What is a WiFi Router?
Simply put, a WiFi router is an electronic device that sends data received from an Internet cable to other devices. It also acts as a wireless access point from which it shares data through the use of radio signals. The router converts the data stream delivered by your Internet connection into radio signals. These signals are received by WiFi capable devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Your router is an essential component of your WiFi network.
How to Choose a WiFi Router?
The internet has changed dramatically over the last two decades, and so did WiFi routers. The first generation of WiFi routers followed the introduction of WiFi technology in 1998 and offered speeds of only up to 2 Mbps. To put that number into perspective, consider that the average video bitrate of a Full HD YouTube video playing at 25 frames per second is 8 Mbps.
As you can see, it would be impossible to enjoy the internet the way we do today with an old WiFi router. Fortunately, WiFi routers have improved significantly since 1998.
Most modern WiFi routers support the latest 802.11ac WiFi standard, which uses the 5 GHz band exclusively and is capable of multi-station throughput of at least 1 Gbps, and a single-station throughput of at least 500 Mbps, which is theoretically enough for over 60 YouTube videos playing simultaneously.
Besides being a lot faster, modern wireless routers are also a lot smarter. They support technologies such as beamforming to focus your WiFi signal where it’s needed the most, and they come with a host of security- and privacy-oriented features to keep you safe online. Of course, some features are reserved for the best WiFi routers and those who are willing to pay for them.
Generally, you should be satisfied with any brand-name router that supports the latest 802.11ac WiFi standard. But if you’d like to learn more about what separates best wireless routers from wireless routers that are merely average, we recommend you read about how to choose a WiFi router.