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Wi-Fi router: when is it time to change and which one to choose?

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Wi-Fi router: when is it time to change and which one to choose?

Wi-Fi router: when is it time to change and which one to choose?

20.05.2024

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A Wi-Fi router is the device through which you access the Internet wirelessly. If it's working properly, you have nothing to worry about. But if you notice problems that are not solved by optimising the settings, it's time to buy a new router. In which cases it is worth doing so — we tell you in detail in this article.

When you should buy a new Wi-Fi router

There are various reasons to replace your existing wireless router with a new one. Let's look at the more compelling ones first:

  • Not enough Internet speed. Outdated router models cannot support a large number of devices connected to them. Therefore, in this case, it is worth paying attention to more modern Wi-Fi routers that can support new Wi-Fi standards and transmit data at 5 GHz instead of 2.4 GHz, which provides greater speed and convenience.
  • Frequent network problems appear. If you're experiencing frequent internet outages or slow connection speeds, it could be due to heavy interference on the 2.4 GHz frequency on which older router models operate. Previously, we did an overview of practical recommendations on how to fix such problems.
  • The router is not suitable for gigabit speed connection. When intending to switch to gigabit speeds, keep in mind that not all routers are capable of supporting 100+ Mbps. Plus, there may be a need for 1G LAN ports to connect devices to the router.
  • The router gets very hot. A slight heating of the device is considered normal. But if the router gets very hot, it can lead not only to incorrect operation of the device and decrease its efficiency, but also to fire.

Why do I need to replace my old router with a new one?

Purchasing a new Wi-Fi router will be advisable in order to:

  • Improve the performance of the device. New router models are equipped with modern processors and also have increased memory capacity. Purchasing such a device will allow you to consume more high quality content compared to models released 3-5 years ago.
  • Support new Wi-Fi standards. New gadgets (smartphones, laptops, etc.) are manufactured with support for new Wi-Fi standards (for example, 802.11 ax). Modern routers also support them, so they can synchronise and use devices at the highest available speeds.
  • Improve functionality. Manufacturers equip modern router models with new functions: smart remote access to the network, additional Ethernet and USB ports, the ability to manage the network using a mobile application, MU-MIMO, QoS and others. Thanks to this, the comfort of using the devices is increased.
  • Upgrade firmware and security. The software of outdated routers may contain many vulnerable points. And since there are no updates on them, in order to protect your data, it is better to buy a new Wi-Fi router.
  • Pick the perfect design. If the design of old models of routers was far from perfect, then among modern ones you can find an option that matches the interior of the flat or office, which can be placed on the walls or on the ceiling.

How to choose the right Wi-Fi router

So, if you have realised that your router needs replacing, the next step is to choose the best model. To make it easier for you to decide on the purchase, we tell you what main parameters you should pay attention to:

  1. Internet connection technology. If you use the Internet connected via Ethernet technology, which is supported by most providers, you will be fine with the usual models with WAN port. However, if you have already switched to PON technology, we recommend you to buy from the provider models that combine ONU and Wi-Fi functionality. For example, this HS8546V5 subscriber terminal with GPON support or Huawei OptiXstar HN8546X6 / EN8145X6 optical terminal with XG-PON support.
  2. Wireless network standard. Among the newest router models there are those that use the 802.11 ah (Wi-Fi 6) standard, which replaced 802.11 ac (Wi-Fi 5). But most modern routers support not only the main standard specified in the specifications, but also the previous actual versions.
  3. Number and type of ports. The standard port is the WAN port, which is intended for connecting the network cable from the provider. The router can also have several LAN-ports, which allow you to connect different devices (PCs, TVs, etc.). The optimal option is the standard 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet, which allows you to transfer data at a speed of 1 Gbps. In addition, modern router models are equipped with a USB connector to which you can connect a printer or a hard drive.
  4. Number of Wi-Fi bands. According to this parameter, it is better to choose dual-band routers that can operate both at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Using such a universal device will allow you to connect not only office equipment and smartphones, but also multimedia devices, as well as avoid interference from neighbouring routers.
  5. Number and type of antennas. The more antennas a router has, the more data transfer speeds it provides. The type of antennas (external or internal) indicates the coverage radius of the Wi-Fi network. Unlike internal antennas, external antennas do not always receive the signal well, but you can easily connect special antennas with the ability to amplify it.
  6. Built-in 3G/4G modem. Routers with built-in 3G/4G modem are equipped with a SIM card slot, which allows them to distribute mobile Internet in stationary mode. In addition, such devices are capable of redundant Internet connection: if the Internet from the main provider disappears, the router automatically switches and starts to distribute mobile Internet.

Summary

Wi-Fi technologies are constantly evolving, and router manufacturers adapt new models to them. Therefore, in order to enjoy the new standards and functions of the router, it is recommended to update the device every 2-3 years. We hope that our advice in this matter will be useful to you.

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