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Wireless Router Buying Guide

Looking to buy the best wireless router? Check out our guide below and you’ll be well-placed to select the correct one for your needs.

Welcome to our wireless router buying guide!

Your wireless router is most likely at blame if your Wi-Fi connection is continuously dropping or Netflix is juddering and lagging. However, by selecting from our list of the best wireless routers, you can boost your wireless coverage while also ensuring that you get the most out of your broadband connection.

How do you choose the best wireless router for your needs?

Check to see if a new router will function with your internet connection before purchasing one. If you have an old-style ADSL connection, you’ll need a router with an ADSL2+ modem built in; if you have fibre internet, you’ll most likely need a router that supports VDSL2.

In some circumstances, an external WAN port is all that is required. If you’re a Virgin Media fibre user, for example, you can put the supplied router into modem mode and use an Ethernet cable to connect it to your preferred router. Some routers also handle both ADSL and VDSL, which is useful if you plan to transfer providers in the future.

Is it necessary for me to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6?

Wi-Fi 6 – or 802.11ax, to give it its full name – is a new wireless standard that provides a speedier connection as well as enhanced signal penetration in all corners of your house or office. And, because it’s designed for the connected world, it’s significantly less clogged than 802.11ac when multiple devices try to connect at the same time.

Isn’t that fantastic? However, 802.11ax is still a relatively new technology, and despite the availability of a number of new models, you’ll pay a premium for a router that supports it. And, perhaps more importantly, you won’t enjoy the full benefit of your new router until you upgrade your devices as well.

Although all 802.11ax routers will function with older clients over 802.11ac, if you’re not ready to replace your smartphone and laptop just yet, it could be a good idea to hold off until 802.11ax gear becomes more affordable.

What is the difference between dual-band and tri-band frequencies?

Modern routers can simultaneously transmit and receive on two radio bands. The 5GHz band is fast, but certain older devices don’t support it; the 2.4GHz band is slower, but it has a longer range, which makes it suitable for large old buildings with thick walls.

So far, so good, but contention and interference can slow things down when numerous clients try to connect to the same radio. A tri-band router has two distinct 5GHz radios, allowing twice as many devices to talk at full speed at the same time. If you have a house full of Wi-Fi gadgets, it can be a good purchase.

However, this only relates to 802.11ac: as previously stated, 802.11ax handles multiple connections more elegantly, therefore tri-band technology is becoming less important as the globe gradually migrates to the new standard.

What is the distinction between a wireless router and a mesh network?

A mesh system performs the same fundamental functions as a router, but it also includes additional “satellites” that you may position throughout your home to help disperse the wireless signal more widely. A mesh system will cost more than a standard router, but if you’re having trouble getting a good connection in the furthest corners of your house, it could be the answer.

What kinds of speeds might I expect to see?

Although router manufacturers offer extremely fast transfer rates, these are theoretical maximums that you will never achieve in practise.

They also have the dubious practise of aggregating the speeds of various radios to arrive at a total data rate. For example, if a router has a 2.4GHz radio capable of speeds of up to 400Mbits/sec and two 5GHz radios capable of speeds of up to 867Mbits/sec, the manufacturer may claim a total speed of 2,134Mbits/sec.

In reality, no one device will be able to connect at speeds higher than 867 megabits per second, and real-world transfer speeds would likely be less than half that.

Don’t get too caught up on high speeds: it’s good to be able to quickly copy large files around your home network, but when it comes to downloads and video streaming, your internet connection, not your router, is usually the bottleneck.

What number of wired Ethernet ports do I require?

Ethernet ports aren’t going away anytime soon. Many “smart” home products include low-power hubs that must be hooked into your router, and if you want to add a NAS drive to your network at any point, it will take up a port as well. We recommend looking for a router with at least four ports, though you can always buy a cheap Ethernet switch to connect extra wired devices to your network.

Other high-end routers allow you to combine two ports into a single 2Gbits/sec connection, and some even feature dedicated 10Gbits/sec high-speed ports. In practise, these features are unlikely to be useful: you can connect your NAS box to your router at super-high speeds, but when you wish to access your data, the connection from the router to your laptop will operate as a bottleneck.

What other characteristics should I be on the lookout for?

If you have children, a router with built-in parental controls is a good option. Some allow you to block internet access to specific devices at specific times of day or for a given amount of time; some even offer category-based web filtering. Although there are software solutions that can perform the same thing, router-based controls are easier to manage and maintain.

Finally, a USB 3 port allows you to easily share a hard drive or flash drive across your whole network. It’s a less expensive option to a NAS disc for sharing files, but it won’t provide the same level of protection as a properly designed RAID array. USB 2 also works, but it is much slower.

SaleBestseller No. 1
TP-Link AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Wi-Fi Router, Wi-Fi Speed Up to 867 Mbps/5 GHz + 300 Mbps/2.4 GHz, 4+1 Fast Ports, Single-Core CPU, Parental Control, Easy setup (Archer C50)
  • Ultimate Wireless Speed – Combined wireless speeds up to 300Mbps (over 2.4GHz) and 867Mbps (over 5GHz)
  • Guest Network and Parental Controls – Easily keep your main network secure by creating a separate network for visitors and restrict the internet access time and contents for children devices
  • Easy Bandwidth Management – Bandwidth Control allocates necessary speed of each connected device to ensure quality of multimedia streaming. System requirements:Internet Explorer 11+, Firefox 12.0+, Chrome 20.0+, Safari 4.0+, or other JavaScript-enabled browser
  • Optimal Coverage - Four antennas make your connections more efficient and stable. Also with Low Noise Amplifier of 5GHz wireless band increases the receiving sensitivity to enlarge Wi-Fi coverage
  • Easy Setup and Use - The free Tether app is available for both Android and iOS devices, making it easy to set up the Archer C50 V3 and manage your network settings
Bestseller No. 2
TP-Link TL-WR841N 300 Mbps Wireless N Cable Router, Easy Setup, WPS Button
  • 300Mbps wireless speed ideal for interruption sensitive applications like HD video streaming
  • Two antennas greatly increase the wireless robustness and stability
  • Easy wireless security encryption at a push of WPS button
  • System Requirements Internet Explorer 11+, Firefox 12.0+, Chrome 20.0+, Safari 4.0+, or other JavaScript-enabled browser. Cable or DSL Modem (if needed). Subscription with an internet service provider (for internet access)
SaleBestseller No. 3
TP-Link Archer C80 AC1900 MU-MIMO Dual Band Wireless Gaming Router, Wi-Fi Speed Up to 1300 Mbps/5 GHz + 600 Mbps/2.4 GHz, Supports Parental Control, Guest Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ac Wave2 Wi-Fi – 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.
  • 3×3 MIMO Technology – Transmitting and receiving data on three streams to pair flawlessly with your 3×3 clients.
  • Boosted Wi-Fi Coverage – Beamforming technology delivers a highly efficient wireless connection.
  • MU-MIMO – To help your devices achieve optimal performance by making communication more efficient.
  • Intelligent Connection – Smart Connect directs clients to the less congested band and Airtime Fairness optimizes the time usage.
SaleBestseller No. 4
TP-Link Next-Gen Wi-Fi 6 AX3000 Mbps Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router, OneMesh™ Supported, Dual-Core CPU, TP-Link HomeShield, Ideal for Gaming Xbox/PS4/Steam, Compatible with Alexa (Archer AX53)
  • Next-Gen Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Speed—2402 Mbps on 5 GHz and 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band ensure smoother streaming and faster downloads.
  • Connect More Devices—OFDMA technology increases capacity by 4 times to enable simultaneous transmission to more devices. With improved battery life, helps your devices to communicate more while consuming less power.
  • Expanded Wi-Fi Coverage—Four high-gain external antennas and Beamforming technology combine to extend strong, reliable Wi-Fi throughout your home.
  • TP-Link HomeShield - Enhanced security defends against the latest cyber threats.
  • Compatible with Alexa—Control your router via voice commands and make your life smarter and easier with Amazon Alexa, with 3 years manufactory warranty.
SaleBestseller No. 5
TP-Link AC1200 Wireless MU-MIMO VDSL/ADSL Modem Router, Dual-Band, Wi-Fi Speed Up To 1.2 Gbps, OneMeshTM, Versatile Connectivity, 4 x Gigabit Ports +1x 2.0 USB Port, Easy setup (Archer VR400 V3)
  • Speedy WiFi – Experience superb wireless connections with 867 Mbps (5 GHz) + 300 Mbps (2.4 GHz) dual band WiFi
  • Superior Range – Two fixed omnidirectional antennas with Beamforming technology provide stable wireless connections and optimal coverage
  • Versatile Connectivity – Fully compatible with VDSL2/ADSL2+/ADSL2/ADSL standards, as well as fiber, cable, and 3G/4G internet services
  • Whole-Home Coverage with OneMeshTM + MU-MIMO Technology – Works alongside TP-Link OneMeshTM products to create a flexible Mesh network; Simultaneously transfers data to multiple devices, reducing wait times. Transmission power: <20dBm (2.4 GHz), <23dBm (5 GHz)
  • Full Gigabit Ports – Take full advantage of broadband speeds up to 1 Gbps; Tether App– Easiest way to access and manage your router on mobile devices
SaleBestseller No. 6
ASUS RT-AC58U V3 ASUS AC1300 Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless Router, Router/Access Point/Bridge Mode, USB Port, Gigabit Port *5 USB 2.0: USB ASUS AiDisk Offers Network File Sharing Both Locally & Remotely
  • 802.11ac and concurrent dual-band connectivity delivers up to 1267 Mbps data rate for smooth streaming 4K videos from Youtube and Netflix
  • 4 5dBi antennas and AiRadar beamforming technology strengthens wireless coverage
  • Multi-purpose USB 3.0 ports for 3G/4G, printer, file sharing and media streaming
  • Gigabit Ethernet ports for fast, reliable internet performance, especially UHD gaming and streaming Set up time restriction & website filtering via parental control function to protect your children away from potential dangers
  • ASUSWRT dashboard UI enables 30-sec easy setup with robust network monitoring and control
SaleBestseller No. 7
WAVLINK AC1200 Dual-Band Wireless Router, High Speed WiFi Router with 5dBi High Gain Antenna for Home Office Internet Gaming (Wlan Access Point/WISP Mode, WPS)
  • AC 1200Mbps: extremely fast dual band transfer rates up to 1167Mbps (2.4GHz: 300Mbps + 5GHz 867Mbps), supports multiple devices simultaneously. Works with any wireless network, modem and Wi-Fi enabled devices, including smart home devices, smartphones, Echo, Alexa, Sky Q, laptops, etc.
  • High performance: 4x5dBi high gain antennas increase the sensitivity of the wireless router, connect over long distances, and provide strong wall penetration. The wireless network covers the entire family.
  • Three working modes: Router / Wlan Access Point / Repeater(WISP) Mode, Meet your different network requirements. Complies with the IEEE 802.11ac / a / b / g / n standard.
  • Provides maximum flexibility of use. 1x 10/100/1000 WAN port and 4 x 10/100 fast ethernet ports for Plugging in computers, game consoles, streaming players, and other nearby wired devices.
  • Network Security: the wireless router supports two types of encryption: WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK. One-key to press the WPS button to protect home network security. 1-Year warranty-- A new replacement if product does not meet your satisfaction.
Bestseller No. 8
GL.iNet GL-SFT1200 (Opal) VPN Secure Travel Gigabit Wireless Router, AC1200 300Mbps (2.4GHz) + 867Mbps (5GHz) Wi-Fi, Pocket-Sized Hotspot, Gigabit Ports, MicroSD Slot, USB2.0 for Wi-Fi Repeater
  • 【AC1200 Dual-band Wireless Router】Simultaneous dual-band with wireless speed up to 300 Mbps (2.4GHz) + 867 Mbps (5GHz). 2.4GHz band can handles some simple tasks like emails or web browsing while bandwidth intensive tasks such as gaming or 4K video streaming can be handled by the 5GHz band.
  • 【Pocket-friendly】Lightweight design(145g) which designed for your next trip or adventure. Alongside its portable, compact design makes it easy to take with you on the go.
  • 【Full Gigabit Ports】Gigabit Wireless Internet Router with 2 Gigabit LAN ports and 1 Gigabit WAN ports, ideal for lots of internet plan and allow you to connect your wired devices directly.
  • 【Keep your Internet Safe】IPv6 supported. OpenVPN & WireGuard pre-installed, compatible with 30+ VPN service providers. Pre-installed Tor service. Cloudflare encryption supported to protect the privacy.
  • 【Repeater for Public WiFi】Convert a public network(wired/wireless) to a private Wi-Fi for secure surfing. In general, most of the Free Public Wi-Fi hotspot set a time limit for users, which will disconnect your devices once the time is over. To deal with this situation, please reconnect your router to the wifi.
SaleBestseller No. 9
TP-Link AC1200 4G+ Cat6 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router, 4G/3G Network SIM Slot Unlocked, MU-MIMO technology, No Configuration required, Support Guest Network & Parental Control (Archer MR600 V2)
  • tp-link's first 4g+ router – supports 4g+ cat6 to boost the data speeds of up to 300 mbps
  • better signal for connections everywhere – enjoy stable and efficient connections to every device thanks to the two external lte antennas
  • full gigabit ports – provides reliable wired connections for bandwidth-intensive devices such as game consoles and stb
  • wi-fi router mode – plug an ethernet cable into the lan/wan port for flexible access as a backup option if you can't get a 4g connection
  • plug a sim card and play – no configurations needed, compatibility of sim cards in 100+ countries are assured by years of field tests, easy setup and management all by tether app
SaleBestseller No. 10
Tenda AC6 AC1200 Dual Band Wireless Cable Router,867Mbps/5GHz+ 300Mbps/2.4GHz, IPV6, Parental Control, Guest Network, 4*5dBi externe Antennen, WPS, Black
  • Independent power amplifiers, beamforming+ Intelligent technology and 4 High-gain antennas boost range for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi devices
  • Fast 11AC speed ups to 1167Mbps, delivering both 867Mbps at 5GHz and 300Mbps at 2.4 GHz concurrently, superior choice for seamless HD streaming, online gaming
  • Easy setup, super simple setup interface helps you access to the internet effortlessly in 30 seconds
  • AC6 router supports Smart power saving technology, app remote management
  • Package including: Tenda AC6 AC1200 Smart dual-band Wi-Fi router, power adapter, install guide, Ethernet cable, 3 years Warranty

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