- 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?
ADSL2 and/or ADSL2+ support
The newer, faster ADSL standard offering up to 24Mbps download speed and 1024Kbps upload. Older devices do not offer ADSL2+ support but most new devices do. Nonetheless, you should check to see if the device you are considering supports this standard should you require it.
A good antenna can help you get better coverage from a standard wireless router. Some devices support antenna upgrades in case you need to expand later.
Routers with both bridge and half-bridge modes can be used either as single-user modems or for Internet connection sharing, providing extra versatility when it comes to your configuration options.
This is a firewall feature that prevents malicious Web sites from storing tracking information on your computer(s) while Web browsing.
Quality of Service or QoS is a feature that allows the prioritisation of certain types of data. This is particularly useful for real time operations such as video playback and Voice over IP (VoIP) where an uninterrupted stream is important.
A DHCP server is used by a router to automatically configure the IP addresses of local network computers. All routers should have a built-in DHCP server, but you can optionally configure IP addresses manually if you prefer.
Dynamic DNS is a feature built into some routers that allows you to use a static Internet sub-domain name (eg: myPC.dyndns.org) even if you don't have a static IP address. This requires the use of a third-party service to work. Although it is a nice feature, the same thing can be achieved using software on any PC without the need for a DDNS compatible router.
A throwback to the days when the military sites formed a significant portion of the Internet, a De-Militarised Zone was a computer or sub-network that was not protected by firewalls and other security measures. In modern day routers, a DMZ simply refers to one or more IP addresses that can be configured to appear "live" on the Internet without going through the firewall.
A Denial of Service attack is when a computer or network is bombarded with requests, usually from hundreds or thousands of different locations. DoS protection is a firewall function that detects such attacks and prevents them from overloading the computer(s) attached to the router.