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.