When you are in the market for a new router, you will inevitably find out how many options there are. One of the main decisions you will have to make is whether to buy a wired or wireless router. Put simply, a wired router will use an Ethernet cable to hook your computer up to the router directly, whereas a wireless router will require wireless devices to use it. Here is how to choose which is the best option for you.
Wired connections can reach fast speeds through a broadband or fiber-optic connection. This is because it is a direct connection between your computer and the router, reducing travel time for information shared between the two. There are three wired internet options:
This is the standard cable that goes from the router to the computer. The average speeds can reach up to 100 Mbps and above.
A phone line DSL modem connection can be fast or slow, going anywhere from 1 Mbps to 128 Mbps, depending completely on the hardware you are using as well as the strength of the line’s connection.
This is the cheapest option available since it only needs power outlets to transmit its network signals, but the result is a slow transmission rate of 14 Mbps.
Generally, a wireless connection is not going to be as fast as a wired connection. This is because it is not directly connected to the internet source. They are the way to go, however, if you have wireless devices, including phones, tablets, and laptops. The standard wireless router has transfer speeds up to 54 Mbps. There are some wireless routers that do offer more.
There is a definite difference in the compatibility between routers and devices depending on the type of router you have. A wired router typically can hook up to most devices, especially since Ethernet is the most-used wired connection out there. You just need to plug in your router to your computer and set up the internet from there.
Wireless routers have to be compatible with your ISP. Some ISPs will require you to get a specific brand of router, which can sometimes include the ISP’s own brand. If you have a router that is not compatible, the internet is not going to work, regardless of the type of device you would like to use with it.
Installing your Router
Setting up a wired router is simpler than setting up a wireless router. Typically, you just attach the Ethernet cable between the computer and the router. Sometimes you will have to verify that the computer sees the connection, but otherwise, so long as your ISP has hooked you up, there is little to do to complete the set-up process.
With a wireless router, you will need to set up security settings as well as the password to have access to the router. You will need to place the router in a central location so that all devices in the house can receive its signal. The process is more involved and can be more time-consuming.
Security is a major concern for any internet user and it can also be affected by the type of router you use. Wireless routers broadcast their signal to a large space, instead of being localized to a single source, like wired routers are. While the wireless routers do offer some encryption, the protection is not as secure as you get from a wired router. Wireless routers are often password protected as well, but passwords could be bypassed by a knowledgeable hacker.
To sum it up, wired routers are generally going to be simpler, more secure, and faster than wireless routers. The big disadvantage to them, however, is that the internet is associated to one single device. Having a wireless router means that every phone, tablet, or laptop nearby can login and have access to the internet. If you have no plans on having mobile devices on your internet, you can get by on a wired router. A wired router will require other computers or devices to be physically wired to the router in order to operate. Wireless routers, however, do not require a physical connection and can support multiple devices at the same time, making them preferable for mobile users.
Having the fastest possible connection speed is the first thing that most of us are after, since it is what lets us stream videos or simply use the internet without lags.