As your business expands so do your wireless internet needs. You may be in the market for a new wireless router and wonder what the possibilities and options are. There is a vast variety of routers available in the market today, so you want to make sure you invest in on that fits your business’ expansion or startup. Here are some of the best tips to keep in mind when looking for a wireless router to integrate into your technology systems.
Selecting Your Router Type
First, you need to understand the types of routers that are available to you. There is quite an array, and each serves their own purpose. You need to understand the coverage you require as well as how much bandwidth is necessary to support all the devices in your office. Plus, there may be a need to hardwire machines such as printers, networks or other devices that need an ethernet port.
Depending on the needs of your company, you may need a more robust wireless router and should consider either a VPN router with a firewall or a router with unified threat management (UTM) firewall. Here’s the difference between the two.
- VPN Router: These routers are offered with both wireless and ethernet connections. They have more bells and whistles than a traditional home router as they provide a private network server that has been integrated into the device for added security. You will find that a wireless VPN router features VLAN support as well as the option for multiple SSIDs, giving you plenty of flexibility with the incorporation of this technology.
- UTM Router: A UTM router also has plenty of capabilities, offering up to eight ports for hardwiring an ethernet connection. They do require a separate location for Wi-Fi connectivity but do offer an internet gateway for protection. These routers also feature a VPN server, firewall, and, in most instances, some type of virus and malware software. You’ll also find content filtering systems, antispam options, and prevention and detection of intrusion as necessary.
If your business needs more security features, you may have to pay a subscription fee to get what you need. Keep in mind that because you have a router with virus and malware protection, it doesn’t eliminate the need to have this security technology on each and every computer you own. It just offers you another layer of protection.
Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet
Now, it is pretty clear that you want a wireless router for your business, but you should be aware of how an ethernet router can be used wirelessly through access points. These access points give you additional wireless coverage than a traditional Wi-Fi router.
You can use these access points to give you more routing ability throughout your building. These are connected by using ethernet cable connections to a port on your router. Your access points will allow you to broadcast your network name as well as multiple SSIDs if necessary.
While this all sounds a little complex, it shouldn’t scare you. In most cases, a wireless router may not be able to provide you with full Wi-Fi capabilities across your office, especially if it has a large square footage. With an ethernet router with Wi-Fi capabilities, you can get the reach you need with some additional features that can protect your business interests.
Wireless Router Features To Keep In Mind
With a little knowledge now under your belt, you may be at a crossroads trying to find a wireless router that will work for you. There are a series of features that these routers come with and you should at least know how they will affect your business when installed.
- Speed: Look for a speed of at least 802.11n. This also labeled as Wireless-N on some packages. You can use a web app to determine if you are getting the maximum internet speed promised from your wireless router.
- Frequency: You also need a 5GHz frequency band. This will give you additional channels and will reduce lag time as usage is spread out across the bands.
- Compatibility: If you are running outdated computers at your business, you may have some issues connecting to your high-speed router. These computers may use an older generation wireless standard which will cause some issues with your wireless router’s performance. It may be time to update your computer hardware.
Adding VPN Security
Lastly, your business most likely needs a VPN server with firewall or gateway protection. This will allow your employees to access files while out of the office without the threat of security breaches. You do have options when it comes to selecting a VPN for your wireless router.
- Point-To-Point Tunneling Protocol: This PPTP system is supported by virtually every operating system as well as mobile devices that your employees may use. It typically has a built-in VPN but may lack on the security offered. VPN pass-through may be difficult on some networks with PPTP.
- Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol: With L2TP VPN systems, you will receive enhanced security features, but this is a more challenging VPN to configure. It is accepted and supported by most operating systems and mobile devices. You will need VPN pass-through when using L2TP.
- Secure Sockets Layer: SSL is another VPN protocol that will let your employees remote in through a web browser. There is no need for a VPN pass-through, and additional software is not needed. It offers convenient setup as usually there is a web portal that offers email or network access.
- Open VPN: If you are looking for the most security, you may want to opt for an OpenVPN. This will give you better security performance as well as uptime when a wireless network will not allow pass-through. However, you will have to install a third-party VPN software to allow it to configure and operate properly.
Keeping these features and options in mind as you shop for a wireless router for your business can ensure you are successful in your investment. You will have the router that best suits your business needs with the performance and reliability you need to operate without disruption or connectivity issues.