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Best Of: The Best Router for Every Need

By Jos · 22 replies
Jun 26, 2016
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  1. With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, streaming boxes, smart TVs and more, the need for a capable wireless router at home is undeniable. Streaming services and online gaming can put a lot of strain on your local network and router, and if you’re sticking with the free option you get as part of your ISP deal, you might notice your connection slowing to a crawl when multiple devices are fighting for bandwidth.

    A good setup should offer enough throughput and range performance to provide robust wireless coverage everywhere you need it, and with our picks we aim to help you achieve just that. We've gone through hundreds of expert reviews and long-term usage impressions from actual owners to bring you the best routers you can buy in five distinct categories.

    Read the complete article.

  2. cartera

    cartera TS Evangelist Posts: 358   +105

    Great article, will come in handy when family are asking how to improve their ISP supplied crappy hardware.

    For the rest of us though it would be nice if you listed DD-WRT support.
  3. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 887   +437

    I only came here to say that for the first 2 routers, they sure did have an ace design team. B-e-a-utiful.
  4. cartera

    cartera TS Evangelist Posts: 358   +105

    Asus have always looked good in my opinion, I've been a fan for a while. The Netgear surprised me though, they usually look dull and office like.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,974   +2,869

    I'm not fussy about routers just as long as the damn thing does what it says on the box, it'll do for me.
  6. fktech

    fktech TS Addict Posts: 202   +53

    Had to return 2 Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Routers as DLNA video stuttered and had popup on TV every 30 seconds. I now have 2 Nighthawks R7000s that work well for me but have firmware stability issues. Buyer beware that Netgear firmware and their other support in general is terrible.
    Squuiid likes this.
  7. poohbear

    poohbear TS Addict Posts: 119   +67

    Thank you for the great article! I especially love the "best for most people" section as I was really confused with some of the $250+ options! MIMO isn't even used by any devices in the past 2 years (atleast for me), so I was really apprehensive on getting one of these marketed as the bleeding edge.
    Julio Franco likes this.
  8. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 838   +28

    I have the Asus RT-AC66U for my house and it works great, and plays nice with DD-WRT. Had to upgrade a year ago or so when I got a ChromeCast. My trusty WRT54G Linksys router just couldn't keep up.
    For work I run a Netgear Nighrhawk 700 for both my wireless access point for employees and for my customers, along with acting as my DHCP server and QoS for the 9 computers at my shop. I also flashed this one with DD-WRT, it was a bit tricky on this device (at the time I did it over a year ago) but I like the DD-WRT interface so much better than most stock firmwares
    infiltrator and Julio Franco like this.
  9. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,212   +174

    I'm shocked that there isn't any Linksys listed here, other than as mentioned as an alternative. They used to be one of the top brands.

    For my router, I'm looking for uptime. I want a router that's 100% available. The speed is bottle-necked by my ISP at 100 Mbps and I think that most routers share the same hardware any way. (Typically Broadcom chipset.) So the biggest difference is the software, which is also one of the points which crash the most frequently.

    I would like to see the eero reviewed.
  10. Squuiid

    Squuiid TS Enthusiast Posts: 44   +16

    Avoid the Netgear R8000. Netgear have all but abandoned it firmware wise and it has lots of problems.
    The only good Netgear product I've ever owned was the R7000 which they still update frequently, albeit with frequent buggy releases which they then pull. Pathetic really.
    fktech likes this.
  11. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 281   +97

    Loaded DD-WRT onto my Asus RT-N16 which is just plain old wireless N. Works just fine. I can stream all kinds of crap, download games, and whatever else and the thing never breaks a sweat. Don't have any of this "wireless AC" and not seeing the point of ever needing it. And the router is crazy stable and fast with DD-WRT on it. Never have to reboot it, unlike Asus with their crappy firmware that I always kept updated, and still had stability issues.
  12. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,215   +398

    I have a R7000 and run asus firmware on it far better than stock I suggest you try it.

  13. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,215   +398

    Also no mention of TP link blocking 3rd party firmware on the routers now.

    Also Mu-MIMO on all broadcom based chipsets is still currently in alpha/beta stage.

    The only Router that has this not in Alpha/beta is the new

    Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router

    But with hardly any devices that support it not really worth buy a router for just a check box item currently.

    P.S I wanted to add this to my post above but no edit function.
  14. Hasitte

    Hasitte TS Rookie

    TP-Link Archer C7 V2 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless Gigabit Router, this one is so powerful that we use it in hotels!
  15. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Addict Posts: 232   +56

    Can you do one on powerline adapters?
  16. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,549   +235

    I suppose you'd rather rent your modem/router from your cable company, too. Renting is more expensive.

    I'll just leave this here for you. http://routerguide.net/router-vs-modem-vs-modem-router-combo/
  17. abysal

    abysal TS Booster Posts: 113   +39

    I've been running a Trendnet TEW-828DRU AC3200 with DD-WRT loaded, it hasn't required a reboot since being setup last August. Only down side for me is the DD-WRT firmware doesn't seem to work well with the 2nd 5GHz band, so I've just left it off.
  18. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    That's an awfully written link. As well as conflating combination devices with ISP provided devices many of the arguments are nonsensical. The key arguments seem to be

    Which totally ignores the fact that many combination units can be used as a modem-only, so if you want to upgrade the routing portion but not the modem portion you can buy and use exactly the same router you were considering for separates. Even those that can't can always have an access point attached if your routing is fine but your wi-fi needs upgrading.

    Plus, how many non-enthusiasts are going to bother? Not that many people use a home network for usage more demanding than sharing internet, so the only reason for an upgrade is a new and faster internet technology.

    Niche territory purely of interest for networking enthusiasts.

    I can't make sense of this one. Why would a combination device make you any less able to receive help from sources outside your ISP? Is he trying to claim manufacturers have a bias towards supporting router-only devices?

    The only model in the article that doesn't have a direct modem-router equivalent from the same manufacturer is the very top end enthusiast's model.
  19. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,215   +398

    I use to the guy that would buy his modems.

    My ISP made it not worth it. They would change models so we went from Docsis 2.0 to 3.0 which required an upgrade. Second they only a small list of approved modems you can use on their systems. Then depending on the channel layout of the modem only certain modems will support certain speed packages. It was starting to become a real pain in the ***. My ISP now provides the modems in the packages with no rental fee. Which to me is the best solution for both them and me.
  20. Zenodroid

    Zenodroid TS Booster Posts: 132   +27

    I use my own router, without the rental from the isp. but yes, a lot os isp wont let you use your own gear, but you can finally use your own here in denmark.
  21. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 163   +27

    I fail to understand, why these companies they like to rush out with top of the range WiFi routers, but they can't even design or make a compatible WiFi adapter available.

    There's no point in launching a super fast WiFi Router, if there is not gonna be a WiFi adapter capable of taking advantage of those speeds.
  22. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 637   +345

    No Linksys EA9500 ?

    Skipped reading ...
  23. KD365

    KD365 TS Rookie

    I also am surprised the EA9500 was not included. An inexcusable oversight.

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