Wireless routers allow flexibility and freedom for many internet users. With Wi-Fi, a person can sit at a coffee shop and start surfing the web as if they were connected to a phone jack or cable at home. Even today, some towns are going completely wireless so that anyone within the vicinity can access the net for free.
But with all the advantages that wireless routers provide there are things we should be mindful of when we decide to plug in the router. Wireless routers are not necessarily without their flaws. Here are few things to keep in mind.
If a person were to connect directly to the internet with a cable and compare that with the same connection, but with a wireless router, there would be a noticeable difference. The wireless connection will be slightly slower than the direct connection. The reason is simple; a Wi-Fi transmits through the air and there’s some degradation with this medium. It’s like comparing television reception between cable and antennas. Cable is obviously faster.
Possibly a huge concern with wireless routers and Wi-Fi is the encryption protocols. In some public Wi-Fi places (such as a local café), the transmission is encryption free. This means that all of your private data stored in your laptop or PDA will be exposed to anyone in the same vicinity. It’s possible that an unscrupulous person could obtain passwords and important personal information.
An older protocol for wireless routers is the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). Although it does have a level of encryption, the encryption can be easily compromised. The problem has caused a number of wireless router owners to upgrade to WPA and WPA2 encryption protocols.
With the increasing Wi-Fi hotspots in the neighborhood, Wi-Fi pollution is becoming more apparent. Sometimes stores or organizations will broadcast over the same channel, causing interference and lack of access points. Cities are just noticing this problem as more users are jumping into the wireless realm.
Other devices and equipment can also contribute to the pollution. Studies have shown that Bluetooth devices, cordless phones and microwave ovens all contribute to interference of public wireless transmissions. This is a known problem in high-density areas such as cities with many access points.
Wireless routers do not have a limitless range. As such, the broadcasting radius could be limited to just a 150 to 300 ft. If you want to improve the range, you’d have to purchase Wi-Fi antennas.
The wireless Wi-Fi realm is different to other mediums such as Bluetooth. The power consumption is much greater for devices using Wi-Fi through a wireless router or access point. People who use PDAs or laptops will burn through battery power.
Another problem is that for countries all over the world, you’ll find differing spectrum assignments. The lack of consistency has caused problems for internet users traveling from country to country. In some instances, governments may prohibit use of certain channels or require special authorization.
There are many disadvantages of wireless routers and Wi-Fi, but the disadvantages should not necessarily stop a person to use the service. Consider the pros and cons of the wireless realm first before jumping into the world wide web.