How To Buy A Wifi Router

Single Band Routers Vs Dual Band Routers

How to Buy a Wireless Router

All routers transmit WiFi signals using a range of frequencies within a bandwidth or band. Whether you need a single-, dual or triple-band WiFi router depends on whether you perform more low-bandwidth functions or high-bandwidth functions . The band of a WiFi router also helps determine the quality and speed of your signal.

  • Single band routers are budget-friendly and work with most devices. They have a lower frequency which goes through walls and other blockers easier, but they also have lower speeds and weaker signals.
  • Dual-band routers have twice the bandwidth, so they work well with functions that require a higher bandwidth, such as next gen smart phones and gaming consoles. They can perform slower with multiple devices and have a shorter range.
  • Tri-band routers have three times or more bandwidth and a higher upfront investment. They maintain high speeds with multiple devices, provide crisper WiFi signals and fast downloads.

Tip: As a rule of thumb, the more devices you have and the more you use those devices, the larger and more powerful your router band needs to be.

What Matters To You The Most When Buying A Wireless Router

Now that you know the basics about how to choose a router, please share your questions and opinions with us: What is important to you when purchasing a router? What kind of router do you need? How do you get information before buying a router? Do you normally take the time to consult product reviews? Use the comments form below and let’s start a conversation.

What Brand Should You Choose

Years ago, it was commonplace to purchase external network adapters with routers. Networking vendors sometimes added proprietary extensions to their products that resulted in slightly higher performance when brand-matched. Vendors may also thoroughly test compatibility with their own equipment.

If you own some consumer electronic gear, brand-matching your Wi-Fi router might make sense. Otherwise, research the available brands and pick one you trust.

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The Best Wireless Router Deals This Week*

*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains

Wi-Fi 5 routers, on the other hand, are dual-band devices that let you connect using both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. They have several other improvements, too, especially MU-MIMO technology, which transmits data simultaneously to compatible client devices. Another cool feature to look for is beamforming, which sends wireless signals directly to clients rather than over a broad spectrum. If you see automatic band-steering on your router’s spec sheet, that means the router can select the most efficient radio band based on the current network traffic, band availability, and signal strength.

If you’re wondering which band you’re most likely to use, then know that the 2.4GHz radio band is best suited for long-range transmissions but is subject to interference from other household devices such as microwave ovens and cordless phones. The 5GHz band provides significantly more bandwidth than the 2.4GHz band and is ideal for video streaming, online gaming, and large file downloads, but it has limited range, which is why these systems often need to be bolstered with a wireless range extender, especially in larger homes.

Ghz And 5 Ghz Frequency Bands

5 Best Wi

There are 4 main differences between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency band. Ive explained them below.

  • Wi-Fi Network CoverageLow range frequencies can transmit data packets to a larger distance and can also penetrate solid objects more easily. This is why the 2.4GHz frequency band can be better carried throughout your home as compared to the 5GHz frequency band.
  • Cross-Channel InterferenceThe WiFi channels are a major differentiating point between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. The 2.4GHz frequency band has 11 WiFi channels out of which 3 are non-overlapping. In the case of the 5GHz frequency band, there are 45 channels, out of which 24 are non-overlapping.Overlapping channels lead to network interference and hence, the 5GHz frequency band is better to use. Moreover, the 2.4GHz frequency band receives several interferences from household devices as well.
  • Network SpeedsThe 2.4GHz frequency band can support the data connection speed of 450-600Mbps while the 5GHz frequency band can support a speed of up to 1300Mbps. The short-range of the 5GHz frequency band is tempered by its high WiFi speed. However, your speed will ultimately depend upon the kind of router you use and your ISP speed.
  • Device CompatibilityAll devices developed after 2010, are supported by both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency band. However, devices born before 2010, are only compatible with the 2.4GHz frequency band.
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    Parental Controls Let You Keep Tabs On Your Kids

    You might want to buy a parental control Wi-Fi router if you have kids. Lets face it: The Internet can be a bit ugly sometimes, and even if your kids arent the type to actively seek out damaging websites, these days, its pretty easy for your kids to stumble upon something they probably shouldnt see.

    There are non-router-based parental controls out there, but some of them probably arent as secure as they should be and might not do the job as well as a router can. For example, with a smart router, parents can set the types of content they think their kids should and shouldnt be able to see, even separating content based on the person whos accessing the Internet.

    Visiting questionable sites isnt the only issue for kids online. Kids these days are also spending a lot more time on their devices. With a dedicated parental control router, parents can set timers for specific devices and users, allowing them to access the Internet at certain times, and block them at other times.

    Should I Consider A Wi

    If a range extender doesn’t do the trick, consider overhauling your network with a Wi-Fi mesh system. This technology offers an easy way to fill wireless dead zones in your home without the need for additional wiring, range extenders, or access points. They utilize extension nodes, or satellites, to extend your Wi-Fi signal across a larger area than most routers are capable of. Systems such as and the Linksys Velop employ mesh technology, where the satellites communicate with each other to provide coverage throughout your home, while others, like the Netgear Orbi High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi System , use a dedicated Wi-Fi band to communicate with its satellite. Depending on the number of nodes in the system you choose, you can spread a consistent internet connection across as much as 4,000 to 6,000 square feet of space.

    Read Also: Can I Have 2 Routers In One House

    Netgear Orbi Ac2200 Rbk23

    The Netgear Orbi, but smaller now

    Reasons to avoid

    When the Netgear Orbi hit the streets, it changed the wireless router scene. Then, in 2019, Netgear released the Netgear Orbi AC2200 RBK23, an economical alternative for casual users who dont have a grand manor to cover. This makes it a worthy contender for the best wireless routers. Sure, it comes with fewer antennae and ethernet ports than its higher end counterpart. However, it does deliver more than enough to provide very solid network coverage. Plus, the small form factor means that it will have no issues blending in not that you will feel the need to hide it.

    Read the full review: Netgear Orbi AC2200 RBK23

    Not That My Brain Can Take Much More Right Now But Is There Anything Else I Should Know

    Wireless Router Buyer’s Guide – WiFi Router Buying Guide

    Plain and simple, do your research. It’s very important not to rely solely on ads or advice from marketing materials when buying networking devices. Everyone’s environment is different. Read reviews, look at test scores, and check different sources. You can start by checking out our lists of best routers.

    Good luck!

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    How To Choose A Router

    Choosing a new router can be a daunting task: there are thousands of brands and models to choose from.

    To help narrow down your search, were sharing our tips on what you should consider before buying your own router. Starting with compatibility and making sure the router supports your internet speeds, these are the specs we considered when making router recommendations, plus a few extras that could improve your online experience.

    So lets dig in and find you some new gear to help you put that equipment rental fee back in your pocket.

    Will A Wireless Router Work Without The Internet

    A router can work without the internet to create a LAN that allows devices within the network to communicate with each other, wirelessly or via cable. For example, in an office setup devices such as printers, computers, and scanners can connect to the network to make sharing of documents across departments easier and faster.

    Read Also: Can You Have Two Wifi Routers

    How To Upgrade Your Router Free Of Charge

    Most people get their router sent to them by their ISP. If you’ve been with the same provider for years, though, you could be left using a piece of equipment that’s long been superseded. In May 2021, we discovered a range of older routers that could be insecure. If you’re in this situation, it’s worth phoning your ISP to see if you can get a free upgrade.

    If your contract with your provider has expired, switching to a new provider could not only save you money on your monthly bills, but will also get you the latest kit. Read our guide to the best and worst broadband providers to see how yours stacks up, and check the best broadband prices to see how much you could save.

    However, ISPs dont always provide the best-performing routers. For tech-savvy users, a third-party router could provide better coverage and speed, plus added features to make your wireless network more efficient.

    Linksys Mr: The Fastest Sub

    5 Best Wi

    Price: £80 |

    It might not be the prettiest wireless router youve ever seen but the Linksys MR7350 is seriously quick and seriously good value thanks to a price drop.

    Even at the original price £157 youd struggle to find a faster router but at a price of £80, nothing gets close. At this price, wed have considered given it a 5-star Best Buy rating.

    The only problem we had with it was with its usability and the sluggishness of its web interface and a rather limited feature set but if you dont mind putting up with that, its a fabulous router for very little cash.

    Read our full Linksys MR7350 review for more details

    Key specs Modem: None Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ax Stated speed: 1,200Mbits/sec USB ports: 1 x USB 3.0

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    Best Wireless Router For Game Performance Tweaking


    • Solid throughput performance in testing
    • Fast file transfer speeds

    With COVID-19 still keeping so many people working from home, your Wi-Fi router is piling up some serious overtime, doing a lot more than just helping you stream movies and play games. Home Wi-Fi routers keep millions of people working, and they’re also connecting an ever-growing range of smart home devices. That means picking one that does the best job for both you and your wallet is trickier than ever, especially now that we’re seeing more Wi-Fi 6 devices becoming available.

    When you’re shopping for a new router, it’s best to start by considering the size of your coverage area and the number of clients you need to support, as well as the types of devices that you’ll be connecting. Not everybody needs the kind of performance that you get with the latest and greatest models, and there’s no reason to pay for features that you will likely never use. If you’re looking for a lower price rather than a big bundle of bleeding-edge features, check out this list of budget routers. But if you have several family members vying for bandwidth for things like streaming Netflix video and playing PC games online, a new router with modern management capabilities can make a world of difference and help keep the peace. Below we guide you through choosing a router that will handle your current and future wireless networking needs, and offer our top picks to get you started.

    Consider How Much You Want To Spend On A Router

    Routers can vary in price, all the way from less than $100 to $300 or more. How much you should spend on a router depends mostly on your budget.

    But also, youll want to make sure youre getting the features you need in order to use your internet services to their full potential.

    Youll likely fork over more cash for a router that supports faster speeds and has features like MU-MIMO and beamforming. Not to mention that tri-band routers and those that support telephone service will cost more as well.

    Both of these features can up your router game, and heres how:

    MU-MIMO stands for Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple Output. It basically means your router can communicate with multiple devices at the same time.

    Beamforming lets your router aim a signal directly at devices that need an internet connection. It improves efficiency and creates stronger signals.

    So, when considering what price you want to pay for a router, also consider what features you need to have.

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    The Best Cheap Routers You Can Buy

    The saying that you get what you pay for is generally true when it comes to electronics: buy a cheap device and you get cheap performance. Youre not going to pay $60 for a router and see performance that zooms faster than the Flash.

    Still, if youre shopping for an inexpensive router, here are a few suggestions. Given that most internet connections are 1,000 Mbps or less in download speed anyway , these five routers should do the trick.


    * price . See full disclaimer.

    Behind The Scenes Of The Modem Rental System

    How To Buy The Best Router or WiFi System For Your Smart Home

    Why do Internet Service Providers rent modems in the first place?

  • It streamlines the process of getting customers connected. To be fair, the majority of consumers dont want to monkey around with their hardware and network settings they just want their internet to work yesterday. If your goal is saving time, $810 per month for installation and tech support can be, if not a winning proposition, at least a workable one.
  • Renting modems is a substantial revenue source for ISPs. The modems and technicians cost money, but in the long run renting hardware is a win for their bottom line.
  • Modem rentals function similarly to cell contracts as a roadblock to consumers contemplating switching to a different provider. The more hassle it becomes to switch providers, the fewer customers will take the plunge even considering rate increases and service issues.
  • Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how modems work and what to look for, consider these pros and cons:

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