Confusing Route To New Wireless Router

(Article first published as Confusing Route To New Wireless Router on Technorati) Akin to wearing an Italian suit with Buster Brown shoes, I’ve paired my new MacBook Pro with a wireless router I bought in 2005. It isn’t that I’ve run out of money, though have you ever priced a 15-inch Pro with “aluminum uni-body enclosure, advanced longer-lasting battery, and brilliant LED-backlit display”? Wireless routers are as confusing to consumers as chemistry class is to seventh graders. I.P. addresses, port forwarding, D.N.S. servers, 802.11b/g/n. Alphabet soup that all adds up to a disconnect. According to David Pogue of the New York Times, 65 percent of homes in the U.S. have high-speed Internet service, but only half of those have gone wireless. Further, according to Pogue, 25 percent of routers are returned because they prove to be too complicated to set up. I’m frozen in fear, content to run my new laptop and the other computers in the house with a NETGEAR model that I know is outdated. Well, not content, but willing to keep the status quo to ensure connectivity and to maintain the health of my marriage. My options have included the hiring of an “expert” (that has proven in the past to be a disaster), asking those in my network for recommendations (my informal poll has already produced mixed results), and buying a router and hoping for the best (what a way to ruin a Sunday). I’ve long considered wireless routers one of personal technology’s great deals. Routers aren’t overly expensive and you pay once (how come the Internet providers never stuck us with monthly charges for the privilege of having wireless throughout the house?). Further complicating matters are questions of whether I need a repeater (presumably for stronger coverage in far-reaching areas) or a particular router to create a home network. Recent improvements by router makers have brought 24-hour customer service and promises of a positive user experience. But no one has solved the problem. My old router may not be broken but I can hardly say the same for the process of replacing it.