How To Buy The Best WIFI Router? Here Are The 10 Best Wireless Routers Of 2017!
Buffering – a word which we all hate when our favorite movie stops right in the middle of a thrilling scene. And then there are ‘throbbers’, the infuriating loader symbols that show slowed downloads of some heavy files that we need urgently. Much of our time gets wasted under such circumstances. The entire responsibility of all these frustrating situations levies to only one thing, the network router that delivers poor internet quality. This situation frequently happens when the router cables get tangled up or are loosened or detached from the main port. Indeed, if you had a good wireless internet router, you will never have faced such situations! Isn’t it?
From reading course books during examinations to watching movies for spending our leisure time, we always desire to have the internet connectivity to get our works done. And, all you need to do to enjoy these routine activities with an uninterrupted internet connection is to buy yourself a good router that connects all your devices. Here we give a detailed overview about some of the best wireless routers benefiting the customers globally.
THE 8 BEST WIRELESS ROUTERS THAT DELIVER FASTER INTERNET CONNECTIVITY
Now that we have discussed what wireless routers are, and which traits should they necessarily possess to get themselves qualified as the best wireless router, we now list down some of the best routers that are certainly outnumbering all other wired and wireless internet routers. These routers not only provide excellent connectivity. Instead, they top up the list of wireless routers owing to their classy designs, and impressive specifications. If you want to buy the best router that bears a majority of the above mentioned prominent features of wireless routers along with excellent connectivity, you will surely find your desired router in the list given below.
BEST NETGEAR ROUTER FOR WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY
NETGEAR is one of the prominent names among all wireless router manufacturing firms. Not to forget that they are the pioneers of the fastest wireless routers in the world that lead a trail of wireless internet devices behind them. Till now, NETGEAR has launched a surfeit of some of the best wireless devices in the market. Our wireless router reviews will remain unfinished unless we include several fantastic products from this firm.
We begin our router reviews with a tremendous product from NETGEAR, the NETGEAR R6400 wireless router. After the launch of NETGEAR R6300, the manufacturers had had enough time to design a new NETGEAR AC1750 router with an entirely new look, impressive specs, and better performance than its predecessors.
The NETGEAR R6400 is indeed the best dual band router from NETGEAR that comes with an affordable price tag. Besides, the design of this wireless router also succeeds to grab your attention at the very first sight. The router seems much like the Nighthawk router series, rather than its previous variant R6300.
Features and Specs:
- High-power external antennae for wider signal range.
- Powered by Beamforming+ technology that ensures a directional transmittance of data, and minimizes any interference within the range for a powerful
- Can connect with up to a dozen of external devices at a time.
- The R6400 NETGEAR wireless router sports an 802.11ac wireless protocol for strong signal strength.
- Shows a maximum throughput of 1750Mbps at both radio bands (up to 1350Mbps at 5GHz, and 250Mbps at 2.4GHz).
- Backward compatibility with the older wireless protocols, 802.11a/b/g/n, makes the device work seamlessly well with all your home gadgets.
- It bears 4 LAN ports, a Gigabit WAN port (for Ethernet), and a USB 2.0 slot dedicated for connecting a printer, along with the charging slot and power buttons at the back of the device.
- On the front side, it displays bright status indicator lights and a USB 3.0 slot.
- NETGEAR-genie app allows you to manage device settings, access data usage statistics, setting up parental controls for individual connections, and a lot more.
- User-friendly GUI of the software makes it easy for the user to access the admin account from anywhere.
Stepping ahead to mesmerize the world with its innovative abilities, the folks at NETGEAR have launched a prodigious range of wireless routers – the NETGEAR Nighthawk series which is powered by spellbinding features and specs to revolutionize the world of networking. The most exciting improvisation in this series is its functionality over a more advanced wireless protocol, the 802.11ad. The NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750 Smart R6700 is another fantastic artefact from the incredible Nighthawk router series.
Features and Specs:
- The Nighthawk R6700 router has a matt surface with no shimmering.
- It is relatively larger and more massive in size, similar to its bigger counterpart the R7000 of the Nighthawk series.
- A broader base with rubberized stands allows you to place the device anywhere without fearing it to be slipped on the surface.
- It bears three long and thick external antennae to ensure a wider range of efficient connectivity.
- With portable antennae, you can augment the wireless range of the Nighthawk router.
- Powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor that endows a large coverage area to it.
- It efficiently supports 450Mbps data transfer rate at the 4GHz band, whereas, at the 5GHz band, it backs 1300Mbps of bandwidth. In all, it exhibits a combined throughput of 1750Mbps.
- With Beamforming+ technology, this router efficiently caters multiple wireless connections with the same speed.
CHOOSE YOUR DESIRED LINKSYS ROUTER FROM THE TOP RANGE
Cisco is a name familiar to anyone who is linked with computing, mainly, the networking technology, in one or the other way. Presently, Cisco is one of the ruling companies that are involved in manufacturing the best quality network routers. One of the famous brands, Linksys, also belonged to Cisco, which purchased it in 2003, later sold it to Belkin in 2013. The Linksys products launched between the years 2003 and 2013 were branded as Cisco Linksys. After that, Linksys separately established itself as a popular brand under the umbrella of Belkin, for producing incredible wireless gadgets, while claiming to take your home WIFI networking to the next level.
Linksys has launched several impressive devices within an affordable range to increase their customership. These routers ensure that you enjoy the same networking level experienced by any other user with a high-end router. This range of wireless routers will show how you can get the top-notch connectivity features without costing a fortune. Continuing our review for the best wireless routers, we now include some startling devices from Linksys and Cisco Linksys brands.
It is usually difficult to get a fast wireless router at an affordable price, since the ones offering the best features aren’t available at cheap rates, whereas the other routers that suit your budget do not possess impressive specs. In an attempt to narrow the distance between quality and affordability, Linksys has launched a competitive wireless internet router that is ready to defeat all its rivals. We are talking about the Linksys AC1750 Max-Stream™ EA7300 router.
The Linksys Max-Stream EA7300 is a remarkable invention that empowers you to maintain a robust online presence of yourself by connecting all your gadgets with this router without facing any decrease in the internet connection speed.
Features and Specs:
- The Linksys smart WIFI router flaunts with a sleek design which is a perfect amalgam of usefulness and creativity. Its sturdiness makes the device suitable to be installed at any place without needing much care.
- Enjoy quick installation. Just connect the router with the WAN and power cables, go through a quick boot setup, and enjoy high-speed internet connectivity.
- Three external antennae for improved wireless signal range and strength.
- The 802.11ac protocol further adds to its performance.
- Linksys WIFI router features backward compatibility to support all those devices that are configured for 802.11a/b/g/n protocols.
- Backed by the MU-MIMO technology, the router efficiently handles several connections at a time.
- The Linksys AC1750 Max-Stream™ EA7300 is a dual-band router that gives a high-speed data transfer rate. It supports up to 450Mbps at 4GHz band, and 1300Mbps at 5GHZ
- The Beamforming+ technology in Linksys AC1750 router for a directed data transmission further boosts its signal strength.
- It bears a WAN port, four LAN ports, and a USB 3.0 port at the rear side of the device.
Moving on with the Linksys router series, here is another enticing device from the same manufacturers known for revolutionizing the world of connectivity. This time, we are going to discuss the Linksys EA8500 Max-Stream AC2600 MU-MIMO Smart Wi-Fi Router.
The first thing in this Linksys AC2600 wireless router that strikes you for a while is its notable efficiency in packed environments. The design of the router is however not as impressive as we expect it to be due to the presence of four different antennae. Nevertheless, we remain more concerned with the router’s functionality instead of the design, which this device satisfies adequately.
Features and Specs:
- Qualcomm MU/EFX WIFI technology ensures stable performance even with crowded bands and multiple connections.
- Four external antennae ensure a seamless connectivity across all linked devices with robust signal strength.
- MU-MIMO technology ensures robust connectivity to every gadget connected wirelessly to it.
- A dual-band router capable of supporting higher bandwidths. It sports a throughput of 800Mbps on the 4GHz radio band, and 1733Mbps on 5GHz band. In all, this router can support 2.53GHz.
- Internal 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 512Mbps RAM memory and 128MB flash memory jazz up the router’s classy performance.
- Operates on 802.11ac wireless protocols.
- Reverse compatibility with 802.11b/g/n on 2.4GHz band.
- Brick-like shape, having no status indicators on the front. Just one light indicator as the logo of Linksys and serves as a power
- The rear side of the device bears the four Gigabit ports for LAN, one gigabit port for WAN, a USB 3.0 port and a 2.0 slot along with the power button and charging port.
Although, this Cisco wireless router may not be as advanced as the other routers reviewed above, yet it is a considerably modernized device that offers a bunch of specs stolen from other top-rated routers. In fact, its exceptionally vast and durable signal range is one of its traits responsible for the popularity of this router. Talking about its design, the absence of external antennae gives an opportunity to the manufacturers to leverage their creativity in designing this device. Hence, the designers seem to have worked meticulously in coming with a shape that is slim, decent, catchy and sufficient enough to sport an appealing design. The top of the Cisco WIFI router is a matte surface over which gleams a sleek silver metallic strip bearing the company logo. The perfect combination of grey and black colors indeed adds radiance to it.
Features and Specs:
- A dual-band router functions seemingly well on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands.
- Six internal antennae (as opposed to the three internal antennae found in other routers), three of which are meant to manage throughput at 5GHz, while the other three are for 2.4GHz.
- Faster speed with a maximum throughput of 450Mbps.
- MU-MIMO technology enables to handle multiple connections together without affecting the connectivity speed.
- SpeedBoost helps maintain good coverage to a longer
- Preinstalled Cisco Connect Software for setup and device configurations.
- Rear panel for all connection ports includes four LAN ports, a dedicated gigabit WAN port in the middle, a USB 3.0 slot for connecting high-speed devices, and the charging port.
- You can turn off the LED indicator lights present on the rear side of the device.
BEST TP-LINK ROUTER FOR WIRELESS CONNECTIONS
TP-LINK is an emerging Chinese networking company that is significantly contributing towards improvisation in the wireless networking. Till now, it has launched a myriad of WIFI routers that perform immensely well to outnumber its rival products. A noteworthy trait of the firm’s production practices is that it tends to manufacture all the components in-house, unlike a majority of companies that prefer outsourcing for component production. In this way, the manufacturers are able to regulate the demand and supply balance for their products.
Here comes an innovative device from the Chinese tech company that is a delightful addition to the range of dual-band routers. We are talking about the TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 wireless router. Sleek design, enchanting performance, and affordable price tag – these attributes combine together to make up the fantastic TP-Link WIFI router. In an attempt to wrestle with Linksys and NETGEAR, the TP-Link wireless router comes in with a shimmering look that is adorned with brilliant indicator lights to show the connection status. Whereas the decent shape of the device lets it be comfortably placed anywhere.
In addition, this TP-Link router bears an affordable price tag. In fact, if you are looking for a cheap router that brags about high-end features and specs, then this indeed is the best router under 100 that takes your networking experience to the next level.
Features and Specs:
- The TP-Link Archer C7 router supports 1750Mbps of bandwidth over the two frequencies of 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
- The 802.11ac wireless protocol standard maintains an increased throughput over higher frequency bands. Hence it seamlessly supports video streaming, gaming, and other activities requiring heavy internet use. If you are in search of the best router for gaming, then the TP-LINK Archer C7 is indeed the perfect choice.
- Three internal antennae ensure seamless performance over the 2.4 GHz band. While the three external antennae empower the router to perform equally well over the 5GHz frequency band.
- These external antennae, aligned on the same side of the device, are all adjustable and detachable. Thus, you can augment the wireless range of the router by adjusting the position of these antennae, or by entirely replacing them.
- Leveraging the power of six antennae, the TP-LINK C7 router ensures smoother coverage over longer distances.
- The rear side of the device bears all the connection slots, four Gigabit LAN ports, one gigabit port for WAN, and two USB 2.0 slots, as well as the device power and wireless control switches.
BEST ASUS ROUTERS FOR A BETTER WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY
Technological advancements are not only confined to the developed world. Instead, the craze of moving ahead of the present tech scenario has also enthralled the developing countries. AsusTek Computer Inc. is a Taiwanese firm that has drowned itself into technological improvisations for benefitting the people. AsusTek is known to have produced several computing devices, including laptops, PCs, tablets, mobile phones, network routers, projectors, and all other related hardware components related to these devices.
Our list of best wireless routers would remain incomplete unless we include the Asus RT-AC 68U review in it. The RT-AC68U is an advanced successor of the previous Asus wireless router variant of RT-AC66U. The device bears a design similar to the RT-AC66U, but the specifications it sports are much improved as compared to the older variant.
Features and Specs:
- The RT-AC68U Asus WIFI router is a dual-band wireless device that is powered by 802.11ac wireless protocols for smooth and unified performance across multiple devices.
- Being a dual-band router, it manages the traffic load by seamlessly dividing it over two frequencies.
- Broadcom’s TurboQAM technology elevates the data transfer rate and speed, enabling it to handle a bandwidth of 600Mbps at a 4GHz frequency band, and up to 1300Mbps at the 5GHz band.
- A cumulative speed of 1900Mbps (or 1.9Gbps) and with 802.11ac wireless protocol rates it as the best WIFI router for long range
- This Asus wireless router brags with a Broadcom BCM4709 Wi-Fi chipset that rests on an Arm Cortex A9 dual-core 800MHz CPU. Whereas, the internal memory of this router is jazzed up with the 256MB DDR RAM.
- Three external detachable antennae allow you to adjust the range of signals manually.
- The rear end of the device bears four Gigabit LAN ports, a gigabit WAN internet port, and a high-speed USB 3.0 port.
- The smooth glossy front bears the Asus logo and indicator lights and is adorned with a diamond-shaped pattern that adds classiness to the router’s design when turned on.
- It is a vertical router that stands upright with a non-removable base stand. Hence it requires less space.
LOOKING FOR A CLASSIC DEVICE WITH FASTER WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY? HERE COMES THE MEDIALINK ROUTER FOR YOU!
A few months ago, when the Nokia’s primitive ‘unbreakable’ cellphone model 3110 was relaunched with a new case, it eventually made to the list of 10 best-selling mobile phones of the year. Ironically, it was the only classic cellphone amongst all the high-end smartphones and phablet devices. Well, it depicts that sometimes, people look for something amazingly simple, just enough to fulfill their needs. The same happens with wireless routers too. Not everyone is a tech-savvy individual, a movie lover, a businessman or a gamer necessarily requiring a lightning fast internet speed and connectivity. So, for those who just need a wireless router that suffices to handle their routine activities with an average to good connection speed, here is a cheap and classy wireless router for you.
The most unique feature of this router is that there are no unique features in it. Confused? Well, it literally does not sport anything to brag about. And this is what makes the device a point of attention. This wireless router is unbelievably simple in its specifications. Yet, it carries everything that makes it listed among our list of best wireless routers 2017!
The next thing with which anyone can be concerned is the design. The people at Medialink seem to have taken care of this human psychology. Sporting an elegant design with flat ovoid contour, the device fits well with the interior of your home or office.
Features and Specs:
- The Medialink router cautiously ensures a secured wireless connection over all the incoming device links with a WPA/WPA2 encryption. In addition, its security features include, WPS, WEP, TKIP, and AES (up to 128 bit).
- Excellent compatibility with Windows 8/7/vista/XP and Windows 2000 (both the 32 and 64 bit), as well as with Linux and the MAC OS X operating systems too.
- Supports up to 150Mbps over the 2.4 GHz band.
- It follows the 802.11n standard protocol, but it also shows backward compatibility with 802.11g and 802.11b standards as well.
- Being a simple single-band router, it bears four 10/100 Mbps LAN ports and a single WAN port, along with the charging port at the rear side.
- Quick plug-n-play installation pattern. You just have to adjust the router settings only once via the accompanying installation CD. The user-interface of the router’s software is fully compatible with Firefox and other browsers.
IS SOMETHING MISSING ON THE LIST? THE GOOGLE ROUTER!
Google, a word which we use millions of times in a day, has now developed into a corporate tech giant. Emerging from a word ‘Google’, which put the foundation stone of search engines, the firm Google Inc. has now stepped into the world of computing and technology with an endeavor to outclass other tech giants. In the past few years, Google has launched several futuristic high-end devices that are fascinating the world community. With all other innovative artefacts, during the past few years, Google has presented its amazing wireless routers, the OnHub, and the Google WIFI. Let’s take a look on what these devices are.
Stepping into the world of WIFI routers, Google launched its debut product in collaboration with TP-Link, the OnHub. Although, the device didn’t get many hits due to an average performance, and every OnHub review available online shares a different viewpoint. Nevertheless, in the world overwhelmed with rectangular black boxes with scary external antennae, the production of OnHub was a good step.
The OnHub rebels the typical design of wireless routers by adopting a cylindrical columnar shape, inside which lies a ridged column-like router system. Its sleek design is truly appealing, making you to proudly place this stylish device over the central table to beautify the room interior. With a cylindrical design, all the antennae are situated near the router and are enclosed within the cylinder. So, you don’t have to tolerate those weirdly protruding antennae anymore.
Features and Specs:
- The Google OnHub carries a single high-speed USB 3.0 port with two Ethernet jacks, one each for WAN and LAN connection.
- It is a dual-band router that supports up to 1900Mbps speed on both radio bands. Precisely, it supports 600Mbps over the 2.4GHz frequency band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band.
- It carries 13 antennae. Six for the 2.4GHz band, and the other six for the 5GHz The last antenna is the reflective one that further enhances the signal strength.
- All the antennae are arranged in a circular pattern within the outside casing. Thus, the router exhibits maximal range and remarkable performance.
- A dedicated mobile app lets the device to be easily set up even by amateurs. Just log in to your Google account to access this app.
Google WIFI router is an amazing invention aimed to bring ease to the customers who are tired of managing the complex configurations of their wireless routers. As opposed to the common contour of the wireless devices, the Google wireless router comes as a white colored cylinder that blends well with your home décor. One can guess how perfectly Google is trying to set up new trends in the computing arena by debuting this product.
The Google WIFI is an extension of the previous hit Google OnHub. To eliminate a few downsides present in the OnHub, Google workers teamed up to create a setup that provides an entirely new networking experience.
Features and Specs:
- The device comes in a set of three devices that connect together to form a mesh network for an uninterrupted connectivity.
- Preserving the aesthetics of the Google router, the power button is placed at one point on the rounded side of the device, whereas the bottom of the cylinder bears two Gigabit ports, one each for LAN and WAN connectivity, along with a USB port.
- Prominent components in its hardware include a quad-core processor, an internal 512MB RAM, and a 4GB flash memory.
- It is a dual-band router functioning impeccably well at 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and supporting speed up to 470Mbps.
- With the 802.11ac wireless protocol, it connects all your home devices at a time.
- Quick setup with a user-friendly mobile app compatible with both the iOS and Android.
- A single router supports fast-paced connectivity within the coverage area of 1500 square feet, that can be extended up to 4500 square feet with three routers.
HOW TO SELECT THE BEST WIRELESS ROUTER FOR YOU
Buying a wireless router is not as easy as it sounds. You just can’t go to the market, buy a router, take it to your home and get started. As these devices are usually expensive, make sure that you spend your amount at the appropriate router. We see most people complaining about the performance of network routers they have in their homes. Nevertheless, it is not always the device’s fault for poor internet connectivity. Sometimes, the router is just not the right choice for your place. Instead of paying heed to word of mouth, it is better if you decide it yourself that which router suits you the most. You can choose any router on the basis of certain specifications which it offers, such as the signal range, wireless protocols, bands, etc. For a layman, these terminologies may be unfamiliar. Hence, here we explain in brief about these terms so that the next time you are going to buy a router, you would be able to judge which brand can serve as the best home wireless router by making use of your background knowledge.
- Wireless Band
By the term ‘band’ for a wireless router, we refer to the frequency of the router at which it shares data with the modems. The wireless routers today offer one of the three bands of frequencies – single band, dual band, or the triband. All these bands depict the different signal strength generated from the router. Precisely, it is the illustration of whether a router works on a one, two or three radio bands for communication.
- Single band Router: A single band router usually operates at a frequency of 2.4GHz (while some routers operate singly at 5GHz). Although these wireless routers are less expensive, you may, however, experience some performance issues, especially if you are an internet-freak wanting faster connectivity all the time. These routers have to compete with other devices in your home that are connected with radio signals in one or the other way, for instance, any wireless phones, any Bluetooth gadgets, or even your microwave oven. Therefore, they tend to be a little slower than the other two routers working at higher bands. Nevertheless, they work well for the routine online activities such as using Facebook, Twitter, or other social media accounts, and standard web surfing. If you are just another social media fan with no other engagements then maintaining an active digital presence, then a single band router will work well for you.
- Dual-band Router: Talking about the dual-band router, these routers can work over two different radio bands, and hence tend to be faster than the single band devices. These routers operate both at 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The advantage offered by a dual-band router is that the 5GHz band is not much crowded, hence it provides maximum throughput with minimum interruptions. The dual-band router is ideal for the gamers and movie lovers so that they will experience a seamless streaming and gaming with uninterrupted connectivity. As these routers operate on both frequency bands, you can even manage the load by assigning a specific band to a particular set of applications. Such as, you can use the 5GHz band for gaming or video streaming, leaving the 2.4GHz band free for regular web surfing.
- Triband Router: The third and the most potent type of wireless routers is the one offering three bands functionality. The tri-band routers operate at the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands (like the dual-band router), but they have an additive 5GHz for enhanced performance. For all tech-savvy individuals who need robust wireless signal strength to cater heavy network load, the triband routers are the best choice. With two 5GHz bands, these routers can smoothly handle all the network traffic generated due to heavy applications. With tri-band routers, you can conveniently manage to connect all your gadgets (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) to the router for uninterrupted internet connectivity without affecting your torrent downloads, gaming or movie streaming.
- Range of Signals
The next thing which you should necessarily check before buying a router is the range of signals. By the term range, we refer to the area in which the router can send signals efficiently. Every router has a specific range, beyond which it cannot support connectivity. The predicted range of signals for any router may vary from what is actually experienced after its formal installation. This difference may be attributed to various reasons.
- At first, the range of router is evaluated in controlled laboratory settings. The conditions in such environments vary significantly from what we experience in a routine office or home setup. Every wall or partition, the furniture and the placement of electronic appliances hinder and distracts the range of radio signals generated from a router. In a laboratory setup, there aren’t many hindrances. That is why the predicted range of a router is higher than what we actually experience in our daily life.
- You may also have observed a slightly lowered range of a modern wireless modem router as compared to an older form. This is because some of the recent routers bear higher frequencies that cannot be dispersed over a long distance. The higher frequencies are unable to cross through the solid objects that come in their way. Thus, they quickly get hindered. To make it simple, the higher the router’s frequency is, lower will be its range and vice versa. These routers can be best-suited for small setups where you need the faster speed of the internet connectivity. But if you wish to buy a router having long distance coverage, consider using the one with relatively lower bands.
- Another factor affecting the range of a wireless router is its hardware, specifically, the antenna. The material of the antenna, and the way it is connected to the router dramatically impacts the router range. The device usually features two types of antennas; an enclosed internal antenna that preserves the beauty of the router design, and the visible external antenna that extends out of the device slightly scratching its attractiveness, but ensures extended range. Some routers allow you to replace the antenna with another one. Thus, you can increase the range of your router by replacing the old antenna with a new powerful one.
- Wireless Security
Wireless security is one of the necessary features to be checked before you buy a router. While using the internet, you may transfer part of your sensitive information over the servers which can be leaked to the intruders if your connection isn’t secure. This is a key trait that makes wireless connections more vulnerable to hacking as compared to the wired ones. However, if the connection is secured, then you may indeed enjoy the best browsing experience. Wireless routers usually come with different security levels, i.e., WEP, WPA, and WPA2.
- WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy): WEP is the first level of security that encrypts the data ensuring a point-to-point transmission using a passcode or a pre-shared key (PSK). Any other device that needs to be connected to the router would require this PSK to establish the connection.
- WPA (WiFi Protected Access): As the name shows, WPA is a more secure form that also requires a passkey to establish point-to-point signal transmission between the router and the connecting device. Although both the WEP and WPA protocols need passcodes to allow data transmittance, the WPA passcode is more challenging to decrypt or decode. Instead of PSK, WPA works with the Temporal Key Integration Protocol (TKIP) which generates a new key for every data packet. Hence, it remains secure from intruders.
- WPA2 (WiFi Protected Access 2): It is a modified, rather an improved form of the WPA security protocol. In addition to TKIP encryption, it further boosts the security of your internet connection through Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).
- Wireless Protocols
Different wireless devices come with various wireless protocols. A wireless protocol refers to the signal strength of the router, and its ability to handle multiple connections. Most wireless Ethernet routers use 802.11 protocol to transmit the data, which is further subdivided into various categories indicated by some alphabets that specify different levels of signal strength. These are the 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac. Let’s take a look on what these protocols mean.
- 11a: Exploits 5GHz band and supports up to 54Mbps of bandwidth. This is the lowest wireless signal strength among all.
- 11b: Exploits 2.4GHz radio band with a data transfer rate up to 11Mbps.
- 11g: It is a relatively improvised form offering 54Mbps bandwidth on 2.4GHz band. The data transmittance is secured with WPA/TKIP encryption.
- 11n: Leveraging the MIMO (multiple input multiple output) technology, this is a more robust protocol with enhanced signal range and strength. It supports up to 600Mbps of bandwidth on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band, ensuring a secure connection with WPA2/AES-CCMP encryption.
- 11ac: It is the most recent modification which dates back to 2013, that has improvised the 802.11b. It makes use of MU-MIMO (Multiple-User MIMO) to distribute the benefits of MIMO to several users of the same wireless access point. It supports up to 867Mbps of bandwidth over the 5GHz band.
We will end our technobabble list of features of a wireless router right here. These technicalities are enough for you to know before choosing the best home router. Now let’s move on to those features which, as a layman, you should keep in view besides the technical details.
- Allowed Number of Connections
Regardless of how reliable your internet router is, it will be of no use if you can’t connect all your devices to it. The primary purpose of buying a wireless router is to have a device that provides internet to all your gadgets, such as the smartphones of all your family members, the laptop(s), or your game console.
The number of connections which a router allows at a time depends entirely on the specs mentioned above. Those routers that work on higher radio bands may not support enough connections over long distances. Likewise, if you have an 802.11ac router, but your smartphone endorses 802.11b, you might not be able to get it connected to the router.
- Place of Installation
This is a trait interrelated with the one mentioned above. Just as you are keeping in view the number of connections your router should necessarily support, you should also bear in mind the workspace where your router is to be placed. If you wish to buy a router for your home, think about the total area of your home, the number of rooms, the walls, and other possible distracting features which may affect the range of signals (we already know the impact of these hurdles on signal strength). Likewise, buying a wireless internet router for your office also demands you to keep the interior of your office in your mind before you finalize purchasing a router.
For instance, if you have to connect multiple devices present over a large area, but you are not really involved into any heavy networking activities, then a router working over 2.4GHz will be the best choice for you, owing to its large coverage area. Similarly, if more than one devices are to be connected to the router, each putting a load on connectivity with heavy internet usage, then you may have to compromise over the wireless range to get a higher rate of data transfer. It entirely depends on your preferences that which wireless router suits you the best.
WHAT IS A WIRELESS ROUTER?
Before moving on to purchase a wireless router, you first need to understand what actually a wireless router is. Most people have a misconception that wireless routers and the common broadband devices are the same. This confusion is particularly valid when your broadband internet service provider has given you a device that serves as a modem and even allows you to get connected to it wirelessly. However, offering such wireless connectivity does not suffice for a modem to let it be categorized as a wireless router.
The Wireless or the WiFi router is a device that allows ‘wireless’ connectivity to the internet within a private computer network. It functions as a wireless access point so that the data can be shared across all other devices via radio signals. Thus, you can access the internet on your smartphones, laptops, tablets and game consoles without tangling up with any cables. Whereas, the router itself receives the data via a phone line, and works on the specifications set by the ISP.
SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ROUTERS
People, in general, do not have a sound understanding of many of the frequently used terms with regards to networking. They all are aware of what the internet is but get puzzled if ever asked what do they know about the routers.
After hearing the word ‘router’, what we perceive is a blackish box-like device loaded with protruding antennae which, when connected, can give a lighting fast internet connectivity to every device connected with it. But, when we face any issues regarding the router or the internet connectivity, we remain blank as to what has or would have happened if we knew a little bit about this domain.
So, to brief you quickly about the details of routers, here we attempt to comprehensively answer some of the commonly asked queries which we hear every day.
What Is A Router?
Routers are specialized devices that connect together one or more computers forming a ‘network’. These devices are meant to transmit data packets from the modems to the computers and other connections, such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. Routers are actually meant to direct traffic by choosing the best way for quick data transmittance, i.e., they ‘route’ the data towards its destination. Hence, they are named as ‘routers’.
Sometimes, a router can be a dedicated software designed to serve the same purpose as the device, i.e., forming a network. Today, we can see two major types of routers in the market. The ones working on wired connections require cables for providing connectivity to other devices.
Whereas, the other type of routers works wirelessly. Hence, you can connect several devices to the router at the same time, without tangling up in the mess of cables. Most wireless routers usually support 5-10 devices to be connected at a time. Nevertheless, the number varies according to the improvisations in route models.
What Does A Router Do?
A router is meant to create a network of several devices for fast communication. This network may either form solely from multiple computers, or you can link your laptops, smartphones, and other gadgets with the same network as well. This network between the devices may either be a cabled linkage, or may form wirelessly. Today, wireless connections are more preferred by the users around the world. Hence, wireless routers have a huge demand.
Connecting to a network through a router does not mean that you are connected to the internet too. For achieving the purpose of getting internet connectivity from a router, you must necessarily link them with a modem. That’s why every wired or wireless router bears at least one WAN Ethernet port for a modem connection.
The router carries the IP address provided by the ISP (Internet Service Provider), which serves as the external IP address for all devices connected with it. Whereas, they all are assigned with a different local internal IP address by the router.
What Is The Difference Between A Router And A Modem?
Router and modem both are computer peripherals. But they differ markedly from each other. The router is solely meant to join multiple computers or other devices in the same network either through some wired connection or wirelessly. However, connecting to a router does not ensure that you get connected to the internet too. In fact, routers can never link you to the internet on their own.
The device which connects you to the internet is a ‘modem’ (an abbreviated word for Modulator-Demodulator). Modems are meant to provide connectivity from the ISP (Internet Service Provider) to any device that gets linked to it.
Routers, when connected to a modem, can provide internet connection to several devices, whereas a modem in itself can only support a single device. That is why, the use of routers has become a necessity since they allow multiple gadgets to access the internet together, which is convenient for most internet users.
What Is The Best Router?
Routers are devised to serve the purpose of connecting several devices to a single network for smooth and quick communication. When joined to a modem, they are meant to provide internet connection to multiple devices at the same time. The best router is the one that sports the following necessary features.
- Capability to handle multiple connections at once.
- Provision of high-speed internet connectivity across all linked devices.
- Security of internet connection. Most routers come with a pre-installed firewall to ensure network security. Whereas, almost every router (either wired or wireless) possesses several other security features that defend against the hackers and intruders. For instance, the WPA, WPA2 pass keys make it extremely difficult for anyone to access your internet connection.
- Enhancing network functionality. Features such as IP voice or video functionalities are a plus.
What Is The Best Wireless Router?
The purpose of buying a wireless router is to get a seamless connectivity with minimum efforts and less messiness. For the people in general, the best wireless router is the one that allows them to connect their smartphones, tablets, and laptops at the same time with the router, without any effect on the overall internet speed.
The best wireless router is hence the one that offers high-speed internet connection, strong wireless signals over a long range, dual- or tri-band functionality for efficient performance, network security, and support for higher wireless standards or protocols for handling multiple connections with the same performance.
How To Choose A Router?
The choice of router entirely depends on an individual’s own requirements. Trusting on word of mouth will only cause you a loss since it’s really not necessary that the other person advising you about a particular router has the same requirements as you. Therefore, make sure to consider the following things before you choose a router.
- Wireless or wired routing – Wireless routers may sometimes be a bit slower than the wired ones, but they tend to support multiple connections at a time. Choose the one that suits you.
- Network security – Make sure your router possesses everything to keep your connections secure.
- High-speed internet – For wireless routers, make sure to buy the one that offers high data transfer rates for better connectivity. Dual band and tri-band routers are suitable for this purpose.
- Design – After getting impressed by the features, you may buy a router that doesn’t really fits into the workstation. It will hence be a wastage of your money and efforts. Therefore, choose the one that has a design suitable for your workplace. You will find several elegant and stylishly designed routers in the market to choose from.
- Price – That’s indeed the most important thing. Decide a particular price range prior going to the market, so as to narrow down your search limits. When you have a fixed budget, you automatically focus on those routers that best meet your demands and your budget. Otherwise, the myriad of high-end wired and wireless routers will only make you confused about the selection, sometimes compelling you to spend money on expensive routers that actually do not serve you well.
What To Look For In A Router?
While deciding to buy a router, make sure that you buy the one that actually meets your needs. Before making a purchase, it is better to look for a few things your router should necessarily possess.
- Wireless Range – The range of wireless determines for how long from your router you will be able to enjoy a fast and smooth internet speed. Make sure that the range of the router goes well with the size of your workstation, or your home.
- Signal strength – Some routers despite claiming to have a broader coverage, show poor connectivity due to weak signals. If you have multiple devices in your workplace or are intending to place your router in a crowded area, make sure that the signal strength of the router isn’t affected by the distance or these hurdles.
- Wireless Protocols – There are various standards of the wireless protocols for different routers which work wirelessly. These protocols determine the number of connections your router can hold efficiently.
- Wireless bands – Most of the wireless routers get stuck while functioning on lower radio signal bands, since these bands tend to be crowded with the data signals from other wireless devices. However, the routers working on higher wireless bands can efficiently manage the data traffic by dividing the load over multiple frequency bands. Therefore, choose a router that is capable of working as a dual-band or tri-band
- Wireless Security – last, but the most important thing to look for, is the security features offered by your router. Today, the routers featuring WPA/WPA2 security levels are becoming popular since they allow password enabled secured connections between the devices, so as to protect against the random access from the intruders or hackers. This is a key feature to be checked and enabled for any wireless router you buy, since, if remain unprotected, the wireless connections are extremely vulnerable to hacking with minimal efforts. Hence, you will be at higher risks for the loss of sensitive information.
What Is A Dual Band Router?
A dual band router is a wireless router that works with two different frequency bands – the 5GHz and the 2.4GHz. These routers divide the incoming traffic load into two frequency bands for ensuring swift and smooth connectivity. The data transfer rate at the lower 2.4GHz band may be lesser than what a router provides at the high-speed 5GHz band. Since the overall speed supported by a dual-band router is much more than regular (single-band) routers, they are preferred for activities involving high internet usage, such as gaming, downloading torrents and movies, etc.
What Is Routing?
The term ‘routing’ actually refers to the selection of an appropriate pathway within a network for data transmittance. The devices which perform this activity are called ‘routers’. In terms of computing, routing refers to the transmission of data packets from one destination to the other, such as from modem to a computer, or a computer to another computer connected within the same network. The best network routers are judged on the basis of their routing ability. The quicker and smoother the data transmittance is, the better will be the featuring router since it exhibits good routing traits.
What Is The Difference Between A Router And A Switch?
Switches and routers both are affiliated with networking, there lies a major difference in these two peripherals. Switches ‘create’ network, whereas, routers actually link the networks. Precisely, a switch is the is meant to control the transmittance of across multiple devices, allowing them to connect together forming a network. Switches work over LANs and link a computer to other devices creating a single network. They function as active software devices as well as networking devices. However, they never offer internet connectivity.
In case of routers, they are devised to allows connections between multiple devices across the networks. A router is typically a networking device that can connect a LAN to another LAN. Moreover, routers support transmission and distribution of internet connectivity as well.
What Is Bridge Mode Router?
A bridge mode router is the one that functions as a modem ‘only’. The word ‘bridging’ refers to developing connections with data transmittance across the devices. But this ability is more attributed to the hardware, unlike ‘routing’ that is more based on software. The bridge mode routers do not support any of the features offered with ‘routing’, such as wireless connectivity, DHCP, firewall, etc. These routers only allow your computer to connect to the modem.
WRAPPING IT UP
You may find several wireless routers in the market today, each claiming to deliver the best performance. They may or not be the best regarding the design and the functionality. However, the ultimate decision would be yours that which device suits you the most. Believing on the word of mouth or other promotional stuff will only frustrate you in the long run since you are likely to make wrong decisions after being impressed with the flattering content. You actually need a wireless router that efficiently caters your requirements. Therefore, we have attempted to present to you a comprehensive review about some of the best wireless routers available in the market, along with a brief guide about how you would proceed to make a choice. We hope this review will benefit you the next time you go out to purchase a wireless router.