Although most desktop computers offer a hard-wired Ethernet network connection, the location you chose for your computer may not lend itself to running a cable there. The wireless modem and router you choose determines the range, future compatibility and security of your network connection. Also known as gateways, these combination devices enable you to place your networked devices anywhere in your home or office.
Look for wireless routers that support Internet protocol version 6, as opposed to IPv4. As the Internet runs out of available IPv4 addresses, it's important to use a modem that handles the new standard as it evolves.
Find a new modem supporting the data over cable services interface specification version 3.0. DOCSIS 3.0, an emerging standard as of October 2012, supports higher speeds and throughput for cable Internet.
Examine the router's network security specifications. Basic routers and modems offer wired equivalent protection. WEP is functional, but easily cracked. WPA and WPA2 security are far more difficult to exploit, even for a skilled network hijacker.
Find a DSL modem that supports your service type. DSL services come in ADSL, HDSL, ISDN, SDSL or VDSL flavors. Most home users purchase ADSL service, which provides a faster download speed compared to its upload speed.
Select a Wireless-N gateway. Dual-mode units operating in the 2.4- and 5-gigahertz range support backwards compatibility with older 2.4 GHz hardware, while taking advantage of the faster speed and range of the 5 GHz band. Wireless-N modem/router combos offer compatibility with Wireless-B and Wireless-G protocols, but still offer superior overall speed and range.
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