Movearoo’s Best Wi-Fi Routers of 2016
As we begin using our at-home Internet connections for an increasing number of bandwidth-heavy tasks — and with increasing numbers of connected devices — older wi-fi routers can become overwhelmed easily and decline in effectiveness. If you’ve noticed any of the tell-tale symptoms (inconsistent online gaming, dropped connections, slow-loading web pages, and constantly buffering video streaming) it may be time to upgrade your router. Choosing the right router for your needs can be confusing and frustrating. Read on for our tips for how to choose a router and our recommendations for the best wi-fi routers of 2016.
How to Choose a Router
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) continue to offer faster Internet connection options, and you’ll need a wireless router that can keep up with that speed. And that means you’ll want a dual-band router that offers 802.11ac support. Basically, that just means that you’re getting yourself the fastest, newest throughput technology available on the market today. Keep in mind that where you place your router will have a big impact on its performance. Find a central location in your home that is not blocked by walls, other electronic devices, or concrete. The number and size of antennae on the router can also influence the range and strength of the wireless connection you receive.
A Router with a Knack for Entertaining:
TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 ($129.95)
Photo from TP Link The Archer C9 is one of the cheapest routers you can buy, but it doesn’t lack for speed or extras. Its beamforming technology does an especially good job of finding and holding ironclad wireless connections on multiple devices at ranges up to 3,500 feet without interruption.Especially great for gaming, music, and video streaming, this router has a strong signal that can be relied upon, and you can’t beat the price. With a super sleek design reminiscent of Apple’s aesthetics, the Archer C9 comes with a stand to prop it up and three detachable antennae and high-powered amplifiers. It can support speeds up to 1,300 Mbps and comes with four Ethernet ports, a USB 2.0 port, and a USB 3.0 port to support sharing across network devices. You can even set up a guest network separate from your main network and set limits on when and how specific devices can connect. TP-Link offers a two-year warranty 24/7 technical support for setup and configuration via phone and email. Find it on Amazon.
A Router for the Tech-Savvy Family:
Linksys EA6900 AC1900 ($114.99)
Photo from Tech Hive The Linksys EA6900 router has a brand-new feature that the other routers don’t: Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Apps, which allow you to manage your router and monitor network activity from any smartphone or tablet. At close range, it’s one of the fastest routers on the market, though the speed doesn’t hold up as distance increases. The EA6900 is designed to stay flat on a surface and is wall-mountable, but it is prone to overheating. Also engaging beamform capability, this router comes from a company well-known for its quality, customer support, and long product life. Offering two separate networks and remote hard drive access, this router is solid, fast, and reliable. It’s a great choice for a family utilizing many different devices across a busy household. Find it on Amazon.
A Router for the Storage Superfan:
Synology RT1900ac ($149.99)
Photo from ThinkComputers Synology is known for its network-attached storage (NAS) devices, and the RT1900ac is its first router — so of course it offers robust storage capability. Its USB 3.0 port and SD card slot means you can attach an external hard drive or SD card for additional storage to host backups, file sharing, media streaming, and more. The RT1900ac can support speeds up to 1,300 Mbps, though its range is somewhat limited. Two feet on the back tilt the device to allow for extra cooling, and it comes with a stand to position it vertically. The router comes with a range of extras, including guest wi-fi, parental control, and even the ability to turn off those blinking lights for which routers are infamous. The easy initial setup offers an option to run automatic updates to keep the router as secure as possible, and you can even schedule access for specific devices at specific times. The router also comes with a two-year warranty. Find it on Amazon.
A Router for the Trailblazer:
Ignition Design Labs Portal 802.11ac ($150, anticipated)
Photo by Ignition Design Lab Calling itself the “biggest breakthrough in Wi-Fi in 15 years,” Ignition Design Labs’ Portal is a rogue model that made its debut at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show. The minds behind this router hope to end in-home traffic jams by creating a router that can dynamically choose the best channel for fastest wi-fi at any given time — including those channels that most routers don’t use because they are frequented by emergency services and require radar detection technology. The company hopes to launch a Kickstarter campaign later this year and deliver product by fall 2016. The innovative router should be able to support multiple devices at a time, and its nine internal antennae should offer faster connections at further distances. The router will also come equipped with five gigabit Ethernet ports and one USB 2.0 port. Stay up to date on Portal’s availability. If you’re ready to ditch the monthly rental fee and buy your own router, consider your speed and connectivity needs and pick the router that works best for you.