- Fast connections are worth sharing
- Routing is the core of your shared network
- Dedicated devices - the alternatives
- What are the individual functions that make up the device?
- Buying a modem/router/switch
- Buying a device with an Ethernet switch
- Buying a device with wireless networking
- What about security?
- DIY vs ISP?
- Summary of features
- USB or Ethernet?
This is a blanket term for URL blocking, cookie blocking and other content filters that prevent undesirable content from being downloaded through the router's firewall.
Print server inbuilt
Some routers include a 25-pin parallel port interface designed to connect a printer so that it can be shared with multiple computers. A printer does not need to be USB compatible to use this kind of printer server.
Scheduling by time/day of week
Some routers allow you to schedule various features such as bandwidth limiting and content filtering to certain times of the day or week.
USB print server
Some routers include a USB interface designed to connect a printer (or webcam) so that it can be shared with multiple computers.
A firewall feature which can be used to stop malicious or inappropriate Web sites from being accessed while browsing the Web.
Universal Plug and Play is a protocol developed by Microsoft to allow networked devices to automatically identify and configure themselves. If a router is UPnP compliant, it means that software on your computer(s) can dynamically configure the router to work in their preferred manner. Very few applications actually support this feature, with Windows Messenger and Remote Desktop Connection being two notable examples.
VPN pass through
A router with VPN pass through will let you use the Internet to connect to a VPN server on your network.
Embedded VPN servers
If a router includes an integrated VPN server, you can connect to your network from the Internet without having to run any VPN software on your network.
WEP 64/128/256-bit (wireless security)
WEP is an outmoded wireless encryption standard that should only be used if WPA-PSK is not available on all your wireless equipment.
WPA (wireless security)
A much more reliable encryption standard, WPA can only be used with an authentication server. In most home and small office networks, WPA-PSK is used instead.
WPA-PSK (wireless security)
WPA-PSK stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access with a Pre Shared Key. By using a known password, all wireless devices can make use of the WPA encryption without the need for an authentication server.
Wireless access point
A wireless access point (WAP) is a device that connects a wireless network to a wired one. Some routers have a built-in WAP, making it possible to share an Internet connection with wired and wireless computers simultaneously.