If you have an Internet Connection at home or at work and you frequently deal with the Internet Issues then you will probably know about the device we are going to discuss here, the Wireless Router. What is a Wireless Router? The wireless router overtime has become a household necessity and is present in every house as it is the basic of the equipments you need to connect to the world. Nowadays there are at bare minimum two to three wireless devices in every home which are connected to the Internet 24 hours of the day. i.e. Mobile Phone and a Laptop.
For you to understand how the Internet works you have to start with the basics and the basics start right from your home in the form of a router.
A router by definition is a device that receives and routes the data packets to the connected devices. That’s it, this is all it does. But the modern routers are not only just wireless but they also perform many other functions which we will explain in another publication.
In short the modern routers perform the function of a modem and the router all compacted into a single device which we see placed in our homes. The combination of modem and router working together enable you to connect to the Internet and stream those video or browse different websites and all that stuff. So that we will cover later on but in this publication you will come to know about the types of wireless routers and the speeds you can expect from a wireless router according to their protocols. So let’s get into it.
Types of Wireless Routers
Here are a few of the wireless router types you will encounter in today’s market.
- Mobile Hotspot
The mobile hotspot is the most common of the types you will encounter in your daily routine after the desktop wireless router which we will cover here shortly. The mobile hotspot is a feature your smartphone will have which converts your mobile device into a walking Internet hotspot. What it does is that the data connection which you have with cellular network provider will be shared with other wireless devices which you will allow to connect with your phone via the mobile hotspot feature. This feature is probably best if you have a secure password protection on it so that unauthorized devices don’t connect with your mobile hotspot if you leave this feature turned on.
- Portable Wi-Fi Device
The portable Wi-Fi devices are becoming more and more popular as the time is progressing. The mechanism of these devices is pretty similar to that of a mobile phone. The cellular network providers which broadcast 3G and 4G signals provide these devices as a mean to use their 3G or 4G data connections to surf the Internet from anywhere within the covered area. The covered area is the same as is for the mobile phones using cellular networks. This is pretty good if you are on the go and in the public place and is a better option to use instead of public Wi-Fi hotspots since they are unsecure and the risk of being hacked is very high.
- Desktop Wi-Fi Router
This type of the Wireless routers is the most commonly used of all. These routers are mainly in the shape of a box with few antennas attached allowing them to transmit data over longer range to the connected devices. There is a wide variety of Wi-Fi desktop routers available in the market depending on your requirements. The farther away the connected device is from the wireless desktop router the weaker the signal will get up till the point the device will disconnect from the router as the signals simply aren’t able to reach that far. That’s why in a workspace multiple wireless routers are used to provide full coverage in the office.
Wi-Fi Speeds Provided by Wireless Routers (IEEE 802.11)
The wireless routers today use a predefined IEEE 802.11 protocol which defines the speeds that they are able to handle in terms of wireless data transfer. The protocol itself remains the same and the letters at the end of the protocol name identifies the version of the protocol being used.
The first widely used protocol for the wireless connectivity with wireless routers was 802.11b and depending on the signal strength and quality the devices with 802.11b protocol were able to transmit data at 11 Mb/s speeds which were realistically between 1 to 5 Mb/s. The 2.4GHz frequency devices such as baby monitors caused interference between the data connection of the 802.11b routers.
The next upgrade after the 802.11b protocol was the 802.11g protocol which provided transmission speeds of up to 55Mb/s which adjusted to error and operational conditions were realistically 22Mb/s. The interference from the 2.4GHz devices around the 802.11g router was the same as the 802.11b protocol routers.
The routers using 802.11n were significantly better performing devices compared to the previous two. They used multiple receivers and transmitters which allowed them to the maximum operational speeds of 300Mb/s if adjusted to error and operational conditions you were left with 100 to 150Mb/s speeds which were considerably fast. The multiple receivers and transmitters on 802.11n routers allowed them to operate on two frequency bands i.e. 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
The latest of all the protocol 802.11ac is still being used in the wireless routers today. The 802.11ac are capable of maximum transmission speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per Second. They bring a variety in terms of channels i.e. 80MHz and 160MHz. The beamforming technology in this protocol allows for the radio waves to be sent directly to the devices instead of bouncing off and slow down the transmission rate.
You have to keep in mind that if you are using 802.11n protocol device and if your PC or Laptop doesn’t support 802.11n and uses 802.11g your speeds will be limited to 802.11g protocol speeds. So make sure you use compatible devices on both end to completely avail the features of the data transfer performance.
Read more on Useful Tips For Wireless Router Placement In Your Home.
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