General Networking/Lan/Wan/routers to chose from


hi how r u?How do you chose a  home router?I m interested in buying a router for a friend but with all the different specs out there im not sure what to look for.When it comes to manufactuers i usually like linksys.But im confused im the various specs.I know you have things like g, n, dual band and different things like that.The ports i understand that's what you cab have hardwired in.If it says 4 ports then you can plug  4 things into it.A lot routers might have  a  model number i guess the model doesnt make much of a difference.I guess i should be looking at things like the the letter which i guess can be a g,n, and i think it might go higher than n.And also the mbps i ve seen sone say 300 and some say giga.Im not sure if that makes a difference.What do you recommend  for a router what letter or speed or other specs. If you have any particular models that you recommend that would be apprecaited also.

Hi, and thanks for your question.

There is quite a bit of "alphabet soup" when choosing a router these days.  There are 2 basic wants to access the internet through a router, wired and wireless.  

Wired is pretty easy - you use an ethernet cable to connect your computer(s) directly to the router.  This is a great way to connect, since it's fast, easy, inexpensive, and secure.  The only thing you can really worry about here is the speed of the wired ports.  Most new routers you can get these days have gigabit speed wired ports, which at up to 1 billion bits per second is likely faster than you'll need for a long time in a home environment, and certainly faster than your internet connection.  Even the previous generation wired ports, at 100Mb/s, are fast enough for all but the most demanding environments.

Wireless is a but of a mess because of all the old wired standards that are supported.  Here are the basics:

- "A" (old) and "N" (recent) are WiFi bands that use a 5Mhz radio signal.  "N" is rather complicated, with multiple-antenna configurations that can double or triple your wireless speeds - if and only if your device supports these configurations as well.  Most do not, but more and more will as time goes on.  To future-proof your router investment, a double ("300") or triple ("450") antenna setup is probably a good idea.

- "B" (older) and "G" (old) are WiFi bands that use a 2.55Mhz radio signal.  Although there are some proprietary (one-manufacturer only) setups that increase speeds on these bands, they are mostly around but backward compatibility, especially the "B" band.  

- "AC" and "AD" - these are still in development, but most routers will be able to support these in the future with a router firmware upgrade.  There are very few devices that run these, so they can be safely ignored for now.

If you're really interested in all the nitty-gritty details, here's an article on this:

Once you get past the bands, there are the encryption standards.  All you really need to know is that most devices support WPA2 these days, and you should use it.  All the earlier standards are weak and can be cracked pretty easily by someone with the right tools.  Heres an in-depth article on encryption:

Back to your practical question, which router to buy?  I just upgraded my router 2 weeks ago after my old router required me to reboot it almost every day.  Like you, I am partial to Linksys (now part of Cisco), and got their EA3500 router.  Now, I'm a bit of a geek and I don't use Cisco's online configuration system, "Connect Cloud", which also offers a smartphone app for configuration and monitoring. I manually configured my router, but I hear that the Connect Cloud system is pretty convenient and easy to use.  If you decide on a Linksys, you may want to consider a model that supports this, which is all their EA series routers.

Here are a couple of articles on buying a router that you may also find helpful:,2817,2347539,00.asp

Good luck!  I hope this helps,


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Ralph Becker


General networks, including LAN (ethernet, cable modem, DSL), dialup (modems), WAN (frame relay, ATM), and other related networking technologies.


I have worked for 20 years in various network companies, in capacities including development, customer service, and operations.
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