Wireless internet is almost a must-have for many businesses and organizations; the ability to provide access to the internet anywhere within the premises increases productivity for your employees and enables you to do more technological things in terms of your environments and experiences.
But it’s probably not going to be the Senior Pastor who’s going to make the right choice in terms of that wireless router (he’ll leave it up to you). So it’s your job of knowing what’s what.
Here is a very quick primer and overview of wireless routers so that you can make the most informed decision for your ministry.
Not All the Same
There are tons of options when it comes to choosing a wireless internet router. They all look the same! And that can be a good thing; in fact, many different routers exist with their own blend and set of features and attributes.
So it’s up to you! Use the following info to help you make the best decision possible.
1. Speed and Speed Ratings
Routers and wireless routers typically advertise speed in megabits per second, or Mbps for short. Older Wi-Fi models offered 11 Mbps, mid-range 802.11g routers 54 Mbps and the latest Draft N routers claim up to 300 Mbps.
Don’t be fooled (or tempted) to simply look at the highest Mbps rating because when you consider that the actual performance you will achieve on a daily basis is just an average amount (which is much lower than the max rating).
Furthermore, even high speed routers cannot directly speed up your Internet connection.
The extra speed boost from a faster router may not be worth the extra cost.
2. The More Popular Models Decision
You know, it’s just generally true: There is safety in numbers.
The point of saying this is that if a lot of people are buying a particular product then it’s generally safe to assume it’s a good product and fulfilling their needs as expected.
The stuff that sells the most is generally safe as a purchase and is typically up-to-date in terms of technology; don’t expect the bleeding edge though.
If you’re a conservative bunch, this might just be the best option: Buy whatever the most people are buying.
Here are four top-selling 802.11g and n wireless routers to consider:
- Netgear WGR614 Wireless-G Router
- Linksys by Cisco WRT54GL Wireless-G Broadband Router (Compatible with Linux)
- Belkin N1 Wireless Router
- Linksys WRT150N Wireless N Home Router with 4-Port Switch Mimo
Always consider a warranty with your purchase. Nearly all manufacturers provide some sort of package with their equipment.
Of course, the length, terms, and specifics will vary. Generally speaking, a better warranty shows a providers commitment to their product and in support of their product.
4. Talking with Others and Personal Opinions
You don’t have to search hard to hear about a glowing recommendation from a friend about a particular product and then seconds later hear the exact opposite from an equally-valuable and credible source.
The point is this: There is going to be a mix of both positive and negative reviews every where. The complex nature of an organization’s network system provides enough latitude for success stories and failures.
Don’t let someone else’s experience, both good and bad, be too much of a decision maker for you.
5. Keeping it in the Family
Brand matching is another word for this.
It’s helpful to consider buying a wireless router from the same brand as your network adapters. The benefit can be a small one but it is typical for vendors to optimize their family of equipment to work well together.
The result? Better performance. Consider buying all that you need from the same brand and family and you may save yourself some troubles later down the line.
6. It’s All about Style
Or, not really.
I know some businesses who had opted to buy a particular brand just because it was “prettier” than the other options available. If you’re super into environment creation and detail, then this will be a factor for you.
They vary in sizes, colors, shapes, you name it. Make sure you take into consideration where they will actually physically reside (form factor plays here) or if you’re going to be needing it to be more mobile than stationary.
7. The Bottom Line
Ultimately the price is going to affect your decision making. There are tons of online rebates and discounts available everywhere, so take advantage of a good Google Search.
Remember that the newest ones that release aren’t necessarily the best buys and even if it is last year’s model, it may just have everything you need.
Shop around, do your homework, and then commit to buy.