Computer repair and networking for the Windom, MN area

So many routers! How much is enough?

Just about everybody needs a router now, and has one, but not many people understand the difference between them.

When shopping for a router you’ll see markings like “N300” or “AC1200” and even the new “AX3200,” all advertising the speed of the router. However, buying a faster router doesn’t mean your devices are going to work any faster. The numbers on these markings stand for the speed, megabits per second. The letter stands for the frequency used.

You might have seen mbps elsewhere, most likely when picking out your Internet speeds. You’ll notice the lowest number I mentioned for the speed ratings on routers is 300. If you look at your Internet speed, however, it’s most likely not higher than 15mbps. Even here at iCitizen our Internet is only about 80mbps. This is where it gets a little bit confusing. Every device has to share the router’s 300mbps. That means if you have 15mbps, you can have 20 devices on at a time and each one is still able to access your full 15mbps on each one.

You might be fooled into thinking that if you’re gaming, you need a gaming router rated at AC1200 or above, as the routers suggest. However, this doesn’t help in the slightest, unless you have enough devices running on very fast Internet, as explained in the previous paragraph. The only time faster routers generally help is for businesses, where files are stored on one PC and accessed by another. It helps because it doesn’t depend on your Internet speed going from PC to PC.

Sometimes, there is an advantage to a more expensive router because of the range. For example, we have an N300 router and an AC1200 router. Even though you don’t need 1200mbps, the AC1200 router has about 50 percent more range because of it’s amperage. Unfortunately, routers often don’t mention their amperage on the box and has to be researched.

As always, if you can’t figure out which one you need, give us a call.

Updated: January 2, 2019 — 9:48 am
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