A router may not be one of the most glamorous home gadgets in our homes, but when talking about the functionality of devices, it is one of the most important gadgets. Most of the people see a router as simply a box that sits and does things which might be true, but a broadband router is something that will enhance your online experience and provide you (the user) with excellent online benefits.
Broadband, is generally a “blanket” term that is used to describe any form of high-speed Internet. The broadband router also known as a home gateway or residential gateway is a technology that works by transmitting large data quantities at very fast speeds across cables. Compared to the old dial-up technology, broadband routers send data packages in large amounts at a faster rate.
Broadband routers combine the traditional features of DHCP server, a network firewall and network switch. They are designed for convenience when setting up home networks.
They utilise the Ethernet standard cable for wired connections. The first versions of broadband routers required Ethernet cables which run between the broadband modem, router and computer(s) in the home network.
With the advancement of technology, some of the current broadband routers incorporate wireless network connection, utilising the Wi-Fi standards.
Despite receiving free router from your Internet Service Providers (ISP) which normally just work sufficiently for your internet connectivity, there are better Advanced Broadband routers which offer a better quality of services thanks to their more advanced features.
If you live in a big house & require wireless internet access across your whole property, you may have a struggle while using the free routers provided by your ISP. Using A standalone router will increase the access range. An advanced broadband router has better, improved antennas and hardware.
Consider having a network access whether or not you are near the access point. With an advanced broadband router, you can access the internet everywhere from the house to the garden. While having an internet access in your garden might seem like a great prospect in the UK, think about the summer days, relaxing and enjoying the sunshine while streaming your favourite music.
Most broadband routers provided by your Internet service providers don’t come with USB ports. An additional USB port is a great feature as this allows you to connect your gadget(s) directly to the network, as opposed to using a LAN Cable or via the computer.
USB will provide you with faster transfer speeds of data 7 even so if you attach the USB drive to the router; you can use that device also as a network storage.
There are various multiple NAS devices that are available in the market which can be used as network storage drive, improving flexibility and control.
When looking at specifications on routers and other gadgets, you might have noticed the number 802.11 followed by another letter. These are normally the wireless standards that the routers devices conform to and which allow them to have very fast internet speeds and a wider access range. The first wireless router utilised the 802.11b protocol while the most common and latest protocol is the 802.11ac version. This version utilises the dual band property . an advanced broadband router utilises this latest protocol.
Most routers supplied by your ISP simply have one frequency setting of 2.4 GHz which can be used to perform simple tasks that don’t require a lot of data. But when in comes to “heavy” tasks such as video streaming a 2.4Ghz will be overwhelmed by the task and may, therefore, fail to work efficiently.
Advanced broadband routers are dual band routers. Although they might be a little more expensive, you will be exempted from online access interference as the provided speeds will be fast and meet your needs.
Ideally, a dual band is of greater use in a family home setting where there are many family members who are performing different tasks at the same time
Currently, most Internet Service Providers don’t have dual band routers, so get yourself an advanced broadband router.
The dual band feature has a lot of advantages;
Dual band enables its users to benefit between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies when there is the need in order to minimise any traffic congestion. Due to many household gadgets giving off 2.4Ghz radio frequencies which lead to interference of the Wi-Fi signal, internet speeds may slow down, the Wi-Fi range reducing and also leading to intermittent signals. With Dual band routers, you will be free to enjoy the minimally utilised 5Ghz frequency with so much ease.
Dual band has the most advanced networking technology in the market which supports multiple frequencies. Moreover, you have the ability to customise your wireless settings to suit your needs.
Most people are usually worried when the purchase new gadgets if they’ll be compatible with the wireless routers. Dual band routers have built in functions that has many different networking equipment. This is because it supports both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies and therefore it should be able to work with any type of network adapter.
One of the important benefits of buying an advanced broadband router is its standalone feature. An advanced broadband router has the capability of creating multiple SSID access points. This ability to create multiple internet access points means that you can be able to separate network access with user limitations on every access point e.g. restricting access to sites that display explicit content, restricting access times to only certain set hours, thus guest users who will use these access points will be unable to access the restricted sites or during the restricted times.
Guest access points are also valuable when in retail/catering business. Customers can download files at super fast speeds. You can also set speed restriction to the customers such that broadband can only be used up to the set limit.
Most broadband router services provided by ISPs are purchased on a monthly basis or on contact depending on what services the ISP is offering. Various network companies have different data caps ranges. When you buy an ISP broadband service, most often there is a data limit on the amount of data you are required to use in that month. Going above the set limit will mean that you have to pay an extra amount.
The data caps limits will not work well with download –savvy individuals which will mean they have to opt out of accessing the ISP internet. The download allowance of ISP broadband is limited to between 1 and 3GB. Exceeding the set limit will mean extra charges which are usually very high. For users who love to video stream or play online games, ISP broadband routers do not offer suitable service for them.
In the case of unlimited broadband, a user will most will experience slow internet connectivity if you go beyond a certain set limit, this will however not cost you anything.
When you compare ISP broadband router services to other forms of broadband routers, ISP broadband router services are usually more expensive. This is because data transfer in cables is cheap when compared to the amount of cost incurred when data is transferred across 3G/4G networks.
Although there is a benefit of pay as you use, ISP broadband users have to initially part with a lot of money when buying a data card or a USB stick. A USB stick required for a new connection is normally locked to the specific internet service provider. Therefore if a user wishes to change operators, they will have to purchase a new USB stick for that operator.
At certain points, you may find out that your broadband router has lost it’s signals when you are out of the distance range or moving around. Like the other regular broadband provided by ISPs may slow down during the peak hours. Therefore Before you select an ISP to use, compare multiple broadband router providers and ensure you choose the one which has the strongest signal.
Because the services rely on signals, the services may fail to work on areas with poor signals. The internet speeds will also depend on many factors such as the signal strength, the type of network available and users as drop outs and lower speeds will be experienced in case multiple users are accessing the internet from the same ISP tower.
Most ISP routers score low regarding reliability when compared to advanced broadband routers.
When using ISP routers, security of a user is very low when compared to other broadbands. The bandwidth and the information available in the connected devices can be accessed by anybody which poses a major security risk to the users as they may lose private and confidential information and bandwidth to un-authorised users.
A mobile broadband user faces the risk of their information being exposed to other people by their internet service providers. Private and personal data can be given out to other people for malicious gains which is very dangerous.
Most ISP routers are not convenient for business use as the connection speeds tends to slow down as the number of people increases which will lead to a reduction of work flow.
From the problems of the ISP routers mentioned above, it is clear that one chooses the best ISP especially if the internet speeds and data security is of importance to them. Broadband routers from ISP providers are reliable and good, however, they are only good for light weight use. A heavy user such as a gamer, people who stream a lot of content online, users who download files and users who want fast internet speeds for their work should use an Advanced broadband router as it is fast and offers an uninterrupted network connection.
With many Broadband router companies in the UK, it can certainly get difficult to select the best broadband to use. However, from user reviews, BT has the best broadband routers
BT broadband recently launched their router, BT smart hub . Most routers provide by ISP are known to be of low speeds. Latest routers from TalkTalk and PlusNet come with the very common basic specifications that offer relatively reliable but slow internet connection speeds. This does not come as a surprise as many ISP broadband routers companies are not willing to through over £100 to their customers while on super cheap tariffs.
Although BT smart Hub offers its customers hugely expensive tariffs the internet speeds are extra fast, with absolutely no router in the market to match its blistering speeds.
Build on the company’s Home Hub 5, BT smart hub offers its users a fuss free setup package alongside the latest AC-wireless protocols. This combined package works greatly and makes it the best router .
This unassuming router that is build on the Smart Hub’s 5 design has a minimalistic 2-tone black font , with an obviously designed logo of BT plus a glowing light at the center. The glowing light is color coded to let the user know the Wi-Fi connection status.
Compared to Home Hub 5, Smart Hub is slightly taller and comes with a much more improvised hardware. Its installed with 7 antennas which offer significantly improved network connection over much longer distances unlike the Home Hub 5 which only had 2X2 dual antenna.
There’s a 3.0 USB port located at its rear. This is an improved set-up from Home Hub 5 which has USB 2.0. USB 3.0 offers the user improved data speeds. At the back, you will find a 4-Gigabit Ethernet ports and RJ 11 socked for the broadband. The rear side also has a removable clip that shows Wi-Fi and the administrator’s password.
The router supports VSDL for the BT infinity. There is no available WAN port that was previously available in Hub 5 and one can use the network ports in place of the WAN port, if they need it. The Wi-Fi setup button that uses WPS is located on the opposite side of the removable card so that a user will not accidentally press the button while taking the card out.
Its thin design means that the router can even fit perfectly in your letterbox with a recyclable box, thus its environment friendly.
From the box, a user simply needs to connect the router to the main source, attach the broadband cable to the right socket and thereafter wait for the Smart Hub to connect to the BT’s servers . it will configure itself automatically.
The whole connection process will time almost five minutes. A complete setup process will have the router’s front light glowing blue.
Currently, BT is market BT Smart Hub as the ultimate hassle free router. The firm specifically claims that the router’s Smart Scan feature will have the hub automatically optimize itself , offering the user the best Wi-Fi signal speeds and general performance. This is a protocol that keeps the Smart Hub from choosing the wireless signals that are experiencing congestion.
To connect the Hub manually via the web interface, connect to http://bthomehub.home to the web browser and log into your account. The web interface has basic functions such as checking the available devices that are connected to the hub, and a breakdown of the current internet connection speeds.
An advanced Hub setting lets the user to manually switch off the Smart Hub’s automatic scan feature and be able to choose a specific frequency or band they want the Smart Hub to transmit.
BT smart hub utilises a AC wireless connection which is a gain compared to other routers. An AC router delivers internet speeds of up to 3- times faster the performance. It has an 802.11 ac upgraded standard version that is called wave 2. The wave 2 will allow the router to connect and broadcast on a wider area of a wireless spectrum, thus making it more faster and even more reliable when connecting to multiple devices.
The real acid test for this router is if it lives to its hype as the router which has the longest connection range in the UK, especially if there are obstructions such as walls on its way. Using it shows the Smart Hub can cover a distance of 500m when using a laptop and 350 meters when using a tablet. At an obstructed distance of one meter, on a locked 5Ghz frequency, the hub transmits data consistently at a speed 44% higher than Hub 5.
Streaming is also uninterrupted and very fast as one can even stream from a room upstairs without experiencing image blurriness or video buffering. The speeds are super thrilling with the super sized Smart Hub shedding over 25 mbps when the user is in the room which the router is placed and 17Mbps and further distances.
Incase you do not fancy constant changing of Wi-Fi passwords on tablets, phones and other gadgets that are connected to the Wi-Fi in your home, it is very easy to change Smart Hub’s SSID and password to match all the devices, which will re-connect automatically with no hitches.
Apart from the router, The BT bundle has a few extra added advantages such as anti virus protection, over 100GB cloud storage that is free and parental control feature, for the kids. Each time a new device connects to the network , Smart Hubs Setup will kick in automatically , which can be easily disabled from the router’s home screen in the web browser.
Although most people rarely need to change the settings of the router, you can decide to assign a specific IP address to your devices such as the network printer or the NAS drive.
It is recommended that you go to the Wi-Fi settings option and toggle the button indicating separate bands. Smart Hub will give both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz network frequencies the same name by default so it is difficult to know which network frequency your device is working on, hence the need to toggle.
The BT smart Hub is definitely the best broadband router in the market right now. The gadget and the battery are all environmentally friendly. The Smart Hub is a huge step up when compared to Hub 5 and also other routers. It’s performance boost goes up by 50%. The current BT Smart Hub router costs between £50 to £70 which is not only affordable but also offers customers a great value for their money.
If you are a heavy user who is looking for a router offering high speed and super software features, then this is the broadband router to use.
Most of the time when using broadband, the access range area can be restricted only to certain points. A Wi-Fi range extender , also known as a range expander , is a type of a wireless network repeater that is used to expand the access area of a wireless LAN.
This gadget is placed in between an access point or the base router and the network user who is not able to receive the internet services or the user is on the opposite side of the barrier.
A range extender will wirelessly connect to the router or access point by picking up the signal and then retransmitting it. The transmission speed for users who are connected to the internet via the Wi-Fi range extender is normally not equivalent to the services received while the user is connected to the internet at the base station. Range extender users will experience increased latency.
A range extender is only good to internet users who are able to extend weak network signals as its not beneficial for those who are not able to access the network signals at all.
Wi-Fi range extender considerations include.
· The process of extending the Wi-Fi will only work best to the user if the extender has the same software and chipsets as the access point or the base router
· Signals transmitted by the range extender will generally be almost the same as signals from the source.
· A Wi-Fi range extender is not identified as a client in the network as it has a static IP address.
· It will require the associated encryption key in case the signals are encrypted also.
· It must be placed in the range of client device and the source signal.