These days, it’s not just our phones, computers, and laptops that use Wi-Fi; many electronic smart devices around the home can be operated using wireless networks. A significant chunk of daily entertainment relies on good network bandwidth, whether streaming videos or playing online games. This makes it essential to aim for a smart router with high quality and reliable Internet access.
The frustration experienced when your video call or meeting suddenly stops, freezes, or a video buffers annoyingly is relatable to many. To avoid these connectivity problems, a smart Wi-Fi router is a solution. These easy-to-use devices don’t require programming or developing skills to fix or manage. Just install one of these, and running your smart home or getting your daily dose of online entertainment will be uninhibited.
What is a Smart Router?
The more advanced smart router stands out from traditional routers with many improvements. This offers optimized wireless connectivity and an improved Internet connection that is fast, stable, and secure. You’re bound to be impressed with its performance once you’ve purchased and installed it.
The gradual migration towards smart-homes mandates the use of these handy, intelligent routers. Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant makes our life easy in several ways: turning off a smart light at home, turning on a smart AC from where you’re seated, or even giving us any information we need. Let’s not forget that even Alexa cannot function without a wireless network. Getting all your apps and devices to sync and work together is what this router does.
How Does it Work?
The smart Wi-Fi router ensures a stable connection by scanning the available frequencies. In doing so, your Internet might get shifted to a different physical connection with an improved frequency. This way, you’ll have an undisrupted connection with no security risks or threats.
Standard routers generally used in homes or offices only send Internet to connected devices. Those who use this connection can surf the Internet, including all the apps that require a connection to function. On the other hand, a smart version ensures interaction between mobile devices and apps, keeping you connected with your smart home devices.
Improvements Over Traditional Wi-Fi Routers
With the smart ones, apps can change the router settings, monitor network devices, and place restrictions on certain websites’ access. Also, network cameras’ footage can be live-streamed in addition to browsing or streaming photos. Apart from this, there are other improvements too.
Better Network Security
An increasing number of devices connected to the Internet through a router increase the security risks of the network. Hackers find it easier to target these owing to their weak links. However, smart Wi-Fi routers send all your smart applications and traffic through their network.
This prevents tracking companies from profiling your online activities and behavior while notifying you when any of your gadgets has been breached. Most have anti-virus software pre-installed that automatically protects your smart home devices from malware and phishing attacks.
It’s no surprise that there are places (dead spots) in our homes where the network coverage fails to reach. A fast, reliable, and stable connection is a must with smart appliances. Thanks to smart routers, even the hard-to-reach points of the home get covered. This is possible with the multiple antennas on these devices, usually more than two, some with up to 13.
These antennas are arranged in a circular pattern yet concealed within the router’s casing, broadcasting the network in all directions. An alternative approach for a wide coverage is using multiple small devices, creating a mesh network. This forms one broad, continuous network for a large property, which is more effective than placing a single router at a central location.
Gone are the days of bulky gadgets. Smart routers are not just useful, but they look smart too. The manufacturers of these smart devices have adapted to stunning designs that will enhance the look of your home. Place it beneath your stunning, smart TV or fix it on any wall. They’re bound to look fantastic.
The first, most common solution to fixing issues in gadgets such as smartphones or routers is resetting or restarting. When that doesn’t work, consider yourself in the soup, for which you’ll have to either contact a service person, ISP, for your network issues or look into the technicalities of resolving the problem.
Smart routers make life easier that way, with most devices having a touchscreen display that shows every device on the network, what the problem is, and how to fix it. Additionally, they generate network performance reports and recommend optimized network use. This includes alerting the user if a device should be moved to a different band of its network.
Simpler Management of Users and Devices
Overcoming the difficulties of the standard router, these smart devices allow you full control over your network connections. Choosing who can access your network and who can’t, enabling parental controls for children and teenagers, and receiving alerts when someone attempts to access restricted content gives you the option to grant or deny access.
You could even pause the entire network, thus stopping all devices from going online. This can be done through apps available with smart Wi-Fi routers instead of searching for MAC addresses and manually verifying them.
TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A7) -Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Router for Home, Works with Alexa, VPN Server, Parental Control, QoS
How to Choose One?
With so many options available in the market, but with so much technical jargon used to describe these products, it’s bound to get confusing. Keeping the following points in mind will help you purchase the best one to suit your budget and requirements.
Multi-Core Processor and at least 128 MB RAM
An increase in bandwidth requirements with video streaming, online gaming, back-ups, and downloads needs a fast network that multiple clients can use simultaneously. For a wireless router to have increased processing power to deal with this, it should have at least a dual-core processor. More the number of cores, the better the router performance.
In terms of RAM, anything less than 128 MB shouldn’t be worth checking out. Ideally, 256 MB and beyond gives a good speed performance. Of course, you could check out 512 MB or even 1GB RAM devices for a higher budget.
Dual-Band or Multi-Band
A dual-band router will broadcast its wireless signal on two bands of frequencies; a tri-band one will do so on three bands, and a multi-band one on multiple frequency bands. The 2.4 GHz band is common across all these devices and works with old and new Wi-Fi standards and devices. While the coverage area of this band might be wide, it is slow, and network congestion is the main issue.
The 5 GHz frequency band used by dual- and tri-band routers is faster than the 2.4 GHz band and experiences lesser congestion, although with a smaller coverage area. Make sure the smart router you purchase is dual- or multi-band for a fast wireless network. Even better is that you can connect Wi-Fi with two or more standards, using different network names and passwords.
Smartphone App Availability
With a smartphone app that you can use from anywhere on the Internet, you can configure your wireless router, check its status, and manage the primary features. While some router manufacturers offer basic apps to let you set the Wi-Fi password, others offer advanced apps through which you can configure most settings. If you’re looking for remote management of your router, you should check the ones that come with a smartphone app.
USB 3.0 Port
The list of devices that require connection to the wireless network is ever-increasing, including external hard disks, USB modems, printers, etc. To accommodate these connections, look for routers that include a USB port, preferably USB 3.0. If you could find one with a USB Type-C port, you could even connect most modern mobile devices.
Check for Actual/Verified Speed Before Purchase
The specifications of a wireless router provide theoretical numbers stating the best speed you’ll get when you use it. However, the statistics obtained from real-life use will be available in users’ and experts’ reviews and publications that use regular computers. With the help of the router with real-world computers and gadgets, these sources will let us know exactly what we’ll get if we buy one.
Advanced Features Including VPN, Antivirus, and Firewall
Wireless networks always have security threats, breaches, and viruses looming over them. An ideal smart router must have powerful hardware, plenty of RAM, VPN servers, antivirus software, and a firewall for malware and phishing protection. Such a combination comes at a slightly higher price but has the resources for advanced services apart from broadcasting Wi-Fi.
Entire Home Wi-Fi Support
Whether it’s syncing to the smart devices at home for easy operation or supporting a mesh network with one or more access points, smart routers can do it all. This ensures unhindered and continuous wireless connection throughout your living space or office space. You could even control your smart devices, such as the AC, TV, water heater, etc., using voice commands through a smart app utilizing the Wi-Fi network.
Whether the Internet has become an addiction or the backbone of the modern world, there’s no denying that you can’t LIVE with it, and you can’t live without it. As technology goes smart for many devices in our everyday use, it helps to have a smart router to ease connectivity dilemmas and to have a good wireless network at your disposal.