Also known as residential gateways or home gateways, broadband routers make the setting up of home networks easy and convenient. Because broadband routers combine the function of network switch, firewall, and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server, they are ideal for use in homes connected to the Internet through a high-speed cable modem or a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connection.
Using what is known as network address translation (NAT), your broadband router will allow all your computers connected to it to share files, share a single Internet connection, and play Local Area Network (LAN) games. This simply means that you don’t need one Internet service subscription for each of your computers on your network. You need only one subscription - and the broadband router will enable all of its connected computers to access the Internet simultaneously.
Depending on your needs, you can choose the right broadband router that’s best for your networking needs. For a simple broadband router that you can use to share a single Internet connection for simple purposes such as web browsing, email, or chatting, you can opt for the less-expensive basic models. Many of such models are available for less than $80. Such broadband routers are also very easy to install and require very little or no maintenance at all.
In choosing a broadband router for your home or office network, consider the number of computers that you will be connecting to the router. Your router must have enough physical ports for all of the computers, as well as one reserved port for the connection to the Internet. A very simple router will usually have just two ports - one for your computer (Ethernet port), and one for the Internet connection (wide area network or WAN port). If you want such a router and you wish to attach more computers so that they can also share in the Internet connection, you will need to buy a switch. You will connect the switch to the router, and you will connect all of your computers to the switch so they can share in the Internet connection.
If you want your computers to connect to the router using wires or cables, buy a router for a wired network. If you want to connect your computers wirelessly to your router, buy a router that supports wireless connections. For the former, you will need Ethernet cables. For the latter, you will need wireless network cards (Bluetooth or WiFi) for each of your computers. Most wireless routers use WiFi technology for connectivity. Others use only Bluetooth connectivity. Some hybrid routers support both Bluetooth and WiFi at the same time. It is important that you know whether you will be connecting a wired network or a wireless network, and if connecting a wireless network, whether you will be using WiFi or Bluetooth technology.
A wireless router, by the way, does not limit the number of computers that can connect to it. In contrast, wired network routers will only allow you to connect to the router as many computers as there are available Ethernet ports on the router. Take note, too, that the more computers accessing the Internet at the same time through the router, the less bandwidth will be allocated to each of the computers, thus resulting in speed degradation.
Last of all, pick manufacturers of reliable router brands. Their products can cost a little more than the unknown brands, but you can relatively feel safer with the stability they offer in terms of after sales service and technical support.
Choosing the best broadband router for your home network is very crucial if you want a stable network. So, before buying one, consider the factors presented in this article first so that you can choose the right one for you.