Your Wi-Fi experience at home or office will be influenced by many factors. The most decisive role will be played by your internet service provider, the internet plan you have opted for which will determine the available bandwidth and hence the speed, coverage area and uptime will also be partly influenced by the same.
However, your internet service provider will not determine everything.
Your choice of wireless modem router will play a key role in coverage, network strength or reception, reliability, and uptime.
It will also influence the speed of wireless internet and your network security.
Choosing a Wireless Modem Router
It is not easy, especially when you consider the technical variants and the industry jargon.
Many acronyms make absolutely no sense if you are not accustomed to routers or wireless internet in general.
Many routers will look alike and they may be of the same size or they can have the same number of antennas.
Yet, they would offer considerably different user experience.
Here is a comprehensive guide for you to look for the relevant attributes in a wireless modem router.
The guide should simplify your quest and you can navigate through the technical acronyms and marketing terminology.
Start with the Standard of Wireless Modem Router
The industry has well-established standards.
The latest standard is IEEE 802.11ac. You can choose the preceding IEEE 802.11n or the earlier IEEE 802.11g version.
However, these are not in production anymore.
Most brands are making IEEE 802.11ac and many are working on further improvement.
If you settle for any model that is older, then you are likely to experience a plethora of problems, not to forget poor speed and unreliable coverage.
You also need state of the art security, so the latest version is your best bet.
TP-Link AC1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit VDSL/ADSL Modem Router for Phone Line Connections 2 USB, 3.0 Ports (BT Infinity)
Dual Band Wireless Modem Router is the Basic Now
Just as the older standards have become irrelevant today, single band wireless modem routers have become obsolete.
The only choice is dual band. Many dual-band routers are forward compatible, much like the fourth-generation evolutionary networks.
Some dual-band modem routers will be compatible with subsequent generations and these are a wiser choice as you would not have to upgrade or change your router in the near future.
You may also go for tri-band routers but they are substantially more expensive.
Steering the Nomenclature of Wireless Routers
It would have been really simple if all routers were classified as IEEE 802.11ac.
You could have ticked the checkbox and moved on to explore other features.
The fact is there are many variants of the standard IEEE 802.11ac router.
You will find AC750 and AC900. You will also find AC1200, AC1900 and AC3200.
There are higher and more advanced variants as well.
Whatever you do, pick AC1200 or higher.
Do not choose the entry-level variants as they are going to be the first ones to be junked as new technological advancements become mainstreamed.
Look for MU-MIMO / 802.11ac Wave 2 Compatibility
These are the kind of terms you will come across.
MU-MIMO simply means multiuser multiple inputs multiple outputs, which means you can have multiple people using the same wireless network and there can be multiple streams of data for every user.
802.11ac Wave 2 is the industry standard and it is pretty much a basic feature now.
Should you choose any router that doesn’t have such compatibility, you are likely to experience slow speeds and outages.
You would be back to the old days when someone downloading a large file or taking up a lot of bandwidth will essentially block off every other user from accessing the network.
Processor and RAM of Wireless Modem Router
Wireless modem routers have processors and random-access memory.
Like computers, they can be single core, dual core and quad core among others.
They will adhere to the respective operating frequency.
Check the processor and also the speed. Look for at least 128MB RAM.
There are routers with 256MB RAM and capacities even in GB, but they are expensive and not necessary for home networks or small office networks.
Look for at least USB 3.0 ports. You may want an app for your router.
Check the speed, range, strength of network which will be partly influenced by the number of antennas and the security features.