Many new businesses make the mistake of assuming that a home router will do as well or a larger office. However, home routers won’t work for a business that requires networking multiple computers around a single connection, and also won’t provide the same levels of security and administrative control, as well as remote access, that can be achieved by switching up to a more advanced business router. A router effectively works as a way of networking computers, and breaks down data packets across various wireless and wired devices, as well as assigning IP addresses, and managing security encryption levels. The differences between standard home routers and more advanced types can, however, be quite significant.
Why Home Routers Won’t Work for a Business
Home routers are getting more and more powerful as users connect computers, tablets, and phones to them, but can’t compare in many ways to business specific routers. A standard home router is now run on an 802.11n standard for high speed broadband, and also comes with firewalls, encryption, and the ability to efficiently forward and manage packets of data between a set of computers and Internet enabled devices. Most homes will only need a router that can handle a 2.4 GHz band, and will not require more than a single band to create a strong enough signal to handle different devices’ demands. Encryption for a router that controls the settings for a Local Area Network in a home is typically configured around WPA2.
However, what works well for a home with a few computers and devices will not be as effective for a large office. Businesses with multiple computers will need to be able to switch and manage high speed traffic, and will typically require a dual band router that can negotiate 2.4 GHz and 5 GhZ bands for a significant volume of Internet traffic. The use of a dual band router also means that a network is less likely to receive interference. Business routers also tend to include a grater capacity for a Wide Area Network (WAN), and the ability to handle multiple IP addresses.
A business router needs to be able to provide various administrative levels that can assume that important computers and devices within an office do not suffer from disconnection and slowdown problems. Routers that are set up for businesses also typically feature more SD card slots, and USB connections that allow for multiple printers to be networked through the router. Most business routers also now provide for remote access, and links to 3G and 4G mobile networks.
Perhaps the most important reason that a business specific, and more expensive, router is preferable to a home router is that they provide much more comprehensive security. A business router runs multiple SSIDs, and unified threat management protocols that can protect a network from viruses and malware. These routers also use Point to Point Tunnelling Protocols, and provide options for private virtual networks to be established within a LAN. New business routers are also configured to handle the latest Internet Protocols (Version 6), and are able to handle far more IP addresses simultaneously than a conventional router.
Previously self training for a technical support placement, Matt Mynors is a freelance copywriter currently writing for leading UK based support agency Computrad Europe, providing industry leading technical support for business and professional IT managed services.