A router is a device that establishes both a local and internet network for computers and gadgets. Several computers or devices can be connected to a network through a router to facilitate data sharing and internet access. Above basic functions like allowing multiple devices to share information and internet access in a network. A router can share information between networks and analyze where data packets are best suited for in a network.
😍 Our Pick Asus RT-AC86U/CA C$262.16 on amazon Price updated 4 hours ago
Bottom Line Best suited for gamers Alongside its basic functions this model has lots of features to enhance gaming experience
Pros It is easy to setup It uses a dual band network settings. Fast internet speed It has great coverage
Cons Advanced features are not dependable
Netgear Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router-AC1750 C$155.99 on amazon Price updated 7 hours ago
Bottom Line Best for those who seek control over their network. If you need to filter web contents or use the parental guide control; this router works perfectly for your needs.
Pros It has a wide coverage Fast internet speed is guaranteed It is easy to setup
Cons The ratings of this router are questionable.
Budget Choice TP-LINK AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router C$86.50 on amazon Price updated 7 hours ago
Bottom Line Efficient and Cheap Very efficient and affordable. You can get optimum performance for the price at which you purchase it.
Pros It uses a dual band network settings It has good internet connection speed It is easy to setup
Cons No warranty for firmware upgrades
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What is a Router?
A Router is a device used to send, receive, and analyze data in a network. With a router, communication across various computers in the same network can be facilitated easily. Packets can be sent from one computer to another in the same network. A packet refers to data packaged in segments across various layers; packets usually have a source and destination where the router should send them.
Beyond sending packets, a router can analyze the data and determine the best route for a packet. A router can also convert a data packet to another network interface. It can intuitively perform operations such that sending, receiving, and analyzing data in a network is done faster. Routers enable you to connect and share information amongst multiple devices in a network. You get to create a local as well as an internet network with a router.
How does a Router work?
A router through network cables connects many devices to a network. It doesn't always have to be a network cable connection. A router can connect with devices without network cable connections (wireless). Nevertheless, for a device to connect to a router wirelessly, the device must have a wireless feature for connecting with routers. Also, not all routers can facilitate wireless connection.
Haven connected multiple devices to a network. A router facilitates sharing of information amongst the connected devices. Through the router's network, other connected devices in the network can enjoy an internet connection. The router does a lot of work by managing each device and ensuring data or internet speed is delivered on-demand through the fastest route possible. Beyond sharing information and network access, a router also serves as security for connected devices against cyber threats and attacks.
How is a Router different from a Modem?
A router typically connects one computer to another in a network and ensures sharing of information amongst these connected devices. If you need to make all connected devices access the internet, you would need a modem to make your router access the internet and share internet access to other computers. For one, a modem can never allow sharing of information over a network; neither can it analyze or send packets. A router does all of this with the advantage of integrating a modem's internet connection to serve all connected devices in a network.
When a modem integrates with a router, every wired and wireless device in the network can access the internet. Mind you; a router allows information to be passed from one computer to another through its local network. This means a router doesn't necessarily need an internet connection to facilitate operations in its network. Nonetheless, if internet access is something you care about, your router can help all devices in its network access the internet through a modem. To connect your modem to your router; plug in the Ethernet cable to the modem, and insert the other end into the router's WAN port. Technically, you do not need a router and a modem, but when you have to share internet access to more than one device or a network, a router and modem are indispensable.
What's the difference between a Hub, Switch, and a Router?
A network hub and a switch can perform the basic task of connecting one computer or device to another over a network. Nevertheless, a router has more capability, features, and functions than a hub or switch put together. A hub connects computers to a network; it receives and sends packets to all computers over a network.
The downside of a hub is that it shares the bandwidth equally over all connected devices, and it cannot connect to the internet. This means a hub would have slower connection and speed with increasingly connected devices. Also, there's no way you can integrate a modem or any data access tool with a hub.
A network switch is slightly different but less advanced than the router. When a hub receives a packet/data, it broadcasts it to all computers in a network. A network switch is different; it doesn't broadcast data/packets to all computers in the network. It can determine the destination of the data/packet and send it where necessary. This means it doesn't split the local network's bandwidth across all connected devices like the hub. Sending a packet/data to where it is needed means a network switch can regulate each connected device's bandwidth and apportion more bandwidth to any device that requires more speed.
What types of Routers are available?
There are two types of routers; the wired (or cable-connected) routers and wireless routers.
As the name indicates, a wired router uses cables to establish a connection/network, while a wireless router doesn't necessarily need cables to establish a connection.
A wireless router connects with a computer or device within the connectivity boundary of a given location. Let's say it is set up in your house; any device within and a small distance away from your home would be able to connect to your router. A wired router is different; it has cable connections for any computer in its networks. Mobile phones can access a wired router through voice-over IP technology (VOIP).
Other types of routers include; edge routers, core routers, and virtual routers.
A core router is designed to operate in the core/backbone of the Internet network. It can send and receive data packets within a network but not between networks. With a core router, you can be rest assured of speed and strong bandwidth connection to facilitate operations.
An edge router seats at the edge of a backbone and can connect to a core router. It has a very fast speed and only shares data packets between networks and never within a network.
The last type of router is the virtual router; it works best as a computer sharing administrator. Using the virtual router redundancy protocol (VRRP) can swiftly take over operations when a primary router fails. A virtual router can control multiple routers through a virtual IP address and make one router stand in place for another router's function if there's a failure.
How cheap are Routers?
You can rent a router for as low as $15-$17. If you'd be needing it for a long time, you're better off buying one than spending excessively on the cost of renting a router. On average, a router costs a little lower than $100 and as much as 400 dollars depending on the features, functions, the brand that produces it, and bandwidth speed. Talking about expensive routers, Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 costs approximately $450. It has amazing features that would interest gamers and provide the best of experience. Other features include its Alexa voice command, IFTTT applets, and its eight LAN ports. Budget routers you can get at less than 100 dollars are numerous. You can look out for; Asus RT-AC66U B1 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router (costs $96), Linksys EA6350 AC1200+ Dual-Band Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router (costs $89), TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (V2) costs $52, Motorola SURFboard SB6141(costs $70), on and on goes the list.
Should I buy an AC1200 or AC1900 Router?
AC or AX indicate the wireless networking standard they support (Wi-Fi 4, 5, or 6). The numbers that follow the AC or AX indicate the theoretical speed obtainable for the router. Sadly, if you have your eyes on the numbers, you'd be misled. The numbering only works as marketing bait. Rather, have your eyes on whether it is a single, double or triple band router and what frequencies information is shared.
The Ac or Ax in their numberings is gotten from Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). To go about your purchase decision more effectively, calculate how much speed is obtainable on each frequency the router broadcasts on and sum them together.
For example, let's say it's a double band router (rated AC2800) with a 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz broadcast frequency. Let's assume the maximum speed obtainable on 2.4GHz is 650Mbps and 2500Mbps on 5.0GHz. This means the router has 3150Mbps (650mMbps + 2500Mbps) rather than the rated AC 2800.
How far will your Router's Wi-Fi signal reach?
Usually, your router's Wi-Fi signal's reach depends on the number and types of wireless access points. Other factors that influence your router's Wi-Fi signal include; the specific 802.11 protocol the router runs, the strength of its transmitter, the nature of physical obstructions and interference in the area. As a rule of thumb, home networking routers can reach 46 meters indoors and 96 meters outdoors for a traditional 2.4GHz band reach. Brick walls and other obstructions can reduce the bandwidth reach by at least 25% within the area.
You can improve your wireless router's reach by placing it in a less obstructed space (an open space). Also, try updating the firmware (every router has one) of your router to get better reach from your router's Wi-Fi. Updating your wireless driver adapters is also an efficient way of improving your Wi-Fi signal reach. With an updated driver comes faster connectivity and speed than with un-updated drivers. If your router's antennas are old, a new antenna can significantly increase your router's Wi-Fi signal reach.
What is a double band Router?
A double band router transmits its signals and operations across two frequencies. Usually, one of these frequencies is 2.4GHz and the other a 5.0 GHz which is better and faster. The advantage of the 2.4GHz is that it can connect to older and traditional devices or computers. The 2.4GHz works for the conventional Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) or newer standards like Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). A 2.4GHz frequency band comes with the downside of a slow and congested network.
This explains why a double/triple band router, usually a blend of 2.4GHz and superior frequencies, is preferred to single band frequencies. Although the 5.0 GHz is less congested but covers a shorter distance (less Wi-Fi signal reach) compared to the 2.4GHz frequency. It works for modem standards excellently that are Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) or Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax).
What to consider when buying a Router?
It can be hard to wrap your head around what router to purchase when you need more than basic functionality.
First, you should look out for a router with multi-processors and at least 256MB worth of RAM. Suppose you have the cash to spare; opt-in for a 512MB or 1 GiG RAM.
Second, you should have your eyes on a double band router; this means that it transmits signals across two frequencies. A double or triple band router always does the job better than a single band router.
Third, never buy a router that rates lower than AC1200; neither be fooled that higher numbers translate to higher speeds for your router.
Fourth, read reviews rather than believe the router's theoretical ratings (from features & functions) the seller proposes to you.
Fifth, choose a router that has a smartphone app from where you can control your operations from.
Sixth, a router with a 3.0 USB port is preferable to anyone with a lesser USB rating. A router with advanced quality of service and added functions like VPN, firewall, and security is worth your money.
Where to find a Router in Canada?
You can always get a router on Amazon Canada or Bestbuy Canada customized online shops for Canadians. Check out tech and gadget retail stores around you; it's pretty simple to find a router these days.