What Distinguishes a Business Router from a Consumer Router?

business versus consumer routers

If you are in the market looking for a router for your business, you are bound to be tempted by high speeds, flashy features and low cost of the consumer oriented routers. The latest models appear quite attractive to say the least.

But do you think a consumer router can deliver everything that is required by the average business? Do you think it is secure enough? Is it scalable and can it offer redundant connections to the Internet? If it’s a wireless model, do you think it comes with adequate range to cover your office? Should you make an investment in routers designed to cater to the needs of small and medium sized businesses?

So what exactly distinguishes the consumer routers from the business class models?

Consumer Router

As soon as you walk into a retail outlet, you will find around a dozen wireless routers available at variable prices. These are offered by well-known brands and the prices at which they are made available are also quite appealing. They even have all the requisite features.

  • Compatibility with IEEE 802.11n wireless networking standard
  • Built-in firewall
  • Wireless encryption
  • 4 port Ethernet switch

Most routers here include 2×2 antenna arrays for theoretical throughput of 300 Mbps. It’s hard to see real world performance this quick. However, the distance between the router and the client, overhead, as well as environmental factors, can bring down this number.

Small Business Router

You may be surprised to learn that most business class routers don’t even include integrated wireless networking. In case the router that you have selected doesn’t come with one, you can add that capability by deploying a few wireless access points. The high-end business routers deliver redundancy, scalability as well as stronger security features.

Scalability defines the ability of the router to expand with growth in business. Expanding a given network’s hardwired capability is quite easy. You can plug another multiport Ethernet switch into one of the ports of the router.

You have more ports now.

If operating a complex network that includes multiple VLANs, RADIUS server, and several other features, you may need to make an investment in managed switch.

The best way to increase Internet bandwidth is by getting additional connections to the Internet service provider through your router’s wide area network (WAN) ports. While low-end business routers and consumer routers come with just a single WAN port, the high-end business class routers come with several WAN ports to help you establish more than one connection to one or several ISPs.

Since the router is the heart of the network, you must choose it carefully. Any router can share the connection among your computers as well as other networkable devices like tablets and smartphones. The better models include features capacitated to enhance network and performance. Here are a few features you need to look for to find a commendable business class router.

Wi-Fi Access Point

Most routers targeted at consumer and small and medium-sized businesses enjoy a built-in access point providing wireless network connection for PCs as well as other devices that are equipped with Wi-Fi adapters. You can find yourself an additional AP for extending the range of the router. The standalone AP can add wireless capabilities to the wired routers.

The wireless routers operate on chiefly 2 frequency bands:

  • 4 GHz
  • 5GHz

Since the 2.4GHz band provides just 3 non-overlapping channels, it can get crowded soon enough. There are as many as 23 non overlapping channels on offer at the 5GHz frequency band. Thus, there are fewer chances to encounter interference while operating a network here.

Virtual LAN and Multiple SSIDs

Most business class routers go much beyond offering a wireless guest feature. They facilitate creation of several separate customized networks using what are call virtual LANs or VLANs. They also enable multiple SSIDs for offering virtual wireless networks.

You can create a VLAN for management where sensitive company details need to be shared, a VLAN for the regular employees for sharing files and a VLAN for the guests to provide limited Internet access. Then, you can assign the Ethernet ports of the router to desired VLAN, broadcasting separate SSID for each VLAN.

Malware and Protection from Spam

Business-class routers equipped with additional security features are referred to as unified threat management or UTM gateways. They include anti-spam, anti-virus and content filtering for blocking the dangerous or inappropriate websites. Though the individual computers must come with an antivirus tool installed, such a gateway helps to detect malware before it reaches individual PCs, offering double protection. At times, the UTM gateways also offer intrusion detection as well as prevention features to block additional local network as well as Internet threats.

This article did not cover all the features that distinguish the business class routers from the consumer ones. If you need the best security features and have several employees requiring frequent remote access to the network or run your Web, email or RADIUS server, you need to find yourself a business class router. For failover redundancy or load balancing, find yourself the high-end business models.

Router Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What Distinguishes a Business Router from a Consumer Router?” was first published on Small Business Trends

What Distinguishes a Business Router from a Consumer Router?

business versus consumer routers

If you are in the market looking for a router for your business, you are bound to be tempted by high speeds, flashy features and low cost of the consumer oriented routers. The latest models appear quite attractive to say the least.

But do you think a consumer router can deliver everything that is required by the average business? Do you think it is secure enough? Is it scalable and can it offer redundant connections to the Internet? If it’s a wireless model, do you think it comes with adequate range to cover your office? Should you make an investment in routers designed to cater to the needs of small and medium sized businesses?

So what exactly distinguishes the consumer routers from the business class models?

Consumer Router

As soon as you walk into a retail outlet, you will find around a dozen wireless routers available at variable prices. These are offered by well-known brands and the prices at which they are made available are also quite appealing. They even have all the requisite features.

  • Compatibility with IEEE 802.11n wireless networking standard
  • Built-in firewall
  • Wireless encryption
  • 4 port Ethernet switch

Most routers here include 2×2 antenna arrays for theoretical throughput of 300 Mbps. It’s hard to see real world performance this quick. However, the distance between the router and the client, overhead, as well as environmental factors, can bring down this number.

Small Business Router

You may be surprised to learn that most business class routers don’t even include integrated wireless networking. In case the router that you have selected doesn’t come with one, you can add that capability by deploying a few wireless access points. The high-end business routers deliver redundancy, scalability as well as stronger security features.

Scalability defines the ability of the router to expand with growth in business. Expanding a given network’s hardwired capability is quite easy. You can plug another multiport Ethernet switch into one of the ports of the router.

You have more ports now.

If operating a complex network that includes multiple VLANs, RADIUS server, and several other features, you may need to make an investment in managed switch.

The best way to increase Internet bandwidth is by getting additional connections to the Internet service provider through your router’s wide area network (WAN) ports. While low-end business routers and consumer routers come with just a single WAN port, the high-end business class routers come with several WAN ports to help you establish more than one connection to one or several ISPs.

Since the router is the heart of the network, you must choose it carefully. Any router can share the connection among your computers as well as other networkable devices like tablets and smartphones. The better models include features capacitated to enhance network and performance. Here are a few features you need to look for to find a commendable business class router.

Wi-Fi Access Point

Most routers targeted at consumer and small and medium-sized businesses enjoy a built-in access point providing wireless network connection for PCs as well as other devices that are equipped with Wi-Fi adapters. You can find yourself an additional AP for extending the range of the router. The standalone AP can add wireless capabilities to the wired routers.

The wireless routers operate on chiefly 2 frequency bands:

  • 4 GHz
  • 5GHz

Since the 2.4GHz band provides just 3 non-overlapping channels, it can get crowded soon enough. There are as many as 23 non overlapping channels on offer at the 5GHz frequency band. Thus, there are fewer chances to encounter interference while operating a network here.

Virtual LAN and Multiple SSIDs

Most business class routers go much beyond offering a wireless guest feature. They facilitate creation of several separate customized networks using what are call virtual LANs or VLANs. They also enable multiple SSIDs for offering virtual wireless networks.

You can create a VLAN for management where sensitive company details need to be shared, a VLAN for the regular employees for sharing files and a VLAN for the guests to provide limited Internet access. Then, you can assign the Ethernet ports of the router to desired VLAN, broadcasting separate SSID for each VLAN.

Malware and Protection from Spam

Business-class routers equipped with additional security features are referred to as unified threat management or UTM gateways. They include anti-spam, anti-virus and content filtering for blocking the dangerous or inappropriate websites. Though the individual computers must come with an antivirus tool installed, such a gateway helps to detect malware before it reaches individual PCs, offering double protection. At times, the UTM gateways also offer intrusion detection as well as prevention features to block additional local network as well as Internet threats.

This article did not cover all the features that distinguish the business class routers from the consumer ones. If you need the best security features and have several employees requiring frequent remote access to the network or run your Web, email or RADIUS server, you need to find yourself a business class router. For failover redundancy or load balancing, find yourself the high-end business models.

Router Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “What Distinguishes a Business Router from a Consumer Router?” was first published on Small Business Trends

“Boss Life” Gives a Realistic View of Small Business Ownership

boss lifeThere are plenty of books on management and leadership today, but none comes close to the raw honesty and grit that you will find in “Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business” by Paul Downs.

In this short, but highly impactful read, Downs takes the reader on a year-long journey in the pursuit of life as a “boss”. Downs defines a “boss” as the owner and manager of a small business (less than 25 employees) who handles everything from signing paychecks to fixing equipment.

Downs wrote the book after becoming a New York Times columnist. He writes the “You’re The Boss” blog, a site that discusses the personal issues faced by small business owners. He also takes time to write articles on small business for The New York Times, Fortune, and other magazines.

Besides being a columnist, Downs is the owner of Paul Downs Cabinetmakers, a custom board room and furniture business which he started once he finished college.  His business has created custom furniture for the military, educational institutions, and companies around the world.

He found that many small business owners appreciated talking about the day-to-day issues that are often ignored in magazines and books. Issues like:

  • How do you compete with big business?
  • What health insurance should you choose for your company?
  • How do you know if you’re doing the right thing to bring in sales?

“Boss Life” provides Downs’ struggle to answer these questions.

The book covers the wide variety of issues and emotions that occur in a business during a relatively short period of time. Here, Downs shows what life is like for a business between the annual reports. In one month, Downs is overjoyed that his sales team brought in more clients and is contemplating how much to give in bonuses. The next month, Downs is wondering if he will have to lay off workers because he only has operating funds for two weeks.

In presenting his story, Downs is not shy about sharing the ups and downs of his struggle as a business owner or as an individual. This aspect, he claims in the book’s introduction, is what’s missing from many business books.

Business owners read dozens of articles about business success and strategies, but they don’t often tell about business reality. Sharing a more accurate version of the realities of running a small business is the main theme of “Boss Life” running through every page of the text.

The best part of “Boss Life” is the unabashed humility Downs has in presenting his life as a business owner. He discusses his triumphs and failures in a realistic style free of the prevalent “Ten Ways to Improve Your Business” type of writing found in so many other books. Instead, “Boss Life” serves as a real-life extended case study that goes beyond the confines of a business textbook or magazine article. Small business owners will find advice, humor and connection in reading the book.

“Boss Life” provides ample real-world advice for small business owners, but doesn’t provide the typical list of links and resources that are found in most business books. This doesn’t take away from the quality of book, but it might be slightly disappointing to readers who want to access some of the resources that are touched upon.

Downs pinpoints his intended audience, which he defines as a “boss” in the beginning of the book. In the Introduction to “Boss Life”, Downs describes a “boss”:

“…. I’m talking about bosses who both own and run their businesses … These bosses answer to nobody and are responsible for everybody. Their own money is at risk. Every problem goes straight to them, and they have come up with a solution”.

This audience is already familiar with the basics of running and owning a business. They just need help with aspects of managing that business. As an example, Downs discusses his need to close more sales. He gets that help through a networking meeting, and eventually a consultant.

“Boss Life” does the exact same thing for readers. It provides advice to those small business owners, but in a way that is more comprehensive than the typical blog post or article.

This article, ““Boss Life” Gives a Realistic View of Small Business Ownership” was first published on Small Business Trends

This Week’s Highlights: The Best and the Brightest

BlackEnterprise.com has you covered, with a round-up of this week’s highlights and top trending stories in news, money, career, small business, lifestyle, tech, and education.

News
This week, 23-year-old Nzingha Prescod shared how being an Olympic medalist in fencing is helping knock down barriers in the industry for people of color. The superstar shared, “my greatest personal achievement is staying disciplined and dedicated to something for so long and still having the motivation to become better.” Read the rest here.

[Below: Watch Video]

Also heavily trending this week was the ongoing discussion on Lee Daniels. The Empire director asked ‘White Hollywood’ where are the black writers? Daniels also asked his peers if they had ensured racial equity amongst their staff. Click here to the rest of this article.

In other news, BE100s CEO Robert F. Smith landed on the Forbes 400 list. With $14 billion in capital under management and #1 on the BE100s Private Equity list, his name was added to the magazine’s annual list of 400 richest Americans.

[Related: This Week’s Highlights: The Best and the Brightest]

Money
Money coach and author Jacquette Timmons provided helpful tips for blacks when it comes to what you should know about stock market sell-offs. Read the full interview here. A report that was released by the AARP and the Financial Planning Association discovered that 75% of people didn’t know you could collect social security benefits based on your ex’s work history after divorce. Learn all the facts here.

Careers
This week in career news, Zuri Hall landed her dream job at E! News and talked to BlackEnterprise.com about the journey and what it took to become a national television host. Apple also took a huge step in the right direction by appointing James A. Bell, former Boeing CFO, to continue to bring more boardroom diversity.

Small Business
A new American Express Open survey had some interesting findings: small businesses worry about cashflow, and access to seed money and working capital is still a major challenge.

In addition, Silicon Valley Billionaire Tim Draper shared his expertise on investing. He will lead a powerhouse line-up of venture capitalists, CEOs, and rising tech stars at the Black Enterprise TechConneXt Summit in Santa Clara, California, (Hyatt Regency, October 12-13, 2015).

Lifestyle
Racial bias exists when it comes to reviewing TV shows. Did you know that 88% of viewers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation? The article Does Racism Impact the Way Reviewers Rate TV Shows? was extremely popular this week, read the full story here.

Tech
Some major tech events occurred this week, as Google debuted the new Nexus lineup and the new CEO at its Nexus event on Tuesday. Sundar Pichai was announced as the new CEO in August, and has since brought in major media deals. Read the full story here.

Education
For education, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan proposed investing in education rather than prison, and gave a significant speech at the National Press Club luncheon on Oct. 1, addressing the issue. Read the full story here. Also, read 3 ways high school juniors can prepare for college here.

For more information on the TechConneXt Summit visit http://www.blackenterprise.com/events/techconnext/. Follow @blackenterprise on Twitter for updates and tech news.

What are your thoughts on this week’s stories? Share with us below in the comments section.

This Week’s Highlights: The Best and the Brightest

BlackEnterprise.com has you covered, with a round-up of this week’s highlights and top trending stories in news, money, career, small business, lifestyle, tech, and education.

News
This week, 23-year-old Nzingha Prescod shared how being an Olympic medalist in fencing is helping knock down barriers in the industry for people of color. The superstar shared, “my greatest personal achievement is staying disciplined and dedicated to something for so long and still having the motivation to become better.” Read the rest here.

[Below: Watch Video]

Also heavily trending this week was the ongoing discussion on Lee Daniels. The Empire director asked ‘White Hollywood’ where are the black writers? Daniels also asked his peers if they had ensured racial equity amongst their staff. Click here to the rest of this article.

In other news, BE100s CEO Robert F. Smith landed on the Forbes 400 list. With $14 billion in capital under management and #1 on the BE100s Private Equity list, his name was added to the magazine’s annual list of 400 richest Americans.

[Related: This Week’s Highlights: The Best and the Brightest]

Money
Money coach and author Jacquette Timmons provided helpful tips for blacks when it comes to what you should know about stock market sell-offs. Read the full interview here. A report that was released by the AARP and the Financial Planning Association discovered that 75% of people didn’t know you could collect social security benefits based on your ex’s work history after divorce. Learn all the facts here.

Careers
This week in career news, Zuri Hall landed her dream job at E! News and talked to BlackEnterprise.com about the journey and what it took to become a national television host. Apple also took a huge step in the right direction by appointing James A. Bell, former Boeing CFO, to continue to bring more boardroom diversity.

Small Business
A new American Express Open survey had some interesting findings: small businesses worry about cashflow, and access to seed money and working capital is still a major challenge.

In addition, Silicon Valley Billionaire Tim Draper shared his expertise on investing. He will lead a powerhouse line-up of venture capitalists, CEOs, and rising tech stars at the Black Enterprise TechConneXt Summit in Santa Clara, California, (Hyatt Regency, October 12-13, 2015).

Lifestyle
Racial bias exists when it comes to reviewing TV shows. Did you know that 88% of viewers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation? The article Does Racism Impact the Way Reviewers Rate TV Shows? was extremely popular this week, read the full story here.

Tech
Some major tech events occurred this week, as Google debuted the new Nexus lineup and the new CEO at its Nexus event on Tuesday. Sundar Pichai was announced as the new CEO in August, and has since brought in major media deals. Read the full story here.

Education
For education, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan proposed investing in education rather than prison, and gave a significant speech at the National Press Club luncheon on Oct. 1, addressing the issue. Read the full story here. Also, read 3 ways high school juniors can prepare for college here.

For more information on the TechConneXt Summit visit http://www.blackenterprise.com/events/techconnext/. Follow @blackenterprise on Twitter for updates and tech news.

What are your thoughts on this week’s stories? Share with us below in the comments section.

Solo Traveler? 10 Ways to Deal with Loneliness on Vacation

If you’re ready to travel solo for an extended period of time, here’s a harsh reality—loneliness may creep in at some point. Whether it happens while you’re pondering over that dinner special for two or considering an activity, even the most seasoned traveler can’t escape those dreaded feelings of separation and isolation. But you can certainly prepare for it. Check out a few tips for going solo.

[Related: [Watch] Oneika Raymond Shares Top 5 Places to Travel]

  • Connect with like-minded travelers, prior to departure. Thanks to the surge of black travel groups such as Nomadness and TravelNoire, there are several opportunities to connect with like-minded travelers.
  • Join travel forums such as Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet to plan and participate in tours. Consider activities such as cooking classes, exercise classes, language lessons, scuba diving, or wine tasting.
  • Contact a destination-specific blogger such as Jet Set Sarah, who covers the Caribbean exclusively. Bloggers solely focused on a destination can provide the inside city scoop to help you survive temporary feelings of loneliness.
  • Eat at a sandwich shop, local bar or Internet cafe. If you choose to eat at a restaurant, sitting at a bar as opposed to a table, may signal other diners that you’re ‘open’ for  conversation. Additionally, when it comes to learning about local hot spots and places to mingle, bartenders are great sources of information. And don’t forget to bring along a book or magazine to help you feel less self-conscious.
  • Use social media networks. Facebook and Twitter are great tools for asking simple questions and making powerful connections. For instance, “How safe is Cape Town for a solo female traveler?” or ”Does anyone know a good-value hotel in New York with a happy hour?” Additionally, updating your Facebook/Twitter status often or uploading pictures to Instagram throughout your trip can help you feel like your friends are traveling right along with you.
  • Download the new “Mile-Hi” app which allows you to arrange meet-ups before, during or after your journey.
  • Find a local meet-up group. From educational seminars to group activities, Meet-up.com provides a variety of events, organized by area.
  • Start conversations with people including mothers with children, shop owners, dog walkers, etc.
  • Stay in hostels or boutique hotels where you can hang out with other travelers.
  • Become a volunteer. There are several tour companies offering volunteer vacation packages. Check out Go Voluntouring or Fathom Cruises, a social impact initiative combining a travelers’ love for travel with giving back to the community.

Have you traveled solo? If so, share your tips below for conquering feelings of loneliness.

 

Webinar for Latino-Owned Businesses, Other Events Crowd Calendar

biz2credit mobile

October is Hispanic Heritage Month and Small Business Trends is partnering with Biz2Credit to bring you The Changing Face of Small Business Ownership; Latino Entrepreneurs on the Rise.

The free webinar features Small Business Trends’ own Anita Campbell as moderator, joined by other small business advocates to lead the discussion. Topics include the explosive growth of Latino-owned companies, keys to lasing success, different types of funding options, and more.

Also available this week — if you’ll be in the New York City area — is Relate Live by Zendesk.

Customer engagement is important to any small business and Relate Live offers keynotes, training sessions and breakouts discussing techniques to improve your customer’s experience.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.



Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Webinar: The Changing Face of Small Business Ownership; Latino Entrepreneurs on the RiseWebinar: The Changing Face of Small Business Ownership; Latino Entrepreneurs on the Rise
October 7, 2015, Online

Small businesses run by minorities account for over 15 percent of the 28 million small businesses in the U.S. Some of them are recent arrivals while others are longtime American citizens, but part of historically underserved groups. As part of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), Biz2Credit will host a webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, with several leading small business advocates – including our very own CEO, Anita Campbell. Discussion topics includes the explosive growth of Latino-owned companies, tips for overcoming obstacles to growth, keys to lasting success, tips for making financing, marketing, and personnel decisions, challenges facing entrepreneurs searching for startup capital and other funding – and much more.


Relate Live by Zendesk
October 7, 2015, New York, New York

A conference designed to help you better understand your customers
#RelateLive


Small Business Influencer Awards: Nominations OpenSmall Business Influencer Awards: Nominations Open
October 15, 2015, Online

The 2015 Small Business Influencer Awards is produced by Small Business Trends and Small Biz Technology and honors companies, organizations, vendors, apps and people who have made a significant impact on the North American small business market. Who has influenced your business positively? Or have you created an app that’s influenced small business? Who is your business mentor – have they made a positive impact on your business? Nominate those that have influenced your business today!


Global Small Business ForumGlobal Small Business Forum
October 23, 2015, Chicago, Illinois

The Global Small Business Forum 2015 held in Chicago will help entrepreneurs and small business owners export successfully and network with their peers. It will answer such questions as: What’s the best way to ship goods? How will I get paid? Do I need a license? Should I sell direct or indirect? Does my business have what it takes to sell in China?


BizapaloozaBizapalooza
October 28, 2015, Online

Bizapalooza is an online event that begins on October 28, 2015, and brings together the “rock stars” of small business success, entrepreneurial expertise and marketing wisdom, sharing their sought-after insights during this virtual festival — 3 days of Peace, Planning and Profits. Discover the best business building techniques from the world’s leading experts. You’ll rub shoulders with the biggest names and brands in small business marketing, soak up countless tips and new strategies and enjoy extensive networking opportunities all from the comfort of your home, office or local coffee shop. This is a unique opportunity for you to connect face-to-face with the top small business experts while networking with like-minded peers from around the globe.


UnGagged 2015UnGagged 2015
November 9, 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada

UnGagged is a gathering of the smartest, most forward thinking and most courageous SEOs and digital marketers on the planet. For 3 days they get together under one roof, sharing the latest proven techniques. This is an event for technopreneurs, online publishers and SEO professionals. Hear from those who know what they are talking about. No recordings. No pitches. Just pure SEO insights you won’t get anywhere else!

Discount Code
Debra (20%)


World Business Forum New York 2015World Business Forum New York 2015
November 12, 2015, New York, New York

In 2015 the World Business Forum will present two days of powerful stories; of individuals who face shocks – both personal and organizational – and who use those shocks to achieve the extraordinary. Speakers include Sir Richard Branson, Jim Collins, a former faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Walter Isaacson, once the 14th editor of TIME magazine in 1996 and named Chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, Adam Grant, author of the New York Times bestseller Give and Take and Herminia Ibarra, Professor of Leadership and Learning and Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD.


SleeterConSleeterCon
November 16, 2015, Las Vegas, Nevavda

SleeterCon is the accounting solutions conference for professionals to learn and differentiate their practices, with in-depth education to prepare for the future.
Discount Code
CRUSHZONE50 ($50)


More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends and SmallBizTechnology.

Image: Biz2Credit

This article, “Webinar for Latino-Owned Businesses, Other Events Crowd Calendar” was first published on Small Business Trends