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Key Wireless Router Technologies

Introduction

Wireless router technology is constantly improving, with new models being quicker, more feature-packed, and having longer ranges than their predecessors. The wireless router is also becoming more essential, as Wi-Fi™ mobile devices such as tablets and cell phones are increasingly used in offices. If you are shopping for a new wireless router for your business network, the guidance below will help you understand the tech and specifications commonly associated with them.

Data Rates

Ever notice that wireless routers usually have a rated megabit per second (Mbps) or gigabit per second (Gbps) speed? For instance, you will commonly see 150 Mbps, 300 Mbps, or 1.9 Gbps on router packaging and product descriptions. Those numbers are maximum theoretical data transfer rates, which can serve as indicators for performance.

However, real-world speeds can vary, as interference and distance can negatively affect performance. A wireless router’s data rate only applies to wireless communication within its network, and a faster router does not necessarily mean faster data transfers from external networks.

Security

One method of protecting your network aside from a hardware-based firewall is to utilize a wireless router’s built-in security features. Below, NeweggBusiness outlines several common security technologies.

  • Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) – An older standard that is less secure than newer technologies such as Wi-Fi Protected Access. Despite its age however, it is still supported by some routers. To connect to a WEP network, users need to input a hexadecimal encryption key.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) – WPA superseded WEP security as the former offers better protection. Unlike WEP, users input a password rather than a hexadecimal key to access the wireless network. However, it has since been superseded by WPA2.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) – Features stronger encryption than WPA and is supported by many modern wireless routers.
Single Band vs. Dual Band

A wireless router’s band is the frequency that it uses to communicate with wireless devices and has an impact on network performance. The more crowded a wireless band is, the more interference the devices on that band will experience.

The two commonly used bands for wireless routers are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The advantage of a dual band wireless router is that it can broadcast on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

Standards

There are several wireless standards that are commonly used, some of which are listed below.

Standard
Band
Maximum Speed

802.11ac

5 GHz

6933.6 Mbps

802.11n

2.4 GHz / 5 GHz

600 Mbps

802.11g

2.4 GHz

54 Mbps

802.11b

2.4 GHz

11 Mbps