How we select the Best Wireless Routers
Most people say that slow internet is worse than no-internet. We are part of the many people who share that sentiment. No one wants to stream a show and spend half of the time staring at the screen as the video is buffering. No gamer out there would ever want their missions cut short by poor connectivity.
Picture this; you’ve finally invested on a really good internet package offering excellent speed, but then you find yourself still struggling to keep your gadgets online simply because your router is not up for the task. The funny thing is that this is a prevalent issue, and most people would struggle with poor internet connectivity for quite some time before they realize that the problem is actually coming from the router. If you’ve decided to go through the sweet trouble of investing in premium internet connectivity, it’s only fair that you get an equally great router for you to get the best out of your internet.
What’s a “great router” though? The answer here is not as easy as you may think. There are dozens and dozens of wireless routers out there coming from all corners of the world. We even came across some routers manufactured by companies we’ve never heard of before. This should give you a picture of just how difficult it is to get the right router. For any buyer with no tech knowledge, getting the perfect router here will be almost impossible. Even for the guys with some tech background, sieving through all the routers available can be quite a hefty task.
To make your work easy, we invested the time and effort to go through a few wireless routers available today to try and come up with a short list. A list that is small enough for you to review and make a choice between the top of the cream in the wireless routers universe.
Before we even go further in this review, we would like to highlight that not all wireless routers are meant for everyone, thanks to capitalism. What are we saying by that? Well, we did come across excellent routers with premium features, but the biggest drawback was the price tag. Most of these routers are limited to guys who are planning on using them for commercial purposes. But of course, if you have a substantial amount of cash to spend on a router then by no means should you settle for anything less.
In this review, we have tried to include wireless routers on different price points. This should make it easier for you to get one that is affordable to you.
Top 3 Wireless Routers
1.NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Router
NETGEAR is a renowned company with vast experience in the production of networking hardware. The company has dozens of wireless routers in the market, competing against each other and also against some of the best brands in the market.
The most interesting bit about this particular router is not the fact that it comes from an experienced company, but due to the sort of performance, it delivers while remaining affordable. For just $150, you will get premium features that were commonly found in other high-end routers.
First of all, the overall designing of this router is impressive. The stealth finishing and sleek corners more than earn it the name Nighthawk. It comes with three antennas that you can easily detach from the body.
Beyond its appearance, the router offers you speeds of up to 600mbps through the 2.4ghz band and 1,300 Mbps on the 5ghz band. As you can see, the speeds on both the two bands are really impressive. Match this router with an equally brilliant internet service provider and your online experience will never be the same again!
We also have to mention that we didn’t come across lots of issues in terms of slowdowns when testing and researching the gadget.
You’ll also love the AC900 for the simple fact that it supports OpenVPN. It also has a parental control feature.
While on the subject of controlling the router, it’s vital to point out that you can manage both the downstream and upstream of your connection through the Quality of Service feature found here.
The Nighthawk AC1900 can also be used with DD-WRT which allows it to run Linux-based third-party firmware.
- The 5 gigahertz band offers outstanding performance
- Brilliantly designed
- It feels a bit bulky
- The 2.4 gigahertz band does not provide the best performance you can get
2. Google WiFi System 3-Pack Router
Calling the Google WiFi System, a router is a gross understatement. This unique system is nothing like what you see in the market every day. As the name suggests, this system comes in three identical units that are designed to deliver unparalleled performance.
The three units are shaped like small cylinders measuring 4.1 inches in diameter and 2.7 inches in height, and that’s it! Yes, there aren’t any long antennas or anything of the sort fitted to them. These measurements also show just how compact they are as compared to the bulky alternatives in the market. Google has gone further to give the units an elegant touch by finishing them with fresh white paint and a warm LED light that will bring exquisite ambiance into your home.
Installation of the system is a breeze. All you have to do is download a free Android app or iOS, connect your unit to the modem and power source, and scan the QR code on the unit. The app will then take you through the short process of finalizing the setup, i.e. setting up your network name and password and pairing it to the secondary unit. You can then label the secondary units in the app, and just like that, your system will be ready to use.
In the department of features, the Google WiFI system surpassed our expectations. The gadget comes with a 512MB RAM and a 710MHz quad-core processor, and the result of all this is an undefeated performance.
With the three units, the WIFI system is more than capable of serving an extra-large home of up to 3000-4500 square feet. If that doesn’t offer enough coverage, you can go ahead and purchase another unit that’ll expand it even further.
The unit has dual band WiFi of 5Ghz and 2.4GHz that is compatible with IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards. You can get speeds of more than 450mbps with the 5GHz band and 100mbps for the 2.4GHz band when you are within close proximity. When the whole system is running, you should be able to get even faster speeds with a bigger range. It also has Gigabit Ethernet ports, i.e. LAN and WAN. You can use both of these ports for LAN functions on the secondary unit.
Something else fascinating about this system is that you can control it using Google Home or Alexa voice commands.
Since it’s a Google product, you can expect seamless customization of the system. You can easily schedule the system on when it should be running and when your internet connection should be paused. You can also manage the smart lights and choose a particular device which can be prioritized to function at a certain bandwidth.
Here is the thing though, the Google WiFi system costs in excess of $250, which is beyond some people’s reach. This explains why we couldn’t rank it at the top as it seriously limits the number of people that can acquire it.
- Excellent performance
- Compact and modern finishing
- You can control most of the functions through the free up
- You must have a google account logged in to use the system
3. NETGEAR R6700 Nighthawk X10 AD7200 802.11ac/ad Quad-Stream WiFi Router
The NETGEAR R6700 is another insane router designed to offer the ultimate experience in terms of 4K streaming and VR gaming. No longer will your gaming experience be limited by Ethernet cables thanks to this beast.
This is what makes the R6700 router special:
It comes with three WIFI bands; 60GHz, 5.0GHz and 2.4Ghz. You will get additional 7 Gigabit Ethernet ports (1WAN 6 LAN) and 10 Gigabit SPF and LAN ports. You will also get MU-MIMO, i.e. Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output data streaming. Mobile devices should experience faster speeds thanks to the 160 MHz WiFi tech.
When it comes to performance very few routers can match the R6700. Actually, it’s hard to find one within its price point that could match the speeds of the various bands it offers, especially when in a same-room test. At 60GHz band, the speeds were up to 960mbps while the 5GHz and 2.4 GHz bands scored speeds of up to 550mbps and 100mbps respectively. You can also combine 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports to get up to 2Gbps!
With the 1.7Ghz quad-core processor, 4K streaming and online gaming feel so effortless; as it should!
In terms of design, the R6700 is not the most compact you can get. It features four antennas, and it’s also quite bulky.
Using the router has been made even easier by the NETGEAR genie application, which allows you to customize most of your home network functions remotely.
Sadly, the price of this router is on the higher end. At the moment, the NETGEAR R6700 is going for over $380. It’s quite a lot of money, but it’s definitely worth every dollar, especially if you are looking for a super-fast and reliable wireless router.
- Installing and using the router is very simple
- Impressive performance with insane speeds
- It is costly
- The signal cannot go through walls.
We can try and run away from the subject of price, but at the end of the day, the router you will get is only as good as the budget you have. To get a high-performance router that can penetrate through walls will require you to invest a considerable amount of cash. But then, you really don’t need a high-end router that will cost you a lot of money if your internet consumption is rather standard. With the above items, we believe that you can get an item that is within your price point. One that will offer you more than just the basic functions of a router.