The Best Wireless Routers of 2018

SSID or Wi-Fi network name

Recommended settings for Wi-Fi routers and access points
The model number and slightly higher price position it as an upgrade to our former pick, the Archer C7, but in our testing it performed worse in every way. The D-Link DIR dual-band router can transmit data to multiple devices simultaneously, has robust customization and an affordable price. Make sure that your Wi-Fi devices support the settings this article recommends. Under the hood, it uses the exact same CPU and Wi-Fi chipsets as its larger counterpart, but—oddly—it tends to perform slightly better. I tried reconnecting several times, to no avail.

The research

Best Wireless Routers for 2018

I tried everything with one of the Roku customer service reps on live chat, but nothing worked. I have also downloaded a wi fi analyzer app on my android phone, which helped me to discover that channel 1 gets the best signal anywhere, whether it be upstairs or downstairs, in my home.

The ethernet connection was super fast as I figured it would be and I would not have a problem hard wiring one of the boxes, however my router and my tv are in opposite rooms, so that would be physically impossible. Is there any alternative method to hooking up via ethernet without having to go to Radio Shack and buy some crazy long 30 foot cable? I would definitely go the ethernet route if there were an easier way to do it!

Thu Dec 04, 3: Quote 5 Mon Feb 04, Quote 6 Mon Feb 04, I did all of my own wi fi and router installation, so it won't be a problem figuring out how to do it. I do have a cable line that extends out from a hole cut in the drywall behind my big screen tv that was used for DirecTV recently.

Are you saying that I could use that existing RG-6 cable to bridge together with a MoCa bridge, which would then hookup to my Roku bok via ethernet? That would be awesome if I could do that. Then I wouldn't have to move anything. I could even use that for the box upstairs, since it was installed the same way. I'll look that bridge up on Amazon. Quote 7 Mon Feb 04, Apparently it is pretty plug and play-ish, as the reviews that I read indicate that I hook the coaxial cable into one end, and an ethernet connection from the bridge to my Roku box and then power that puppy up and we're good to go.

I decided to ditch DirecTV, and the guy who hooked up the Terk antenna for me just used the existing wires going from the dish to inside of my house. There's an extra RG-6 coax coming from the wall, but one other one is going straight to the TV to get the digital over the air local channels.

Fri Dec 19, 2: Quote 8 Mon Feb 04, 1: Sun Jun 01, 2: Quote 9 Mon Feb 04, 5: I know, I know. Both of them could pull an IP address and would stream. So I've been wary of investing in that as a solution. A G device will pull an N network down to G speeds for everyone.

So it is better to have a G router and an N router in the mix. It may be that is affecting you? I have a computer that connects to an N router at mbps, thence via gigabyte wired to an NAS for backup. It will pass data at around mbps, but when a G device like my grandson's Nintendo is in the mix it goes down into the mbps range. So I have the N router in N only mode and a G router for everything else.

Also, choosing a subset of the available modes might cause interference with nearby legacy networks, and nearby legacy devices might interfere with your network.

Newer standards support faster transfer rates, and older standards provide compatibility with older devices and additional range. Choosing a subset of the available modes prevents older devices from connecting.

For best performance, choose "Auto" mode and let the Wi-Fi router select the best channel. If this mode isn't supported by your Wi-Fi router, choose a channel that's free from other Wi-Fi routers and other sources of interference. Read about possible sources of interference. Channel width controls how large of a "pipe" 'is available to transfer data.

However, larger channels are more subject to interference and more likely to interfere with other devices. A 40MHz channel is sometimes called a wide channel, and a 20MHz channel is a narrow channel.

Use 20MHz channels in the 2. Using 40MHz channels in the 2. A 40MHz channel might also cause interference and issues with other devices that use this band, such as Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, and neighboring Wi-Fi networks. Routers that don't support 40MHz channels in the 2. Channel width controls how large of a "pipe" is available to transfer data.

Larger channels are more susceptible to interference, and more likely to interfere with other devices. Interference is less of an issue in the 5GHz band than in the 2. Not all client devices support 40MHz channels, so don't enable 40MHz-only mode. Similarly, don't enable 80MHz-only mode, or only clients capable of Once assigned, devices use these addresses to communicate with each other and with computers on the Internet. The functionality of a DHCP server can be thought of as similar to a phone company handing out phone numbers, which customers then use to call other people.

There should be only one DHCP server on your network. If more than one device has DHCP enabled, you will likely see address conflicts and have issues accessing the Internet or other resources on your network. Network address translation NAT translates between addresses on the Internet and those on a local network. The functionality of a NAT provider is like that of a worker in an office mail room who takes a business address and an employee name on incoming letters and replaces them with the destination office number in a building.

This allows people outside the business to send information to a specific person in the building. Enabled, if it's the only router providing NAT services on your network. Generally, enable NAT only on the device that acts as a router for your network.

This is usually your cable modem, your DSL modem, or your standalone router, which might also act as your Wi-Fi router. Disabling WMM can cause issues for the entire network, not just Apple products on the network.

Some countries or regions have regulations that affect wireless signal strength and the use of Wi-Fi channels. Along with its long range and good performance on both 5 GHz and 2.

By contrast, the Archer A7 loaded Web pages noticeably slower even when we created two network names and joined our devices to each of them intelligently to get acceptable results manual band steering. For more detailed latency results, including comparisons with many more routers, see the test results section later in this guide. The RP did a solid job at all ranges and all frequencies in our tests, making it an easy recommendation for just about any house.

It also offers one USB 3. Netgear advertises the USB ports as places to plug in thumb drives or external hard drives for streaming and shared storage. We did not test this feature thoroughly, but we are hesitant to recommend it: Services such as Dropbox or Google Drive store your data on professionally maintained, redundant hardware, and a USB drive stuck in a router is a pretty poor substitute.

Netgear labels the RP as AC, but AC speed ratings are almost entirely snake oil , and we recommend that you not get too hung up on them—anything labeled AC or above can perform well in real-world use, and only actual testing can determine which models are good, bad, or mediocre.

The biggest shortcoming of the Netgear RP compared with some other routers in its price range is its lack of a third wireless band. It might be more of a problem in a crowded apartment complex, dorm, or row-house environment. If you have too many neighboring networks interfering, 2.

Supposedly, you can block websites by domain name or keyword, but in practice the feature works only with non-HTTPS sites, which means almost no modern sites. The Nighthawk series also claims to offer more general category-based filtering, which really amounts to nothing more than a link to OpenDNS, where you can set up an account. Trying to manage what little integration exists between the OpenDNS account and your router is an exercise in pain and frustration, and brighter kids let alone determined adults will easily find ways around it anyway.

The Synology RTac is a full-featured, very configurable router with good range and coverage. If our main pick is unavailable—or if you find a better deal on the RTac—this model is the one to buy. It was configured out of the box to steer devices to 2. Changing that threshold from dBM to dBM in the settings made our long-range laptop immediately connect at 2.

It should have decent coverage, though, and it should be reliable. This describes the Archer A7 to a tee. The A7 was also at least usable even with everything crammed onto the 5 GHz radio.

When we took the time to set up two different network names and split our devices up between them manually, the A7 performed nearly as well as our main picks for about half the cost. Like almost every Wi-Fi router available today, the Archer A7 sports a black plastic case with wiggly antennas, one Gigabit Ethernet port for your Internet connection and four more for local devices, and a USB port.

We also recommend you step up to one of our main picks if you want to use a VPN connection; the Archer A7 offers one, but its weak processor will make that connection frustratingly slow.

After we ran our full set of tests on all the routers in the group, a few things stood out—such as the importance of managing which band your devices connect on. Run too many things on the same radio, or try to connect a long-range device to 5 GHz instead of 2.

Running our test suite with all devices manually assigned to the most appropriate radios, we saw little difference between most of the routers we tested:. Latency measures how long it takes your inputs to reach the other end of the connection—the time between your clicking a link and the page loading. Things got a lot different when we ran the same tests the way most people use their wireless devices in the real world: The difference was dramatic: What this graph shows is how many milliseconds it took to simulate loading a Web page during our hard-mode tests.

On the left side of the graph is the 50th-percentile result—the result in the middle of the range. Then we took a sample at the 75th, 90th, 95th, and th percentile—the last being the worst results we got out of each device.

Keep in mind that while the laptop in this test was loading Web pages, three others were simulating downloading a big file, streaming 4K video, and making a VoIP phone call—this was a busy little network, at a busy time. These are both very capable routers that did a consistently good job in our testing, leaving us little to choose between based on performance alone.

The Netgear RP and Synology RTac both provided a pretty smooth experience up until the 95th percentile, where things got a little wonky.

This is a pretty good indicator of what living with either model is like in real life: One of every 20 or so page loads will be noticeably slower than average. Moving on to the budget category, things get a little more interesting. Although the Rv2 looks slightly better than the Archer A7 in this graph, it was much more difficult to work with. When we looked at our routers in easy mode—where we configured one SSID for the 2.

This reflects the inconsistent performance and dropped connections we experienced with those other budget routers we tested. There are still definite differences between routers themselves, though.

I find that the best way to assess range is the old-fashioned way: The test point in the bedroom was 43 feet away from the router, passing through four interior walls and some miscellaneous cabinetry at an oblique angle along the way. In the chart above, you can see how much harder it was for us to deliver a long-range signal to the bedroom on 5 GHz instead of 2. This is a feature as much as it is a bug—shorter range means less congestion from neighboring networks.

But if you have the kind of congestion issues we described above, you should limit yourself to one of the routers at the top of the graph, a position that indicates excellent long-range performance at 5 GHz specifically. An extra 5 GHz band is nice to have even when you can use all three bands—but if you own a lot of devices and 2. Also known as WiGig, a new protocol dubbed The recommended usage is same-room-only, with a clear line of sight—making such models almost completely irrelevant to the way we use Wi-Fi today.

The cost is also pretty eye-watering: And absent a dongle or a dock or two, few client devices have WiGig. A new feature called OFDMA will allow central scheduling of client-device transmissions, which should greatly ease congestion within busy networks.

This should be a big, big win for people struggling in crowded apartment complexes and dorm environments. This means mainstream

Single- or Dual-Band?

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