Most homes used to be able to survive with a single-band, N-speed router to keep with a small number of devices. But if you have multiple connected devices like smartphones, tablets, computers and smart TVs, then you might need to upgrade your router. An improved router can reduce wait times on loading web pages, make sure you aren’t held back by lag and ensure your signal is improved.
There are two different types of router that either plug directly into your phone socket or connect via a modem. If you have an ADSL modem like BT Standard then you will need a Modem router while cable routers are suited for cable and fibre optic connections such as BT Infinity and TalkTalk fibre.
N speed routers are sufficient for staying connected if you don’t have many devices that require internet connections. However, if your home has multiple smartphones, laptops, tablets and smart TVs, AC routers offer access to the high-speed connections that you need. AC routers are able to support over ten devices at once – perfect for well-connected homes.
To enhance the quality of your wireless signal, AC routers also feature beamforming, a technology that directs the signal within your home for a more secure connection to wireless devices. With the majority of new and upcoming wireless devices supporting AC connectivity, choosing an AC router is a great way to future-proof your home.
Although speed is a major factor to consider, range is just as important. You can choose from three different bands depending on your connectivity needs – single, dual and tri.
Single band is often congested and can only handle a few wireless devices, resulting in dropped connections if it becomes overloaded. Dual band routers provide two signals at the same time; a normal broadband signal for everyday browsing as well as a fast connection for high speed internet. Tri-band routers can handle a number of gaming and streaming devices without dropping the quality of high-speed broadband.
If you need a wired internet connection in any part of your home that’s far away from your router, powerlines are ideal. Powerlines work by sending your internet signal through the main electrical circuit of your home, turning any plug into an internet access point with the use of a receiver unit.
There is no limit to the number of receivers you can add to a single powerline network, and because you can buy powerline kits or individual adapters, it’s easy to expand your home network as and when you need to.
If you want to continue using the plug sockets even while you have a powerline kit set up, make sure you keep an eye out for kits that support pass-through. Pass-through is a useful feature that allows you continued use of the plug socket, despite it containing a powerline plug.
Please note: If you have multiple electrical ring circuits in your home, a powerline kit will not work as the signal cannot pass between them.
Designed to increase the reach of your WiFi throughout your home and even into your garden, range extenders are perfect if you suffer inconsistent network speed and stability. Like routers, there are different ratings that offer varying speeds and ranges to make it easy to find the right one for your network. As they require no network configuration, range extenders are ideal for use with Sky routers and offer an instant solution for weak WiFi signal.
A wireless adapter fits into a USB port on any PC/laptop and allows you to connect to the wireless network in your home or a public place.
This is helpful for anyone using laptops without integrated network adapters, or anyone who wants faster WiFi without having to upgrade their PC or laptop.
Unlike a router, which creates a local network and then connects that to the internet, a network switch connects multiple devices to a single network via Ethernet cables. Typically faster than routers, they’re perfect for enthusiast and business use and are the ideal basis for expansive wired and wireless networks.