Top 5 Routers of 2016

Top 5 Routers of 2016

Not all routers are created equal.

A few months ago I changed internet providers and received a complimentary router. Great, I thought! Saved a few hundred dollars and had it set up for free. That is, until I started using it.

First, I checked my internet speed… Turns out the router was delivering only half of what the provider had quoted. Second, the never-ending dropouts made streaming Netflix close to impossible. Lastly, the reach was terrible. The router needed to be moved from room to room along with my laptop.

After hours of research, prolonged conversations with the provider and countless resets later, I decided a good quality router was a worthwhile investment.

My research led me to these top 5 routers currently on the market. Please see the list below:

1. Linksys WRT AC 1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router

Although pricey, this router is the perfect solution if you’re having trouble reaching the provider’s quoted speeds. The router combines powerful hardware, next generation software and does away with internal fans for quiet performance.

The Pros:

  • Simultaneous Dual Band (2.4GHz + 5 GHz)
  • Beamforming Technology (to reduce interference)
  • 3.0 USB port
  • Great WiFi reach
  • Lightning fast processor
  • Runs quiet (no internal fan)
  • Easy setup
  • Remote management via app
  • Supports OpenVPN for secure remote connections

The Cons:

  • Price
  • No support for Time Machine backup for Mac users

2. Asus RT-AC3200 Tri-Band Wireless Gigabit

Coming in second on the list, this Tri-Band version is one of only 3 Tri-Band routers available on the market. Packed with features and sporting an easy to use interface, this router works well for home and business needs.

The major setback is the price point coupled with the feature allocation making it ideal for those who do a lot of local intensive tasks over WiFi but too expensive for regular home use.

The Pros:

  • Simultaneous Tri-Band (2.4GHz + x2 5GHz)
  • 2.0 & 3.0 USB ports
  • Excellent graphical interface for easy setup
  • Built in AiProtection against viruses and malware
  • Adaptive QoS helps prioritize internet bandwidth according to type of traffic
  • Real time “app analysis” to easily monitor bandwidth activity by source
  • Excellent hardware and great range

The Cons:

  • Very Expensive
  • An excess of features for regular home use

3. Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router (R7000)

The best Netgear router on the market to date. The Nighthawk offers a great selection of features for standard home use and is relatively affordable for a top notch networking device.

The Pros:

  • Solid/Sturdy design – wall mountable
  • Simultaneous Dual Band (2.4GHz & 5GHz)
  • 2.0 & 3.0 USB ports
  • Guest network supported
  • Built in QoS feature allows close monitoring + control of the upstream and downstream traffic
  • Supports Time Machine backup for Mac users
  • Stellar speed/performance on 5GHz
  • Very easy setup
  • Affordable

The Cons

  • 2.4GHz runs slower than expected
  • Bulky design takes up more space than the competitors

4. Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight Double 450Mbps N Router

The Dark Night router from Asus offers excellent coverage, stable wireless signal, great data rates on 5GHz band and an impressive feature set. The drawback of the product is buggy firmware, bad data rates on 2.4GHz and no support for the 3.0 USB standard.

The Pros:

  • Dual Band (2.4GHz & 5GHz)
  • Nice Web Interface & Networking Map
  • 2.0 USB ports
  • Supports guest networks
  • Traffic manager to monitor upstream and downstream activity
  • Supports VPN for remote users
  • Good range
  • Affordable

The Cons:

  • Bad data rates on 2.4GHz
  • Dual band is not simultaneous
  • Several major bugs with firmware
  • No support for 3.0 USB port standard
  • No phone support for setup

5. Synology RT1900ac Router

A simple WiFi solution for an excellent price! The Synology RT1900ac can also double up as a NAS server.

The Pros:

  • Very Affordable
  • SRM – Linux based operating system
  • Ability to automate and schedule downloads
  • Dual Band (2.4GHz & 5GHz)
  • 3.0 USB ports
  • Stable Excellent WiFi connection
  • SD card slot
  • Supports Time Machine for Mac users
  • Comprehensive router interface

The Cons:

  • Short range on 5GHz
  • Low data rates on 2.4GHz
  • Dual band not simultaneous
  • No interference reduction

The Bottom Line:

If the Linksys WRT AC 1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router is in your budget, I would recommend it as the ideal home router solution in 2016. For a cheap stable alternative the Synology RT1900ac Router is a good investment.

When looking for a great router remember to look for:

  • Dual Band
  • Good data rates at long range
  • 3.0 USB ports
  • Traffic manager to keep an eye on your activity
  • Interference reduction
  • Bang for your buck

Did we miss something? Leave it in the comments