The necessity of having a quick and reliable home Wi-Fi network is one of the many lessons we’ve learned in recent years as a result of the pandemic. While services like Disney+, Netflix, and Xbox Game Pass keep us occupied while we are not working or studying remotely, apps like Google Classroom, Slack, and Zoom are essential to connect us with our classmates and teachers. Even now, after (hopefully) the brunt of the pandemic has passed, there’s no denying the importance of having access to a strong Wi-Fi signal in the modern world.
As a result, you require a wireless router that is both reliable and affordable. What, therefore, makes a good router? How do you determine which is best for you? Is a mesh Wi-Fi dual or tri-band the better choice? Well, this is why we are here today. In this article, we will share with you everything that will help you choose the best possible Wi-Fi router.
How do routers work?
A router transmits the Wi-Fi signal wirelessly to the electronics in your home, such as laptops, smart speakers, TVs, smartphones, and tablets, from the modem your Internet service provider (ISP) or you purchased delivered. For Wi-Fi service that is often faster and more dependable, routers frequently offer ports that let you connect them directly to devices like game consoles using Ethernet cables. Additionally, you can connect a printer to your home network with an Ethernet wire so that your entire family can use it.
As part of your Internet plan, your ISP could offer you a wireless router for a monthly leasing price. The gadget occasionally doubles as your modem and router. However, if your router is old or has a small coverage area, your Wi-Fi signal can be too sluggish or weak to provide you access to the Internet in key areas of your house. Automatic firmware updates are another feature of many contemporary routers. This helps keep you and your data safe by ensuring that your router always receives the most recent security fixes as they become available.
Different types of wireless routers
There are two different kinds of wireless routers: mesh routers, a more recent variety, and conventional single-unit wireless routers. The first kind, which you just plug into your modem to form a home Wi-Fi network, is undoubtedly already familiar to you. A single-unit wireless router might or might not be adequate to broadcast Wi-Fi throughout your entire house, depending on a variety of elements, such as its size and the materials used in its construction.
Mesh routers can help in this situation. These are made up of numerous units that are often offered in packs of two or three and are carefully placed throughout your home where a strong Internet connection is most needed. To more effectively distribute Wi-Fi around your home, one device connects directly to your modem and then communicates wirelessly to the other two, forming a big “mesh” network.
No matter the sort of router you select, getting a strong Wi-Fi connection can be both an art and a science. The performance of your router will be affected by things like drywall and plaster; even poorly insulated doors and floors and fish tank water might degrade the signal.
In the latter part of 2019, the first Wi-Fi 6–compatible routers hit the shelves. Wi-Fi 6 is speedier and offers better support for the increasing number of connected devices that are already present in households today when compared to Wi-Fi 5, which was introduced in 2014. Wi-Fi 6 may occasionally be referred to by its technical name, 802.11ax. Because Wi-Fi 6 is backward compatible, any device created before 2019 can easily connect to a Wi-Fi 6 router. However, those gadgets won’t fully benefit from Wi-Fi 6.
The newest Apple and Android devices are also compatible with Wi-Fi 5 routers, but their speed will be limited to that of Wi-Fi 5, which is, to be fair, a fair amount faster. (It’s not as though individuals in, say, 2018 experienced excruciatingly slow Wi-Fi.) Additionally, since Wi-Fi 5 routers are still available for purchase and frequently cost less than Wi-Fi 6 routers, purchasing a Wi-Fi 5 router may occasionally be the wiser choice.
2.4 GHz and 5 GHz are the two primary Wi-Fi bands. Nowadays, the majority of routers offer the choice of using either band. They are known as dual-band Wi-Fi routers for this reason. When there are many users, Wi-Fi routers occasionally have two separate radios, which allows them to create two separate wireless networks, one on each band. The router can distribute the number of users on each band to enable the best speeds to be obtained, but these routers typically cater to businesses.
Make sure the router is dual-band for residential users so it may choose the best band to get the greatest performance. There are a few tri-band routers available. These can have two distinct bands in the 5GHz range. Alternatively, they can employ totally distinct frequencies. Make sure the bands are authorized for use in the country if this is the case.
A LAN port
An Ethernet cable is used to connect a computer to the router utilizing LAN (Local Area Network) ports. A LAN port-connected hub is necessary for the operation of several Internet-enabled smart home and IoT products, including those from Samsung SmartThings and Philips Hue. An Ethernet switch, which functions somewhat similarly to a power strip but adds open Ethernet ports, can increase the number of LAN ports available if you require more than the router has.
If a router has a built-in print server, USB ports can be used to connect to USB printers, external hard drives, and flash drives.
All in all
When purchasing a new Wi-Fi router, there are numerous factors to take into account. While most will function flawlessly in the majority of circumstances, it is important to take into account what is truly required before comparing the specification and pricing. In order to know exactly what kind of Wi-Fi router you are purchasing, it is also important to understand some of the major buzzwords related to Wi-Fi routers.
Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by Elnur Amikishiyev.