The time in which we all live has made having a router at home essential, particularly if you have a number of devices at home, such as a PC and a smartphone. Not to mention, we now have more methods to consume data, including video and games.
Therefore, how do you pick a router? Like Mini-PCs, routers come in a variety of designs, dimensions, and functionalities that frequently cause confusion in users. The biggest issue is that we frequently find ourselves sidetracked by cheesy features on certain routers that we don’t actually need.
This post aims to explain the fundamental characteristics of a router as well as recommend the top routers in the networking world. Ultimately, you ought to be able to select one router based on your needs and your financial situation.
How to Pick up a Router?
a) Single, Dual-Band or Tri-band?
When you use WiFi to connect to a router, you are actually using the radio band to send and receive data. The majority of routers are Single Spectrum devices that use the 2.4 GHz frequency band for operation. They serve all connected devices using this band. Single Band is sufficient if your only demand is routine online browsing and connecting just a few devices.
The necessity for Dual Band or Tri-Band arises when the requirement beyond a few devices and includes demanding tasks like gaming, streaming videos, etc. Single-band becomes overwhelmed at this point.
Two Band Using two radio bands, routers (2.4GHz and 5GHz). It can handle typical web browsing tasks over 2.4 GHz and divert intensive tasks, like as gaming and streaming, to the 5 GHz frequency.
You are aware that a tri-band router has three radios by this point, I’m sure. one that uses the 2.4GHz frequency and two that use the 5GHz frequency. The time of home users, though, won’t require it unless they constantly stream video to several consoles and devices.
Recommendation: Pick up a Dual or Tri-Band router over Single.
This is a very important factor, particularly if you have high-speed internet at home. Like every other networking device, a router has a specific data transfer rate. You won’t ever receive the speed you are paying for if your router can only handle 54 Mbps while your Internet connection promises, say, 100 Mbps.
Every router has a speed rating or a set of protocols. Every one of these procedures has a top speed. Make sure to inspect them before you purchase a router.
- The maximum speed of 802.11b is 11 Mbps.
- The rates of 803.11a and 802.11g reach 54 Mbps.
The most affordable Single Band routers support the aforementioned two protocols. Any of the routers described above are not ones I would advise you to purchase. Although routers have a rather lengthy lifespan, the protocols are gradually becoming antiquated. I’ve been utilising a seven-year-old router. Therefore, it seems sense to start with a router that is future-proof.
- The maximum speed of 802.11n is 300 Mbps.
For the majority of high-speed broadband users, this should be sufficient. For a few of gaming consoles, mobile devices, and laptops, it is more than sufficient. Additionally, it will be able to handle streaming video.
803.11ac provides up to 1 Gbps of speed.
Making plans for a connected home that includes file sharing? Perhaps you’ll need a router that can handle it. This protocol is advised for intensive usage, which includes video streaming, gaming, and at least 12 computers that are constantly connected. These routers are made to give numerous devices their own upload and download bandwidth, resulting in a fluid experience.
Recommendation: Choose 802.11ac/802.11n router over others. The router you will buy is going to be there for next 5 to 6 years, and all the devices by the time will support this technology.
Routers that accept external hard drives or NAS are perfect for setting up a network that involves file sharing among connected users. It ensures that the hard drive is accessible to all connected devices as a network drive. When you keep a central repository for everything, this is helpful.
This section is for people who can handle it when configuring it and who are familiar with technical words. If you don’t, you can always locate one of your geeky cousins and complete the task!
- Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) Support: This one-button setup allows you to connect any device to your router without disclosing your password.
- QoS: It is possible to give one device more precedence than another. It is thought that a gaming console will require more attention than a phone. This allows you to specify the priority policy for each LAN port, application, or MAC address of the computer.
- Traffic Light: You can determine your bandwidth usage thanks to this. You might also receive IP-based use, depending on the software.
- Content Filtering /Parental Control: Using this feature you can block certain websites, search keyword, and even set time for this filtering.
The majority of routers have these functions as standard. So you shouldn’t worry too much about software, but you should be aware.
So what routers do we recommend?
The last and most crucial factor is the pricing of the equipment now that you are familiar with routers and their characteristics. Even if you have $300 to spend and buy a fantastic router, it’s always a good idea to make sure you absolutely need it. Your work might be completed using a router that costs less than $50.
We should be clear right away that none of the routers we suggest have been independently tested. The information provided above, customer reviews on Amazon, and star ratings have all been used to make a recommendation.
Best Routers Under $50
This router, which costs between $15 and $32, is the best one I’ve yet seen from every angle. You receive Wireless N, which allows data rates of up to 300 MBPS, has two antennas, extra Gigabit ports for high-speed wired connections, and so on. Although “B” format is supported by the router, you can always disable it and only use “G and N mixed.” Both models have received good ratings, which is the main reason we included them on our list.
TP-Link AC1200 Wireless Wi-Fi Dual Band Fast Ethernet Router (Archer C50)
In the next two to three years, AC technology will be standard on all wireless devices. Investing in a router that supports it only makes sense. The TP-Link AC1200 costs $38 (about Rs. 2400 in India) and offers superior Wi-Fi coverage over a wider area in addition to high-performance HD streaming and online gaming. This is necessary if there are too many walls between rooms. Additionally, 802.11 a/b/g/n is backwards compatible with it.
Additionally, the router has a USB port and a router app for controlling it.
Best Routers Between $50 and $100
The router has a 4-port Gigabit Router, Dual-Band, 2×2 AC1300 WiFi, and USB 3.0 at the front. Using the ASUS Router App on your mobile device, you can easily manage and keep an eye on your network. The four antennas guarantee that you receive the greatest amount of coverage. This item, which houses the newest technology and costs $69.99 (about Rs. 11,000 in India), comes highly recommended.
There are only a few significant distinctions between this model and the Archer C50 that we previously highlighted. This design-
For greater coverage, there are three antennas.
Dual USB ports with a printer, for sharing files and media.
The router appears to be absolutely reliable when viewed from a technical and speed perspective. It squares up against the ASUS RT-ACRH13.
Best Routers for $100 to $300
It’s time to look at those behemoths that have established an industry standard for design, build, and performance if you have additional cash to invest and require a really high performing router.
NETGEAR AC1750 Smart WiFi Router Dual Core 800MHz Processor – Router Only (R6400-100NAS)
The NETGEAR AC1750 is a router worth considering if you’re searching for one for your home that performs well and costs less than $100 (about Rs 8870 in India). The router offers a combined speed of 450 + 1300 Mbps and extensive coverage thanks to its functional external antennas.
It includes Netgear’s “Beamforming + focuses” function, which ensures that every device receives and is properly handled. According to the business, it should have no trouble covering up to 12 devices. You receive 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0 port, and 4 gigabit ethernet ports.
Like other Netgear routers, yours comes with the following house brands:
ReadyShare Printer, ReadyShare Vault, and ReadyShare USB all support DLNA.
Guest network and parental control.
Asus Wireless AC3100 Gigabit Router (RT-AC3100)
This router, which costs $299, is a monster. Since the device supports mixed-protocol, mixed-device, high-activity support for several devices, it is overkill if your network isn’t busy. If you still think it’s jazzy, consider these details:
It has a dual-core processor running at 1.4 GHz and 512 MB of RAM.
It includes built-in game acceleration that accesses the GPN, a private network of route-optimized servers that guarantees consistently low ping times, via a built-in WTFast client.
I don’t think there should be any doubt regarding its coverage after looking at those antennae. It can theoretically cover a space of 5000 square feet.
It has 1024-QAM technology, which is advertised as being 80% faster at 5 GHz up to 2100 Mbps and 66% faster at 2.4 GHz up to 1000 Mbps.
USB 3.0 port and 8 Gigabit LAN connections.
includes Trend Micro-powered ASUS AiProtection.
supports 2.4 GHz radio frequency, 802.11 a/b/g/n, and 801.11 AC.
This router can handle a time where 25 to 30 users need to be constantly connected to the network while downloading files, streaming videos, and playing games.
If you can fit in it, then this is a spaceship. This one sentence sums up the amount of work Netgear put into creating this ideal product. The product, like the RT-AC3100 we previously said, is made to withstand heavy usage and an extremely active network.
With three band support, all of your devices may connect to it, and it costs $279 (about Rs 13,999 in India). It can give up to 3.2 Gbps WiFi speed (by combining all radios) for uninterrupted streaming. The six strong antennas provide the best mix of excellent performance and widest possible range. To ensure that high-speed gaming and streaming video run smoothly, it has a dual-core 1 GHz processor.
In addition to having powerful hardware, software also ensures that Dynamic QoS may be used to intelligently prioritise devices. Devices will be balanced by relocating them to less-used radios, which will have a smaller impact on other devices and ensure that bandwidth is used effectively. In addition to this, you additionally
The Windows PC is automatically backed up using the ReadySHARE Vault app.
A Personal FTP Server, ReadySHARE Printer, ReadySHARE USB Access, and NETGEAR genie app.
High-speed storage can be plugged into its UBS 3.0 port as well. If you’re geeky enough, it also supports the Open Source router platform.
With its eight potent antennae, TP-AC5400 Link’s has you covered if you’re searching for a router with coverage for your entire neighbourhood. One 2.4GHz (1000Mbps) and two 5GHz (2167Mbps) bands can be used to give up to 5400Mbps Wi-Fi speeds using the Tri-band and NitroQAM technology.
It has Dynamic QoS, load balancing, is excellent for HD streaming, including 4K, and gaming, just like the other two high-end routers we listed above.
It has 4 Gigabit Ethernet connections, 1 USB 3.0 + 1 USB 2.0 port, and MU-MIMO support. This is a good purchase at roughly $249, or Rs. 22k in India.
This concludes our list of routers based on features, performance, and cost that you can purchase. Tell us which one you intend to choose. Are you already utilising a top-notch router? Post a comment about your experience.