The most efficient workplaces are ones in which resources are shared by multiple employees or workstations.
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But finding ways to efficiently and inexpensively provide access to multiple users can be challenging, especially when you consider all the functions that today's business users require.
Wireless routers continue to be an effective tool for providing Internet access to multiple computer users. Instead of requiring each user to connect to the Internet independently, these devices connect LANs and create a network in which users can share a single access point.
If you're new to routers, it's important to have a basic understanding of the technology before you start shopping for a router solution. Router technology has undergone several stages of development throughout its relatively short lifespan and if you don't know what to look for you could easily select a router that is ill-suited to your business.
Router Technology Overview
Router technology is a component of either DSL or cable Internet connections. The first generation of solutions (rolled out in 1999) included 802.11a and 802.11b technology. The 802.11a line broadcast at the 56Ghz frequency and had a 54 Mbps speed; the 802.11b line broadcast at 2.4Ghz with 11Mbps speed. The industry later settled on 802.11g technology that broadcasts at 2.4Ghz with 54Mbps connectivity. The latest line of routers features 802.11n or Wireless-N technology that supports higher speeds of 150 – 3000 Mbps.
Router Vendors & Products
- Belkin N+. Belkin's N+ router is considered by many to be the ultimate in router technology because it not only features Wireless-N technology, but also a USB port on the back of the device. The USB port lets users share content and files from the USB drive with the computers on the network.
- D-Link DIR-601. This D-Link router features easy setup and works well with existing Wireless-G devices, even though the device itself uses Wireless-N technology. It employs active dual firewalls to protect your network and supports both WPA and WPA2 security.
- NETGEAR. NETGEAR'S RangeMax Dual-Band DSL modem is one of many products that combines a DSL or cable modem with router technology. Data transfer speeds from the modem are up to 300 Mbps and the router features Wireless-N technology, making it a convenient two-in-one solution for small business use.