What router do you re­ally need?

Mac Format - - WIFI SECRETS -

Most In­ter­net Ser­vice Providers (ISPs) will give you a mo­dem-router to get you on­line when you sign up, and many to these come with Wi-Fi built in, mak­ing it easy for you to get on­line or shut­tle files around your home with­out plug­ging in.

The prob­lem, some­times, is that some of these free mo­dem-routers of­fer only ba­sic func­tion­al­ity and may not al­ways work hap­pily with your Mac. So, fea­tures such as Back To My Mac may not work as ex­pected, for ex­am­ple, and the Wi‑Fi net­work that’s broad­cast may not sup­port the faster 802.11ac pro­to­col that the lat­est Macs and iOS de­vices are ca­pa­ble of us­ing.

Tune in to bet­ter Wi-Fi

The an­ten­nas in 802.11ac routers, such as the Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 (£150, amzn.to/1OYw4tN) sup­port beam­form­ing, which en­ables your router to ac­tively di­rect Wi-Fi sig­nals to­wards your con­nected 802.11ac de­vice, mak­ing a re­li­able and ro­bust con­nec­tion more likely.

The lat­est Air­Port Ex­treme is a great ex­am­ple of this. It con­tains three in­ter­nal an­ten­nas for broad­cast­ing its net­work in the 2.4GHz band and an­other three for si­mul­ta­ne­ously broad­cast­ing in the 5GHz band, help­ing your de­vices to latch on to the best one. Most third-party routers use ex­ter­nal an­ten­nae for the same job.

Also con­sider how many peo­ple in your home or of­fice ac­tu­ally need Wi-Fi ac­cess, and whether you want to be able to share other de­vices; Air­Port Ex­treme’s USB port lets you can share a printer or stor­age, too.

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