They're small, they're compact, and they affect the entire outcome of a war. It’s your Wi-Fi router. Here are some facts about routers that centurylink, AT&T, Frontier, Rise Broadband, HughesNet, Viasat and spectrum won't tell you
4 facts about routers Internet service providers won't tell you
They're small, they're compact, and they affect the entire outcome of a war.
Unfortunately, we’re not talking about hobbits.
It’s your Wi-Fi router.
Wi-Fi, the wireless internet connection used in almost all homes and businesses, is made available through a Wi-Fi router. Most Wi-Fi customers get their Wi-Fi through the router provided by their ISP (internet service provider). These do a good job of handling the basics of wireless uploading and downloading. AT&T, Spectrum, CenturyLink, and many more will provide a router for you when you sign up with their service.
This does not mean that you can’t purchase a Wi-Fi router from Best Buy or Amazon. In fact, getting a Wi-Fi router on your own can help save some cash on your internet bill as you won’t have to pay the router rental fee.
Check out reviews from PC Mag, CNet, and Tom’s Guide to see which ones are considered “the best.”
While there are those that are “the best,” they may not be what’s right for you, your home, or even your internet provider.
It’s the same with hobbits.
You may like one more than the other, it’s all a question of preference.
Is One Hobbit Better Than the Other?
Your home, like you, is unique.
Don’t just go with the router that is labeled “the best” by a source that doesn’t know you.
That's like saying Frodo was the best hobbit.
You know, hobbits, from The Lord of the Rings.
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world, there were wizards, humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, and dragons. The smallest of these creatures were the hobbits. These were the guys who were half the height of dwarves. Being that dwarves were half the height of humans, this made hobbits very, very short. Sometimes they were even referred to as halflings.
As a result, hobbits were regarded as unimportant. Irrelevant even.
And the hobbits, as Tolkien explained, were happy with this. They were fine to stay in their part of the world and not bother with international politics. If the outside world didn't interfere with them, they would leave the outside world alone.
One such hobbit, Frodo Baggins, came into possession of the One Ring- the one thing that could decide whether good or evil prevailed.
And so Frodo, small and unimpressive, set out with his friends to take care of the ring. Journeying with him was Samwise Gamgee otherwise known as Sam, Peregrin Took aka Perry and Meriadoc Brandybuck aka Merry. Each was unique with their own quirks and personality.
These four hobbits, though small and “irrelevant” ended up becoming the deciding factor in entire battle for the soul of the world; Merry would go on to help slay the Witch-King, Perry would play a vital role in distracting Sauron, the grand leader of the evil forces, and Sam would help Fordo get all the way to Mt. Doom, where Frodo tossed the One Ring into open lava.
Thanks to these four hobbits, peace was restored.
Not bad for four hobbits.
While it would be easy to say that Frodo was the best hobbit of all because he destroyed the One Ring, that’d be a little presumptuous. He did have the hardest job, but without help from the other three, Frodo would have never gotten close to Mt. Doom.
It's okay then to prefer Sam, Merry, or Perry to Frodo. People have their reasons for liking one over the other. Just like they have their reasons for not choosing "the best" product out there.
Like when it comes to picking a Wi-Fi router.
Bands and Numbers
Before picking a router, take stock of your Wi-Fi needs at home.
For those using one device on a consistent basis, 5 Mbps is the download speed that works best for you. With that in mind, you can save some money by avoiding the higher end routers.
If you’re downloading content on multiple devices—like Netflix through your Apple TV and streaming a game on your PlayStation 4—getting a download speed of 45 Mbps is best to handle the larger amount of data going back and forth.
Knowing this will help you decide which router is best for your home.
For homes with light internet usage, a single-band router is best. For homes with heavy internet usage, a dual-band router would be best.
Single-band routers use just one frequency.
This is great if you’re using a few devices throughout your home. They can handle the usual amount of data going back and forth.
The downside is the frequency they use; 2.4 GHz. This frequency is usually used by Bluetooth devices, microwaves, and wireless phones. Those devices can inadvertently disrupt your Wi-Fi signal.
The dual-band routers use the 2.4 GHz frequency and a second frequency of 5 GHz. That 5 GHz frequency is less common. This second frequency is better used for third-party devices, giving you a less-impeded channel to work with. The drawback with the 5 GHz frequency is that it has a smaller coverage area. With this in mind, you may want to put your Xbox, Playstation 4, or computer closer to the router.
Dual-band routers are great for homes where multiple devices are downloading at once. You can even assign a channel to a specific device. And with more than one frequency in use, downloads can be performed simultaneously instead of one at a time.
As you would expect, dual-band routers are more expensive, so take that into account when you decide to purchase.
Tri-band routers use the 2.4 GHz frequency and two frequencies of 5GHz.
Routers of this type provide the most connectivity and speed. But they’re also the most expensive. Thus, if you use one device in your home on a regular basis, then avoid dual and tri-band routers.
No matter what router you decide to buy, you’ll notice that all will come with a number and the letters “AC.”
AC refers to Wi-Fi protocol number, 802.11ac. AC is the version of the protocol in use. There’s 802.11b, 802.11m, and others. The letters denote the gradual improvements and modifications over previous versions. 802.11ac is the current version that allows for simultaneous downloads.
When it comes to designing routers, the engineers involved decided to use this "AC" for labeling purposes. The AC is for the protocol number. 802.11ac indicates the level of the Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO) the router is capable of. For example; Of all the data streaming through the router at one time, the projected maximum speed the router can handle is something like 1300 Mbps. You won’t get that speed exactly, but the router can hypothetically handle the volume of 1300 Mbps. Therefore, if you’re downloading 50 Mbps in one room and 30 Mbps in another, an AC1300 router will handle that just fine.
Of all the numbers on your router, look for the one that starts with “AC.” This is the best indicator of whether your router can handle the amount of data you plan to be downloading and uploading at one time.
Hobbits and Wi-Fi Routers
Just as there are preferences when it comes to hobbits, you can have preferences when it comes to Wi-Fi routers and ISPs. You can check out the best internet deals and packages for AT&T, Spectrum, HughesNet, Viasat, or another provider in your zip code to help you get started on your search.
And make sure to you download The Lord of the Rings onto your favorite eReader or audiobook app. It’s well worth the read! When you finish reading the books, go watch the movies. They’re good, but I’m preferable to the books.
Have you bought a Wi-Fi router on your own? Is there a Wi-Fi router you’d recommend?