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.

Now that you are familiar with the terminology and features of a router, we have put together a list of three routers that we think work really well.

1) Apple Time Capsule


If you are a Mac user then I highly recommend getting Apple’s Time Capsule. The dual band router has a pretty impressive range and supports all the wireless standards which makes it compatible with almost any Wi-Fi device. It also has a simple and beautiful look with no antennas sticking out out it.
One of the best features about owning Time Capsule for a Mac user is that it has a built-in hard drive that can be used to automatically backup your Mac through a wired or wireless connection using Time Machine. You can also use the hard drive as a shared storage space amongst Windows and Mac PCs.

What can be a bit of an issue for some people is that the Time Capsule is very limited in functionality and needs a special application downloaded on your PC and Mac to access the router. Most other routers can be configured using your Web Browser but Apple likes to over simplify their products. The Time Capsule is also quite a bit on the expensive side, again, something Mac users are quite familiar with. Expect to pay AED 1,299 for a 2TB version. If you prefer a storage-free solution, then Apple’s Airport Extreme does the job equally well, sans the backup features and with a much friendlier price tag of AED 699.

Click here to buy Apple Time Capsule 2TB

2) Linksys E4200

Linksys has recently revamped their router line-up and at the top sits the E4200 which offers pretty much all the features that we have spoken about such as Gigabit LAN, dual band Wi-Fi and a USB port to share storage or printers. One of the good things about the E4200 is that you can use it as a media server and stream your music, photos and videos located on your USB hard drive directly through the router to your UPnP compatible devices such as the PS3 or Xbox 360. Another advantage of the E4200 is that you can flash the router with DD-WRT which is not something I recommend for a casual user, but immensely helpful if you like tinkering your products,

Priced at AED 799, the E4200 is definitely a bit on the higher side. In my testing I also found it’s wireless range to be less than stellar. I live in a two floor villa and where I found no signal at some of the places where I would at least be able to catch a weak signal from either the Apple or the ASUS router.

Click here to buy Linksys E4200

3) ASUS RT-N16

The ASUS RT-N16 is not a dual band router but other than that, it has everything you would expect from a router. Featuring Gigabit LAN and 300Mbps 802.11n standard, the RT-N16 allows you to support upto 300,000 sessions which is probably a figure you would never reach even if you are download twenty torrents at time. However, its good to know that it can go to such extremes. The router has two built-in USB port as well so you can simultaneously connect your printer and your hard drive and with support for DD-WRT, you can turn the ASUS RT-N16 into a full blown networked computer. In fact, you can use the USB drive to directly download torrents without the need of keeping your PC on.

The RT-N16 is also excellently priced at AED 350 and it’s range is pretty good as well- better than the Linksys E4200 but not as good as the Apple Time Capsule. However, at the price, you really cannot argue. Sadly, ASUS does not officially bring routers to the Middle East anymore so find one requires you ordering it internationally

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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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