Functionality

9/10

Security

10/10

Speed

10/10

Overall Rating

9.5/10

2. Netgear Orbi AC3000

Netgear Orbi AC3000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi System

 

Just like Google Wi-Fi, the Netgear Orbi is more than just a standard router. It is a wireless mesh system that offers you dynamic Wi-Fi coverage throughout your entire house, instead of having to buy a Wi-Fi extender. It comes in two unites, a router and a satellite, which is much like a cell phone signal booster.

In terms of pricing, this is one of the most expensive Wi-Fi routers around, retailing at about $400. However, the device makes up for it. Apart from covering a relatively large home, it doesn’t compromise on speeds, unlike Google Wi-Fi. What makes Netgear Orbi different from other Wi-Fi systems is that the add-on wireless extender connects to the main router using a dedicated Wi-Fi band.

Specifications

Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: 90.14 Mbps, 2.4GHz down: 93.69 Mbps

Connectivity: 4 x 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN + 3 LAN for Router, 4 LAN for Satellite), 1 x USB 2.0 port

Features: 4GB flash memory, 512MB RAM, AC3000, MU-MIMO ready

Beamforming: Implicit and Explicit for 2.4 & 5GHz bands

Ports: 4 x 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 WAN + 3 LAN for Router, 4 LAN for Satellite), 1 x USB 2.0 port

Dimensions: 6.67 x 2.36 x 8.89 inches (16.9 x 5.9 x 22.5cm; W x D x H) each

Weight: 1.96 pounds (889g) eac

 

Networking

The Orbi is a tri-band router and boasts 6 internal antennas, edging out most of its competitors there. One network operates on the 2.4 GHz band which has a 2×2 radio which offers speeds of up to 400 Mbps. The other two bands are both 5 GHz. They are however different in that one offers a 2×2 radio, with speeds of up to 866 Mbps while the other one has a 4×4 radio with a maximum speed of 1733 Mbps.

 

Installation

Though not as straightforward as Google Wi-Fi, the Orbi is fairly easy to install. This though doesn’t matter, as it is installed just like a normal router, only with an extra step. First, you need to connect the main Orbi router to a power source, and then to your modem. You can now turn it on.

The next step is to place the add-one satellite unit just some fair distance from the main unit. These are only steps, but the second one can be a little tricky. The distance you place the add-on satellite needs not be too far, as it can fail to have enough signal to extend. When it’s too close, you won’t get a good coverage.

However, when you get a good spot, the two units have already been configured to work seamlessly, and therefore it will just replicate the settings on the main router. You can then set your SSID and password using a browser. You will be set to enjoy your Wi-Fi.

We liked

  • check
    Easy setup.
  • check
    Phenomenal performance.
  • check
    Dedicated router-to-extension data channel.
  • check
    MU-MIMO technology.

We didn't like

  • close
    Relatively large devices.
  • close
    Expensive.
  • close
    Limited functionality on mobile app for now.

Functionality

10/10

Security

10/10

Speed

8/10

Overall Rating

9/10

3. Asus AC3100

Asus Wireless AC3100 Dual-Band Gigabit Router

 

The Asus RT-AC88U is another impressive router. It is a dual-band 802.11ac router, and is mostly associated with gamers. It makes use of Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology to broadcast to many clients simultaneously, without decreasing the bandwidth. Again, for a device to be compatible with this technology, it has to have a MU-MIMO enabled network adapter.

This router can be said to be a modification of its predecessor, the Asus RT-AC87U. It looks almost identical with its older brother, with 4 detachable antennas and two USB ports. The router features quite a huge number of LAN ports, with 8. This is ideal for users who would like to connect a number of devices like gaming consoles using the LAN ports.

The router is fast overall, and has great software for admin usage on both desktop and mobile devices. You won’t be disappointed after picking it up.

 

Specifications

 

Wi-Fi standards   802.11a/b/g/n/ac with MU-MIMO

Wi-Fi bandwidth 2,167 Mbps (5 GHz) and 1,000Mbps (2.4 GHz)

Chipset Broadcom BCM47094, BCM4366 and BCM4366

Flash memory 128 MB of NAND

System memory (RAM) 512MB of DDR3

WAN 1 Gigabit WAN (Internet) port

LAN 8 Gigabit LAN ports

Antenna Four detachable dual-band antennas

USB 01 USB 3.0 port and 01 USB 2.0 port

Features ASUS WRT firmware, AiCloud, AiProtection, High-power mode, Download master application, Dual-WAN, Port Aggregation, VPN server, Guest network, DLNA server, Automatic IP, Static IP, PPPoE (MPPE support), PPTP, L2TP, IPv4, IPv6.

 

Installation

Installing this router is quite easy, thanks to the company’s intuitive setup Wizard. The first step is to connect to your modem, and then power it up. You can then connect it to your PC. On connection, the Web-based console will automatically launch and prompt you to choose between a manual configurations or to use the wizard. You can choose between DHCP, Dynamic IP, Static IP or PPPoE for the configuration of your router. The only other thing you’ll need to do is set your SSID and Password, and the router will get in operation.

We liked

  • check
    Loaded with ports and management features.
  • check
    Multi-User Multiple Input.
  • check
    Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) enabled.
  • check
    Speedy throughput performance in testing.

We didn't like

  • close
    Middling file-transfer speeds.
  • close
    Expensive.

Functionality

8/10

Security

10/10

Speed

9.5/10

Overall Rating

9/10

4. Linksys WRT1900ACS

Linksys WRT1900ACS Dual-Band WI-Fi Router

 

The Linksys WRT1900ACS is a powerful router that outdoes most of its competitors with its performance. Actually, it can be easily termed as the best performing dual band router. It offers quite a good range with very high speeds, and has lots of ports and a powerful monitoring software. The router boasts a cool retro stack-able design and powerful hardware that is responsible for the router’s ability to deliver high speeds in a wide range.

 

The WRT 1900ACS is an updated version of Linksys’ 2015 flagship router, the Linksys WRT1900AC. However, it has a number of notable changes and improvements, which exempt Linksys traditional blue black design. It came with a faster processor and doubled the RAM in its predecessor.

This generally improves its performance, especially in scenarios where it broadcasts to many users at once. More notable, however, is the fact that it did away with the fan. This is very welcome as fans are usually noisy, and mostly break after some time.

 

Networking

The WRT1900ACS is a beast when it comes to networking. It’s capable of up to 1900AC Wi-Fi speeds with its dual-band operation and four aerial set up. It also features 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and 2 USB ports. One of these is a USB 3.0 port, while the other one is a combi eSATA/USB 2.0 port that is mostly for printers or file sharing. .

Though there are higher tiers like the AC2600 and the AC3200, most devices that we use at home support 3×3 at most, and therefore that technology won’t help if you don’t have similarly capable devices.

The router remains a 3-stream (3×3) 802.11ac router and therefore it has speeds of up to 1,300 Mbps on the 5GHz frequency band, and a maximum of 600 Mbps on the 2.54 GHz band. It uses advanced beamforming technology to make sure that every megabyte is its wireless signal is properly utilized. The router, however, doesn’t have MU-MIMO capabilities which enables better traffic management.

 

Installation

This router is very easy to set up. Actually, you can even use it without doing any set up! The router comes with some default settings that are usually printed on the underside. If you don’t want to configure, all you have to do is power it up, then just connect it to the internet source (e.g. broadband modem) through a short network cable that is usually included.

To customize the settings and give it your own SSID and password, you will need to access its web interface. To do this, you will need to use a connected computer or smartphone. You will then point your browser to the router’s default IP address, which is 192.168.1.1. You will be required to log in with the default password, which is admin. You can then set your SSID and password.

We liked

  • check
    Excellent AC1900 Wi-Fi performance.
  • check
    Powerful UI.
  • check
    Robust and functional chassis design.
  • check
    Goog USB transfer performance.
  • check
    OpenWRT support.

We didn't like

  • close
    Cumbersome, design may be a turn off to some.
  • close
    Pushes you towards Smart Wi-Fi login.
  • close
    Doesn't support MU-MIMO.
  • close
    No basic view for UI.

Functionality

9/10

Security

10/10

Speed

9/10

Overall Rating

9.5/10

5. Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000)

The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router (R7000)

 

The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900, commonly known as the R7000, is just as cool as the name suggests. It has a trapezoidal design with flared sides and the shape just reminds you of the famed fighter jet that goes by the same name. This router is not only designed to impress with its design, but is also very powerful with excellent speeds.

Its previous model is the Netgear R6300, and it offers everything found in that router, and more. It is a triband router, and is in the class of 802.11ac routers.

More important, the R7000 has the beamforming capability, a feature that enables it to identify where connected devices are located, and then boost signal in their direction, rather than scatter the signals in all directions.

On the 5GHz band, it offers speeds of up to 1.3 Gap’s when working with 802.11ac clients, and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. This router is meant for those who wish to save a few bucks in the premium router category, and therefore you can expect its coverage not to match that of routers like Netgear Orbi. It’s priced at around $1900, roughly $100 cheaper than even Netgear’s own R8000.

 

Specifications

Size: 2.0 x 11.2 x 7.3-inches

Number of Antennas/Removable: 3/Yes

Wi-Fi Spec: AC 1.9 dual-band 802.11ac

Ports: 4 gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 (back), USB 3.0 (front)

Peak 802.11ac performance: 444.8Mbps

Range in 2.4GHz mode: 140 feet

 

Networking

The R700 has a theoretical bandwidth total of 1.9 Gbps and uses a 3×3 dual-band approach, rather than the triband design. Netgear still has a 4×4 based R7500 which peaks at 2.3 Gbps, but then it costs $100 more.
At the back, there are 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 port. There’s a USB 3.0 port at the fron which can be used for hard drives, printers and memory keys. It doesn’t use the eSATA port which can be found in a router like WRT 1900 ACs.

 

Installation

Setting up this router is a bit streamlined, and shouldn’t present a problem to anyone. It comes with an AC adapter, network cable and a booklet. It however doesn’t have a manual or CD in the package, and therefore you will have to download them.

However, that shouldn’t be a problem as the router is already pre-configured with a Wi-Fi network that has a name and a password. These are printed at the bottom for the 2.4 GHz band. The 5GHz network has a “-5G” suffix, and just shares the same password.

You can then decide to personalize the Network by accessing www.routerlogin.net using a connected device. Otherwise you can still use the default IP address, 192.68.1.1 to set your own SSID and Password.

We liked

  • check
    Excellent combined throughput.
  • check
    Genie software.
  • check
    Removable antennas.
  • check
    Affordable.
  • check
    Open-source firmware.

We didn't like

  • close
    Disappointing range.
  • close
    Large in-wall AC adapter.

Functionality

8/10

Security

10/10

Speed

9/10

Overall Rating

9/10

6. Tp-Link AC1900 Archer C9

Tp-Link AC1900 Archer C9

 

The Archer C9 is Tp-Links’ first AC1900 class router. The brand is mostly associated with low-cost, mid-tier routers that offer a good value for your money, and the Archer C9 is no exception. Now with the Archer C9, Tp-Link have upped their game with the performance of this router in view of its market price. This Wi-Fi router has an 802.11 ac rating of AC1900.

In terms of design, it comes in an attractive white and silver, but dons a ‘routerly’ design, something very common with Tp-Link products. It has a hint stand, and can’t be mounted on a wall. Rather, it’s meant to be placed on a desk.

 

C9’s rear panel has only Gigabit Ethernet (with no Link / Activity lights) and USB 2.0 ports, Reset / WPS button and power switch. One USB is on the back, while the USB 3.0 port is on the side aside a wireless on / off switch.

You can use these ports for connecting a storage device, or sharing a printer. You can still use DLNA, SMB or FTP to share your connected media files. It then has 4 full speed Gigabit Ethernet ports that you can use to connect your external modem or router. Most of the back cover is perforated for cooling.

 

Networking

Being a dual-band router, the Archer C9 can do 1300 Mbps at the 802.11ac and 600 Mbps on the 8.2.11n band. It has 3 external antennas, and all these can be removed. It then supports beamforming, a feature mostly supported by high-end routers. Beamforming allows a router to direct its signal in the direction of the particular connected devices rather than in broadcasting it equally in all directions.

 

Specifications

Interface 4 10/100/1000Mbps LAN Ports,

                            1 10/100/1000Mbps WAN Port

                            1 USB 3.0 Port + 1 USB 2.0 Port

Button   WPS/Reset Button,

                            Wireless On/Off Button,

                            Power On/off Button

Antenna 3 dual band detachable antennas

Wireless Standards IEEE 802.11ac/n/a 5GHz

                                         IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz

Frequency       2.4GHz and 5GHz

Signal Rate       5GHz: Up to 1300Mbps

                                 2.4GHz: Up to 600Mbps

We liked

  • check
    Good Wi-Fi speeds at range.
  • check
    Easy to setup and use.
  • check
    Rock solid reliability.
  • check
    Good feature set for the price.

We didn't like

  • close
    Only one USB 3.0 port.
  • close
    Can't be wall mounted or laid flat.
  • close
    Can't compete with fastest routers over short distances.

Functionality

10/10

Security

9/10

Speed

9.5/10

Overall Rating

9.5/10

7. Synology (RT2600AC) AC 2600

Synology RT2600AC Wi-Fi AC 2600 Gigabit router

 

The Synology RT2600ac is Synology’s upgrade of their RT1900AC. This router brings together the latest networking hardware and Synology’s fast maturing software, Synology Router Management. The router offers you some excellent features like an integrated media server and what Synology calls VPN Plus, a clientless VPN solution built into the router.

It supports WAN failover, a feature which allows the router to support dual Internet connections, one via the WAN port and one via the first LAN port in either fail-over or load balancing mode.

When you connect an external hard drive, the router is capable of working as a network storage (NAS) server, which allows you to share data and stream contents either local or remote clients.

 

Networking

Just like the other AC2600 routers, this routers is a quad-stream (4×4) router. The 5GHz band has speeds of up to 1,733 Mbps, with the 2.4GHz one operating at 800Mbps. Also, this is a wave2 solution allowing for either 160MHz operation in contiguous mode or 80+80 MHz mode in discontiguous mode.  As there are two modes for the LAN WAN configuration, the standard gives you a single WAN and four LAN ports and the other two WAN ports and three LAN ports.

 

Installation

This device is fast and easy to install. When you power it on, connect to the modem and then to the PC, it will automatically launch the set up web portal. You can then set your preferences. Once you are through, you will be greeted with the nicest interface to ever grace a router. This is actually like an operating system and you’ll surely love using it.

 

Specifications

 

CPU “Dual-core” @ 1.7GHz

RAM 512MB DDR3

Antenna 4×4 MIMO Omni-directional high-gain dipole (2.4GHz/5GHz)

LAN 4 x Gigabit RJ-45; 3 x Gigabit RJ-45 (dual-WAN)

WAN 1 x Gigabit RJ-45; 2 x Gigabit RJ-45 (dual-WAN)

Ports 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x SDXC/SDHC

Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac simultaneous dual-band; 2.4GHz – 800Mbps, 5GHz – 1.73Gbps

Measurements 77 x 280 x 169mm (without antennae); 700 g

We liked

  • check
    Decent speed, range, and stability.
  • check
    OS-like, easy-to-use web interface.
  • check
    Extended functionality with add-ons.
  • check
    Dual WAN ready.
  • check
    Great Value.

We didn't like

  • close
    Lack wireless bridge.
  • close
    Not the fastest 802.11ac Wi-Fi available.

Functionality

8/10

Security

10/10

Speed

10/10

Overall Rating

9/10

8. Amped Ally Plus

Amped Wireless Ally Plus Whole Home Smart Wi-Fi System

 

The Amped Wireless Ally Plus is not just geared towards home users like most other Wi-Fi mesh networks, but it actually has something for everyone. At $300 for the set of two, this system is fully sufficient if you need to cover an area of 5,000 sq. ft.

This system cannot be extended, and you can only use it with its original second unit. The second unit is actually just an extender, but it is configured to work wirelessly with the main router so you won’t have to carry out set ups.

However, the extended unit has a downside in that it doesn’t have its own special band for connection, but rather uses the normal band. This means that it brings down speeds if you are connected to the extender unit’s signal. The extender also doesn’t support LAN connection, something that would have eliminated this problem.

Notwithstanding, the Amped Wireless Ally Plus is still a top router that deserves to be in this list for its reliable performance and great features. It has great parental controls and uses AVG’s Online Security Shield to keep you secure.

 

Networking

The Ally Plus is an AC2100 system, and therefore it can reach speeds of 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, and up to 1,300 Mbps when connected to the 5 GHz band. Both the router and the extender have 4 antennas each, and the router has a dual-core processor and 802.11ac circuitry that supports MU-MIMO data streaming. This allows it to transmit data to compatible clients simultaneously, rather than sequentially, allowing for faster throughput speeds.

 

Installation

You can get the router, which goes by the name Ally, at about $180 if you don’t need the extender. However, you should note that the extender can only be gotten by buying the set.

To set up, you can power the router unit and then connect it to your modem. You can then either use the Web interface, or the Android/ iOS app. Both of these will guide you through the set up process, step by step. The smartphone app is much simplified and meant for novice users, while the Web interface has more features and functionalities for technical or sophisticated users.

After setting up the router, you can then power the extender unit just about 40 feet away from the main unit. The units will sync, and the indicator light on the extender will turn green when ready.

 

Specifications

 

Frequency Bands: 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Wireless Speed: 2.4GHz 600Mbps + 5GHz 1300Mbps (simultaneous)

Amplifiers (each device):

  • 4 x 2.4GHz Internal Amplifiers
  • 3 x 5GHz External Amplifiers
  • 4 x 2.4GHz Internal Low Noise Amplifiers
  • 3 x 5GHz External Low Noise Amplifiers

Antennas (each device):

  • 3 x Dual Band Internal High Gain Antennas
  • 1 x Single Band Internal High Gain Antenna

Router Ports:

  • 1 x RJ-45 10/100/1000M (WAN)
  • 3 x RJ-45 10/100/1000M (LAN)
  • 1 x USB 3.0 Port

We liked

  • check
    Very good 2.4GHz and 5GHz throughput.
  • check
    MU-MIMO enabled.
  • check
    Simple installation.
  • check
    Strong parental controls.
  • check
    Built-in malware protection.

We didn't like

  • close
    Middling MU-MIMO range performance.
  • close
    Only one LAN port on extender node.
  • close
    Additional nodes not yet available.

Functionality

10/10

Security

9/10

Speed

9/10

Overall Rating

9/10

9. ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Tri-Band Gaming Router

 

This is one very powerful tri-band router, which is majorly designed for gamers. The ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 runs a 64-bit Broadcom BCM49408 processor, which is clocked at 1.8 GHz making it one of the fastest routers that you can find. It matches this with a massive 1 GB RAM, the most on any router.

The reason for packing such powerful hardware is because of the wealth of features that the router packs. For example, it comes with a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, and 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports. It also comes with a catchy router management interface, the ROG Gaming Center.

Networking

Along with the powerful processor, this device uses 3 BCM4366 radios for transmission, a feature used by most routers in the GT-AC5300 class. These radios support 4×4 streams and are also MU-MIMO enabled.

The 2.4GHz band is powerful enough to transmit 1,000 Mbps speeds, while the 5GHz band clocks at 2,167 Mbps on both 5 GHz bands. 2 out of the 8 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports are dedicated for gaming, and are optimized to have more priority than the others.

 

Specifications

 

Standards

IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IPv4, IPv6

Security

64-bit WEP, 128-bit WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise, Radius with 802.1x, WPS support

WPA/WPA2

WPA2

Buttons

WPS Button, Reset Button, Power Button, Wireless on / off Button, LED on / off

Wireless Data Rates

802.11a: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps

802.11b: 1, 2, 5.5, 11 Mbps

802.11g: 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps

802.11n: up to 600 Mbps

802.11ac: up to 1734 Mbps

1024QAM (2.4 GHz): up to 1000 Mbps

1024QAM (5 GHz): up to 2167 Mbps

Frequency Band

2.4G Hz, 5 GHz-1, 5 GHz-2

Antenna

8 x External antenna

Interface

2 x USB 3.0

We liked

  • check
    Excellent performance at all ranges.
  • check
    Full of features.
  • check
    8 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
  • check
    Dedicated gaming ports.
  • check
    Support for link aggregation.
  • check
    Remote router management.

We didn't like

  • close
    Large and heavy.
  • close
    Mobile apps are a little cumbersome.
  • close
    Pricey.

Functionality

8/10

Security

10/10

Speed

8/10

Overall Rating

8.5/10

10. NETGEAR R6400 AC1750

NETGEAR R6400 AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router

 

Netgear AC17750 Smart Wi-Fi Router R6400 is a mid-range router that delivers quality speed and range for large homes with 12 or more connected devices. It replaced Netgears’s R6300, and has greatly improved on performance from its predecessor.

Though it doesn’t belong to the Nighthawk family, its physical design is borrowed from that class.

It has 3 external dual-band dipole antennas but in order to save cost, the antennas don’t attach via RP-SMA like the Nighthawk’s do. For people looking for the best price/performance router with the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, then this is the router.

 

Networking

In terms of networking, this is a dual-band router that provides at maximum speeds of 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, and up to 600 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. It has a 800 MHz dual core processor and its backward compatible with 802.11 a/b/g/n. The router has Beamforming technology that helps it create more reliable connection with faster speeds.

 

Installation

Setting up this router is fairly simple, and it will only take less than 5 Minutes with the Netgear Genie program. The app will guide you through the simple configuration steps, and you won’t have to break a sweat.

 

Specifications

 

Standards: – IEEE® 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz

        – IEEE 802.11 a/n/ac 5GHz

        – Five (5) 10/100/1000 (1 WAN and 4 LAN) Gigabit Ethernet ports with auto-sensing technology

Wi-Fi Technology: 802.11ac

Wi-Fi Performance: AC1750 (450+1300 Mbps)

Wi-Fi Range: Large Homes

Wi-Fi Band: Simultaneous dual band 2.4 & 5GHz

Beamforming: Beamforming+ — Smart, signal-focusing technology boosts the speed, reliability, and range of your WiFi connections

Number of Ethernet Ports: Five (5) 10/100/1000 (1 WAN and 4 LAN) Gigabit Ethernet ports with auto-sensing technology

USB Ports: 2 USB ports (USB 3.0 & USB 2.0 port)

We liked

  • check
    Excellent value for price.
  • check
    Great speed and range.
  • check
    Attractive Design.
  • check
    Easy setup.

We didn't like

  • close
    Storing is difficult due to large size.
  • close
    USB printer sharing is unreliable.

Functionality

10/10

Security

10/10

Speed

9/10

Overall Rating

9.5/10


Conclusion

All the listed routers boast a great performance and can completely transform your home internet experience. The Tp-Link AC1900 Archer C9 stands out not only because of its great value for money, but also thanks to its excellent performance and a great assortment of advanced features. It definitely has it place between the best home routers list though it doesn’t quite match the throughput and range of some of the expensively priced routers, the Archer C9 provides enough performance for a middle sized home.


We Support Our Favorite Brands

We know and understand how important resistance, performance and design are, that's why we revolve only around reputable brands with high standards. To create a good product every quality aspect is necessary.