How we pick our products
So many of our gadgets these days require an internet connection, so it is important to have a quality router to manage all your devices. However, it is often the case that many internet service providers only basic provide equipment to connect to the internet, which does not allow us the ability to efficiently take advantage of the high speeds they offer.
To make matters worse, these devices often fail more frequently than we would like. Therefore, it is a good idea to purchase better quality equipment. In general, however, most average users are unaware of what to look for when buying a router. That’s why we have prepared this comprehensive guide, to tell you everything that you need to know about this important piece of equipment.
- Routers are essential devices that are required in order to take advantage of the faster internet speeds on offer today. The faster speed that a quality router provides is indispensable for streaming movies and TV shows in high definition and also for seamless online gaming without latency issues.
- Routers provided by internet service providers are usually very basic models, without any extra features. If you want to take advantage of extra functions, or a more stable and faster connection, you should consider purchasing a higher quality device.
- These days it is increasingly common for routers be dual band, allowing connections at frequencies of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. This permits the device to take advantage of both frequencies, resulting in a higher quantity of fast speed connections.
Our selection: The best routers
In this section, we have chosen the best routers available on the market right now. We have chosen a wide-range of products to give you a good indication of what is currently available. All the selected products offer great value for money, reliability and will be a big upgrade from the basic router supplied by your internet service provider (ISP).
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about routers
What is a router exactly?
What is a router used for?
Is it worth buying a new router?
Additionally, a basic router supplied by your ISP will usually only support WiFi N and use the 2.4 Ghz band. This means that the maximum speed they can offer is around 300 to 450 Mbps. Conversely, with a more powerful router it is possible to enjoy the benefits of connectivity in dual band WiFi N and WiFi AC at 5 GHz, with speeds up to 1,750 Mbps.
What are the reasons for buying a new router?
You might also be interested in buying a higher quality router than the one supplied by your ISP, if you are a serious online gamer and want to ensure a faster and more stable connection. As we all know, there is nothing more frustrating than losing a game, just because your connection dropped out – exactly when you needed it most.
What are the advantages of upgrading my router?
The main advantages include higher connection speeds, more stable connections and the ability to simultaneously connect a greater number of devices. In recent years, the prices of routers have dropped considerably, and their installation is much less complicated.
|You can take full advantage of the connection speed offered by your operator.||They require an extra financial outlay, especially in the case of high-end equipment.|
|You can enjoy advanced features.||You will need to install the new router yourself or hire a specialized technician. However, these days the installation of most devices is very easy.|
|You can connect more devices and have better control over a greater number of connections.|
|A higher quality router will save you having to buy a signal booster.|
|High quality routers use beamforming technology to strengthen the signal and connection speed.|
|Some manufacturers have free mobile applications, which allow you to manage your home or office network from your smartphone.|
|You can enjoy a much higher level of network customization.|
What WiFi standards are supported by the latest routers?
|802.11n or WiFi 4||800 Mbps|
|802.11ac or WiFi 5||1300 Mbps or 1733 Mbps using 5 Ghz|
|802.11ad||800 Mbps using 2,4 GHz, 1.733 Mbps using 5 GHz y 4.600 Mbps on a band of 60 GHz|
|802.11ax or WiFi 6||11.000 Mbps|
A router or a mesh network?
This solution is especially designed to cover large areas, in which the signal emitted from a single router is insufficient. It offers a much more stable and secure WiFi signal, providing coverage in WiFi “dead zones” and eliminating those connection dropouts we all hate. Obviously, as this type of solution is more complex and requires more equipment, it is considerably more expensive than a network managed by a single router.
The moment has arrived to purchase a new router, so it’s important that you keep a few things in mind. In order to make your choice as easy as possible, we take a detailed look at the most important factors you need to know – so you can get the device that is perfect for you. We hope that this guide helps you to get the best value for money, when you are buying your new router.
- Quantity and type of connections required
- WiFi standard
- Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO)
- Hardware of the router
- Software and user interface
Quantity and type of connections required
One of the first things you should be asking yourself, is the number of Ethernet and wireless connections you require. Whenever possible it is always better to connect your devices using an Ethernet cable, since this is a more stable connection. As a result, most current routers usually provide between two and four Ethernet LAN plugs.
However, some routers have more than four Ethernet plugs. The most important thing to check is that they are Gigabit LAN connections. On the other hand, if you are going to connect lots of devices via WiFi over a large area, it is important that the router has several external antennas which can be orientated in different directions. If the antennas are internal, you definitively want to make sure that there is more than one.
A key aspect to consider when choosing a router is the WiFi standard it supports. This will determine its speed and ability to manage multiple connections. The newest standard is called WiFi 6 or WiFi 802.11ax. This standard permits connections that are 55% faster, and many additional connections at the same time.
One of the most important features of routers is the band on which they operate. Single band devices operate at a frequency of 2.4 GHz, dual band devices operate on both 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz frequencies and triple band devices use a single 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands.
The main advantage provided by double and triple band routers is due to the fact that the 5 GHz band is less congested and also has less interference. This is because this frequency is not utilized by other devices that connect using different types of systems, such as Bluetooth connections.
Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO)
This technology is increasingly more present in the latest routers to hit the market. It is designed to tackle the single biggest issue associated with WiFi – having multiple simultaneous connections. When several computers are connected to a traditional router, it will often decide to only send data to the devices one at a time.
However, with MIMO technology the router can simultaneously send information to multiple devices, resulting in considerably faster connection speeds. So if you often have many devices connected to your network at the same time, it is vital that you make sure that you are buying a router that has this technology integrated.
Hardware of the router
Routers use their own microprocessor and RAM. In particular, the latest models integrate Qualcomm dual-core processors, and some can even have more than 1 GB of RAM. However, in reality most current routers are integrated with less RAM of around 250-500 MB.
Software and user interface
If you don’t need to access the user interface regularly, or whether this is something you will be doing often, it is equally important that it is simple and straightforward process. Luckily, most routers have fairly simple interfaces, and it is easy to configure the basic settings.
However, these same interfaces also allow you to manage more advanced options. Desktop applications are highly recommended, because they are much faster than browser applications. Additionally, you may also be interested in extra functions offered, that allow you to create FTP servers or VPN networks.
When it is time to choose the router you are going to buy, it is advisable to opt for a recognized brand. However, it is possible that you may not know who are the most trusted manufacturers of these products. In any case, you should know that some of the most respected brands are D-Link, TP-Link, Asus and Netgear.
A standard router provided by your ISP will only offer the most basic functions. It usually won’t allow you to take full advantage of the faster connection speeds currently available. This is the reason why so many users choose to replace them with equipment that offers much better performance.
However, it is not always easy to choose the router that is best for you. Often an average user does not possess the technical knowledge needed to properly understand the specifications of these devices. This is why we compiled this clear and concise guide, explaining the fundamental criteria you need to keep in mind when choosing one of these products.
If you have found this guide to be useful in your selection process, please leave us a comment and be sure share it on your social networks.
(Source of featured image: Adamowiz: 63086877/ 123rf.com)