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  • Wireless Router Buying Guide
Technology Articles > Computers > Networking > Wireless Router Buying Guide

You need a wireless router if you want to set up a home or small business network. Only, buying a router of this type might mean spending money on something that just won’t work. Or, worse, heading to a large electronics store only to be left staring at a wall of routers, confused and bewildered. This buying guide will help to take some of the puzzlement out of buying a wireless router – no, all of the puzzlement! You see, buying a wireless router is really only about one thing: knowing about wireless signals.

Possible Wireless Interference

A wireless router will only work well if it doesn’t interfere with anything in your home. All kinds of things can block a wireless signal from thick cement walls to smaller items like large bookshelves. The trick then is to consider all of the things in your home that might make it impossible for a wireless router to actually work. If you plan on working outside in your backyard and your home is made with thick cement walls, you will need a router that was meant to work with this type of structure – the information on the back of a router box will help you determine how strong you need your router to be, but this is not enough information to go on. You also need to know what kind of network you want to set up.

What Type of Network Are You Looking For?

Basically, there are two types of wireless router users: serious gamers and everyone else. Business owners and those who are really into multimedia can be placed in the “serious gamers” category too (so, really, four types of users!). Those who are serious about gaming or multimedia need to have a dual-band router. If you just want to surf the net while lounging on your couch, a single-band router will do the trick. What about brand names? If you just want to pop into that electronics store and pick up a router, here are two routers that are backed by excellent all-around reviews:

For the serious gamer, business owner, or multimedia junkie, the Cisco Linksys E400 v2 router (retailing for around $211) is a popular and excellent choice. For the home networker who’s just looking for some wireless freed, the Cisco Linksys E1200 Wireless N Router is an excellent option (priced around $29). As you can see, there’s also a big difference in price between a gaming (or multimedia) router and one that’s more basic. After you’ve considered the type of network you want to set up, the one other important detail is determining how comfortable you are with actually configuring a router.

User-Friendliness Is Important

Believe me, some wireless routers are very difficult to setup. If you don’t have the skills to mess with a super complex router, make sure you find one that’s user-friendly. How do you find a user-friendly router? Typically, routers that are on the expensive side tend to come with an easier setup process.

Cheaper routers are often made for the tech-savvy crowd and tend to be much harder to configure. If you’re looking for a router that’s simple to set up, you’ll want one that includes some simple click-through instructions like the Cisco line of routers (generally user-friendly). Netgear also makes wireless routers that are easy to configure, but it’s best to stay away from the Asante line (somewhat harder to setup). This simple guide should help you determine which routers are for you…and which ones are left on that store shelf!