The Best Wi-Fi Router (for Most People)

How We Decided

The Best Wireless Routers of 2018
The TP-Link Archer C V2 router has everything you want for a better home network, including speed, security and great range. The first method which we called hard mode exposed the difference that automatic band steering made in the quality of a large network: The recommended usage is same-room-only, with a clear line of sight—making such models almost completely irrelevant to the way we use Wi-Fi today. Modular network coverage, modern design, easy setup, traffic separation. The TP-Link Archer C may not be quite as fast as some of its competitors, but it's packed with customization and safety features. When it comes to achieving the best wireless routers range, both the type of channel you settle on 2.

Single- or Dual-Band?

Best Wireless Router 2018

The Linksys WRTACM features a range of advancements and improvements over the original WRT54G that it emulates with its nostalgic design, and all of them add up to one of the best wireless routers for See our full review by clicking the link above. We were blown away by its download and upload speeds, especially at a distance of 20ft or less. While I was testing, I noticed that the Archer C9 struggled with longer distance connections, or those that had to jump through a number of walls or ceilings before getting to the intended destination.

But although it may not have as much range or stream reliability as some of the other contenders here, but what it lacks in signal strength it more than makes up for in raw, unadulterated speed. Just note, those LED indicator status lights can be a bit pesky, especially in a dark room. Check Price on Amazon. Compact design, user-friendly setup. The Archer C9 has no business being as fast as it is at this price, but every time we tested it it blew away the competition in this cost tier.

If you want a cheap router that will still keep your modem sweating through the heaviest of downloads, this is the one to get. With six massive antennas jutting out from each side and a tri-band WiFi throughput that can self-designate which devices in your home should receive the most bandwidth all on its own, the Nighthawk takes most of the heavy lifting out of getting all the power you can out of your router with minimal setup required. It strikes the perfect balance of high performance and reasonable cost, however its more extreme design choices may not be the perfect fit for every home.

Even so, the performance of the Nighthawk X6 is still enough to excuse it from these minor sins. Netgear Nightawk X6 Review. Six tri-band antennas, 1GHz dual-core processor. When we first got a gander at the insane specs on the new Linksys EA Tri-Band MU-MIMO router, we were admittedly a little scared of what it would be capable of when we really opened it up on a pure fiber connection. Of course, those fears quickly no pun intended melted away as the router proceeded to blow every one of our tests clean out of the water with insane speeds, solid connection reliability, and extensive range that reached to every corner of our homes.

Admittedly, this router could be considered overkill for most households. Its higher price and almost confounding list of additional features could be an imposing entry point for the average consumer. The Linksys EA might be a bit overkill for most households, but for serious gamers or media streamers who want to be able to use multiple devices in one area of the home at once, the MU-MIMO radio on this router is undoubtedly one of the best in the business.

With a central base station that measures just 3. Everything from the Apple-white shell to the 1. Mesh routers and networking systems work by creating multiple antenna arrays that all communicate with one another, and plug into standard outlets wherever you need signal the most.

The only drawback of the AmpliFi HD system is that instead of using a prebuilt dashboard, the company has started their own from scratch. This means many essential features like QoS management and parental controls are being piecemealed in over time, rather than being available straight out of the gate. Mesh networking, 1GHz dual-core processor, AC radio. The AmplifiHD turns traditional router conventions on their head with a beautifully minimal design, insane speed test results, and enough style to go around.

Mesh networking in particular is probably one of the best reasons to upgrade in , as it gives you a way to get signal in places like the basement, attic, or backyard which were previously thought to be total deadzones for all but the most powerful routers out there.

These reasons are just a few of the dozens that should give you all the motivation you need to look into investing in a new router this year! For starters, all the routers we chose must have a minimum bandwidth rating of AC and pump out at least Mbps on the 5GHz spectrum. To see why the ACACM beat out the rest of the competition, continue reading on in our annual roundup of the best routers in !

How we choose the best of the best routers usually comes down to three main factors: The routers on this list are all at the head of their game in these arenas, and consistently offer top-of-the-line performance alongside a fair price and a plethora of extras that users can utilize to perfectly customize their own wireless networking experience at home or their office space.

Router technology is constantly evolving to meet the demands of new internet activities, whether that be online gaming, photo uploads, or the advent of 4K streaming. They also come with a bevvy of extra features that put them ever-so slightly above the rest of the competition, including: QoS management, parental controls, intuitive mobile apps, media servers, internal firewalls, and more.

The routers were tested in a sq ft home, which was only surrounded by two other wireless networks, so we experienced as little interference as we could during the testing process. Accessing and configuring these features used to have a barrier of entry that only the mid-level tech nerd would understand completely, but nowadays thanks to mobile and desktop apps, the process has gotten significantly simpler to deal with.

TP-Link Archer C v2. Modular network coverage, modern design, easy setup, traffic separation. Much like the Netgear Orbi mentioned earlier in this guide, the Orbi Pro is a modular Wi-Fi mesh system, but it makes some design and performance changes that specifically cater to the business user.

Modular network coverage, modern design, included security software, dynamic rerouting. To sweeten the pot and make the price more approachable, Eero includes subscriptions to 1Password, MalwareBytes and Encrypt. Eero Home Wi-Fi System. Modular network coverage, modern design, LCD touchscreen.

Netgear advertises the USB ports as places to plug in thumb drives or external hard drives for streaming and shared storage. We did not test this feature thoroughly, but we are hesitant to recommend it: Services such as Dropbox or Google Drive store your data on professionally maintained, redundant hardware, and a USB drive stuck in a router is a pretty poor substitute.

Netgear labels the RP as AC, but AC speed ratings are almost entirely snake oil , and we recommend that you not get too hung up on them—anything labeled AC or above can perform well in real-world use, and only actual testing can determine which models are good, bad, or mediocre.

The biggest shortcoming of the Netgear RP compared with some other routers in its price range is its lack of a third wireless band. It might be more of a problem in a crowded apartment complex, dorm, or row-house environment. If you have too many neighboring networks interfering, 2. Supposedly, you can block websites by domain name or keyword, but in practice the feature works only with non-HTTPS sites, which means almost no modern sites.

The Nighthawk series also claims to offer more general category-based filtering, which really amounts to nothing more than a link to OpenDNS, where you can set up an account. Trying to manage what little integration exists between the OpenDNS account and your router is an exercise in pain and frustration, and brighter kids let alone determined adults will easily find ways around it anyway.

The Synology RTac is a full-featured, very configurable router with good range and coverage. If our main pick is unavailable—or if you find a better deal on the RTac—this model is the one to buy. It was configured out of the box to steer devices to 2. Changing that threshold from dBM to dBM in the settings made our long-range laptop immediately connect at 2.

It should have decent coverage, though, and it should be reliable. This describes the Archer A7 to a tee. The A7 was also at least usable even with everything crammed onto the 5 GHz radio.

When we took the time to set up two different network names and split our devices up between them manually, the A7 performed nearly as well as our main picks for about half the cost.

Like almost every Wi-Fi router available today, the Archer A7 sports a black plastic case with wiggly antennas, one Gigabit Ethernet port for your Internet connection and four more for local devices, and a USB port. We also recommend you step up to one of our main picks if you want to use a VPN connection; the Archer A7 offers one, but its weak processor will make that connection frustratingly slow.

After we ran our full set of tests on all the routers in the group, a few things stood out—such as the importance of managing which band your devices connect on. Run too many things on the same radio, or try to connect a long-range device to 5 GHz instead of 2.

Running our test suite with all devices manually assigned to the most appropriate radios, we saw little difference between most of the routers we tested:. Latency measures how long it takes your inputs to reach the other end of the connection—the time between your clicking a link and the page loading. Things got a lot different when we ran the same tests the way most people use their wireless devices in the real world: The difference was dramatic: What this graph shows is how many milliseconds it took to simulate loading a Web page during our hard-mode tests.

On the left side of the graph is the 50th-percentile result—the result in the middle of the range. Then we took a sample at the 75th, 90th, 95th, and th percentile—the last being the worst results we got out of each device.

Keep in mind that while the laptop in this test was loading Web pages, three others were simulating downloading a big file, streaming 4K video, and making a VoIP phone call—this was a busy little network, at a busy time.

These are both very capable routers that did a consistently good job in our testing, leaving us little to choose between based on performance alone. The Netgear RP and Synology RTac both provided a pretty smooth experience up until the 95th percentile, where things got a little wonky. This is a pretty good indicator of what living with either model is like in real life: One of every 20 or so page loads will be noticeably slower than average.

Moving on to the budget category, things get a little more interesting. Although the Rv2 looks slightly better than the Archer A7 in this graph, it was much more difficult to work with. When we looked at our routers in easy mode—where we configured one SSID for the 2. This reflects the inconsistent performance and dropped connections we experienced with those other budget routers we tested.

There are still definite differences between routers themselves, though. I find that the best way to assess range is the old-fashioned way: The test point in the bedroom was 43 feet away from the router, passing through four interior walls and some miscellaneous cabinetry at an oblique angle along the way. In the chart above, you can see how much harder it was for us to deliver a long-range signal to the bedroom on 5 GHz instead of 2.

This is a feature as much as it is a bug—shorter range means less congestion from neighboring networks. But if you have the kind of congestion issues we described above, you should limit yourself to one of the routers at the top of the graph, a position that indicates excellent long-range performance at 5 GHz specifically.

An extra 5 GHz band is nice to have even when you can use all three bands—but if you own a lot of devices and 2. Also known as WiGig, a new protocol dubbed The recommended usage is same-room-only, with a clear line of sight—making such models almost completely irrelevant to the way we use Wi-Fi today.

The cost is also pretty eye-watering: And absent a dongle or a dock or two, few client devices have WiGig. A new feature called OFDMA will allow central scheduling of client-device transmissions, which should greatly ease congestion within busy networks. This should be a big, big win for people struggling in crowded apartment complexes and dorm environments. This means mainstream The TP-Link Archer C7 was our main pick for several years due to a combination of an extremely low price, a long range, and high throughput.

Our new budget pick, the Archer A7, is the continuation of the C7 line under a new name. The Asus RT-AC is a tri-band router at a flagship dual-band router price, with great range and coverage, and really good device- and traffic-analysis capabilities in its UI.

Unfortunately, its band steering was broken when we first tested it, and is still broken; it claims to steer across all three bands, but in our testing it never once connected a device on 2. The C also had lackluster long-range 5 GHz performance in our tests.

The Linksys WRT3200 ACM Smart Wi-Fi Router

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May 11,  · Asus AC dual-band Wi-Fi router (RT-AC86U) The best router for large homes. The Asus RT-AC86U is one of the best all-around routers. It has all the latest features, including extra security. This router should maximize your bandwidth and keep your home network running smoothly. The router is a pretty standard size ( x x inches) and if you stash it somewhere centrally located in your house, you’ll have no problem getting a strong signal in even the most remote corners. Don’t worry, though, we here at TechRadar picked out the top wireless routers you can buy in There are so many different kinds of wireless routers out there, so finding the best router for your needs can be hard. Luckily, we here at TechRadar created a guide to the best wireless routers you can buy in