wireless router, then the Linksys WRT54G series should be at the top of your list.

We have used Linksys routers for many years, and have never had a single problem (that we didn't cause). The WRT54GL shares its internet connection through both ethernet and 802.11b/g standards; using the 2.4 GHz ISM band you will get a typical network throughput of 22 Mbit/s. With publicly available software like DD-WRT, (a Linux based alternative OpenSource firmware), and with 4 wired ports built-in, you will have plenty of reliable connections.


Best Wired Router

If you do not need a wireless connection, check out the Linksys BEFSX41. Yes, another Linksys, but we always go with what works. The setup for this router is a breeze. Not much more to say about it, it routes, and it'll last you a long time.

We're recommending Linksys for the most part because we’ve found it to be reliable, use it ourselves, and it's usually priced 'right'; however most manufacturers are very competitive in price and quality and other brands, like Belkin, D-Link and Netgear wireless routers, can also be a good fit and are readily available.

Have your router in hand? Next up is setting up the wireless router connection. Let's continue on to Router Setup.


Wired or Wireless? Compare Routers. Tell Us Which You Use.

Wired or wireless routers? Which is best? There are pros and cons to both; which do you use and what brand of router have you found most reliable and a 'best buy'? And why?

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