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Health, Beauty & Fashion

Get connected

Those who travel frequently can look to pocket routers to create their own wireless hot spots in, say, hotel rooms.
The Straits Times - August 31, 2011
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Get connected

WI-FI ROUTERS

At the heart of the network is the wireless router. The older 802.11g standard has disappeared from the marketplace but the good news is that current 802.11n routers still work with older Wi-Fi devices.

Prices for the most basic routers, such as the D-Link DIR-600, are in the low range of tens of dollars. They work on a theoretical 150Mbps wireless speed, though real-life performance will typically be half or less. Still, it is enough for surfing the Net and checking e-mail, for now.

More expensive 300Mbps models offer better speeds, as with those with Gigabit LAN ports supporting ultra-fast wired connectivity. These are useful for high-bandwidth applications such as high-definition video-streaming and moving large files.

Look for bundles that include a wireless adapter with a router, should you want to add wireless N capabilities to your computer to fully utilise the speed upgrade.

High-end models add more functionality such as the sharing of USB printers and storage devices, plus BitTorrent and FTP capabilities.

They offer more advanced Quality of Service (QoS) to manage the network data, allowing simultaneous file downloads and Skype chats without affecting call quality. They also offer dual-band support, which means it provides an additional 5GHz band that is less crowded than the standard 2.4GHz.

Adding to the variety are routers into which 3G dongles can be plugged to share mobile data or as a fallback to fixed broadband. Those who travel frequently can look to pocket routers to create their own wireless hot spots in, say, hotel rooms.

POWERLINE NETWORK ADAPTERS

If you have wireless blind spots woes, try using powerline network adapters. These let you use your home's existing electrical circuits to carry network data - just plug the adapters into wall sockets. Look for starter kits which come with a pair of adapters.

Models such as the D-Link DHP-W306AV and Prolink PPL1202N can also act as Wi-Fi extenders, effectively giving you the benefits of powerline and wireless connectivity. Powerline network offers speeds up to 200Mbps compared with the 1000Mbps of Gigabit ethernet, but you will not miss the hassle of laying metres of LAN cables.

WIRELESS IP CAMERAS

Want to check on your kid's activities or your staff productivity remotely? Even basic wireless Internet protocol cameras such as the Aztech WIPC302 can stream video to your smartphone. Advanced models support pan and tilt for wider coverage, and microSD or network storage. Top-of-the-line cameras provide clearer images with powerful optical zoom and autofocus.

NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE (NAS)

A NAS device lets you store, share, stream and even remotely access your data on and from a central location. Those with USB ports can share printers and additional USB storage such as flash drives.

Single-disk models include the WD My Book Live NAS and Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Home. For expandability, consider devices such as the D-Link DNS-320 and the Buffalo LinkStation Duo, which come with two hard disk bays. They can be configured to operate like a single large disk or to mirror each other's data for backup purposes.

Mike Lee is a freelance writer

 

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