When was the last time you upgraded your router? Probably five years ago when all you used was a laptop and a smartphone or two. However now, we’re more dependent on Wi-Fi than ever before. It’s not just basic gadgets like a smartphone, laptop or a tablet that needs the internet.
On a typical day at home with the fam, while you might be busy scrolling through Instagram, your little brother could be in the next room gaming away on multiplayer mode. Meanwhile, your mother could be watching a Netflix movie on her tablet and your father could be streaming a cricket match on your new Apple TV. Then there’s also the home automation devices that could be running constantly and other appliances that are powered by the Wi-Fi in your home.
That means at all times, there are easily over ten devices connected to the router. But just because you’re connected, doesn’t mean every gadget is getting the most out of your Wi-Fi.
Slow speed and lack of connectivity often persist in such scenarios. You can try meddling with the settings and moving closer to the source of it all—the router, but if it can’t handle all the load it won’t do any good to begin with.
Time to do away with the old router
A router over three years old, manufactured before 2013 supports the old Wi-Fi standard of 802.11n. Most devices these days operate best with the newer standard of 802.11ac. While you can continue to use the older router with newer devices because they’re designed to be compatible, be ready for sluggish output.
As a rule, update your router every three to four years so that it aptly matches the standard of the new devices you bring into your home.
Also Read: 6 Wi-Fi Routers to Keep You Well-Connected
Welcome home a new router
Now that we’ve bid our farewells to the old router, it’s time to make way for a new one. But first…
Check for signal strength
The load created by connecting many gadgets and streaming movies and games continuously will need a powerful signal and fast speed to avoid buffering. For that you will need a router that pumps out at least 300Mbps speed.
Check for signal range
The signal range of a router affects the speed of it too. A 2.4Ghz range router will be able to cover a longer range but you’ll be giving up on speed in the bargain. On the other hand, a 5GHz band will limit your signal but will be able to boost your speed. It’s sufficient to use the 5GHz band if you live in a small apartment and will be constantly close to the router. This also takes care of the next problem related to signal blockages and traffic. Additionally, there are also dual-band routers that give you the option to switch from one range to the other whenever you want.
Also Read: The Great Indian Internet Speed Test
Check for potential blockages
Living in buildings put us and our routers in close proximity with others which creates traffic jams thus leading to slower speeds. Having a dual-band router seems like the ideal solution for this problem.
Check for security
Currently a router with WPA2 support is the best standard for Wi-Fi encryption. Additional features with SSID broadcast control and firewall are also good for security reason.
Check for wired ports
Routers usually come with up to four Ethernet ports to connect your personal computer and other devices. Having additional ports gives you the chance to connect wired gadgets like the printer and external store that can be shared by the devices on the network.