The world is becoming an increasingly smarter place to live. You have smartphones, smart TVs, smart ACs, and so on that make your life easy.

wifi

What makes these appliances smart? The answer is simple. All these smart appliances have access to the internet. Thus, we can say that it is the Wi-Fi connection in your house that makes them smart.

Yes, your Wireless system works silently behind the scenes to connect these instruments using the internet. Hence, you can print your documents from your laptop using a wireless printer.

You can connect to your kitchen appliances like your smart microwave oven and the play your favourite music from remote locations.

You can also move one step further and control the electrical system of your home by switching on your room lights as you enter your driveway. You can also switch on your AC in advance so that your room is at the optimum temperature when you enter it.

The appliance that makes it all possible is the Wi-Fi router. Of course, your Internet Service provider decides your internet speed and bandwidth limits, but the router has a critical role to play in controlling your smart devices.

The 10the generation CPUs have started arriving to deliver excellent connectivity and data transfer speeds.

The compatibility with Wi-Fi 6 should now encourage you to upgrade your existing Wi-Fi routers with Wi-Fi 6 compatible routers.

It becomes imperative that you buy the right kind of Wi-Fi router for your home. A wrong one can break your network and not serve any purpose at all. This buying guide will assist you to get the perfect one for your home.

We Highly recommend you to read the Wi-Fi Router Buying Guide at the end of the article to get in-depth knowledge about all the latest Wi-Fi Router technologies.

Best Wi-Fi Routers in India

1. Asus RT-AC5300 Tri-Band Wireless Router

You require high internet connection speed in these times. The Asus RT-AC5300 should prove to be an ideal Wi-Fi router for both your home and office because of various features like high internet connection and data downloading speeds, exclusive protection, MU MIMO technology, and so on.

The powerful 1.4 GHz dual-core processor supported by 512 MB memory provides plenty of horsepowers to balance the tri-band 2.4 GHz and dual 5 GHz networks. This router comes with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports with 2 Gbps capability. Also, it comes with two additional USB ports, the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0.

This wireless router has an inbuilt WTFast Client that enables it to access GPN to ensure consistently low ping times. The Asus RT-AC5300 has four transmitting and four receiving antennas thereby improving signal coverage and stability. The Ai-Radar beam-forming feature focuses on the Wi-Fi signal making it clearer and stronger.

The MU-MIMO feature enables multiple devices to communicate with the router without affecting the speed of the network. It is necessary for homes today because you have all the occupants of the house busy accessing the social media and other internet-related activities with their smartphones or laptops.

This router comes with multistage protection against online threats and malicious sites. The Ai-Protection feature prevents the infected devices from transmitting personal data thereby keeping your digital playground safe.

The ASUSWRT User Interface enables easy access to the 3-step installation procedure and opens up a plethora of advanced options. Download the ASUS Router app o manage your appliance and the connected devices better.

Pros
  • It can handle 150 to 170 concurrent users
  • Easily penetrate Indian walls made of brick and concrete
  • Covers a large area, say a 4 BHK flat easily
  • Gives details of tracking of consumption per device
Cons
  • The price can be a deterrent.
Verdict: The ASUS RT-AC5300 is the best Wi-Fi router for Large home and office use. It is expensive, but the device is worth every rupee you spend on it

2. 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.

Pros
  • Easy to set up with the facility of updating the software over Wi-Fi
  • Facility to control the device using your phone
  • All LAN ports have the same Gigabit output
  • Connects various devices without any lag in performance
Cons
  • Resetting the device can be an issue as it does not accept the default password to configure the device
Verdict: Gamers will benefit from this wireless router as it provides tremendous downloading speed. It qualifies as one of the best routers for long range and speed.

3. Netgear Nighthawk X6S R8000P AC4000 Tri-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router

This wireless router is a powerful 3X3 MU-MIMO device that comes equipped with a 64-bit dual-core 1.8 GHz CPU. It has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow you to stay connected to the internet at all times. You can connect your USB hard drive to back-up your data. The router comes with high-speed USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports.

The beamforming technology enables the router to communicate with the devices by directly beaming the Wi-Fi signal thereby boosting speed, reliability, and range. The X6S router can handle video streaming, web surfing, lag-free gaming, and many more activities with ease.

It supports gigabit WAN to LAN speeds thereby enabling you to take advantage of any broadband connection. This tri-band Wi-Fi router operates on three bands.

  • Band 1 – 2.4 GHz for speeds up to 750 Mbps
  • Band 2 and 3 – 5 GHz for speeds up to 1.625 Gbps

Hence, it enhances the Wi-Fi performances by providing seamless clarity and minimal lag.

The 3X3 MU-MIMO technology allows multiple devices to stream data concurrently without experiencing any time lag.

Pros
  • 40 to 50 users can use the router at a time
  • Monitoring the usage is possible as you can limit the overall bandwidth used over a definite period.
  • Better power-up time as compared to the earlier X6 version
Cons
  • Monitoring the usage client wise is not possible
Verdict: As more than 40 to 50 users can use this router simultaneously, it becomes the best Wi-Fi router for hostels. It provides impressive internet speeds as well.

4. 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.

Pros
  • This router offers an excellent range
  • No need to have a Wi-Fi extender in a normal home
  • Supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands
  • Useful mobile app
Cons
  • A bit expensive when compared to routers of similar configurations available on the market.
Verdict: In spite of being a bit expensive, the ASUS AC68U is the top dual-band Wi-Fi router.

5. 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.

Pros
  • Good Wi-Fi speed with high levels of stability
  • Excellent range of 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands
  • Easy to set up and install
  • Parental controls
Cons
  • Takes a lot of time to scan USB storage
  • The system reboots when you apply changes, and the rebooting takes some time
  • Failure of Firmware Upgrades
  • The app could have been better
Verdict: Compared to the other Wi-Fi routers, this Asus AC58U is one of the best Wi-Fi routers for home in India that is available under 6000.

6. 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.

Pros
  • Connects to a range of devices simultaneously
  • Ideal balance between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands
  • Futuristic design
Cons
  • Users have complained of firmware issues
  • The cost can also be a deterrent
Verdict: You need excellent internet connectivity in these advanced times. This Nighthawk AX4 Wi-Fi router is amongst the best Wi-Fi router available in India under Rs 18,000.

7. TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX1500 Archer AX10

  • Check Price at Amazon

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.

Pros
  • Excellent Wi-Fi router with good coverage
  • Easily customisable as it comes with user-friendly settings
  • Light in weight and mountable on the wall
Cons
  • This router tends to heat up with continuous use.
  • Users have complained of fluctuating Wi-Fi connection speeds.
Verdict: The TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX1500 Archer AX10 is an excellent Wi-Fi 6 router to have in your home. It qualifies as one of the most affordable Wi-Fi routers available in India in 2020.

8. TP-Link TL-MR6400

Not all devices available today are compatible with Wi-Fi 6. Though Wi-Fi 6 routers come with backward compatibility, the existing devices can function well on the 4G LTE network. 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.

Pros
  • Easy to install and use because there is no need for configuring the device
  • Excellent internet bandwidth
  • Versatile appliance
Cons
  • Firmware issues persist despite the updates provided by the manufacturer
  • Heating issues are present
:Verdict: Despite the shortcomings, this appliance is one of the best Wi-Fi routers available in India under Rs 6,000.

9. TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Cable Router

  • Check Price at Amazon

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.

Pros
  • Connect a range of devices over multiple bands, 5 GHz, and 2.4 GHz
  • Delivers excellent connectivity speed on laptops and other devices
  • Easy to set up the router
Cons
  • Users have complained of range issues, especially if the house area is more than 2500 square feet.
  • Made in China, hence has its inherent issues.
 Verdict: As this router allows seamless internet connectivity to a range of devices, it is ideal for your home.

10. D-Link DIR-825 AC 1200 Wi-Fi Dual Band Gigabit Router

  • Check Price at Amazon

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.

Pros
  • Connects to various devices (up to 10 including three laptops, two tablets, and five smartphones)
  • The dual-band connectivity makes it a popular appliance as most of the modern smartphones support 5 GHz.
  • Easy to install and use
Cons
  • It is a router and not a modem.
  • Some users have reported poor after-sales service by the seller.
 Verdict: Nowadays, a simple modem is not enough because people use a range of devices for accessing the internet. This D-Link DIR-825 AC is one of the best routers available under Rs 3,000 in India.

11. 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.

Pros
  • Easy to install this router and use it
  • Light appliance but a durable one
  • Connect a range of devices including laptops, phones, and tablets
Cons
  • Users have complained of the router heating up with continuous use.
  • Firmware issues are present
 Verdict: The user-friendly feature of this TP-Link Archer C60 router makes it one of the most versatile appliances in its category. It is an excellent router to have in your home, as it is available at an affordable price under Rs 2500.

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?”

In simple terms, a Wi-Fi router is a device that connects various wireless devices at your home such as your smartphone, laptop, tablets, printers, TVs, Set Top box, USB dongle, and so on to the internet. It enables these devices to communicate with each other.

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.

IEEE 802.11n

  • 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.

IEEE 802.11ac

  • 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

Generally, Wi-Fi routers operate in two distinct radio frequency bands, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. As the name suggests, the routers that can use both these frequency bands to communicate with the respective devices are the dual-band routers whereas the single-band routers are those that use either the 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz frequency band for communication.

What is the difference between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands?

The principal distinction between the two is in the signal coverage and bandwidth speed. The 5 GHz band can transmit data at faster speeds but have a shorter coverage area. Alternatively, the 2.4 GHz band can cover a larger area but results in slower data transmission.

Tri Band WiFi as Fast As Possible

Let us now understand the significance of the two frequency bands. If you have an iPad at home, you will notice that it can work at both the speeds. The regular smartphones and laptops do not operate in the 5 GHz band.

Both the frequency bands have their advantages and demerits. The signal coverage in the 2.4 GHz band can easily penetrate the walls and floors of your house. Hence, you will be able to use the Wi-Fi internet from your router while sitting inside your neighbour’s apartment.

At the same time, the lower frequency band cannot carry more data. It affects the downloading and uploading speed.

The 5 GHz band allows for faster downloading and uploading of data, but it cannot penetrate the walls of your house. It explains why your iPad slows down when you shift to a room different from where you have the Wi-Fi router. The 5 GHz band allows you to download and watch movies faster than the 2.4 GHz frequency band.

No, you understand that if you face slow downloading speeds, you should switch over to the 5 GHz wireless router.

Other factors that affect your Wi-Fi speed

Noise and interference can affect your Wi-Fi speed. When we say ‘Noise’, we do not mean the noise that we humans make, but the signals from your wireless devices like your smartphones and microwave ovens, and so on.

The Wi-Fi signal from your neighbour’s house can also affect your router’s performance.

Most of the devices in the home operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency. Fewer devices use the 5 GHz. Therefore, the 5 GHz frequency band is less crowded in comparison.

The 5 GHz band has 23 overlapping channels thereby allowing different devices to run simultaneously on this frequency. The 2.4 GHz has eleven channels of which only three are non-overlapping.

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 tri-band Wi-Fi router

As the name suggests, this Wi-Fi router uses three frequency bands to communicate with devices. These are one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands.

Compared to the standard single or dual-band routers, the tri-band wireless routers can provide higher speed and bandwidth. Hence, they are expensive.

The Concept of Mesh Wi-Fi system

The Mesh Wi-Fi system can cover more than 5000 sqft of area. It is a set of Wi-Fi router nodes organised in a mesh topology. In common parlance, it consists of one main hardware unit connected to an internet cable.

What is Mesh Wi-Fi?

There are multiple Wi-Fi nodes placed at different locations in the home. It becomes useful to communicate with various smart devices in your home. They are usually tri-band routers. Some of the primary manufacturers of routers are Asus, D-Link, Netgear, Google, and Samsung.

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

Do you remember that the olden-day television sets had antennas on the terrace? You need to position them in such a way that they face the direction of the television tower in your city. It improved the receiving signal.

Similarly, the Wi-Fi router antennas are crucial. You should position them appropriately. If you live in a flat or an apartment, you should place the antenna upright.

If you live in a duplex house, it is advisable to keep one antenna upright, and the other one parallel to the floor. Under such circumstances, both the floors experience better signal coverage.

The Modem

You must have heard the word, ‘Modem.’ The modem is an acronym for Modulator-Demodulator. It is a hardware device that converts the analogue signal from the telephone or the cable wire to the digital signals that your computers can understand.

Similarly, it converts the digital signal into the analogue form while transmitting the signals over the cable/telephone wire.

Types of modems

You have two types of modems, the DSL and the ADSL modems.

Cable Internet vs. DSL Internet

DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line and ASDL signifies Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. The difference between the two is that ASDL is an advanced version of DSL technology. It provides more bandwidth and faster data transmission than the traditional voice-band modem.

If you have the ADSL ISP, you need to have an ADSL modem. Network service providers like BSNL, Airtel, Reliance Broadband, and Tata still use the ASDL technology.

Fiber Internet

We have seen that the traditional ISPs come with ASDL telephone lines. There is a limitation of bandwidth and speed in an ASDL line. The Fiber Internet is an advanced technology that provides ultra-high bandwidth and ultra-high speed internet.

It uses Fiber Optics technology for transmitting data signals as opposed to the electromagnetic current or electrons to transmit data through copper wires in the case of ASDL.

Multinational companies, banks, Indian Railways, Google, and many TV channel operators use this technology. The Fiber Internet is also available for home internet through companies like ACT and more recently, Airtel as compared to the ASDL lines the Fibernet is expensive.

Wi-Fi Security

When you transmit data over a wireless medium, anybody can intercept it and steal the data provided they have the devices to capture the signals. You can prevent such unauthorised capturing of data by encrypting the data before transmitting it. There are various encryption security standards such as WEP, WPA, and WPA-2.

Software features in a Wi-Fi router

DHCP

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.

NAT

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.

RJ-11 Port

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.

RJ-45 Port

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.

USB Port

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.

 

Tips for selecting the right Wi-Fi router for your home

We have seen the Buying guide in detail that explains each part of the Wi-Fi router thereby making it easy for you to understand the technical terms while purchasing the right one for your home. These following tips will make it easier for you.

1. Check out the connection you have. If you have the standard BSNL or the Airtel connection, you can go for the ASDL routers. If you plan to have the ACT or the Airtel Fiber Internet, you need to opt for the Wi-Fi routers having the RJ-45 ports.

2. Choose the IEEE 802.11ac standard as it is the latest one. This router will accommodate both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. These routers have the backward compatibility feature as well.

3. Always go for the dual-band wireless routers as your current generation laptops and iPads can use the 5 GHz frequency band for higher speed.

4. Opt for the routers that have USB ports. It can prove useful if you experience disconnection problems of the Fibernet or internet. You can plug in your data card and use the Wi-Fi router.

5. It is advisable to opt for Wi-Fi routers with multiple antennas as they can enhance the overall range of your Wi-Fi signals.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a 4X4 MIMO Wi-Fi router?

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.

2. What are SU MIMO and MU MIMO routers?

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.

3. What is an ADSL Modem router?

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.

4. Does a Fiber Internet connection require a different type of router?

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.

5. What is the use of a Wi-Fi extender?

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.

6. What do WEP, WPA, and WPA-2 stand for?

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.

7. Explain the distinction between Megabytes/Gigabytes and Megabits/Gigabits

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.

8. What is the Firewall feature in a Wi-Fi router?

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).

9. Explain the concept of QoS and how does it work

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.

10. What is the difference between a modem and a router?

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.

Final Words

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.