Wireless broadband router on a table

What is a wireless router?

A wireless router connects to a modem and transmits WiFi signal throughout your home so you can use the internet wirelessly, without connecting your devices directly to the modem.

Why go wireless?

Nowadays, there’s very little reason not to go wireless with your broadband. Because you don’t need to connect to broadband via a cable or wire, it’s particularly good for:

  • Large families, who have multiple broadband users and devices that need to be connected to the internet at any one time - from games consoles, to phones and tablets.
  • Students, who live in shared accommodation. Like large family groups, any household with multiple internet users will benefit from wireless broadband.

The one downside of wireless broadband is that you’re likely to receive lower speeds than you would if you connected directly to the modem - however, with most households having many devices that need to connect to the internet at once, connecting directly is often no longer practical.

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How do wireless routers work?

Wireless routers convert your incoming broadband signal and transmit it throughout your home - this signal is then picked up by any wireless-enabled devices within your home, which means they can connect to the broadband wirelessly.

What are the best wireless broadband deals? Will I get a free wireless router?

The vast majority of broadband plans nowadays could be classified as ‘wireless broadband’ deals. All this really means is that your broadband provider will provide you with a wireless router, so you’ll get WiFi signal throughout the home.

Many providers - such as Vodafone - will offer you equipment, delivery and installation free of charge, however some will require you to pay for the equipment, installation, or both.

You should carefully compare all wireless deals, and make sure to think about the monthly price (both including and after any initial discount), contract length, broadband speed and installation/equipment costs carefully before signing up.

What are the best wireless routers?

Recently, broadband providers have started investing more and more into their equipment - like modems and routers - to improve customers’ WiFi experiences. Some of the newest, and highest-performing, routers include:

  • The Virgin Media hub, which has performed better than any other provider’s router in independent testing.
  • The Sky Q Hub, which delivers speeds up to 3 times faster speeds than the previous generation of routers and allows you to connect up to 64 devices at once.
  • The Vodafone Fibre Broadband modem (with inbuilt router), which works with Vodafone’s fibre broadband services.
  • eir’s F2000 modem, which broadcasts its WiFi network on two WiFi frequencies, so you can see which one suits each device best.

What’s the best place to put my wireless router?

If possible, you should put your router into the room where you use the internet the most. It’s important to make sure it’s not surrounded by anything that may block the signal, and you should also keep it away from devices that could interfere with it - like microwaves, baby monitors or cordless phones.

I have a good router, but my WiFi is really slow - what can I do?

If your router is set up as outlined above - and nothing is blocking the signal - there are a couple of things you can do to improve the signal:

  • Reboot your modem - by unplugging it, leaving it for 30 seconds and plugging it back in. This will automatically select the most appropriate channel for you and can improve your speeds.
  • Use a WiFi extender - to boost the signal to hard-to-reach areas. These are available from stores like PC World, as well as online, and start from around €24.95.
  • Disconnect devices one by one. If you have a large number of devices connected to the WiFi, it may be that one of these is causing an issue. If you disconnect all of your devices one by one, you’ll be able to see if there’s a particular one that’s causing you a problem.

How do I secure my WiFi router and signal?

When your broadband provider sets up your wireless router, they’ll let you know your network name and password - this can also usually be found on the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to secure your network is to regularly change your password - and make sure you use one that’s robust. It’s also recommended that you change your network name from the generic one to something more personalised.

If you want to be even more secure, you can activate encryption on your router - your provider’s website will usually have information on how to do this, or you could call them directly to talk through it.

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