Best Wireless Routers – Buyers Guide with Reviews 2017

Last Updated: November 16, 2017

A wireless router is something you can’t live or work without in the modern world, but it’s not easy to find the best appliances to suit particular needs. Our team has put together a Top 10 list of the best wireless routers available for a broad range of needs and requirements.

by AGENT Staff
Best Wireless Routers
BEST WIRELESS ROUTERS IMAGE SOURCE: TP-LINK

Most people would argue that having one of the best wireless routers is something that one can’t live without in the modern world. Is this really the case?

If you are looking for only the very best wireless routers, the single trickiest issue that crops up is surveying the market to identify a wireless router that really does the job.

We have put together a list of what we consider to be the best wireless routers of 2017. We have conducted many hours of specialist research as well as testing a range of routers. Here are the results of our research: a Top 10 shortlist of the best wireless routers available on the market at present.

 

 

Best Wireless Routers 2017

It’s almost inevitable that a number of the best wireless routers are expensive, and may not suit everybody. However, anyone should be able to find at least one router from our Top 10 list that will suitable for their needs or budget.

 

1. Best Wireless Routers Review – TP-Link Talon AD7200

 

The TP-Link Talon AD7200 Wi-Fi Router is what we consider to be the best 802.11ad router available today.

Not only do we see it as the best, we also noted a number of state-of-the-art features that will make this router perform incredibly well.

This router is not cheap but it does give you value for many in terms of the features it offers. This review highlights everything you need to know to consider if it is worth the price tag.

The TP-Link Talon AD7200 dwarfs is a huge machine. With dimensions of 9.0 x 9.0 x 1.7 inches this router is one of the largest out there.

Don’t let the size put you off. The design is stand-out. It has a smart antenna feature that allows all nice antennas to be neatly folded. The design of this router focusses on quality function.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Features:

Its main competitor – the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 – is noted for its great features. However, the Talon AD7200 matches all of these.
  • The Talon AD7200 avails of multi-Band technology to to allow three Wi-Fi bands to operate at once.
  • It supports a combined Wi-Fi speed of 7.2 Gbps (Band 1: 800 Mbps @2.4GHz, Band 2: 1733 Mbps @5GHz, Band 3: 4600 Mbps @60GHz).
  • Most routers will only stream to one device at a time, the Wireless AC and Multi-User MIMO technologies of the Talon AD7200 allows simultaneous streaming.
  • The 1.4 GHz dual-core processor is has the strength to support multiple users at once.
  • It has eight state-of-the-art external antennas which help to provide excellent range and operating performance.
  • It has 1 WAN and four high-speed Gigabit Ethernet ports.
  • The two super speed USB 3.0 ports will enable the user to move files to external devices via HDD or USB drives directly.
  • TP-Link is easy to set-up. It uses a one-app solution and can be easily managed and updated.
  • A very useful feature is the fact that the Talon AD7200’s practicality will in time allow your firmware to be updated which will allow you to set up all three bands as a single Wi-Fi network.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Installation:

The TP-Link Talon AD7200 is very easy to set up from the outset. You are provided with a clear guide to help you. This simple process means you just have to plug your internet line to the router after which you connect your PC to the router via a LAN connection and then connect to the TP Link website to get the installation process started. There is also a handy mobile app which will also help you to set up.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Performance:

The TP-Link Talon AD7200 come with rave reviews. This hype is worth it. It really does perform well across numerous areas. It offers about 450 Mbps in the 5 GHz close-proximity (same-room) test and almost 250 Mbps at a range of 30 feet. This doesn’t score as well as the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 but when comparing the price of both machines the TP-Link really does come out on top.

In terms of frequency band (2.4 GHz), this Talon router beats the Nighthawk X10. It scores well with speeds of 100 Mbps in the close-proximity test and 80 Mbps at a range of 30 feet.

The performance in the 60 GHz AD frequency band is quite like the Nighthawk X10. In the close-proximity test, the Talon AD7200 we noted the excellent performance that average 950 Mbps!

What should be noted is the fact that 60 GHz frequency can’t penetrate through walls, so the router won’t provide coverage in parts of the home or office that are out of sight range of the router.

Our review noted that this really is an excellent router that is both future-proof and highly practical. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on its main competitor – the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10, then this really is the router you should be considering.

 

Pros

  • Impressive Wi-Fi band performance
  • Easy router Installation and management
  • Very reasonable price when compared to its main competitor

 

Cons

  • AD frequency band is only supported by a small range of devices at present and such a signal won’t give out of line of sight range.
  • Size of the router is very large.

 

2. Best Wireless Routers Review – Google WiFi

 

You won’t have seen anything like the Google Wifi before. There would be some who might not even consider this machine a router per se.

This is a Wi-Fi system. Our reviews consider it perhaps the best one in the market today.

We have attempted to give this machine a full review that will allow you to understand all the features of this system and to give you a clear idea of all you need to know about how it works and offers excellent connectivity.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Design:

Routers can be bulky and unsightly. The Google WiFi is very crisply designed and will fit neatly into your particularly space. The system comes in three individual units that all look the same. They have a diameter of 4.1 inches and a height of 2.7 inches. When compared with other routers we noted that this is tiny!

The design of the router has an elegant white body which is divided by a slick LED light. In terms of design this router is perfect to live in the modern home.

The Google Wifi system is brimming with many unique features. Here are some of the major features of this Wi-Fi system.

Features:

  • Simultaneous dual-band Wifi (2.4GHz / 5GHz) which supports IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards.
  • The 3-pack system is perfect for a large home (3000-4500 square feet).
  • Network can be expanded easily by purchasing another Google Wifi unit.
  • The 710 MHz quad-core processor coupled with 512 MB RAM, give superb performance.
  • No antenna and slick, modern design.
  • 2 high-speed Gigabit Ethernet ports.
  • The two ports function as a LAN and WAN port on the primary unit, while on the secondary units both the ports can provide LAN functionality. System can be managed and controlled using Alexa and Google Home voice commands.

 

Wifi app benefits:

The Google Wifi system’s offers a really excellent application that makes the user experience second to none. The app:

  • Provides detailed device statistics.
  • Allows you to schedule the system to automatically pause connection.
  • Allows you to prioritize a device and make sure it is working on the bandwidth that suits you best.
  • Allows you to control smart lights and even the Nest systems.

 

Installation:

The setup procedure is simple and elegant. At the outset you download the free iOS or Android app and scan the QR code on the unit which is connected to your modem and power. After the completion of this stage you will be guided by the app to allow your network to be configured with a name and password. Then all you need to do is pair the secondary units and label them in the app for reference. It really is that simple.

 

Performance:

Just because its small doesn’t mean it doesn’t perform exceptionally well. In terms of performance this system matches that of the bigger machines on the market. In the 5 GHz frequency band close-proximity (same-room) test, it scored higher than 450 Mbps matching other bigger units impressively well. In the long-range test, with speeds of 200 Mbps it also scored very well.

It’s worth noting that this is a single unit and not the whole system. When all all the units update strategically, you won’t have any worries in terms of range.

The Google Wifi unit also performs well in the 2.4 GHz frequency band. The speeds of 100 Mbps for the close-proximity test and 70 Mbps for the long range test are compare well to other high end routers from our review.

The Google Wifi system give the user an experience that outscores all other routers out there. It is designed beautifully and extremely versatile. If you are living in a larger sized home and require excellent connectivity then our reviewers say this is the one for you. The experience really is seamless.

 

Pros

  • Impressive performance on all the Wi-Fi bands.
  • Neat and tidy design
  • App allows easy set-up and management whilst also allowing operation of smart home features
  • Excellent value for money.

 

Cons

  • Requires a Google account at all times.

 

 

3. Best Wireless Routers Review – Asus RT-AC88U

 

 

Asus is a company known to computer users due to their gaming hardware. What many don’t realise is that Asus are also leading the way in the creation of quality routers. We have reviewed the RT-AC88U. Coming in at under $300 it is one of the best routers on the market.

It has a superb design and one that is typical of other Asus products. It is pleasing to the eye with its slick black look along with red antenna accents.

You will want your router to look well but the most important thing you will look for is performance. Here’s what we found:

The RT-AC88U is an AC3100 router which comes with a total of 8 Gigabit LAN ports. It is worth noting that these ports can deliver high-speed internet effectively. This is a dual-band router that can act as a NAS as well.

It is clear that Asus have spent a lot of time designing the web interface – its easy to use and very intuitive. The WiFi performance of the router on both 2.4 gigahertz and the five gigahertz bands stayed faster than ever without losing any performance aspects.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Installation, Configuration, and Performance

The excellent web interface means the installation process of this router is very easy. From the moment you connect your new router to the PC and internet the Asus interface will launch and guide you to the installation wizard or do it manually.

The Quick Internet Setup wizard will check your internet connection and configure your router as a Dynamic IP, Static IP or PPPoE, depending on your connection type selection. You will then be enable to set your SSID name and passwords after which you are done.

In terms of performance, the Asus RT-AC88U provides multi-client MU-MIMO data streaming, and uses both bands very quickly (2.4 Gigahertz and 5 Gigahertz) and also works well with file reading/writing and transfers.

Our reviews noted that if you are willing to spend money on this machine you really will get what you pay for.

 

Pros

  • Has 8 Gigabit LAN ports that can cope with the fastest internet.
  • Best Wi-Fi performance we have come across in quite some time.
  • Excellent web interfaces – the best we have seen on a wireless router. User friendly and very easy to set-up.

 

Cons

  • Not best placing of the USB 3.0 we have seen.
  • Once coupled with an external hard drive and used as a NAS, the router doesn’t perform as well considering what you are paying for it.

 

 

4. Best Wireless Routers Review – NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 – AC1900 Dual-Band Router

 

 
This is another dual-band router. Netgear are famous for creating a wide range of quality wireless routers. The company has a mission to provide the best routers and unparalleled networking hardware.

Our reviews looked at the Netgear Nighthawk R7000. Like its name this machine looks amazing!  It is AC1900, with 1,300 Mbps speed in the five gigahertz band and 600 Mbps speed on the 2.4 gigahertz band.

Our reviewer preferred the R7000 to the R8000 due to its affordability and ease of installation. Over the course of testing it stood out as one of the best Netgear routers on the market.

Here’s how it scored:

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Design:

It looks amazing from the moment you take it out of the box. It is sleek and its all-black design comes along with three detachable antennas. The only negative thing we could say is the fact that it was heavy and slightly bulky. It is a big machine and will need to have some space in the home to accommodate it but the fact it doesn’t need to be moved around means this can be overlooked.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Performance:

The Netgear Nighthawk performs brilliantly and is considered one of the fastest of all the routers we reviewed. Working on both five gigahertz and the 2.4 gigahertz bands the router gave flawless performance without any problems during our tests. It also works well on different ranges and the its bands allow you better performance than what might be offered with a your standard Ethernet connection.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Features:

The Nighthawk AC1900 has plenty of features that are worth noting. This router comes with the support for DD-WRT which means that the machines is able to comfortably run 3rd party firmware based on Linux. There is also OpenVPN support and the OpenDNS allows for a great parental control package which is built into the router. The QoS (Quality of Service) feature will allow you to manage the upstream and downstream of your internet connection.

Our reviews show that this is an impressive machine that gives you a heck of a lot for what you are paying. It may be big in size and have a few issues in terms of performance on the 2.4 gigahertz band, but when it comes to value for money you can’t go wrong with this machine.

 

Pros

  • Unparalleled performance on the five gigahertz band.
  • Many features that you wouldn’t expect from a router in this price band.
  • Design is excellent and has a great build quality.

 

Cons

  • Might be a bit bulky for some.
  • The 2.4 gigahertz band is not as good as the competition.
  • The software features need proper finishing.

 

 

5. Best Wireless Routers Review – D-Link DIR 890L

A D-Link router is next on our review list. D-Link has a track record of producing some of the best products in the world of networking. The AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi DIR-890 is one of those. As a router, it is stylish and neatly designed. Here’s some more detail about what our reviewer found:

The DIR-890 does speed and functionality exceptionally well.

Our review noted that this router provides very fast networking capability. It is easy to install and easy to use. Its Wi-Fi speed and range is very good and the router can be doubled up as an NAS via an external hard drive.

We did note that this router is a tri-band router which may not suit the average home use as it provides a bit more than the average user will require.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Design:

In terms of design this router makes an impact. Design is not the main thing you will be looking for but it certainly helps if a router fits nicely in the home. This machine comes with a red build featuring black accents. It will stand out in your home and for design gurus it will go very nicely with PC’s or laptops with a red livery. As we said, design isn’t everything – lets now focus on how it works.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Range:

For large homes with a number of devices that require Wi-Fi capability or internet connections the DIR-890 will be a good choice. The machine comes with 6 antennas that will give you a very promising range. However, do note that if there is any problems occurring with the antennas there are not detachable.

LAN Ports: in terms of LAN ports capability this machine doesn’t score so well. If you need a number of LAN portsyou should be aware that the DIR-890 only comes with 4 LAN ports. This is less than other models we reviewed, some of which offer up to 8 LAN ports. If the LAN port number is not something that concerns you then this router is a great choice.

You will love the design of this router and the range of features it offers. Our review team considered this as one of the best routers out there. It does what it says on the tin!

 

Pros

  • Very fast, causes few problems and gives good Wi-Fi range.
  • Looks great and has strong, sturdy build.
  • Easy to setup and operate.

 

Cons

  • Antennas are not detachable.
  • Price may be a limitation for some.

 

 

6. Best Wireless Routers Review: NETGEAR Nighthawk X10

 

 

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi Router will work well for people who are looking for great VR gaming and 4K video streaming capability. This is not a cheap machine, however and comes in at just about $400.

The price may seem heavy but our reviews noted that you do get a lot for your money. This router supports three Wi-Fi bands (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz, and 60 GHz). It also has 7 Gigabit Ethernet ports (6 LAN, 1 WAN) along with a 10 Gigabit SPF+ LAN port. Then comes a Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) data streaming, and 160 MHz Wi-Fi technology. This will allow you to double the speed of your Wi-Fi when using mobile devices.

This detailed review takes a look at the great range of features of the Nighthawk X10’s and we also consider if it is worth the heavy price.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Design:

Its dimension of 8.81 x 6.61 x 2.91 in, means this is not the smaller of the routers that we reviewed. It is heavy too – weighing more than a 15-inch MacBook Pro. Despite the relatively large size it doesn’t strike you as a very imposing piece of hardware. The design of the machine is very subtle and features four individual antennas feature blue LED lining.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Features:

The Nighthawk X10 really scores well in terms of the features it offers – some of which are:

  • 802.11ac Quad-Stream Wave2 Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO, helping to provide high-speed Wi-Fi to a number of different devices at the same time.
  • Supports a combined Wi-Fi speed of 7.2 Gbps (Band 1: 800 Mbps @2.4GHz, Band 2: 1733 Mbps @5GHz, Band 3: 4600 Mbps @60GHz).
  • 1.7 GHz quad-core processor which will be of great use to gamers or those with fast, clear streaming needs.
  • 4 dual-band antennas with high-powered amplifiers to maximize range and throughput.
  • 10 Gigabit LAN SFP+ port which gives great, fast Network-attached Storage (NAS) access.
  • Two of the Gigabit Ethernet ports are able to be combined to allow the provision of up to 2 Gbps speeds.
  • 160 MHz Wi-Fi can give mobile devices double fast speed.
  • 2 super speed USB 3.0 ports.
  • The NETGEAR genie app has a wide range of features that can allow you to manage you network at home.
  • Amazon drive backup is also features which helps to support Amazon Alexa commands.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Installation:

You may feel that the features contained within this router might mean that it is that bit more difficult to install. That’s not the case in any way. In fast it is surprisingly easy. When connected to your PC you are guided to a login website which guides you through a simple set-up Wizard. The rest of the process is fool-proof. The NETGEAR Up app is also a help – this mobile app will allow you to set-up and install remotely.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Performance:

Our review team believe that the Nighthawk X10 has the right to be cocky. In all our test criteria it scored very well. The router scored north of 550 Mbps in the 5 GHz close-proximity (same-room) test which is much higher than its nearer competitor (which happens to be the TP-Link Talon AD7200). This router also scored nearly 400 Mbps in the 5 GHz band when tested at a distance of 30 feet and we consider its performance in the 2.4 GHz band as top of the range. In the close-proximity test it scored 100 Mbps and experienced a drop of 25% at a distance of 30 feet. What sets this router apart form others in our opinion was its performance in the 60 GHz AD frequency band. This router scored very high in the proximity test with scores of 950-960 Mbps. The only fallback was its performance in the long-range test. Here, it didn’t score well at all and also it should be noted that the router can’t penetrate through walls.

All in all, our review team found that this router is a fantastic product for you home. It should be noted that it is slightly ahead of its time in the sense that some of its features have yet to become mainstream and may not be supported by some devices. Most devices don’t support the 160 MHz Wi-Fi, and very few PCs are available with 802.11 AD network cards.In summary, we believe the Nighthawk X10 is a router of the future but may be slightly underperforming in today’s world as a result.

 

Pros

  • Impressive Wi-Fi band performance
  • The 10 Gbps LAN SFP+ port is fantastic if you use high-end NAS servers.
  • Easy installation and management due to the proprietary applications provided by NETGEAR.

 

Cons

  • Maybe a little bit ahead of its time
  • Slightly pricey

 

 

7. Best Wireless Routers Review: Amped Wireless RTA2600 Athena

 


 

The Amped Wireless RTA2600 Athena router is up next and is a machine that won’t let you down. It is not going to cost you too much but our team did identify that it may not be suitable for network enthusiasts. Some of the other routers from our review have many bells and whistles. This isn’t the case here. You will get a router that performs well and will give enough to the average consumer and as well as people who are looking for that little bit more.

Across all our tests this router performed very well. It may not offer some of the extra features seen in other machines but the features it does have both work well and are easy to configure and understand. It has a very responsive control panel which can be very helpful in the installation process.

The hardware contained within the router will give you excellent performance. Our team loved the neat, tidy design aspects and the fact that it isn’t as cumbersome of unsightly as some of the others we reviewed. Performance was good across the board and we didn’t identify any issues with connection during our tests. The router has the capability to be connected to a number of different devices via Wi-Fi. Performance quality really is one of the big selling points of the RTA2600 Athena.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Conclusion

We consider this router to be one of the best we have encountered and hence it makes our top 10 list. It may not be the best choice for those who are serious network experts but it certainly will perform well and is a good choice in our opinion.

 

Pros

  • Scores well in performance.
  • Wi-Fi performance is excellent no matter how many devices are using it
  • Setting up is easy and does not require expert networking knowledge

 

Cons

  • Lacks features seen in other products.
  • Price may be high for some.

 

 

8. Best Wireless Routers Review: Linksys WRT1900 AC

 

 

This Linksys router comes with the support for the AC1900 standard support which shows the five gigahertz band has a speed of 1,300 megahertz and the 2.5 gigahertz band has a speed of 600 megahertz. This router will stand up against some of the best in our review and here’s how:

Linksys have developed a name for the quality of the design of their products. In this case it doesn’t let you down. It has the classic Linksys look with a colour scheme that pleases the eye. However, it is a pretty large router and will require users to clear a bit of space in order to store in the home.

Featuring four antennas and the firmware that can be replaced by a completely custom firmware from a user. This is a router that will perform well in terms of speed from the moment you start using it. Set-up is easy and it comes with a range of extra features. It also has the potential to double up as a NAS. What really stood out for us was the fact that the NAS offered outshines all the other routers we reviewed. It also supports UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) and DLNA. Finally, performance on both bands is second to none and you can be safe in the knowledge that it will perform well without any problems.

Best Wireless Routers Review – Conclusion

It is not a perfect router but any flaws it does have are minimal to say the least. It is slight bulky in size but other than that there are not too many negative things to say about this router. Across all the tests we conducted it fared well and we never saw any crashing. Its software might be slightly confusing for novices but for network enthusiasts it may be underwhelming. If you can afford this router our team believe you would be making a great choice.

 

Pros

  • Comes with very powerful hardware.
  • Excellent, fast performing Wi-Fi range
  • The best NAS performance we have seen.
  • Retro design that is pleasing to the eye

 

Cons

  • Might be considered expensive.
  • Software is confusing for the newcomers, and lacking for the enthusiasts.

 

 

9.  Best Wireless Routers Review: TP-Link Archer C7

 

 

If you are working on a budget then the TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 is a great choice (Under $100).

With a combined speed of 1.75 Gpbs, we consider this router to be a great option for those who regularly enjoy internet gaming and streaming.

It is nicely designed and could be considered stylish. In terms of performance it scored very well in all our tests. If you are look at two things – price and performance – then our review team think you would be making a great decision in choosing this product.

It is a basic machine in the world of routers. It is not the smallest of routers and it’s build quality is not stand-out and in some ways feels slightly flimsy. You will therefore need to have a think about where you will position it in your home.

What really matters is performance. This is a dual-band router that comes with a total of 6 antennas (3 of them are external while the remaining ones are internal). If you are looking for a wide Wi-Fi range then these extra antennas will work well for you. The speed is also very acceptable as is its NAS capability.

You are paying for this router and therefore should be aware that it doesn’t come with a range of extra features seen in other routers on the market. TP market this as an entry level router so the lack of features is acceptable. If you are working on a budget or simply want a basic router that will allow you to give good wireless capability then you are making a good decision.

 

Pros

  • Performs well considering the price
  • Both bands give a reasonable performance.
  • Will work well for those who need to stream or are gaming enthusiasts
  • NAS capability is a good addition

 

Cons

  • Plastic build and feels slightly flimsy

 

 

10. Best Wireless Routers Review – Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station

 

 

Our final review comes from Apple.

You may be surprised to hear that his is actually a fairly decent router. Named the AirPort Extreme Base Station it is certainly one to consider and here’s how it fares:

When we think of Apple we think about design. So how does this router look? Of course, it has that Apple feel and is very slick. Looks are not everything so we need to consider how it operates. This is a very strong router and performs well in its main function. It is a dual band router and will support all the very latest innovations in Wi-Fi technology. It performed well and very quickly in all the tests we conducted. They may not be known for their routers but in this instance Apple have come up trumps.

Our review team found nothing really that would prevent you from making a decision to buy this product. Upgrades on previous models could be better but this aside it is a fast and reliable router.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Final Verdict

The router is probably one of the best routers Apple have created. It offers fast and stable performance and doesn’t create any issues.

 

Pros

  • Looks fantastic
  • Fast and reliable speed performance
  • Easy to use and set up

 

Cons

  • All the upgrades over the predecessor happen to be subjective.

 

 


 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide

There are a number of other things you need to know about Wireless Routers before making a purchase decision. Here’s a bit more that will help:

Wireless Routers have different available speeds as well as different WiFi standards and support for multiple bands which need to be noted before you buy.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – What is the technology behind a wireless Router?

Wireless routers enable you to connect to your modem and other devices you have at the home, office, or outdoors through wireless connections to the Internet at the same time.

Along with connectivity there are a number of other features these routers offer and we have tried to identify these below to help you in your decision-making process.

Best Wireless Routers Review – Range of Wireless Routers

The range is basically the measure of the distance the signal covers from the router. Before release the product to market, manufacturers will usually test the range in a laboratory setting. The actual range provided will diminish slightly outside of lab settings and therefore in your home or office you may see a lesser range. This is due to some factors including the proximity of the router to a wall or an obstruction, interference from mobile phone signal, baby monitors, the presence of different forms of radio waves and other possible factors. In normal household scenarios, a good wireless router should have a range of up to 4572cm (150ft) indoor and a little less than that outdoor.

The type of antenna used on the device can also affect the range. In the case of the Asus RT-AC88U Dual-Band, router range is up to 90144cm (300ft) indoor at standard conditions, provided there’s no interference. There is some further info on antennas below.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Single Band, Dual-Band or Tri-Band

There are three available bands on a wireless router; single band, dual-band and the tri-band. The band of your wireless router is the particular (wireless) frequency (in gigahertz) at which the router sends out its signal. In a single band, this frequency can be either of 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz. A dual-band has its frequency at both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, while the tri-band adds an extra 5Ghz frequency. Tri-band therefore guarantees more signal.

The dual-band or tri-band router gives more options for wireless internet connection, but there are some shortfalls too. Although strong, the 5Ghz frequency has a lower range compared to the 2.4Ghz frequency. This is sufficient for indoor wireless connection as most gadgets don’t need a long range. In your home you tend not to see interference but when you leave the house, you may encounter problems. Another con of the 5Ghz frequency is that there are fewer devices that can connect to this frequency.

A wireless router with multiple frequencies has more of an advantage in a place where there are many routers or a congested area. The signal strength from a router with multiple frequencies will allow your router to deliver to your gadgets, regardless of the congestion or interference within the area. In an urban setting, especially in cities, a wireless router with a dual-band or tri-band is something you will need for sure. Although not all devices can work with the 5Ghz frequency, with the dual-band or your tri-band your device has the option of choosing the alternative 2.4Ghz frequency. The D-Link DIR 890L Tri-Band router is on one of the best tri-band routers in the market.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – A, B, G, N, AC

There are four standard wireless signals which are; 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac. The strength of the wireless signal increases with the alphabet. That means that the 802.11a has the least wireless signal strength while the 802.11ac has the highest wireless signal strength. The 802.11ac is the most recent version of the wireless signal. This means that most new gadgets are able to connect easily to signals. It’s important that you adjust the setting of your router to allow devices with a lower signal strength to connect. Now that is important because most devices use the older but most stable 802.11g. For this reason, you should adjust your router settings to broadcast old signals.

802.11a, transmits the wireless signal at a frequency of 5Ghz and with a data transfer rate of 54Mbps (megabytes per second). It is an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) wireless networking standard.

802.11b,  broadcasts the wireless signal at a frequency of 2.4Ghz, with a maximum transfer rate of 11Mbps but is also IEEE standard rated

802.11g, like the 802.11b is an IEEE wireless with a broadcasting frequency of 2.4Ghz but at a maximum data rate of 54Mbps.

802.11n, unlike the other wireless signals, uses Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology to boost its signal strength. It has a faster data transfer rate maximum of up to 600Mbps.

802.11ac termed the fifth generation Wi-Fi, the 802.11ac is a massive upgrade on the 802.11b. It uses a version the MIMO called Muti-User MIMO with a broadcasting frequency of 5GHZ and has a maximum transfer rate of 867Mbps.

The ASUS RT-AC3200 Tri-Band is one of the few routers that work with the new 802.11ac standard with backward compatibility to older standards.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – USB Functionality

Some wireless routers do come with USB port(s) to allow direct connection and use of the wireless network through the USB cable. The USB functionality permits the sharing of a file using NAS (Network attached storage) between devices through a wireless connection. This tends to be used a lot if a wireless connection is connected to a printer. Not always needed but worth having should the need arise.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Wired port

A wired port is an addition to the wireless functionality that will help wired internet connect to a nearby PC. You will experience no interference as this happens via a cable and the amount of data transfer speed is higher. You will do well to go with a router that can connect to a wireless connection and the wired LAN (local area network) port. This will allow you to have a secure connection even with interference and congestion. Most routers come with about four wired port, but the Asus RT-AC88U Dual-Band has 8 LAN ports.

Routers without wired ports are a lot similar to access points. An access point will provide just the wireless connection without actually supplying internet connection itself. Access points will connect internet from a router to any connecting device. An access point will help transmit the signal from the router.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – Antenna type

Before purchasing a router, you should consider the antenna type. There are two types of antennas: internal and external. The internal antenna is encased in the router as the external router sticks out just a bit on the device. Most routers come with the encased internal antenna because it looks better but the external antenna gives a better signal range. Therefore, don’t simply make decisions based around how a router looks.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – MIMO

Multiple in multiple out is the latest technology in wireless router that allows fast data transfer and wide range coverage of signal. MIMO allows the inflow and broadcast of multiple signals simultaneously.

 

Best Wireless Routers Review – IPv6

As technology has progressed the old IPv4 (internet protocol version 4) addresses will be almost fully subscribed. You should therefore ensure that a new router supports IPv6 just before making that purchase.

 

What to do now?

We hope that all of the above have given you all you need to know. Here’s a quick synopsis:

  • Ensure your router has a comprehensive range coverage with a minimum range of 4572cm (150ft) for indoor use is good enough.
  • Does it have dual band? It should.
  • Can it broadcast 802.11n as well as older versions.
  • Is it WAP2 secure?
  • Does it have both USB functionality as well as wired port?
  • Does it have a suitable antenna – preferably an external antenna?
  • Does it support IPv6?

 

Best Wireless Routers Review: Final Words – Wrapping it up

The wireless router market is huge and therefore making the right decision is a difficult one when deciding what one to purchase. Therefore, we suggest you use all the advice we have provided above to help make that decision. We have tried to keep the customer in mind in all our reviews on this page.

Whatever your budget we hope our guide is of use to you. Remember – no machine is perfect. There will always be certain things featured that may not suit a particular user and remember that each machine is built with a certain type of end user in mind. Whether you are look at an entry level router or are coming from a networking enthusiast perspective there should be some in our list for you.

If you have any recommendations in terms of routers not on our list please drop us a line.

 

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