Wireless routers are the primary components of any wireless network. In this article, you will find reviews of the four best wireless routers on offer.
If you are shopping for a wireless router, you have a lot of options to choose from. The reviews presented in this Techspirited article will help you choose the best and fastest router for your network.
A wireless router is an electronic device, with all the functionality of a wired router, plus a built-in wireless access point. It acts as the radio transreceiver for wireless networks. Wireless networking has widespread implementation today, due to the ease of wireless Internet access it offers. If you are setting up a wireless network for your office or home, the first thing you need to buy is a fast and efficient router.
Choosing a Router
What are the router settings or features that a first-time buyer should look out for? Here is a list of specifications to look out for.
- Speed: The router speed is usually specified in Megabits per second. Higher the speed, better it is for the network.
- Networking standard: The Wi-Fi networking standards – 802.11N and 802.11G are the two most popular choices. 802.11N is the newer standard that offers higher speed.
- Dual Band / Single Band: A dual band router offers transmission at two frequencies and is faster than the single band.
- Number of antennas: More the number of antennas, more is the number of transreceivers, which translates into better connectivity.
- Firewall and Network security: A firewall, along with a secure data encryption standard like WPA or WPA2 is a feature that you should look out for. A WPA vs WPA2 comparison will reveal that the latter is better.
- Wired Access Points: More the wired access points, better is the wireless router, as it enhances its utility.
- Coverage Range: Range is one of the most important features to look out for. Higher the range, the better it is for your network.
The most popular brands are Linksys, D-link, Netgear and Belkin.
One ideally wants a product, with the simplest setup, with least problems, which can provide excellent performance in the long run. Here are some of the best wireless routers available in the market. There are a range of products developed by each brand, according to the varying requirements of the users. So this list of products may only be representative.
Best Wireless Routers
The uber-router of its generation, the Linksys E4200 is power-packed for high performance. With simultaneous dual band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) transmission, 6 internal antennas, transmission rate of 450 + 300 Mbps, a built-in UPnP AV media server and 4 high speed gigabit ethernet ports and USB port for data sharing, this router is just about perfect for any home or small office setup. You may connect television sets, gaming consoles, computers or just about any Wi-Fi ready device with it and enjoy high speed data connectivity. The price tag is $179.99 and I can guarantee that it’s worth every penny.
Netgear N600 (WNDR3800)
Probably the most innovative router of the whole lot, the Netgear N600 is your complete Wi-Fi solution. With a maximum – 300 + 300 Mbps of data transmission speed, a 680 MHz powerful MIPS 32-bit processor, 128 MB RAM and five gigabit ethernet ports, this is a powerhouse performance router. Its Clear Channel Selector technology ensures data transmission is maintained at high speeds, despite interference and noise.
The NETGEAR Genie software lets you easily monitor Wi-Fi connectivity, while Netgear apps designed for iPhone and Android phones let you access data stored on those devices. It comes with tons of other features like external hard drive sharing, printer sharing and live parental control. This product is real value for money and comes with a price range of $130 to $140. It is ideal for home users looking for a HD video streaming, gaming console or HDTV connectivity.
Apple AirPort Extreme
The best pick for Mac loyalists, the Apple AirPort Extreme has inbuilt features which enable hard drive and printer sharing over the network, besides high speed data transmission and enhanced range. Simultaneous dual band transmission and connectivity for up to 50 users, make it a more than adequate router for home use, justifying its ‘Extreme’ attribute. It comes with the product quality that Apple is known for and is compatible with both Mac and PC. This is the ideal choice for any home user, looking for a router that can cater to multiple users, sharing the same network connection.
With a price tag of around $130, Belkin N750 is one of the fastest routers around, with 750 Mbps of data transmission speed. With all the standard features like dual band connectivity and media or printer sharing, this device offers WPA2 sharing with SPI and NAT firewalls. It’s a no-frills, robust device which does exactly what’s expected from it, with no maintenance issues whatsoever.
Besides the top four picks presented in the table above, here are some routers which also deserve ‘honorable mention‘.
- Cisco Valet Plus M20 ($109.99)
- Linksys E1200 ($49.95)
- Linksys E 1500 ($79.99)
- Linksys E2500 ($99.99)
- Linksys E3200 ($159.99)
It is quite clear that I am a Linksys fan. In my experience, the company makes the best routers in the world. Hope these reviews help you in choosing a router, that is best for your own network. Make a choice only after thorough research and analysis of your exact requirements!