- Internet & the Web
The Best Home WIFI Router to Buy
When you upgrade or buy a new Wi-Fi router for your home, there are a few things to look for when comparing. What you want is speed for downloading and uploading. In general, you get what you pay for. With routers, this is very true. In the long run, it is better to pay more for the better router standard than paying less for older technology depending on your personal usage and environment.
The current Wi-Fi standard for today’s router (5th Generation) is 802.11ac. This is the number you want to see the specifications on the box or router. This means it can reach Gigabit speeds (1300 +Mbps) that you need to stream video and movies. It means it will cost more.
The second best rating is 802.11n. It is the 4th Generation (2007-2011) and has the capability to reach 600 Mbps. Again, this older technology may work for you depending on your use levels and frequency. It is cheaper.
To be honest, there are older technologies still being sold that for streaming video or movies simply will not work well.
From 2002-2006, the 3rd Generation, 802.11g/a, was available and only allowed up to 54 Mbps! I know, hard to believe how fast things change in technology. From 1999-2001, the 2nd Generation, 802.11b, existed and capable of 11 Mbps. The 1st Generation, 1997-98, just allowed only 2 Mbps!
Obviously, when shopping for a home Wi-Fi router, you want the fastest, which means 802.11ac or 802.11n. These are the version numbers you look for on the box or specs. All of the routers are backward capable.
Now, even if you get the latest router, your actual speed will vary depending on where the router is. Walls and glass may impact speeds, as does how many users are using it simultaneously. In general, keep your router in a central, open area of the home or apartment. Most routers have a range of at least 100-200 ft. But, walls and second floors will reduce the range and single speed. Even your ISP may cap your speed that limits your latest generation router.
As for brands, they all are similar in many ways, just look for the latest specification number.