Routers are among the underrated household appliances. The small electronics boxes do a lot for internet connection and home network. Routers sometimes have antennas and mostly flashing colorful LEDs. But under the plastic cover is the latest technology for Internet access and the home network. What do you have to pay attention to when Buying a New Router?
There is one in almost every household. Sometimes red, sometimes white, sometimes black – sometimes with long antennas, sometimes with short ones. But the router is rarely noticed. Modern internet and telephone connections are not possible without them.
What to look for when a new router is due or when a new device needs to be selected for the new Internet connection? Basically, you only need a modem to access the Internet. This establishes the connection either via the telephone network, the television cable or by radio. But if more than a single computer connected to access the Internet – other computers, smartphones, smart home devices or IP phones – it needs a router. It distributes the data packets to connected devices but also networks them with each other.
Purchasing a New Router?
The first big question is: buying or renting? The advantage of the rental device from the provider: It is already configured and works in the best case immediately – especially for technically not so savvy users, this is a good choice, advises the telecommunications portal “teltarif.de”. Who rents from the provider, receives in case of damage also usually a new device.
Some providers also have their own routers to buy in the portfolio. However, the devices supplied by the provider are not always very powerful. For pure surfing the Internet, but who wants more than a bread-and-butter device, worth the purchase of a router, advises the Stiftung Warentest.
The providers usually advise using their own devices. Basically, but consumers have a choice, says a spokesman for the Federal Network Agency. Since August 2016, the freedom of the router also applies in the cable network. Suppliers must on request give out the necessary access data. In fact, cable routers purchased in the free trade, despite correct access data from the provider, are technically not always correct, explains Alexander Kuch of “teltarif.de”. Then it hooks either the Internet or the telephone. He recommends using the best possible device from the service provider.
The range of free cable routers is not particularly large anyway, has determined the Stiftung Warentest. DSL customers find here a much larger offer. It is important, as simple as that sounds: The router must be able to do everything that you want to do with it. Not every device has a built-in modem and can connect to the Internet by itself.
And that’s not all: The more money you take in hand, the more features the router has. It’s worth a comparison – and the comparison with your own needs. Not everyone needs a media server at home. More useful is guest access, where guests of the house can get Wi-Fi access – but not automatically access to all (private) areas of the domestic network.
Also in the telephony, there are features that should be considered when buying a router. Sooner or later, all remaining analogue connections will be switched to the digital Internet-based standard Voice over IP (VoIP). In the meantime, landline telephony requires routers that support this standard.
As an additional feature, routers can also support the cordless digital so-called DECT phones as a base station. A cordless phone can then be paired directly to the router without an additional base station.
Anyone who already has a functioning router or modem in operation and only wants to retrofit modern functions such as faster WLAN or media server operation can do so, says Alexander Kuch. In most cases, the new router can simply be connected to the existing device via LAN cable and used in pure router operation. Then devices without their own modem or without telephony function come into question – if the existing device already mastered. For cable connections, however, only WLAN or media server services can be retrofitted, for example. Telephony must continue to be handled via the first cable router.
In this way, then also cable customers can theoretically operate any router on their cable connection – even actually produced for DSL models. Then the Internet signal still comes through the old cable modem in the house, but is distributed by the modern router.