The internet is more popular than ever, and nearly every household accesses it on a daily basis. The world wide web has replaced the yellow pages, dictionary, encyclopedias, road maps, and more. Electronic devices also provide us hours of fun with gaming and other entertainment. Does it surprise you to learn that a study in the UK showed that 52% of today’s online gamers are women?
With so many hours of daily use, it’s more important than ever to get a router that is easy to install, has all the best features, and gives you the best bang for your buck. I’m here to make your job easy by highlighting some of the best wireless routers in 2017.
Asus RT-AC88U Dual-Band
Serious gamers are familiar with the ASUS brand, and ASUS didn’t disappoint with the RT-AC88U dual-band router. This unit has 8 Gigabit LAN ports, and each one of them handles very fast internet speeds.
ASUS used NitroQAM technology that boosts streaming by 50%. This AC3100 router has plenty of bandwidth for 4K streaming and lag-free gaming. This device leaves enough room for other resources during game play. The built-in game accelerator works efficiently to find the fastest path with the fewest hops, which means that you get smooth, fast gaming every time.
The extra LAN ports let you connect to your game console, tablet, iPhone, and PC. It also works wonderfully if you have a Mac.
Installation couldn’t be easier or more flexible with the RT-AC88U router. The installation wizard starts as soon as you plug it in and connect it to your PC and internet. The ASUS web interface launches automatically and then offers a couple of options, including automatic or manual install.
The ASUS web interface automatically checks your internet connection to configure it properly for a dynamic IP, static IP or PPPoE. During the installation process, the ASUS RT-AC88U prompts you to enter a name for each SSID and create a network encryption key for each band.
ASUS designed this router with a file transfer accelerator that works extremely fast on both bands.
Another nice feature of this router is the built-in NAS (network attached storage), which gives a lot of versatility without having to buy or connect a separate device. It lets you back up your computers and share files with documents, photos, videos, music, and more, using just the router.
This router comes with 4 external, detachable antennas that transmit and receive (4T4R design), reaching distances of about 5000 square feet.
Security is as important as ever considering all of the recent data breaches that have occurred around the world. This router has parental controls to keep the whole family safe and protected.
ASUS manufactures this router with AiProtection powered by Trend Micro, which protects against online viruses and hackers using a multi-stage format.
It’s a step ahead of the hackers because it prevents devices that are already infected from transmitting personal data, which put you at risk of identity theft. This security software also automatically detects vulnerabilities and blocks malicious sites.
While I have plenty of good things to say about this ASUS router, there are also a few small complaints I have. The USB connector sits slightly behind one of the antennas, making it slightly obstructive and difficult to plug USB cords into it. I also noticed that the firmware checker isn’t as up to date as the downloads on the ASUS site. Neither issue is a deal breaker. This router is still one of the best all-around wireless routers of 2017.
• Nitro QAN technology has the speed for streaming and gaming without lag
• NAS network for attached storage
• Strong signal stability
• Excellent for gaming and multiple electronic devices
• AiProtection multi-stage security
• USB port sits slightly behind one of the antennas
• Firmware checker doesn’t alert you to updates in a timely manner
Bottom Line on the Asus RT-AC88U Dual-Band Router
Whether you are a movie buff, gaming aficionado, or occasional web searcher, this router provides great performance. It has useful features like the built-in NAS, file transfer accelerator, and strong signal strength, making this router a top contender.
NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 Dual-Band
The Netgear Nighthawk R7000 router is a dual-band device with a dual-core 1 GHz processor that powers the bandwidth by giving priority to gaming consoles and streaming. I give this router high marks for gamers, movie enthusiasts, and music lovers.
This is an AC1900 router with 1300 Mbps speed in the 5 GHz band, and 600 Mbps speed on the 2.4 GHz band, so the speed is excellent.
This router has OpenVPN, an open-source software application that creates point-to-point or site-to-site connections remotely across facilities. It also comes with support for Open VPN if you have any questions or problems with it.
This router has QoS (Quality of Service) technology that allows for managing upstream and downstream speeds of the internet connection. You can adjust the settings to maximize speeds for gaming and streaming without getting aggravating lags or interruptions.
The Nighthawk R7000 uses beamforming technology that sends a beam directly to each electronic device. The straight, fast signal increases speed and range, and improves the device’s performance. This router locks technology in place to provide maximum range without dropping your signal.
Netgear designed this router with 3 detachable antennas that have high-powered amplifiers to extend the range.
This router automatically updates the firmware, which keeps the system running smoothly and saves you time. It also comes with Ready Share software for automatically backing up your Mac or PC data.
One of my favorite features of this router are the apps. “Netgear Up” is an app that provides the fastest way to install your router using a mobile device. Just download the app, connect to the router, and the installation wizard takes over.
Netgear also offers the Netgear Genie app free with this router. The Genie lets you monitor, connect, and control your whole system from your PC, tablet or smartphone. You can also diagnose and repair system issues and change your settings. Another thing I love that the Genie app does is to let you air print from your tablet or phone.
There are a lot of other things you can do with the Netgear Genie app like transfer files between devices, share or stream music and videos, and set up parental controls.
Security has always been an important feature in reviewing routers because the potential for threats is becoming more sophisticated. Netgear’s R7000 SSL/TLS security technology that uses a different key exchange for every signal.
Netgear had three main features in mind with the design of this router—gaming, streaming, and mobility. I think it checks all of those boxes pretty well. Netgear priced it affordably for packing so many features into it, making it an extra nice value.
• Ports are easily accessible
• Beamforming technology
• Free Netgear Genie app controls system from other devices
• Automatically updates to the latest firmware
• Extended range for larger homes and outdoor spaces
• Parental controls
• Gives great mobility
• Bulky in size
• Good speed but doesn’t rival some competitors
Bottom line on the NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 Dual-Band Router
This router has a lot of the features that you need, such as the beamforming technology, parental controls, and extended range. It does a fine job for gaming and most other purposes as long as you don’t mind the slightly bulky size.
NETGEAR Nighthawk R8000 Tri-Band
The Netgear Nighthawk is the ultimate router when it comes to efficiency, using the tri-band technology. It automatically assigns every device to the fastest Wi-Fi signal it can find, so you know that each device is running at its max speed.
This router uses Dynamic QoS technology which gives the largest bandwidth to gaming devices and streaming, which means no interruptions during your fun and entertainment.
Two other features that make the Netgear Nighthawk R8000 tri-band router one of the best wireless routers of 2017 are the Smart Connect and beamforming technologies. Smart Connect automatically selects the best WiFi signal for every device, giving it the power to perform its best.
The beamforming technology emits a straight-lined beam in the direction of each device. The direct pathway extends the range of the device, increases its speed, and helps it perform better.
The Nighthawk R800 delivers combined speeds up to 3.2 gigabits per second, which gets rid of lagging signals.
I like this router for its 4 LAN ports, which is sufficient for most people’s needs. I also like that it has 2 USB ports to set up a printer or connect storage devices. Netgear offers the Netgear Genie app that lets you access your print and storage drives wirelessly.
Installation is ultra-easy with a WPS button that sets the pairing and installation in motion. It’s also easy to set up the network for your tablets, smartphones, and computers.
This device looks like a lot of other routers, except that the six antennas make it look like its ready to take flight. All six antennas have powerful amplifiers for the maximum in range.
If you’re like me, your worst nightmare is having your computer crash and not having a backup. The Netgear R8000 takes away that worry because it comes with a free ReadyShare Vault app that runs continuous and scheduled backups automatically for Windows PC’s.
As with many of their products, Netgear set this router up to work with the one-of-a-kind Netgear Genie app, which serves as a personal dashboard that you can use to monitor, control, or repair your home network from any of your devices.
Even if you aren’t very tech-savvy, this router is easy enough to use that you can do it on your own. If you run into some trouble, you can take comfort in knowing that this router comes with open source support.
I think one of the more convenient features of the Netgear R8000 is the power on/off button. Turn it off by pressing the button when it’s not in use, without having to crawl on the floor to unplug it. More routers should offer this option.
Netgear customized their security across the board with features like parental controls, Guest Network Access, and a personal FTP server, that lets you customize your URL.
• Power on/off settings
• Net Genie app
• 6 high range antennas with built-in amplifiers
• Open Source support
• Can install it vertically on the wall
• A little larger in size than some competing models
• Support services are excellent, but slow response times
Bottom Line on the NETGEAR Nighthawk R8000 Tri-Band
The Nighthawk R8000 tri-band router is a little larger than some competing routers, but the range that the six antennas give off is worth the trade-off. With this router, you will know that all of your devices are running at optimal speed.
D-Link DIR-890L/R AC3200 Wireless Router Review
The DIR-890L/R is D-Link’s flagship home router. It is easily one of the most feature-rich wireless routers on the market — but only the most advanced users actually need many of its features. If you’re looking for basic home wireless connectivity, the D-Link DIR-890L/R is probably overkill for you. For advanced users, though, the DIR-890L/R has plenty to love. With three wireless bands, six antennas and the ability to deliver low-latency and high-bandwidth wireless connectivity, the D-Link DIR-890L/R is an excellent router for households that use many network-connected devices simultaneously.
The D-Link DIR-890L/R excels in its ability to provide wireless connectivity to many devices over a large area. With six antennas, the DIR-890L/R delivers a strong signal to devices anywhere in the home. The DIR-890L/R also has the ability to focus its beam in the direction of a particular device for improved signal quality and range
The DIR-890L/R also has three wireless bands — one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands — that help to prevent interference and ensure that the signal quality doesn’t begin to dip as more devices connect to the router. When a new device connects, D-Link’s Smart Connect feature automatically assigns it to the most appropriate band. Low-bandwidth devices such as wireless cameras and older computers utilize the 2.4 GHz band, while modern devices such as tablets and game consoles connect to the 5 GHz bands. To prevent congestion, Smart Connect balances the load between the two 5 GHz bands automatically.
The D-Link DIR-890L/R supports up to three simultaneous input/output streams for each signal band. With a maximum theoretical transfer rate of 200 Mbps per stream over the 2.4 GHz band and 433 Mbps per stream over the two 5 GHz bands, the DIR-890L/R has a maximum total transfer rate of 3200 Mbps. While no single device will reach the maximum transfer rate for any channel, devices with multiple transmit and receive antennas — such as some laptops — may benefit from more stable transfer rates.
In addition to its support for many wireless devices, the D-Link DIR-890L/R supports up to four gigabit Ethernet connections. It also has one USB 2.0 port for sharing a slower device such as a printer and one USB 3.0 port for network-attached storage. A 1 GHz dual-core processor helps to manage all of the connections without lag or dropped packets.
D-Link DIR-890L/R Review: Conclusion
For a household with heavy Internet connectivity requirements, the D-Link DIR-890L/R may be the ideal wireless router. Its six antennas help greatly with signal coverage, and its ability to focus a directional beam helps it to reach the far corners of larger homes. However, the lengthy feature list of the DIR-890L/R also comes with a very high price for a home wireless router. If your home has only a few devices that connect to the Internet simultaneously — and the size of your home doesn’t create signal problems — you may not notice the benefits that come with this router’s high price.
D-Link DIR-890L/R: The Pros
Three wireless bands with total transfer rate up to 3200 Mbps
Six antennas deliver directional beams for improved signal
Automatically assigns devices to wireless bands to minimize congestion
D-Link DIR-890L/R: The Cons
Some features are unnecessary for many users
8.TP-Link Archer C7 – The Budget Wireless Router for Essentially Everyone (2017)
TP-Link’s Archer C7 is not only my choice for the best budget wireless router but the best all-purpose wireless router.
Coming in at an attractive sub $100 price point, this wireless router offering from TP-Link is hard to ignore for the functionality it offers. The Archer C7 is a workhorse of a router. First and foremost, It utilizes the 802.11ac wireless connectivity standard, which is a staple of today’s high-end wireless routers. This means a significant 3X increase in performance over its more common counterpart, 802.11n networking.
The Archer C7 boasts 1.75 Gbps of total bandwidth. This equates to two separate bands, one running 450Mbps at 2.4GHz, and the other 1300Mbps at 5GHz. The 5GHz wireless band will offer blazing fast speeds for devices situated near the router, making it excellent for online gaming or watching high-definition video. Likewise, the 2.4 GHz band will offer superb range, meaning you will no longer have to worry about dead zones. This combination will provide you with a stable and ultra-fast wireless experience.
In addition to the features mentioned above, the TP-Link Archer C7 includes additional functionality that supersedes its budget-minded price point. The router comes touting two USB ports. This will allow you to set up Network-attached storage (NAS), unlocking the ability to view and share files via your home network. On top of that, the Archer C7 boasts an Easy Setup Assistant, making the initial installation process much easier through this included software.
It is challenging to point out the downsides of the C7, as it does so many things so well at a great price. While the unit is plastic, it is important to note that this is a wireless router. Unlike our cellphones or laptops, which are constantly subjected to the rigors of the day, the Archer C7 doesn’t need robust build quality and will value more from its advanced speed and connectivity.
While the Archer C7 won’t provide you with the bells and whistles of higher priced wireless routers, the sheer performance and range you can expect will more than exceed the Archer C7’s price point. This makes the TP-Link Archer C7 an easy choice to recommend to any user, as this router will be more than capable for the average household or small business.
Pros: 802.11ac wifi, Two wireless bands (2.4GHz & 5GHz), USB ports for NAS storage, Sweet spot for price to performance, Proficient for virtually all use-cases, Perfect for online gaming
Cons: Lacking some functionality of pricier wireless routers
9. WiFI Product Review (D-Link Wireless AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (DIR-880L))
The D-Link Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (DIR-880L) is an elegant and powerful router. It is capable of providing a 1900 Mbps wireless connection for multiple devices. The DIR-880L operates on the 2.4GHz as well as the 5GHz bands. Because of this, high-bandwidth activities, such as gaming or streaming, won’t interfere with low-bandwidth activities, such as surfing the internet or checking e-mail. The router’s Smart Connect Technology will efficiently select the fastest available Wi-Fi for every device. The DIR-880L’s Beam forming technology allows for better Wi-Fi as you move around your home. This router’s advanced Quality of Service distributes bandwidth efficiently between separate devices. The DIR-880L has a user-friendly interface and set-up wizard for ease of use.
The router supports the mydlink SharePort app when connected to a USB drive. The app allows your mobile device to share cloud storage with a USB drive plugged into the router. All of these options can be managed through your mobile device at any place and at any time. The router’s software also maintains a vast array of options for customization and privacy. The DIR-880L includes many advanced firewalls features, for example, content filtering can be based on the MAC address, URL, and domain name. Another of these advanced features is the filtering schedules that can be set on certain days and specific hours or minutes. The firewall features also allow for secure and concurrent sessions, so users of the DIR-880L can securely access corporate networks.
There are two USB ports on the router. There is one USB 3.0 port located on the side and an additional USB 2.0 port located in the rear. You can connect a printer to the router, allowing all devices on a network to print wirelessly from anywhere in a home. The DIR-880L is fully compatible with the 802.11n, 802.11g and 802.11a standards so it can connect with any wireless device already owned. It also includes gigabit LAN and WAN ports that allow for high-speed wired connections for up to four devices. The three detachable antennas and three power amplifiers allow for maximum coverage and performance. The DIR-880L also comes with screws and instructions so the router can be mounted onto a wall for ease of access.
The D-Link Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (DIR-880L) is an excellent router. The router is capable of seamlessly connecting a multitude of devices and allows the user to customize the router to fit their specific needs. The DIR-880L has a high coverage area capable of easily providing fast internet connection to the entirety of a two story house. This is an ideal router for any household with multiple devices that want fast, reliable internet connection.
• High coverage area
• Managment of the network via a smart phone or tablet
• Dual-band Performance
• Wired internet connections
• Highly customizable
• Two USB ports
• Cloud storage via the mydlink SharePort app
• Very user-friendly
• Sleek design
• Expensive for a typical household
• D-Link customer service can be unreliable
Wrapping Things Up
With each passing year, electronics manufacturers are developing technologies that expand bandwidth to increase speed and connectivity. It’s easier than ever to get a router that gives every member of the household a seamless internet experience.
My top pick, the Asus RT-AC88U, is one of the best wireless routers for 2017. The RT-AC88U incorporates the best in technology paired with maximum speed and top performance across all devices at the same time.