There are now plenty of single-band 802.11n routers to choose from - a huge improvement on the last time we carried out a router Labs, when we could find only six. But high-end dual-band models are fewer and further between; routers provide a much wider choice.
There's no need to despair, however. There are three ways around the problem, which let you use a router to provide wireless access to your ADSL internet connection.
If you're upgrading an older ADSL router, there's no need to throw it in the bin just yet. With a few tweaks here and there, you can still use its modem to connect to the internet, but instead hand the job of wireless connectivity over to a router with more range and speed.
The simplest way is to connect the ADSL router directly to your cable router's WAN port.
Before you do this, however, there are a few settings you need to alter. First, change the cable router's LAN side IP address to something that isn't on the same subnet as that of the ADSL router. Next, set the cable router's WAN side IP to dynamic or automatic (usually found in the device's "internet" settings), and make sure the ADSL router has its DHCP server enabled.
Finally, connect a laptop via Ethernet to the router and you should be sorted. The router will get its IP from the ADSL router, and use NAT (network address translation) to allow devices connected to its wireless network to access the internet through the old router. Don't forget to turn off the wireless on the ADSL router to avoid interference.
If you have trouble getting this setup to work, another more complex method can be employed. First, turn off the DHCP server on the router, disable its firewall and switch off NAT.
If you're lucky enough to own a router with a "use as access point" mode, use that instead. That done, assign it an IP address on the same subnet as the ADSL router, but outside its DHCP server address pool.
For example, if the ADSL router is on 192.168.1.1 and it's configured to hand out DHCP addresses from 192.168.1.2 to 192.168.1.100, then set the cable router's address to 192.168.1.101.
Both of these methods have drawbacks, however. In the first, you're dealing with double NAT, which can make set up of port forwarding and administration of public IP addresses complicated.
The way it should be done
If all this looks frightening (we sympathise), a neater way of achieving the same effect - and one that's far less complicated to troubleshoot if things start to go wrong - is to use an ADSL modem. DrayTek's ingenious Vigor 120 supports ADSL2+ and costs around $53.
It's designed as an ADSL bridge, and in most cases needs no setup at all. All you need to do is plug it in, connect it to your ADSL line and router, then manage the connection just as you would with a standard modem-router. It worked perfectly with all of the award winners this month. The only drawback, of course, is the added cost.