When it comes to networking hardware, nothing is as handy as a wireless router. Donít let the tech speak scare you off; all of this hardware is pretty straightforward. This article will walk you through the basics, warn you about the security hazards, show you how to protect yourself, and make a few recommendations if you're still stuck about which wireless router is right for you.
A wireless router is nothing more than a device that performs the functions of a router, while also including the functions of a wireless access point. Wireless routers are usually used to enable access to the Internet or a computer network, doing away with the previous need for a cabled connection.
Wireless routers can also function as a wireless-only local area network (LAN), wired LANs, or a mixed wired/wireless networks. A majority of the wireless routers available on the market today have the following characteristics:
LAN ports, which are similar to the ports of a network switch.
A WAN port that typically connects to a wide area network with Internet access.
Wireless antennae, which enable connections from other wireless devices, wireless repeaters, wireless access points, and wireless bridges, using Wi-Fi.
Tips for Choosing a Wireless Router
Though itís true that choosing a wireless router isnít rocket science, itís important to understand your purchase. Essentially, wireless routers with networking, Internet connection sharing, and firewall features are an alternative to wired routers and networking software. Wireless routers actually have wired routers that have wireless access points built in, enabling users to be wired and/or wireless at the same time.
Thatís not the only option. There are also wireless routers with built-in DSL, as well as hardware and software security combination boxes that connect to your home network and protect it.
Weíll learn about some of the latest security risks pertaining to wireless routers in a moment, but for now itís important to point out that wireless routers are not as secure as those that are hard wired. Basically, no matter what type of router you purchase, you need to spend a good deal of time familiarizing yourself with the security features of your wireless network. To make this process simpler, you may want to consider wireless utility software.
Also, once youíve purchased your wireless router, youíll want to make sure that you test its firewall features after installing it. A great website to help you do this is Security Space, which is a leading web security portal that provides Internet security-related news, resources, tools and services.
Lastly, a note on firmware: wireless router vendors often offer updates for their firmware, which usually adds new features and assists in resolving any problems experienced by other customers. So, after installing a new wireless router, check for updates.
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