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How do I Choose the Best ADSL Wireless Router?

R. Kayne
R. Kayne

An ADSL wireless router creates a local area network (LAN) enabling all computers within broadcast distance to share a single Internet connection. The ADSL router also has a built-in modem to connect to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Taking into account just a few considerations, it’s easy to choose the best ADSL wireless router for your needs.

ADSL stands for Asynchronous (or Asymmetrical) Digital Subscriber Line, describing a type of Internet service that runs over standard copper telephone lines. Most ADSL routers are compatible only with ADSL service. However, some are made to work with cable service as well. If there is a chance you might switch to cable Internet, you can future-proof your investment by choosing an ADSL wireless router that is also cable-ready.

An ADSL wireless router.
An ADSL wireless router.

Wireless networking components communicate using a common language or protocol. These protocols are defined by standard 802.11, with a trailing letter designating the specific protocol, such as 802.11g or 802.11n. An ADSL wireless router might only support one protocol, or it might support multiple protocols. The advantage of the latter model is that it will be able to communicate with all computers, regardless of the type of wireless network card or adapter the computer is using. If the router only supports a single protocol, all computers it connects to must have a wireless networking card or adapter that matches the router’s supported standard.

For example, computers manufactured prior to the release of the 802.11n standard will have wireless network cards that support 802.11g, the preceding standard. An ADSL wireless router that supports both 802.11g and 802.11n will be able to communicate with older and newer computers. A router that only supports 802.11n will require that older computers with 802.11g cards be supplied with 802.11n wireless network adapters.

Another consideration in choosing the best ADSL wireless router is Voice Over IP (VOIP). Services like Skype® that allow subscribers to make free, unlimited video phone calls to other subscribers using the Internet have become quite popular. A VOIP phone number is similar to a standard phone number, but runs through the Internet. Any ADSL wireless router will accommodate VOIP services, but a model made specifically with VOIP in mind goes a step further. These routers administer VOIP service separately from other duties and the router itself features a port at the back for plugging in a standard telephone to receive VOIP phone calls.

Gamers should look for an ADSL wireless router that lists Quality of Service (QoS) in its specifications. QoS ensures user-chosen applications and processes receive priority status. This prevents potential interruptions, delays or hiccups in the online gaming experience, by giving the gaming application priority over other data. The hosting server and the user's hardware and connection speed also contribute to the overall experience.

Setup menus on a router can be accessed by entering in the URL field of any Web browser. A username and password is commonly required, supplied by the router's documentation, user-configurable thereafter. From these menus one can administer the LAN by naming it, enabling encryption, checking status, opening or closing ports for specific applications, and so on. One can also manually enter the parameters needed to connect to the desired ISP. The ISP itself can provide these parameters, or they might be available in the documentation included with the router.

ADSL wireless routers are available everywhere computer electronics are sold. Quality models with QoS and VOIP that support multiple protocols can be had for about $75 to $100 US Dollars (USD) depending on the model.

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    • An ADSL wireless router.
      By: Petr Malyshev
      An ADSL wireless router.