Routers

Not too long ago in the UK you signed up for the internet with your ISP of choice, they sent you a router and you plugged it it. That use to be the end of the story you got on the internet and that’s it. Now with the increased need for speed, improved wifi, more ports and security most people have started to buy their own. The benefits of buying your own router are huge, and it starts with taking back control of your connection. A lot of ISP’s will lock down their routers to protect there network. With your own router you will not have these rules built into the router meaning less chance of having you devices blocked. As the number of devices on your home network increases you might want more control over them, and what they can do on the internet. On the ISP routers, this could be harder to do, then one of the more advanced ones on the market.

Features to lookout for on your router

Wireless

As most of your devices will be talking to the router over wifi, it would be wise to make sure it has the latest wireless technology. Currently that is 802.11AC this will be used for many more years. The older standard 802.11N is now ending its life, but will still be compatible. If price is an issue with selecting your new router this might be one of the options to compromise on. 802.11N is still a fast and usable standard offering up to 300Mbps. 802.11AC has a theoretical through put of 5300Mbps for the top of the range router. Of course this come at a cost.

Physical Ethernet Ports

This one might be becoming less important and more and more devices are wireless. But some times you might want to have a device cabled in for lower latency, or a faster connection (especially if you are using 802.11N) for gaming or downloading. For these reasons, its worth looking at home many ethernet ports are in the router. As a minimum there should be 4 but preferably 6. This will give you a chance to get everything you want connected with room to expand. These should be gigabit interface as well.

Security Features

Today in the world of ransom-ware, DDOS and  botnet’s the security features of the router is now very important.  Smart devices are a favourite target of the hackers as some of the smaller brands still do not take security seriously meaning they are and easy target. Some of the better routers on the market have built in security features that will make it hard for the attackers to get in giving you piece of mind.

Ease of management

Now that you have all of these advanced features in your router you do not want to learn coding to manage it. So the the ability to mange it is key. It needs to have an easily usable user interface (UI). Preferably with the ability to mange it from  your smart phone or PC.

Routers available in the UK

ASUS RT-AC3200

ASUS RT-AC3200This is one of the leaders in the market. It has the really user friendly interface making it once of the easiest to manage. Paired with tri-band 802.11AC wireless means that it it has excellent wireless coverage and advanced wireless technology. Gigabit ethernet ports means low latency gaming and streaming. The best feature of this router is its AiProtection, uses Trend Micro back enterprise security features giving you piece of mind. The down side of this router is that that does does not have a modem built in meaning that you will need something like a Draytek Vigor 130 to connect to ADSL.

Netgear Nighthawk X4S

Netgear Nighthawk x4sThe Nighthawk is the poster child for the routers. It was the first to adopt shape this shape which is now ubiquitous in the industry. Features of the Nighthawk include 4Gb ethernet ports and advanced 802.11AC wireless technology. One of the most unique features of the Nighthawk is its integration with Alexa. So you can ask Alexa what your wifi settings are instead of trying to find the bit of paper where the details are written. Management of the device is easy through the Netgear Genie App so you can do everything on your smartphone.