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Five Key Router Features You Aren’t Using

There is a router in almost every home these days. And most of them are used for what they were designed to do in the first place: Internet access. But did you know that modern routers can do much more than that? Read on to discover some of the key router features that you should start to use today.


1. Guest access

If you invite guests in your home, you know that some of them will ask for your Wi-Fi password. They’re usually kids, who don’t have unlimited Internet data plans and are eager to check their social media accounts or play that fantastic online game they can’t separate themselves from.

If it’s happened to you before, you know those awkward silence moments that pass until you either decide to give them your Wi-Fi password, or politely decline their request. You don’t want to share your Wi-Fi password with some strangers, after all.

Fortunately, there’s a solution that will please both parties: give those kids guest access to your Wi-Fi network. Most routers have this option these days.


If you go this route, be sure to set up an easy to remember pass, but change it on a regular basis. Some routers will even offer scheduling abilities. You can also limit the Wi-Fi speed, if you want to keep most of it for your personal devices.


2. Parental control

Since we are speaking about kids, it’s always a good idea to activate your router’s parental control options. In fact, parental control can be used for many other purposes! You can block your employees’ access to Facebook, for example, if they aren’t supposed to access the world’s largest social network at work.


But don’t just rely on your router when it comes to parental control, though; be sure to double its efficiency by making use of a good software application as well.


3. Wi-Fi Power Control

Sometimes, for various reasons, you will want to lower the power of your Wi-Fi network. You don’t want your neighbors to spy on you, for example, and signal strength is good enough for your home.

Often times, the option that allows you to do that can be found in the router’s admin panel, but some manufacturers have even added a switch that sets “low”, “medium” and “high” signal strengths.

On the other hand, you should set your router’s Wi-Fi power to its maximum value if the signal is weak, of course. In fact, there are some simply ways of boosting Wi-Fi power – replacing the antennas with better ones, which can easily be connected to the router by making use of standard RP SMA extension cables, for example.



4. External storage

Many modern routers can double as shared storage devices as well. Simply plug in a flash drive or an external hard drive to your router, and then choose who and how can have access to its data.


Expensive routers can also be used as media servers, allowing you to control the way in which the media files, be them audio or video, are supposed to be delivered to the end users.

Some manufacturers have even bundled dedicated backup applications with their routers, making them the perfect backup solution – when coupled with a large external drive, of course.


5. Network Prioritization

As mentioned above, you can set lower access speeds for your guest network. But modern routers offer even more granular control, allowing you to specify which web-based applications are crucial for you or your business.


With network prioritization, you can control which devices and apps need fast Internet access. You could set full speeds for desktops by adding them to the “priority” lists, while setting smaller access speeds for tablets and smartphones, for example.


How to Pick the Best Smartphone

Who could imagine his or her life without a smartphone? I know I couldn’t! Our phones have gotten more and more features, so they have become a central part of our lives. I use my phone to browse the web, read email, check my social media accounts, play games, listen to music, take photos, record videos, and then share all these things with friends and family.

It’s not a surprise that fewer of us rely on laptops and computers for our daily online activities. This doesn’t mean that they’re dead, but their importance has significantly diminished. In fact, most people will pay a greater deal of attention when it comes to doing research with the goal of buying a new smartphone, in comparison with the effort they’re willing to invest when it comes to buying a new computer.

These are the key factors that you should take into account whenever you plan to purchase a new smartphone:


1. Budget

Everything should begin with your budget. If your budget is small, your options will be fewer, of course.


But even if that’s the case, you will still be able to find several Android-based phones that should tick most of your desired checkboxes.


2. Operating System

But let’s assume that you’ve got a decent budget for your new phone. Should you go with an Android device, or invest into an iOS-based phone? The Android OS dominates the world of smartphones right now, and it looks like things won’t change in the near future. In addition to this, the smartphones that utilize it are cheaper and offer more features. Not only that, but the Android OS is also open source, which means that it’s incredibly easy to customize.

What about iPhones, then? Why would you ever want to pick one if Android is so much better? Well, there are a few good reasons why some of you may want to invest into an iPhone. First of all, it’s a closed OS. I know, it looks like I’m contradicting myself now, but a closed OS has its advantages as well. In fact, the main advantage of iOS is its hardened security. iPhones are more secure in comparison with Android phones.


Then, the iOS apps are more polished. Their user interfaces are nicer and often times they offer advanced functions, which aren’t available with their Android siblings. iTunes has a larger number of apps in comparison with Google’s app store, even though – truth be told – Android is catching up.

We’ve also gotten Windows-based phones, of course, but Microsoft’s app store is still in its infancy, so I wouldn’t choose one of their phones – at least not this year.


3. Screen size and quality

Your smartphone’s screen size is another key element. These days, people consider that a 4-inch screen is tiny. Medium-sized screens range from 4 to 5 inches, while big sized screens have 5.5 inches or more.

But there’s much more when it comes to smartphone screens. The actual display quality is way more important than screen size, in my humble opinion. The best displays have quad HD resolutions, but even full HD panels can produce impressive results. Less expensive phones usually have HD displays, which aren’t always able to reproduce accurate details.


Be sure to choose a phone that has a bright panel; otherwise, you will have a hard time trying to figure out what’s on the screen during a sunny day.


4. Cameras

Believe it or not, phone cameras have gotten so good that they’ve sent standard video cameras into oblivion. Most modern smartphones boast with cameras that have resolutions of 12 megapixels or more.

Just like with regular cameras, try to find a phone that is able to take great pictures and record movies even with low light levels. You may also be interested in purchasing a smartphone that’s got optical image stabilization. You’re going to love this feature if you’re into selfies.


5. Hardware

What about CPU speed? The reality is that most smartphones are fast enough these days. Of course, if you want to play resource intensive games or edit full HD movies on your phone, you are going to be interested in purchasing a device that’s got a high-end processor.

The same goes for RAM memory; go for a device that’s got 2GB or more. And don’t ignore the amount of internal storage memory. It may seem like you’ve got plenty at start, but then you’ll regret you didn’t invest into a phone that’s got at least 64 GB of storage.

Sure, some phones would allow you to extend storage by making use of an SD card, but you can only store photos and videos – and not apps! – on that card.


6. Battery Life

There are several factors that set the battery life: screen size, CPU power, apps running in the background, the actual OS, and so on. Fortunately, there are several benchmarks on the web, and they will clearly show you which phones are perfect for you. These days, the average smartphone that’s got a decent screen and a modern CPU will usually run for one or two days without needing to be recharged.


If battery life is a key factor for you, go for a smartphone that’s got a tiny screen and an average CPU. This may get you 4 to 7 days of moderate usage till the next recharge.

There are more features that can be useful when you plan to buy a new phone, of course.  The ability of having a detachable battery or fingerprint security are a few examples, but they aren’t essential. So do your research today and pick the best phone for your needs. Good luck!