Wireless networking has really taken off in recent years. It is rapidly growing in popularity due mostly to its flexibility and convenience. There is no need to install long lengths of Ethernet cable to every room, and computers can be moved around and still remain connected to each other and the internet. Buying a Netgear wireless router is a good first step towards setting up a wireless network in the home or office. There are models for wireless-G and wireless-N, plus there are models that can access 3G mobile internet.
Netgear is an American company that makes computer networking equipment. It was founded in 1996 and has its headquarters located in San Jose, California. With around five hundred employees, Netgear is a relatively small company compared to the giants in the computer industry, like IBM and Hewlett Packard who each have many thousands of employees. Netgear is one of the leading manufacturers of routers, switches, modems, access points, and external storage. Competitors in these markets include many well known companies, such as LinkSys and D-Link.
A router is an important part of a computer network that ensures the data traffic is send to the right places. Dedicated routers cost a fortune and are used to connect large computer networks together, but the cheaper domestic routers are only used to connect a few computers to the internet. They are popular because most of them have an internal ADSL modem and network hub. Wireless routers are also becoming popular because they eliminate the need to install Ethernet cabling between rooms.
When choosing a Netgear wireless router, it is important to look at the standards it supports. Wireless-G has been around for many years and is the most common standard used today. It is faster than the original wireless-B standard but much slower than the newer wireless-N standard. Range is also a crucial feature and this is where wireless-N really shines. It uses Multiple-In and Multiple-Out (MIMO) technology to boost the signal range, which requires more than one aerial on the back of the router. Unfortunately, the wireless adapters on the computers also need to support wireless-N to make full use of these advantages.
A major drawback with most wireless routers is that they are connected to the internet by copper wires. They cannot be used anywhere else without first being reconfigured to use a new cable port or ADSL line. A mobile Netgear wireless router is different because it uses a 3G USB modem, which allows it to go anywhere there is 3G coverage. It also makes a great backup in case a wired connection stops working. Most models in this range have a separate adapter for a 3G modem but there are a few that have an internal 3G modem.
There are several other features to look for before deciding on a Netgear wireless router. The number of Ethernet ports it has and the presence of a hardware firewall are important features. The Push ‘N’ Connect button is very handy for instantly turning off the internet connection, without having to figure out how to do it in the operating system. The Live Parental Control is great for protecting children online without having to configure every computer on the network. Another useful feature is the broadband usage meter, which constantly measures how much data is being downloaded.
Accessing a Netgear wireless router without an Ethernet cable requires some form of wireless adapter. The three main types are the PCMCIA card, PCI adapter, and USB adapter. A wireless PCMCIA adapter is plugged into a slot on the side of a notebook computer, with only the end containing the aerial sticking out from it. A wireless PCI adapter is plugged into the mainboard inside a desktop computer and has a short aerial that sticks out from the back. A wireless USB adapter is no larger than a regular flash drive and can be plugged into any USB port. All three adapters draw power from the computer so they do not require batteries or a power pack.