Two weeks ago I finally bought the new router that we have needed for months. If I checked the date on my first email about routers to Paul, my brother-in-law and tech expert, it was probably last summer. Ours had been working intermittently and recently we had to reset it a couple times a day, so time for a new one.
After significant research I settled on the MyNet N900 from WD. It got good reviews, met my criteria and Best Buy was offering a gift card with the purchase. Previously I had been pretty loyal to Linksys/Cisco, but I was in favor of trying a new brand since our current router was failing less than three years after purchase.
The MyNet N900 is dual band N series router. Dual band means that it transmits on two frequencies — 2.4 GHz, which lots of wireless devices use, and 5 GHz, which only newer wireless devices use. The 5 GHz band is less crowded, so it can be faster to use if your device is capable. N series refers to the Wi-Fi standard. There is a new Wi-Fi standard of AC that is now available, which is supposed to be significantly faster than N. However there are very few devices on the market that are equipped to use AC and most experts are saying that we are at least a year away from mainstream device availability.
My criteria, in order of importance, for choosing a new router were:
1. Speed – I wanted the fastest N series router technology available, which is N900. I ruled out an AC router, because our new technology purchases are going to be this year and the likelihood of them using AC technology was small. Therefore I didn’t feel it warranted spending the extra money on an AC router at this time.
2. Dual band – most N series routers have dual band, but not all so make sure you confirm this.
3. Reviews – I always look at reviews to see how the routers test in the real world. I usually use CNET and PCmag, and sometimes Gizmodo. They have standardized testing procedures and help me narrow down my choices.
4. Price – Usually routers in a certain class are around the same price, but I take it into consideration.
5. Looks – When all other things are equal I will use form factor to break the tie.
So far the router is working well. However one thing to note is that I was surprised that a few of my devices do not utilize the 5 GHz band. At first I actually thought that the router wasn’t working correctly, but discovered that my little HP laptop, the old range extender and the Xbox don’t use the 5 GHz band.
I also added a WD MyNet Range Extender to our network to help amplify the 5 GHz signal in our family room. It helps keep our signal strong throughout the rest of the house. Hopefully this new set-up will keep our house happy and with a strong wireless signal.