Best Wireless Router 2023 • 7 Wireless Routers Reviews
More and more devices can be connected to the Wi-Fi network of our homes. It is no longer just the laptop, smartphone, or tablet of every member of the family, but also the television, the speakers, and even the fridge. The Internet of Things (IoT) will soon have you connected to your cat’s feeder. And in our opinion it’s not just about the number of connections, but also their speed and strength. If you want to enjoy all the possibilities that the Internet has to offer, from video games to HD streaming services, our product test proves that you need an optimal and well-managed Wi-Fi network – and, therefore, a quality wireless router. We will discuss these devices in depth in the following article. To ensure that you’re buying the best wireless Router, we’ve spent a good amount of time testing each of the items in the product table below.
Wireless Router Leaderboard 2023
What is a Wireless Router and how does it work?
A wireless router picks up your modem’s cable Internet connection and transforms it into a wireless signal that feeds all the devices connected to the home Wi-Fi network. The router has to receive the decoded signal, either via a modem in case of ADSL/VDSL, or by an ONT (Optical Network Terminal) in case of optic fiber.
In comparison to the routers provided by operators, you will realize that they offer more speed and improve the range, connectivity, and management of your Wi-Fi network. Our test shows that they boost network performance and allow you to get the most out of your Internet service provider’s connection.
What are the types of Wireless Routers?
If technology is generally developing rapidly, in our opinion it is advancing at lightning speed when it comes to networks and the Internet. The nomenclature of Wi-Fi technologies is continually changing, with old standards (82.11a, b, and g) not being renamed because they are already considered outdated. The most recent ones, however, were renamed in 2019.
The Wi-Fi type known as 82.11.n has been renamed Wi-Fi 4, and the 82.11.ac has been renamed Wi-Fi 5. The 82.11.ax is a new protocol that has been developed and is already being commercialized in certain routers under the name Wi-Fi 6. Each one of these types has been an improvement in comparison to the previous one in both connectivity and speed.
WiFi 4: The speed goes up to 800 Mbps. The router only handles one device at a time, with the others waiting in line. The waiting time is imperceptible, just a few hundredths of a second, but our test shows it can lead to small delays (lags).
WiFi 5 (Wi-Fi AC or Wave 2): The speed goes up to 1,733 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. It supports simultaneous signals -in comparison to WiFi 4- so that various connected devices are served at the same time (MU-MIMO technology).
It guides the Wi-Fi signal to the connected devices (Beamforming technology).
WiFi 6: The speed goes up to 6,000 Mbps, and expected to reach 11,000 Mbps.Our product test confirms that it supports even more simultaneous and less interfering connections (enhanced MU-MIMMO).
It guides the Wi-Fi signal to the devices (improved Beamforming).
In our opinion this standard will integrate new technologies, although few devices support it so far, and it cannot be fully exploited yet.
Advantages and disadvantages of Wireless Router
You should already be familiar with a few of the many advantages these devices have to offer to your home Wi-Fi network. But in our opinion wireless routers also have a couple of drawbacks, and it’s best that you know them too before making a decision.
- They cover a larger area and therefore increase the range of your Wi-Fi network.
- You can make the most of your home connection speed and increase the speed of the network.
- They decrease latency, reduce and avoid lagging (delays and cuts) in online video games, video conferences, or streaming services.
- They allow you to prioritize traffic to certain devices.
- You can improve security and control of your home network.
- They allow the connection of multiple devices simultaneously without saturating the signal.
- Hard drives and servers can be connected to be shared on the home network easily and quickly.
- They help with download management.
- They need to be installed and configured. While this tends to be fairly straightforward, it can be challenging with some models.
- You will add yet another electronic device to your system.
Shopping Criteria for Wireless Router
If you have decided to buy a wireless router to improve the speed and performance of your Wi-Fi network, in our opinion it’s best that you start by analyzing your connection needs and how often you use it. In the following section, you will learn more about the main purchasing criteria to consider before making your final decision.
- Type of Connection
- Type of Wi-Fi
- Processor (Chipset)
Type of Connection
If you have an ADSL connection, some routers on the market have a modem function so that you can completely replace the one provided by your ISP. If your model doesn’t have this feature, you will have to connect it by cable to the modem-router of your Internet provider that will act as a bridge. The wireless router will manage the traffic of your home network.
If you have an optic fiber connection, you must keep your operator’s ONT and connect it through a network cable. However, you can also keep the current installation by putting the ONT in bridge mode. In comparison to the other types of connections with optic fiber it is essential that you check the compatibility of your router to all the services of your ISP – television, Internet, and sound.
Type of Wi-Fi
While the Wi-Fi 6 standard was released a couple of years ago, the test proves that most devices – mobiles, tablets, computers, etc. – aren’t compatible with it. This means that you cannot get the most out of a router with the latest Wi-Fi technology just yet. So in our opinion it’s best to opt for the Wi-Fi 5 standard.
Some of the devices that connect to the network may not support the 5 GHz frequency band and will need to connect to the 2.4 frequency band. Our test states that the speed increase that working with dual or triple band offers more than justifies choosing this type of technology. This is especially true for devices that require a lot of bandwidth.
The processor is responsible for executing the traffic management tasks of the network; the better it is, the more workload your router can support. If you are a demanding and intensive Internet user, it’s best you opt for a model with a dual-core processor and good RAM. The test shows that you will avoid latency problems and lags.
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What is the range of a wireless router?
A wireless router tends to improve home network coverage significantly in comparison to that set up by your provider. Thanks to its antennas and specific technologies that are integrated into the new Wi-Fi standards, you will be able to reach corners that were completely offline before. The product test points out that if you live in a standard flat or house, these devices can optimize the range of your network up to a little over 1,000 square feet. That being said, a wireless router can’t work miracles either if you have a lot of walls and obstacles, or a home with several floors. In that case, it’s best to opt for another type of device: Wi-Fi extenders, access point, or PLC devices. If that still isn’t enough, you always have the option to create a mesh network.
Wireless router or mesh network?
The Wi-Fi mesh network technology is based on a router and a series of satellites or nodes. It is similar to placing a Wi-Fi extender or PLC device in your home. However, the nodes of a mesh network are not independent access points but instead form a single mesh. The devices automatically connect to the nearest one, and switching between nodes is instantaneous. Our test demonstarted that this technology is naturally more expensive since you have to purchase more than one device. However, it’s the best solution for large spaces or for multi-story houses where even a quality wireless router won’t allow you to reach every corner of the home. A mesh networking device enables you to avoid these Internet no man’s lands.
What is the Beamforming technology?
This technology concentrates the Wi-Fi signal and guides it to the devices currently connected to the network. In other words, the router determines where the devices are and sends the Wi-Fi signal in that direction. This improves the signal strength to the best and thus the stability and quality of the connection that reaches each device.
What advanced features can a wireless router offer?
In addition to the advantages of being able to work with dual or triple band, as well as the Wi-Fi 5 protocol, wireless routers can offer a series of advanced functionalities that help improve and have greater control over your home network. These features are mainly linked to security and traffic management. We have summed them up for you: Quality of Service (QoS). This functionality allows you to prioritize the traffic on any device or application you are using. For instance, you can prioritize the bandwidth for your game console when playing online, videoconferences, or for multimedia streaming services. Security. Nowadays, most routers offer various security systems. The WPS is a basic protocol that lets you add a device at the touch of a button. You can also find WAP or WAP2 protocols, the latter being the most recommended, the most secure, and virtually always integrated into routers. Parental control. The vast majority of wireless routers offer some kind of parental control tool. You can, therefore, determine the number of hours during which some devices can connect themselves, or block the access to specific webpages. Guest access. This is another interesting feature that allows you to give access to your Wi-Fi to any guest you receive at home. That way, they have access to the Internet without entering your private network. USB ports. Certain wireless routers incorporate one or more USB ports, through which you can connect a printer, a scanner, or a hard drive. You can share their use and content to your home network, so they become available to all users and devices.
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