Selecting and purchasing a router for use on ValuNet FIBER’s Internet service is not complicated; however, there are few things to think about. While price is always a part of the equation, there are a number of other factors to consider.
How many devices are going to be operating on the router at the same time and how many are to be connected wirelessly?
This seems like a simple answer, but often gets over looked when purchasing a router. Devices that could be connected to the router include: laptops, smart phones, tablets, game systems, smart TVs, DVD players, heating/AC units, security system, SIP/VOIP phones, other streaming devices (Roku, Apple TV, and Google TV) and even refrigerators are included in this list. That $29.00 router has an appealing price but may not meet your need and requirements. On the box of the router it should say up to how many wireless connections it will handle. Some of the lower end routers will only handle 5 wireless connections which is not adequate for most homes. Ask yourself how many wireless devices might be connected to your wireless router at the same time.
How big is the home, single level, multiple level, apartment, etc.?
Is your home an apartment? A small single story ranch or a rambling older 3 story affair? The wireless signal strength of routers varies as does the ability of the router to operate on multiple frequencies simultaneously.
Do you have gamers (WOW, Xbox, PS3, etc.) and high streamer users (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc.)?
If the answer is yes to these, a higher end router will be needed. The higher end router has a higher processor which will allow for quick processing and proper operation of the game and the streaming of movies/TV shows without buffering or pausing. A router with a lower processor will have buffering, and lag on games and streaming.
A word about used or older routers
If the router is 2 years or older it may not give you the all the benefit of the fiber connection. Up until the last few years, most routers were made for DSL connection or a cable connection which could only handle up to 12 MB download and sometimes as little as 768K upload ( for a cable connection up to 50MB download and 2Mb up load). ValuNet service is fiber service and is a synchronous connection requiring routers with higher bandwidth capability and higher processing speeds to be able to use all the bandwidth provided by ValuNet. A router with minimum ability to provide 50 Mbps in each direction will better suit the speeds of the fiber network.
Reading the router specifications
Take a minute to read the specs of the router you are considering. The wireless signal strength will be indicated on the box with a wireless signal image. The more wireless bars that are shaded, the stronger and broader the wireless signal will be. This is important for multiple level or larger homes. If you want your wireless to reach most areas of your home, a router with a broader wireless range will be required. You will notice that routers with broader wireless range will also accommodate more wireless users.
Look to see what the maximum download and upload speeds of the router are. Generally speaking, you will want a router that has speeds of at least twice the bandwidth of the Internet service you are using.
What frequencies does the router operate on? Routers that support wireless service will operate on at least one frequency group. Cheaper units may operate just on 2.4 GHz. If you are operating multiple devices and streaming video or gaming, you will want a router that operates on both 2.4 and 5 GHz. You may also want a router that operates in the “N” range. Some newer upper end routers also incorporate AC as well as N in their routing. These are all features that will enhance your capability.