The Best Routers 2018

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 - Teknologi

The Best Routers 2018

In today’s connected world, where virtually every household is packed with smartphones, computers, smart TVs, and other devices all fighting for bandwidth, the need for quality router has never been greater. Most of the time, the one that’s handed out by your ISP is average at best. If you want a router that offers better throughput, range, and features, check out our top picks.

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Best Wi-Fi System for Most

Google WiFi

Great | Differentiating Features
Cheaper than most rivals, incredibly simple to set up, excellent software and mobile app

Good | Most Have It
Great coverage, sleek and stylish design

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Not many advanced features, no USB port

It took a long time for Google Wifi to arrive, but it’s been worth the wait. Unlike single, powerful routers, mesh networks use two or more devices that wirelessly communicate with each other, blanketing your home with a single, reliable network. They’re an excellent option for those with a medium or large space who don’t want the cost or rigmarole of setting up multiple devices.

Simplicity is the key word here: it’s just a matter of downloading the Google Wifi app to your phone or tablet, plugging into a power source using the USB Type-C power adaptor, attaching your existing modem via the Gigabit Ethernet port, and following the on-screen instructions. But that’s just set up and one of the many conveniences offered by this mesh wireless system.

Another particularly great thing about Google Wifi is that it will automatically download and install the firmware updates. These arrive quite often, meaning your network performance and security is regularly improved.

Google’s system is one of the cheaper mesh networks, costing around $258 for a pack of three or $129 for a single unit, thereby offering good value should you want to add extra points to your home. Google says its 3-pack covers up to 4,500 sq. ft, so that should be enough for most people.

The feature-packed Google Wifi app is another of the highlights here. It allows users to see what devices are connected and how much bandwidth each one is using. You can prioritize traffic to specific devices for certain lengths of time, which is helpful if you’re streaming the latest 4K Netflix show or participating in a Fortnite: Battle Royale session. Concerned parents, meanwhile, can pause internet access for groups of devices, thereby making sure kids don’t stay online too long, and it’s also possible to automatically block adult websites from children’s eyes. Network stability is maintained as the units constantly check the best channel and Wi-Fi band for a client to connect to, and you can even create separate guest networks.

CNET reports that Google Wifi tested well for a dual-stream AC1200 router, achieving a top sustained Wi-Fi speed of more than 470 megabits per second at close range, falling to 201 megabits when at a greater distance. There is a performance drop when adding extra units, but that’s the case with all mesh systems.

Ultimately, for ease of use, competitive pricing, and a sleek design, Google Wifi is hard to beat, especially if you have a large home and want better coverage.

The Performance Option

While Netgear’s Tri-band Orbi RBK50 is a lot larger than Google’s nodes and less easy on the eye, they do offer more. You get a complete web interface containing all the same features as Netgear’s Nighthawk routers, including static routing, advanced port mapping, firewall rules, and backups. There’s even MU-MIMO support, a three-port gigabit ethernet switch on the router, and a four-port switch on the satellite.

The $291 base package includes two units instead of the usual three, but they still cover 5000 square feet. You might be losing out on the easy-to-use app and subtle stylings of Google WiFi, but Orbi offers the best wireless performance of all mesh routers.

Best Enthusiast & Gaming Router

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

Great | Differentiating Features
Amazing speed and range, 4×4 MU-MIMO support, eight gigabit LAN ports with Link Aggregation and dual-WAN support, gamer focused, lifetime protection against online threats.

Good | Most Have It
Tons of features.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Very expensive, not wall mountable, overkill for many.

While it may be overkill for most people, few routers can match the speed, features, and gaming focus offered by the Asus GT-AC5300. The device is part of Asus’ famed Republic of Gamers brand, so you know who its main audience is. It should come as no surprise to learn that if you want a router that’s pretty much the best in the business, you’ll have to pay for the privilege; $386, to be exact, which is a pretty eye-watering price. However, all that cash does get you plenty of cutting-edge tech.

The Asus GT-AC5300 offers 4×4 MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output), which allows it to connect to multiple devices simultaneously, rather than them having to take turns, thereby speeding up the network.

This is a triband router that can deliver 5300mbps of combined theoretical throughput. Additionally, users can allocate one of the 5GHz bands to gaming devices, while anything not dedicated to that most important of pastimes can use the second 5GHz band or the 2.4GHz band.

In addition to those eight distinctive aerials, the GT-AC5300 also comes with two USB 3.0 ports and a massive eight ethernet ports. Two of these are dedicated to gaming traffic, while another two can be used for link-aggregation—combining two ports to create a 2Gbps connection.

The number of features on the GT-AC5300 is staggering: VPN Fusion (for running a VPN and ordinary internet connection simultaneously), Game IPS, Game Radar, Range Boost, AiMesh Support, Smart Connect, built-in malware protection, and much more. The router’s internals are equally impressive: a 1.8 GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 256MB of flash memory.

Again, this router is overkill for the average consumer, but for those who want the best there is out there, then you can’t go wrong with the Asus GT-AC5300, especially if you prioritize gaming above all others.

Other Options

The Netgear Nighthawk X6 is another great option, and although this Tri-band router might not be quite as feature-packed as the other enthusiast options here, it’s still an excellent choice and available for little over $0.

Last year’s enthusiast winner was another Asus model, the RT-AC88U AC3100 Dual Band. Like the AC5300, it comes with a ton of features, excellent wireless speeds and range, MU-MIMO support, eight gigabit LAN ports with Link Aggregation and dual-WAN support. It’s now on offer from Amazon for $237.55.

Best Router for Most People

Asus RT-AC68U AC1900 802.11ac Router

Great | Differentiating Features
Great wireless speeds and range, easy-to-use web interface, dual-WAN support, removable antennas, excellent price.

Good | Most Have It
Powerful home networking features, simple setup.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Not wall-mountable, can only be placed standing upright, aging

For those who want a traditional router but don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with $0+ models, there’s the Asus RT-AC68U. But don’t think its $140 price equals sub-optimal performance: there’s a reason why this was our Best Enthusiast pick in 2016, back when it cost almost $300.

The Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 Gigabit Router offers impressive range and throughput, especially for the price. It supports 600Mbps at 2.4GHz and up to 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band. And while it may not have the snazzy looks of today’s newer high-end models, it does boast a sleek yet subtle design. Those ten LED status lights can be helpful, though the fact it isn’t wall-mountable is a minus point.

The router comes with four Gigabit LAN ports and a WAN port, along with a USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 port, which support printers and mobile broadband devices, as well as USB drives. It even has removable antennas.

Asus’ excellent ASUSWRT web-based graphical interface is clean and simple to use, offering traffic management, statuses, and parental controls. There are also options for more advanced users, such as multiple wireless SSIDs, dual-WAN support, QoS, security, and encrypted VPN access.

Another great feature of this router is that you can buy more than one for larger homes and, thanks Asus’ AiMesh system, create a quasi-mesh system.

Ultimately, the Asus RT-AC68U is the perfect all-rounder for everyone who doesn’t demand bleeding-edge features and blistering speeds. It’s been my router of choice for the last couple of years, and I’ve yet to find a single complaint.

Also Great: Synology RT2600ac

If you want a top router with a few upgrades over the RT-AC68U and are willing to spend a bit more, then the Synology RT2600AC is a great alternative, and one that packs a 1.7GHz dual-core processor. Synology’s model is a quad stream (4 x 4) router that supports MU-MIMO and comes with a host of features, yet still manages to stay just under the $0 mark.

It has top speeds of up to 1,733 megabits per seconds on the 5GHz band and up to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHZ band, while offering excellent range. It’s also expandable through additional packages for VPN, DNS, several file-sharing services and more.

Like some enthusiast routers, the RT2600ac will probably be overkill for some people, though tinkerers will no doubt appreciate the advanced network features offered by the Synology firmware. It might not be gamer-focused like the Asus GT-AC5300, but it’s an excellent choice for busy homes, and the fact it can double as a network storage server is another plus.

A Solid $70 Option: TP-Link Archer C7 1750

If you want something that simply does that job and aren’t concerned about a slew of features you’re unlikely to use, there’s the TP-Link Archer C7 1750. It may cost just $60 on Amazon, but this router still offers simultaneous 2.4GHz 450Mbps and 5GHz 1300Mbps connections for 1.75Gbps of total available bandwidth. You also get one Gigabit WAN port, four Gigabit LAN ports, and a couple of USB 2.0 ports, along with parental controls and guest network options. There’s even a web interface, though it’s not one of the better ones.

The Best Routers 2018

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