IPIQ: Professional Installer’s Guide to IP Networking
In parts one and two of this series, we discussed the basic components of an IP network, and the functions of each of those components. Going forward, we will look more closely at each of the component categories, and we’ll provide guidelines on what to look for when making product selection decisions.
This month we’re focusing on routers, a key element that can make or break your installation. There are four key considerations to bear in mind when determining which router to use.
The amount of processing power available to serve the connection needs of the network is a big part of what differentiates the better routers from the standard consumer grade fare available at the local big-box store.
A good determination of processing power is the number of client device connections supported. This information can usually be found on the box or the spec sheet, or in the user manual. Most ‘all-in-one’ devices and wireless routers are designed for basic consumer use, and serve only a minimal number of client device connections (typically 24-32). Contrast this with a commercial-grade router, such as the Luxul XBR-2300, which supports up to 256 client devices.
Another measurement of processing power is the maximum number of simultaneous connections supported; this may also be known as “concurrent data streams” or “maximum available sessions.” When considering this measurement, note that the average client device typically has anywhere from six to 12 active data streams at the same time, with a data stream being six to 10 simultaneous connections. Any given device, then, can easily consume 100 or more simultaneous connections. A standard consumer grade wireless router will average around 6,500 to 8,200 maximum simultaneous connections, while a more robust router will support significantly more. The Luxul XBR-2300, for instance, supports more than 39,000 simultaneous connections. (SmallNetBuilder.com ranks some of the more popular models, and even provides software that can evaluate a router in real time.)