If you’re new to wireless networking or just looking for a simple home router solution, a compact router might be a good introduction to the world of internet. They are typically less intimidating than their more full-sized siblings. For example, you could pick up a simple compact wireless router for just around $30. Or, you could spend around $200 on a full kit that includes a variety of antennas and bases and comes with a variety of wireless controllers.
Some compact routers are called bridge routers. They work best for connecting two wireless networks without using any complicated switching equipment. They work just like a regular wireless router, except they don’t have to configure network settings. The most basic bridge configurations may include only a wireless Antenna Attachment (antennas) and a USB modem. Other more elaborate bridges include access points, PDC adapters, radio modems, and Bluetooth devices.
Another type of compact router model is known as a multi-hop. They work best in areas where multiple wireless access points are necessary, and they are especially useful in buildings with high ceilings. Multi-hop routers work by creating a loop of wireless connection between transmitters (also known as transmitters) in one room and receive units in another room. Each transmitter in the loop will receive signals from all the transmitters in the room, covering a large area. Because the loops can only transmit so much data at a time, it may take awhile for them to connect, depending on signal quality.
Some compact routers are also referred to as WAP (wireless application programmable) or MAP (network application programmable). Like full-size routers, they have pre-configured network settings and gateway services. In addition, some have WEP (wireless encryption / protection) support. They are ideal for small offices and homes that do not have large WAN bandwidth. WAP models are normally less expensive than full-size routers and are much easier to upgrade.
MSA bases use a different technology compared to WAP models. MSA stands for multi-station access and service area networking. MSA networks are able to accommodate larger number of users because each unit has its own discrete power source and separate access point.
MSA bases use screw-type mounting holes that spread out from the router table. Some MSA bases have an extra “step” or block to help spread out the distance between units, which decreases the amount of wasted bandwidth. MSA routers are similar to full size models, except they have a non-hackable keyboard layout, no external ethernet port, and use a non-proprietary memory. As with other models of compact router tables, MSA units usually use WAN or LAN ports for Ethernet connectivity.
Combination Kits provide more variety in the models available and come in several designs. The most popular is the combo pack comprising both a router and WAN card. Other popular combination packs have wireless LAN cards and router cards in one complete unit. These are ideal for offices where the desktop computer is not always connected to the office network. In this case, routers are used to bridge the gap, and when connected to the desktop computer they become part of the local area network (LAN).
Some manufacturers produce routers that have several modes. This mode allows a number of different sets of standard bits for controlling the processing of packets. The number and types of bits may be changed in real-time according to traffic load. This feature makes it possible to adjust the bit rate according to real-time traffic patterns. Some companies that use a combination of compact routers and software also incorporate WAN optimizers, that help to maximize the performance of routers in terms of the maximum number of bits per second allowed for processing of packets.