Like most Americans, you probably own a wireless router that’s provided through your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If this is true, then I’m sure you hate it.
ISP provided wireless routers just don’t seem to cut it nowadays. Not in this time of competitive online gaming, professional blogging, and Netflix.
And if you’re like me, you’ve spent hours complaining to your service provider about slow streaming, dropped signals, and lag.
This needs to stop.
Our team of technology experts and Netflix-enthusiasts has composed a list of the Top 18 best Wifi routers of 2017. There’s no need to settle on a router that doesn’t work. If you’re willing to spend a little extra, you can purchase independent routers that can juggle multiple networks at once. To help you decide, we’ve added in-depth reviews for each product. If you’re a gamer, consider purchasing an Asus. For all you movie lovers and Netflix bing-ers, we’ve found low-cost routers for streaming whatever you want to watch. Go ahead and take a look.
Best Wireless Routers 2017 - Comparison Table
Before we start into our reviews, let’s take a look at our top 18 choices. We started by comparing them abased on their dimensions, weight, number of antennas, ports, and the supported networks.
|Amped ATHENA AC2600|
|801.11 AC||External (4)||Gigabit Modem (1)|
LAN Gigabit (1)
2.0 USB (1)
3.0 USB (1)
|802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||External (3)||N/A|
|TP-Link Archer C7||802.11 A/C||External (3) Internal (3)||LAN Gigabit (4)|
WAN Gigabit (1)
2.0 USB (2)
|ASUS RT-AC88U Wireless-AC3100||802.11 ac/n/g/a/b||External (4)||LAN Gigabit (1)|
WAN Gigabit (1)
2.0 USB (1)
3.0 USB (1)
|D-Link Wireless AC1900||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||External (3)||LAN Gigabit (4)|
WAN Gigabit (1)
2.0 USB (1)
3.0 USB (1)
|Apple AirPort (ME918LL/A)||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||Internal (6)||LAN Gigabit (3)|
WAN Gigabit (1)
2.0 USB (1)
|NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||External (3)||Gigabit Gigabit (4)|
2.0 USB (1)
3.0 USB (1)
|D-Link AC3200||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||External (6)||LAN Gigabit (4)|
WAN Gigabit (1)
|NETGEAR X6 AC3200||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||External (6)||Gigabit Gigabit (4)|
2.0 USB (1)
3.0 USB (1)
|802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||External (6)||LAN Gigabit (4)|
WAN Gigabit (1)
2.0 USB (1)
3.0 USB (1)
1. Amped Athena RTA2600 - Best Wireless Router for Small Apartments
Amped Wireless tops off our list with their brilliant and powerful, high-speed router, the Athena AC2600. Equipped with 16 amplifiers and 4 antennas, the Athena is capable of reaching Wifi speeds of up to 2.53 Gbps. Buffering is no problem for this powerful hardware due to its 1.4GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor.
Designed with MU-MIMO technology and 512 MB DDR3 Memory, it’s capable of receiving and sending data to multiple locations at the same time.
As a Dual-Band AC2600 router, it’s able to reach streaming speeds of up to 1733Mbps (5 GHz) and 8Mbps (2.4GHz).
The downside to the Amped Wireless Athena AC2600 is that the firmware updates are near unreliable. There have actually been quite a few customer complaints about this. Sometimes the automatic updates caused new bugs, such as timesync issues and lag. I recommend resetting the router if this happens. If this doesn’t work, consider calling their customer service hotline.
Roughly able to reach 25 to 50 feet, the Amped Wireless Athena has a fairly good range. Despite its faulty updates, this router is still a quick, speedy piece of hardware that’s perfect. While it might not be the best router for gaming, it’s definitely the best for a small college dorm or apartment.
2. Linksys AC1900 - Best Wireless Router for Large Home Coverage
The Linksys AC1900 steps up as the best wireless router for large home coverage. As an AC1900 dual-band router, it’s capable of streaming speeds of up to 1300 Mbps (5GHz) and 600 Mbps (2.4GHz).
While not the fastest on our list, it makes up for this with its 4 detachable antennas. This allows or a range of at least 4 times farther than even the ever popular Wireless N router.
This guarantees a network connection even while outside of the house. With a memory capacity of 512 MB, it offers both WAN and LAN ports, as well as, accommodate 2.0 USB.
Its 1.6 GHz processor allows for easy multi-management when sending data. Also, it comes with Open Source firmware that can be used with OpenWRT to customize your wireless router.
Unfortunately, the biggest issue we ran into with the Linksys AC1900 had nothing to do with the router, itself. Instead, we’d found quite a few customer complaints about Linksys’ customer service hotline or tech support. Many complaints repeated the same thing, that tech support suggested resetting it before shrugging their shoulders and “accidentally” hanging up. A few reviews compared technical support to a “circus” or “zoo.” At that point, we grew a little wary about the Linsksys AC1900.
While we hadn’t suffered any issues from the wireless router, there must have been a reason for so many tech support calls. Well, it seemed that the majority of phone calls were due to simple set-up questions or errors that occurred during. Anyhow, we went ahead and made a test call, ourselves.
We didn’t even have the chance to talk to a representative. After an hour of waiting on hold, we hung up. It was pretty disappointing. Anyway, if you’re willing to suffer bad customer service, then the Linksys AC1900 may be the best router for you.
The Linksys AC1900’s 4 detachable antennas are located on each corner of the wireless router. If stationed at the center of the house, you’re guaranteed continuous internet access from all corners of your house. Again, while it might not be the best wireless router for online gaming, it’s still pretty great for streaming movies.
3. TP-Link Archer C7 - Best Wireless Router for Most Small Businesses
The TP-Link Archer C7, a.k.a “The Best Router for Most People” according to The New York Times, is an impressive piece of hardware. Equipped with a handy Guest Access Network, this wireless router is the perfect option for both homes and small businesses.
Its Guest Access Network provides free wireless internet for guests and clients while keeping the primary network secure. With an AC1750 Dual-Band modem, the Archer C7 is able to reach speeds of up to 1300 Mbps (5GHz) and 600 Mbps (2.4GHz).
What really makes this wireless router standout is its 3 external and 3 internal antennas for better speed and reach.
With all this, it’s capable of reaching through walls, easily, with a range of more than 1000 feet. Not only that, but it’s also equipped with 2 2.0 USB ports, 4 LAN ports, and 1 Wan port.
Where the TP-Link Archer C7 fails is in its lack of features. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. This Wireless Router simply does not have the same number of user-friendly features as the other routers on our list. This includes Bluetooth, remote access, 3.0 USB, etc. It’s honestly a little disappointing seeing how great its performance was in our speed and range section.
While it may not have a ton of fancy features and accessories, its Guest Access Network really comes in handy. Although we don’t think it’s the best wireless router for people in general, it’s definitely the best for small businesses. Its speed and long range are great for work both in and out of the office. Also, the multiple USB, LAN, and WAN ports are great for connecting computers, printers, and scanners together for emergencies.
4. ASUS RT-AC88U - Best Wireless Router for Gaming
The Asus RT-AC88U utilizes 1024-QAM technology for ridiculously fast streaming speeds. Equipped with 4 transmitting and 4 receiving antennas, it features a range of up to 5000 square feet.
As a dual-band router, it has streaming speeds of 2100 Mbps (5 GHz) and 1000 Mbps (2.4 Mbps). Its ASUS AiProtection (Trend MicroTM ) protects your electronic devices with the parent blocker and malicious site blocking features. It also comes with a WTFast Game Accelerator for gaming and streaming without fear of lagging or overheating.
It also comes with 2100 Mbps (5 GHz) and 1000 Mbps (2.4 Mbps)port of downloading speeds of 100 Mbps. Built with 8 LAN/WAN ports with 2Gbps speeds and a 1.4 dual-processor, the Asus RT-AC88U has everything a gamer needs.
Like any other wireless router, the Asus RT-AC88U has the tendency to overheat with excessive use This usually seems to happen when it’s connected to multiple, as in more than 3, devices at once. We’ve found plenty of customer reviews suggesting that this happens specifically when connected to 2 or more gaming systems. I recommend letting your Asus RT-AC88U cool down for short periods. Maybe limit the number of devices in use at once.
Overall, the Asus RT-AC88U is the perfect system for anyone planning to play online games, stream movies, Skype, etc. The best part about this wireless router is that it comes with a 2-year warranty against defects in materials or workmanship. So, if your WiFi router unexpectedly breaks down, you may be eligible for a replacement, free repair, or full-refund.
5. D-link (DIR880L) AC1900 Dual-band- Casual Home Coverage
The D-link (DIR880L) comes up next with its dual-band router capable of 1300 Mbps (5 GHz) and 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz).What makes this wireless router stand out is the fact that it’s just a simple, yet an efficient product.
In terms of additional features and functions, it has remote access and it can be accessed via the Cloud. With 3 detachable antennas, it also comes with 4LAN ports, 1 WAN port, and a 2.0 and 3.0 USB port.
It’s also designed with 3 built-in power amplifiers for faster, more reliable performance.
With its slow streaming speeds, the D-link (DIR880L) would not be the best product for any serious, full-time gamer. While it’s capable of juggling multiple electronic devices with ease, managing multiple gaming systems may be out of its league. Due to its lack of speed, attempting to attach multiple gaming systems may result in lag or long wait times.
Despite its rather unimpressive speed, the D-link (DIR880L) is still a great wireless router for a casual home environment. In fact, it’s the best wireless router for casual home coverage. Even if it can’t support 4 Xbox’s playing Assassin’s Creed, it can still support 1 Xbox and a Netflix account. Not to mention, it’s pretty cheap. So, let’s say you’re not a hardcore gamer, but you’d really like to invest in a wireless router. In that case, the D-link (DIR880L) might be the one for you.
6. Apple AirPort (ME918LL/A) - Best Apple Wireless Router
Now we’ve got the Apple Airport ME918LL/A, fully equipped with a simultaneous dual-band router. This wireless router comes with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands while its speed can reach up to 1.2Gbps. Like all Apple products, this one boasts a sleek, white design that’s both chic and elegant. It also features 6 external antennas for longer reach and faster streaming speeds.
With 3 LAN ports, 1 WAN port, and 1 2.0 USB port for data transfer or sharing. As a 6th Generation Apple Airport wireless router, the ME918L/A offers fast speeds and adequate range at a low price.
Working 3x faster than its predecessors, the Apple ME918LLA/A comes as a pleasant surprise.
I have to admit that the Apple AirPort ME918LL/A could stand to improve their signal strength. Their performance in our speed test was good, amazing actually. However, in terms of range, the wireless struggled to pass through multiple walls at once. This was actually a bit surprising considering that it was equipped with 4 antennas. Still, I have to say that compared to previous Apple WiFi products, its overall performance has greatly improved.
The Apple AirPort ME918LL/A outshines its predecessors with ease due to its impressive streaming speeds. While it might not be the best router for constant gaming, it’s definitely a good wireless router for streaming movies. If you’re looking for an Apple wireless router that can juggle multiple devices at once, this is your best option.
7. NETGEAR AC1900 - Best Wireless Router for Streaming Movies
The NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 comes equipped with a 1 GHz dual-core processor and dual-band modem. It’s capable of speeds of up to 1300 Mbps (5 GHz) and 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz).
It also has 4 LAN ports, 1 WAN port, and both a 3.0 and 2.0 USB port. This means that it’s capable of connecting with multiple printers, computers, scanners, and more at the same time. It also features free automatic installation and automatic backup for Windows PC. It comes with 3 external antennas, 4 LAN ports, 1 WAN port, and both a 3.0 port and 2.0 port.
This allows it to connect with multiple devices at once without straining the WiFi signal.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900’s Achilles heel is that it tends to constantly need resetting. By “constantly” I mean at least once every few weeks, but this can get old pretty fast. The problem seems to be that the Nighthawk overheats and eventually drops the signal. This is easily fixed by resetting the modem. However, this happens quite often. Letting the wireless router cool down and just sit can fix this problem immediately.
Via their Advanced Beamforming Technology, the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 provides an easy to use system. With enhanced signals for a powerful performance, the NETGEAR Nighthawk guarantees constant movie streaming without lag or dropped signals.
8. D-Link AC3200 Wi-Fi Router - Connecting Multiple Devices
The D-Link AC3200 is a tri-band router that’s capable of streaming speeds of up to 1300 Mbps. This is due to its single 2.4 GHz band and double 5 GHz bands. It also comes equipped with a 1 GHz dual-core processor for faster streaming times and farther range.
The Advanced AC SmartBeam tracks your various electronic devices to ensure that they remain connected despite the range. Included are 4 LAN ports, 1 WAN port, and a 2.0 USB port, as well as, 3.0 USB port.
To enhance range, it comes with 6 detachable external antennas located on all 4 sides. It also boasts a variety of pre-set features, such as Intelligent QoS Engine for a simple, user-friendly operating system.
The D-Link AC3200 also has a complimentary Guest Network for visitors. This helps to keep your primary networks safe and secure from malicious activity.
Despite the Advanced AC SmartBeam system, the D-Link AC3200 has an annoying habit of dropping signals. There seems to be no rhythm or reason for this as it can drop a signal when either multiple or a single device is connected. Of course, this doesn’t happen constantly, but just every once in a while. The upside to this is that after a few minutes of waiting, it’ll reconnect.
However, sometimes those “few minutes” are something you just don’t have. To avoid this, I suggest connecting your computer or laptop into the router via the LAN port. You don’t HAVE to do this, but it serves as an extra precaution in case your signal suddenly drops while you’re doing something important.
Although the D-Link AC3200 tends to drop signals, it excels at providing excellent signal strength to multiple devices at once. This is why we chose this wireless router as the best router for connecting multiple devices. Due to this and the complimentary Guest Network, the D-Link AC3200 would make a great router for any small company.
9. NETGEAR X6 AC3200 - Wireless Router for Additional Features
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 comes equipped with 6 external antennas and 6 powerful internal amplifiers.
As a tri-band modem, it features a 2.4 GHz band, and two 5 GHz bands. In total, they’re capable of running up to 3.2 Gbps.
This makes it one of the fastest wireless routers on our list. With a 1 GHz dual-core processor, it’s capable of easy continuous use with guaranteed signal strength.
It’s equipped with 4 LAN ports, a 2.0 port, and a 3.0 port.
What really makes this wireless router stand out is the assortment of features that are included. Its DLNA function allows you locate and access your media, music, photos, and games on any connected DLNA device. Its ReadyShare USB Access allows you to connect and share files wirelessly from any inserted USB.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 struggles to connect with multiple devices at once. This is the one reason you may need to think twice about purchasing this wireless router. It’s actually quite frustrating because sometimes it can easy connect to 5 or 6 devices at once. Sometimes a second or third connection may causes another to drop.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X6’s additional features are really what makes this wireless router shine. Its ReadyShare Vault provides automatic PC backup, while the ReadyShare Printer allows you to wirelessly access any printer. To top it all off, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 is iTunes compatible and comes with a complimentary Guest NETWORK.
10. ASUS RT-AC3200 - Wireless Router For File Sharing
The Asus RT-AC3200 is a tri-band wireless router capable of speeds of up to 3200 Mbps. It comes equipped with 6 external detachable antennas, 4 LAN ports, and 1 WAN port. It also offers both a 2.0 and 3.0 USB port for manual connections.
The ASUS AiCloud 2.0 provides the ability to sync and share files via any internet connection. Its AiRadar feature allows for persistent connectivity despite range.
The AiProtection Powered by Trend Micro provides protection against malicious activity and also offers a parent blocking option.
You can also download the Asus Radar App on your phone. This provides the ability to manage your wireless router at any time, from any location.
The firmware updates can really cause some problems for the Asus RT-AC3200. While I’m not entirely sure why, I am sure that the firmware updates can cause this wireless router to breakdown. It seems that it interrupts the router’s ability to connect with certain devices. It can even cause lag and dropped signals. Thankfully, according to most customer reviews, the Asus Tech Support provides excellent service. So if you suddenly suffer bad connection or dropped signals after an update, I suggest calling Tech Support.
The Asus RT-AC3200 is an extremely impressive piece hardware that would be great for streaming movies or online gaming. Although on first glance, it seemed a bit intimidating, it’s actually incredibly easy to set up and navigate. It comes with an easy-to-understand user manual and a 1-year warranty in case of defects in material or workmanship.
2nd Best Wireless Router for Small Apartments
The Buffalo AirStation AC1750 comes with an 800 GHz dual-core processor and 512 MB ram memory. It also comes with 4 LAN ports, 1 WAN port, a 2.0 USB port, and a 3.0 USB port. As a dual-band modem, it runs up to 1300 Mbps (5 GHz) and 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz). It comes with a single internal antenna for amplifying signal strength and providing coverage.
The Buffalo AirStation AC1750 is designed with Intelligent QoS for simple system navigation. Meanwhile, the Priority Control QoS ranks networks based on those that are streaming media-related data, such as games or movies.
The Priority Control and the HighPower Technology guarantees that the signal stays strong and constant while streaming games or movies.
We discovered that the Buffalo AirStation’s range was a little on the faulty side. While it could easy pass through walls, it was the best for large houses. It tended to have lag and signal drops with short distances. We considered naming it the best router for college dorms or small apartments. Unfortunately, its price knocked it into second place.
Despite its short range, the Buffalo AirStation AC1750 would work well in a small apartment or college dorm. It’s a good wireless router for streaming games or movies, but with distance, there’s strain.
2nd Best Wireless Router for Small Businesses
The TRENDnet AC1900 is a dual-band router that’s capable of speeds up to 1300 Mbps (5 GHz) and 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz). It’s designed with 4 LAN ports, 1 WAN port, a 2.0 USB port, and a 3.0 USB port. It also comes pre-encrypted for additional security and protection against malicious activity.
This wireless router provides the option for creating an isolated guest network which also protects your personal information and devices. While it doesn’t come with internal or external antennas, it does have a powerful amplifier to provide stronger signals.
Its Targeted Beamforming is also a handy feature has it targets streaming to your specific location for the best results.
The TRENDnet AC1900’s streaming speed could definitely be improved. To be honest, I was a bit surprised by how long it took for me to stream a movie. As a dual-band router, it should be capable of speeds of up to 1300 Mbps. However, the TRENDnet AC1900 barely seemed to reach 1000 Mbps. It seemed like it would speed up suddenly and then just drop immediately.
Due to the isolated guest network feature and pre-encryption, we decided that the TRENDnet AC1900 was best for small businesses. Both features would be handy in keeping both business information and devices safe. Unfortunately, it could not secure the title of Number 1 wireless router for small business. This is because the TRENDnet AC1900’s streaming speed is a bit too faulty.
2nd Best Wireless Router for Large Home Coverage
The Synology Dual-Band Router is capable of speeds of up to 1900 Mbps due to both its 2.4 GHZ and 5 GHz bands. Equipped with 3 external antennas, its range is an impressive 3-4000 feet, making it perfect for large, bulky homes. This wireless router also comes with an assortment of features, such as the Application Layer QoS.
This handy little addition allows you to monitor the bandwidth wirelessly from any location. Synology Router Manager automatically filters out websites based on your own parent blocking and malicious content.
The Synology RT1900ac has a set of parent controls for setting schedules and blocking websites. Paired with the Synology Router Manager, this router is the perfect option for any family or small business.
What’s disappointing about this wireless router is its Guest Network. Usually I’m thrilled to find out that a router comes with a pre-set Guest Network. It’s just a super handy feature to have. However, this network is extremely frustrating because every time someone connects to it, all the other networks drop. So, I suppose if you have no need for a Guest Network, then this wireless router would be a great option.
With its long range, the Synology RT1900ac is perfect for large homes. While the numerous website filters make it a great option for homes with families or small businesses. However, the faults with the Guest Network make it a less likely choice for a small business.
14. Securifi Almond WiFi - Wireless Router Under $100
The Securifi Almond Wireless Router uses a handy Touchscreen Wizard which provides easy-to-understand pictures for navigating the device. You’re even able to control this router via voice commands such as Amazon Alexa. With 2 internal antennas, it’s capable of reaching speeds of roughly 300 Mbps.
Designed with 2 LAN ports and 1 WAN port, this wireless router can connect to multiple devices at once. The additional parental controls allow you to manage and track the usage of any device connected. This is great for blocking out websites with malicious content or scheduling your children’s usage.
You can even block unwanted electronic devices from connecting. The Securifi Almond can function as an independent wireless router or range extender when paired other routers. It’s really your choice as it can pair with any wireless router on the market.
So, I noticed quite a few customer comments about having to reset the Securifi Almond every few days. This seems is because device sometimes drops the network signal and refuses to reconnect. While this is fairly annoying, resetting the router fixes this problem easily.
The Securifi Almond Wireless Router is not the fanciest on our list. However, it has a wide array of features that make it worthwhile. Its Touchscreen Wizard is truly impressive as it makes setting up the router a quick, 3-minute process. Even a Technology novice will feel like an expert while using it.
2nd Best Wireless Router for Casual Home Coverage
The Google Wireless Router is a small, compact appliance that works well for smaller sized homes. As a dual-band router, its 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are capable of streaming 1300 Mbps and 800 Mbps.
A single router has the range of 1500 square feet, while 3 cover 4500 square feet. It’s designed with 1 LAN port and 1 WAN port for cable connection. The Google Wireless Router also features the Google WiFi App that allows you to access the router via your phone.
It also comes with a 1-year warranty against product defects in materials and workmanship. The Google Wireless Router is the perfect option for any home.
The downside to the Google Wireless Router is that it requires you to have a Google account. And you must be logged into it at all times to receive the internet. Considering that Google accounts are free, this seems to be a rather small price to pay for good WiFi.
The Google Wireless Router provides strong, constant streaming in a tiny package. It even provides the ability to pair the router with 2 more for a farther range. Although it is a bit simple, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a straightforward product that’s easy to setup and maintain.
16. NETGEAR Orbi - Best Wireless Router for Range
The NETGEAR Orbi Home WiFi is an impressive tri-band system that’s capable of reaching speeds of up to 3200 Mbps. With a slim and sleek design, it comes with an Orbi Satellite that can sit anywhere in the house for longer range.
This works by placing the Orbi router on one side of the house and the satellite on the other to fully cover the entire area. In fact, its range is up to 4000 square feet. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa for using voice commands.
What makes the NETGEAR Orbi Home Wifi great is that you can add more satellites for an even farther range.
Unfortunately, the NETGEAR Orbi Home WiFi is a bit pricey. In fact, it may be the most expensive on our list costing up to $350. So, if you have the money and you need the range, then this router may be perfect for you.
Despite its price, the NETGEAR Orbi Home Wifi is perfect for large homes or business that needs coverage and range. Another promising addition is that the Orbi comes with a 1-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
2nd Best Wireless Router for Streaming Movies
The Synology RT2600AC features a 1.7 GHz dual-core processor and dual-band router. Capable of speeds up to 2.53 Gbps, it’s able to stream movies, support video games, and navigate Netflix without lag.
With 4 detachable external antennas, it has great range and provides sturdier, reliable streaming. Its firmware is what really helps it to stand out.
The Synology Router Management (SRM) is managed online and is extremely easy to use. They utilize a Package Center for installing new applications and features directly into your router.
The Synology RT2600 doesn’t work as well in long range situations. It has the tendency to drop singles or lag. So, keep close to the router and maybe avoid it if you have a large house.
The Synology RT2600AC is a great option for anyone interested in streaming movies or watching Netflix. Its multiple external antennas and 2.53 Gbps streaming speed allow you to juggle multiple systems at once.
2nd Best Wireless Router for Connecting Multiple Devices
The ZYXEL NBG6816 features a dual-core processor and dual-band router. It also claims that it’s capable of supporting 50 devices at once. Because of this, this wireless router has easily stolen the title of the 2nd best router for connecting devices.
What’s most impressive about the ZYXEL NBG6816 is that the 4 detachable antennas boost streaming times to 2350 Mbps. These speeds are perfect for gaming or streaming movies for long periods of time.
This wireless router also features an Intelligent QoS system and Advanced Beamforming Technology. Both are designed to amplify network signals while protecting against invasion and malicious activity.
Sadly, the ZYXEL NBG6816 seemed to be exaggerating a bit when it claimed to be able to hold 50 devices at once. After some testing, and honestly just fooling around, it looks like the limit is somewhere between 10 and 15. But that’s still really good! Who really uses 50 different appliances at once? That fact that it can hold at least 10 devices at once is an impressive feat.
The ZYXEL NBG6816 wireless router comes equipped with Intelligent QoS, Advanced Beamforming Technology, and the ZyXEL OneConnect App. These additional features are equipped to guarantee stronger signals and faster streaming times. The ZyXEL OneConnect App provides the ability to monitor and fix troubleshooting problems from miles away. It’s an additional safeguard for your wireless router. The intelligent QoS amplifies signals while providing a straightforward, easy to navigate computer system.
Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide
So, we’ve looked at the top 18 wireless routers of 2017. But what is a wireless router? Why would you want one? And, most importantly, how do you choose the best router for you, personally. In this next section, we’ll answer all these questions and more. So, let’s get started.
What is a Wireless Router?
A wireless router or router is an electronic device that receives and transmits data from your internet to your devices. It is not the internet or WiFi. It simply allows us to access the internet without cables or wires. There is no “one” router that you or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can use. Most ISP’s rent their own wireless routers to customers.
However, most ISP routers provide basic features and have slow streaming speeds. That’s why it is a popular custom to purchase a better working router and connect it to the ISP’s internet. It’s important that you check with your ISP before purchasing a wireless router. Make sure that they accept foreign routers and that they are compatible with the internet service.
When should you consider purchasing a WiFi Router?
- You need more streaming speed then you currently have. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as gaming, movies, at-home or office work
- You really don’t want to keep renting a wireless router from your ISP
- You want to convert from wired to wireless
- You can only connect to a single computer and want to be able to connect with multiple devices
- You’re starting a new small business
How to choose the best Wifi
It’s important to start by first knowing what you plan to do with a wireless router. If you need something for online gaming, you’ll probably need higher streaming speeds, multiple bands, and a few antennas. If you live in a small apartment, something simple and cheaper would do fine. However, big houses mean more antennas. Wireless routers come in all shapes and sizes, so it helps to find a router that supports your own needs. Let’s take a look at the specific categories you should consider when purchasing a router.
Costs for renting a wireless router from your ISP tends to range from $5 to $10 a month. Purchasing a wireless router online or in-store can range from $15 to over $500 dollars depending on the capabilities. That being said, most of the routers on our list range from $70 to $150. This shows that money doesn’t always mean “better.” It really does depend on what you are looking for in a wireless router. But it does help to pay a little extra for something nice.
The speed of the router completely depends on you and your lifestyle. It’s believed that the higher the speed, the better the streaming. However, even low-cost routers are capable of high-speeds, and vice versa. So, don’t go throwing money at the most expensive router you find and expect it to work. The average, or most common, routing speed is possibly the 1300 Mbps/800 Mbps dual-band. Anything above 1000 Mbps/600 Mbps should perform well enough.
The range is an extremely important factor when considering the size of a house or office. Smaller, cheaper routers are a perfect option for smaller homes or apartments. On the other hand, expensive routers aren’t always best for large houses. If you do live in a large home, consider finding a router with 2 or more antennas. Antennas help to lengthen range for continuously strong signals.
Another way to extend range is to consider where you’ll place the router. The center of the house is always a good option as the signals can stretch to all four corners equally. For a small growing business, a wire extender can also help lengthen range for better use.
Additional features can vary based on purpose, such as the difference between Parental controls and Guest Networks. Some wireless routers offer features that are meant to protect against malware, while others are for convenience. A few have pre-set Guest Networks, while others offer apps for monitoring or scheduling internet use. Certain routers are best for certain locations or use based on their additional features. An example of this would be a Guest Network option for a small business owner.
What does “WiFi” mean?
Sorry to burst your bubble, but Wifi does not mean the internet. Shocking, I know. Wifi is simply a way for our devices to pass information between one another without using physical cables. In fact, it actually means “Wireless Fidelity.”
On the other hand, the internet is defined as a global community of interconnected computer networks. They both don’t use wires, however, that seems to be where the similarities end. Think of the internet a packet or package of data, while Wifi is the mailman.
How do wireless routers work?
Wireless routers work by plugging in one end of a network cable into the router and the other into an internet port. Routers are able to receive information from the internet through this cable. Utilizing similar technology as radios and televisions, wireless routers pass this information out to multiple personal electronic devices.
It does this by first locating the IP address of your various appliances. It then sends out these “packets” of internet data via invisible signals and passes it along to the IP address. Of course, this all happens in a matter of seconds.
Confused? Well, here’s another way to look at it…
Think of the internet as a distant cousin in a far off country. Your cellphone’s IP address is your mailbox and your wireless router is the mailman. You write a letter to your cousin and leave it in the mailbox (IP address).
The mailman (wireless router) picks it up and takes it to your cousin’s mailbox (internet/website IP address). Your cousin reads it and then sends a letter back. Pretty simple, right? Well, here a bit more information.
Wireless routers are composed of 3 important sections: the router, the wireless access point, and the network switch. The router is simply the device that connects and sends data from your network to other networks. The wireless access point receives and transmits wireless signals. The network switch connects devices using WiFi to those using Ethernet cables.
Types of routers
Single-Band: Single-band routers are only capable of picking up a 2.4 GHz band signals. They’re typically slow due to constant interference from microwave ovens, radios, phones, etc.
Dual-Band: These can pick up both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals. It provides more options for high-speed usage with less interference.
Tri-band: Tri-band routers are quickly gaining popularity as the best wireless router for online gaming. This is because it comes with one 2 GHz band, and two separate 5 GHz bands for even better performance. It guarantees near-instant downloads speeds of up to 1300 Mbps per band depending on the wireless router.
Dual-band vs. Tri-band
Well, as we know, wireless routers send information or data as invisible signals. Very specific frequencies relay these signals. The most common frequencies are 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 60 GHz. 2.4 GHz has a broader range than the other two, however, it’s a bit slower. 60 GHz is extremely fast, but it can barely penetrate walls.
In the beginning, 2.4 GHz was the only frequency in use. But as technology developed and computers, iphones, and tablets became a common household appliance, the 2.4 GHz began slowing down. This is due to the abundance of websites such as YouTube and Facebook that require high-speed streaming. Then consider them all being used at the same time on multiple computers and iPhones. This can cause some serious lag on a personal computer, especially if you live in a busy city or town. To improve network speeds, 5 GHz, and 60 GHz bands were added to wireless routers.
If you’re still a little confused, think of it as a mail truck. The bands are simply mail trucks delivering your letter to a cousin. If it’s just your letter, you can assume that it wouldn’t take very long. But what if your neighbor, and your best friend, and your best friend’s neighbor had letters too? And there was only 1 truck between all of you. That would definitely slow down the delivery time. So, simply add another truck to split between the workloads.
WiFi Standards: a, b, g, n, a/c
Let’s begin with the standard 802.11. Developed by the Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), it’s the original wireless specification designed to describe wireless connections in networks. Letter suffixes designate the specific router. Every following extension is backward compatible.
- 892.11b: It was released in 1999 and now obsolete. Considered the first commercial wireless standard, it’s capable of reaching 11 Mbps on a single (2.4 GHz) router.
- 892.11a: Routers with this standard can reach up to 54 Mbps (5 GHz) but possess a much shorter range. While obsolete, it’s still accessible via backward compatibility with a new router.
- 892.11g: This operates on 2.4 GHz band for range but is capable of reaching speeds of 54 Mbps. While it’s gradually becoming less common, it’s still used on a few old appliances.
- 892.11n (Wireless N): Released in 2009, this standard is definitely the most popular on our list. It features both a 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band for better range and lack of interference and drag. In fact, 892.11n has 3 setup functions: single-stream, dual-stream, and three-stream.
- Single-Stream 1x1: 1,300 Mbps
- Dual-Stream 2x2: 900 Mbps
- Three-Stream 3x3: 450 Mbps
- 892.11ad(WiGig): While this router has a ridiculously high-speed range of 7 Gbps (60 GHz), its range is embarrassingly short. Barely able to pierce walls, the WiGig is a great personal wireless router for a studio or college dorm room. As long as whatever laptop, TV, Xbox, etc. is in the same room as the router, it should receive constant, clear streaming.
- 892.11a/c (5G Wifi): Although it only functions on the 2.4 GHz band, it features the same setup functions as 892.11n. It also comes with an additional function, quad-stream 4x4, that’s capable of reaching 2,167 Mbps. 4 times faster than its predecessor allowing for faster downloading and streaming. It’s also capable of backward compatible for less interference and lag time.
*Since Broadcom released the 5G XStream Wifi chip in 2014, there’s been a rush of Tri and Dual-Band routers. This 5G Wifi chip connects to the 892.11a/c while in 3x3 mode.
892.11a/c extended forms:
|Router Type||Top 5 GHz speed (1)||Top 5 GHz speed (2)||Top 2.4 Speed||Total Bandwidth|
|AC1750||Dual-band||1,300 Mbps||450 Mbps||1,750 Mbps|
|AC1900||Dual-band||1,300 Mbps||600 Mbps||1,900 Mbps|
|AC2350||Dual-band||1,733 Mbps||600 Mbps||2,333 Mbps|
|AC2500||Dual-band||1,733 Mbps||600 Mbps||2,333 Mbps|
|AC3100||Tri-band||2,167 Mbps||2,167 Mbps||1000 Mbps||3,167 Mbps|
|AC3200||Tri-band||1,300 Mbps||1,300 Mbps||600 Mbps||3,200 Mbps|
|AC5300||Tri-band||2,167 Mbps||2,167 Mbps||1000 Mbps||5,334 Mbps|
WAN vs. LAN
Local Area Network (LAN) ports are located on the router’s end and are also known as Ethernet ports and RJ45. They allow for direct internet access. Simply insert one end of a network cable into the port and the other into your computer. This is a non-wireless way to access the internet. Most home routers have up to 4 LAN ports. LAN speeds include Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet.
Wide Area Network (WAN) ports are also located on the end of a router and are usually a different color. There’s usually just 1 WAN port per router. WAN also provides direct internet access via wires.
While LANs are for more localized internet access, WAN ports are used for large cities or business use. LAN is more secure and faster than WAN (1000Mbps to 150 Mbps) however, WAN has a farther reach. LAN ports are controlled by the owner or individual of the router, while WAN don’t really have a single user.
What is a wireless extender?
A wireless extender, or range extender, stretches the reach of a LAN. They’re used in the event that you’re out of range of your router, but still receiving a faint signal. They basically receive and re-transmit your wireless signal using either internal or external antennas. However, wireless routers that only have one antenna must constantly switch between functions, cutting into performance speeds.
That’s why I recommend you choose a router that comes with 2 or more antennas. Some wireless routers double as an extender when paired with another router.
Best Bang For Your Buck
So there you have it, the Top 18 wireless routers of 2017. Regardless of if you’re a gamer, movie lover, or new business owner, you need a router that provides constant coverage. No surprise network drops or sudden lag in the middle of a Skype call. A good router is what you want and a good one is what you’ll get if you choose from our top 18 choices.
I encourage you to stop by your favorite electronics store and ask for more information about these options. Rather it’s Best Buy or Target, I guarantee you that they’ll be able to get you what you want.
Overall, how do you feel about our top 18 wireless router review? Did you agree with our choices? Have you purchased one of the routers on our list? If so, how did it work? What do you think makes a good wireless router?