It’s true. You’ve probably never seen a router like this one because it doesn’t exist. But how else could I interest you in a little Computer Routers 101 without an enticing picture to draw you in?
If you happen to work in IT or you’re married to someone who works in IT or you played someone on TV that works in IT or you’re just very tech savvy or very good with Google, you can probably skip most of this post and jump to the info about the new Linksys router. But if none of those things describe you, stay tuned for a brief introduction to your router and why it matters.
Let’s assume you’re my 9 year old son. He understands “internet” like nobody’s business. But he doesn’t quite understand how he accesses the internet. He often wants to use my iPhone instead of his iPod because mine has wifi. While true, he really means that I have a data plan that allows me to access things like the internet without a wifi connection.
So let’s pretend you understand but not fully. Here’s what you need to know.
Accessing the Internet
You have an internet service provider. It used to be something like AOL and we used a modem to “dial-up” the internet.
These days we usually access the internet through a modem that’s connected to either a cable or satellite provider. If you’re lucky, you get to choose (and pay for) your desired amount of bandwidth.
Just check your emails at home? Probably don’t need much. But things like streaming Netflix, playing Xbox Live, or uploading and downloading videos can eat up your bandwidth. And with my husband and I both working from home, you better believe we buy as much bandwidth as we can.
Distributing the Internet
Once the internet comes into your house, you have to figure out how to get the internet to the devices that need it. In the old days, that meant that you ran a cable from the modem to your wired router and a cables from your wired router to your desired devices. Yay for hardwired network connection!
These days, we have wireless routers. Praise Jesus for wireless routers.
The router plugs into the modem and creates both a wired and wireless network for your household. Wifi! YES!
If you have any sort of modern device, I can probably stop with the detailed explanation here. You know what wifi is all about. What you probably don’t know is that all routers are NOT created equal.
The Router Stuff
Most routers these days are considered SU-MIMO, which is a fancy abbreviation for single user, multiple input-multiple output.
Looking for an English translation?
That means that you have the ability to make one connection with your router and that connection is shared among all your connected devices. This type of router, probably yours, can only talk to one device at a time. You probably never noticed because it can talk so fast to these devices that no one ever feels left out.
HOWEVER… because you knew there was a however, if you have some heavy parallel usage in your house, like PC gaming or streaming, or you just use a lot of bandwidth, you might start to have some slowdowns even if you have a ton of bandwidth. Because sometimes, when your router is talking to a device, that device never shuts up and hogs the conversation.
Well, there’s a new router in town. I’ve just installed the new Linksys router available at Best Buy (Linksys WRT3200ACM Wi-Fi Router). And this router is considered MU-MIMO.
Want to take a guess what that means? It means that it can handle multiple user, multiple input-multiple output. Back in my technology days, we would equate this to parallel processing. That means that instead of a single connection, you now have 2 to 4 times the amount of connections.
While this doesn’t change the amount of bandwidth you have, it changes how efficiently it’s used and delivered to your devices.
In the case of the WRT3200ACM MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi Router, using Tri-Stream 160 technology, you’ll find double the bandwidth on all streams making it the fastest dual-band router on the market.
The WRT3200ACM also boasts:
- 1.8 GHz CPU for high-powered performance
- MU-MIMO technology for high-speed Wi-Fi to multiple devices at the same time, same speed
- Upgraded Smart Wi-Fi app to manage and monitor your home Wi-Fi from a mobile device, anytime, anywhere
- 256MB Flash and 512MB of RAM Memory
- 4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
Better, Faster Internet
Let’s face it. All you really care about is better, faster internet. When it’s slow (like it was for me last week), I had to do my own troubleshooting. I ran a speed test. I checked to see if my internet provider was down again. Then I tried switching from one of our household wifi connections to another and BINGO. I was back in business.
Guess what the issue was? The router for our main network has been, for lack of a better term, flaky. So now is the perfect time to upgrade and replace. And with this having the newest technology on the market, I expect it to keep us consuming for many years to come.
If you haven’t updated your router in a while and you’re looking to upgrade, check out the Linksys WRT3200ACM MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi Router at Best Buy.
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
Do you notice a significant improvement?
The speed test shows a significant improvement. The main thing is to make sure you have something that’s pretty new. Most people don’t realize that older routers aren’t compatible with newer technology. In this case, we’re pretty heavy users of the internet with all of us taxing the bandwidth at the same time. You probably don’t need something this heavy duty unless you’re going to start online gaming anytime soon. If so, just talk to Evan about that 😉