Consumer Routers Vs. Business Routers
Your hardware is going to be the first variable you need to commit some attention to when it comes to your Wi-Fi. For you to have Internet access at all, there needs to be some means for the Internet provider to get the signal to you—typically, via a line run into your office that connects to a modem, possibly a modem/router combination that many cable companies will rent to their subscribers for a fee.
A business has different needs, so this approach isn’t exactly sufficient. We advise that a business invest in their own networking hardware to maintain more control over this hardware and the specifications that it possesses.
There are a few critical considerations to keep in mind when selecting your router.
Tips for Finding the Right Router
Rather than spending $50 or so on a consumer-level router, a business should invest in one designed for its needs. These can cost anywhere in the range of $200 to $1000, and you generally get what you pay for. Lean on your IT resource or TAP Tech for assistance in evaluating your business’ requirements so that you get the router that best fulfills them.
When you select your router, you should make sure that it checks the following boxes:
- WPA protection – Your business’ router needs to enhance network security. The router should have Wi-Fi Protected Access encryption built-in (WPA, WPA2, WPA3) and also have a built-in firewall.
- Multiple band support – Most routers today come with dual-band support built in. Depending on where your router is placed using both the 2.4 Ghz and the 5.0 Ghz bands can enhance your Wi-Fi network extensively.
- Multiple LAN and WAN Ports – A good rule of thumb is that you want at least three local area network (LAN) ports and at least one wide area network (WAN) port.
- Virtual Private Network – The VPN built into the router allows for additional encryption to be made to data when it’s sent and received.
- Speed through protocol support – Your business’ router needs to support fast and secure wireless connections. That means it at least must support the 802.11n protocol. Most modern routers will support the 802.11ac protocol, which is markedly faster.
- Gigabit ports – Some devices should be connected directly into the router. For these systems, you need fast ethernet connections available.
Tips for Placing Your Router
Once you know that you have the hardware that best suits your business’ requirements, you need to make sure that you position it correctly in your office. Even if you get the best Internet package your ISP offers, it can only do so much if your hardware isn’t properly placed. To ensure you get the speed that you’re investing into, the following steps and practices will help:
- Pick a central location – Obviously, the more centralized your router is placed, the better.
- Raise it off the floor – The higher up you can install your router the fewer obstructions you will likely have.
- Don’t place the router near other electronics – The more obstructions, the worse your signal strength will be. Some electronics, like microwaves, can interfere with 2.4 GHz bands.
- Map out signal before installing everything – If you have a router that doesn’t cover the breadth of your property, you should map out your Wi-Fi strength so you know where extenders will be the most helpful.
It is our hope that this article will assist you in implementing the right hardware for your needs in the way that best suits your operations. For more assistance, feel free to give us a call at 203-744-9760, and don’t forget to check back in with our blog.