Everything You Need to Know About WiFi Routers

If you are still intimidated by WiFi routers, please read this article and download NetSpot, the only professional app for wireless site surveys, Wi-Fi analysis, and troubleshooting on macOS and Windows, to make everything clear!


How to Choose a WiFi Router?

The internet has changed dramatically over the last two decades, and so did WiFi routers. The first generation of WiFi routers followed the introduction of WiFi technology in 1998 and offered speeds of only up to 2 Mbps. To put that number into perspective, consider that the average video bitrate of a Full HD YouTube video playing at 25 frames per second is 8 Mbps.

As you can see, it would be impossible to enjoy the internet the way we do today with an old WiFi router. Fortunately, WiFi routers have improved significantly since 1998.

Most modern WiFi routers support the latest 802.11ac WiFi standard, which uses the 5 GHz band exclusively and is capable of multi-station throughput of at least 1 Gbps, and a single-station throughput of at least 500 Mbps, which is theoretically enough for over 60 YouTube videos playing simultaneously.

Besides being a lot faster, modern wireless routers are also a lot smarter. They support technologies such as beamforming to focus your WiFi signal where it’s needed the most, and they come with a host of security- and privacy-oriented features to keep you safe online. Of course, some features are reserved for the best WiFi routers and those who are willing to pay for them.

Generally, you should be satisfied with any brand-name router that supports the latest 802.11ac WiFi standard. But if you’d like to learn more about what separates best wireless routers from wireless routers that are merely average, we recommend you read about how to choose a WiFi router.

What Is Mesh Networking?

We’ve come to expect internet access to be available everywhere, and we have the same expectation even for WiFi networks. However, the average WiFi router can seldom cover more than a single room with a strong and stable signal, which is where mesh networking comes in.

From the outside, a mesh WiFi network works just like any traditional single-router WiFi network does: the network identifies itself to clients with a single SSID (service set identifier), and it may request clients to enter a password.

But there’s one major difference: the strength of a mesh WiFi network in a house or large office space doesn’t vary too much from room to room. That’s because a mesh WiFi network actually consists of multiple mesh WiFi routers, typically called nodes, organized in a mesh topology.

While it’s still more expensive to set up a mesh WiFi network compared with the cost of a single-router WiFi network, the benefits make it worth every penny — at least when configured correctly. Learn more about mesh WiFi networks and their configuration.

Best WiFi Routers

Professional WiFi router reviews and real users agree on one thing: the TP-Link Archer C9 is the best WiFi router for home use. With its affordable price, excellent features, and a sleek design, this 802.11ac-ready workhorse won’t disappoint even the demanding internet users.

It supports beamforming technology, which allows it to concentrate the WiFi signal towards individual clients, and it’s also compatible with TP-Link’s mobile app, called Tether. The app provides an easy way how to access and manage the router and its various settings.

TP-Link Archer C9

Despite TP-Link’s lead, other manufacturers have also come up with attractive products, including Linksys, which sells the Linksys EA6900 wireless router. There are more similarities than differences between the Archer C9 and the EA6900, so the choice mostly boils down to personal preference.

 Linksys EA6900

What makes the two above-mentioned routers best, in our opinion, is the value for money they deliver. But when it comes to raw performance the situation is different. WiFi routers such as the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 amaze with their powerful hardware components, alien design, and support for cutting-edge technologies.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

It’s beyond the scope of this article to cover every WiFi router that deserves mention.Check the list of the best WiFi routers available in 2018 here.

Best Mesh WiFi Routers

The Google WiFi mesh router is easily among the best mesh WiFi routers available this year. Google has released what’s arguably the most accessible router period, but the real strength of the Google WiFi mesh router comes from the fact that its simplicity doesn’t take anything from its performance.

Google isn’t without competition as many other large companies have also released compelling mesh WiFi solutions, including Comcast, which is trying to revamp its Xfinity home internet services under the xFi brand. The xFi Pods, as Comcast calls its mesh WiFi extender devices, can be paired with an xFi Gateway to create a mesh WiFi network and eliminate areas where WiFi coverage drops or is weak.

Here you can find out the best mesh WiFi routers for 2018.


Regardless of which WiFi router you ultimately go with — whether an elegant performer like the TP-Link Archer C9 or a beastly gaming-oriented powerhouse like the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 — you should always use a WiFi analyzer such as NetSpot to determine the best place for the router and to optimize its performance.

NetSpot works on both macOS and Windows, is very easy to use yet powerful enough even for professional network administrators, and it can be downloaded for free and tested without any major limitations.

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Runs on a MacBook (macOS 10.10+) or any laptop (Windows 7/8/10)
with a standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless network adapter.