How to Choose a Router (2022): Tips, Technical Terms, and Advice


Everybody desires dependable and quick web, and a very good router will help. The trick is to work out how the sophisticated mess of requirements, complicated acronyms, and sci-fi-sounding options translate to higher Wi-Fi in your house. Be a part of us as we tear again the curtain to disclose the pertinent info about Wi-Fi, routers, mesh techniques, and different jargon. Hopefully, you may be higher outfitted to purchase a router by the tip. 

Up to date June 2022: We added to the mesh techniques part, linked to our router information and Wi-Fi 7 explainer, and up to date the newest broadband speeds.

Desk of Contents

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Who Is Your Web Service Supplier?

Web service suppliers (ISPs) join your private home to the web, and so they normally ship you a modem and router (generally in a single gadget). The modem connects your private home to the broader web; the router hooks as much as the modem, and also you join all of your devices—with wires or wirelessly—to the router to entry that connectivity. ISPs usually cost you a rental price for this tools, and their routers are normally primary by way of efficiency and options. The excellent news is that ISPs are by legislation not allowed to power you to make use of their tools or cost you to make use of your personal {hardware}, although you should still should return their stuff to keep away from fees.

We’re largely utilizing your personal router on this information and utilizing your ISP’s modem. By utilizing your personal, you possibly can doubtlessly lower your expenses in the long run, however it’s also possible to take pleasure in sooner Wi-Fi, higher protection, simpler configuration, and additional options like parental controls and visitor Wi-Fi networks. We are going to run via your router choices, however no matter system you resolve to go along with, test compatibility together with your ISP earlier than shopping for. You too can search your ISP’s boards to search out posts the place folks talk about utilizing completely different routers and modems. A little analysis earlier than you store can prevent an enormous headache down the road.

What Form of Router Do You Want?

{Photograph}: Netgear

There are numerous methods to make your Wi-Fi sooner, and shopping for a brand new router is likely one of the most blatant. That can assist you resolve on the kind of router to go for, calculate the tough sq. footage of your private home earlier than you start.

Single Router

The best answer for most individuals is to decide on a single router or a router and modem combo. Keep in mind that this gadget should plug into your current socket or modem by way of Ethernet cable, which restricts the place you possibly can place it. The Wi-Fi sign shall be strongest close to the router and can progressively drop off and decelerate the additional away you get.

Routers ought to all the time state sq. footage for protection, however sure forms of building—thick partitions, insulation, and different units—can intervene with Wi-Fi alerts, so don’t count on to take pleasure in full-speed Wi-Fi at longer distances. Highly effective routers with huge protection are sometimes massive units with a number of exterior antennas, however they’re normally very costly.

Mesh Methods

If in case you have a big dwelling and need stable protection in your backyard, or you will have thick partitions and particular lifeless spots together with your present setup, then mesh Wi-Fi might be the reply. Mesh techniques encompass a central hub, which connects similar to a single router, in addition to extra satellites or nodes you possibly can place across the dwelling.

Units connect with the web via the closest node, so you possibly can obtain wider Wi-Fi protection and a extra dependable connection in numerous areas by including a node. Simply keep in mind that every node will want an influence outlet. Mesh techniques are usually dearer than single-router setups (although not all the time), however they improve protection and reliability, and so they usually boast extra options and management choices. In addition they are typically smaller than common routers and are usually designed to mix in together with your decor.

Most mesh techniques are expandable, and a few producers can help you hyperlink particular person routers to create a mesh, so you can begin with a single router and add extra as required. Simply ensure you perceive which units are appropriate. For instance, any Asus router that helps AiMesh can work as a part of a mesh system, however TP-Hyperlink’s OneMesh know-how solely permits you to add appropriate Wi-Fi extenders—you possibly can’t hyperlink routers collectively.

Options to a New Router

{Photograph}: Eskay Lim/Getty Photos

In case your concern is extra about protection and you’ve got a single drawback room the place you need to enhance Wi-Fi, or a selected gadget that wants a sooner connection, you won’t want to purchase a brand new router. Strive certainly one of these options. They every have their very own technical challenges and potential points. Even when efficiently deployed, they received’t come near matching the comfort of a very good mesh system, however they’re all less expensive.

Wi-Fi Repeaters

You need to use Wi-Fi repeaters to unfold the Wi-Fi from a single router a bit additional and doubtlessly increase the sign in a lifeless spot. These units are a very good answer for some folks, however they are often inefficient, vulnerable to interference, and infrequently create a secondary community with a unique title out of your common Wi-Fi.

Energy Line Adapters

Bought in pairs, energy line adapters move an web sign via your electrical wiring. You plug one into an influence outlet close to your router and join it with an Ethernet cable, whereas the opposite energy line adapter plugs into an influence outlet within the room the place you need sooner web. They could be a good answer if in case you have a console or good TV in your lounge behind the home, however your router is within the entrance corridor, for instance. Sadly, effectiveness relies upon closely in your electrical wiring.

MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance)

If your private home already has coaxial cables put in (maybe for cable TV), you should utilize them to create a dependable wired community that gives excessive speeds and low latency in comparison with Wi-Fi. You should purchase routers, community adapters, or Wi-Fi extenders that help the MoCA commonplace. Very like energy line adapters, this may be an effective way to move an web sign to a wise TV, sport console, or desktop that does not get a powerful Wi-Fi sign.

Entry Factors

For those who don’t thoughts a problem and have a spare outdated router mendacity round, you possibly can look into configuring it as an entry level or utilizing it as a Wi-Fi extender. This may be notably efficient if you happen to’re in a position to join it to your essential router by way of cabling, however configuration can show difficult.

{Photograph}: Getty Photos

There’s loads to contemplate while you’re making an attempt to resolve how briskly your router ought to be. The utmost velocity of your web is set by your ISP. Web speeds are said in Mbps (megabits per second). The median world mounted broadband velocity is 64 Mbps for downloads and 27 Mbps for uploads, based on Ookla’s Speedtest. Most ISPs will state as much as a sure velocity or offer you a variety—like 300 Mbps obtain and 30 Mbps add—however what you really get is commonly decrease than the utmost (particularly add speeds), and it have to be shared between all your related units. 


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