Wireless Router Reviews

By Jason "The Southern Dandy" Dahlin

Routers are like men...if you buy the worst one you'll be regretting it in the morning. I remember the first router that i bought couldn't even get me connected to our LAN. It was the size of a showbox and weighed about as much as Liza Minnelli! I just wish that I would had been fortunate enough to read a simple guide like this that would have told me that the best routers are not made by "Fredco". Oh well you know what they say...live and learn...at least I got another trip to the mall out of it. Anywho here is a simple to understand guide written by a friend of mine that will let you in on what buying a router is really about.

Routers let you connect multiple machines, hence creating a network that lets you either access the internet, or other machines that are connected to the router. These machines can either be attached using network cables, or wirelessly. In order to access the router wirelessly however, each machine must be equipped with a wireless card either internally or externally. In this guide, we will concentrate more on what makes a good wireless router, as most routers today tend to exist for that reason.

A wireless router sends its signal in one of a few ways. A, B and G are all standards by which signals are sent through the air. Lets break down their strengths and weaknesses.

A: Fastest speed (22 Mbps), low interface risk, high battery drain, high cost and shortest signal strength (100 ft).

B: Slowest speed (5 Mbps), high interface risk, low battery drain, low cost and long signal strength (150 ft).

G: Medium speed (20 Mbps) high interface risk, moderate/low battery drain, medium cost, and long signal strength (150 ft).

As you can see there is a big difference between B and anything else. These were the first wireless routers and now are the cheapest and the slowest. G is the successor to B and improves upon speed dramatically, but shares the problem of interface risk (interference from other products such as phones) because of its common frequency (2.4 GHz). A is the quickest and most expensive medium and also broadcasts on a higher, unpopulated frequency (5 GHz). This, unfortunately also has its drawbacks as it has the shortest range of the three.

If you purchase a router, make sure to check what kind of card you are using. If your card is a G, it can use both B and G routers, but B and A can only access their own. Most computers that are sold currently come with wireless cards built in, but if you are purchasing a card make sure that you purchase one with the capability you are looking for.

I know it was shor by I sure hope that it answered most of your questions. Just keep in mind that no matter what type of wouter you're looking for, that Newbie will have the best reviews and prices on the net. Toodles from Jason D!

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