Router Reviews Archives

These compact routers from SonicWALL may be some of the best tools on the market to protect your personal and business computers from intrusions. They are hardware firewalls that do deep packet inspections and have other Unified Threat Management services available. Let’s look at them both to see which one is the best for you.

SonicWALL TZ 105 Wireless N 01-SSC-6944

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sonicwall-tz-105

The SonicWALL TZ 100 was released a few years ago as a small business router designed to provide encryption of transmissions, VPN services, and protection against intrusions. The router comes with the SonicOS operating system that offers a high amount of configurability, as long as the user has the knowledge to adjust the settings properly. This is not a plug and play device.

The TZ 100 offers protection to both wired and wireless devices. It has 5 Fast Ethernet ports and handles 802.11 b/g/n connections. This is not the fastest router on the market, but speed is sacrificed for security.

The hardware of this router allows up to 8000 connections at once with a total firewall throughput of 200 Mbps. If the connected clients are using IPSec or SSL VPN, their maximum throughput is 75 Mbps.

The SonicOS operating system onboard does deep packet inspection to keep out attackers and viruses. It shows real-time utilization, filters urls and Internet access, is manageable by remote access, provides VPN (Virtual Private Network) access, and a lot more. Many features are available when you purchase their licenses from SonicWall. VPN access should be available right out of the box without additional purchase.

More features of the SonicWALL TZ 105 router:

  • SonicWALL offers a 12-month warranty on the hardware
  • Comes with one Ethernet cable, power cord and adapter
  • Requires registration online
  • Antennas are only included with the 105W model
  • This model has been retired by SonicWALL

 

SonicWALL TZ 205 Network Security Appliance

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sonicwall-tz-205

The SonicWALL TZ 205 is speedier than the TZ 105 described above. It also allows six times the number of active connections at one time. While it still has the same wireless standards for 802.11 b/g/n devices, it has faster Ethernet ports. If you have a larger business or just want a faster throughput, you may appreciate what the TZ 205 offers.

 

Specifically, the maximum throughput on the TZ 205 ranges up to 500 Mbps. It can handle up to 48,000 concurrent sessions with VPN throughput of up to 130 Mbps. The five Ethernet ports are all the Gigabit standard, ten times faster than the ports on the TZ 105.

The built-in diagnostic tools are many and varied so you can troubleshoot connections and maintain the top speeds possible for your users. While many home routers give owners the option to create a Guest Network for visitors, the TZ 205 offers something similar. You can setup a Public Network. Should your Internet connection fail, you can use one of the USB ports to attach a 3G/4G dongle as a failover.

Of course, the router uses the SonicOS operating system to protect against attackers, encrypt communications, filter access, maintain quality of service, and avoid bottlenecks. It works out of the box as a VPN server, but other Unified Threat Management services like anti-virus and anti-malware may require the purchase of separate software licenses.

More features of the SonicWALL TZ 205 router:

  • SonicWALL offers a 12-month warranty on the hardware
  • Comes with one Ethernet cable, power cord and adapter
  • Requires registration online
  • This model has been retired by SonicWALL

 

Recommendation

If you’re a homeowner who wants a secure connection to the Internet, you may be better served by a retail router with user-friendly software.

If you’re an IT professional or purchasing a router for a small business, these two models from SonicWALL may be just what you need. They do require a lot of configuration depending on which services you choose to use. But that’s their beauty. They are very customizable and powerful.

If you need to support less than 8,000 simultaneous connections, get the TZ 105.

If you need more than 8,000 connections but less than 48,000, get the TZ 205. You may also prefer the TZ 205 because it’s a faster router with higher throughput.

Click here to purchase SonicWALL TZ 105 on Amazon.com!

 

Click here to purchase Sonicwall TZ 205 on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

 

In today’s interconnected world, we want fast downloads, quick page loads, and gaming sessions with no lag. ASUS has designed two wireless routers to answer those needs. Let’s take a look at them both to see which one will be the best for you.

ASUS RT-AC3100 Dual-band Wireless-AC3100 Gigabit Router

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asus-rt-ac3100

At first glance, the RT-AC3100 looks like it was built by Batman. Its sleek exterior hides the Broadcom BCM4366 AC3100 4×4 chipset with MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) capability. It’s able to transmit up to 1 Gigabit per second through the 2.4GHz radio and more than double that with the 5GHz radio. If you have a wireless card that can keep up and a fast Internet connection, you’ll be pleased with this router’s performance.

When we say a wireless card that can keep up, we mean the newer 802.11 n and ac standards found in hardware manufactured since 2009 (n) and 2013 (ac). Those are speedy enough to make the most of this router as well as the RT-ACAC88U described below.

But what if you have older devices? There’s no problem. The RT-AC3100 communicates with 802.11 a, b, and g too. It works with WEP, WPA/WPA2, even WPA2-Enterprise encryption. Plus, it has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports so you can enjoy a blazing fast connection for your game consoles, Smart TV, PC, Apple TV or Roku.

So who would benefit most from using the ASUS RT-AC3100? People with large homes that want a strong signal with good coverage. Gamers will appreciate it, and so will those who love to watch videos online.

How can the RT-AC3100 help gamers? In multiple ways! First, there’s the built-in QoS, or Quality of Service. You can set it to free up more bandwidth for gaming sessions online. Second, the router software includes the Gamers Private Network that automatically routes your connection through the fastest path possible. Third, the AiProtection software keeps you safe if you shutdown anti-virus programs that hog memory so you can focus resources on the game.

If you’re concerned about safety and anonymous browsing, The RT-AC3100 comes ready as both a VPN client and server so you can protect your connection from snoopers. It works with various protocols including PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN.

With the USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, it’s possible to plug in both a printer and an external storage device. That way all your devices can print and share files over your own home network. It comes with AiCloud to manage your files and backups as well as a printer server.

The built-in media server software is ready for you to share videos, photos, and music throughout your home network. It supports file formats like jpeg, avi, divx, mkv, mov, mp4, mp3, wma and more.

If your Internet connection comes through a 3G or 4G dongle instead of a fiber optic or cable connection, that’s no problem. This router will share it all the same.

When you have visitors, you don’t have to give them your Wi-Fi password anymore. AiProtection that lets you set up a Guest Network as well as filter access, set time limits, and block inappropriate sites.

Finally, you can manage your router from a smartphone or tablet with the ASUS Router App for both Android and iPhone. It even lets you upgrade the firmware.

More features of the ASUS RT-AC3100 wireless router:

  • ASUS offers a warranty depending on the region where you purchased the router
  • Works as router, access point, and media bridge

 

ASUS RT-AC88U Router and Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive Bundle

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asus-rt-ac88u

Here’s a little secret: the ASUS RT-AC88U is almost exactly same router as the RT-AC3100. The two differences are in their appearance and the number of Gigabit Ethernet ports they have.

The RT-AC88U has sporty red accents on its antenna. It also has 8 Ethernet ports, not just 4. This means you can wire in more devices, which may come in handy for some homes.

The other benefit to this particular kit is that it includes an external hard drive so you can start running backups over your home network as soon as you set up the router.

If you want to learn more about the RT-AC88U router, just take a look at the RT-AC3100 description above.

More features of the ASUS RT-AC88U wireless router with external hard drive:

  • ASUS offers a warranty depending on the region where you purchased the router
  • Works as router, access point, and media bridge
  • External HDD could hold hundreds of movies or thousands of songs and photos

 

Recommendation

If you have a need for more than 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, get the ASUS RT-AC88U router.

Otherwise, you may save money by getting the RT-AC3100 router instead with only 4 Ethernet ports.

 

Click here to purchase ASUS RT-AC3100 on Amazon.com!

 

Click here to purchase ASUS RT-AC88U on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

 

When you shop for a new wireless router, it can be a challenge to decide which one will be the best for your home. There are a lot of similarities between competing brands. In fact, all three in this review offer the AC1900 speed standard. All of them are excellent for large homes. Let’s take a look at each one to help you choose the one you need.

NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (R7000) with Open Source Support

netgear-nighthawk-ac1900

netgear-nighthawk-ac1900

The NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 is one of the first wireless routers to make use of the Broadcom BCM4360 chipset that is capable of 802.11ac speed on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz radios. Of course, to get the maximum rated throughput of 600Mbps, you’ll need a wireless client capable of 802.11ac as well as 40MHz bandwidth.

What does all that mean? If you’re buying this router to replace an AC1750 model, it may not be worth the upgrade unless you also have a corresponding wireless card that can get that blazing fast speed, too. But if this is your first wireless router, it’s a great choice, and hopefully a way to be ready for upcoming technology for a few years.

The Nighthawk R7000 is compatible with a wide range of mobile devices (a/b/g/n/ac) on two bands so you can use both older and newer devices to get online. Plus, you can hardwire your TV, game consoles, Apple TV or PC into one of the 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

If you want to backup your files over your home network, the Nighthawk R7000 comes ready for both Windows PCs and Apple’s Time Machine. To surf safely and anonymously, use the OpenVPN connect app that’s already part of the software, too. Plus, NETGEAR includes their Kwilt program that makes it simple to view and share Facebook and Instagram photos online.

Plug in a printer to the USB 2.0 port and use the R7000 as a print server so you can print from any device, not just your computer. Connect an external hard drive or flash drive to the USB 3.0 port and stream your movies and music all over your home.

NETGEAR’s three internal and three (removable) antennas plus their Beamforming technology help your home wireless signal stay strong through floors and walls. Their SmartConnect automatically selects the fastest connection for each device. The QoS (Quality of Service) lets you decide which type of transmissions have priority, such as gaming over surfing.

In conclusion, if you have the right hardware on your mobile clients as well as a fast enough Internet connection from your Internet provider, you can enjoy up to 600Mbps + 1300Mbps speeds with the Nighthawk AC1900 router.

More features of the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 wireless router:

  • NETGEAR offers a 1-year warranty on hardware
  • Free basic tech support for 90 days
  • NETGEAR Genie phone and tablet app to manage settings
  • Guest Network plus double firewall protection against intrusions
  • Supports WEP, WPA, WPA/WPA2-PSK

 

Linksys WRT1900AC Dual Band Smart Wi-Fi Wireless AC Router (2.4 + 5GHz) – (Certified Refurbished)

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linksys-wrt1900ac

The Linksys WRT1900AC wireless router makes use of the same Broadcom BCM4360 chipset capable of 802.11ac speed on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz radios. This means it is capable of 600Mbps plus 1300Mbps speeds on its 2.4Ghz and 5.0GHz radios (hence the AC1900 designation).

Like the NETGEAR Nighthawk, this Linksys router supports both old and new devices with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. It offers four Gigabit Ethernet ports to hardwire in a computer, TV, game console, Roku, or Apple TV. There are also USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports for a printer and external hard drive.

But it has one unique feature that the other two routers in this review don’t have: an eSATA port to connect an eSATA external hard drive. It’s shared with the USB 2.0 port, but it’s much faster than USB 2.0.

While the other routers allow you to set up a Guest Network for visitors, this router handles up to 50 separate Guest Network connections. Parental Controls allow for filtering access to sites online and limiting hours of usage.

As for ease of use, the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi app makes controlling router settings super simple on either Android phones or iPhone. You don’t even need to be inside your home to manage things.

More features of the Linksys WRT1900AC wireless router:

  • Won PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Award
  • 4 external antennas are detachable
  • 90-day warranty on refurbished routers

 

ASUS (RT-AC68U) Wireless-AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router, AiProtection with Trend Micro for Complete Network Security

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asus-rt-ac68u

Finally, we’ll take a look at the ASUS RT-AC68U wireless router. Like the other two described above, it’s based on the Broadcom BCM4360 chipset, so it’s capable of 802.11ac speed on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz radios. This means it is capable of 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio plus 1300Mbps on the 5.0GHz radio as long as it has 40MHz bandwidth and the wireless client has the right hardware, too.

With its powerful signal and three external antennas, the RT-AC68U is great for large homes. It supports connecting just about any mobile device, even older ones, because it handles 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac standards and WEP, WPA, WPA/WPA2-PSK, WPA/WPA2-Enterprise, and WPS. The WPS is handy because it’s the one-button-push way to connect some devices like printers.

Speaking of printers, you can plug one into the USB 2.0 port and print to it over your home network. Use the USB 3.0 port to attach an external hard drive or pen drive to backup files and share them.

ASUS includes software for streaming multimedia files like music and films. The RT-AC68U is ready for Time Machine backups, too. It comes with client and server software for a variety of VPN setups including PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN.

If you have another wireless router at home, you can use the RT-AC68U to extend the other router’s range or create an access point or media bridge.

More features of the ASUS RT-AC68U wireless router:

  • ASUS offers a warranty based on the region of purchase
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports to wire in a Smart TV, game console, and more
  • Guest Network and Parental Controls available
  • Trend Micro software for network protection

Recommendation

One way to choose between these three popular wireless routers is based on their available ports. All of them have USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, but only the Linksys WRT1900AC has an eSATA port for an external hard drive.

Another consideration is VPN support. The ASUS RT-AC68U has the best selection of built-in clients and servers.

Finally, the Kwilt software bundled with the NETGEAR R7000 can help you organize, share, and enjoy the thousands of digital photos you probably have scattered across several devices.

 

Click here to purchase NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 on Amazon.com!

 

Click here to purchase Linksys WRT1900AC on Amazon.com!

 

Click here to purchase ASUS (RT-AC68U) on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve come a long way from the days of dialup. We need fast, reliable connections to enjoy video streaming and online gaming. With the average home hosting at least eight mobile devices, we want power. Let’s take a look at these three routers to see which one meets all these demands and more.

 

ASUS RT-N66R Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, IEEE 802.3/3u/3ab

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The RT-N66R (also known as RT-N66U—we’ll get to that in a minute) wireless router from ASUS has been a popular device since it was released a few years back. It seems like most owners are very pleased with its performance. Even though it’s not capable of the new 802.11 ac protocol, it’s still a best-seller.

You may be wondering what 802.11 ac is anyway and why it matters. It’s an indication of how fast the router (or the wireless card in your device) can transmit data. For example, the ac standard means it’s able to send and receive up to 1300Mbps (megabits per second). Things that came out on the market after 2014, like the iPhone 6, are capable of this speed.

Compare that to the top speed of the RT-N66R router, which is the n standard of 450Mbps. Big difference, right? But let’s put it in context. If you have an UltraHD Smart TV and you want to stream 4K video from Netflix, you only need 25Mbps. With 450Mbps, you could stream to more than one device at a time without any problem. Just be sure your Internet provider can keep up with your demands.

Meanwhile, you can do a lot more with this router than just stream video. It has two USB 2.0 ports so you can plug in a printer to share and also an external hard drive for backups. Plus, the software on the RT-N66R comes ready to help you share files like documents, photos, music, and films on your home network. It works with FTP, Samba, UPnP, and DLNA. If you want a VPN server, it supports PPTP, as well as pass-through for other protocols.

When you have visitors, you don’t need to give out your password for them to connect. Just use ASUS’ simple web interface to set up the Guest Network. The router offers various levels of encryption for your connection, from WEP to WPA2-Enterprise and WPS.

If you have children, you can setup Parental Controls to filter access. If you’re concerned about being hacked or becoming a victim of a Denial of Service attack, the router’s software is already programmed to protect you. Of course, upgrading your firmware is important, too.

Let’s go back to speeds for just a moment. The RT-N66R has both 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios and supports a/b/g/n standards for both older and newer devices. It also has four Gigabit Ethernet ports so you can wire in your game consoles or TV for even faster speeds.

While this router works well in large homes, you may find that your 2.4GHz connections drop less than the faster 5GHz when your device is far from the router. This is because they transmit on longer radio waves that penetrate walls and floors better. (Like AM stations can be heard farther away than FM.) You can leave the router on a table or hang it on a wall.

More features of the ASUS RT-N66R wireless router:

  • ASUS offers a warranty which length depends on the region where the router was purchased
  • Offers support for connecting to the Internet by way of a 3G dongle
  • Setup is simple with either the web interface or by using the install CD on Windows, Mac, or Linux

 

ASUS RT-N66U Dual-Band Wireless-N900 Gigabit Router

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asus-rt-n66u

We mentioned earlier that the RT-N66R and RT-N66U are the same router. ASUS uses different product numbers depending on where the device is sold, whether in retail stores or online.

Since this is the same router as the ASUS RT-N66R described above, we say compare their prices and get yourself the best deal. Either way, you’re a winner.

More features of the ASUS RT-N66U wireless router:

  • ASUS offers a warranty which length depends on the region where the router was purchased
  • Offers support for Internet connection by way of a 3G dongle, not just from a typical modem
  • Setup is simple with either the web interface or by using the install CD on Windows, Mac, or Linux

 

TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router

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tp-link-archer-c7

We’ve arrived at one of the top favorite routers of all time. Although it’s been on the market for a few years it continues to outsell newer models. What makes the TP-LINK Archer C7 so amazing? Let’s take a closer look.

Like the ASUS RT-N66R and RT-N66U, the Archer C7 is a dual-band router. It has both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz radios. But better than the ASUS routers, this one supports ac as well as a/b/g/n standards. Instead of a Broadcom chipset, it uses Qualcomm’s Atheros.

Also like the ASUS routers, TP-LINK included two USB 2.0 ports for a printer and an external drive for file sharing. The four Ethernet ports are all Gigabit, perfect for wiring in a Smart TV or a game console.

If you have a small home and don’t want to cover half your neighborhood with its strong signal, you can remove one or all of the antennas. That way you can rely on just the internal antennas.

If you’re concerned about speed, the 5.0GHz radio is capable of speeds up to 1300Mbps. That’s because of the ac standard that the Archer C7 offers. The 2.4GHz radio is able to transfer data up to 450Mbps. Plus, you can customize the QoS, or Quality of Service, to give additional speed to certain kinds of connections like VOIP.

Create a Guest Network for friends to use, and enjoy one-button-push device connections with WPS. The Archer C7 offers various kinds of encryption including WEP, WPA, and WPA2-PSK. You can also use the router for VPN pass-through with PPTP, IPSec, and L2TP.

More features of the TP-LINK Archer C7 wireless router:

  • TP-LINK offers a 2-year limited warranty
  • Tether link app is free to download (on both Google Play and iTunes) and use to configure router settings
  • Parental Controls available

 

Recommendation

If you have an ac device such as an iPhone 6 or newer, you can get the most from the TP-LINK Archer C7.

If your Internet provider doesn’t offer enough speed for you to make use of the ac standard of 1300Mbps, any of these three routers would be a good choice. They are all solid performers.

If you require VPN server capability, go with the ASUS RT-N66R or RT-N66U. The TP-LINK router only offers pass-through.

 

Click here to purchase ASUS RT-N66R on Amazon.com!

 

Click here to purchase ASUS RT-N66U on Amazon.com!

 

Click here to purchase TP-LINK Archer C7 on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

 

Save yourself some cash by replacing a rental cable modem with one of these two cable modem routers from top names in networking. Let’s look at them both to see which one will be the best for your home.

NETGEAR AC1750 (16×4) Wi-Fi Cable Modem Router (C6300) DOCSIS 3.0 Certified for Xfinity Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, & more

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netgear-ac1750

The NETGEAR C6300 Wi-Fi Cable Modem Router is designed to save you money. If you’re currently renting a cable modem from your Internet provider, purchase this router instead because it will pay for itself in a matter of months. The C6300 is compatible out of the box with a number of systems including Xfinity, Time Warner, Cox and more. (It’s not VOIP-ready out of the box, though.)

You might notice that NETGEAR says the cable modem is certified for DOCSIS 3.0. This means it’s theoretically capable of 38Mbps downloads and 27Mbps uploads per channel. The C6300 cable modem has 16 channels for downloading and 4 for uploading. That sums up to 608 Mbps total downloading and 108Mbps for uploading (680Mbps download and 122Mbps upload is what they show). Okay, that’s the math, but why do these numbers matter?

Let’s say you’re planning to watch video streamed over the Internet on your UltraHD TV. You need a download speed of at least 25Mbps in order to enjoy the video at its best quality. So, theoretically, the C6300 cable modem has you covered. In reality, check with your Internet provider to verify that they are able to give you the speed you desire.

There are more numbers that can tell you about the best features of this modem router. For example, it’s based on the AC1750 chipset so it has one 2.4GHz and two 5.0GHz radios. It supports 802.11 b/g/n and a/n/ac protocols so it lets you get online with both older and newer mobile devices. Do watch out if you have a Wi-Fi device dating before 2004 because the C6300 does not work with WEP encryption, only WPA and WPA2-PSK. NETGEAR says the fastest speeds happen with 802.11 ac Wi-Fi cards.

On the down side, this cable modem router only has one USB 2.0 port for you to attach a flash drive or external hard drive or printer. Comparable routers from other manufacturers often include at least one USB 3.0 port because that’s ten times faster than 3.0. But this USB port will still let you share files over your home network and stream them with DLNA to game consoles and Smart TVs.

You can also make use of the four Gigabit Ethernet ports to wire in a TV, Roku, PC or other device. Hard-wiring gives you even faster connection speed.

When you receive the C6300, setup is pretty simple with NETGEAR’s Genie. You can use a smartphone, tablet, or computer to enable features like Parental Controls or the ReadySHARE media server. There aren’t a lot of advanced options like port forwarding or built-in VPN servers, but the average home user will probably be satisfied.

More features of the NETGEAR C6300 cable modem Wi-Fi router:

  • NETGEAR offers a 1-year limited warranty
  • WPS one button push setup as well as the ability to scan a QR code for EZ Mobile Connect
  • Guest Network

 

Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Router & Linksys High Speed DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

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linksys-ac1200

You’ve seen in the description above what NETGEAR offers with their C6300 cable modem router. It’s a simple all-in-one device. Meanwhile, the Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi router and cable modem come as two separate devices bundled together. The exact model numbers are EA6100 and CM3008, respectively.

This package from Linksys is designed to replace the cable modem router you may be renting from your Internet provider. It comes ready to use with Xfinity, Time Warner, Cox, and other companies.

While the DOCSIS 3.0 standard is the same on both NETGEAR’s and Linksys’ devices, Linksys has just 8 bonded download and 4 upload channels. As a result, Linksys recommends the CM3008 cable modem for homes that have up to 100Mbps connections. If your connection is faster than that, consider buying a modem with more bonded channels like the NETGEAR C6300.

The EA6100 Wi-Fi router has one 2.4GHz and two 5.0GHz radios and it supports 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n. The absolute maximum speed on the 5.0GHz radios is 867Mbps. The router and cable modem should be able to provide your home with high-definition video streaming and gaming if your Internet connection and devices can handle it.

Like the NETGEAR router above, this one from Linksys has just one USB 2.0 port to connect and share a printer or an external hard drive. You can use their app on your smartphone or tablet to setup Parental Controls, a Guest Network, file sharing, and more.

More features of the Linksys AC1200 bundle:

  • Linksys offers a 1-year limited warranty with 90 days of free technical support
  • 4 Ethernet ports (10/100, not Gigabit) for wired devices like a PC or Smart TV
  • WPS connections (one button push)
  • WEP, and WPA2 Enterprise and Personal

 

Recommendation

If you have an average-sized home with 8 or fewer mobile devices and a cable Internet provider, you could save money by purchasing your own cable modem router setup instead of renting one.

If you have wired devices that require the highest connection speed possible, get the NETGEAR C6300 because it offers Gigabit Ethernet ports, not 10/100 like the Linksys EA6100.

If you have older mobile devices that only use WEP encryption, or if you have a need for WPA2 Enterprise security, you may benefit more from the Linksys bundle.

Click here to purchase NETGEAR AC1750 on Amazon.com!

Click here to purchase Linksys AC1200 on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

 

If you have a large home and a lot of mobile devices online, you need a fast and powerful router. ASUS uses Quantenna’s 4×4 MIMO technology to boost the wireless signal so you can stream video and surf in every room. Let’s take a look at these two routers to see which one is the best for you.

ASUS RT-AC87R Wireless-AC2400 Dual Band Gigabit Router

asus-rt-ac87r

asus-rt-ac87r

The ASUS RT-AC87R is normally sold at a certain big box store but is now available for purchase at online retailers too. It was designed and built with 4×4 MIMO technology. This means it has four wireless transmitters and four wireless receivers.

Why does it matter how many transmitters and receivers it has? More of them means the router has a higher capacity to handle several devices online at the same time. This is important in today’s world where the average home has eight or more cell phones, tablets, and Internet-connected systems operating wirelessly at once.

The speed of the RT-AC87R comes in part from the dual-band design. It has one radio for 2.4GHz connections and two radios for 5.0GHz connections. The chipset supports a/b/g/n/ac protocols. This means both older and newer mobile devices as well as smart devices like thermostats are supported.

The RT-AC87R is classified as a Gigabit router because it has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports for devices where you want to hardwire a connection for maximum speed and security. These might include your Smart TV, a game console, Apple TV or Roku, or a PC.

Besides the Ethernet ports, this router has both a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Hook up your printer to the 2.0 slot and an external hard drive or flash drive to the 3.0 spot. That way you can make use of the router’s software that makes it both a print server and a media server. Print over your home network without having to plug in a cable to your device. Browse files, make backups, and stream from your own home file server.

If you have visitors, but you don’t want to give out your router password, let them use the Guest Network which puts them online without access to your home network. Use the Parental Controls to set limits on usage as well as blocking access to undesirable sites.

If you’re concerned about threats online, ASUS includes Trend Micro’s protection software that blocks unwanted intrusions. It will alert you if you have an infected device on your network and scan for vulnerabilities in the router itself.

Finally, ASUS offers a smartphone app that lets you monitor and control your router without logging into a PC. Plus, the AiCloud app lets you browse files on your home network and share them online even if you aren’t at home.

Please note that if you find that you aren’t getting full 4×4 MIMO, you probably need to upgrade the firmware. One of the advantages of not buying technology as soon as it’s released is that you give the manufacturer time to work out the bugs. When this router was first available in 2014, the MIMO feature was buggy. That issue appears to be resolved.

More features of the ASUS RT-AC87R wireless router:

  • Ready for Mac OS Time Machine backups
  • UPnP, Samba, FTP, OpenVPN, PPTP, LT2P are all supported
  • Media server is already compatible with formats like divx, mkv, wma, and ogg
  • Works in three modes: access point, media bridge, and wireless router
  • Supports WEP, WPA, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise, and WPS
  • ASUS offers a warranty which length depends on the region of purchase

 

ASUS RT-AC87U Wireless-AC2400 Dual Band Gigabit Router, AiProtection with Trend Micro for Complete Network Security

asus-rt-ac87u

asus-rt-ac87u

The ASUS RT-AC87U wireless router is exactly the same as the ASUS RT-AC87R router. The only difference between them is their product number. They both have the same hardware and software. ASUS uses the different product numbers to know where the router was sold.

See the description of the RT-AC87R router above for an overview of why this router may be exactly what you want in your busy home.

More features of the ASUS RT-AC87U wireless router:

  • Ready for Mac OS Time Machine backups
  • UPnP, Samba, FTP, OpenVPN, PPTP, LT2P are all supported
  • Media server is already compatible with formats like divx, mkv, wma, and ogg
  • Works in three modes: access point, media bridge, and wireless router
  • Supports WEP, WPA, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise, and WPS
  • ASUS offers a warranty which length depends on the region of purchase

Recommendation

Since both the ASUS RT-AC87R and RT-AC87U are the same router with different product numbers for different retailers, you don’t need to choose between them. Get the one that has the best price and enjoy!

Click here to purchase ASUS RT-AC87R on Amazon.com!

Click here to purchase ASUS RT-AC87U on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

If your home or small office needs a new wireless router, upgrade to one of the best on the market. These two routers are competing to be the next one that streams your video and music and gives you a blazing fast connection to the Internet. Let’s look at them both to see which one will be the best for you.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 – AC5300 Tri-Band Quad-Stream Wi-Fi Router & Seagate 1TB External Hard Drive

netgear-nighthawk-x8

netgear-nighthawk-x8

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 is a tri-band router based on Broadcom’s AC5300 chipset. It has one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz radios and covers b/g/n and a/n/ac for fast connections for both old and new wireless devices.

Not only can you connect wirelessly to the wide world of the Internet, you can browse files and print documents on your own home network. The Nighthawk X8 has a USB 2.0 port for sharing a printer and a USB 3.0 port for attaching the external hard drive included in the box. Store your favorite photos, books, movies, and music on the drive so each device connected to your home network can stream and download from it. You can even create a custom URL for an FTP file server.

If you’re away from home and want to retrieve a favorite photo to share, use the ReadyCLOUD software built into the router to access your USB drive at home.

If you have an UltraHD TV, Apple TV, or a Roku, wire them in with the 6 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back of the router. You’ll have the fastest speed your Internet provider can give you. With DLNA service from the router, your TV and game console can stream movies and other files from your external hard drive.

If you prefer protection and anonymity while browsing, use the included support to set up an OpenVPN server. Plus, you can create a separate Guest Network for visitors and then you don’t need to give out your Wi-Fi password.

When the Nighthawk X8 was first released, NETGEAR did not enable MU-MIMO capability. This allows you to have several devices all streaming video or music at the same time on the same network. But since then NETGEAR released a firmware upgrade to fix that.

More features of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 wireless router:

  • NETGEAR offers a 1-year warranty
  • Supports WPS setup
  • Supports WPA/WPA2-PSK

 

ASUS RT-AC5300 Wireless AC5300 Tri-Band Gigabit Router, AiProtection with Trend Micro for Complete Network Security

asus-rt-ac5300

asus-rt-ac5300

You may notice right off that this router looks an awful lot like a spider with its 8 antennas. This design helps it penetrate large homes with a strong Wi-Fi signal. The ASUS RT-AC5300 wireless router is a direct competitor to NETGEAR’s Nighthawk X8. Like the Nighthawk X8, it’s based on Broadcom’s AC5300 chipset and has one 2.4GHz and two 5.0GHz radios. It supports 802.11 b/g/n and a/n/ac as well as MIMO for fast streaming.

Where the ASUS router differs from the NETGEAR is in the details. While NETGEAR comes ready for OpenVPN, the ASUS RT-AC5300 supports both OpenVPN as well as PPTP and L2TP VPN servers. There’s no mention of DLNA, but this router does support UPnP for media sharing. You can also use Samba and FTP for file sharing, or the built-in media server. The built-in media server can stream several kinds of files including divx, mp4, mkv, wav, ogg, and of course, mp3.

The RT-AC5300 doesn’t come with an external hard drive like the NETGEAR kit above, but it has a USB 3.0 port to connect one, and a USB 2.0 port for a printer or second hard drive or flash drive.There is a built-in print server for Windows computers. Meanwhile, Mac computers are able to use Time Machine over the home network because the router already supports it.

More features of the ASUS RT-AC5300 wireless router:

  • ASUS offers a warranty which length depends on where the router is purchased
  • WPS setup (one button press to link devices to the network)
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, two less than the NETGEAR router
  • Supports older WEP encryption as well as WPA/WPA2-PSK
  • Comes with Trend-Micro protection
  • Guest Network

 

Recommendation

If you want a fast, dependable wireless connection throughout your home as well as the options to stream media and run backups over your home network, either router will be a good choice. The details may be the best way to choose between them.

If you have a need for six Ethernet ports for your wired devices, get the NETGEAR Nighthawk X8.

If you have older mobile devices that can’t use WPA encryption, the ASUS RT-AC5300 supports this. The ASUS router also supports multiple VPN server and client setups and Time Machine backups for Mac computers.

Click here to purchase NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 on Amazon.com!

Click here to purchase ASUS RT-AC5300 on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

 

In today’s interconnected world, few homes have less than four Internet-connected devices online at the same time. Many homes have twice that. You need a router that can keep up with all the traffic. Let’s take a look at these two tri-band models from NETGEAR and ASUS to see which one will be the best for you.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Gigabit WiFi Router (R8000)

netgear-nighthawk-x6-ac3200

netgear-nighthawk-x6-ac3200

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 is a powerful, fast router well worth the investment because it’s got hardware and software that will keep it current for a few years to come. It has two 5GHz radios and one 2.4GHz radio, and it’s compatible with 802.11 b/g/n and a/n/ac standards. This means all your old and new wireless devices can use it to connect to the Internet.

Let’s be a little more specific about that. The Nighthawk has WPA/WPA2-PSK Wi-Fi Protected Access, but not WEP. Wireless devices older than those manufactured in 2004 may have trouble using it if they are WEP only.

Besides the wireless connections, the Nighthawk has 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports on its back as well as one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0. The USB 2.0 is perfect for plugging in a printer so all the computers and tablets in your home can print to it wirelessly.

The 3.0 port transfers data ten times faster than the 2.0 port, ideal for connecting an external hard drive for backing up or sharing files over the network. Plus, using the USB 3.0 port doesn’t slow down the traffic over either radio. The included ReadySHARE Vault app runs automatic backups for Windows PCs in your home.

You can make use of the FTP server and stream video and music to TVs and game consoles with DLNA. Any device you want to add to the network doesn’t need the password if they have WPS, the one-button push system, to link them. Phones can simply scan the QR code to connect.

For persons who want to protect their Internet traffic from prying eyes, the Nighthawk has an OpenVPN server. The powerful quad-core 802.11ac radio keeps up with demand. The SmartConnect feature automatically assigns devices to the fastest available of the two 5GHz channels.

The six antennas help the Wi-Fi signal penetrate throughout large homes. You can set up the Guest Network so you don’t have to share your password with visitors. They will have their own separate access and won’t be mixed in with your home network.

Finally, when you pull this router out of the box to set it up for first-time use, the NETGEAR Genie app makes it truly simple and easy. If you want to make configuration changes later, the app can do those for you. It also gives you remote access. You don’t need a computer at all.

More features of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 router:

  • Comes with a 1-year warranty on the hardware
  • Parental controls to filter access

 

ASUS RT-AC3200 Wireless-AC3200 Tri-Band Wireless Gigabit Router, AiProtection with Trend Micro for Complete Network Security

asus-rt-ac3200

asus-rt-ac3200

ASUS released the RT-AC3200 to compete with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6. When it was first released, the original firmware was buggy and needed to be updated to improve the router’s performance. One problem it had was with its implementation of SmartConnect, the software that assigns each device to a channel depending on load. Early owners had to disable this feature because the router kept dropping connections.

But the RT-AC3200 has great features even though it had problems in the beginning. For one, instead of just OpenVPN, it also supports PPTP servers. It comes with Trend Micro’s network security package that includes privacy protection and parental controls. If you have an infected device detected on your network, this software isolates it so the problem won’t spread.

Other software in the router includes AiCloud that lets you plug in a USB drive and access its files wirelessly. This means you can download and stream to phones, tablets, your Roku, and more.

Like the Nighthawk X6, you can also plug a printer into the USB 2.0 port and print to it over the network. There are also 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the router for the devices you want to hardwire into the network. And of course, the RT-AC3200 is compatible with 802.11 ac/n/g/a/b devices for wireless connections.

More features of the ASUS RT-AC3200 router:

  • ASUS offers a limited warranty which length depends on the region of the purchase
  • Compatible with Apple Time Machine, WPS setup, and WEP encryption

 

Recommendation

Either one of these two routers would be a worthwhile upgrade to an older network router. Either one would be future-proof for a few years.

For overall ease and flexibility of use, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 takes the prize. The only downside is that there is a potential problem with connecting very old devices that don’t support WPA encryption. If you don’t have anything older than 2004 that needs a Wi-Fi connection, this may be the best router for you.

The ASUS RT-AC3200 has the ability to connect using WEP, but that would potentially degrade the security of your whole network. It does offer a PPTP VPN server and explicitly supports Apple Time Machine backups, not just Windows PCs. The early release problems still haunt this router, but if you aren’t put off by having to upgrade the firmware right out of the box, you could save money by purchasing this one.

Click here to purchase NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 on Amazon.com!

 

Click here to purchase ASUS RT-AC3200 on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a new wireless router that has Ethernet capability and can function as a print and media server, consider these two cost-effective models from TP-LINK. They use Broadcom chips for fast upload and download speeds. Plus, the C9 comes with a Powerline kit. Let’s take a look at them both to see which one will be the best for you.

TP-LINK Archer C8 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1300Mbps, 1 USB 2.0 Port & 1 USB 3.0 Port, IPv6, Guest Network

tp-link-archer-c8

tp-link-archer-c8

TP-LINK often waits to release a new product once the components have shown promise in other brands. This means their routers tend to be stable, solid performers sold at a reasonable price. The Archer C8 is exactly that.

The C8 is based on the Broadcom BCM4709 chip and has second-generation improved AC1750 wireless technology. While it doesn’t have a built-in VPN server, it’s capable of serving as a file server with FTP and Samba, and a media server with UPnP. The Archer C8 is fast enough to let you enjoy video streaming and gaming over your home network.

These are fun features for homes that are just now upgrading to this new technology. For example, lets say you have a lot of photos, videos, and music that you want to share with others in the same house. Plug a flash drive or external hard drive into either the USB 2.0 or the faster USB 3.0 ports on the router and anyone with authorization can download or view them.

If you have a printer that isn’t wireless, you can still print to it wirelessly by plugging it into one of the USB ports. If you have a computer that you prefer to connect by Ethernet, the C8 has four Gigabit ports for this purpose.

While this router supports 802.11ac, the newer generation of Wi-Fi, it’s backwards compatible with b/g/n so older wireless devices aren’t left without a connection. It has simultaneous dual band networks for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. With 1.75Gbps of total bandwidth and an 800MHz dual-core processor, everyone in the house can stream video and play games without slowing down the router.

If you ask why there are three antennas instead of just one or two, it’s because they help keep the wireless signal pattern evenly distributed around your home. TP-LINK calls this “Beamforming.”

So besides all these great features, what else is there? A Guest Network and Parental Controls also come ready to use on the Archer C8. The Guest Network lets you share your wireless connection with a visitor without having to give them the password. The Parental Controls let an adult set up limited access to safe sites online.

Finally, for those who had a terrible time setting up a router in the past, things are much easier now. TP-LINK lets you set up your router from a computer, tablet, or smartphone in just a few minutes with their guided access installation.

More features of the TP-Link Archer C8 wireless router:

  • Supports 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK encryption as well as MAC address filtering and binding
  • Supports Port Forwarding, Port Triggering, and DMZ
  • VPN Passthrough PPTP, L2TP, and IPSec

 

TP-LINK Archer C9 AC1900 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router and TP-LINK TL-PA8010P KIT AV1200 Gigabit with Power Outlet Pass-through Powerline Adapter

tp-link-archer-c9

tp-link-archer-c9

The TP-LINK Archer C9 is the update to the Archer C8 we reviewed above. Externally they look the same. Internally they differ because of the wireless chipset. The C9 is AC1900 class with a newer Broadcom chip so it’s a bit faster with a slightly larger bandwidth than the C8. Other than that difference they are virtually the same router.

Specifically, the C9 offers up to 1.9Gbps total bandwidth compared to the C8 at 1.75Gbps. The 2.4GHz band has a theoretical top speed of 600Mbps compared to 500Mbps on the C8. The 5GHZ band remains the same at 1300Mbps.

So if you already have an Archer C8, there isn’t much reason to upgrade to a C9 unless you want the Ethernet over Powerline kit that comes with it. Let’s take a look at that now.

Instead of relying on a spotty Wi-Fi connection in a distant corner of the house or broadcasting your sensitive information over a wireless network, why not wire your connection? You don’t need to run Ethernet cords along the walls for this. The Powerline adapters in the TL-PA8010P Kit are the perfect solution.

All you have to do is plug the adaptors into a power outlet in the wall and then use an Ethernet cable to plug your device into the adapter. All the data you then send over your home network travels along the electrical lines of your home. There’s no need to install any software or configure anything at all. Plug and play a home computer, a game console, anything that needs a wired connection.

The advantage to using a Powerline connection for your network is that you can receive data as fast as 1200Mbps. That’s great for watching 4K video. Even at the average speed of 115Mbps that some testers experienced it’s plenty fast when you consider that Blu-Ray is only 25Mbps.

More features of the TP-Link Archer C9 wireless router and AV1200 Powerline Kit:

  • Integrated power outlet in the Powerline adapter lets you plug in another electrical appliance so you don’t lose out on a socket
  • See description of the Archer C8 for details about the C9’s capabilities

 

Recommendation

If you want to create a wired network connection without installing wires and you also want a wireless router, the TP-LINK Archer C9 AC1900 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router and TP-LINK TL-PA8010P KIT are a perfect combination for you.

If you only want a wireless router with home file server and other capabilities, consider getting the TP-LINK Archer C8.

Click here to purchase TP-LINK Archer C8 on Amazon.com!

 

Click here to purchase TP-LINK Archer C9 on Amazon.com!