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Review of Pre-N Routers If you need to rev up your wi-fi now, a pre-n router could do the trick.

By Amanda C. Kooser

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Wi-fi has come a long way since 802.11b. We keep getting more range and bandwidth at more affordable prices, and now it's time for the next great leap forward to 802.11n. Well, almost. The 802.11n protocol is still being hashed out. But there are already a host of MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) hardware options on the market that will take you most of the way there. MIMO is an 802.11n component technology that sends multiple signals caroming around your site to find the surest path to multiple smart antennas. The upshot is better coverage over greater distances than 802.11g.

We still have some waiting to do before the new 802.11n standard and the specific flavor of MIMO to go with it get settled. In the meantime, businesses that have an immediate need for greater range and performance than basic 802.11g offers can turn to the recent crop of MIMO routers. If your office has dead spots or you're looking for a better mix of speed and range, you're a good candidate for pre-n MIMO hardware.

Just what kind of range gains can you expect? They vary from site to site, but the Belkin Wireless Pre-N Router (F5D8230-4) boasts 800 percent wider coverage over standard 802.11g adapters. You'll hear a lot of comparative stats like that when looking at MIMO devices because adapter placement, office partitions and passing co-workers can affect signal efficacy. How about speed? Also relative, but always better. Buffalo Technology's AirStation MIMO Wireless Cable/DSL Router (WZR-G108) provides up to eight times the speeds you're used to with 802.11g. You'll find the greatest speed gains at the edges of your network, where older Wi-Fi protocols would normally fade. One notable Buffalo feature is its AirStation One-Touch Secure System, a quick way to get your WPA security up and running. Your other adapters also need to be equipped with the One-Touch system to take advantage.

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