In computing, the name of the game is speed. Internet speed and network speed are areas of particular concern. The router is the main component that affects Internet and network performance and most people opt for the convenience of a wireless network. Therefore, everyone wants to know what the fastest wireless router is.
What are the Limitations?
Most people want the best router speed that they can get so they can get the fastest Internet downloads and uploads. Internet download speeds are much higher than upload speeds. Linksys has indicated that the highest download speeds that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) offer is less than transfer rate provided by some of the slowest routers.
Routers are manufactured according to 802.11 protocols which specify how the data is to be handled and what frequency (something like a TV channel) it should transmit at. The following table indicates the frequencies and the transfer speeds of the commonly used protocols.
Even the slowest one here, b, has an 11 Mbps transfer rate which is higher than the maximum internet speed that most ISPs provide. Verizon Fios is the fastest Internet service and its pricey highest level provides 50 mbps which 3 of the 4 standard protocols beat.
The bottom line is that paying extra for a super fast wireless router for downloading movies or the like won’t buy you any speed improvement for a single computer.
The Uses of Router Speed
If you have a number of people playing high intensity games or you routinely copy huge files between different computers on the network, the speed will help you.
However, VRBones of vrbones.blogspot.com states that latency (transmission start up time) is also an issue. He says that wireless adds a delay to your network traffic as it needs to encode to analog (radio frequency) and then decode back to network packets. Wifi hotspots can add as much as 100ms to latency, which will make FPS (first person shooter) games feel like playing over a modem. Most will add at least 10ms although a perfect environment can reduce it to approximately 1ms.
Added to that it is MUCH more likely that you will have dropped packets over wireless. If you are playing a game that is using TCP rather than UDP for packet delivery you will regularly see the game freeze as it waits for a lost packet (up to 2 seconds). This once again can ruin your timing and overall game play. You will need a very strong signal to combat packet loss which can be achieved through reducing the distance to the hub, having direct line of sight to the hub, or boosting the signal.
Getting solid equipment will help in both the latency from transferring to Wifi as well as the signal strength, but it you are serious about gaming (especially FPS gaming), avoid wireless altogether. A wired connection is also cheaper though more inconvenient to set up.
The Fastest Wireless Routers
The actual fastest wireless router in the world at this time is an experimental model developed in a University in Pisa, Italy. It transmits data at an awesome 1.2Tbps over a short distance. It is based on blinking laser optical technology which means it requires line of sight so no physical object can come between the transmitter and receiver line of sight. It’s not really a practical solution any time soon. If you want to find out more about it, Engadget discusses it.
It is top rated by Consumer Search . It also received a favorable review from Geek with a Laptop
Cnet also reviewed it . Their main knock on it was that it was made according to the unfinished 802.11 N spec. However, all the better routers today are designed according to this spec so this is not really an issue.
Another interesting router is the Sitecom WL-308 Wireless 300N XR Gigabit Gaming Router which touts 300 mbps speed.
In order to support this speed, you would need a Gigabit capable network. Even wired home networks max out at 100 mbps and don’t generally reach 1,000 mbps. I haven’t been able to find a wireless adapter that will accept over 100 mbps so the only way this router could be used would be split up its bandwidth among multiple computers.
The Sitecom site has details of the innovative technology
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Computer Speed Enhancement
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