Many features make a router suitable for use in small businesses, which we’ll discuss today. We’ll look at 12 router features that optimize small business networks and how these routers are different from home networking equipment. We’ll also look at how the differences between home networking equipment and business-class routers impact your wireless network performance.
1. Quality of Service (QoS) traffic prioritization
The SMB router has configurable “QoS Settings” that allow you to prioritize different types of network traffic. You can automatically differentiate and prioritize bandwidth across endpoints on the network by prioritizing VoIP telephones over streaming video, for example.
The small-medium business (SMB) router can dynamically configure itself depending upon what type of data transfer needs are being met at any given time within an organization or company’s networks.
Usually, this means prioritizing VoIP telephone communication over other forms such as streaming media; however, your configuration might look more like prioritizing workstations or devices used in conducting videoconferencing instead so long as those activities get priority treatment when needed most.
2. Internet firewall security
Business-class routers also come with internet-facing firewalls built-in that protect your network from Internet threats. Routers in the SMB marketplace typically have a more robust security suite than home routers, allowing for custom IP address filtering, device-to-device tracking, and comprehensive monitoring of what’s going on in your network.
3. Bandwidth management
Bandwidth is the lifeblood of any organization, large or small, and especially those companies that conduct business through web-based applications and activity. Business class routers are able to manage upstream and downstream bandwidth for different devices such as servers or workstations – which also allows for a fair distribution of bandwidth across devices.
4. Multiple WAN connectivity and failover
The SMB router is able to leverage two or more different Internet connections at one time for backup purposes, as well as load-balance across multiple Internet service providers (ISPs). Security and network architects find double-homed setups helpful when designing their internetworking infrastructures.
5. High-performance wireless networking
The SMB router is able to offer high performance Wi-Fi, usually with the inclusion of dual band support and MIMO (multiple in, multiple out) antenna configurations that can handle larger amounts of devices within your network. The wireless antennas on enterprise class equipment are more powerful, offering greater coverage than most consumer-class routers.
6. High port density to support more wired connections in your network
Wireless is great, but when it comes down to it…we’re still a wired society. Business class router ports are able to support Gigabit Ethernet capabilities across the board, giving you reliable bandwidth on all devices throughout your network.
Though these SMB routers are designed for small business, they’re also able to be used by a larger organization in the event that you need additional wireless access points as well as high port density.
7. Network segmentation using VLANs
Network segmentation using VLANs is a method of reducing the amount of hardware needed for partitioning a computer network. This can be done for security or regulatory reasons, and it keeps endpoints from communicating with other endpoints on different VLANS even if they are part of one physical LAN through tagging traffic via IEEE 802.11q protocol as configured by SMB routers in their web-based GUI.
Network segmentation using VLANs reduces the number of devices that need to separate and divide up your local area networks (LAN).
You could do this either way or could keep sensitive data away from certain users such as auditors who might want unapproved access because these teams have different levels within an organization which you enforce regulations not allowing them to see certain types of information from different people.
8. Manage your network using the Command Line Interface (CLI)
SMB routers are built to be managed by the command line interface rather than a web-based GUI that can sometimes get laggy depending on which browser you use.
The CLI allows for fast, effective management of your business class router such as assigning static IP addresses, connecting switches and routers together, creating secure wireless networks for employees, carrying out diagnostics on the network, configuring VLANs/subnets.
The CLI is also a great troubleshooting tool in the event that you manage to break your Internet connection or have some other catastrophic failure within your LAN environment.
9. Flexible NAT routing
Network Address Translation (NAT) is a method of converting the Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses as assigned by ISPs into another form before sending them out onto the Internet.
This allows for many private IP addresses to be represented with one public IPv4 address which is a dynamic IP address assigned from your ISP.
This means that the SMB router will automatically update your firewall with changes to NAT rules, which is useful for VPN connectivity or home networks when your ISP assigns a dynamic IP address.
10. Full IPv6 support
IPv6 is a new Internet Protocol version that allows more efficient routing of data packets across large IP networks than what was provided by the traditional IPv4.
SMB router support for both IPv4 and IPv6 means that your network is future-proofed with these new standard protocols alongside larger subnets and more efficient routing of data packets which are features of a business class wireless router.
11. Wireless mesh networking
Wireless mesh networking allows you to connect multiple radios together by using a software controller to manage the network.
This allows you to cover large areas with extended range for wireless devices with little latency and low cost while taking advantage of the maximum potential of your Internet connection.
Wireless mesh networks allow for more efficient use of shared bandwidth which is very beneficial especially as we continue to grow our digital world and more wireless devices come online.
12. Supports up-to ten (10) SSIDs per radio
The number of services available directly through your wireless router is limited by the amount of radios you have. With business class routers, you are able to create as many separate wireless networks as your so-called “wireless infrastructure” can support.
This means that SMB routers with three radios can support up-to ten SSIDs while enterprise wireless routers could potentially have 30+ user defined SSIDs.
The above SMB router features allow for advanced network management and control of your wireless LAN infrastructure. Use these 12 networking tips to improve the performance, security and reliability of your home or small office wireless network with business class routers.
Guest article written by: Abdullah Mangi likes to explore writing areas under niche wireless routers, restaurants, IT and Technology with creative heads. I’ve been working as a content writer and SEO expert at Intelvue. My specialties are Article Writing, Blog Writing, and Content for social media, under niches like IT and Technology.