While any consumer router should work with our modems, we suggest using a newer Wireless AC router if you are using Smart TVs and streaming Netflix. The following article will provide you with some information that will help you determine which type of router is best for you and your needs!
Note: If you are looking for a router that TekSavvy sells and fully supports, the SmartRG SR400AC wireless router is a great option which works well with Smart TVs, Netflix, and many other popular online services.
The first thing to look at is the wireless standard used by the router that you are thinking of purchasing. You may have noticed that Wireless Routers seem to all have a “g”, “n”, or “ac” marking listed on them, usually within the model number. These are the most popular wireless standards, here are some differences that you will want to be aware of:
Wireless G or 802.11g routers can obtain speeds up to 54Mbps, have an estimated maximum range of 150ft, and can only broadcast on the 2.4GHz frequency band. This is the oldest of the wireless technologies listed here having been replaced by 802.11n nearly a decade ago. It is unlikely that you will find a Wireless G router for sale in any big box stores.
Wireless N or 802.11n routers can obtain speeds up to 600Mbps (for high end models) or 300Mbps (for more common consumer grade models), have an estimated maximum range of 230ft, and can broadcast on both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency bands. Wireless N routers are backwards compatible with Wireless G devices.
Wireless AC or 802.11ac routers can obtain speeds up to 1300Mbps on the 5Ghz band. Wireless AC is restricted to the 5Ghz band but AC routers almost always include a 2.4Ghz transmitter using the 802.11n standard. Wireless AC devices have been shown to maintain far higher speeds than N or G devices at comparable ranges due to their use of beamforming; a technology which allows them to focus their signal in the direction of devices that are connecting to them rather than transmitting it equally in all directions. Wireless AC routers are backwards compatible with Wireless N and G devices. Wireless AC is the newest wireless standard, having recently replaced Wireless N.
Now that we’ve covered what each of the wireless standards are, here is some additional information on the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wireless bands which were mentioned in the preceding paragraphs.
2.4 Ghz is a very commonly used wireless band, not only by routers but also by some household appliances such as Wireless Home Phones, Microwaves, Printers and other devices such as baby monitors. The 2.4 Ghz band is heavily used by routers, having been included in almost every wireless standard, and as such is often congested by other routers in the surrounding area that may be on the same or overlapping channels.
There are ways to determine the best 2.4 Ghz wireless channel at your location and, if you are able to find a clear channel without congestion, this wireless band can be very useful for it's greater ability to penetrate walls and other obstacles (read: Change the Channel).
5 Ghz is currently a less commonly used band which has a far greater number of non-overlapping channels. This reduces the chances of your network being forced to use a slow congested channel and increases your chances of getting on a clear channel where you can obtain your maximum speed. The 5Ghz band does have drawbacks though; while the 5Ghz band has nearly identical maximum range to the 2.4Ghz band, it is far more heavily impacted by obstructions such as walls. Because of this, it's practical range is less than the 2.4Ghz band especially when trying to connect to a device in a different room or on a different floor of your home.
While this may sound like a bad thing, it is in fact a double edged sword. On the one hand, it may prevent a strong signal to your computer located in the opposite corner of your home. On the other hand, as Wireless AC and in turn the 5Ghz band become more popular, it will also help to ward off your neighbours' 5 Ghz networks from interfering with you as the signals struggle to penetrate through your walls.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. We hope that this information will help you in determining which type of router will best suit your needs so that you can get the most our of your TekSavvy services!