Product of the week: The Broadband Router

Draytek Vigor 2860 Router


More and more pieces of equipment these days come with a network connection, and are either able to be controlled via a network, or rely on one in one way or another. We take it for granted that we can just plug it into our freebie BT Home Hub, or Sky router and all will be well, however anything beyond a simple internet connection may well be a challenge for the standard free router.

If you have a lot of products on the network, and these talk to each other, it is easy to get to the stage where the router is severely limiting the performance of the equipment on the network. I was told, it’s like putting mini wheels onto your Bentley. – whilst in theory it might work, with a light load, things will go horribly wrong if you try to go around sharp bends or over bumps.

A high quality router, apart from being more reliable, will keep control of everything on your network, making sure it all works smoothly, however is able to offer a range of other facilities too:

 How Broad is your Broadband?

Draytek Vigor 2860 RouterThings on the Internet are slowing down… With more and more people using high bandwidth streaming services like Netflix etc., we’re finding that many broadband links are somewhat less than advertised. The broadband connection you have to the exchange goes into a multiplexer, that aggregates the internet traffic with a number of other broadband subscribers, before connecting to the internet. This is why the service providers advertise Up-To speeds rather than a fixed connection speed. At HiFi Cinema, we have Superfast Fibre Broadband – in reality the fibre goes to a cabinet on the side of the road a few hundred metres away, and we have a regular ADSL service with “up to” 20Mb/s connection – it actually measures as about 10Mb/s.

Compare this to a 4G dongle connection speed of 80Mb/s…

If you need faster broadband then Wireless is becoming a real and viable option, however there are other ways to boost your connection speed including optimising the wiring to your house, making sure your router is using the latest and fastest technology, and ultimately using multiple lines, which can share the load.

Wireless / Fall Back Connection

High quality routers can have a number of Internet connection ports, including facilities for 3G / 4G wireless connection – which in areas of good coverage can be faster than the connection over a phone line. They frequently have the ability to balance the internet traffic over a number of connections if required, and can prioritise these according to their bandwidth available. The benefit of a number of connection possibilities is that if one fails you can still have access to the internet e.g. via wireless.

Virtual Private network

Ever got to the office, and wanted to get a file off a home computer or NAS drive? – we can create a VPN connection in your router, so it is simple to log into your router, and for it to appear as though you are connected directly to your home network from wherever you are. Access is protected and encrypted, so you’re not sharing your home computer / photos with just anyone.

This can work in the opposite direction too, so with the appropriate router in your office, you can connect from your home computer.

We also use these VPN connections to support our networks and network connected equipment remotely. It means we are able to remotely diagnose and fix many network related problems.

Quality WiFi

Ruckus R300 Wireless Access Point WiFi is fast becoming a ubiquitous connection technology, however there is WiFi and WiFi. A strong signal doesn’t necessarily mean that the connection will be fast and reliable. The WiFi technology is designed to work with other radio signals as it is a shared band, however other signals including WiFi repeaters may slow the connection speed down significantly.

A planned and carefully implemented WiFi system, can reap dramatic benefits in terms of speed and reliability of connection.

If you have network problems, come and talk to us, it could be there is a simple solution, with selection of settings, or maybe a more capable router or WiFi system is needed.

In this market you definitely get what you pay for. A good quality WiFi router like the Luxul XWR-1750 or Draytek Vigor 2860 is going to cost a few hundred pounds. The best policy, however is to plan your home network, and make sure that each part of it is capable enough for the traffic and facilities you need. See our Networking page for some more details on Home Networks. Whatever your route, it’s worth getting advice to make sure you get the correct equipment for what you are trying to achieve.