This blog post is more about the use of retail routers at the office than at home, just to make that clear from the beginning. We would also recommend non-retail routers at home, but that is not feasible for everyone.
What is a retail router?
This is a phrase I am coining to describe any router that is generally available from your local retailers like Staples, Walmart, etc or delivered as part of the internet service from your local provider. They include brand names like ASUS, D-Link, Linksys, and Netgear. They range in price from $30 for the extreme low end to $450 for a gaming router. These routers are built for home and small office networks that have very few users or devices connected at any given time. They may include some features that sound “business-like” such as Virtual Private Network (VPN), Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI), VLAN, and Quality of Service (QoS) – remember though that these are also only able to support a minimum number of users and devices connected at any given time. If you try to use a retail router to run your business network then you will find that performance will be severely degraded and these features will not work as advertised.
There is also the issue of security. These routers are rarely if ever updated even when new vulnerabilities are found. This makes them ineligible for PCI or HIPAA compliance situations.
Is there a non-retail router?
So what to do about this situation? Time to call your trusted IT services provider who will be able to get you a non-retail router, but that begs the question – what is a non-retail router?
These routers are built by network professionals who design the hardware to perform under the pressures of the office environment and to handle the work from home remote workload. These routers include brands like Cisco, Juniper, Ubiquiti, and Araknis. They range in price from $150 for an office of up to 5 people to $10,000 for a high traffic company with hundreds of users. These routers handle VPN, SPI, VLAN, QoS, and many other services all at once with ease. Security is baked into these routers with the best ones having the ability to be managed from the cloud. They provide consistent access to all connected users and devices at all times. Your trusted IT services provider will work with you to “right size” the router to your business needs.
If your company is going to have full time work from home employees and is concerned about their ability to perform, then contact us for assistance.