Wireless technology has transformed computing and made it more portable and accessible. A large number of wireless devices have appeared in the past decade. These include notebooks, printers, keyboards, mice, and routers. A router manages network traffic by directing it to the computers it was intended for. Wireless devices obey a set of rules called a wireless standard. A wireless N router is one that uses a particular version of this standard. It has many benefits over older routers, including faster speed and greater coverage.
Home computing is moving away from desktop machines to notebooks and other portable devices that use wireless technology. To avoid having to install a wired network around the home, many people find it cheaper and more convenient to use a wireless router instead. Some home entertainment systems and video game consoles can even stream media from a computer, or they can get it directly off the internet if there is a modem connected to the router. To ensure that media can be streamed without interruptions, it is essential to use a wireless N router.
Wireless N is currently the preferred standard for digital devices that communicate using radio signals. It is actually a marketing term for the official name of the standard, which is IEEE 802.11 N. The official name is used in device specifications, so it helps to know both when comparing different routers. A wireless N router is superior to one that is restricted by an older standard, especially if several computers are connected to the network. Routers that use the older standards are slower and prone to dropouts from interference.
The launch of wireless N was one of the few occasions in computing history when the hype surrounding a new technology was almost matched by its performance. It provides an amazing speed increase of up to four times compared to the widely used G standard. It achieves this by using three antennas to send and receive multiple streams of data. Another benefit is the increase in range to more than double the old value. The signal can also be focus to boost its strength. Of course, real world performance is often less than what is promised on the box, but most buyers should be extremely pleased by it.
Wireless N has many advantages over other wireless standards, including the widely used B and G standards. A wireless N router improves coverage and eliminates the dead spaces around a home or office where the signal is weakest. Notebook users no longer have to move from room to room in order to find the strongest signal. Wireless N is also backwards compatible with other wireless standards. But in order to get the full benefits, the adapters needs to support Wireless N as well. This can add several hundred dollars to the cost of converting a home or office network.
A wireless N router needs to use more than one antenna. Usually, there is just one antenna at the back of a router, so having three there is a big change in appearance. It may look unusual and unattractive, but it is essential for gaining the massive increase in performance. Some adapters for wireless N also have a different appearance. The PCI models also have three antennas, but these are located at the back of the computer and are out of sight. The USB and CardBus models do not have external antennas and appear no different.
There are some important features to look for when choosing a wireless N router. It should have at least four Ethernet ports and one USB port, and the router settings should be accessible from a web browser. It should support QoS so that important traffic can take priority over other traffic. The router should also have dual firewalls to protect the computers behind it from attack. Some routers also function as a DSL modem, which removes the need to buy a separate modem to allow the computers on the network to access the internet.