What is a commercial WiFi router? A commercial WiFi router is a networking device that connects traffic from the computers in the business network to the other network hardware.
What are the top WiFi enterprise router providers available in 2023?
Computer manufacturers often also build and sell consumer or commercial WiFi routers. There are, however, businesses that focus exclusively on network management and hardware that build exceptional commercial router devices for high-performance networks.
Some of our favorite enterprise router manufacturers for business applications are as follows:
- Cisco (800 Series ISR, 4000 Series ISRM, etc.): Cisco is a well-known hardware and software company responsible for some of the most reliable equipment on the market. Cisco routers in the enterprise space are known for their commitment to security and associated data gathering and threat defense.
- Juniper (MX, PTX, and ACX Series): Juniper Networks is a well-established producer of network technology in the enterprise space (even though they may not be recognizable to the general public). Their MX series of routers are built for commercial-grade bandwidth and throughput, while the PTX reduces network maintenance costs. The ACX series of routers emphasize security hardening against outside threats.
- Hewlett Packard (Several Models, primarily FlexNetwork): Hewlett Packard has been in the business of building computer systems for decades, so it’s no surprise that they have a portfolio of network hardware, including routers. The HPE MSR Series is a performance machine with potential routing speeds of up to 1 Mbps. Additionally, the FlexNetwork series of commercial WiFi routers included modular design elements for multiple connectivity options and enhanced security.
- Dell (N2000 and N3000 Series): The Dell N2000 and N3000 series are more technically understood as multilayer switches or devices that combine routing capabilities with those of a Layer 3 switch. A switch is a network device that can connect multiple devices to a network with much faster performance than a traditional router. Combining a router and a switch means that they can support a wider range of device connections without sacrificing performance.
- Avaya (Secure Router Series): The Avaya Secure Router Series are devices primarily used in industries like telecommunications and network management. These routers are fast and reliable and excel in supporting scaling LANs and WANs with firewall switching and Ethernet switching.
How does a commercial router work?
Routers are a fundamental piece of hardware in any WiFi network. Regardless of whether you use a router for business or home use, these devices function in basically the same way:
- Connection: The router connects to the internet via an external modem or as part of a modem/router combination unit. Routers cannot accept IP traffic on their own (unless they are part of a router/modem combo) as the modem actually serves as the gateway for the internet service provider. The gateway will usually be much more robust in commercial settings and connect to multiple routers.
- Wireless Broadcasting: The router then takes internet traffic and transmits it via a wireless signal (typically along the 802.11ac standard ). This traffic will be secure and localized to your immediate use area.
- Routing: Routing is taking IP traffic and sending it to the appropriate device on the network. Routers maintain tables of connected devices in the network, designated by local IP addresses (instead of the general IP addresses associated with the routers or modem/gateway).
- Security and Features: Depending on the router, the device will also handle features like identity and access management, security and administration management, firewall features, encryption, and customizable routing standards.
In many ways, a router is a hyper-focused piece of computer hardware with firmware and software dedicated to routing IP traffic. Any device can serve as a router (even old computers used as network gateways). However, modern commercial WiFi routers are purpose-built to promote security, performance, and reliability.
What should I look for in a commercial router?
Routers aren’t like designer consumer devices: they often follow reliable and well-planned technical standards for security, transmission, and connectivity, and as such, vary little in terms of what they do. Where they usually do differ is related to the expansiveness of their capabilities.
Based on that fact, there are a few features that you should consider when selecting commercial routers:
Bandwidth and throughput
Business users call for much higher bandwidth and throughput than consumers do, in order for the network to support several users reliably. For WiFi, this is still true, and a commercial WiFi router should do the same over wireless connections. Consumer routers traditionally don’t handle immense bandwidth (for example, at fiber-like speeds) over multiple devices with consistent throughput reliability, but a commercial one absolutely should. A good set of bandwidth features should also include capabilities for built-in load balancing.
Does your network need to support any of the following?
- Gigabit Ethernet
- T2 or T3
- Legacy Connections
- 10Gb Ethernet fiber handoffs
- Radio connectivity from mobile or IoT devices
Having a router, or a series of routers and switches, in place to handle various connections can streamline network access without sacrificing security or performance on that network.
Outside throughput, scaling connectivity via hardware and modularity can support expanding physical networks supplying WiFi connections. Business routers can support hot-swapping components, or, if possible, a provider can support easily swapping router models as needed.
Many businesses use virtual machines for security and scalability needs. Routers can do the same, and depending on business requirements, a router that supports virtual local area networks (VLANs) can be integral.
Security and compliance
Does a router have the security measures needed to protect private data over your network? If not, the decision is essentially made for you if you do not want to break compliance. This can include DMZ ports for firewalls, VLANs, content filtering, SSL or VPN tunneling support, and failover capabilities.
Enjoy expert business network design from Meter
Regardless of whether you are a small business looking to network a local office or an enterprise organization building a multi-city SD-WAN, it’s critical to have the right technology and design in place to support performance, security, and scalability. With the right router technology and network layout, your organization can meet all of these goals–no compromise needed.
If your business is ready for an expert business WiFi installation, contact Meter to request a network design. Or, if you are in the market for a business internet service that can meet any enterprise or small-to-medium-business demand, consult Meter Connect to get the best local deals.
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