Wireless Routers Make Home Networks Possible
What's inside this article...
It used to be that only network administrators used routers to create networks for business, now with the emergence of broadband cable and DSL modems, anyone can have a high-speed Internet connection in their home. With a router, several computers can share the connection.
The trouble is, with a regular router all of the computers on the network must be physically connected to it using Ethernet cables. Running cables all over your home can be cumbersome and unsightly, to say the least.
With a wireless router you can create a “wireless” network, using just one short cable from the high-speed modem to the wireless router and share the connection with other computers on the network that have wireless connectivity capability. Once your network is set-up you can also share photos, music, video, documents and other files.
Protection From Hackers
Wireless routers protect against hackers by acting as a firewall. A firewall blocks access to your network by unauthorized people or “hackers”. It does this by using what is known as “stateful packet inspection” which is a process that keeps track of your network and the “packets” of information that is carried over it. The firewall will recognize and allow packets of information from a legitimate active connection and block all others.
This process essentially verifies that the packet of information is addressed to you and that it is information that you actually requested. All other packets are blocked, thus denying access to your network from any outside, unauthorized users.
Wireless Communication Standards For Wireless Routers
The earliest wireless standard developed was 802.11, it was much too slow for most practical applications so only a few wireless routers were actually manufactured using this standard and it really never made it into the wireless networking market.
The first practical standard developed for home networking was 802.11b, it was more than 5 times faster than it’s predecessor. Wireless routers using this standard are the least expensive available today. Unfortunately, appliances such as microwave ovens and cordless telephones that use the same frequency, can interfere with the signal of 802.11b devices. It is also produces the slowest connection speeds and shortest range of standards available today.
802.11g was developed next, it’s speed is about 5 times faster than 802.11b, but with the extra speed comes a higher price. 802.11g uses the same frequency as 802.11b so it may also have interference problems with some household appliances. 802.11g is backwards compatible with 802.11b, meaning that 802.11g routers will work with 802.11b gear such as wireless network adapters on computers and vice versa.
The newest and most costly standard available today is 802.11n, It uses multiple wireless signals and antennas instead of one, a technology called MIMO. 802.11n has increased signal intensity over 802.11g giving it better range. In theory, 802.11n technology can produce speeds of up to 6 times faster than that of 802.11g, but due to restraints of other equipment and environment, speeds are generally about twice as fast. 802.11n equipment is backward compatible with 802.11g gear.
Single Band or Dual Band Router?
The 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are the frequencies in which wireless routers operate. 802.11b and 802.11g routers and adapters use 2.4 GHz, while 802.11n gear can use either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies. A single-band, 2.4 GHz wireless router is adequate for a simple wireless network. The 5 GHz band is less crowded then the 2.4 GHz band, in other words, there are not as many household appliances and other devices that operate on 5 GHz making it relatively interference free.
Dual band routers also provide flexibility and efficiency in setting up a home network that run both older and new technologies. Older equipment that operates under 802.11b and 802.11g standards can be set to run at 2.4 GHz, while simultaneously running 802.11n equipment at 5 GHz, without impacting performance.
Today most cable companies in the USA have an option for internet, phone and other services in addition to their standard “cable TV” service. For example, in reviews of Dish Network that I have read on the internet, the company not only offers internet, phone and TV, but a whole host of other options like a vanity phone number, VoiP services and a lot more.
Traditional cable companies have really upped their game and it’s pretty much standard that they offer a wireless complete system for your home today.