We’ve put together a simple guide explaining the key features you should look for to fit your business needs, so even the non-techies can be suitably clued up!
Selecting and buying a router for your business is nowhere near as simple as choosing one for residential or home use – you can’t just search the internet for the cheapest or visit the local electronics store.
Your business is something that you’ve worked hard to grow, and as such, it has complex and serious requirements for every aspect – including technology – particularly when it comes to security, data and support.
What is a Wireless Router?
Put simply, a wireless router is a device that allows you to connect to the internet without using wires or cables direct to your computer.
Whilst wired routers are still available, it is much more common practise now to see businesses taking advantage of the flexibility that wireless connectivity has to offer.
1 Choose a router that supports a good level of security
Ideally, you should choose one that supports WPA/WPA2 security or higher. Short for WiFi Protected Access 2, WPA2 is currently one of the highest levels of security the technology used in wireless routers, meaning that a password is always required for anyone new joining your WiFi network.
2 Go for either a Dual-band or Tri-band router
Single-band routers are often the cheapest available and operate only on the 2.4GHz frequency band, meaning that they often compete with other devices on the same radio band such as wireless phones, bluetooth devices and microwaves.
As a business, if internet is integral to your operations, your usage is likely to be fairly high, so a Dual-band (two radios – one connecting to the 2.4GHz band, and one connecting to the 5GHz band) or Tri-band (three radios – one connecting to 2.4GHz, two connecting to 5GHz) will offer more throughput and less interference, making it ideal for heavy network uses.
3 Look for a router with a multiple Ethernet and USB ports
If you have router with at least four 10/100/1000 gigabit Ethernet ports you can connect to all of the wired devices you might require for your business, such as desktop PCs, and multiple USB ports will allow you to easily plug in printers or USB drives for sharing across the network.
4 Ensure it has Guest Network capability
A Guest Network allows you to offer a WiFi connection without compromising the security of your network. This means that guests will essentially have a separate network with a new name and password that differs from your core network credentials, allowing a guest to connect to the internet without access to your shared files, printers etc.
5 Select a router with Quality of Service (QoS) options
By purchasing a router with QoS settings, you can decide which applications get network priority. For example, if you use VoIP or video conferencing, you can ensure that you prioritise these applications so that there is always enough bandwidth available to maintain consistency for the likes of quality of calls and video links.
It is most definitely worth investing in a business-grade router. A lot of businesses assume that it is cabling that defines their internal network, however, without a good router you’ll never reach the kinds of speeds you should!