A wireless router is the bedrock of your entire home network. It is a compact device, which circulates data packets between the connected devices in an area and directs traffic on the web. It allows you to use the internet from any corner of the house and with any Wi-Fi enabled device. It also stands between a stellar online experience and a constantly lagging one. Therefore, picking the right Wi-Fi router is an extremely important task. If you are a novice, then the complex terminology and the marketing verbiage might confuse you, and understandably so. Worry not, as this article will list down all the things you need to consider before buying a new router for your home. Go on and give them a read below.
Should You Buy a New Router?
When you subscribe to an internet service, chances are that the provider will give you a dedicated router or a modem-router gateway for a monthly rental fee. You can choose to pay around $9 to $15 for your ISP-given router every month, or you can purchase your own router, given that your ISP allows that. For instance, with RCN internet packages, you can bring your own internet equipment or go with the eero-powered Whole Home WiFi system for $9.95 per month. If you plan to stick it out with the provider for a longer run, then we recommend you buy a new router upfront to avoid the pesky monthly rental fee. You can find a decent router online for $50 and above. These are the best wireless routers of 2021 so far:
- TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router
- Linksys EA6350 AC1200+ Dual-Band Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router
- Asus RT-AC66U B1 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router
- Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router (R9000)
- Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
See if they match your ISP’s list of compatible routers before placing your order outright. It is vital for your internet connection to be uniform with your router’s capabilities.
Things to Consider Before Buying a New Router
Now that you have set out to purchase a new router, it is time to acquaint yourself with certain factors, so you can compare and contrast the products before selecting one. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind when you go router shopping:
Wireless Standard & Security
Due to the advancement in internet technology, it is possible for providers to deliver broadband speeds of 100 Mbps today, which can get a lot of things done in the smallest duration of time. To translate these higher speeds into data signals that your devices can process, your wireless router needs to follow the latest 802.11ac standard. If your router doesn’t have the mark of this standard on it, then it might not be capable to carry the fast internet speeds you’ve signed up for with a provider. While you check the products for this standard, make sure that they also have WPA2 encryption, which is the latest wireless security standard for a router.
Router Frequency Band
Most of the wireless routers you see these days transmit data signals on two main frequency bands, i.e. 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz frequency is often the go-to band for almost all devices that run on a wireless network – from routers to baby monitors. This is the reason why it is so crowded and prone to interference from surrounding devices. The 5 GHz frequency band, on the other hand, is located on the farther side of the spectrum and is less crowded. You can expect to experience faster connectivity when using this band. When buying a new router, you may have to choose between single-band or double-band. Here’s what we suggest: If you happen to live in a bustling urban area with a huge number of data-hungry devices in the vicinity and clashing Wi-Fi networks, then go for a double-band router. Otherwise, a single-band router will work quite well for you.
Presence of Ports
The kind of ports you get on your router also matter. Some of the most advanced Wi-Fi routers have at least one Gigabit Ethernet port, which brings the fastest fiber speeds to your home. For instance, the Gig port you find on TP-LINK Archer C7 supports more than 1000 Mbps speeds when transmitting on a 5 GHz wireless channel. Think of what you can achieve with this tier! No more gaming lags or buffering videos. Another kind of port you’ll see on the best routers is a USB port. Though it’s not essential per se, a USB port does give you the freedom to plug in a flash storage device or any other kind of media hub into it for seamless networking.
A router occupies a central spot in your home network, which is why you need to be careful when purchasing it for your home. Keep the aforementioned things in mind and you’ll have swell wireless connectivity for sure.
EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.