There was a time, not long back, when the only appliance connected to the internet used to be the PC or the laptop.
Today, every home has a multitude of devices like PCs, laptops, iPads, smartphones, televisions, and other IoT-enabled devices.
The conventional modem, therefore, lies confined to the dustbin. In its place, the Wi-Fi router has started ruling the roost.
With people using these devices simultaneously, and that too in different rooms in the house, one should invest in a high-quality long-range Wi-Fi router.
Such routers are also useful in an office environment for providing multiple connections to access the internet.
This post discusses some of the best Wi-Fi routers for Home, Gaming, 4K, and long-range home and office available in India.
Table of Contents
- Best Wi-Fi Routers in India
- Best Dual Band Wi-Fi router
- Best Triband Routers
- Best Gaming Router
- Best Wi-Fi 6 Router
- Best 4G LTE Router
- Best Wi-Fi Routers Under 3000
- Best Wi-Fi Routers Under 2000
- Wi-Fi Router Buying Guide
- Difference between IEEE 802.11n and IEEE 802.11ac
- Wired Vs. Wireless
- Router Vs. Modem Vs. Hotspot
- The Wi-Fi Standard
- Wi-Fi Speeds
- Single Band or Dual Band or Tri-Band Routers
- Mesh Network
- Time to get a new Wi-Fi Router
- Gaming Routers
- ISP and Router Compatibility
- Wi-Fi Security Aspects
- Smart Wireless Features
- Software features in a Wi-Fi router
- Different types of ports in a Wi-Fi router
- USB Connections
- MU-MIMO Technology
- Different Types of Routers
- Other factors that affect your Wi-Fi speed
- Channel width – How do you adjust it to get better coverage?
- The role of the antennas in the Wi-Fi router
- The Positioning of the antenna
- Concluding Remarks
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
Best Wi-Fi Routers in India
Best Dual Band Wi-Fi router
1. ASUS AC1900 RT AC68U Dual-band Wireless Gigabit Router
The Broadcom TurboQAM technology present in this wireless dual-band router can deliver internet speeds up to 1300 Mbps on the 802.11ac model. It comes with a dual-core processor powerful enough to ensure 4K video streaming, low latency online gaming, and ultra-fast downloading.
Asus routers are renowned for achieving the highest scores in 6 study factors, namely reliability, range, security, capability, up/download speed, and restoration of connection.
The dual-core processor allows the router to do more activities such as enabling VOIP calls and uninterrupted file downloading. The beamforming technology provides for high amplification of signals and increases the coverage area while providing enhanced stability at the same time.
Asus places great emphasis on the data security aspect. The AiProtection feature provided by Trend Micro offers multi-stage protection against online threats. It blocks access to malicious sites and prevents already infected devices from transmitting confidential data.
Installing the router is easy. Updating it is also easy with the help of ASUSWRT User Interface. It offers you a lot of advanced options.
2. ASUS RT AC58U AC1300 Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router
This ASUS Wi-Fi router does not double up as a modem. It works well with cable broadband services. It is a powerful wireless router as it comes equipped with a quad-core processor for responsive network performance.
This router works on the 2X2 MU-MIMO technology thus ensuring that it communicates with multiple devices at a time. It is the right choice of Wi-Fi router for Jio Fibernet, ACT Fibernet, and other services where you get broadband services through cables. This router comes with the RJ-45 port whereby it is compliant with these Fibernet services.
The highlight of this Wi-Fi router is that it provides extremely fast internet speeds and is compatible for use on multiple devices. It operates on the dual-band, the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz frequencies.
As far as memory is concerned, this router comes with 128MB memory and an improved Wi-Fi range. There are four 5dBi antennas with AiRadar universal beamforming technology thereby ensuring that it communicates with various devices simultaneously without causing any lag in the information.
Some of the other salient features include parental controls, multipurpose USB 3.0 port and facilities to monitor and filter the internet activities of children and other users.
3. TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Cable Router
The Archer C7 can work at speeds three times faster than wireless N speeds as it delivers combined wireless data transfer rate of a maximum of up to 1.75 Gbps. This router can deliver up to 1300 Mbps wireless transfer over 5 GHz band and up to 450 Mbps over 2.4 GHz band. Hence. It is an excellent router for online streaming, fast and action-packed games, and other bandwidth-sensitive assignments.
Besides handling simple tasks like sending emails and browsing websites, this router can cater to challenging tasks like streaming HD movies and online games. This router comes with three external antennas with dual-band Wi-Fi to enable extensive wireless coverage. Therefore, it is an ideal router to have at home and the office.
One of the critical benefits of this router is the USB connectivity feature. Thus, you can share a hard drive full of media through your home network. This cable router comes equipped with one Gigabit WAN port and four Gigabit LAN ports, thereby ensuring connection speeds at about ten times that of the standard Ethernet connections.
Though this router is not compatible with Wi-Fi 6, it is a fast 802.11ac router with an incredible range. You can connect multiple devices like laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, and other internet-accessing devices to the router and enjoy seamless network connectivity.
This router supports IPv6, the future generation of the internet protocol. Parental controls enable you to restrict the viewing habits of your children.
Best Triband Routers
4. Linksys MR8300 Tri-Band Gaming Mesh Wi-Fi Router for Home
Nowadays, people have various internet-accessing devices at home, including televisions and other IoT devices, there is a higher need for having high-quality Wi-Fi routers. This Linksys MR8300 is capable of delivering extremely fast wireless speeds.
This router uses Tri-Band and MU MIMO technology to deliver excellent Wi-Fi speeds to multiple devices simultaneously. Thus, you can stream 4K media and browse the internet. Playing online games is a piece of cake when using this router.
This MR8300 Wi-Fi router comes with a built-in Mesh Wi-Fi to scale your household internet needs. As your needs increase, you can add a Linksys Velop node to expand your coverage. The nodes can work seamlessly to eliminate manual switching between network.
Setting up this Wi-Fi router is easy. You can connect the Wi-Fi router to the modem and download the Linksys app. Set up the router with your network name and personal password.
The most heartening feature of this MR8300 Wi-Fi router is that it comes equipped with four Gigabit Ethernet ports. Thus it supports up to ten times faster standard Ethernet. You can connect your shared storage devices and peripherals to the network using this router.
This router automatically receives firmware updates from Linksys as soon as they are released. It enables your router to remain secure and up to date.
5. Netgear Orbi RBK20-100INS Tri-Band Router Home Wi-Fi System
If you are scouting everywhere for a better Wi-Fi experience, this is it. Orbi Wi-Fi system is the ideal Tri-band Wi-Fi system for your entire house.
This Wi-Fi system can offer seamless connectivity for all of 4000 square feet area. Thus, it can include your home, patio, and even the outdoor areas.
This Wi-Fi router offers a dedicated Tri-band internet connection, thereby maximising internet speeds. It provides the ideal speed for 4K streaming and connects to multiple devices comfortably.
Installing this Wi-Fi router is easy. You need to download the Orbi app to set up and personalise your Orbi Home Wi-Fi system. There is no necessity for a separate account. The exciting feature is that you can also set up an internet connection for your guests and check the status of your various devices conveniently.
The highlight of this router is that it maintains constant internet speed despite more devices connected to it. In comparison, other Wi-Fi systems show a decrease in speed. The Tri-band feature enables more devices in the home to connect to your router.
Best Gaming Router
6. Netgear Nighthawk XR500 Pro, AC2600 Dual Band Gaming Wi-Fi Router
Browsing your internet and sending emails is different from high-end gaming. The XR500 Pro Gaming Router stabilises ping, reduces lag spikes, and optimise network performances.
The Nighthawk XR500 Pro uses state-of-the-art software to optimise your internet connectivity. This router prioritises the gaming traffic and allocates bandwidth to each device to eliminate lag. You can comfortably control the maximum upload and download speed of each device to minimise lag spikes.
The Geo-Filter allows you to limit the distance to servers and other players and fix your gaming lag. It also provides options to blacklist tardy opponents and whitelists your friends.
The customisable dashboard allows to personalise your game and view real-time bandwidth utilisation, ping, and other parameters on a single screen.
The four antennas offer better Wi-Fi coverage, faster speeds up to 2.6Gbps and less interference. MU MIMO allows for simultaneous streaming, Quad-Stream, and 160MHz for accelerated rates.
This router works on a powerful dual-core 1.7Ghz processor to maintain consistency in the speeds. It also supports 4K streaming, VR gaming, and much more.
Four Gigabit Ethernet ports help to maximise speeds, ideal for high-quality streaming and fast-paced games. Besides offering high speeds, this router provides the highest security with VPN, WPA/WPA2 and the Gaming VPN Client Support to prevent DDoS attacks and protect your network.
7. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC2900 Wi-Fi Gaming Router
Asus ROG Wi-Fi gaming router offers triple-level game acceleration and boosts game traffic from your device to the game server. This router is recommended by GeForce Now, a cloud gaming service that turns your non-gaming system into a powerful gaming rig.
This gaming router enables you to play the latest games like PUBG and Fortnite on popular PC game stores like Steam. GeForce Now ensures up to 90% of bandwidth to dedicated gaming.
This router lets you bid goodbye to the slow devices by port forwarding in three easy steps. You can open NAT on GT-AC2900 and team up with three steps.
This router is a powerful appliance as it provides Whole-home Mesh Wi-Fi at full speed for multiple gamers. This device can provide seamless internet connectivity to every corner of your home without any Wi-Fi dropouts.
MU MIMO technology enables up to four compatible devices to have their dedicated high-speed Wi-Fi connections without slowing down the network.
As you graduate towards the high-end gaming routers, you need higher security because these routers can provide high-speed connectivity to multiple devices simultaneously. GT AC2900 features AIProtection Pro powered by Trend Micro to protect your devices from external threats.
Setting up this router is easy if you follow the instructions that come along with the product.
8. TP-Link Archer AC5400 Gaming Router
Gamers require tremendous internet speed for their gaming activities. The numbers of online players are increasing day by day. The TP-Link Archer AC5400 is the ideal wireless router in India for gaming.
Gaming requires the routers to have high power. This router comes with a 1.8 GHz Quad-core CPU, three co-processors, and 1 GB RAM. It enables the router to get the raw power required to handle the high-end gaming rigs.
The Archer AC5400 employs 4X4 MU-MIMO and Airtime Fairness for balancing the requests of every device connected to it with the requisite speed and precision. The router has a far-reaching Wi-Fi range thereby allowing you to play your games from the basement of your house as well. You can have a Wi-Fi extender to improve the quality of the signal, if necessary.
The Wi-Fi router comes with comprehensive protection from online threats. The TP-Link HomeCare powered by Trend Micro can protect every device from the latest cyber threats because of the in-built antivirus and cutting-edge intrusion prevention technology.
Best Wi-Fi 6 Router
9. NETGEAR Nighthawk-AX4 4-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router – RAX40
The higher the speed of internet connectivity, the better is the overall experience. NETGEAR Nighthawk AX4 is one of the best Wi-Fi routers available on the market when it comes to speed and capacity. With Nighthawk AX4, gridlocks are things of the past.
Wi-Fi technology has improved considerably over the years. This 4-stream router is compatible with Wi-Fi 6, the epitome of speed and capacity. As a result, it becomes convenient to have more simultaneous Wi-Fi streaming.
The best aspect of this router is that it is 100% backward compatible. Thus, it can work with your existing Wi-Fi systems.
This Wi-Fi router can give you speeds up to 3 Gbps, thereby making it easy for HD streaming. Communicating with your loved ones on video calls is comfortable with this router. Gamers can have a great time because of the enhanced speeds. The higher capacity ensures that there is no lagging on your smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Today is the age of smart devices that require Wi-Fi compatibility. The Nighthawk AX4 is capable of handling up to 20 Wi-Fi devices at a time. You end up having a tremendous internet experience at the best of speeds.
This Wi-Fi router works on the new OFDMA technology that enables efficient sharing of Wi-Fi bandwidth. This router significantly increases the amount of data that can be sent and received by your various devices and prevents connection delays.
Setting up this Wi-Fi router is easy. The Nighthawk app helps to set up the router and get more out of it with features like remote access to your cellular network, internet speed test, and internet pausing. The high-powered antennas ensure reliable Wi-Fi coverage to all your devices as you can move it around your house with ease.
10. TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX1500 Archer AX10
Speed is an essential factor that defines excellent internet connectivity. This TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX 1500 router is capable of delivering speeds up to 1.5 Gbps.
Besides proving adequate for the standard laptops and smartphones, this speed is ideal for offering continuous streaming on smart TVs. The backward compatibility feature of this Wi-Fi router allows it to connect to your existing systems without any upgrades.
This router comes with a Triple-Core CPU that offers instant response to all your internet requirements. The OFDMA technology allows you to connect multiple devices to this router and enjoy excellent speeds.
This Wi-Fi 6 router comes equipped with four antennas and beamforming technology to focus the signals towards individual clients and ensure broader coverage.
The advantage of Wi-Fi 6 is that it enables efficient transmission of data packets for different applications to share a conventional broadcast while cutting out the latency. Thus, your videos and audio chats become flawless. Gamers love this router as lagging becomes a thing of the past with this Wi-Fi router.
Beamforming technology ensures that obstacles like walls, floors, and ceilings do not affect internet coverage. Thus, it is an ideal Wi-Fi router to have in every home.
Setting up this Wi-Fi router is convenient because of the availability of a user-friendly mobile application. This app allows the user to set up the connection and monitor aspects like speed, the number of devices connected, and so on. The advanced technology makes it possible for you to access the Wi-Fi router using your voice and not your password.
This router comes with full Gigabit ports that let you take full advantage of broadband speeds up to 1 Gbps.
Best 4G LTE Router
11. TP-Link TL-MR6400 300Mbps 4G Mobile Wi-Fi Router
This TP-Link router is one of the best wireless N 4G LTE routers available in India in 2020.
This wireless router can handle excellent speeds up to 300 Mbps with a maximum download speed of up to 150 Mbps. The advantage of this TL MR6400 Wireless router is that it allows you to share a 4G LTE network with multiple Wi-Fi accessing devices.
Therefore, you can download your files and documents on your laptop while watching uninterrupted HD movies on your smartphone or smart TV simultaneously.
Playing online games should be a breeze using this Wi-Fi router as it is capable of handling speeds up to 300 Mbps. This router comes with two integrated antennas to ensure stable wireless connections and excellent coverage.
The best aspect of this router is that you do not need any specific configurations. An integrated 4G LTE modem and a built-in SIM card slot are enough for you to insert your SIM card into it and start using it straight away.
The advantage of this wireless device is its portability. You can unplug the router and carry it with you wherever you go. All it needs to start functioning is the SIM card and connectivity. Thus, it is one of the ideal devices to work from remote locations.
The inclusion of the WAN/LAN port supports a range of connection types, including DSL modems, cable, and fibre. This appliance is fully compatible with FDD-LTE and TDD-LTE that is supported by almost all operators worldwide.
This router’s versatility makes it one of the most preferred devices for users who do not want to invest in a landline connection. Any compatible SIM card providing 4G internet works with this appliance.
Best Wi-Fi Routers Under 3000
12. D-Link DIR-825 AC 1200 Wi-Fi Dual Band Gigabit Router
D-Link is a reputed name when it comes to purchasing routers and modems in India. This D-Link DIR-825 AC 1200 router is not a modem but a router. This router comes with four antennas, allowing greater coverage to your various devices like laptops, smartphones, and TVs.
This router can work on both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz band at speeds ranging up to 300 Mbps and 867 Mbps, respectively. Thus, it is one of the best routers for live streaming, especially if you place the router and the smart TV in the same room.
The DIR 825 Dual Band router allows you to simultaneously download, browse, or stream online on two separate networks. It combines high-speed 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet ports and provides a seamless working experience.
The advanced security features (Small Office/Home Office) ensures data security and protects it from malicious actors. This router is an ideal one for gamers as the excellent speed offered provides minimum lagging. Hence, online players find this router a comfortable one to have in their homes.
This router has USB connectivity, whereby it can be used for data storage and sharing. Four strategically placed antennas enhance overall internet coverage. It is an ideal router to have in your home, especially as many people access the internet using smartphones and other devices besides their laptops and computers.
13. TP-Link Archer C60 AC1350 Dual Band Wireless MU-MIMO Router
Dual-band routers have become the standard feature in homes today because people have devices compatible with 5 GHz. The latest smartphones and smart TVs work best on the higher band compared to the 2.4 GHz band. This router, the TP-Link Archer C60, is one of the lowest-priced routers available on the market today.
This router comes with 802.11 ac Wi-Fi to ensure an excellent online experience. This router can work at speeds three times the earlier 802.11 standards. It makes this router an ideal one, primarily if you use the internet for activities like live streaming and online gaming.
The concurrent Dual-Band Wi-Fi allows you to connect multiple devices to the internet simultaneously. This router can handle internet connectivity speeds up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and a maximum of 867 Mbps on 5 GHz band. Thus, streaming HD content becomes easy. Having video chats with your loved ones is also a seamless experience. Online gaming is possible without any noticeable lag using this router.
This TP-Link Archer C60 router comes with five antennas (three at 2.4 GHz and two at 5 GHz). These antennas optimise the dual-band 802.11 ac Wi-Fi to provide a seamless internet accessing experience.
Setting up this router is comfortable because of the interactive web interface. TP-Link provides the services of a dedicated mobile app using which you can manage the router from your smartphone.
Parents can set up supervisory control restrictions on usage of the internet by their children by blocking access to objectionable websites. One of the best features of the Archer C60 is the facility to offer guest network access while maintaining your privacy.
Best Wi-Fi Routers Under 2000
14. TP-Link Archer-C20 AC750 Wireless Dual Band Router
With people using more Wi-Fi enabled devices today, it makes sense to have a wireless dual-band router to enable seamless connectivity. This TP-Link Archer C20 AC750 is a router and not a modem, as it works well with cable broadbands.
This dual-band router offers speeds up to 433Mbps on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Thus, you have two dedicated networks in your home to ensure exceptional wireless performance.
The 2.4GHz band should be sufficient for less intensive tasks, like sending emails and casual internet browsing. The 5Ghz band should prove handy for gaming and streaming videos simultaneously.
This router features three fixed external antenna functioning with high-quality antenna technology. It can provide stable signals in every direction and high speed over extended distances. Thus, it is an ideal router for your home or office.
The intuitive web interface, along with the Tether app, allows you to set up the Archer C20 comfortably. The Tether app enables you to manage network settings from any iOS or Android device. One can manage access and parental control using the app.
This router supports Wi-Fi 802.11ac standard. It comes equipped with RJ-45 Ethernet cable supported by broadband ISPs like ACT, Hathaway, Airtel Fibernet, and others.
15. TP-Link TL-WR841N 300Mbps Wireless N Cable Wi-Fi Router
Having a good wireless router is essential for online gaming, web browsing, multitasking, and video streaming. This TP-Link N300 is a Wi-Fi router and not a modem.
This router is capable of offering internet speeds up to 300Mbps. You can stream, game, and manage your internet requirements comfortably.
This appliance comes with two high-quality 5dBI antennas to provide 2.4ghz Wi-Fi coverage.
The advantage of this Wi-Fi router is that it allows you to control your network. It gives every device the bandwidth it needs. You can set flexible limits on when and how devices connect to the internet and also set parental controls.
This router features four Ethernet ports to enable fast wired connections. This Wi-Fi router comes with advanced security protocols, whereby you can protect your network and other devices with advanced security encryptions.
This Wi-Fi router supports Wi-Fi 802.11an. The best aspect is that it is backwards compatible with 802.11b/g.
This Wi-Fi router is easy to set up. Secondly, it also allows you to set up your other W-Fi devices with a secure connection using the WPS button.
Wi-Fi Router Buying Guide
You can very well ask, “What is there to see in a Wi-Fi router?” You can buy any router and set the ball rolling. No, it is not the case.
Do you know that various factors like the size of your home, the thickness of your walls, your neighbour’s Wi-Fi signal, your microwave, and other appliances can affect the quality of your Wi-Fi signal?
If I say that a wireless router has features like ASDL, Fiber Internet, single band, dual band, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and use terms like IEEE 802.11n and IEEE 802.11ac, and so on, you will end up confused.
Through this buying guide, we shall explore these features and make things simple for you. Before commencing with the buying guide, we would like to make one thing very clear. “The most expensive router is not necessarily the best one for your home.”
First things first, “What is a Wi-Fi Router?”
What does IEEE stand for?
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) defines the standards for electronics and electrical instruments. IEEE 802.11 specifies wireless devices communications standards.
Difference between IEEE 802.11n and IEEE 802.11ac
You will encounter these terms when you purchase your wireless router. Know the difference between these two terms.
- Widely used standard in the current generation of Wi-Fi routers
- Provides better speed as compared to the IEEE 802.1 a, b, or g standards
- Compatible with devices built based on the older standards
- The maximum speed of such routers is theoretically 600 Mbps and practically 300 Mbps.
- Next-gen IEEE standard
- Practically seven times faster than the IEEE 802.11n standards
- It can theoretically produce a maximum speed of 7Gbps and virtually around 2.2Gbps
- Naturally, these routers are more expensive than the IEEE 802.11n
- Explain single-band and dual-band Wi-Fi routers
Wired Vs. Wireless
With most people accessing the internet using smartphones, tablets, and televisions, a wired router should not serve the purpose at all.
Besides, a wired router will have Ethernet cables running all around the house.
The wireless routers are the best ones to buy. If you still use a PC without wireless compatibility, you can use a USB dongle and access the internet without using Ethernet cables.
The current trend is of wireless routers that can be used by multiple devices to access the internet simultaneously.
Thus, you can use your laptops, smartphones, and iPads to browse the web. Simultaneously, the smart TVs and equipment like Amazon FireTV stick can also access the same broadband connection. Therefore, a wireless router is a better investment.
Router Vs. Modem Vs. Hotspot
All of you would be familiar with the modem as almost everyone has a Broadband connection at home.
Mobile users will also be comfortable with Hotspot. Both these devices help users to access the internet. Let us understand the difference between a modem, router, and Hotspot.
|The Utility||Provides internet access through cables for one or multiple devices||Offers wireless internet access to multiple devices simultaneously||Numerous devices can wirelessly access the internet simultaneously|
|The Right Occasion||Generally, users with a single device like a PC or a laptop||Multiple devices like PCs, laptops, smartphones, and other IoT devices can access the internet.||Usually, travellers who need high-speed internet on the move prefer hotspots|
|Compatible internet providers||Telephone line-based providers like Airtel, BSNL||All types of internet service providers except hotspot connections||SIM Card based telecom providers like Airtel, Idea, Jio|
|Technology used for||Analogue to Digital||Allows multiple devices to connect with some devices having in-built modems||2G, 3G, and 4G connections and enable various devices to connect, like Wi-Fi hotspot on your smartphone|
|Speed||Highest speed because they allow connection through wires, thereby resulting in minimum loss||Comparatively slower as there can be speed loss because of interference with other wireless connections||The slowest of the three because the performance of 2G, 3G, and 4G is not the same across the country|
Desktop users can use modems for internet accessibility. The cable connectivity provides excellent access without much speed loss. However, these appliances are not portable.
Wi-Fi routers are ideal in homes where multiple people access the internet simultaneously using desktops, laptops, tablets, iPads, smartphones, etc. Smart TVs and other IoT devices also function well with Wi-Fi routers.
People on the move need hotspot connections. It can either be a dedicated hotspot device or a smartphone. You need SIM cards to use these connections.
The Wi-Fi Standard
Technology is advancing day by day. The Wi-Fi router manufacturers have to keep pace with improving technology by upgrading the existing standards (IEEE protocols).
Therefore, you hear terms like 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, etc. Do they look like random numbers? No, they are not. We shall not go much into the details of these numbers, as we have already explained them in an earlier post.
Today, the latest standard is Wi-Fi 6, also known in technical circles as 802.11ax. The latest Intel Core 10th generation laptop CPUs come with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility.
Some of the latest smartphones are also compatible with this Wi-Fi standard. The advantages of Wi-Fi 6 are additional security, higher speed, and extended battery life.
The new devices henceforth will be compatible with Wi-Fi 6. Hence, if you plan to change your Wi-Fi router now, it is better to upgrade to a new Wi-Fi 6 compatible router. Otherwise, your existing Wi-Fi 5 compatible router will become obsolete.
Purchasers should know that any Wi-Fi router does not achieve the advertised speed in real-time situations. Manufacturers may list out rates ranging from 350 Mbps to even 3500 Mbps.
At home and office, the Wi-Fi signals have to contend with various obstructions or barriers such as furniture, walls, ceiling, flooring, doors, and other appliances.
For example, the routers operating on the 5 GHz band are not as effective if there is a wall separating the device from the router.
Almost all Wi-Fi routers come with a built-in Ethernet connection for providing access through cables. The cheaper models generally come with switches rated at 100 Mbps.
You should not have any issues spending a few hundred rupees more to purchase a Wi-Fi router model with a Gigabit switch.
The speed of your internet connection is measured in Mbps that represents the amount of data your Wi-Fi router sends or receives in a second. The ideal speed for your regular activities should be as enumerated below.
- Read: Wi-Fi 6 vs 5G
- Internet browsing, social media, and sending emails – 1 Mbps
- Online Gaming – 1 to 3 Mbps
- Video Conferencing – 1 to 4 Mbps
- SD Video streaming – 3 to 4 Mbps
- HD Video streaming – 5 to 8 Mbps
- Downloading large files – 50 Mbps and above
Single Band or Dual Band or Tri-Band Routers
Initially, you had the single-band routers. Today, almost manufacturers roll out dual-band routers. One can also find some tri-band routers on the market.
Since the single band modems are out of fashion today, we shall restrict our discussion to the dual-band and tri-band routers.
Dual-band routers come equipped with two radios operating on the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz frequency bands, respectively. The striking aspect is that it allows you to run two distinct wireless networks simultaneously.
It ensures enhanced speeds in a crowded wireless network because it bumps some compatible devices to the alternative frequency. The 2.4 GHz frequency band can face interference from Bluetooth and microwave devices.
The 5.0 GHz band has a shorter range compared to the 2.4 GHz frequency. Hence, it is excellent for devices in proximity to the Wi-Fi router. Generally, the 5 GHz band does not penetrate walls, floors, and ceilings, whereas the 2.4 GHz has an extended range.
When purchasing a Wi-Fi router, you should confirm whether the router has one or two radios. Some routers have a single radio that operates either on the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies but not simultaneously. Go for a Wi-Fi router that can run at both the bands at the same.
The tri-band Wi-Fi routers have an additional 5.0 GHz band. Such routers are useful when you have multiple mobile devices accessing the internet simultaneously, especially in an office-like environment.
You would have witnessed seamless Wi-Fi connectivity in hotels, malls, and restaurants. How is it possible to provide Wi-Fi connections to many devices simultaneously without compromising on the speed?
The mesh network allows multiple devices to connect to the internet.
A mesh network does not comprise a single router. It is a combination of several Wi-Fi router devices designed to work together.
They create a unique, dependable system by overlapping their signals. Google W-Fi is one such example of a mesh network.
Mesh networks are useful for providing excellent connectivity in large spaces, such as apartments exceeding 3000 square feet in area.
A dual-band Wi-Fi router might not be enough to provide seamless internet connectivity over large areas. A mesh network should be ideal.
You can purchase a single mesh (areas up to 3000 square feet) and use it as your conventional Wi-Fi router. If you want to encompass a larger area, it is better to go for two or even three mesh networks.
They have features similar to that of your traditional Wi-Fi router. However, one can experience lower speeds on mesh networks, at times.
Time to get a new Wi-Fi Router
Now, the question is how you know if it is time to get a new Wi-Fi router. If your existing router does not allow you to do the following activities smoothly, it is time for a switchover.
The factors that determine the router you should opt for
We have seen that Wi-Fi 6 is the latest wireless standard today. Hence, your Wi-Fi router should be compatible with it. Besides, the following factors influence your router selection.
- Your usage statistics
- The area of your house or office
This table should make things easy for you to understand.
|Ares/Usage||Light Usage (Casual browsing and video streaming)||Regular usage (includes smart devices, gaming, and audio streaming)||Heavy Usage (Connected smart homes besides other uses)||Very Heavy Usage (Heavy downloads, besides other purposes)|
|Up to 450 Sq. ft and five devices||
N-series or AC750
|Up to 450 Sq. ft and ten devices||
|Up to 800 Sq. ft and ten devices||
|1200 to 1500 Sq. ft and ten devices||
|1500 to 2000 Sq. ft and up to 15 devices||
|2000 to 3000 Sq. ft and 15 devices||
AC2200 Mesh Type with three mesh devices
AC3000 Mesh Type with three mesh devices
|3000 to 4000 Sq. ft and 15 devices||
AC2200 Mesh Type with three mesh devices
AC2200 Mesh Type with three mesh devices
AC3000 Mesh Type with three mesh devices
AC3000 Mesh type with three mesh devices
|4000 to 6500 Sq. ft and 15 devices||
AC2200 Mesh Type with three mesh devices
AC3000 Mesh type with three mesh devices
AC3000 Mesh Type with three mesh devices
AC3000 Mesh Type with three mesh devices
Ideally, the wired Ethernet cable is best suited for gaming. This network offers the maximum speeds with the least interference. Therefore, it delivers stable performance.
However, it is not always possible for gamers to remain tied down to a single location. Some games are there to be played on the move.
Many people play games on X-boxes, smartphones, and tablets. Therefore, Wi-Fi routers with dedicated gaming features should prove handy. These features ensure prioritising of data packets heading towards the gaming servers.
ISP and Router Compatibility
The connection provided by the internet service provider (ISP) plays a significant role in selecting the ideal router for your home/office.
You should finalise the ISP before purchasing a Wi-Fi router. A lot depends on whether you use the DSL/ADSL connection or go for the cable/fibre broadband network. This table will clarify things better.
|DSL/ADSL connection||Cable/Fibre Broadband network||2G, 3G, 4G Wireless Internet connection|
|Uses telephone jack RJ-11 for providing access||Internet access through an optical fibre network or cables||Wireless connection through a SIM card and a hotspot device|
|The prominent ISPs include BSNL, Airtel, MTNL, Tata Indicom||Some of the popular ISPs include Act Fibernet, Hathaway, Jio Fibernet, and Airtel Fibernet||The ISPs include Airtel, BSNL, Vodafone, Idea, Jio|
|Recommendation – ADSL2 Modem plus Wireless Router||Recommendation – High-speed routers, also known as AC routers||Recommendation – 3G and 4G Hotspot devices compatible with the ISP|
Wi-Fi Security Aspects
With almost every home having Wi-Fi routers, it becomes essential to secure your Wi-Fi connections.
If you open your laptop and search for Wi-Fi signals to connect, you find a minimum of five to six signals other than yours. It signifies that wireless networks can be convenient but insecure at the same time.
What can happen if you have an insecure network?
An insecure network is like keeping the main door of your home open for anyone to intrude into your privacy.
Malicious actors do not need an invitation to eavesdrop on your online activities and compromise with your confidential data. They can leech off your internet connection where you could end up paying for data downloads/uploads that you never did.
Worse still, these actors could access files stored on your computers, introduce viruses, and infect your connected devices, and cause various other problems.
Therefore, you should ensure that your Wi-Fi router supports WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access Control – 2nd edition). Many devices come with WPA3 to provide higher levels of security. It is a superb idea to opt for the highest level of protection.
However, one should also remember that the security of any network is only as strong as its weakest link. Therefore, your connected devices should also have adequate security features.
If you are purchasing Wi-Fi routers for domestic use, it is a good idea to buy the routers that come with advanced family security features.
These features allow you to monitor devices, block unwanted users, malicious sites, and also see what your children are browsing. Thus, you can block access to porn sites and game sites that cause children to become addicts.
Smart Wireless Features
Software features in a Wi-Fi router
How will the router identify the device to which it is communicating? It uses a unique ID known as the Internet Protocol Address, also commonly known as the IP address. Every device, including the router, will have an IP address.
The DHCP (Device Host Configuration Protocol) is the software feature that enables the private IP address to each device in the network. If the DHCP feature is not present, the user has to manually configure the IP address of every device that wants to join the network.
The DHCP enables the private IP address to allow the router to communicate with each connected device. However, the devices will not be able to communicate with external servers like Google or Yahoo using the private IP address.
You will require a public IP address to communicate with the internet servers. The NAT (Network Address Translation) feature, when turned on, will change the source IP address of all data packets coming from the internal network towards the internet, to the public internet-visible IP address. Similar is the case with incoming data.
Different types of ports in a Wi-Fi router
Usually, you will find the following ports in your Wi-Fi routers. Note that all routers need not have all the mentioned ports.
The RJ-11 port is useful for connecting the input telephone cables from BSNL, Airtel, and so on for the ASDL Broadband connection. These are small ports with the input connection comprising of two wires.
When you use the Fiber Internet connections like ACT, Airtel Fibernet, Hathaway, and so on, you will need a bigger port known as the RJ-45 port. This port accommodates the input connections comprising of eight wires.
The USB port does not require any explanation. You can use the USB Dongle or the Data Cards from telephony companies like Airtel, Reliance, Tata Photon, and so on.
SIM Card Slot
Nowadays, you get Wi-Fi routers having SIM Card Slots where you can insert the SIM cards from ISPs like Airtel, Vodafone, and Reliance, and so on to access 3G and 4G internet connection. The modern-day routers like iBall and Connectwide have these slots.
You would have noticed Wi-Fi routers with USB ports, but it is essential to understand its significance.
The lower-end routers have these ports to help transfer set-up information from the router to the client.
The better-placed routers allow users to plug a USB mass-storage device to add a network-attached storage functionality. Thus, all people accessing the network will have access to the storage resource. It is the equivalent of having a cheap server at home.
Wi-Fi routers come with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. A USB 3.0 port is a better option to have if you plan to attach any accessories to the router.
Mu-MIMO is the latest router technology. It constitutes “Multiple User – Multiple Input, Multiple Output.” The technology is such that the routers with MU-MIMO can connect directly to more than one mobile devices (a maximum of four devices) simultaneously.
The advantage is that one need not shuffle data packets between one device at a time. The omnidirectional antennas enable the router to primary direct connections with the connected devices without switching focus.
Thus, you experience stable and much faster internet connections.
The latest laptops come with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility. MU-MIMO is a vital constituent of routers compatible with Wi-Fi 6, and this technology could dominate the industry soon.
Different Types of Routers
Based on the points we have discussed above, we can classify Wi-Fi routers into three categories, depending on the features and pricing.
|Router Type||Connectivity||Internet Usage||Speed||Router Grading|
|Basic||Up to six Wi-Fi devices||
Web streaming and surfing
|10 to 40 Mbps||N Routers|
|Premium||Up to eight Wi-Fi devices||All essential functions plus mid-tier online games||75 to 100 Mbps||AC Routers up to 750 Mbps|
|High-Performance||Up to ten Wi-Fi devices||Multi-device streaming, 4K video streaming, and high-end online games||Between 100 and 150 Mbps||AC Routers above 750 Mbps|
Other factors that affect your Wi-Fi speed
Channel width – How do you adjust it to get better coverage?
Compare the channel width with a road. The wider the road, the easier it is to travel on it. Similarly, bigger the channel width, the more data it can carry. The 2.4 GHz band has 11 channels, each of which has a width of 20 MHz.
The 5 GHz has 23 channels with a channel having a maximum width of 160 MHz. As fewer devices use the 5 GHz band, there is less congestion. It explains why the 5 GHz can accommodate higher speeds.
The role of the antennas in the Wi-Fi router
The antennas can improve the signal coverage of the Wi-Fi router. Usually, there are two types of antennas, Directional and Omni.
The primary difference is that the directional antenna can transmit and receive data in one direction only whereas the Omni antennas receive and transmit data in a circular pattern. Usually, you find the Omni antennas in your home Wi-Fi systems.
The significance of the terms, 2 dBi, 5 dBi, 7 dBi, and 15 dBi Omni antennas
What does the term dBi refer to? It refers to the power of the antenna measured in Decibels related to the Isotropic radiator at radio frequency. We need not go too deep into the technical aspects.
While purchasing the Wi-Fi router, we should note that the signal coverage and reachability of the router will be better for a higher level of dBi. You will also notice that some routers have more than one antenna. The more the antennas, the better is the signal coverage.
The Positioning of the antenna
We have discussed the concept of Wi-Fi routers and the technology working behind it. This discussion should make your job of purchasing the ideal Wi-Router (long-range home and office) easy.
This buying guide has explained Wi-Fi routers in detail. However, you might have specific points to clarify. The following section, FAQs on Wi-Fi routers, should set all your doubts to rest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wi-Fi antenna signal streams cannot simultaneously receive and transmit signals. MIMO denotes Multiple Input and Multiple Output. The 4X4 MIMO Wi-Fi router will have four transmitting antennas and four receiving antennas.
Similarly, you have the 3X3, 2X2, and 1X1 MIMO Wi-Fi routers. The routers supporting IEEE 802.11ac standard must support the MIMO feature.
SU MIMO denotes Single User MIMO thereby implying that it uses all its antennas and spatial streams to communicate with a single device in the network at any given point in time. MU MIMO stands for Multiple User MIMO, a self-explanatory term.
The advantage of the SU MIMO is that it can provide higher speeds and minimises data loss because many antennas communicate with a single device. In the case of MU MIMO, the device should support MU MIMO for the router to interact with it.
It is a better feature because the router can serve more than one device at a time. For example, three people can use the Wi-Fi for three different purposes at the same time in the house.
A Wi-Fi router with an in-built ASDL modem in it is an ASDL Modem Router. Note that all Wi-Fi routers have ASDL ports. You should check out for the same when you buy the router as you would not be able to connect the ASDL phone line otherwise.
Usually, you do not need a special type of router for a Fiber Internet connection. Ensure that your router has the RJ-45 Ethernet ports also known as WAN ports in your routers. Most of the wireless routers have them.
Sometimes, you find that you do not get the signal in rooms that are about 25 to 30 feet away from where you have placed the router. There could be many walls in between that could block the signals.
Under such circumstances, you can use a Wi-Fi extender. It is a device that extends the range of your Wi-Fi signal. You place the extender about 15 to 20 feet from the router to retransmit the signal more powerfully.
All these three terms refer to encryption security standards. WEP denotes Wired Equivalent Piracy. WPA signifies Wi-Fi Protected Areas, and WPA-2 is an advanced version of WPA. Naturally, the WPA-2 is the most potent and secure of the three.
Any student having an elementary knowledge of computers will tell that 1 byte is equal to 8 bits, 1 MB = 1024 KB, and 1TB = 1024 Gigabytes, and so on.
Therefore, when you have a 300 Mbps (Megabits per second) router, it will transmit 37.5 MB of data in a second and not 300 MB size file in a second. Similarly, an 8 Gigabits per sec (Gbps) will transmit 1GB (Gigabytes) of data per second and not 8GB.
The Firewall is a parental control feature available in Wi-Fi routers to restrict the internet usage of children. It can prevent unauthorised devices from communicating with the router. It is a rule-based filter.
These rules tell the Wi-Fi router which of the devices does not have permission to communicate with it. The rules are based on the IP address or the MAC address (Media Access Control).
QoS denotes Quality of Service. It is a unique feature available on Wi-Fi routers that tells the router how to handle various classes of traffic. The advantage is that the router will never drop high-priority traffic even during load congestion whereas it will do so with the low-priority ones.
This example can explain the QoS feature better.
You have to use the internet for doing some critical office work. Children in the house would like to play games or watch movies using the same internet connection. Now, the high-bandwidth game traffic can affect the quality of the low-bandwidth VPN connection that you use for doing your work. You can resolve the matter in two ways.
Ask your children not to play games using the internet connection. Is this possible in this age with children of this generation? We leave the answer to you.
The second option is to silently turn on the QoS feature by configuring the router to give more priority to your VPN traffic and reduce the bandwidth for the video games.
Many people confuse between the router and modem and assume them to be the same. These are two different devices that look similar but perform various functions.
Routers allow multiple devices to join the same network. However, to access the internet, it is necessary for the router to connect to a modem. You can connect the modem to your router and ensure that all devices connected to it access the internet.
You come across Wi-Fi routers numbered as AC1900 or AC3000. The number signifies the combined theoretical data transfer speeds of all the bands. For example, AC1900 means a maximum speed of up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps on the 5.0 GHz frequency.
Some of the popular Wi-Fi router brands in India are D-Link, Netgear, TP-Link, ASUS, and Linksys.
We have discussed the routers and their functioning in detail. It should help you decide on the right type of router to buy for your home. We have also seen some of the top Wi-Fi routers available on the market. It makes your task easier than before.