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Wired? Wireless? Router

  • Routers
  • Wireless Router
  • Ethernet Card
  • Networking
Last response: in Networking
August 31, 2012 9:39:53 PM

OK, I'm out of my comfort zone when it comes to computer networks.

I have an ASUS 1740-04 desktop with an Atheros AR8151 PCI-e Gigabit Ethernet adapter. I will be using a router principally as a hardware firewall, as I do no gaming, nor to I plan to share files on a LAN.

Here is my question. What do I need for a router? Because the AR8151 is a "gigabit ethernet" adapter, does this mean that I need to buy a "gigabit ethernet (wired)" router? Or can I buy a wireless 802.11n one, for example, and plug an ethernet cable into one of its ports? I've searched all over, but I'm still stumped.

Any explanations and recommendations will be gratefully accepted.

Grandma Geek

More about : wired wireless router

September 1, 2012 12:41:54 AM

A gigabit ethernet adapter just means you have the *potential* for speeds over wire of up to 1000Mbps. But virtually any gigabit ethernet adapter is going to be backward compatible w/ 100Mbps or even 10Mbps network devices. So no, you don’t HAVE to buy a gigabit capable router just because you have a gigabit capable adapter.

Now whether you SHOULD buy a gigabit capable router is a different story. Your internet connection is typically only a tiny fraction of gigabit, maybe 10-20Mbps in most cases. And if you don't do local file transfers w/ other gigabit capable devices, you can’t fully exploit that 1000Mbps either.

That said, based on your needs, it doesn’t seem all that important whether you buy a router w/ a gigabit capable switch, esp. if it’s going to significantly increase the price. Then again, it’s always best to look a little into the future on these things. Fortunately, you can always add a standalone gigabit switch later if need be.
September 2, 2012 1:35:42 AM

Thanks, eibgrad. for your clear and concise explanation.

Now, as to "wired vs wireless router", must I buy a wired router, or will a wireless, e.g., 802.11n dual band, router work with the Atheros AR8151 *ethernet* adapter?
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Best solution

September 2, 2012 2:55:35 AM

Virtually any consumer-grade wireless router is going to come w/ wired ethernet ports, usually 4. Like anything else, check the specs page in the description. An example spec might say:

1 x 10/100M WAN; 4 x 10/100/1000M LAN

... which means it has one (1) wired WAN port (the one connected from the router to the modem) capable of 10 or 100Mbps, and four (4) LAN ports capable of 10, 100, or 1000Mbps (Gigabit) for connecting your local wired devices.
September 2, 2012 3:01:28 AM

Now I finally understand. Thanks eibgrad. You rock.
September 2, 2012 3:04:19 AM

Best answer selected by mmm10.