11 Best Wireless Routers for Strong Connectivity
The Internet has become an important part of our day to day life. Be it your regular socializing on Facebook and Twitter or remote office work, you need to be connected at all times. One of the best ways to ensure seamless connectivity is to ensure that you are using a good quality wireless router! Believe us, getting a good one can improve your efficiency.
Wireless routers have become an essential part of every household these days. Gone are the days of dial-up connections and wired networks where you had to rely on the good-old LAN Cable plugged into your laptop.
Over the past decade, things have gone wireless and these routers of modern day and age help ensure that you are always connected when you’re at your home. One of the biggest problems that emerged in the post-LAN world was of internet dropouts. However, choosing the best wireless router will help ensure you’re connected better than ever before!
We went through hundreds of routers to curate the list of the best performing devices. Here are the perfect wireless routers that you can purchase in 2019. We recommend you go through all of them in detail and then make an informed choice about the one that you should purchase:
NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk AC1750 Dual Band Smart WiFi Router
Linksys Max-Stream AC2200 MU-MIMO Tri-Band WiFi Router
NETGEAR Orbi Wall-Plug Whole Home Mesh WiFi System (RBK33)
Google WiFi system, 3-Pack – Router replacement for whole home coverage – NLS-1304-25
ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router
NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S AC2600 4×4 Dual Band Smart WiFi Router
TP-Link AC1900 Smart Wireless Router
TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
ASUS RT-AC68U Whole Home Dual-Band AiMesh Router (AC1900) for Mesh Wifi System
Belkin N450 Wireless Dual-Band N+Router (Latest Generation)
Verizon FiOS Gateway AC1750 Wi-Fi (G1100)
- Supports AC1750 Bandwidth: Offering speed of 450+1300 Mbps
- USB 3.0 Port Included
- Supports Alexa
- GHz Dual-Core Processor
- Supports over 12 Devices at a time
If you are looking for the best wireless router under $100, look no further! Netgear, which is one of the established and most trusted names when it comes to manufacturing wireless equipment, makes ‘R6700 Nighthawk’, which is the wireless router for all your basic needs. Given the price tag that it comes at, this router definitely punches way above its weight!
The Netgear R6700 Nighthawk comes with 1GHz Dual-Core Processor which ensures its performance remains stable for regular home use. This router has 3 antennas and 4 LAN ports. It also has a USB 3.0 port which ensures you can connect your hard drive to it and stream content over the network with ease. Given that the router supports WiFi speed of up to 1750 Mbps, it makes it one of the best budget wireless routers for those looking forward to buying one.
Furthermore, it is a dual-band router, offering speed up to 300 Mbps on one band and 1750 Mbps on the other. Moreover, it is a great wireless router for gaming purposes too. Given that the router supports such high speeds, users of the Netgear R6700 Nighthawk can enjoy a seamless gaming experience. The router supports Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX, as well as Linux Operating System.
The device offers parental control which ensures that parents can set up certain blocks and filters so that their children can remain safe on the internet. It supports 802.11 AC wireless internet. You can also control the router with your voice if you have an Amazon Echo!
- Easy to set up
- Offers fast speeds at a sub-$100 price point
- Great wireless router for gaming purposes
- Can be voice-controlled via Amazon Echo
- Decent range for a regular household setup
- Some users prefer R6700v2 instead of the regular R6700
- Customer support is painfully slow
- Drops in connectivity after long-term usage
- Supports speeds of 2.2 Gbps across three bands
- Runs on a 716 MHz quad-core processor
- Can be controlled by the Linksys mobile app
- Supports a USB 3.0 port as well as 4 LAN ports
- Features 4 antennas
Linksys is another most trusted brand when it comes to wireless equipment. The Linksys Max-Stream AC2200 is one of the strongest contenders when it comes to wireless routers. It comes at a budget price point, priced below $150, and is great for a home setup as it offers a strong range of connectivity.
The Linksys Max-Stream AC2200 can work with your existing home-modem and does not require you to purchase any special equipment. It offers tri-band connectivity which is significantly faster than older, dual-band WiFi routers. The speed across the three bands is split (5 GHz / 400 Mbps) + (5 GHz / 867 Mbps) + (2.4 GHz / 867 Mbps). Furthermore, the data transfer speeds in this router are quite fast, thanks to the quad-core processor that it runs upon.
Moreover, the router has been built keeping all your home-needs in mind. It ensures that multiple users of the family can perform multiple tasks at the same time. The Linksys Max-Stream AC2200 router offers MU-MIMO (Multiple user – Multiple Input Multiple Output) which ensures multiple inputs and outputs while maintaining a fast speed at the same time. This is one of the perfect wireless routers for streaming purposes. You can easily stream 4K HD content on this and experience no lags or drops.
This router also comes with four Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as one USB 3.0 port which makes sure you can easily connect your printer or hard drive and share it across the network. It also comes along with a Linksys application which makes it easy to control the router using your phone. You can view all the statistics on the app as well as set parental controls and manage your devices. The app can also create a special guest network for your guests to connect.
- Regular updates to the firmware
- Easy to set up
- 8 Mbps + 2 Gbps ports on the back for wired connections
- Wide range of connectivity
- Most homes would not require extenders
- Users using 0.5A connectors are facing frequent dropouts
- Advanced settings are complex to find
- Large downloads seem to affect the entire network instead of that particular band
- Covers up to 5000 Sq. Ft.
- Comes with two extenders
- Supports speeds up to 2.2 Gbps
- Two Ethernet ports
- Can be controlled using a mobile application
Netgear’s Orbi Wall-Plug RBK33 is a mesh WiFi system for your entire home! The device comes with the main WiFi router as well as two satellite extenders which ensure that your entire home gets proper internet access. Together, the three devices can provide internet access in a range of up to 5000 sq. ft. For those who require more coverage, there’s also an option to add more satellites.
The RBK33 is very simple to set up. All you need is to just plug in the satellites and use the mobile app to set things up. It is one of the best wireless routers for those who have a large home or want to cover an entire office floor. The mobile app is user-friendly. Unlike other routers where the app is just a secondary add-on, Netgear has given a lot of thought behind the UX/UI of this app.
This wireless router from Netgear offers tri-band connectivity which makes it significantly faster compared to traditional dual-band routers. This means that you can download stuff, stream a movie and play a game at the same time without neither being affected! Furthermore, the device comes with two Ethernet ports on the rear side, which means you can connect devices such as your printer or your TV with the Ethernet cables.
The Netgear Orbi RBK33 router also comes with a USB 2.0 port, however, it is a non-functional port and unless Netgear upgrades the firmware of the router, you won’t be able to use the port to stream content. However, you would still be able to use it to set up a network printer. Last but not the least, this is one of the best wireless routers when it comes to design. It is a very good looking router which won’t look out of place in any room you decide to place it at!
- Wide range compared to other routers
- Mobile app is very user-friendly
- Router comes pre-paired with a satellite unit
- One of the best-designed WiFi routers
- Can be controlled by voice over Amazon Echo
- Only 2 Ethernet ports
- USB Ports are non-functional
- Technical support and return policies are very complex
- Covers up to 4500 sq. ft.
- Dual-Band WiFi
- Supports Speeds up to 1200 Mbps
- Every WiFi Point has 2 Ethernet Ports
- Can be controlled via the mobile app
Google WiFi is among the most popular names when it comes to the best wireless routers of 2019. Google’s WiFi router comes with the brand credibility of Google and provides users with a great experience. It is a good pick for those looking for a wireless router under $300. It is compatible with almost every household modem as well as with every major internet service provider (ISP) in the country.
This set here is the three-pack router. Each unit provides coverage of up to 1500 sq. ft. which makes the three-pack set provide a coverage of up to 4,500 sq.ft. Google promises a connectivity ‘from the attic to the basement’. It is a dual-band WiFi system which provides speeds up to 1200 Mbps. Moreover, every WiFi point offers 2 Ethernet ports, allowing you to connect devices over a LAN network. The Google WiFi runs on an ‘advanced software’ which ensures that clearest channel and the fastest band is chosen for the needs of the user.
Another great thing about the Google WiFi wireless router is the fact that its companion app is easy to use. It allows the users to perform a number of functions such as sharing connectivity with guests, setting parental controls and even pause WiFi access on kids’ devices to ensure their bedtime and study-time aren’t disrupted.
Google WiFi has been designed in a very attractive manner. It is aesthetically designed and can be placed anywhere in the premises and it would add to the ambiance. However, one thing that has disappointed many users is the absence of a USB Port in this router. This means that users cannot connect their hard disks as shared drives and they can neither connect their printers. Google provides a 24/7 phone-support for this product and also offers a one-year warranty.
- Easy to set up
- One of the most good-looking WiFi routers
- Offers a vast coverage area
- Controlling the router is easy with the Google WiFi application
- 24/7 phone support from Google
- Lack of advanced features
- Users report that the performance on LAN isn’t so good
- No USB port
- Supports Dual-Band Transmission
- Offers speed up to 900 Mbps
- Comes with Three Antennas
- 2 Built-In USB Ports
- 4 LAN Ports and 1 WAN Port
One of the most popular names when it comes to the best cheap wireless routers, ASUS RT-N66U is the perfect fit for anyone looking forward to getting a router under $100. It is best suited for small-sized homes and offers decent speed, albeit not as fast as many of its competitors. Nevertheless, this is the perfect buy for those who don’t use a high-speed internet connection and require a low-cost WiFi router for their use.
The ASUS RT-N66U offers dual-band connectivity which supports internet speeds of up to 900 Mbps. The data-transfer speed supported by the router goes up to 450 Mbps. It comes with 4 LAN ports from where you can plug in your other connected devices. It also comes with one WAN port as well as two built-in USB ports which ensure that you can connect your hard drive and share and stream content over the network. Moreover, this router also supports shared network printers.
The router comes with three antennas which can be attached or detached based on your needs. For coverage in a smaller room, one antenna would suffice but as the reach increases, you’d need to increase the number of antennas too. Users who have been using this ASUS router for some time now have observed that it covers up to 2500 Sq. Ft. with ease. This router can also handle between 8 to 10 simultaneously connected devices without any lag.
In addition to all this, the ASUS RT-N66U also offers a number of advanced features as well as support for parental control. This ensures that parents can block certain type of content to be accessed by their kids, keeping them safe on the internet. Parents can also restrict internet access on kids’ devices to ensure there are no distractions during bedtime or study time, etc.
- Very affordable price
- Good for basic video streaming and gaming
- Strong range of coverage
- Good parental control features
- Can support up to 10 devices with ease
- A little outdated; first model was launched in 2011
- Gets hot sometimes
- Local networking speeds are slow
- Supports Speeds Up To 2.5 Gbps
- Runs on a 1.7 GHz Dual-Core Processor
- 160 MHz Channel Bandwidth
- Offers USB 3.0 and eSATA Ports
- Can be controlled by Voice Using Amazon Echo
Netgear is the top name in the markets when it comes to brands that manufacture wireless routers. This is among the best premium wireless routers from the company, which ensures that the users get every modern-day feature that they need! The Netgear Nighthawk X4S AC2600 comes with four antennas which ensure maximum range of coverage.
It supports dual-band wireless connectivity and offers an MU-MIMO technology system which ensures that the router prioritizes multiple tasks and every user gets optimum speed. The dual-band network offers speeds of 800 Mbps + 1733 Mbps. This is perhaps our favorite model for streaming purposes as it comes with the quad-stream technology which ensures that optimum streaming speeds are delivered to the viewers. The router also provides USB 3.0 ports as well as an eSata port which ensures that users can connect different kinds of devices to the router with ease and share it over the network. It can also support network printers.
It has often been observed that while some WiFi routers provide good connectivity to laptops and other powerful devices, smartphones, a few cordless phones, and tablets often experience network dropouts. However, the Netgear Nighthawk X4S ensures that even mobile users get optimum speeds and good connectivity! This router is also great for gaming purposes.
This Netgear Nighthawk X4S router supports Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX, as well as Linux operating system. This covers pretty much every active Operating System and can work with all computers with ease. It is easy to set up and provides firmware upgrades from time to time. Furthermore, the router can be controlled by a mobile application which makes it easy for the users to view all network related statistics and manage the connections.
- Can easily cover over 3000 sq. ft.
- Regular upgrades to firmware
- Comes with 2 USB ports and 1 eSata port, supports USB 3.0 as well
- The Mobile app makes it easy to manage
- Strong connectivity for smartphones
- Bad customer support
- Occupies too much desk-space
- Advanced features are too complex to set up
- Dual-Band Wireless Router
- Powered By 1 GHz Dual-Core Processor
- Comes with Three Antennas
- 2 Year Warranty and free 24/7 support
- Features a USB 3.0 Port alongside a USB 2.0 Port
The TP-Link AC1900 is the ultimate solution for anyone looking forward to buying a low-cost wireless router for gaming purposes. It is one of the cheapest solutions for your gaming needs and also a robust device if you’re heavy on streaming content. It offers high-speed dual-band connectivity 2.4GHz (up to 600Mbps) + 5GHz (up to 1300Mbps) with speeds of up to 1900 Mbps. This router comes with three antennas which ensure a large coverage radius.
This router makes use of the ‘beamforming’ technology which ensures that connections remain strong. This technology helps the router locate the exact location of the wireless devices and aim their signals towards the device rather than randomly sending out signals all over. This ensures that the signal strength remains strong as it is focused towards that particular device. This also makes sure that the signal strength remains stable even if you move from room to room with a wireless device connected to the router.
Furthermore, this is our choice when it comes to wireless routers for gaming, especially for those who are looking for a low-cost gaming router. Priced in less than $100, the TP-Link AC1900 is preferred by many gamers. The router also comes with a USB 3.0 as well as a USB 2.0 port, which makes sure that users can easily share data over the network. This also allows the users to connect printers over the router and use them as a network printer.
This wireless router also comes out with 4 Ethernet ports which make it easy to connect wired devices with it. Another great thing about the TP-Link AC1900 is that it allows the users to easily set it up and manage it using the TP-Link mobile application. Users can easily customize various features of the router as well as set guest privileges and even parental control over the app.
- Supports up to 4000 Sq. Ft. of coverage
- Easy to set up and manage using the TP-Link Tether app
- Good for streaming as well as gaming purposes
- 2 Year Warranty
- Supports USB connectivity for network sharing
- Lack of advanced features
- Updates are rare and hard to find
- The Guest network cannot be hidden
- Tech support phone number doesn’t connect at times
- Can’t be wall-mounted
- Dual-Band Wireless Router; offers speeds up to 1750 Mbps
- Comes with Three Antennas
- Offers 4 Gigabit LAN Ports along with USB Ports
- The Warranty period is of 2 Years
- Can be controlled by voice using Amazon Echo
TP-Link is a well-known brand when it comes to the world of networking hardware. The Archer A7 is one of their best low-cost offerings In fact, it is one of the best cheap wireless routers available! Priced in at less than $60, the router certainly punches way above its weight! It offers high-speed connectivity of up to 1750 Mbps over a dual-band WiFi network (450Mbps for 2.4GHz + 1300Mbps for 5GHz). Given that this router came out in 2018, it is fairly recent and comes with the latest firmware upgrades from TP-Link.
The company is advertising this router as a ‘family router’ that the entire home can make use of. It is good for all the basic tasks such as streaming, downloading and gaming. TP-Link claims that the router can cover up to 2500 sq. ft. with ease – which is great for most homes offering a coverage ‘from the living room to the backyard.’ Another major claim that TP-Link makes about the Archer A7 wireless router is that it can support over 50 wireless devices connected to it at the same time!
The router also focuses on safety and offers advanced WPA/WPA2 wireless encryption which makes sure that hackers can’t break into your wireless network. Furthermore, the router also offers some excellent parental control features which ensure that the parents can restrict certain kind of content from their kids which might be harmful to them. It is also quite easy to set up guest access on this router. The router is easy to set up and manage using the TP-Link Tether application.
In addition to all this, the Archer A7 from TP-Link is compatible with Alexa as well as IFTTT. This means that you can control the device using voice, as well as automate certain tasks! The router comes with 1 USB 2.0 port which makes it easy to connect devices and have data shared over the network. You can also connect your printer with the Archer A7 and use it as a network printer! The device offers a 2-year warranty which is great as well.
- Comes in at a fairly reasonable price point
- Easy to manage using the mobile app
- Good parental control features
- ‘Smart Router’: supports automation and Alexa
- 2-year warranty
- Lack of a USB 3.0 port
- Lack of advanced features
- Router tends to heat up
- The Range is pretty limited at just 2500 sq. ft.
- Firmware upgrades are limited and problematic
- Supports speeds up to 1900 Mbps on a Dual-Band WiFi Network
- Built-in USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 Ports, 4 Gigabit LAN Ports
- Comes with Three Antennas
- Secure Network with AiProtection Technology
- Runs on a 1 GHz Dual-Core CPU
With a speed of up to 1900 Mbps over a dual-band WiFi network (1300 Mbps 802.11 ac at 5 GHz and 600 Mbps 802.11 ac at 2.4 GHz), the ASUS RT-AC68U is indeed a powerful WiFi router. The router offers a number of basic features that are needed for average internet usage by a household. It comes with three antennas which ensure strong coverage all over the house. This router first came out in 2013 and continues to be one of the hottest selling routers even in 2019!
The biggest advantage of buying the RT-AC68U from ASUS is the multiple advanced technologies that it offers its users. The router supports Broadcom’s TurboQAM technology which accelerates the WiFi networks for certain devices, ensuring high-speed connectivity. Then there is the AiRadar technology from ASUS which makes use of the beam-forming technique to ensure that the wireless signals are aimed directly at the devices! It also comes with a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port which can be used to connect shared drives over the network. Network printers are also supported.
Furthermore, this router comes with the AiProtection technology powered by Trend Micro, which ensures that the users get protection against hackers who may be attempting to break into their network. It also ensures that no personal data is transmitted outside the network. Even the control panel of this router is designed keeping the user in mind. It offers an easy-to-use three-step installation process!
That being said, the ASUS RT-AC68U is a great router for all your basic needs! It supports a number of network standards (IEEE 802. 11a, IEEE 802. 11B, IEEE 802. 11G, IEEE 802. 11N, IEEE 802. 11AC, IPv4, IPv6) and functions with all the major modern-day operating systems. However, it might have some problems when it comes to an older OS. Users can monitor the statistics and control the router using the ASUS Mobile application.
- Good for all basic purposes: streaming, downloading, gaming
- Easy to setup and control
- Comes with USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports – offers easy file and printer sharing
- Supports a wide range of network standards
- Good range of coverage
- Supports only Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and MacOS
- Not so great when it comes to advanced features
- Network protection isn’t as great
- LAN speeds are slow
- Some users complain of reboots
- Dual-Band Router with speeds up to 450 Mbps
- Coverage up to 2200 Sq. Ft.
- Offers 4 LAN Ports
- Parental control features
- Comes with a 2-Year Warranty
Belkin is one of the most well-known names in the markets when it comes to networking and internet technology. The Belkin N450 wireless router is a controversial device. While it is the cheapest router on this list – priced in at less than $20, the router isn’t a great buy for anyone looking for a high-power device. Nevertheless, for the price that it comes in at – the Belkin N450 certainly punches above its weight.
It is a dual-band WiFi router which provides speeds up to 450 Mbps. It is a great choice for those who are on an average internet connection and need a decent router for basic needs. The router also covers up to 2000 sq. ft. Furthermore, the device comes with four LAN ports with which you can easily connect your wired devices. The Belkin N450 also offers an excellent setup of parental control features which allows you to block certain kinds of content that your children should not be visiting.
Another great thing about this wireless router is the fact that while it is priced in at less than $20, it comes with a 2-year warranty! This is a really cool feature to have on such a cheap router. In fact, this is the best cheap wireless router that you can find in the market. As always, there are some trade-offs that one makes in the price vs quality equation. This router does not have any USB ports and hence you cannot share a drive over your network and cannot set up a network printer with it.
Moreover, the Belkin N450 router also has another major flaw – it starts acting rather unstable once more than three to four devices are added to it. It is something that is expected from any wireless router and is quite a disappointing thing about this one. However, as a consolation, at least it is a good-looking device which looks good no matter where you decide to place it. Most users who buy this use it for specific purposes such as gaming or streaming and do not add multiple devices to it. You can also use it as a backup router in case your primary router malfunctions.
- Good-looking device
- Cheap price
- Can’t support many devices; goes unstable once 3+ devices are added
- No USB Port
- Low speed
- Supports speeds up to 1750 Mbps
- Supports Multiple Networking Standards
- Dual-Band Router
- Comes with a WPS Button
- No Rental Charge from Verizon
While all the routers mentioned above would work with almost all ISPs, this wireless router from Verizon has a specific purpose. It is meant for the users of Verizon’s FiOS service which provides access to the internet, television, and telephone at the same time. This router has been created for the users of the FiOS and gives a number of benefits over those who get it directly from Verizon.
If you get a typical router from Verizon, you would need to pay a monthly rental charge. However, if you purchase this Verizon FiOS Gateway router from Amazon, you save on the rental cost, and it is cheaper than buying it directly from Verizon. Hence, it is a win-win situation, especially if you plan to use the FiOS services for a long-term. This router delivers speeds up to 1750 Mbps on a dual-band network which is ideal for Verizon’s customers.
Installation of this router is also very easy as Verizon tech support can guide you over the phone. All you need to do is to provide Verizon the IP of your existing router and then switch the cables! It only takes a few minutes and can be set up by anyone. The range and speed of the router have been praised by many users, especially those who compare it with Comcast’s gateway router.
However, one must note that since this is a router tailor-made for the users of the Verizon FiOS service, it isn’t really useful for those on other ISPs. Moreover, it offers just the basic internet connectivity functions that the users of FiOS would require and does not provide any advanced networking features. Furthermore, this router comes with USB ports but they are disabled and thereby useless. It is the best wireless router for Verizon internet users, for pretty much everyone else, we recommend you look at other names from our list.
- No rental charge from Verizon, cheaper than ordering from Verizon
- Easy installation
- Useful only for Verizon customers
- Lack of advanced features
- USB Ports are disabled
Wireless Routers – Buyer’s Guide
Now that you know which are the best wireless routers, you should also be well-versed with how to choose the perfect router for your needs! Sometimes, people end up buying the wrong kind of router without actually assessing their needs and then suffer from either low speeds or poor coverage! Hence, you must always keep some factors in mind before you make a purchase.
The first and foremost thing that most people look at is the price of the device. To be fair, that is the right thing to do too. A router may have all the features that you need but sometimes the budget does not allow you to purchase a high-end router. It is here that you have to make a trade-off between price vs features – would you go for a low-priced router that fits your budget but does not offer all the features you want, or would you spend some extra bucks to get hold of the router that offers you all the required features.
Price of a router depends upon various factors – at times, the brand of the router has to play a critical part as well. However, mostly, the more features the router has, and the higher the speed and the greater the range of the router are, the more expensive it is going to be. All the best WiFi Routers usually range between $70 to $300. One must analyze all the price vs features situations carefully before making a final decision to buy a wireless router.
‘Range’ of a router basically means how far can it provide you with internet access. Depending on the size of your house or your workplace, you would need to buy a router that provides sufficient coverage. Sometimes, you need to buy satellite extenders which ensure that your home is well covered and you get good internet access everywhere. Most decent WiFi routers provide a range between 1500 to 2500 sq.ft. on the primary router and the extenders help multiply it by another 1000-1500 sq.ft.
Before you buy the wireless router of your choice, make sure you know how your home measures vs the kind of coverage the router offers. Sometimes, users require it only for a particular room or area – in those cases, routers which offer a lesser range of coverage are also good enough. However, if your entire house needs to be connected, the range is a critical factor that you must consider before you buy the router.
Another key thing that you need to keep in mind before you make the final purchase is the kind of speeds that you would be getting. Those on a high-speed plan must buy a router that can process those kinds of speeds. There is no point of getting a basic, 900 Mbps router when your ISP offers you speeds of 2 Gbps because you won’t be able to utilize it! Hence, it is important that before you buy a router, you look for the range of speed that it provides. The router you are buying needs to be compatible when it comes to processing the speed that your ISP provides.
On the converse, sometimes, users tend to buy high-speed routers even though they have an average-speed internet plan. In this case, they should probably look for a low-cost router which supports the kind of speeds that they are getting. Nevertheless, buying a wireless router which supports higher speeds than your existing internet connection is sort of future-proofing yourself for when you upgrade your internet connection.
Router’s Life Span
The lifespan of a router is also an important thing that buyers need to consider. Routers are not a huge investment – and they don’t even last for long. The best of routers usually last 3 to 4 years before deteriorating in performance and they need to be upgraded eventually. Hence, it is important to understand how long the router will continue to perform as well as it does on the first day.
Furthermore, given that wireless network standards are constantly evolving, you need to ensure that the router you have bought has enough capabilities to last you for at least the next few years. Sadly, there is no sure-shot way of predicting how long a wireless router is going to last. However, one cannot expect a $100 router to last them for more than 2 years without causing problems of some kind. Similarly, a $300 router should at least perform well for 4 years before starting to slow down.
No. of Bands Supported
Another consideration here is that if your preferred router a single-band, a dual-band or a triple-band router. The more the number of bands, the faster your internet connectivity with your connected devices would be. The more the number of bands on a router, the less cluttered its internet connectivity would be. Interestingly, the selection of a dual band or a triple band router depends on the area that you live in.
If you live in an area that is densely populated, you must opt for a triple-band Wireless Router. A dual-band router would provide you with a 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz connectivity. However, a tri-band router would provide you a third band offering 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz + 5 GHz of connectivity. In the past, the choice was only between single-band and dual-band routers, however, tri-band routers are also getting popular of late. These days, single-band routers are rarely available. Moreover, the more the number of devices you want to connect, the more number of bands are suggested. This ensures that the signals of one device do not interfere with the other.
While many users may not give this a priority while buying a new wireless router, one has to make sure that the router that they are going to buy offers sufficient security. Encryption is an extremely important feature as it ensures not only that hackers don’t break into your network, but also that data from your network does not flow out and reach the wrong hands. Encryption is extremely important – and one needs to ensure that their wireless router offers the best and the latest levels of security.
If your encryption is weak, hackers can break into your network and use your WiFi without your permission! Moreover, it can lead to worse scenarios such as the hacker getting hold of your private data such as which websites you are visiting and what kind of information are you transmitting! Worst still, they may be able to get hold of critical data such as credit card information or details about your personal finance which may put you at a risk. Hence, you must always ensure that the router you are buying offers the latest standards of security.
Many people believe that the brand does not matter, the performance matters. However, we strongly believe that this is just an urban legend. The brand does matter. There is a certain kind of satisfaction that comes with buying a product from a well-known brand. When it comes to router brands, We at Freedom 251 prefer Netgear and T-Link. Going for an inferior brand, one that you may not have heard of is always going to put you at a risk! These companies have been around for a long time and are a tried and tested name in the market.
Furthermore, they come with goodwill that has been built over the years and there is a faith that they will honor their commitments. Moreover, another consideration here is the resale value. Given that you buy a wireless router of a good brand, it will always fetch you a better resale or exchange value than compared to a router of an inferior brand. Hence, you need to consider the brand before you make a purchase.
Warranty is critical, especially when it comes to wireless routers. Given that these devices are plugged-in for almost the entirety of their lifespan, they are prone to electrical damage at times. Hence, getting a product with a good warranty will always serve you better. Most routers come with a one-year warranty and there are some such as TP-Link which offer a two-year warranty. You must always check how long the warranty period is and what the terms and conditions of the warranty are. Most routers will not offer you a warranty against physical damage or water-induced damage.
Furthermore, always look up the reviews from other customers before you buy a router. There, ensure that the company is honoring the warranty! Sometimes, companies put in clauses in the warranty contract where most kinds of damages are not covered! There are some companies which will offer you a new replacement free of cost while there are others which will repair the existing device. We strongly recommend you to go through the document carefully before you buy your desired router.
Does it have USB Ports?
Another important factor that you need to check before you buy a wireless router is: “does it have USB ports”. If it does, check if your router has USB 3.0 ports. Some of the models we’ve mentioned above have multiple USB 3.0 ports. In the past, this wasn’t as important but of late, there is a growing demand for routers with USB Ports. It is because USB ports on your router allow you to create shared drives on a network where you can easily store your data from any computer in your home. Moreover, you can also share files and stream them over the network with ease!
Furthermore, having a router with USB ports allows you to plug your printer into the router and use it as the network printer for your family or your office. This ensures that you can use it to print files from any device without having to connect the device to the printer. Most good routers come with USB ports these days – but there are some exceptions (for example the Google WiFi).
Is it a ‘Smart’ Router?
Another new trend these days is to ensure that you are using a ‘smart’ router. Now this isn’t a complete necessity, but it is a good thing to see if your router is a smart device. A ‘smart’ router doesn’t mean it solves math problems for you! It means that it can be controlled over voice. Many routers these days can be controlled by voice using Amazon’s Echo devices. You can directly talk to Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant and give her some basic commands that she can instruct the router to follow!
Now, this isn’t an absolute compulsion to have, but it makes it easier to control the router. Given that voice-controlled smart devices will become common in the years to follow, this will be something that you need to check if you want to future-proof your device!
Customer service is an important aspect which many people tend to overlook when it comes to buying a wireless router. However, it is an important consideration! Not everyone is an expert when it comes to handling technology and sometimes you may need to perform complex features that may require expert assistance. Hence, it is always important to make sure that you get a router which offers good customer support.
This is again where the brand plays an important part. The more reputed the brand of your router is, the more likely it is that you get better support. You can always expect good support from the likes of Google, Netgear or TP-Link than compared to an unknown or a lesser-known brand located in some far-off country!
Last but not the least, the mobile application of the router is also very important. One needs to ensure that the wireless router that they are buying comes with a mobile application that allows them to view all the network related statistics and information on their mobile phone. This will ensure that you are always connected to your router and can see who all are using your device. In case of any unknown device being added to your network, you can be alerted and take appropriate actions.
A mobile app is also helpful because heading on your laptop or your computer every time you need to do some network-related task can be quite cumbersome. Mobile apps allow you to create guest WiFi networks and perform a number of other tasks remotely. Furthermore, you can also use the mobile app to set the parental control, which makes sure that your children are not accessing the internet while it is their study-time or bed-time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know which are some of the best wireless routers available in the markets and what all do you need to look for before you buy one, here are some of the most commonly asked questions that you might also want to go through.
What is the Difference Between WiFi Router and WiFi Modem?
A modem’s basic task is to convert one network protocol into another! This means that the mode acts as a link between your Internet Service Provider (ISP’s) system and your system. It translates the signals from the ISP’s system to be understood by your system. Most modems generally allow connecting only one device. A WiFi modem allows you to connect multiple devices but the range is extremely limited.
A WiFi Router, on the other hand, is a device which helps connects multiple networks together. It allows you to handle multiple devices at the same time, as well as share your internet connection. A router also boosts the signal coming from your modem and helps spread it to a bigger range, ensuring your entire house gets internet access.
Can a WiFi Router Work Without a Modem?
The answer to this question is: yes. However, the capacity of your router would then be limited. You would be able to use the router for tasks such as network sharing and using network printers. However, you will not be able to access the internet. This is because there are some modems which come with a built-in router. However, routers usually do not feature a built-in modem.
Hence, simply putting it, if you want to access the internet, you would require both – the modem as well as the router.
Does Router Affect Internet Speed?
The answer to this question is Yes and No. First and foremost, you must know what internet plan you have with your ISP. If you have a 100 Mbps connection, getting a router that supports 2 Gbps speeds does not mean your speeds will also become faster. Your internet speed is completely reliant on the plan that you have from your ISP.
On the other hand, however, if you have a faster internet speed – for example, a 2 Gbps connection, but your router supports speeds up to 450 Mbps only, then you would get slower speeds. This is how the router and internet speed are connected. A faster router does not automatically guarantee faster internet speeds but a slow-speed router can slow your internet down.
Would You Be Able to Stream Videos and Play Games on a 300 Mbps Router?
Again, the thing that you need to see here is your internet connection. A 300 Mbps internet connection would be very fast for streaming videos as well as playing games. Good video streaming requires a 5 Mbps connection while a good gaming experience requires about 20-25 Mbps connectivity. Hence, if you are on a 300 Mbps connectivity, a 300 Mbps router will be good for streaming videos and playing games.
However, if you are on a slower internet connection, then getting a 300 Mbps router will not do anything to boost your internet speed! The key thing that you must consider here is the speed that your Internet Service Provider gives you and not the speed that the router supports.
What Are Wireless Routers Used For?
A wireless router helps all the devices in your home connect to the internet. While most modems can only handle one device at a time, users with multiple devices generally connect their modem to a router. All your devices then connect with the router and get proper internet access. Furthermore, some ISPs also provide a wireless modem – but the problem is that they have a very limited range. Hence, connecting the modem with a router helps ensure that you get internet access all over your home across all the floors.
Do Wireless Routers Go Bad?
The answer to this is, yes. Wireless routers, like all electric devices, can go bad. Given that they are plugged in almost all the time, any electric surge can cause the router to heat up or get damaged. However, this also depends on the kind of router that you buy. A premium router priced above $200-$300 will usually be more resistant to these electric surges and is less likely to be damaged. However, if you go for a cheaper device below $50, there’s a good chance that it can get damaged faster.
What is the Difference between Single-Band, Dual-Band and Tri-Band Wireless Routers?
A single-band router functions on just one frequency band (2.4 GHz) which caps the speed at about 800 Mbps. However, that is a theoretical number and you’re unlikely to get such speeds on a single-band router. These routers function on the 802.11n WiFi standard and are usually called Wireless-N routers.
Dual-band routers function on two frequency band are among the most common routers present these days. They function on bands of 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz. The second band here functions on the 802.11 ac standard while the first band functions on the older 802.11n standard. The second frequency band allows faster data transfer because the older 2.4 GHz band has been around for a long time and the network is rather cluttered.
A Tri-band router offers three frequency bands of 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz + 5 GHz. They’ve been around only for a few years and are ‘smarter’ devices compared to the earlier single-band and dual-band routers. These routers understand what data you are consuming and accordingly use the appropriate band to channel the data to your device.
Where Should I Place My Router?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions: where to place your wireless router in order to get the best internet speed. While most people set up their routers in the corner of a room (given that is how most homes are designed), it is best advised to have the router placed centrally so that it covers the entire home. However, it is also advisable to place it in a place where you use the internet the most.
Moreover, it is also a good practice to avoid keeping metal objects around your router as metal dissipates electromagnetic signals. Having concrete or brick walls near your router will also be bad for the signal strength as concrete absorbs these signals. Moreover, keeping your router near a microwave is also ill-advised. You may notice that your internet will slow down every time you turn your microwave on! This is because Microwave operates at the same frequency as a WiFi router. It is best advised to set it up at a high place.
This list curates some of the biggest and the best names when it comes to wireless routers. All of these routers are from reputed brands which have been a part of the industry for decades! It is impossible to point out the best WiFi router out of these because each user has a different need. For those interested in gaming, the idea what the ‘best’ router is would be quite different from someone who wants it simply for browsing and emails. Similarly, those who want to buy a WiFi router for streaming purposes would have different requirements!
The requirement of family users would be different from those who want it for themselves, and those looking for a corporate setup would want something totally different. Hence, this list comes along with the factors using which you can choose the best wireless router as per your needs! We hope this list helped you make the best choice. Happy browsing!