Routers are valuable pieces of equipment for anyone with high-speed internet. A router not only allows you to share your connection, but it also acts as a firewall, protecting your network and your PCs from attacks from hackers.
OrderVoIP Recommended Routers
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We receive numerous questions from our visitors regarding routers. For your convenience and information, we've put together a list of routers that we recommend (see below), as well as links to purchase them direct. Most VoIP services are compatible with the routers listed below. All you need to decide is which specific features you want your router to have. Read on for some of the most popular options.
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Broadband. This simply means "high-speed" and all routers are high-speed routers. Old-fashioned 56k dial-up service, by contrast, is not broadband.
Wireless. Wireless networking is becoming one of the most popular new technologies, and it's easy to implement. Laptop computers with wireless cards or built-in wireless (sometimes called Centrino) can connect to a wireless router without cords. You can surf the internet wirelessly. Wireless comes in two major versions: 802.11b and 802.11g. "g" is faster than "b" ("g" is 54 or 108 megabits per second, and "b" is 11 megabits per second) and is becoming more common, but may be more expensive. "g" routers are also backwards-compatible with "b" hardware, so you may want to spend the extra dollars for a "g" if you feel you will benefit in the future. Keep in mind, though, that even the very fastest internet connections are slower than the "b" speed (most cable modems offer speeds of less than 5 megabits per second), so you probably won't notice any difference in speed by going with "g" technology, at least not in the near future.
A few non-wireless routers are suggested below, and are slightly less expensive than the wireless-enabled ones. If you're certain you're not going to need wireless capabilities in the future, then these may be a good bet, but the price jump for a wireless router is small, so it generally makes sense to purchase one. That way, you'll have wireless if and when you ever need it.
Multiple ports. Most routers include four ports, or plugs, into which you can connect up to four computers or network devices. Your VoIP adapter will count as one network device. So, for example, you could connect your VoIP adapter and three PCs to a four-port router. This is in addition to any wireless computers that connect wirelessly to the router -- those do not use ports. Most routers will allow more than 200 wireless computers to connect to them.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) capability. This is a relatively new technology that allows you to establish a highly-secure connection between two locations using the internet. Normally, two VPN routers are used (one at each location), and they automatically encrypt, or "scramble", the information traveling between them, so that it can't be intercepted by nosy individuals in-between. This option is not common for the home user and is quite difficult to set up.