WiFi For Beginners - 5 Things You Must Know With Routers
Internet access has become an integral part of our daily life. Your wireless router is now used daily to connect to your phone, tablets, video game console or smart devices.
The quality of your router has become even more important, especially since many people are working from home. If your internet often disconnects or is congested, that means router may not be best suited for your needs.
Let’s take a look at the differences between different routers and how to choose your best router step-by-step.
1. How to choose between 2.4GHz and 5GHz?
When you are looking for a new router, you may find 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi in the description. But what do they mean? The main differences between the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi are the range and bandwidth.
The 5GHz WiFi is better at transmitting more data at higher speeds, but it has a tougher time getting through walls and furniture than 2.4GHz WiFi, which has a larger coverage area but it is likely congested with a number of devices.
For the speed, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi can support up to 450Mbps or 600 Mbps while 5GHz Wi-Fi can support up to 1300 Mbps under the best conditions. 2.4GHz is broken up into 11 channels only whereas 5GHz has 23 channels. If you are using WiFi-enabled devices such as microwave, speaker, and security cam at home, you’d better choose 5GHz WiFi.
2. How to choose among single-band, dual-band and tri-band?
Single-band are usually less expensive, and operate on 2.4GHz networks. They are limited to one wireless signal, which means all devices will compete on the same radio band.
Dual-band router offers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks and it can transmit to two wireless signals at the same time.
Tri-band router offers 2.4GHz and two separate 5GHz networks, it will automatically sort your devices into different networks.
If you need a WiFi internet just for web surfing and social media services, you can choose a single-band router to save your budgets.
However, we highly recommend you to choose a dual-band or tri-band router. 5GHz WiFi band is ideal for many internet activities such as gaming, video streaming, and file transfers.
3. What is wireless protocol (e.g. 802.11b, 802.11g)?
802.11b and 802.11g run 11-54Mbps on 2.4GHz frequency.
802.11n offers a data rate at a maximum of 600Mbps and operates both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
802.11ac offers wider channel bandwidth which is up to 160Hz with more input and more output spatial streams. It sends Wi-Fi signals directly to the clients rather than broadcasting in all directions. Also, it offers downstream multiple users MIMO which provides bandwidth to multiple devices at the same time rather than by turns.
If you are using the same Wi-Fi signal with your family members simultaneously, you don’t have to wait for them to receive the data streams from the router. However, your devices must contain MU-MIMO Wi-Fi circuitry.
4. How to secure my W-Fi against hackers?
If you want to secure your Wi-Fi network, especially when you are a backpacker or traveller, choose a router that you can setup with a VPN.
A VPN router can secure your personal information at an advanced level. If you directly connect your devices to the public Internet, you are almost 100% will put yourself under different cybersecurity risks.
Using a router with multiple open source VPN protocols support,can save your data from the risks of hackers, viruses, and data leaks when you are using the public Internet.
5. Do I need Mesh routers?
If you are living in a large apartment or you have many rooms in your office in your home (or office), we would recommend you use a mesh router.
The mesh routers deliver robust and consistent coverage by sharing the network between multiple devices. You can extend the range beyond that of a single router. You just need to put 3-5 individual routers at home, then all dead corners in your home will be cleared. They can fill gaps in home coverage and then you can enjoy Wi-Fi in every room, including the backyard and garage.
Be a smart internet user, understand your needs step by step:
- Determine the amount of space the router needs to cover
- Determine the number of devices that your router will support
- Determine your budget for purchasing a router
- Understand the speed and range of the router; See if it can fulfil your need
- Make sure your router is safe and secure; highly recommend you to set up VPN on your router
To get your best router, please visit GL.iNet Webstore.
About The Author
Karmen Yeung is a Hong Kong-based Digital Marketing Intern at GL.iNet. She likes sharing cybersecurity basics to all beginners. Connect with her on LinkedIn.