Lets talk about wireless routers. A wireless router may not look as sexy as a sleek smartphone, a camera or a laptop but it is one of the most important tech purchases of your home.
A wireless router is a small box that connects to your high-speed internet connection and allows multiple devices to get online without even having to be plugged into the modem. These devices include computers, printers, smart phones, gaming consoles, smart TVs and many more.
Wireless routers are liberating because now you do not need to tether to the wall. You can work and play anywhere in or around your home and remain connected whether you are searching for the recipe on your laptop on kitchen table, or flicking through magazines on a tablet while sitting in a backyard or maybe playing Online Games via Wireless Networks on PS Vita while reclaiming in bed.
So how do you decide which wireless router is for you? Well, the wireless routers work on the 802.11 wireless standard. The latest standard in this category is 802.11ac which can deliver up to Gigabit speeds on wireless which is faster than older standard 802.11n or 802.11g. It also supports MU-MIMO which can improve the wireless speed, range and stability over distant connections and much more.
The Best Wireless/Wifi Router for you depend upon Your needs, whether you just want to Build a Wireless Network at Home OR You want to Play Games Wirelessly. Maybe you are looking for an Enterprise Grade Wireless Router for Office Space.
These numbers often can get very confusing when deciding which router to purchase or what best suits your needs. Here we have compiled a list of Top 10 Best Wireless Routers of 2015 that will offer you best speed and performance.
Best Wireless Routers 2015
10. ASUS RT-N56U – Best Bang for the Buck – Buy Now
This router definitely stands out in its over all look and sleek aesthetics. It defiantly has the great hardware too to backup those great looks. Inside is one of the cutting edge router hardware that is available on the market. It is a dual band router supporting both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands and it is actually able to broad cast simultaneously on both frequencies so you won’t be restricted by some devices in your home to be able to only run at 2.4 GHz band.
You don’t see any external antennas on the router but it is using some advance internal antennas that operate on MIMO standard which does not only improve throughput and speed but also improves the over all performance of the router. This unit offers 4 Gigabit LAN ports and 1 Gigabit WAN port with hardware NAT built in.
What hardware NAT does is that it improves point-to-point speed and performance so you get the best speeds when sharing files among different devices and computers over the network. The router also has two USB ports that you can use to connect other devices to the network such as hard drive or a printer.
You can even access your online files with the ASUS’s special built in firmware feature. Setting this router for the first time is very simple and quick process. This router offers some great speed and performance over both wireless and wired network and this is one of the best budget + future packed router you can buy.
9. Netgear N900 (WNDR4500) – Buy Now
If you are in the market for the ultimate wireless (more specifically wireless N) router, Netgear believes it has something for you. This router is a big deal just from the imposing look. It comes with the base to work in vertical position and unlike previous models this base is not easily detachable. You are stuck with it.Secondly it comes with a huge power adapter for a router.
On the back of the router there are 4 LAN ports and 1 WAN port. On top you find not one but two high speed USB 3.0 ports for hooking up storage devices or printers to your network. The router comes with the two concurrent wireless networks for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz network bands. Each of this network is capable of offering 450Mbps network speed. You need the wireless client of same standard to get the max speeds out of your router but this router is compatible with all the wireless standards out there.
On the side there is a sticker which tells you pre-configured network and the key but you can change that later in the web interface of the router. This is a very promising router with great specs for starters and it delivers very well performance offering great speeds and stable signal even on distant networks.
8. Belkin AC 1200 DB – Buy Now
This is a dual band wireless AC router that is aimed at general consumers looking for easy all the way. If you are tech-savvy (looking for tuning and tweaking) than this is probably not for you. This router has 4 Gigabit LAN ports, 1 WAN port and two USB 3.0 ports for hosting printers or storage on your network.
This router does offers some good speed for a general consumer who wants to get onto wireless AC standard. It does have dual band wireless which will give you better speeds and performance if you have devices that support dual band wireless like the iPad Air 2 or the iPhone 6.
A lot of these consumer friendly devices compromise on security for convenience and I think there are ways to enforce security and still offer great convenience to the consumer. Belkin does put the password on the wifi so thats good but there is no password put on the web interface of the router by default.
This router does offer a good QoS (quality of service) which does prioritize traffic based on the applications you are using. With parental controls you can easily block sites that you don’t want anyone on your networking logging in to.
There is also a media server on board and this is when those two USB ports come to play. This will allow you to stream media files from your attached storage straight to your TV. This is a basic router that adds some pretty decent performance to your network. If you are looking for something simple to set up both with a performance boost over Gigabit ethernet and wireless ac. This is the way to go.
7. Apple AirPort Extreme – User Friendly & Professional (looking) – Buy Now
Apple finally produced a wireless router that does 802.11ac (or AC for short) wifi standard. People often get confused with AirPort Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme. Lets make things clear that Time Capsule comes with a internal storage (or hard drive) and the Extreme doesn’t. Without looking at boxes, you have no idea of which one is which. They both look identical to each-other but Apple have a very clever way to tell you which is which and that is the price.
The basic AirPort Extreme costs about 199 and the AirPort Time Capsule costs about 299 for 2 TB and 399 for 3TB. But what do you really get for the money? Answer to this is simple, “A lot”. First of all these two are true dual band wifi routers which means they support all WiFi standards on the market regardless of their standard or platforms. The Time Capsule here can also be used for time machine backups wirelessly and also for data sharing.
On the back, both of them come with 3 Gigabit LAN ports, and 1 WAN port. You also get a USB port to host another storage device or a printer. For the first time these two devices have seen a design change and it is a really beautiful design. The new design is 6.6 inches tall and leaves about 75% less footprint on the desk.
Regardless of the new design, these devices are still easy to use. Apple makes sure that it is the case by offering the Apple Utility as the only way to set up and manage these routers. You can use a computer (more specifically a Mac) or an iOS device. You can not do a whole lot to tweak its speed and performance because thats the way how things work at Apple.
This device offers some great throughput speeds and wireless stability. If you are invested heavily into Apple’s eco-system then this would be a great buy. If you are looking for more features and customizability, keep on reading this list.
6. Netgear Nighthawk R7000 – Batman’s Choice – Buy Now
This router is big and it is big for good reasons. It comes with three detachable antennas and when you put them on, the router actually justify its name – Nighthawk. The router is also wall mountable which can be a huge deal for some people.
This was (at the time of release) the second router to support Broadcom’s TurboQom technology. This router also supports all existing Wi-Fi clients on the market regardless of their standards and when you hook it up to an 802.11ac client, it offers 1.3 Gbps speed. Even if you connect this router to the legacy 802.11n client, it offers up-to 600Mbps speed. In terms of specifications, this routers comes with a 1 GHz dual core processor combined with 256 MB of system memory and 128 MB of flash storage.
On the front of the router you get bunch of LED lights that tell your the status of power, internet, wifi, and the 4 Gigabit LAN ports. You also get 1 USB 2.0 port on the back and 1 USB 3.0 port on the front of the router. This routers offers exceptional range and comes with many features. It has built in VPN and a new QoS service that can manage both the downstream and upstream. This router officially supports third party firmwares such as DD-WRT firmwares.
If you are looking for an advanced router to kick out your network from day one, this is it. Another good thing about the router is that its not too expensive costing just 200$. Thats a lot of money for a router but it is actually a decent price tag when comes to high-end routers.
5. Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC1750 – DD-WRT was Never This Good – Buy Now
What makes this router very special is that it runs DD-WRT firmware and Buffalo officially supports their router for this custom firmware. Now you might be wondering that what is DD-WRT? It is a third-party open source firmware for routers and access points that enables (or adds) more features and flexibility to your existing router.
Running that firmware on the router is like running a linux OS on your computer to unleash its powers. You generally have to hack the hardware to install the open source firmware but this one officially supports DD-WRT right out of the box. In our opinion, DD-WRT is by the far the most advance firmware that can really bring out the best of the hardware. It also offers the most features and high level of customization. This firmware offers so much that even I myself don’t know it all and I definitely would love to learn more about this.
This is a true Dual Band router so it has two wifi networks but on addition to that it can also offer virtual interfaces (virtual access point) on each wireless network. No stock firmware can do that and these are the kind of features that you only get in high end enterprise grade routers and networking hardware and oh man those costs a hell lot of money.
You can enable a hotspot for your office, hotel or home (or any other place) and no thats not the usual guest networking you get on other routers. You actually have the abilities to manage your hotspot professionally such as giving the option to log in or even pay for the service. You can even make your internet ad free by blocking online commercials or turn your router into a very powerful VPN server or VPN client.
Of course there are a lot of other features for home or business and you can get access to settings and configurations in the UI. In short if you are a tech savvy person for your home or business network, DD-WRT is the way to go. This router comes pre configured with two wifi networks with the wireless information printer on the underside of the router.
The router comes with one WAN port and 4 LAN ports and all of them are Gigabit. In addition to that you also get two USB ports to hookup additional device to your network. This wireless router is a solid performer, especially on the 5 GHz band. it also offers very stable wifi signal, the range is not the best but thats likely because it doesn’t come with external antennas. But with the price of 125$ and Three year warranty and that DD-WRT firmware pre-installed. It is the best deal you can get on any wireless router.
4. Trendnet AC1750 – Most Affordable Option – Buy Now
The router comes in an environmentally friendly packaging with all the features and specs printed on the box. This router is designed to create an ultimate wireless experience in a busy connected home. You can use high speed USB 3.0 port or high speed Gigabit LAN ports to further expand your network. In the box you get the installation CD and some paperwork (which no one cares about), the power brick and an ethernet cable that you will need to connect this router to your modem.
This is a dual band wireless router that does Gigabit speeds over wireless AC. You get up-to 1.3 Gbps on AC network and up-to 450 Mbps on wireless N. This router has 4 Gigabit MDIX wired ports on the back to connect devices to your network with ethernet cables. And one USB port to host hard drive or printers on your network.
This is a dual-band router so you get both speed and range. This router supports all wifi standards on the market so this router would connect to any 802.11 standard wireless device that you possibly think off. This thing is super fast. It also supports IPv6 and SAMBA USB support. You can get up and running in minutes with the intuitive guided setup.
It also has security encrypted wireless technology so for your security HD video streaming with a pre-encrypted unique password. With robust parental controls you can control access to specific websites and device parental rules to guide your network. This is a great option for those who are looking for new technology but can not afford an expensive router.
3. Linksys EA6900 – Buy Now
According to Gordon Kelly from Trusted Reviews: “Of all the great routers in the world, the Linksys EA6900 is our favourite right now”
It is not just another wifi router, in fact it is one of the most advanced on the market. This is because has a new wireless chipset and it is powered by 800 MHZ dual core processor making it very similar to the ASUS RT68U or the Netgear R7000. Now the new router here offers wireless speed of up to 1.3 Gbps on the 5 GHz band and 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.
Of course you need the compatible client to achieve the top wireless speed but the router here supports all the wireless standards on the market so you are buying something that is going to work with almost all of the devices. The point is that its good for what you have now and also going to be great for what you will buy in the feature.
It looks exactly the same to the previous EA models form Linksys (but a lot big). All the activity lights are behind the router with their respected ports and the Linksys logo glows white indicating the router is powered on. You can turn all lights off on the router in the UI but you can not turn the white power LED off. This router comes with two USB ports and one of them is a high speed USB 3.0 port. You can host a printer or storage device on these ports and access them wirelessly (or wired).
One thing that is different from its siblings is that it comes with three detachable antennas so you can put after market high gain antennas for better wireless range and stability but the included ones are best for most of the people using this. The new router also shares same web interface with previous model. This router performs very well even on long distant wireless connections with stable speeds. Linksys EA6900 is the best from all of the EA series routers.
2. Linksys WRT1900AC – Most Impressive NAS Performance – Buy Now
According to Samara Lynn of PCMAG: “The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1900 (WRT1900AC)$239.99 at Dell is without question the most ambitious consumer wireless router networking hardware available”
WRT1900AC is the all new flagship router from Linksys. Judging from the aesthetics, it looks like a serious angry networking device which is all meant for speed and performance. It is huge. The design is retro and it is a throwback to the most favorite of all times, WRT54G wireless router from Linksys. With this router Linksys wants to bring back the old glory when 10 years ago WRT series was the best router available in market. The new router also shares a stackable design of the old WRT series.
Linksys also makes switches that are stackable on top of this router so you can expand your wired network without having to worry about space or heat problem. There are not three, but four antennas on this router. This doesn’t mean that this router is a 4×4 router. It is still a 3×3 router but 4 antennas are always better than three. The 4 antennas work together to enable beam forming technology which actually locates where the devices actually are and then direct signals towards them. Inside of this router is a dual core 1.2 GHz processor paired with 256 MB of DDR3 system memory and a 128 MB of flash memory. It is a dual band router so it works on both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. It can go up-to 1.3 Gbps (or 1300 Mbps) on 5 GHz band and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. This router supports all the wireless standards on the market (regardless their support) which means that this router is a great buy for now and future.
On the back of the router their are 4 Gigabit LAN ports, 1 Gigabit WAN port, It also has a 1 USB 3.0 port and a 1 USB 2.0 port which also doubles as an eSATA port for faster storage and sharing. When you host storage devices, the router can also act as a NAS server. This router offers by far the fastest NAS performance ever seen in a router. This router can go up-to 75 Mbps of writing and more than 100 MBps of reading from the attached storage. These numbers put this router among many high end dedicated NAS servers. On the front of the router, you get usual fancy array of lightning to tell you whats going on with the router.
I love these activity lights but if you don’t, you can always turn them off in the routers web interface. The web interface is very same to the Linksys recent routers. It comes with a very nice QoS control feature, fancy network map, and a handy speed test utility to check internet speeds. You can name your guest network to your liking which was not possible on the previous model. Other neat features, such as dynamic DNS, parental controls, port-forwarding are also available on this router and they are easy to use. Finally you also have the option to use the Linksys smart wifi app to mange your routers settings from even a mobile or tablet.
In short, This router kicks some serious buts, it has the longest range of all the wireless routers and offers excellent wifi speeds and stability even on the far ends. This is the almost perfect router for any home. This is the router that most tech savvy people will be looking forward too due to its support for OpenWRT, DD-WRT and other open source firmwares and mods.
1. ASUS RT-AC3200 Tri-Band – Best Choice for 4K Video Streaming – Buy Now
This is a tri-band router from ASUS. This router is the answer from ASUS to (not very great) R8000 from Netgear and EA9200 from Linksys. These three are the best of AC3200 routers available on the market. They all feature three individual bands: one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands with total of three access points for each band. ASUS one has one 2.4 GHz access point that cap at 600 Mbps and two 5GHz access points that cap at 1300 Mbps each. Making a total bandwidth of 3200 Mbps at any given time.
This router is very helpful for when you have a lot of devices connected to it and doing a lot of local wifi network intensive task such as media streaming to multiple devices, backing up your files, sharing data among different computers, or even streaming 4K UHD video files to your TV. If you just want to share the internet or stream Netflix video, this router is probably an overkill for that.
Physically this one is a huge router with six detachable antennas. It comes with the usual 4 Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN ports, It also comes with two usb ports, the 2.0 port is on the back and most people will use this to share printer on the network. USB 3.0 high speed port is on the front of the router (which is a bit odd) and helpful if you do a lot of plugging or unplugging of storage devices.
Inside this router, ASUS is running a powerful 1 GHz dual core processor paired with 256 MB of system memory and 128 MB of flash memory. This thing is powerful on both the sheets and real world performance. It has a very nice and robust web interface that is fun to use and many unique features like the ability to turn one LAN port into a second WAN port so you can hook up to two separate internet connections for an always on internet experience.
The router also comes with a traffic monitoring tool, adaptive QoS and also the ability to protect your network from not just hackers but also viruses. With an attached hard drive, the router can work as a powerful NAS or storage server. In short, this router offers fast wifi speed, long range and stable signal. If you are willing to spend 300$ on a router then this is the best choice available.
Wireless standards are mostly backward compatible so you should not worry about that if your router will work with your existing or new devices or if it will not instead all you should care is how to get the most out of your wireless router. Wireless networking depends on protocol overhead, distance and obstacles between client and access point. If you only surf internet and check email or watch some Netflix, then investing 300$ in a wireless router might not be a good idea for you.
If you are also into expanding your network over wired connection to ensure more stability and performance then you can invest into a high-speed network switch to add more high speed ethernet devices to your network.
If you invest in a good router, its boring but in good ways: easy to set-up and it just works all the time. As we already have explained specifically that which router is best for what kind of conditions and needs, you just need to pick up the best router for your needs and go Buy that wireless router.