Buying Wireless Router made Simple - What Buying Guides will not tell you.

The first thing to check before buying a router is the download speed claimed by your service provider. Note that this speed should be available to your home and not to the building premises. Next thing to look at is the end point cable carrying internet to your home that has to be connected to the router for conversion from electrical/Optical signal to Wireless. It can be a Phone Line RJ-11 with ADSL/VDSL standards on top of it or can be RJ-45 Electrical or Optical WAN cable that gets directly terminated to your Modem first. In the latter scenario, the output from the Modem gets connected to the Input of the Wireless Router by a RJ-45 LAN Cable. 

Once the download speed claimed and the cable or standard that carries internet is known, it's time to choose a wireless Router with input sufficing and exceeding the speeds claimed by the Internet service provider. There are two parts attached to it. 

1. Type of Input to the wireless router.

a. ADSL/VDSL Routers - The phone Line RJ-11 Input.

These routers would have a Phone Line RJ11 Connector as input and comes with specific speed standards supported like ADSL/ADSL2/ADSL2+/VDSL and VDSL2. Check in Router spec sheet, the maximum download speed supported. This would be mentioned in terms of ITU-T Standards supported.

ADSL/ADSL2/ADSL2+ up to 24 Mbps download speed and 3.3Mbps upload speed. Check which of the below standards are mentioned in the specification of the Router.

ITU G992.1 supports 8 Mbps download speed. (12Mbps with Annex A/B)
ITU G992.2 supports 1.5 Mbps download speed.
ITU G992.3 supports 12 Mbps download speed.
ITU G992.4 supports 1.5 Mbps download speed.
ITU G992.5 supports 24 Mbps download speed.
VDSL/VDSL2 up to 100Mbps download speed and 100 Mbps upload speed depending on the standard supported.
ITU G993.1 supports 55Mbps download speed.
ITU G993.2 supports 100Mbps download speed.

The Router in consideration must support the standard with higher speed than mentioned by the service Provider.

b. WAN Input Routers - The Internet RJ-45 Cable Input

If the terminating signal at home is optical, the Modem essentially converts the Optical signal to electrical before being fed to the Router for wireless conversion via a LAN Cable.

These Routers would have RJ-45 connector as input supporting 10/100 base T standard up to 10Mbps and 100 Mbps download speed respectively or 10/100/1000 base T standard supporting up to 1000 Mbps that is Gigabit Ethernet.

c. Routers supporting both ADSL RJ-11 Phone line and RJ-45 WAN Input.

These routers give the flexibility for both ADSL and WAN internet connectivity.

2. Wireless Connection with the Router.

a. wireless standard supported.

Now we know that the Router's input is exceeding the speed claimed by the Service Provider. So let’s look at what does it take for the same speed to reach your Laptop/Mobile/Tablet/PC that connects wirelessly. Of course, there is certainly an option to connect Ethernet RJ-45 LAN cable output from the Router to your PC and get the desired speeds. However, the Router should be able to give a similar performance wirelessly.

Check what wireless bands and standards are supported by the Router. The bands could be 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency with standards like 802.11a/b/g/n and 802.11 ac respectively.

Then, there is an option of simultaneous dual band use of bands 2.4 GHz and 5GHz for say band 1 for general browsing and band 2 for Gaming/Video download over multiple connected devices.

Do check that your laptop supports 802.11ac before arriving at a conclusion.

802.11 b/g supports a link speed up to 11Mbps and 54Mbps respectively at 2.4GHz and approximate coverage of distance up to 120 ft indoor.
802.11 n up to 600 Mbps at 2.4 GHz up to 230 ft.
802.11 a supports 54Mbps at 5GHz up to 110 ft.
802.11 ac supports a link speed from 150 Mbps to more than 2 Gbps with multiple configurations ranging from AC600 to AC5300.
802.11 ad up to and above 6Gbps theoretically.

The Link speed for Single/dual or Tri bands are usually mentioned in the datasheet in a combined manner, but in practical terms you would never exceed the speed that the input of the Router supports. That means a Router supporting Gigabit or 1000base T input would never be able to exceed a combined speed of 1000Mbps wirelessly. The best of routers would curtail it to 600Mbps -700Mbps.


b. Number of Antennas.

The next thing to look at is the number of Internal and external Antennas the Router has for supporting Small/Medium/large house application need.

The higher the antenna number, the higher the probability of better signal reception in multiple direction.

Other things to consider are the LEDs available for diagnostics, the available Ports for Ethernet LAN and USB2.0 /USB3.0 Ports for connectivity.

Selecting the right Router could take considerable amount of time. Check out the One Drop Down All Market Tool
for Routers at that has all Routers in a single drop down menu for easy specs selection and quick buy option links from Amazon for every Router.

Inputs? Leave a comment below...


  1. I have no clue to anything electrical so I am so glad you have shared this useful post to help me in the future.Book marking it.

  2. What an informative post, I loved it!

  3. Thank GOD! Someone who can write about what to do! I appreciate how thorough are regarding routers because to most (me), this is a huge pain!!!!

  4. Just what I needed, just as I needed it!
    Thank you very much, you just solved a big problem of mine.

  5. Thank you for clearing that up, that technical stuff is hell for me and actually my router broke down today haha

  6. So happy i dont need to think about these kinds of things

  7. Hmmm I need to get one of these since my current provider charges me $$$ to rent theirs!

    1. Some help, check out the One Drop Down All Market Tool for Routers at that has all Routers in a single drop down menu for easy specs selection.

  8. This s great information! It can be hard to know what exactly you need, so I like the way that this lays it out.

  9. Informative....its never end to learn.Every reading comes up with new information. Nice article

  10. This is such a great! Thank you loads for sharing, I'm def subscribing ;)

  11. Amazing! such an informational post! thank you

  12. informative post, thank you for sharing this . :)

  13. So informative and helpful! Thanks for sharing :)

  14. This is actually pretty helpful. And I love how the lingo is still easy to understand even for non techy people like me. Thanks for sharing!

  15. what a helpful article! I admit, I'm not the smartest when it comes to technology but blogs like yours make it easier. Thanks for sharing :)

  16. Great info! Every time I need to buy a new tech thing I am pretty unhappy because I don´t know where to start.

  17. What a great guide to wireless routers! In fact just last week we switch service providers and I needed to buy a new one. Oh goodness .. how fast technology changes. I stood in Target for the longest time comparing features. I wish I'd have had your post as a handy guide!

  18. This is so helpful! I wouldn't have known any of these things to look for, saving for further use - thanks!

  19. Wow great info, some of this I didn't know. I now know what to look for when I am buying my next one.

  20. Routers used to make me dizzy, because I couldn't understand what anything was! Since I work from home, I've gotten more and more acquainted with its features. This is actually an awesome guide, very detailed.

  21. I'm completely lost about electrical part of the computer, but really this post is a full package of great information. Thank you for sharing this information.


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