Table of Contents
- 1 Wireless Router Reviews
- 1.1 1) NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 Smart Dual Band Wi-Fi Router (R6700) – Best Value Router
- 1.2 2) ASUS RT-AC88U Wireless-AC3100 Dual Band Gigabit Router – Best Router Under $300
- 1.3 3) TP-Link AC1900 Long Range Wi-Fi Router – Best Wi-Fi Router For Long Range
- 1.4 4) TP-Link AC1200 Wi-Fi Router – Best Router Under 50
- 1.5 5) Securifi Almond Touchscreen Router – Best Router under 100
- 1.6 6) Linksys AC1900 Dual Band Router – Best Router For Large Area
- 1.7 7) ASUS RT-AC3200 Tri-Band Wireless Router – Best Tri-Band Wi fi Router
- 1.8 8) NETGEAR N600 Wi-Fi Router (WNDR3400) – Best Router For Gaming
- 1.9 9) TP-Link N450 Wi-Fi Router (TL-WR940N) – Best Overall Wireless Router
- 1.10 10) D-Link AC1200 Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router (DIR-842) – Best Router In Performance
- 2 How we picked?
- 3 Our Winner: NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 Smart Dual Band WiFi Router (R6700)
- 4 Buying Guide – 13 Factors to Consider When Choosing Best Wireless Routers
- 4.1 #1. The Technology Behind a Router
- 4.2 #2. Signal Range
- 4.3 #3. Single Band, Dual-Band or Tri-Band
- 4.4 #4. A, B, G, N, AC
- 4.5 #5. Support and Warranty
- 4.6 #6. Price
- 4.7 #7. Speed
- 4.8 #8. USB Functionality
- 4.9 #9. Wired Port
- 4.10 #10. Antenna Type
- 4.11 #11. MIMO
- 4.12 #12. IPv6
- 4.13 #13. Additional Features
- 5 More about Wireless Routers
- 6 Some Technical Terms
- 6.1 AP steering:
- 6.2 Backhaul :
- 6.3 Band steering :
- 6.4 Beamforming :
- 6.5 Dual-band vs. tri-band :
- 6.6 Ethernet ports :
- 6.7 Guest network :
- 6.8 Hub-and-spoke vs. mesh network:
- 6.9 MU-MIMO:
- 6.10 Parental controls:
- 6.11 Quality of Service (QoS):
- 6.12 Spatial streams:
- 6.13 Wi-Fi speed ratings:
- 6.14 WiFi Types:
- 6.15 Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) and Security:
- 6.16 Media Server:
- 7 Popular Brands
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Final Words
Never in the history of the world have people been more reliant on the internet as of right now. Do you agree with me? It’s become second nature to find people going online every minute of every hour for business or leisure purposes. When you think about it, without routers, we would not have the option of going online for luxury or out of necessity. This is why we decided to compile a list and create a buying guide of best wireless router to help you in your day to day life.
Wireless Router Reviews
Here are the best routers for fast INTERNET services.
|Name||Max Speed||LAN Ports||Bands||Price|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk||1750 Mbps||4||Dual band||View Price|
|ASUS RT-AC88U||3100 Mbps||8||Dual-band||View Price|
|TP-Link AC1900||1750 Mbps||4||Dual-band||View Price|
|TP-Link Archer C1200||1200 Mbps||4||Dual Band||View Price|
|Securifi Almond||300 Mbps||3||_||View Price|
|Linksys AC1900||1900 Mbps||4||Dual band||View Price|
|ASUS RT-AC3200||3200 Mbps||4||Tri-band||View Price|
|NETGEAR N600||600 Mbps||4||Dual-band||View Price|
|TP-Link N450||450 Mbps||4||Single band||View Price|
|D-Link AC1200||1200 Mbps||4||Dual Band||View Price|
1) NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 Smart Dual Band Wi-Fi Router (R6700) – Best Value Router
This device offers data transfer speeds of up to 1100Mbps all while supporting 12 or more devices on the network.
The three detachable antennas work by distributing the Wi-Fi signals to every corner of the house.
Feature-wise, the Nighthawk AC1750 router has just about every feature you can think of in a wireless router.
Whether it is beamforming, remote access, USB connectivity, or WEP security, you mention it; the Nighthawk AC1750 has it.
All these features work together to produce a competent router that provides range, speed, and reliability.
There was no complaint when using the Nighthawk AC1750 unless you count overheating, which is not a unique problem to this router.
- Beamforming technology
- Remote access
- Supports more than 12 devices
- Easy to install
- Moderately priced
However, that is not necessarily a bad thing because the Nighthawk AC1750 manages to strike the perfect balance between, features, functionality, reliability, and price. For this reason, I would highly recommend it to anyone on the market for a best router.
2) ASUS RT-AC88U Wireless-AC3100 Dual Band Gigabit Router – Best Router Under $300
When you dive further deep into the make up the AC88U, you will find a 1024-QAM chip that is renowned in the router realm for providing incredibly fast data transfer speeds.
The ASUS RT-AC88U is a dual-band router that offers a combined maximum speed of 2100Mbps across its 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency.
This router features a 1.4GHz dual processor and a trademark ASUS AiProtection that provides an extra layer of security to keep off malicious data.
On to the negative. During our limited time with the ASUS RT-AC88U, we were extremely pleased with its performance.
We subjected it to prolonged hours of heavy usage and bulk data transfer which it handled amicably.
- 8 LAN&WAN ports
- 3 USB ports offer enhanced connectivity
- 4 antennas
- Super-fast data transfer speeds
- Range of 5000 square feet
- Overheating tendencies
If your household has online gamers, film lovers, and Skype users, the ASUS RT-AC88U may be your best choice for a router. The two-year warranty gives you more assurances that if something went wrong, you would get a replacement or repair services at no extra costs.
With a combined speed of 1900Mbps, the C9 is adequately fast.
When in range, the C9 can transmit files at speeds of 600Mbps over the 2.4GHz frequency and 1300Mbps over the 5GHz frequency.
The dual processor fitted in the C9 contributes to the seamless operation of the router.
You can easily share your files using the various USB ports fitted in the C9. With hacking becoming more prevalent over the last few years, you can rest assured that no one will hack your network.
The physical WPS button coupled with security encryption make it almost impossible for hackers to penetrate your network. During our testing phase, we noticed some subtle problems with the signal quality.
- Super-fast data transfer speeds
- 3 antennas
- Powerful processing power
- Beamforming technology
- Extremely secure
- Poor signal strength and range
That said, this router is a more than an adequate option for small home owners. The redeeming quality of the C9 is its raw data transfer speeds. To wrap it up, the video streaming speeds of the C9 will put a smile on your face if you own a 3-bedroom apartment or smaller.
The Archer C1200 is yet another dual-band router from the TP-Link band with a combined 1200Mbps data transfer speed from the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency bands.
It features three detachable antennas equipped with beamforming technology which sends out Wi-Fi signals efficiently.
This technology works by locating all the wireless devices and effectively sending out signals in their direction to prevent wasted signals.
When it comes to processing power, the Archer C1200 uses fast processors to maintain fast, uninterrupted connections for streaming or downloading files.
Setup is seamless through its intuitive UI and once its setup, you can either choose a wired or wireless connection.
This is a huge problem for people who own large homes with many walls and concrete ceilings as the signals may struggle to penetrate. If you own a small apartment of say, three bedrooms or less, you should be well-covered.
- Supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard
- Enhanced connectivity with USB and LAN/WAN
- Dual-band technology
- Easy setup
- Guest network functionality
- Weak signal strength
In terms of price and functionality, this router represents good value for money. Whether you want to stream, download videos or play online videos, the list is endless of what the Archer C1200 can do.
5) Securifi Almond Touchscreen Router – Best Router under 100
With the Almond, Securifi was the pioneer of introducing touch screen functionality in a router. Also, given the multi-purpose nature of this device, calling it just a router will be an injustice.
The Almond is more than just a router and doubles as a range extender that is compatible with all routers on the market.
As you would expect in such a device, the Almond features two internal antennas as well as several USB ports and LAN/WAN ports.
Intangible features include enhanced security, remote access, guest networks, parental control and voice control. These features are configured to work in tandem to provide a router like no other on the market.
We did not encounter any problems with the Almond during the limited testing phase.
- Compatible with all devices
- Universal range extender mode
- Easy setup
- Touch screen function
- Super-fast speeds
- Loss of memory
It also comes with a one-year warranty which guarantees you free repairs, maintenance and replacement should something go wrong. To conclude, if you can ignore the problem of memory loss, the Almond is a great router that will serve its purpose.
The four large antennas protruding from the top of this router contribute to the overall signal quality.
The dual-band nature of the Linksys AC1900 provides its users with the best of both worlds where they don’t have to sacrifice distance for signal strength and vice versa.
The signal strength of the Linksys AC1900 is so good that you still get health bars while outside the house.
In terms of connectivity, this router features USB ports as well as LAN/WAN ports. With a 512 MB memory, the transmission of data from the router to your devices is seamless.
After extensive testing on the Linksys AC1900, there was no single niggle to report. The performance was top notch.
- Four detachable antennas
- Great signal quality
- Super-fast speeds
- Enhanced connectivity
- 512 MB memory
- Single processor
Sure, the 512 MB memory remedies this problem but even with it, I would say it is suitable for streaming but strongly oppose online gaming to preserve the life of the single processor.
7) ASUS RT-AC3200 Tri-Band Wireless Router – Best Tri-Band Wi fi Router
The ASUS RT-AC3200 is the second ASUS to feature on our list, and it is a remarkable router.
Being a tri-band router, the ASUS RT-AC3200 provides a combined speed of 3200Mbps.
Those data transfer speeds are governed by a 1 GHz dual core processor to maintain smoothness during data transmission.
Looking at the design of this router, it is clear that every curve or bump in the casing has a purpose. It features six detachable antennas that help with the signal range and strength.
The ASUS RT-AC3200 also features 5 LAN/WAN ports as well as multiple USB ports for enhanced connectivity. The more technical AiRadar and AiProtection functions within the ASUS RT-AC3200 help enhance signal range and security respectively.
- Six detachable antennas
- Enhanced security
- Enhanced connectivity
- Powerful processing power
My advice to potential buyers is that if you can afford it and you think you will make good use of it, then go for it.
You will have no regrets. However, if it’s out of your budget, you are better off looking for a cheaper dual-band option which will still serve you adequately.
8) NETGEAR N600 Wi-Fi Router (WNDR3400) – Best Router For Gaming
The N600 Wi-Fi is the fastest Wi-Fi standard. It is much faster than 802.11g standard and is compatible with 802.11 a/b/g/n.
This router is fitted with internal built antenna that is suitable for transmitting signals in small houses and apartments.
Regarding data transfer speeds, the NETGEAR N600 produces a combined 600 Mbps in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands.
An added advantage of using this router is that it is up to 30% more energy efficient than other routers.
This is made possible by the scheduled on/off function that automatically sends it to sleep when not in use. For its price, the NETGEAR N600 is an excellent router.
The user interface is not as intuitive to use as in other models and can frustrate you in trying to set it up if you are a new user.
- Parental controls
- Energy efficiency
- Guest network
- Enhanced connectivity
- Enhanced security
- Poor user interface
The NETGEAR N600 also comes with all the latest bells and whistles fitted in modern routers. Features such as remote access, WPA/WPA2 security, guest network, and parental control come as standard.
Some of the tangible features fitted in the TP-Link N450 series include three detachable antennas, as well as a few USB ports and LAN/WAN ports.
The antennas are equipped with beamforming technology to increase signal efficiency while the LAN/WAN and the USB ports allow for more connectivity.
Despite having many excellent physical features, the intangible features is where the TP-Link N450 series shines.
Features and functionalities such as MIMO technology, mesh networks, beam-forming, parental control and guest network come as standard.
The power and control which the TP-Link N450 series gives to its users are what makes it a special router. For instance, this router is equipped with IP-based bandwidth control that lets you control the bandwidth allocation for each device connected to the network.
There’s hardly any negative comment to make about the TP-Link N450 series.
- 802.11n Wi-Fi technology
- WPS button security encryption
- Parental control and guest network
- IP based bandwidth control
- Three detachable antennas
There are not many routers like the TP-Link N450 series. A combination of the latest technologies such as 802.11n, mesh network, and MU-MIMO technology makes this router a dream for heavy internet users.
Well, for starters, it is a dual-band router that’s been fitted with the latest router technology to provide excellent service to its buyers.
It comes with four high gain antennas that extend your network coverage across your entire home or office.
The expansive network range gives users the luxury of accessing the internet from every corner of the house or office.
In terms of connectivity, you can connect up to four devices using gigabit ports and more devices using the USB ports and wireless functions.
With a combined data transfer speed of 1200Mbps, you can stream videos or play online games without interruptions or network lags.
Other features fitted in the D-Link AC1200 that are worth mentioning include advanced QoS for bandwidth optimization on different devices and WPS push button security encryption. Normal internet users will appreciate everything the D-Link AC1200 has to offer.
- High gain antennas
- WPA/WPA2 security encryption
- IPv6 ready
- Intuitive user interface
- Fast streaming speeds
- Sluggish connection when online gaming and streaming at the same time
But despite being a mid-tier router, you get a lot of standard features equipped in this D-Link AC1200, and that makes it worthwhile. I would certainly recommend this router to individuals who own small and medium sized apartments to appreciate what it has to offer fully.
How we picked?
There are many router models available on the market, each with its unique features and functionalities. A new router buyer can easily become overwhelmed by the new models that are coming out, so we used different criteria in picking the best routers to ease the burden on new users.
The first step of picking the best routers involved selecting the best-performing brands and models. Since the list was too long, we trimmed it further through extensive research where we only picked the very best.
The second criteria we were looking at is the number of bands equipped in each router we tested. We decided to let dual-band routers be our benchmark for testing meaning no single-band router made our list.
We also considered features such as the Wi-Fi version, spatial streams, and speed. These internal factors provided a great base to consider external factors such as cost and reliability.
Given that we had limited time with the routers, we had to rely on comments made by users to determine each router’s reliability.
To name the Nighthawk AC1750 as the winner was no small feat. The decision sparked a lot of debate amongst our expert team of reviewers, but we eventually declared the Nighthawk AC1750 as the winner.
The decision was made by asking ourselves one fundamental question; what do buyers of routers need most from these devices? The truth is that the Nighthawk AC1750 won not because it stood out in one particular aspect like other routers, it won because it performed excellently in all aspects.
Most buyers of routers don’t concern themselves with technical features and functionalities of a router. Instead, they want an affordable device that is fast, reliable, compatible with their devices and easy to operate. All those are qualities the Nighthawk AC1750 possesses in abundance and therefore why we crowned it the best router.
Buying Guide – 13 Factors to Consider When Choosing Best Wireless Routers
#1. The Technology Behind a Router
A router is a key cog that allows you to connect your various devices to the internet, whether you’re at home or the office. Thanks to these routers, nowadays there is a Wi-Fi hotspot at every corner you turn.
They have become so popular that people don’t stop to ask about the technology that goes into manufacturing these devices. Today, we’ll try to help you understand more about routers as well as the technology that goes makes them tick.
#2. Signal Range
The signal range of a wireless router is the distance covered by the signal from the router. Different routers offer different signal ranges and as you can already guess, the longer the signal range, the more expensive the router is going to be priced.
Usually, the manufacturers of routers indicate the expected signal range on the cover of the packaging for customers to see. The signal range of these routers is usually tested during the manufacturing phase, and some manufacturers are notoriously known to overestimate the range.
They do so to outsell their competitors. Overestimating the signal range is the norm in this industry so don’t be shocked or surprised to get a shorter range than advertised. That said, other factors also play a role in determining the signal range of a router.
The biggest factor that affects the signal range of a router is obstruction by physical objects. There are light obstructions such as doors, glass or wooden walls which don’t affect the signal strength significantly.
And then there are concrete walls and concrete floors which make it almost impossible for the wireless signal to penetrate. Apart from physical obstruction, the signal range can be affected by interference from other wireless signals.
These include signals from mobile phones, Bluetooth devices, radio and TV waves as well as devices such as baby monitors. Since these devices are mostly used indoors coupled with the physical obstructions that are located indoors, you can expect a poorer signal indoors than outdoors.
The last factor affecting the signal range of a wireless router is the router’s antenna. Most routers have a range of about 150ft, but people normally upgrade the antennas or buy Wi-Fi boosters to increase that range as well as the signal strength.
Nowadays you can find some routers which offer a more than adequate range of 300ft under standard conditions. A good example of such a router is the Asus TR-AC88U which comes with a dual-band frequency.
If you own a large home or office, I’m sure you must have asked yourself at some point whether the router will adequately cover your entire property. To be on the safe side, you need to buy a router with multiple antennas to distribute the Wi-Fi signals across your entire property.
You can also find a strategic place within your property to set up the router so that the signals can reach the entire property. If you own a small apartment or office, you don’t need to concern yourself with the range of your router.
#3. Single Band, Dual-Band or Tri-Band
The band of a wireless router refers to the frequency at which the router transmits its signals to a modem. The frequency is measured in gigahertz and can vary with different models.
A single band router normally sends out signals to the modems in a single frequency of either 2.4GHz or 5GHz. A dual-band router transmits two signals of 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency to a modem. Last but not least, a tri-band router sends out three signals of 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 5GHz frequency to a modem.
The more bands the router has, the better it is for your household or office because you can connect different smart devices to the router without overloading it. However, it is worth to note that both frequencies (2.4GHz and 5GHz) have their strengths and shortcomings.
The 2.4GHz frequency band offers a weak signal but a long range while the 5GHz frequency band offers a strong signal but short range.
This means that the 5Ghz frequency band is ideal for indoors where it offers a strong signal to penetrate through physical obstacles as well as withstand interruptions from other wireless signals. The 2.4GHz frequency band ideal for outdoors to give its users a long signal range.
In conclusion, a dual-band or tri-band router is ideal because it offers the best of both worlds, i.e. a strong, long-range signal.
#4. A, B, G, N, AC
802.11 is an IEEE wireless networking standard and comes in various standards as highlighted below.
802.11a: Sends out signals on a 5GHz frequency at speeds of 54Mbps
802.11b: Sends out signals on a 2.4GHz frequency at maximum speeds of 11Mbps
802.11g: Sends out signals on a 2.4GHz frequency at maximum speeds of 54Mbps
802.11n: This networking standard uses MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) signals to boost signal strength and transfer speeds. Provides maximum of 600Mbps data transfer speeds
802.11ac: This is the fifth generation Wi-Fi and uses a multi-user MIMO that sends out signals on a 5GHz frequency at maximum speeds of 867Mbps.
A great example of a router that uses this technology is the Asus RT-AC3200 Tri-Band.
#5. Support and Warranty
Just like every electronic device, it is unfortunate that some routers come faulty from the manufacturer while some are not compatible with your devices.
Therefore, when you are buying a router you always want to make sure that it has a good warranty and that the manufacturers provide good support for it.
The warranty should cover you such that you can easily exchange the router should it not work out for you. So before making a purchase, you should test the support to make sure that it is reliable such that you can easily contact them should your device malfunction.
There is a reason why they say when the price is too good, think twice, and cheap can be expensive. There is a lot of counterfeit goods available in today’s market so be careful what you purchase.
You might find a dealer selling a model you like with all the features you want at a fraction of the price from another dealer and end up buying the cheap option only to find out later that it was a knock off.
The cost of purchasing a wireless router ranges from $25 to $500 depending on features and capabilities. However, a higher price in this industry does not always reflect on quality.
That is why most of the routers on our list range from $90 to $250. The price you are going to pay for a router largely depends on how you plan to use the router.
People that only intend to use a router on a temporary basis are in luck because they rent the router on a monthly basis. The average cost of renting a router from your local ISP ranges from $5 to $15.
In short, when it comes to price, you should compare different prices from different dealers and then make an informed choice.
The truth of the matter is that no one wants to purchase a router with sluggish speeds. Luckily, manufacturers of these devices anticipated this problem, and you can now find fast routers at meager prices.
Faster speeds mean faster load times and data transfer speeds. Nowadays, the benchmark speed for routers is 1300Mbps however, 1000Mbps is still adequately fast.
#8. USB Functionality
Most modern routers come with USB functionality to allow internet connectivity on your device through a USB cable. USB functionality also allows wireless file sharing through NAS (Network Attached Storage) technology. The Netgear Nighthawk Tri-Band uses this technology to provide wireless connections to printers.
#9. Wired Port
Most routers come with a wired port for connecting nearby computers through an Ethernet cable. The main advantage of wired connection is that you get a fast, safe and an uninterrupted connection.
It is also impossible to hack a wired network unless an individual somehow manages to tap into the wire. With a wired connection, your computer will also not be affected by a congested wireless network meaning you can work, play games or stream videos with zero interferences.
#10. Antenna Type
Wireless routers come fitted with either an internal or an external antenna. Most modern routers feature an internal antenna for both aesthetic and storage purposes.
The older models come with external antennas which are not pleasing to the eyes but offer a slightly better performance than routers with internal antennas. This is because you can adjust the antennas towards the direction that suits you best. All in all, the difference is negligible, and it all comes down to your preference.
In full, MIMO is Multiple In Multiple Out. This is the fifth generation and the latest technology fitted in routers of today. MIMO is fitted in routers not only to boost data transfer speeds but also to boost the signal strength. This technology is present in most tri-band routers to allow the inflow and outflow of multiple signals at the same time.
IPv6 in full is Internet Protocol Version 6 and is the latest version. This means that IPv4 technology is fast becoming extinct and the addresses that have been using that protocol will become null. Therefore, before buying a router make sure that it supports IPv6
#13. Additional Features
Nowadays, routers have additional features that some people cannot live without. For instance, parents will want to purchase a router that offers parental control to supervise their kids’ internet usage. With parental control, parents can block certain websites as well as limit the time their kids are allowed to be online.
People that work in sensitive places will want a router that has a WPS security button and offers a guest network to protect their sensitive files from unauthorized personnel.
More about Wireless Routers
How to Set up Your Router?
Here’s how to set up your router for the first use:
- Once the router is plugged into the power and turned on, connect it to your PC either wirelessly or through the Ethernet cable
- The next step involves accessing the router’s web-based configuration screen. Simply type in the router’s IP address in your PC’s browser
- Once you log in to the configuration screen, you will be prompted to change the password
- Set up a WPA2-PSK (AES) security encryption to protect your Wi-Fi network
- Next, check for firmware updates and update for enhanced performance and greater reliability
- You can opt to download network optimization apps such as Wi-Fi analytics on the Android platform or Wi-Fi explorer on the Apple platform. These apps help you to determine whether you’ve configured your Wi-Fi network correctly
- Lastly, find a strategic position to place your router. Ideally, you should place it at a central location that offers ample space with minimum obstructions.
Why You Should Buy a New Wireless Router?
In a similar fashion that you update your smartphone or laptop after every year or so, you should also do the same for your router. A router acts as an intermediary between your devices and the internet and thus should not be neglected when updating your devices.
Updating your router after every year or so will ensure that your router is always running the latest firmware for enhanced performance and reliability.
Also, you cannot forget that the latest router models come equipped with the latest technology. For instance, the latest models feature technology such as mesh networking and MU-MIMO that not extend the router’s signal reach but also increase the transfer speeds with no interruptions or network drops.
When should you consider purchasing a WiFi Router?
Here are the most common reasons why & when people buy routers:
- If you are tired of renting a router from your ISP
- If you want to extend connectivity to more devices within your home or work place
- You are starting a business
- If you want to have both a wired and a wireless connection
- You need more data transfer speed than you currently have
- If you want to minimize interruptions as a result of over congestion in your network
How to Choose the Best Router?
Before buying a router, you need to establish your main use for this router. If you want a router to support your online gaming habits or video streaming hobby, you need a proper router that has fast speeds.
A much cheaper router is suitable if your intended purpose for it is social media use and own a small apartment or if you have a tendency to browse lightly. We have listed the factors to look for before choosing a router above in the buying guide. Have a look at it once again.
What if I just want better Wi-Fi in my home?
There’s one sure way of getting better Wi-Fi in your home. And that is, upgrading to the new generation routers that use mesh networks. Examples of these routers include Google Wi-Fi, Devolo Gigagate etc.
These two options come in sets of two or three units that can be installed at different strategic locations within the home. They are suitable for people that own large homes. People that own small homes are better off purchasing a power line network adapter that has in-built Wi-Fi.
Dual-band vs. Tri-band
Dual-band and tri-band routers are examples of multiple-band routers. This means that both types of routers have more than one frequency band. For instance, the dual-band router features two bands with frequencies of 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
As for the tri-band type of router, they feature three bands and come in two variants. The first variant has two 5MHz frequencies and a single 2.4Ghz frequency while the second variant features the conventional 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands as well as an extra 60GHz frequency band.
Routers work best if they are not overloaded or congested. Multiple bands in routers were introduced to help distribute the transfer of data packets evenly across all bands to ease the burden on a single band. This means the more the bands, the better service, and performance you will get from the router.
You will get fewer interruptions as a result of over congestion and receive better data transfer speeds while streaming videos or online gaming.
WAN vs. LAN Port
In most routers, WAN (Wide Area Network) and LAN (Local Area Network) ports allow for direct wired internet access and are located at the routers lower end. Aesthetically, you can differentiate the WAN port from the LAN port from the color difference where the odd one out is usually the WAN port.
In regards to functionality, the difference between these two ports is that a LAN port offers a localized internet connection while a WAN port offers a more commercialized internet connection.
This means a LAN port is ideal for connecting few devices at home or a small office while the WAN port is ideal for connecting multiple devices in large businesses.
When it comes to speed, WAN ports are much slower than LAN ports. A WAN port is capable of reaching maximum data transfer speeds of up to 150Mbps while a LAN port has a maximum data transfer speed of up to 1000Mbps.
This is because it supports a smaller number of devices and therefore can allocate more bandwidth to the devices. Also, WAN networks can be controlled by multiple users while a LAN port can only be controlled by a single user.
Newer routers are more compact than traditional routers and therefore offer more LAN ports. The most modern routers feature two LAN ports while the traditional models offer up to 4 LAN ports. When it comes to WAN ports, both new and traditional models offer a single WAN port.
Some Technical Terms
The AP steering helps a mesh-network router to connect to an access point. AP steering functions by directing its wireless clients to an access point through the strongest connection to the internet
Backhaul is the segment of a network that sends data packets to and from the router and the internet. Usually, tri-band routers have a wireless channel that is dedicated to backhaul.
The backhaul feature can also be configured through the use of a wire by an Ethernet cable that interconnects the router to the access point. However, if done unprofessionally, there will be loose wires hanging all over the place and can get messy.
Band steering :
Band steering helps detect whether the dual-band capability of a client service. If a client service has dual-band capabilities, the band steering will automatically connect devices to the least-congested frequency band to maintain good data transfer speeds.
Beamforming is a neat feature that optimizes bandwidth utilization on a router. This function detects the direction of the connected devices and focuses all the Wi-Fi signals in that direction to minimize the signals wasted into the atmosphere.
Dual-band vs. tri-band :
Both of these multi-band routers operate on a 2.4GHz frequency and a 5GHZ frequency. The only difference is that a tri-band router has two 5GHz frequencies.
In tri-band routers, one 5GHZ band to connect low channels while the other 5GHz to connect to high channels. It is also worth noting that some tri-band routers feature the typical 2.4GHz band and 5GHz band as well as an extra 60GHz band.
Ethernet ports :
Most wireless routers come with two Ethernet ports. One port is dedicated to WAN (Wide Area Network) while the other is dedicated to LAN (Local Area Network) depending on your connections.
If you prefer a wired connection, you should consider going for the more traditional routers that come with about four or more Ethernet ports. However, if you decide to go with a newer version, you can purchase an Ethernet switch to increase the number of Ethernet ports in your network.
Guest network :
A guest network is a handy feature for people who get regular visitors at home or place of work. You can use a guest network if you work at home or office and have sensitive information in your computers. This function blocks access to your computers and other devices while allowing the visitors internet access.
Hub-and-spoke vs. mesh network:
A hub-and-spoke network topology automatically allows the exchange of data packets directly from your wireless devices to the router. A mesh network, on the other hand, allows the exchange of data packets within your closest wireless devices and eventually to the router.
The Multiple User Multiple Input Multiple Output allows one Wi-Fi channel to send or receive multiple data signals. This technology allows the communication of multiple devices within the network to the router at fast speeds without interruptions.
MU-MIMO is considered one of the hottest technology in the router realm. Only the latest router models are fitted with this feature. MU-MIMO allows routers to communicate with multiple devices concurrently thus saving time. Common routers that don’t have this feature can only send data to a single device at any given time thus takes longer to complete a task.
The parental control feature gives the admin total control of the network permissions. This means that the admin can block certain sites as well as restrict the number of hours a user can access the internet.
Quality of Service (QoS):
When browsing, your network will always try to determine the high priority packets from the low-priority packets. By doing so, high-priority packets are allocated a high bandwidth while low-priority packets are allocated a low bandwidth. This means you can access fast, uninterrupted speeds on your high-priority tasks while background projects are still running.
Spatial streams is a feature supported in wireless routers but is largely dependent on the number of radios and the antennas fitted in your router. The more radios and antennas fitted means more spatial streams can be supported by your router.
Wi-Fi speed ratings:
Manufacturers offer Wi-Fi speed ratings by adding the speeds of the bands fitted in a router. For instance, if your router is a dual band with a maximum speed of 867Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and a maximum speed of 400Mpbs on the 5Ghz band, the manufacturers may rate it as an AC1300 router. They add the two speeds and round it off to 1300Mpbs.
Wi-Fi types are classified as 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11ac, 802.11n and 802.11g. The first three types are the outdated types while 802.11n and 802.11g are the newer types. They are faster and offer more capabilities than the older Wi-Fi types.
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) and Security:
Most Wi-Fi users are familiar with Wi-Fi Protected Access where users are required to key in a security key to connect to the wireless network.
WPS is a newer security technology that only allows users access to the network once they press the security buttons on their devices as well as on the router simultaneously. This prevents hackers from accessing a network since they need to press the security button on the router physically.
Streaming videos from platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix is the new norm for watching movies and TV shows. However, it can be impossible if you are going on a road trip and don’t have access to Wi-Fi.
Media Server is a useful function that lets you plug in an external hard drive into the USB port of your router to download all the movies, music, and videos that want. With media server and a hard drive, you can re-watch any TV show or movie without having to stream it from scratch.
NETGEAR is an electronic manufacturing brand that produces different classes of electronic devices. The brand has recently moved on from producing the older wireless G routers to producing new generation routers that use the latest technologies such as MIMO and mesh networks.
ASUS is a well-respected brand in the world for its innovative electronics. Wireless/Wired routers are a classic example their broad range of products. ASUS is a brand known to push the boundaries of what is perceived to be normal, and their routers have benefitted from that determination to innovate constantly.
Just to give you a clue on how large the TP-Link brand is, over 150,000 products are shipped daily across the globe. It is well-known that TP-Link has cornered the market on networking devices with almost half of the networking devices in the world coming from TP-Link.
Linksys is a household name when it comes to electronic gadgets such as routers. The brand’s routers are class leading in regards to innovation and new technology. The company has gained a lot of fans and followers that are loyal to the brand for the excellent service they’ve gotten from Linksys routers over the years.
D-Link is yet another household name when it comes to networking devices. The brand is well-diversified in all aspects of networking with interests in research and development in networking, in-house design as well as manufacturing and testing.
As a leader in producing Wi-Fi devices, the company is renowned for high quality, top performing products that are highly reliable.
Securifi is not a well-known brand as TP-Link, but that’s not to say it is a small brand. Also being a newer brand, Securifi entered the networking segment with the vision of changing it. This vision is evident in the latest Almond model that is the first ever router in history to feature touch screen technology. The Almond router was released earlier this year has sold over 11,000 models which is not too shabby for the new kid on the block.
What is a Wireless Router?
A wireless router is a communication device that receives signals from the internet and transmits the signals to devices connected to the network. You can think of a router as an intermediary device that connects you (user) to the internet.
What does WiFi mean?
Did you know that most people know the basic functionality of Wi-Fi but cannot tell you what Wi-Fi means? Wi-Fi in full means Wireless Fidelity. Most people assume that Wi-Fi is the internet and you could forgive them for thinking that because both use wireless technology but they couldn’t be more wrong. Wi-Fi allows the intercommunication between devices and a router within the network while the internet is a global community of interconnected computer networks.
How do wireless routers work?
Wireless routers receive information from the internet through the use of a network cable. Once the router has received the information, it uses the same wireless technology used on radio and TV to transmit wireless signals to your electronic devices. The wireless signals carry data packets from the internet and directs them to the various IP addresses connected to your network.
How many Types of routers are there?
There are three types of routers.
Single band routers are the most basic routers. They can only pick up signals being transmitted on a 2.4GHz frequency band. While it’s 2.4GHz signal can be transmitted over a long distance, the signal is weak and is prone to interruptions as a result of physical obstructions and radio interference.
Dual-band routers can pick up or transmit signals of 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency. The result is faster data transfer speeds with less interference.
Tri-band routers come equipped with two 5GHz frequency receivers and a single 2.4GHz frequency receiver. The tri-band router is popular amongst heavy online gamers and video junkies for their superior.
What is a wireless extender?
A wireless extender is a device fitted with antennas that are purposefully built to stretch the range of your router’s Wi-Fi signal. Also referred to as a range extender and is extremely useful if you’re out of signal range but are still receiving a faint signal.
There you have it folks, top 10 wireless routers on the market today. Regardless of your job or hobbies, you deserve to have a fast and stable internet connection that you can rely on at any time of the day or night. You can kiss goodbye to lags and constant network drops with these ten routers featured on this list.
Our list is fully inclusive and brings to the table something for everyone. In short, we’ve got you covered whether you are a business owner, a gamer or a film lover. We encourage you to go through our top 10 list and choose a best wireless router that you think suits you best.