Guide on choosing a Wireless Router

By on September 21, 2011
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What features to look for when connecting devices wirelessly at home or office.

802.11 what???

There are four different standards that are commonly used for connecting over Wi-Fi and all of them start with 802.11 so it could be a bit confusing. What matters is the last alphabet which will either be a, b, g or n or a combination of them. To not make things complicated, if your computer or tablet or Smartphone is less than a year old, chances are that is equipped with 802.11n which is an improvement over 802.11g that was widely used in devices prior to that. The difference between g and n is that “n” not only improves speeds but also the range of the signal so ideally you would want to chose n. All routers that I have come across also have 802.11g to fall back on in case your laptop or tablet or smartphone does not support n so ideally, you would want to get a router than has 802.11n support.

Single or Dual Band

Along with 802.11n, you get an option of two bands- 5 GHz frequency at full speed or 2.4 GHz frequency in “mixed mode” which will support systems only capable of using 802.11g, but will slow the entire network down. To get the best speed, you should get a dual band router as more and more devices move to 802.11n standards. The following table gives you a brief summary of the range and speeds that we have just talked about

Wi-Fi Standard Speed Range Frequency
802.11a 54Mbps 50 feet 5GHz
802.11b 11Mbps 150 feet 2.4GHz
802.11g 54Mbps 50 feet 2.4GHz
802.11n 300Mpbs 175 feet 2.4/5GHz 


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About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • 3bas

    Quite a nice informative article. 

    I’d like to know, will either of these routers need configuration for NAT settings. I’m having issues connecting to Xbox Live via shitisalat’s AlShamil internet connection. 

    • Abbas Jaffar Ali

      All the three routers support UPnP which *should* automatically configure all the ports from all your devices. I remember pre-UPnP days when I had to manually configure ports for certain applications but that shouldn’t be the case now.

      • 3bas

        Sweet. Thank you. 

        Also, will they work on eLife? 

        • Abbas Jaffar Ali

          Yep- all 3 work on elife. Tested them personally :)

          • 3bas

            Brilliant. Thanks again 

            Cheers 

  • Assil Ksiksi

    Great article, Abbas.

    One question: do you think that the Airport Extreme is worth the hefty price tag?

    • Abbas Jaffar Ali

      Well- the Linksys is actually a 100 Dirhams more so AE isn’t the most expensive of the bunch. I really liked it’s range and speeds were decent as well. If you have more Macs than PCs then I suggest AE.

  • dubaigirl191

    Does E-life require ADSL router?

  • Ajish

    I want to make a wireless connection to my home du internet line. Which router should i buy and what’s the approx cost?

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