We all take our home Wi-Fi network for granted, but many households are facing a task that no-one enjoys. Well, practically no-one. Replacing the wireless router.
With high-demand online video gaming, 4K video streaming, an explosion in mobile devices trying to connect and a growing wave of smart home technology, older routers are increasingly pushed past their capabilities and overwhelmed.
Too many devices are connecting simultaneously and they’re trying to move huge amounts of data around. Routers using older Wi-Fi standards mean subpar performance and you’ll see the signs: dropped connections, laggy online gaming, slowly-loading web pages and streaming video that stutters and constantly stops to buffer.
Wireless routers can be confusing to shop for and to set up. That’s why when Wi-Fi is working –even if it’s not exactly working great any more– no-one wants to mess with it.
However, eventually you’ll need to upgrade. And when you do, here are three simple tips that will help when it comes to buying that replacement router.
First, a no-brainer. Make sure your next wireless router offers 802.11ac (or Gigabit Wi-Fi) support. Even at its base level, 802.11ac offers 1300Mbps of throughput. That’s more than twice as fast as the maximum the previous standard 802.11n Wi-Fi could manage, and it’s also backwards compatible with older devices (although they don’t benefit from that speed boost).
You may not have any devices right now that can take advantage of the speed, but you will. It’s tough to find a smartphone, tablet, PC or video streamer being sold today that doesn’t support 802.11ac and you don’t want to be going through this whole upgrade nonsense again a year from now, do you?
New 802.11ac routers can also handle more concurrent connections, something that’s increasingly important now that so many devices want to use your Wi-Fi network.
Stores are still selling 802.11n wireless routers and they’re dirt cheap, but this is one case where saving 50 bucks isn’t worth it.
This will give you a better option when setting up your very own home wifi.