Home Office Router Buying Guide

A critical piece of technology for a home office, the wireless router comes in a wide variety of types. The router is your office's connection to the world, and choosing the right one is of great importance, but it can be confusing and complicated to find the one for your home office's needs.

Types of Home Office Routers

B

Wireless B routers are no longer produced, but the technology is still available as newer devices continue to support this type of router. These routers have a maximum speeds of 1 mb/s. They also have a reported range distance of 150 feet. However, there is a big problem with these routers: they use the same frequency range, 2.4 GHz, as many other devices, from the microwave to a child's remote control car. This means there is a chance for quite a lot of radio interference with your router's inbound and outbound signals. Placing the B router in a remote location in the home, away from other devices on this frequency, should solve the problem. If you are using a B router, know that it is old technology and you should consider upgrading for a better wireless experience.

G

Similar to wireless B routers, wireless G routers run on the 2.4 GHz frequency, potentially catching an extensive amount of interference, though placing the router in a remote location can help. These routers have a potential maximum speed of 54 mb/s Wireless G routers are the better choice for connection with older technology at an accelerated speed.

N

The wireless N router extends speed to a potential of 300 mb/s with two antennas. However, it is much more common to see a home office running an N router at 130 mb/s. Unlike the older wireless B and G routers, wireless N routers run on two frequencies, 2.4 GHz and 5.0 Ghz. This means if there is too much interference on the 2.4 ghz band, the router will switch to the higher bandwidth to allow for better clarity. However, switching to the 5 ghz frequency also means a weaker signal. You can also switch the bands manually or restrict the router to one or the other.

AC

Wireless AC routers, with speeds of 1 gb/s, are the fastest and newest technology available. Becoming more and more available to purchase, these routers run only on the 5.0 ghz frequency range, leaving no chance of interference from common household devices, but gives a weaker signal.

Pay Attention to

Signal strength

Different routers come with different signal strengths, which affect the clarity and distance of use. Look for a router with a strong signal strength, but do not rely on the manufacturer's published specifications as no router performs the same in every setting.

Speed

Determine what speed you will need, but do not overestimate as that will affect your price. The newest routers have speeds up to 1 gb/s, but if you are the only person using the wifi in your office, you will not need such fast speeds.

Security

Wireless routers often use WPA or other types of encryption to secure your network. Without security on your router, you will have everyone in your neighborhood jumping on your network and slowing it down drastically.

Compatibility

You will need to consider the compatibility of the new router with any existing hardware in your home office. Consider getting the same brand router as your network card to provide more speed for land connections.

Customer Service

Compare the customer service of the router you are looking to buy. You may need their help to install or work with the router. Good customer service will make problems and questions quicker and easier to deal with.

Top Brands and Product Lines

NetGear

Manufacturers of N and AC wireless routers, Netgear makes it easy to connect your home office to the world. Its largest wireless router for home offices is the AC1600, which is great for homes with ten or more devices connecting to the internet, and delivers gigabyte speeds. The AC750 is a router with speeds up to 433 mb/s which provides extremely quick downloads. Another product line is the N wireless routers, from N900 to the N300. They also produce a G54 wireless router which is great for a simple solution in small to medium sized homes.

Linksys

Having been brought up from a tiny business in a couple's garage, Linksys is now one of the biggest companies for computer-related products. They carry a number of wireless routers, from the AC1600 to the N750. Their routers are good for connected homes and homes with many devices.

Ubiquiti Networks

Founded in 2005, Ubiquiti Networks make many technology-based products. Their routers are feature-rich and reliable.