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Pretty much anything electronic needs to be connected to the internet, which means that your router will be working double-time to accommodate all your devices.
How important is it to have a wifi home router that can handle multiple devices? Very. That’s because bandwidth is a finite resource: think of your router as a traffic policeman who directs traffic on a small avenue. The more devices you have, the more complicated it is to keep all of their connections stable. There’s also the factor of wireless interference when multiple, connected devices are in close proximity to each other, which your router also needs to take into account.
Simply put, there’s no downplaying the importance of having a solid router for a smart home, and because every smart home will have different needs, we’ve come up with a list of the best wi-fi routers for multiple devices that are using the internet for different purposes:
- Best Wi-Fi for Multiple Devices: NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router
- Best Budget Wi-Fi Router for Multiple Devices: TP-LINK AC2600 Smart WiFi Router
- Best Multi-Device Wi-Fi Router with the Largest Distance: Linksys Tri-Band WiFi Router for Home
- Best Wi-Fi Router for Gaming: ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router
- Best High Performing Wi-Fi Router: D-Link Exo AC3000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router
- How To Choose Wi-Fi Routers
- What Is A Wi-Fi Router?
- How Does A Wi-Fi Router Work?
- Different Types Of Wi-Fi Routers
- Wi-Fi Router Buying Guide
- Know Different Wireless Protocol Standards
- Tips To Install Wi-Fi Router At Home
- FAQs About Wi-Fi Routers
Best Wi-Fi for Multiple Devices: NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router
Price on Amazon
When it comes to handling multiple devices, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi router takes the cake: it can support up to 45 devices at 2600Mbps. This means you can have multiple people playing online games and enjoy 4k Ultra HD streaming without experiencing lag on either. It also comes with high-level WPA/WPA2 wireless security, so you don’t have to worry about your neighbors freeloading off your internet, not to mention create a guest network with double firewalls so visitors won’t have access to your private data.
The router is easy to set up and is fairly fool-proof, and while it does require firmware upgrades from time to time, the process is just as simple as its setup. It also comes with a mobile app that allows you to adjust parental controls remotely.
The NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S also comes with a free 90-day customer service option, and while it doesn’t allow you to see which device is using the most bandwidth, it’s still a smart purchase for homes with the maximum amount of smart devices connected to the internet.
Best Budget Wi-Fi Router for Multiple Devices: TP-LINK AC2600 Smart WiFi Router
Price on Amazon
If the Nighthawk’s price is a little over your budget but you still need a router for multiple devices, then the TP-Link AC2600 might just be for you. For $25 less, you can get roughly the same performance as other high-end models without sacrificing speed and performance.
The AC2600 uses top-of-the-line MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple In Multiple Out) tech to provide excellent connection speeds and connection stability across different devices. It’s also Alexa and IFTTT compatible, which allows you to block malicious websites or websites that aren’t appropriate for younger members of your household.
It’s easy to configure, with exceptional range and signal strength, but we’ve found that the customer support for it is not the most helpful. The router also needs to power cycle every now and then to keep it performing properly. Still, it seems like a small inconvenience to get premium router capabilities at a lower price.
Best Multi-Device Wi-Fi Router with the Largest Distance: Linksys Tri-Band WiFi Router for Home
Price on Amazon
The Linksys Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router for Home delivers pretty much everything that other high-end routers offer: exceptional connection speeds, signal stability, and multiple Gigabit Ethernet ports, all of which provide the fastest speeds possible for all your devices.
But there’s one thing that sets the Linksys Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router apart from the competition: a feature called Airtime Fairness. This feature allows your router to adjust its Wi-Fi distribution system to help reduce lag in slower devices. It also has the largest Wi-Fi range of other devices at a whopping 1,500 square feet of space, allowing you to extend it even further with third-party Max-Range extenders.
However, while you can create guest networks for visitors, this network isn’t secured by WPA/WPA2 security. Still, for the range that you’re getting, it’s not a terrible trade-off.
Price on Amazon
Best Wi-Fi Router for Gaming: ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router
Price on Amazon
Using the latest NitroQAM technology to improve Wi-Fi latency, the ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit Router is one of the best wi-fi routers for smart homes that have multiple gamers accessing the internet. It has a combined 3167Mbps Wi-Fi speed that ensures lag-free gaming within its range.
The router also has adaptive QoS, which allows the router to prioritize gaming activities and gaming data packets over other processes to provide game users with the smoothest internet connection possible. It also has a feature that allows users to create a dedicated bandwidth for solo gamers, just in case someone in the house wants to play solo jungle on LoL without lagging out because the other people are busy playing Warzone.
If all of this sounds pretty difficult to setup, that’s because it is: the ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit router wasn’t designed for families using the internet to access funny cat videos on Youtube. Rather, this is a router that’s dedicated to professional gamers or esports teams, which also justifies its pretty high price point.
Best High Performing Wi-Fi Router: D-Link Exo AC3000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router
Price on Amazon
If you’re living in a neighborhood with multiple smart homes, or a crowded apartment building with competing wi-fi networks, your internet will probably lag, unless, of course, you have a high-performing router like the D-Link Exo AC3000 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Router.
The D-Link Exo AC3000 uses a dual-core processor that helps reduce latency in all connected devices, whether they’re streaming videos or playing online games. The intelligent QoS and Mu-MIMO tech that the Exo AC3000 uses also helps reduce buffering and lag by redistributing Wi-Fi to devices that need it the most. It also employs AC Smart Beam technology to extend its range, providing you with seamless internet no matter where you are in your house or apartment.
How To Choose Wi-Fi Routers
What Is A Wi-Fi Router?
A wi-fi router is a device that creates and connects wi-fi networks to the internet, and it transmits data between devices, such as phones, laptops, tablets, and desktop computers. The wi-fi router contains an adapter that connects to an existing broadband modem or other wired connection to provide access to the internet.
There are many types of wi-fi routers, offering different range coverage and speed capabilities. The speed of a Wi-Fi router is usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits per second (Gbps) – the faster the router, the faster the internet speed that it can support.
Wi-Fi routers are essential for any home or office that needs reliable device connectivity without too many cables lying around. You can choose the best one that meets your needs by understanding what a wi-fi router is and how it works.
How Does A Wi-Fi Router Work?
Knowing the basic workings of a wi-fi router can help you understand why choosing the right one for your space is so important.
A Wi-Fi router works by receiving an internet signal from your modem and broadcasting it wirelessly to your devices. A wi-fi router consists of two main components: the radio transceiver module, which converts incoming wireless signals from devices into digital data packets, and the network processor, which manages all of the traffic coming into and out of the router. The wi-fi adapter in the router connects to an existing broadband modem or other wired connection to provide access to the internet.
A wi-fi router has antennas that allow it to receive and transmit wi-fi signals. When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, your device communicates with the router using radio waves, which are transmitted and received through the router’s antennas.
Most wi-fi routers are dual-band, meaning they can send and receive wi-fi signals on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. This allows them to provide maximum coverage for a larger area and increase the speed of data transfer between devices.
Wi-fi routers also come with additional features such as mesh wi-fi technology which can extend coverage significantly in larger homes or offices, as well as wi-fi access points which allow multiple wi-fi networks to be connected.
The Wi-Fi router uses a protocol called the 802.11 standards to communicate with your devices. The most common 802.11 standards are 802.11n, 802.11ac, and 802.11ax (also known as Wi-Fi 6). Each standard offers different speeds and features, with the latest standard, Wi-Fi 6, providing faster speeds, better coverage, and improved battery life for connected devices.
By understanding how wi-fi routers work and what features they offer, you will be able to choose the right wi-fi router that meets your needs. Investing in the right wi-fi router can ensure your devices have the best wi-fi connection no matter where you are.
Different Types Of Wi-Fi Routers
It’s important to note that different types of wireless routers serve different purposes depending on your needs. Let’s take a look at the different types and their features that could help you decide easier:
A single-band router only operates using one frequency band (2.4GHz). It is an ideal choice if you don’t have many devices that require wi-fi access, as its speed capabilities are limited compared to other wi-fi routers. They are the least expensive type of Wi-Fi router and are suitable for small apartments or homes with only a few connected devices.
As its name suggests, a dual-band router can operate on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, which is ideal for providing faster wi-fi speeds in larger homes or offices where multiple devices are connected to the wi-fi network. This is the best router for a large home with multiple connected devices and can support more bandwidth-intensive activities such as video streaming and online gaming.
A tri-band router creates three wi-fi networks (1x on the 2.4GHz band and 2x on the 5GHz band). This type of wi-fi router is great for large homes needing extra speed and coverage, as it can provide more bandwidth for multiple users simultaneously. They provide the fastest internet speeds and the widest coverage.
Mesh Wi-Fi Router
A mesh wi-fi router is an excellent choice for larger spaces as it uses multiple wi-fi access points to cover a wider area with a stable wi-fi signal. Mesh wi-fi routers are also easily scalable, meaning you can add additional wi-fi access points to expand your wi-fi network as needed. They provide excellent coverage and eliminate dead zones or weak signals. Mesh routers are ideal for large homes or buildings where a traditional single router may not be sufficient.
Gaming routers are designed specifically for online gaming and offer features such as Quality of Service (QoS) settings, which prioritize gaming traffic over other network traffic, and low latency for a smoother gaming experience. And when it comes to an excellent gaming experience, investing in gaming peripherals might be a wise choice for you.
VPN routers allow you to connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for increased privacy and security when browsing the internet. They are ideal for individuals who require secure internet access, such as remote workers or those accessing sensitive information.
Travel routers are small and portable routers that allow you to create a Wi-Fi network on the go. They are ideal for frequent travelers who need to connect multiple devices to the internet while on the road.
Wi-Fi Router Buying Guide
With the wide range of wi-fi routers available on the market, determining which wi-fi router best suits your needs can be difficult. From our wireless router buying guide, you can learn how to choose the best wireless router for your needs. To simplify the process, here are some essential tips to consider when buying a wi-fi router:
Before you start shopping around for wi-fi routers, it’s important to set yourself a budget and stick to it. This will help narrow down your choices and ensure you don’t spend more than you need to.
Different wi-fi routers have different range capabilities. If you have a large house or office space, choose a wi-fi router with a long range to ensure that your wi-fi signal is strong enough throughout the entire area.
Number of Devices
It’s important to consider the number of devices that will be connected to the wi-fi network. If you have multiple devices that need wi-fi access, choose a wi-fi router with an ultra-high-speed connection and dual-band technology.
When it comes to wi-fi security, there are several features you should look for, such as WPA2 encryption and guest networks. These features can help protect your wi-fi from potential hackers and keep your data safe.
Know Different Wireless Protocol Standards
Are you confused by all the wi-fi acronyms and protocols? Don’t worry; we are here to help! Below, we will take a look at some of the most common wi-fi standards and protocols.
The IEEE 802.11 is an international standard for wi-fi networks. This wi-fi protocol provides different data rates along with various security features such as WEP encryption and WPA2 authentication protocols.
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
Wi-Fi 5 is the latest standard in wi-fi technology that offers better speed and range than its predecessor (802.11n). It operates on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies and supports multiple wi-fi streams to increase transfer speed.
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Wi-Fi 6 is the latest wi-fi standard that promises faster wi-fi speeds than ever before, with data rates reaching up to 10Gbps in some cases. It also has improved range, capacity, and power efficiency compared to its predecessor (802.11ac).
This short-range wireless technology connects devices such as headphones, speakers, keyboards, and other peripherals without a wi-fi connection. It also uses less power than wi-fi, so it’s perfect for low-energy applications.
Zigbee is a wireless communication protocol that is designed for low-power, low-data-rate applications. It is primarily used in smart home applications, such as home automation, security, and lighting control. Zigbee operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency band and uses a mesh network topology to connect devices.
NFC (Near Field Communication) is a wireless communication protocol designed for short-range communication between devices. It is primarily used for contactless payment systems, such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and for exchanging data between devices, like smartphones and NFC-enabled tags.
LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) is a wireless communication protocol designed for long-range communication between devices. It is primarily used in IoT (Internet of Things) applications, such as smart city infrastructure, industrial automation, and agriculture. LoRaWAN operates on the sub-gigahertz frequency band and uses a low-power, low-data-rate communication protocol.
5G is the latest wireless communication protocol designed to provide high-speed, low-latency wireless connectivity. It is primarily used for mobile communication, such as smartphones and tablets, and it is capable of high-speed data transfer rates, low latency, and high reliability. 5G operates on the millimeter-wave frequency band and uses a complex communication protocol to ensure efficient and secure data transfer.
Tips To Install Wi-Fi Router At Home
Are you looking to install wi-fi at home but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! Below, you will find some tips on how to set up wi-fi in your home.
Place the Router
To ensure that you get the best wi-fi coverage and signal strength throughout your entire home, it is important to place the wi-fi router in an optimal location. This should be somewhere central with fewer obstructions like walls or furniture to improve signal strength and reduce interference.
Use WPA2 Encryption
When setting up wi-fi at home, make sure you choose a strong password and enable WPA2 encryption for added security. This will protect your wi-fi network from potential hackers and unauthorized users.
Check Your Modem Settings
Before installing a wi-fi router, make sure you check the settings of your modem to ensure that it is compatible with wi-fi. If necessary, you may need to upgrade or replace your existing modem.
Update Firmware Regularly
To keep your wi-fi connection working optimally, it is important to update the wi-fi router’s firmware regularly. This helps to patch any security vulnerabilities and add new features that can improve performance and stability.
FAQs About Wi-Fi Routers
1) Is it better to connect to 5GHz or 2.4 GHz?
5GHz wi-fi is better for faster speeds and reduced congestion, while 2.4GHz wi-fi offers greater range but slower speeds. It is usually best to connect to the 5GHz band when possible, as it will provide you with a better connection experience.
2) How many Mbps is good for a router?
It depends on the type and number of activities you will be using it for. If you are streaming HD videos or playing online games, then a wi-fi router with an average speed of 600Mbps to 1Gbps is recommended. For more basic uses such as internet browsing, 200Mbps should be sufficient.
3) Which is better: a wired vs wireless router?
Choosing between a wired vs wireless router will depend on your needs and preferences when it comes to wi-fi coverage. Wireless routers might be a better option since they deliver wi-fi signals without needing cables, making them more convenient for multiple rooms or locations.
4) Which is the best Wi-Fi router for home?
When choosing the best wi-fi router for home, it is important to consider factors such as speed, range, and coverage. A wi-fi router with a fast processor, dual bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz), and advanced security features will provide you with the best performance.