Thursday, December 24, 2009

Single or Dual Band Wireless Router - Which is better?

Almost every broadband router destined for the home these days has Wireless LAN (WiFi). It's been ages since we reviewed a router that didn't include wireless communication for home wireless networking. That means you've got many feature when you have to selecte the suitable router for home or work place.

One way not to choose is to go by the speeds. Some vendors use the 300 Mega Bits speed that's not really speed. Your best bet is to avoid any pitch that tells you about the speed of the router. Instead, you should look at many features that you might need and that might be buried deep down in the feature chart. Fortunately, the market is flooded with WiFi routers, so finding a good one could be simpler than you might think, if you know what you're looking for. I've put together a list of the ten key points you should consider when choosing a WiFi router:

The 802.11g WiFi router, which uses a technology that has been around for 7 years!, is still popular. (802.11 is the IEEE's technical name for wireless networks; the brand name used for products is WiFi which encompasses many different types of 802.11 technology.) Small businesses buy G routers because they are cheaper and perform adequately. Some 802.11g routers include specialized functions that are essential in business, such as powerful policy-based firewalls and threat-management features. In the home, however, speed is far more important, and there the 802.11n WiFi router is king. Some N routers, such as the TrendNet Gigabit, can deliver upwards of 200 Mbps, and can theoretically reach 300 Mbps. 802.11n routers often deliver as much as five times as much throughput as G routers in real-world testing.

802.11n, by the way, was only recently ratified by the propeller-heads of the IEEE. So look on the box for the seal of certification from the WiFi Alliance. Soon, instead of "draft-N" Certified it should indicate full 802.11n Certified for the faster products.

802.11n routers come in two single band vs. dual band. Single band routers use the 2.4 GHz band, the same frequency used by G routers. Dual band N routers support 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Even at 2.4 GHz, 802.11n routers are faster than G routers because they make better use of the frequency range in the band, and they're better at bouncing signals off surrounding surfaces such as furniture and walls. Average throughput for single band N routers is usually five times as fast as G routers. And switching a dual band N router from 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz is like trading a Toyota for a Maserati. Some routers can achieve as much as 100 Mbps more by switching up. The answer is, therefore, an overwhelming yes: Dual band band routers, though generally more expensive, outperform single band routers.

Simultaneous dual-band routers are also more efficient in their throughput. Some, such as the D-Link router, can even manage the bands without any input from users. Simultaneous dual-band can help stabilize the overall throughput on your network. These routers are generally more expensive than regular dual-band routers, but are worth the extra few bucks if you've got the cash to spend.

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