Your node to interconnectivity
An essential unit in our lives today at home and in the office a WiFi router connects us to the digital abyss that exists within the internet. Depending on the specs one can connect a host of devices to a WiFi router and some have the ability to connect to a printer or hard disk through a USB allowing you to print wirelessly or access files from that hard drive while being anywhere in the house/office. Though the security of such a hard drive should be kept in mind as wireless means it could be hacked in a step less comparatively.
What to consider when buying one
WiFi routers come with various ratings relating to the technology being used within and how much information they can handle, these things are important to know about so you are getting a reliable device that meets your needs and is compatible longer. The number of antennas is not as important as what is powering them so multiple antennas might seem attractive but the internal specs are what drive them so it is better to pay attention to those. Starting with what frequency channels the router is broadcasting over with 2.4GHz being the most basic but slower one, stepping up to 5GHz this can handle more information and is thus faster but isn't so good around corners and bends. The 5.8GHz is the highest but a dual-band combo of 2.4GHz and 5GHz is probably still the better option regarding speed & coverage, a tri-band that combines all these will only show a minimal increase at this point in technology.
Decoding the WiFi standards
The terms regarding WiFi compatibility are probably the most confusing and ironically the most varied too. But to cut it short it is better to stick to 802.11ac and 802.11n as the others are slightly outdated modes currently, even out of these the 802.11ac is the newer standard and consumers should try to acquire a router running on this. This standard is also the one that combines 2.4GHz and 5GHz to give an overall balanced network that works faster and switches between the transmission bands depending on where your device is in relation to the router. WiFi routers tout all kinds of speeds but don't let this phase you as the actual speed depends on your internet connection, how the house or office is built and if you have a mesh network spread out or one main point of connection. When comparing you'll see labels like AC1200, AC1750, AC3200 and so on but to explain this better the 'AC' stands for the wireless standard discussed earlier (802.11ac) while the number refers to the speed. For example, the AC1750 means that the router shall be giving you 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz channel and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band. These speed and power ratings keep going up every so many years as technology evolves to meet the needs of our devices and devices power up to work with the newer routers completing the circle. To choose which rating you need is a matter of knowing what amount of usage you usually have around the premises, for an average internet user the AC1200 is more than enough to handle all your needs and if it is an office and needs more power a higher rating can be picked.
Security regarding WiFi routers
The last thing to consider with WiFi routers is what security they employ to keep your information safe, probably the most crucial aspect as well! WEP, WPA & WPA2 are all security protocols that encrypt your network and require a login-key for anyone to access it. WEP and WPA are both outdated and easier to break into, today most service providers recommend WPA2 which is fortunate as most new devices have it but in case they don't it better to find a device that does.
WiFi routers also have different designs from simple block designs to ones that look like spaceships. This is probably not as important as the rest of what has been discussed above but in case you want to find something fancy that fits your aesthetic, there are options. The more reliable and known brands include TP-Link, D-Link, Linksys, Google, Asus, NETGEAR and Apple. Available at many price points depending on brand and connectivity power.