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To be candid, getting a great wireless router is not an easy task. When we say a great router, we mean one that does not only deliver fast internet but is also easy to setup and configure. To make matters worse, manufacturers have taken to the habit of describing their routers with some of the most annoying acronyms consumers can think of. The process of identifying the best router under such circumstance, therefore, gets complicated.
We know for sure how frustrating that can then be for someone who is aiming to have their pick of the best wireless routers on the market. If that is you, then you are in the right place to get that problem solved.
We have gone through the bulk of current wireless routers and picked the very best of them for you.
On this list, you are sure to find just the best, easily configurable and fastest wireless router units you could ever think of.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Wireless Router for Your Home
You should not just go head-on into the purchase of a wireless router. Different models serve different needs. In as simple terms as possible, here are some of the things you need to know before you whip out your wallet for any wireless router unit.
The bands on a wireless router determine the connection speed. Two main bands are recognized with routers, and they are the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
The former option is the most common and would connect to even the most obsolete of devices. The downside to that band is that it gets congested easily and is prone to interference. If you are living in a crowded area, or in an office space where some wireless routers are, you might not enjoy as much speed as you should.
On the other hand, the 5GHz option is relatively new and provides for less cluttering. With 5G, you will be existing in an uncrowded space and still enjoy a faster connection. The choice of which to go for would then depend on your need for speed, surroundings and of course, pocket.
Speaking of pocket, pricing is something that should be factored into consideration too. An average user should not shell out the big bucks for a top-shelf router if they won’t be making optimal use of it.
While that top-shelf unit might be relevant in the market for a few more years, that does not guarantee its fighting obsolesce.
For those who have heavier connection needs, there is no harm in shelling out the big bucks for high-end routers. If you are just looking for something to get your home computers, game consoles and such other units linked to the internet though, stay with the midrange offerings
3) Smart technology
Buying a router is an investment in the future of your internet connection experience. In the same breath, smart things are the future of the home, so you will want to take that into consideration too.
Some wireless routers are better optimized for home network connections than others. Should you be running a smart home, it would be advisable that you be on the lookout for those that have dedicated support for this.
Now that you have some insight into what to keep in mind while browsing the list, let’s get down to the business of the day, shall we?
1. NetGear Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Router
- Fast wifi performance: Get up to 1800 square feet wireless coverage with AC1900 speed (Dual band up to 600 + 1300 Mbps)
- Recommended for up to 30 devices: Reliably stream videos, play games, surf the internet, and connect smart home devices
One of the things that stand out on the NetGear Nighthawk AC1900 is the inclusion of support for dual-band networks. That is even bettered with support for Amazon Echo and Alexa. On a bigger scale, that means you get one wireless router that could go on to make your smart homework.
Going under the hood of this unit, there is a 1GHz dual-core processor for seamless operation. That is the kind of thing to be expected on a wireless router that promises to support lag-free gaming, increase mobile connectivity speeds by as much as 100% and offer to stream in unlimited HD.
The unit needs little to no technical knowledge to set up. After setup, it is promised to work with a wide range of common internet browsers around. The ease of use is further pronounced in the inclusion of parental control functions which can help keep track of/ manage internet usage within the family.
On the media side, the NetGear offering promises a USB 3.0 port. If that does not get you excited, wait till you learn that there is also an in-built iTunes server to aid better streaming of content.
With all of these functions infused into one, this belongs up there with the best wireless router units for the home.
Setting up the NetGear Nighthawk AC1900 does not require any technical know-how whatsoever. With the NetGear Up app, you can install the wireless router from the comfort of your mobile phone.
To do that, you will need to download the app. Afterward, connect to the router and follow the rest of the prompts for installation. Afterward, you will be able to access information on the router right from the comfort of your mobile unit.
The NetGear Nighthawk AC1900 proves that it is more than powerful enough to serve the average homes. It, for one, can give network speeds of up to 1900Mbps. The Dynamic QoS technology in the setup ensures users get the best gaming and streaming experience. On this router, you can forget all about buffering.
The range achieved has always been an issue with wireless routers. While this unit might have a bit of difficulty in reaching the corners of your basement, it will give you better coverage with the beamforming+ technology on board.
Carrying a combination of 3 antennas, broadcasting signals from the dual bands will not be your problem. In fact, you will also find out that your mobile connectivity speeds can increase to up to 100% of the current value you have
Configuring this unit is a breeze. Everything can be done from the comfort of the Up app that was used for the installation too. The best part is that you can hook up old computer models in the house to this router. However, there is no gainsaying that you will get the best experience from newer units.
When getting newer gadgets synced with the router, make sure to get them on the 5G bands. Only then you can truly enjoy the internet speed that you deserve. The AC1009 will support all major operating systems (Windows, Mac, and Linux). As stated above, you will also be able to use the common place internet browsers with the router
The AC1900 will truly make your devices much faster. PS4s, iPhones, iPads, Tablets, Baby Monitors and every other gadget in the home that can connect to the internet will enjoy the higher speed that the router brings on board. The user interface for setup is also a likable and user-friendly one.
Should there be limitations in the internet speed, the connected device might be the case, not the AC1900. Older gadgets can only connect to the 2.4GHz band which is limited in speed as compared to the newer 5GHz band
- Access Control feature prevents unauthorized access to the network
- Mega speed of up to 1900Mbps across various units.
- Inclusion of a prioritized bandwidth to support video and music streaming
- Built-in support for iTunes server to further boost media streaming
- Availability of free backup software for Windows PC and Macs
- Improved range and performance
- Dynamic QoS to ensure lag-free gaming
- Packs support for Amazon Echo/ Alexa
- Installation does not require any technical know-how
- Features dual bands for better connectivity options
- Lacks support for the DD-WRT alternative firmware
- Connectivity may start to dwindle after a relatively short runtime
- Firmware updates come slow
2. TP-Link Archer AC1750 Wireless Router
- Router for wireless internet, works with Alexa, compatible with all Wi-Fi devices, 802.11ac and older
- Dual band router upgrades to 1750 Mbps high speed internet (450mbps for 2.4GHz, 1300Mbps for 5GHz), reducing buffering and ideal for 4K streaming
Three beautifully positioned antennas are the first set of things that feed the sight, on seeing the TP-Link Archer AC1750. The good news is that this beautiful unit is more than just aesthetics.
On the inside, there are three more antenna units for better range, performance, and connectivity. The router comes with support for 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, providing speeds of up to 450Mbps and 1300Mbps on both respectively.
Furthermore, the design of the unit is such that there are two USB 2.0 ports on board. That would aid easy connection to other units (such as printers) in the home/ office space.
One of the other things that easily make this a feature on the list of the best routers out there is the option of free lifetime support from the manufacturer. Looking through different router reviews on the internet, you will agree that no price can be put on quality customer support.
As great as this unit is, we are not too pleased with the offering of only a single core CPU. Although it makes up for that in speed and connectivity options, the router would easily have been able to do more with at least, one extra core in the mix.
TP-Link makes setting up their AC1750 an easy task for even a first-time user. By using the TP-Link Tether application, the user can easily get through the installation and setup process of their router.
This application has been made available for users of both Android and iOS platforms too. Shipping with a friendly user interface, there is little to no chance of getting lost within the app.
Aside from setting up the wireless router from the comfort of your phone, the app also lets you do so much more. You can access quickly to Wi-Fi settings like, guest privileges, latest firmware updates for your unit and scheduling, to mention but a few.
Setting up the AC1750 to work with any device after installation is not a herculean task. From the Tether application, different gadgets in the house can be chosen for connection. You will have to specify a secure login and password for your devices to ensure no one steals data from you.
This will go for iPhones, iPads, other phones and even, gaming consoles that will be on the network. Devices connected to the 5GHz band will enjoy faster connections than those on the 2G network.
It is recommended that you install old computer models/ gadgets (or those that do not need blazing internet to operate) to the 2G network and leave the 5G band free for your high-end devices.
The AC1750 is configured in such a way that allows it support dual bands at the same time. The unit offers a combined speed of 1750Mbps at the maximum – 1300Mbps for the 5G connection and the remainder 450Mbps for the 2.4GHz band.
The Archer comes with the latest Wi-Fi standard technology (802.11ac), helping to deliver three times faster speed than the conventional wireless routers. At these speeds, buffering is greatly reduced when streaming videos of up to 4K resolution quality.
An impressive performance feature is the presence of two USB 2.0 ports, making it easier to share your media content wirelessly with the rest of your connected devices.
The AC1750 is an excellent router that combines the best of service and performance. The unit comes with a 3-year warranty on it for the best after-sales experience. In the case of any damage or fault (that is covered under warranty, of course), the company issues a replacement unit on receipt of the old one.
Not sacrificing on performance and keeping in tune with quality service, this router has it all.
- Six powerful antennas give the router a better range of performance
- Presence of 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports makes for faster connection to consoles and PCs
- 2 USB ports make it easy to share printers and external drives on the network
- Dual bandwidth makes way for connection and running of all home devices conveniently
- Mobile interface on the TP Link Teether app is very intuitive and user-friendly
- Product ships with an industry-leading 2-year warranty
- Availability of free lifetime customer support
- CPU only contains a single core
- No USB 3.0 port on board
3. Apple AirPort Express
Apple also showed that they could have a hand in the wireless router market with the introduction of their AirPort Express MC414LL/A. The unit is unique in the sense that it doesn’t use any external antenna.
Even at that, it knows just how to manage connectivity efficiently. The router comes with support for dual bands ensuring you can set up your old and new units to run simultaneously and without lagging.
Talking about setting up units, this router is restricted in the kinds of connections it can take. Like with most Apple products, the giant software company has pushed to keep things within the ecosystem by making the router compatible with only iOS and Mac OS-running units. That allows for setup of iPhones, iPads, and Macs on the network.
On the back of the AirPort Express MC414LL/A is a UBS port through which you can connect your external drives. Furthermore, the router even comes with support for Airplay. Simply put, you will be able to connect to your wireless surround sound system and stream iTunes music from anywhere you are in the house. Provided such areas are under coverage, that is.
Finally, Apple considers the security of your unit so much that they included a firewall in the built-in Airport Express to block malicious attempts to log on to your home network.
The AirPort Express MC414LL/A can only be configured on devices that run on iOS and Mac OS. That includes all iPhones, iPads and Mac units. To set up on iPhones and iPads, you will need to connect the gadget via a cable modem to the router. You will then need to create your wireless network profile.
For those using Mac OS, get the Airport Utility application. The app comes with OS X Lion operating system and above, so it should be a much simpler process if you are in those versions.
From the Utility application on your desktop/ laptop, setup is always very easy with the intuitive and interactive user interface.
Performance is guaranteed on the unit due to the presence of dual bands. The unit has been developed with a lot of Wi-Fi variants in mind. Users will be able to connect devices that use Wi-Fi options such as the 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. That way, no unit in the house will have a problem with connecting.
A USB port at the back of the unit makes it easy to share your media wireless with every other unit in the house. You will also be able to use your wireless router to send files over the air to your printer unit at any time. Inbuilt support for iTunes supports music streaming or playing from your library.
Every unit that will be on the wireless router will have to be connected and configured separately. That is the best option since it allows you choose what bands will apply to what gadgets.
It is advisable to put the units that need less connection speed on the 2.4GHz network and reserve the 5G for your prime units. You can also create a guest network for friends and visitors so that their connections don’t disrupt your setup.
The Wi-Fi router also works great as a Wi-Fi extender. It can be used to amplify signals from another Wi-Fi router without lagging. Unlike most units, the router does not require constant rebooting or seamless operation.
- Comes with support for dual bands
- Guest-mode makes it possible to have a template for visiting users
- Doubles as a Wi-Fi extender
- Unique design without antenna
- Supports a wide range of Wi-Fi variants
- The router will only connect to iOS and Mac OS units
- Only one USB port is available
4. Linksys AC1900 – Wireless Router
- Provides up to 1,500 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage for 15+ wireless devices
- Works with existing modem, simple setup through Linksys App
The tabletop is touted to support homes that have as much as 12 computer units and more. With that claim, this can easily go on to be the best home wireless router out there.
It Packs a total of 3 external antennas, the dual-band router promises a combined speed of up to 1900Mbps. On top of that, there is additional support for external connections to drives and consoles via any of the 4-gigabit ethernet ports in the design. Those are coupled with two UBS ports, one at 3.0 and the other at 2.0.
At the heart of the AC1900 is a 1.4GHz processor to provide extremely fast speed for all data transfers occurring on the network. The router itself will allow you share your home network with guests without disrupting your network setup. It also allows you to prioritize which devices need faster internet over others.
The best part for home users is the parental control option. Even in your absence, you can set limits as to what content your children can look at on the internet, how long they should be able to stay connected for and how much of data they can use at any time.
Linksys has managed to smuggle in a neat feature on the AC1900 that will allow you block some devices from ever connecting to your network. That will come in handy when you have nosy neighbors that will try anything to use your Wi-Fi network.
Installing the router is as easy as ABC. Simply connect the router to a power source and an internet modem. The quick start guide will show you how to connect your computer to the Linksys secure network. From there, every other thing will be done as per the prompts on the screen.
Dual bands ensure you get the best connection experience from the router. Devices that are linked to the 2.4GHz network are promised speeds of up to 600Mbps. 5GHz band users, on the other hand, will make use of more than twice that speed at 1300Mbps.
Instead of having your router send out signals in a general direction, Beamforming technology helps you concentrate signals on some particular devices in the home. That gives a result of faster speed, even better range and a stronger connection.
The inclusion of a USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet ports easily makes this option one of the best routers in the market. Finally, the Smart Wi-Fi app (exclusive to Linksys) helps you prioritize what computers need better and faster connection.
The exclusive Smart Wi-Fi application brings all the configuration tools needed to the palm. Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the application can be used to manage everything that relates to the Wi-Fi network: setting up, usernames, passwords, management of devices and so much more.
It also allows for the creation of a guest network whose password you can then share with friends and family over text messaging/ email. That is in addition to being able to set various parental control limits and block certain units from ever connecting to the network.
The AC1900 is impressive as to the speed it provides. It keeps up to its promise of being able to work with several connected units all at once. The antenna on the unit lives up their reputation too, offering a wide connection range.
While there might be some issues with tech support and buggy appearances on the Parental control settings, that does not make this router less great.
- Offers a great deal of speed across both bands
- Modified to work seamlessly with Amazon Alexa
- Connects more than 12 devices at once without lagging
- Dedicated Smart Wi-Fi application for easy management
- 4x Gigabit ethernet ports
- USB 3.0 port
- Lots of ‘coming-soon’ features yet to hit the market
- Parental Controls is prone to being buggy
5. NetGear AC1200 – Fast WiFi Router
- FAST WiFi PERFORMANCE: Get up to 1200 sq ft wireless coverage with AC1200 speed (Dual band up to 300 + 900 Mbps).
- RECOMMENDED FOR UP TO 20 DEVICES: Reliably stream videos, play games, surf the internet, and connect smart home devices.
NetGear dialed down a little on its AC1200 unit, suggesting it might be for homes with lesser connection and internet needs.
It is a dual-band router that can only reach a combined speed of 1200Mbps. That is divided between the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands with each offering 300Mbps and 900Mbps respectively. The design of the router is even more unique in that it only carries two antennas. That is a change from the three antenna units we have come to know.
While it might not be the best option for those that need top of the graph speeds, the wireless router packs some interesting features to make up for its sacrifices. On one hand, is the option to upgrade the router to support new AC devices. In that sense, the router will work well with AC units rated N150, N300, and N600.
On the other hand, this same unit provides the user with 1 USB 2.0 port for easy sharing of data on the wireless network. For faster-wired sharing, users will be able to take advantage of 5 ethernet ports. 4 of these work with LAN while the last one supports WAN.
Various Wi-Fi router reviews support that the AC1200 is one of the easiest to install models we have on this list.
The AC1200 comes with a dedicated NetGear genie app for easy setup and installation. The application works on both Android and iOS devices.
After downloading and installing, the Genie app will walk the user through the installation process for their unit. Due to the friendly user interface, this should not take long, even for the non-tech-savvy user.
The AC1200 is equipped with a CPU that supports dual-band units and aids easy switching to an AC network. According to the specifications, the combined 1200Mbps top speed is divided between the two bands. The 5GHz band, of course, has the bulk of this at 900Mbps while the 2.4Ghz band steps in to claim the remaining 300Mbps
Media sharing is made possible via the USB 2.0 port on board. For other connections to printers and other external gadgets, 4 LAN ethernet ports and one supported on WAN will step up to the plate.
Dual bands make it possible for the NetGear AC1200 to pair different devices with different connection needs at the same time. Older computer models and gadgets in the house can be grouped onto the 2.4GHz network. They will not require much of an internet connection and will surely not be able to use any other band other than this one.
Game consoles, smart TVs, and new computer units (as well as phones and other gadgets) can be connected to the 5G network. At 900Mbps, lagging will be eliminated during gameplay, and buffering while streaming done away with.
For wired transfers, ethernet ports are available at the back of the unit. Likewise, media sharing over the network is made possible with a USB 2.0 port in the design.
Although the AC1200 might not be able to deliver for more than seven devices at once, it makes up for that by giving the strongest network to each of these units. Setup is very easy to get through too.
One advantage of the unit is that you can set up both frequencies to run with the same password. That way, when one frequency has an issue, the device automatically connects to the next one by itself.
- Very sleek and compact design
- Dual band network frequency
- Connects more than 5 devices at once
- 5x Ethernet ports
- 1x USB port
- No USB 3.0 port on board
- 900MBps is low for heavy users
- 3 antennas would have made for even longer reach
6. TP-Link Archer AC1900 – Dual-Band WiFi Router
- Wave 2 Wireless Internet Router, 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band, Works with Amazon Alexa
- MU-MIMO Gigabit Router, Three simultaneous data streams help your devices achieve optimal performance by making communication more efficient
Another offering from TP-Link gives a total connection speed of 1900Mbps, as evident from the name. Another thing that could have been easily determined is that this is most likely going to be a dual-band router.
On the outside of the wireless router are three detachable antennas. The Archer C1900 has a 1GHz CPU at its core to ensure connection and operations are run seamlessly. The CPU impresses even more by carrying a dual core. Gaming, streaming and sharing files wirelessly, will not be able to tire out this router unit anytime soon.
The design features a setup of 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 1 WAN port. These can be used to connect devices and external hard drives to ensure faster file transfers on the home network. Above that, two USB ports cannot be missed – one with USB 2.0 capabilities and the other offering USB 3.0 options.
To ensure a stronger connection a beamforming technology was thrown into the mix. That way, the router targets Wi-Fi enabled devices around the house instead of just sending signals in random directions.
Packing support for smart home installations such as Amazon Alexa, the Archer AC1900 could easily make for the best home wireless router you can get. Like many products from TP-Link, this router will also get free lifetime support.
Installation of the unit can be done from the comfort of the TP-Link Tether application. This app is supported on both Android and iOS devices.
Once downloaded, the router can then be connected to the application and installed for the home network.
The router sports a very nice design and intuitive user interface, the application does not require any expertise to navigate.
Before going to the bands on this router, the CPU is one worth talking about. A clock speed of 1GHz might be considered little, but put that on dual cores, and you have a powerhouse.
This CPU makes sure you can handle all the heavy tasks – video streaming (up to 4K quality), large downloads, heavy gaming and so much more – without having to skip a beat.
The deal is sweetened with dual bands that can reach a combined 1900Mbps. The 2.4Ghz frequency for older models will reach a speed of 600Mbps, leaving the rest 1300Mbps for 5Ghz bands.
On the body of the unit are various ports for easy wire transfers and media sharing across devices. A USB 3.0 port, for example, ensures you get 10x faster speeds than you were used to for file transfers. To round off, Beamforming will make sure the router signals are focused on your devices, even when you are moving around with them.
Setting up the unit to work with your devices is just like most others. Due to the presence of dual bands, you will want to choose what units connect to which band.
It is better to put the older computer models and gadgets that are far from the router in your house on the 2.4GHz band. That will also be a suitable frequency for home gadgets that don’t need high-speed connections to operate. Newer computer models and gadgets you use frequently that are close to the router should be put on the 5Ghz band.
The USB ports can be connected to external storage media (or even your printers) to facilitate easy sharing of data across various units on your home network
The TP-Link Archer AC1900 is not only a beauty to behold, but also makes great use of space. When it comes down to performance, this is one router that will always deliver. It ensures faster internet speeds, faster connectivity, and prolonged reliability. Streaming of videos is now without buffering, and pages open much quicker when using the router.
- Combined 1900Mbps speed
- Beamforming technology for the best experience
- Dual bands
- Free lifetime supports
- An industry leading 2-year warranty
- 1GHZ CPU
7. Google WiFi System 3-Pack for Whole Home Coverage
- A new type of connected system for seamless WiFi coverage throughout your home, helping eliminate dead zones and buffering
- Replaces your current router, and works your modem and internet service. It’s compatible with major internet service providers including Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon Fios
When Google sets its mind to something, there is usually no doubt about the reliability of such a thing when it does come to fruition. The Wi-Fi system comes with a set of 3 points that promise to improve the way you have always consumed Wi-Fi data in your home.
The units, which make a bold claim to replace your current router, will help get rid of dead internet zones in your home. Each of the pods in the set is called points and will be able to cover a distance of 1500 square foot in range. That makes the full set of 3 powerful combinations that covers about 4500 square feet. Without even trying, they could substitute as the fastest wireless router you have ever tried.
Enough chitchat. Reaching into the technical books, one sees that these units can reach a combined speed of 1200Mbps. We say combined because they feature both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands.
There are 2 Gigabit ethernet points on every point. By design, one of these will act as a LAN port while the other will support WAN. When multiple units/ points are added to the same home network though, the ethernet points on those will serve mainly as LAN ports instead.
The good news for those that still have models at hand is that the points will support Wi-Fi versions 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac.
As Google is the prime company behind Android operating systems, it is not much of a shocker that an Android unit and Google account are required to install and setup the Wi-Fi System points. Get the Google Wi-Fi application and connect to the points with that. From there on, setup is a joy on its own.
Note that the application will only be supported on Android devices that run Android 4.0 and above.
Various wireless router reviews support that the unit will improve the internet and connectivity speeds around covered areas by a huge percentage. The rate at which these units will work is dependent on the size of the space they are supposed to cover. It is recommended that a point/ unit be deployed per 1500 sq. Ft.
Carrying dual bands, the points have a combined maximum speed of 1200Mbps on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. They also make sharing data over wired transfers faster with the inclusion of one LAN and WAN units each.
When more than one units are being used around the coverage area, only the primary point will have a WAN point, rendering all other gigabit ethernet ports LANs. Asides supporting older models of computers and gadgets, support for a broad spectrum of Wi-Fi versions makes the points ideal for diverse generations of computers.
After installation, you will want to configure the unit according to different device needs. Old models and those that won’t need much connection speeds will go on the 2.4Ghz frequency while the heavy units connect to the 5Ghz frequency instead.
Parental control functions can also be set up. Asides letting the parents/ guardians control the kind of content their wards see; the parental control feature also allows for pausing of the Wi-Fi connection to these units.
Guest profiles can even be created to enable you to share your Wi-Fi connection with friends and family without having to disrupt your main network setup.
The Google Wi-Fi System points help to eliminate the problems of connectivity that comes with a large and multi-storey building. With the possibility of having different points at different locations, they work way better than Wi-Fi extenders to bring amazing connection speeds to linked devices.
- Units can be used as an extension of the other
- Covers a large range
- Takes little space
- ‘Network Assist’ feature to keep itself fast
- 2x Gigabit ethernet ports for WAN and LAN
- Cannot be set up on devices that don’t run the Android OS
- Speed is not exactly the highest on the market
- An absence of USB ports
8. Linksys AC1900
- Wireless AC, up to 4.3x faster than N technology: Simultaneous dual band speed up to 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz) + 1300 Mbps (5 GHz) for media intensive applications
- 4 high performance antennas: Engineered to enhance dual band communication, four external, adjustable antennas ensure supreme Wi Fi signal strength in multilevel homes and small offices
Another dual-band wireless router from Linksys, this one will reach a combined speed of 1900Mbps across both bands. That does not begin to tell the interesting part of the story though.
The first amazing thing about this router is the massive 1.6GHz CPU at the heart of it. Linksys goes on to throw an additional 512MB of RAM into the unit. That not only improves the storage capacity but the rate at which files are transferred. Understanding that this is a unit likely to be fancied by advanced users, it is a no-brainer why the manufacturers would allow an optional open source firmware.
On the outside, there are four adjustable antenna units. These antenna units are backed by high-power amplifiers to help them transmit signals to the deepest parts of the home. On top of that, beamforming – which helps concentrate signals on connected units rather than just send them out in general directions – gives a faster connection to your devices.
We wouldn’t have done the exterior of this router justice if we didn’t mention a USB 3.0 port and another 2.0 port. Combined, they promise the user faster data sharing among devices on the network. With all these, it won’t be out of place if this stole the trophy for the best wireless router and ran away with it.
Like most Linksys wireless routers, the unit is also supported on the exclusive Smart Wi-Fi application. The app can be downloaded on both Android and iOS units from where it would be used to install the router on home networks. From the comfort of that app, users can perform various tasks such as setting passwords, managing parental controls and giving connection priority to some computer units over others.
As a plus, each router ships with a Quick Start guide, CD-ROM with installation details and necessary cables (ethernet, power cord, and power adapter). Everything needed for an easy installation.
A 1.6GHz CPU sets the pace for every other performance highlight. The simultaneous dual bands offer as much as 600Mbps for 2.4Ghz networks and an impressive 1300Mbps for 5G connections. The CPU is allocated as much as 512MB of memory that will support faster connections and data sharing among connected units.
Speaking of data sharing, the USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports offer a much faster way of linking up hard drives and printers to the home network. What advanced users will find most appealing is the option to customize the router with the open source firmware.
After installation of the router on the Smart Wi-Fi application, a slew of a configuration option is made available to the user. Dual band technology offering 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity options are suitable for old models/ gadgets that don’t need blazing connection speeds to work well, and new models/ consoles that have a high connection need respectively.
The router can also be configured to share Wi-Fi with friends and family based on a guest profile. That is not to mention included support for parental control features
The router lives up to its name regarding speed, connectivity, and range. It easily passes as one of the best units there are in the market for now. Where there might be a bit of issue is with the security options.
Even though it is set up with a password, care should be taken to ensure it doesn’t go back to being an open connection.
- Powerful 1.6GHz CPU runs the unit
- 512MB of RAM for storage and faster sharing speeds
- Installation and configuration is a breeze
- 4x external antennas
- Beamforming strengthens the Wi-Fi signal
- Optional open source firmware for advanced users
- Connection security is a concern
- Not recommendable for average users/ homes
9. NetGear Nighthawk X10 – Quad-Stream WiFi Router
- Fast Wi-Fi performance: Get up to 2500 square feet wireless coverage with AD7200 speed (Tri-band up to 800 + 1733 + 4600 Mbps - for 60Ghz band devices)
- Recommended Up To 45 Devised: Reliably stream videos, play games, surf the internet, and connect smart home devices
NetGear went all out with their Nighthawk X10. This is a wireless router that features four antennas like the above. What it adds to spice things up is a total of 6 Gigabit Ethernet ports. All of these work on LAN to ensure more home units can enjoy a wired connection to one another.
Based on a quad stream architecture, older models will not find a place with the 5GHz frequency that is supported on the router.
The CPU of this router clocks an impressive 1.7GHz on a total of four cores. It combines that with the quad-stream to give users high-speed connections for 4K video streaming and VR gaming. For it to handle the latter, and at that CPU clock speed, it is the fastest wireless router yet on this list. It gets interesting though.
With MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple Input, and Multiple Output), it is possible to run simultaneous streaming on devices. As a plus, the device comes with six months of unlimited data storage to Amazon Drive.
That provides a great way to keep precious files on USB drives safe. Dynamic QoS ensures you can prioritize your connection according to various devices on the network. Finally, the dedicated Plex Media Server is developed to make all your media consumption needs a breeze.
Setting up the Nighthawk X10 for first-time use is as easy as downloading the NetGear Up App. Available on both iOS and Android operating systems, the app helps you get the router installed and properly set for your home network.
It also offers a slew of other management tools to help you get the best out of the router. Complete with an interactive user interface, setup will not take long for even the newbie router user.
It is hard to beat the speed that will come from a CPU clocked at 1.7GHz. Optimized to follow 5GHz connections only, the router promises to reach up to 7200Mbps of speed. That is understandable due to the quad-core technology used, with each core capable of delivering 1400Mbps. At this speed, no lag is to be expected with the heaviest VR gaming nor should there be buffering on 4k video streaming.
With Dynamic QoS, the router allows mapping of varying connection speeds to different devices. The addition of a Plex Media server further makes it possible to enjoy media from USB drives in a seamless way.
The rest of the wired units in the home are then taken care of with the presence of 6 Gigabit Ethernet ports for faster data sharing
The router is touted as a tri-band unit. The tag is significant in that your devices will automatically move on to the next best band that your router has found to establish a connection on.
Multiple users will be able to get set up on the network and use the simultaneous streaming feature. To take full advantage of the speed, you will have to configure your gaming systems and media devices for streaming individually to the unit.
The 60Hz band might turn out to be useless at times, but the 5GHz frequency is an ever-reliable one. It will supply faster connection speeds across devices and support stream on multiple units. The built-in plex service for media consumption is a very welcome development.
Probably one of the most natural design elements of the unit is the option to turn off the LED lights. Simultaneous streams on multiple devices with various users is well handled by the router, even when the streaming is done at up to 1080p resolutions.
- Massive 7200Mbps of speed
- 4x external antennas for wider reach
- Quad core CPU
- Simultaneous streaming at high resolutions
- Ideal for VR gaming
- Built-in Plex Media Server
- Option to turn off LED lights
- 60Hz band can be gimmicky
- Installation can be problematic sometimes
10. TP-Link Talon AD7200 – Tri-Band Gigabit Router
- Connect every device on an incredibly smooth network with complete, ultra fast in room coverage using 802.11ad, the latest, most powerful innovation in wireless technology
- Stream a 4K movie in minutes, and instantly share thousands of files and photos on the 60 GigaHertz band
TP-Link will not want to be left out of the band of brands that offer a router with extreme speeds, hence the Talon AD7200. Unlike the now common dual bands, the Talon makes use of a triband system to reach a combined speed of 7200Mbps. At such speeds, it is nearly tautological to state that simultaneous streaming and gaming experience will improve by a landslide.
The unit carries a total of eight antennas that are designed to send signals to the otherwise dead zones of your home. The Wi-Fi router also makes use of beam-steering technology to reach your devices better. Simply put, what the beam steering feature does is detect connected units and then chart out a clear path to them, even if there is a blockage along the way.
This Talon AD7200 unit follows most wireless routers from TP-Link in being supported by the Tether app from the company. The application can be downloaded on mobile units running either on Android or iOS operating systems. From there, setup is as easy as following the commands on the screen.
After installation, some other things can be done from the comfort of the app. That includes assigning a name to the home network, setting a password and making parental control choices, among other things.
A dual-core 1.4GHz CPU is at the heart of this router. That is just the kind of processing power needed to carry three bands that will reach a combined 7200Mbps.
Speaking of three bands, the router features an all-new 60Hz band in addition to the existent 2.4GHz and 5Ghz options. Devices connected to the 60Hz residency will receive as much as 4600Mbps. Other units in the home that are set up on 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz networks will make do with 1700+Mbps and 800Mbps speeds respectively.
For wired connections, there are 4 Gigabit LAN ports and an extra port for WAN connections. Media sharing over the home network is made possible with the inclusion of 2 USB 3.0 ports.
The 60Hz band is relatively new, so don’t expect your computer to have it yet (even if it is the latest model on the market). You can be assured of getting 5GHz bands on new computer models though, while you restrict the old ones to the 2.4Ghz band.
It is safe to say that the Talon AD7200 is very easy to set up. Make a note to switch your connection to a private one though, lest everyone in the area try to get a slice of your Wi-Fi. One of the most impressive features of the unit is that devices connected to the 2.4Ghz and 5GHz bands will always switch to the fastest connection they see available to give the best experience.
- Support for triband frequencies
- Ample Ethernet cords for external device connections
- Two USB 3.0 ports
- 8x external antennas
- 1x internal antenna
- Impressive speeds across various bands
- 60Hz band might be useless for most units
- Doesn’t support Wi-Fi versions besides 802.11ad
11. TP-Link N450 – Wireless Wi-Fi Router
- Wireless N speed up to 450Mbps, ideal for bandwidth-intensive tasks like HD video streaming, VoIP, and online gaming. Not compatible with phoneline internet.
- 802. 11n technology, 15x faster with 5x the range of 802. 11g, Three antennas for increased coverage and stability, System Requirements - Microsoft Windows 98SE, NT, 2000, XP, Vista or Windows 7,...
This router is Yet another offering from TP-Link, the selling point of this router lies in its appeal to the average and entry-level wireless router enthusiasts.
The entire package comes with a modest arrangement of three antenna sticks. Inside the unit lies a single core processor with the ability to drive connection speed up to 450Mbps. The wireless router comes with no fewer than four ethernet ports, but no USB port in sight. It also misses salient features like support for online gaming, VR, and 4k/ HD video streaming.
It makes up in part for these by throwing other necessities such as a solid 2-year warranty program and signal-targeting options (based on the Dynamic QoS) into the mix.
Simply getting the TP-Link Tether app on either of an Android or iOS unit will get the job done. The router should be connected to the application interface and then installed from there.
The installation will require the setting of parameters such as the name of the network, password to be used on it and what kind of connection to be run. For personal use, don’t forget to change the network type to Private.
A single core processor is not exactly top of the shelf, but it will get the job done for an average user. The router itself can offer up to 450Mbps of speed. The downside is that it will only work well with older models of computers and gadgets. Even though latest models too will work in the 2.4Ghz band, they won’t be at their optimum.
Four Ethernet ports will aid faster sharing of data with a wired transfer. Unfortunately, there are no USB ports to do the same in the case of media transfers. Beamforming is among the notably absent features. That list is then completed by the lack of parental control options, guest network programming, and online gaming/ 4K video streaming.
Computers and gadgets can only be set up to use the 2.4Ghz network. Due to how cluttered this network can be at times, it is recommended to leave as fewer devices as possible connected to the router at any one time. That way, the other units can make better use of all the available connection.
When looking for a wireless router that belongs to the up and coming market, it is hard to beat the features provided by the N450, and at the price, it comes from.
- 4x ethernet ports
- Ideal for entry level or average user
- QoS helps allocate bandwidth to different devices on the network
- Router is backward-compatible with 802.11b/g
- Only 2.4GHz band is available
- 4K video streaming and online gaming are not supported
Best Wireless Routers for Home – Buying Guide
Here is a comprehensive buying guide for best wireless routers to have a deep insight for a better decision.
With most online video games, video streaming, and smart home technology demanding high bandwidth internet, older routers are pushed more and more past their capacities and overwhelmed. While most of us take our Wi-Fi networks for granted, no one actually enjoys the task of replacing their wireless router.
More than one or two devices are connecting concurrently on the same Wi-Fi network and try to transfer huge loads of data around. In effect, routers that work based on older Wi-Fi standards deliver the poor performance which is witnessed in the form of slow online gaming, dropped connections, web pages loading at a snail’s pace, stuttering or buffering videos
Because shopping for wireless routers may be somewhat confusing, many people prefer not to interfere with their existing Wi-Fi network even if it needs upgrading. Nevertheless, sooner or later you will need to replace your old router. If you choose to upgrade, here is a handy guide to help you buy a suitable replacement router.
Types of wireless routers
You’re shopping around for the best wireless router for your office or home network but you’re stuck at a crossroad. Do you shop for a wireless G, N or AC router?
Before looking at the various types of wireless routers, it’s important to note that in 1997, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers devised the WLAN 802.11 standard which all wireless routers were supposed to adhere to at the time. However, the main issue with this standard was that it was extremely slow which necessitated further manufacturing improvements which are captured by the different letter designations.
Wireless B or 802.11 B: Routers featuring only wireless B are no longer produced today. Nevertheless, a number of newer routers still accommodate wireless B whose maximum transfer rate is 11mbps. It operates at the 2.4GHz band.
Wireless G or 802.11 G: Likewise, its frequency range is 2.4GHz while its maximum transfer rate is 54mbps. Wireless G routers face the same interference issues as wireless B devices. Apparently, a wireless G router has better speed than a wireless B router.
Wireless N or 802.11 N: It accommodates a maximum transfer rate of 300 mbps using 2 antennas. In fact, with 3 antennas it can reach a total of 450mbps. It can operate at the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency range. Generally, wireless N devices support multiple signals and boast of better signal range compared to wireless G routers.
Wireless AC or 802.11 AC: This is the latest standard in the market today. Wireless AC is also known as Gigabit Wi-Fi. Basically, it supports a maximum transfer rate of 1 Gigabyte per second. Moreover, it also boasts of a stronger signal power compared to wireless N, affording it larger coverage area. If you want the best speeds or better coverage for your entire home, consider 802.11 AC routers.
Whether you are upgrading or setting up a new Wi-Fi network, the wireless router is undoubtedly the heartbeat or nucleus of the whole setup. It may be the difference between an almost perfect network and a sluggish one. If you’re thinking about upgrading your Wi-Fi network, consider the following factors before shopping for a replacement router.
Speed: Do not confuse the speed of the wireless router with that of your internet. In fact, they are completely different. Nevertheless, the speed of a router can affect your Wi-Fi experience. Choose a router that can comfortably handle the speed of your internet. Normally, it’s quite frustrating when watching an online video and it starts to stutter or buffer. In conjunction with high speed internet connectivity, a high speed wireless router helps to maintain a buffer-free wireless connection as long as you are within the frequency range of that router. Choose 802.11 AC wireless routers if you want faster speeds and better performance over Wi-Fi networks.
Range: Wireless routers can only reach up to a specific distance before Wi-Fi connection becomes unachievable. To achieve a wider range, the best wireless routers come with external antennas which allow the entire home, especially large houses to enjoy reliable internet connectivity. Alternatively, you may opt for a mesh network. Mesh home Wi-Fi systems, basically, consist of 2 or 3 small routers that work collectively to extend the range of your network without a reduction in speed. With a mesh system, the main router is placed in the middle of your home while the other small routers are placed in different rooms. Both the main router and the other small routers provide mesh coverage to your entire home.
Security: While you may like your neighbours, chances are you don’t want anybody connecting to your Wi-Fi without authorization. More importantly, you need to have complete control over your wireless network. Because your router is the gateway to all your internet devices, router security is mandatory. In this regard, your router must support the encryption that’s attached to your network password. Ideally, encryption makes your network password difficult to bypass.
Price: The cost of routers varies from a few dollars to upwards of $ 410. Of course, your budget and needs will eventually determine how much you’re willing to part with. High performance routers are costlier than average ones.
Special features to look for when buying a wireless router for home
When shopping for the best wireless router, you may notice that the different models you’re looking at appear more identical than different especially at first sight. While there are many similarities among wireless routers, hardly do they all provide the same set of features. Here are some important features you should look at before you buy your replacement router.
LAN ports: They serve to connect computing devices to the wireless router by means of an Ethernet cable. A lot of smart-home devices need to be connected to a LAN port to connect to the wireless internet. By adding an Ethernet switch, you can increase the number of available LAN ports besides the built-in ones.
Quality of Service (QoS): If you wish to adjust your computer settings, you will enjoy the flexibility provided by this feature. Based on your undertakings at a given time, you can optimize the performance of your router. For instance, you can adjust the settings to suit video streaming, making online calls, online gaming, or listening to online music. Such applications will be afforded more bandwidth courtesy of the QoS feature.
Dual-band WI-FI: Wireless routers operate on two different frequency ranges -2.4GHz and 5GHz. Typically, the 2.4 GHz band is crowded and thus is more vulnerable to interference and jamming problems. On the other hand, the latest 5GHz frequency range is less congested and provides a high speed connection. A router that operates on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands simultaneously is known as a dual-band is a real boon. Choose a router that can operate on both bands simultaneously.
Guest wireless network: If you often allow visitors to connect to your Wi-Fi network, consider a router that provides a guest network. Basically, your visitors can access your wireless internet connection but prohibited from accessing your local network resources including your printers, and PCs.
Wireless on/off switch: You may wish to momentarily render inoperative your wireless network especially if you’ll be away for a few days. Having a physical button on the router which allows you to disable your Wi-Fi network is a lot more convenient compared to having to access the configuration console.
USB port: A wireless router featuring a USB port allows you to easily share the contents of a flash disk or any other storage device across your wireless connection. Additionally, the router’s USB port also allows you to share access to the webcam, printer and other devices, and copy wireless network settings for fast configuration of new computers.
Choosing the best wireless router for your home
There are different models of wireless routers and your choice will be majorly determined by your needs or lifestyle. Here are three wireless routers that are suitable for your unique needs.
The best lag-free router: If you’re into data intensive activities, video streaming and online gaming, Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router can meet your high bandwidth internet needs. The speed of this router is unmatched thanks to its 1GHz dual core processor and speedy USB 3.0 port. Moreover, its unique Beamforming technology allows the router to focus signal thus increasing the internet speed. The router boasts of a wider Wi-Fi coverage area courtesy of its high powered amplifiers and antennas.
Through the special QoS feature, you can adjust the settings of this router and prioritize bandwidth for streaming videos, online gaming and making Skype calls. Nothing compares to the joyous experience of a buffer-free gaming. Avid lovers of online video games will definitely fall in love with this device and bring it home.
High-bandwidth tasks: There are the online activities that require a lot of bandwidth or else you may end up frustrated with your online experience. For example, online gaming requires high bandwidth internet for a buffer-free gaming experience. The same is true for streaming videos and music online. With over 1300Mbps and 450Mbps wireless speeds over the 5GHz and 2.4 GHz bands, the Archer AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router is the ultimate choice for stutter-free online gaming, HD streaming, and other tasks that require high bandwidth connection.
The simultaneous dual band enjoyed by the Archer 7 offers you the choice of 2 dedicated networks. Basically, simple tasks such as web browsing and sending e-mails are taken care of by the 2.4 GHz frequency range while the faster 5GHz frequency range handles all the bandwidth intensive jobs. If you have a large home or office space, this router makes use of its 3 antennas plus its superior antenna technology to maintain reliable wireless coverage across greater distances.
The Archer 7 also features two multi-purpose USB 2.0 ports, which allow you to share files, printers and media with various devices using your local network. Moreover, your visitors can connect to your network through the Guest Network Access. The Archer AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router comes with a 2-year warranty plus technical support round the clock which you won’t want to miss out on.
Faster downloads: If you love to download online content at greater speeds, then you need to shop for Apple AirPort Express Base Station (MC414LL/A). This is a small, easy-to-setup router that features a lot of the features you would expect to see in a modern wireless router. Among these features include dual-band networking which allows users to enjoy the fastest download speeds since the router chooses the right path with minimal or zero interference.
Another great thing with Airport Express is that it is compatible with most of the wireless standards including wireless A, B, G, N, and AC. Therefore, no matter the type of wireless device you may be using, you can be sure it will work perfectly with this router.
Antennas: All wireless routers have an antenna or antennas for receiving and transmitting signals wirelessly to compatible wireless devices such as laptops and Smartphones. Naturally, the more the number of antennas on a wireless router the better the signal quality and top connection speeds. Basically, several antennas generate streams for data sharing across the network, which affords your devices more bandwidth.
Frequency channels: Single and dual bands are the common frequencies of wireless routers. The single frequency channel operates on the 2.4GHz band and is prone to overcrowding problems. In fact, household appliances like cordless phones, microwave, and Bluetooth devices operate at this low frequency. On the other hand, dual band routers operate on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency ranges. Whether you use your Wi-Fi to browse web pages, send a few e-mails or download the latest movies, a dual band router is your ultimate choice. By operating on both frequencies, a dual band router guarantees increased internet speeds and coverage across the home.
Wireless standard: Wireless routers were created based on the standard 802.11. Due to continued improvements, letter designations have been placed on the original standard to denote newer standards. Ideally, your best bet is the wireless AC router or 802.11 AC. This new standard operates on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies and thus able to transmit more data at increased speeds. To boost coverage for the entire home, consider a mesh network which involves the use of the main router plus two or three small routers. The main router is placed centrally in the home while the small routers are placed in individual rooms. This way, you can have a strong, reliable connection.
Speed: Wireless routers have different speeds listed on their wrapping. Theoretically, a higher number denotes a better internet connection. Note that the speeds listed on most router wrappings are theoretical maximums. The exact speeds depend on various factors like your modem, ISP connection, the design and construction of your residence. To select the right speed, factor in your internet activity. Normally, AC 1200 routers are perfect for the average internet user.
Security: Router security is essential if you want to secure the information on your local network. When buying a new wireless router, take note of the following acronyms, namely WEP, WAP, as well as WAP2. The aforementioned are all Wi-Fi security access protocols, which encrypt your wireless network and force outside devices to enter the right password to get access. The best protocol to choose is WPA2 security. It is more secure than WEP or WAP. Fortunately, most modern routers come with the WAP2 protocol.
FAQs About Wireless Routers
It is basically a network device that you can use to share your internet connection with different computers or devices. The router is attached directly to the modem and then to each device on your network, either via a network cable or wirelessly.
- What factors impact on the speed of Wi-Fi connection?
Location: Place your modem and wireless router in an open space, off the floor, in a space where internet is often accessed. Floors, walls, doors, appliances, and furniture can all hinder or impede your Wi-Fi signal.
The number of connected devices: The more devices connected to your network at a given time, the more likely your internet speed will slow down. Therefore, switch off those devices that are not in use.
Viruses: perform routine virus scans.
- What are 802.11N and 802.11AC? What do these letter and number designations mean?
To begin with, the letter designations denote the wireless standards. Currently, AC is the latest wireless standard. In fact, most new laptops, Smartphones and TV’s are labeled AC. AC wireless devices enjoy higher internet speeds compared to older wireless standards such as A, B, or N.
- What is the best security for my Wi-Fi network?
Wi-Fi security is essential to stop unauthorized users from connecting to your network and slowing down your connection. Today, WAP2 is the best security protocol for your wireless network.
- What is dual band wireless networking?
This refers to the ability to transmit signals on two operating bands, namely the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, concurrently.
Deciding on which are the best wireless routers will be dependent on your needs and budget. For both criteria, this list contains a lot of great options. Still, you have to pick something that is neither surplus to requirements nor lesser than needed.
Considering not just the spec sheet but various wireless router reviews on the internet too, we know you will find a great pick in here.
Hopefully this handy guide can help you shop for the best wireless router and enjoy better speeds and wider coverage in your home or office network.