The Best and Worst Wi-Fi Routers of 2014
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As of 2014, the N technology is dominating the market and surpassing what has been possible with A, B, G or N technologies. It might be one of the best times to buy a new router, be it if you need better reception or an update in terms of features. Certainly, updating to 802.11ac technology would be a good move at this point.
In this article, we’re going to take the time to outline what are the best and yes, worst, Wi-Fi routers that have shown up around this year. You can then take a look at these models and hopefully be a little more critical with your next purchase instead of just picking a box at random at the store.
Also, note that if you make any update to your wireless network, it’s preferable and pretty much necessary that you update all the parts of it to take advantage of the superior speeds and features. For instance, if you upgrade to the 802.11ac technology, both your wireless card and router should have it to function like they should. Are we just going to give you the most speedy routers out there? Not necessarily. We also appreciate a router that’s easy to setup and that’s accessible for the regular user. Let’s begin.
Asus RT-AC66U Dual Band 3×3 802.11AC
The Asus RT-AC66U is a router that has been getting a lot of talk this year, and with good reasons. The device sports great performance and features that will please both businesses and individuals. It still looks to be one of the safe picks at the moment. However, “safe” does come with a price: the ASUS RT-AC66T is generally sold for around $180. The range and speeds are truly impressive, and ASUS does support its models with good firmware updates that only help get more juice out of the hardware.
Since this is a high-end router, it tends to heat more, but that’s about the only downside there is to it. You would think that getting a router suitable for experts would make things difficult for the average user, but it is all the opposite as the ASUS RT-AC66U can be set up with ease in less than 15 minutes. You get 802.11ac technology running at 5GHz. If you use the 2.4GHz you will get good results as well. Wi-Fi can reach around 340Mbps. Any user that’s willing to pay a little more will feel rewarded by this one.
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1900
Linksys is a classic pick when it comes to routers and it’s usually easy to get help when you have a problem with those since they’re so common, so if you’re looking to stick with the company, this Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1900 (WRT1900AC) is most likely their top offering for this year. Once you get over the price of around $275 depending on the stores, you get the full package that Linsys usually offers with its products – excellent range, top speed and versatility.
Indeed, the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1900 still performs great even if you set up a bridge for the signal to go through. It’s obviously the router to own if you think you will be switching things up in your network a few times to accommodate different situations and activities. As far as the specs are concerned, it is run on a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, 256 megabytes of RAM and the flash memory is 128 megabytes. The unit is big and provides all the ports that you need. To sum things up with the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1900, if you’re willing to put up the money, you will certainly be rewarded for it.
In many instances, people are simply going to place a router close to their device, and the Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1900 is pretty much the best for that task. The parts and the technology inside are responsible for that speed. The router doesn’t require a lot of work to set-up once you arrive home with it and a cloud feature is also included. The only criticism it’s getting is that it tends to overheat easily, so try to calculate its placement so that you don’t worsen the situation and provoke some cuts.
Netgear Nighthawk R7000
The Netgear Nighthawk R700 is another option you might’ve heard of around the web, mainly for the fact that it’s a good deal all around. For its mid-high price of about $180, you get great consistency, speed and features. With its dual core 1Ghz processor, it boosts enough power for gaming and more demanding tasks. It also represents the perfect way to enhance the speed at which your mobile devices interact with it, and it’s good in the range department with its strong amplifier. It’s a quality router that can take on more demanding tasks.
Its look might be a buying argument as well. Among all of our picks for this year, the sleek design of the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 easily wins in this category. It’s also pretty wide so you will need to make some room for it. This allows for plenty of ports in the back. And finally, “Beamforming” is a feature you should look into for this model. It will detect the location of your devices and amplify the signal to focus on them. Instead of forming a universal range, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 can streamline its power where it really counts.
Does the R7000 outperform the two picks you’ve just read? Not exactly, simply because we found that our two first picks were easier to set up than this one. The R7000 could facilitate things more for the user. Still though, as an expensive router, it still delivers plenty of power for the price. Although not the absolute best buy for the year, it still deserves some mention and consideration when making your choice
D-Link DIR-868L 802.11ac
If you need an option that’s a bit cheaper, you might want to look into the D-Link DIR-868L 802.11ac. Even though its original listing price is around $200, you can find it pretty easily for less at around $125 on a website like Amazon. Even at $150, you could consider having stricken a pretty good deal. Compared to routers around the same price, it could lack a few features, but it totally delivers as far as the speed and the range are concerned. Around 220 Mbps at 100 feet should tell you that this router is capable of great things.
Until you become a little bit more picky about the features, this D-Link model certainly seems like an awesome deal. Among the problems that stop this model from being absolutely awesome, there’s the D-Link mobile applications which need some work and the setup of some features that can be quite a challenge. If you want to install the remote feature for the web for instance, it could sometimes prove to be a headache.
Still though, the price is there to keep this model attractive. The speed for the dollars you’re putting is definitely there. If you don’t know so much about routers, chances are definitely there that you will make this purchase, enjoy the 802.11ac technology, not notice any downsides, and come to the conclusion that you’ve made a great investment. Experts on the other hand, could find a bit more to complain about with its restrictions in certain areas like parental control or the set-up of bridges.
Trendnet TEW-812DRU V2
If you want to go for 802.11ac technology without having to pay the big price, the Trendnet TEW-812DRU V2 is certainly another interesting option to look at. However, it’s not versatile enough to act as a bridge, so be ready to use it only as a router. Still, it compensates that drawback by being able to create as much as 16 wi-fi networks, which is very impressive. You can easily create one for each standard, which is pretty cool. The interface lives up to expectations as well. Aside from these qualities, there’s nothing the Trendnet TEW-812DRU V2 offers that’s outside of this world.
The combo of the price and 802.11ac technology is, however, something worth thinking about. Each router has its own purpose and audience, and we’re sure that this mix right here will please a lot of customers. Look into it some more if you’re ever worried that its specifications may limit you too much, but otherwise, it’s a good buy. Lackluster parental control and the absence of a DLNA server are amongst the thing you should be careful about before you order. Check the specs to see if all the features on it will work for you, and if they do, purchase it while saving quite a bit compared to what you would’ve paid on other models.
V2 obviously means that it’s the second version of that model, and it’s pretty much the same build except that the communications processor has been updated to a new generation, there’s a USB 3.0 port instead of the 2.0, and you now get 3 dual-band antennas. It’s a new offer that once again should attract its fair deal of budget customers. The results are consistent and the disconnects are rare for the price, on top of quite good range. You will get good reception within 250 feet, and it will get even greater within 150 feet.
Belkin N450 and N750
Belkin seems to be having trouble with a few of their latest models, mainly the N450 and N750 models which have been receiving rather lackluster response on the web. The results concerning consistency and signal strength simply don’t seem to be cutting it for customers this year. With a good response, Belkin was certainly hoping for a better reception (no pun intended) for their latest line of products. What’s worst is how the problematic stories with the Belkin N450 and N750 seem to often have a similar ending – a return from the customer to buy something else.
Naturally, some users claim that those models work just fine, but the negative comments still seem to be pilling in for both of these versions. Surely, you “get what you paid for” some people might say, as the N450 and N750 cost around $50 and $100 respectively, but customers are in right of obtaining something that works period for their home network. The poor responsiveness of Belkin’s customer service is also being brought up by a few unsatisfied customers from north america.[wpbp_blocks set=”tp-links-archer-c7″]
Overall, we think ASUS and Linksys are the clear winners for this year. The Asus RT-AC66U and Linksys AC 1900 are great models, but you could also shop around and look at the different versions that are part of these lines of products. Those two routers deliver absolutely great technology and represent the perfect investment to make at the moment. The offerings from Netgear, D-Link and Trendnet might also be interesting depending on the price you’re willing to pay and the compromises you’re willing to make. And don’t forget to be careful even though the low price of the Belkin routers seem to be attractive this year, as you might possibly be in for a bad adventure since it seems to be a bad trip many clients have taken according to feedback.
You bought one of these top router picks and still can’t seem to get some good results? Try a different placement in your home. Sometimes, getting the best reception isn’t only about buying the top product, but also about using it properly.
To get absolutely the best reception you can get right now, place one of these products in the middle of your home to benefit from the entire range, avoid obstacles and interference, and place it as high as possible as well. That way, you will most likely be amazed with your purchase and be happy with the numbers you see if you run some tests.