Choice of Type

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Revision as of 14:22, 1 September 2013 by Rpeters (talk | contribs) (separated into sections for general users, the more technical & geeks)

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The primary purpose of routing is to share one Internet connection between multiple devices (computer/laptop/tablet)

For General Users

Categories of Internet Connection

Virtually no commercial router is capable of handling all four common types of Internet connection:

  • Broadband via Cable or NBN
    • technically HFC, FTTN, FTTH/P (NBN)
    • TransACT's "cable"/Phase 1/VDSL(n)/NBN is in this category
  • Broadband via ADSL
    • also called "ULL" by some suppliers
  • "Mobile" Broadband via USB modem (2G/3G/4G)
  • Dial-up via phone line

If an ISP offers a "router" for their service then it is probably of the applicable type. Otherwise a user would need to choose carefully from the following types of "routers", depending on the type of Internet connection being used

  • for an ADSL service use an ADSL combined modem/router
  • for a mobile broadband service use any device supporting this type of service
    • "pocket" mobile broadband router
    • an ADSL modem/router or broadband router that supports USB mobile broadband modem
  • for most other services use a broadband router

If the product description of a router does not make clear its applicability see "Getting Technical" below for some guidelines

Getting Technical

Characteristics of Router Types

ADSL Modem/Routers

  • always applicable to ADSL connections
  • some provide for alternate connection via USB modem as well
    • check features carefully some USB slots support only USB printer
  • few, if any, can be used with Cable/NBN
  • need to distinguish from ADSL modem (only) devices
    • were popular ~ 10 years ago
    • supported only one computer, in absence of additional router
  • WiFi LAN included in many models

Broadband Routers

  • might be described simply as "Router"
    • primarily for use with HFC, FTTN, NBN
  • many have USB port
    • need to check whether supports USB moblie broadband modem
    • might support only USB printer
  • technically could be used in conjunction with ADSL modem or ADSL modem/router
    • new, combined ADSL modem/router device generally a better solution
    • suitable choice only when ADSL device already owned in order to:
      • extend ADSL modem service to multiple computers
      • enhance security of older ADSL devices
  • WiFi LAN included in many models

Mobile Broadband Routers

  • usually physically small devices intended for moblie use with laptop/netbook/tablet
    • require mobile phone plan of some type
    • those having slot for SIM card should have inbuilt 2/3/4G wireless broadband modem
    • others require separate, plug-in USB wireless broadband modem
      • essential to check router manufacturer's web-site for compatible modem models
  • might not be a good choice for use only at fixed location (home/office)
  • almost invariably include WiFi LAN capabliity
  • may include "wired" LAN via Ethernet or USB connection
  • some powered by internal, rechargable battery
    • these models tend to have limited transmission range
    • usable only in medium/strong signal areas for moble phone reception
    • WiFi LAN may have limited range and/or ability to penetrate walls etc
  • need to stand vertically for best signal strength

Dial-up Routers

  • no longer commercially available
  • options/alternatives include
    • change to another type of ISP service
    • DIY router see: DIY

USB Wireless Broadband Modem

  • not a router
  • requires one of the above separate routers, if routing required


A wide range of devices are commercially available in each of the above categories. Suggested guidelines:

  • an ISP is likely to be better able to provide techical support for a device they sell
  • if relying on friends/relatives/acquaintances for technical assistance then choose a model with which they are familiar
  • if also relying on the router as primary firewall for a LAN, compare firewalling features


  • Routers are generally configured via a Web Browser
    • other, more technical routers are generally unsuited to home users
  • Reputable manufacturers have their User Guides available for download from their web-site
    • peruse manual prior to purchasing device
  • user interface via web browser varies widely
    • impractical to provide generic configuration guidelines
    • good quality manuals cover the physical connections and setup procedures well

Strictly for Geeks

--Rpeters 14:22, 1 September 2013 (EST)