Affinity Consulting Blog

Few tech devices are more essential to the smooth functioning of your law firm (or your home) than your broadband router. But most of us pay insufficient attention to router performance or settle to the generally crappy performance of the combination modem/router device supplied by (and often rented from) our Internet Service Provider, typically the local cable TV or telephone company. You can do better.

Many of us purchased a Linksys (aka Cisco), Netgear, D-Link, Belkin, or other major-brand router several years ago, installed it (or had someone install it for us), and then forgot about it. That is usually a mistake. First, router technology evolves over time. Todays routers are many times faster than those of just a few years ago. Also, there are performance and security patches released on a semi-regular basis for most popular routers. And routers, many of which are stuffed into server closets or crammed onto crowded shelves, generate heat and, without proper cooling, can underperform or even fail after a few years. A sizeable percentage of small law office and home computer users suffer Internet slowdowns and network connectivity issues because their old router is wearing out or is simply obsolete.

Fortunately, a new top-performing Wi-Fi router is inexpensive, so long as you look beyond the better-known brands. The Wirecutter web site, a great source for tech product recommendations, picks the lesser-known TP-Link TL-WDR3600 as the best cheap router. It has great performance that is currently selling for just $50 at Amazon. If you can spend a bit more and want near state of the art performance, The Wirecutter recommends another TP-Link model, the Archer C7, which sells for $90 on Amazon. The Archer C7 is the router I use to handle the Internet connection for my virtual appellate practice where Internet connectively is essential to everything I do.

The Wirecutter recommends you buy a new router if your existing router was is more than a few years old or if you are using an ISP-provided router or router/modem combination model. You still need a modem, but fortunately you or your ISP (if you ask them nicely) can put your combination unit into "bridge mode" so you are using only its model featuers while your speedy new router routes the Internet to all of your wired and wireless devices.

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