The best Wi in a city or country is often determined by the quality of internet service providers, and how much they charge for their services. We have collected data on 5k cities across all countries to find out which has the most cost-effective Internet
The “best wireless router for home” is one of the most important parts of your home network. It’s a Wi-Fi router that allows you to connect all of your devices to the internet. The best routers are those that provide fast speeds and reliable connections, while also being easy to use.
Your home network’s foundation is a wireless router. You’ll notice if your router is old, underpowered, or broken: you’ll struggle to get a good connection in some parts of your house, your video conference will start to stutter if someone is watching Netflix in the other room, and you’ll be unable to take advantage of your expensive high-speed internet plan, wasting money and causing unnecessary frustration.
While mesh networks are ideal for bigger houses or those with complicated layouts or plaster or concrete walls, many households may get by with only a single router. We evaluated the range, single- and multi-device speeds, functionality, and simplicity of use of seven highly rated routers in a 2,000 square-foot single-story home and a 1,100 square-foot two-story townhouse. We identified two excellent options: one for a midsize household with lots of devices, and another for apartments and smaller dwellings that is less costly but still offers plenty of range and speed.
Overall, the greatest Wi-Fi router
The Asus RT-AX86U offers good speed and range, and it can manage many users simultaneously streaming 4K video, playing online games, working from home, and making video calls. It’s an excellent Wi-Fi 6 router for small and medium-sized houses with high-traffic networks.
On a budget, the greatest Wi-Fi router
The TP-Link Archer AX21 is a fantastic Wi-Fi 6 router for under $100 that is ideal for smaller places and less-demanding workloads. Its speed and range are comparable to routers costing twice as much, but it can’t manage as many high-bandwidth devices at once.
The Asus RT-AX86U provides excellent performance at an affordable price. On our most difficult tests, it had some of the fastest speeds across the greatest distances, and it handled many devices better than any other router we tested. It takes up less space as well. For those who want sophisticated functionality, it has 2.5Gbps Ethernet, link aggregation, guest networks, Wi-Fi scheduling, and an OpenVPN server. It’s the finest router we’ve discovered for big households with a lot of devices, particularly if you have a high-speed internet subscription.
- Wi-Fi 6 is the current WiFi version (802.11ax)
- 3×3 (2.4GHz), 4×4 (2.4GHz) streams (5GHz)
- Supported DFS channels: 52–64, 100–140
- 1GbE WAN, 2.5GbE WAN or LAN, 4 GbE LAN Ethernet ports
- 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports (5Gbps)
- Mesh-compatible: Asus AiMesh, yes.
- Other noteworthy aspects include: Guest networks, OpenVPN server, and scheduling
On the 5GHz band, the RT-AX86U outperformed the competition by 47 percent –138 percent in our long-range tests at a 2,000-square-foot residence. At close range, it was 11 percent quicker than the TP-Link Archer AX6000.
The RT-AX86U easily won when we moved the routers to a two-story townhouse and slammed them with a workload that mimicked the needs of a bandwidth-hungry home — a 4K Ultra HD Netflix stream, a 4K HDR Apple TV+ stream, a 16.6GB wireless file transfer, a bandwidth test between two WiFi 6 smartphones, and a World of Warcraft session all at the same time. In our Cloudflare internet testing, it had the lowest gaming latency, the quickest file transfer time, the greatest average download and upload speed, and the best speeds and lowest lag. On the 2.4GHz network, the RT-performance AX86U’s was sometimes sluggish, although that band might be clogged with interference from nearby Wi-Fi networks. When feasible, 5GHz should be used by devices that need a lot of bandwidth, such as PCs, phones, and streaming boxes. (2.4GHz is still suitable for older devices, and many Wi-Fi smart home gadgets operate only on that frequency.)
The RT-AX86U can stand vertically, unlike most of the Wi-Fi 6 routers we examined, which take up shelf space with their huge rectangular shapes. The RT-three AX86U’s antennas may be oriented straight up or slightly tilted; either way, the design saves a lot of space, and the vertical configuration makes it even simpler to access the router’s back ports.
The RT-AX86U is simple to set up. Its web-based setup page allows you to choose an SSID and password for your Wi-Fi network, as well as if you want to utilize the same SSID for both. It also invites you to download the most recent firmware for your router, which is a vital security feature.
The RT-AX86U has nearly all of the features you’d expect from a router at this price point, including guest networking on 2.4GHz and 5GHz, schedule-based parental controls for websites and apps, quality-of-service rules (QoS), a built-in traffic analyzing tool for games and apps, and an OpenVPN server for securely connecting to your home network from the outside. It also features two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) ports for attaching external storage, which you may access from any device on your home network. The RT-AX86U also supports WPA3 encryption and DFS channels, which may help you prevent 5GHz network interference from your neighbors.
Asus surprised us by including an additional 2.5Gbps Ethernet port in addition to the standard Gigabit WAN and four Gigabit LAN connectors. While most people would never require that much bandwidth, for those who currently have gigabit-plus internet subscriptions or desktop PCs with 2.5Gbps ports, it’s a necessary upgrade. It may be used as either a WAN (to connect to your modem or network box) or a LAN (to connect to your computer) (to connect to your Ethernet devices). If you require more speed or redundancy, the RT-AX86U provides link aggregation, which allows you to combine the connections of two LAN and two WAN ports into one of each. A “gaming port” is one of the router’s Gigabit LAN ports, and the RT-AX86U may prioritize traffic from whatever device is connected to it.
Even if you don’t have gigabit-plus service right now, the RT-2.5-Gigabit AX86U’s WAN/LAN port lets the router stay ahead of the curve. It also has two additional characteristics that should help it last for years, even if you end up requiring a more complicated network setup: It may be used as a wired access point and supports Asus’s AiMesh technology, which allows you to create a mesh Wi-Fi network with approved Asus routers and extenders.
Some of the capabilities of the RT-AX86U are difficult to use or are inadequately stated in the manual. You may use Adaptive QoS to prioritize your gaming devices, or you can set up a dedicated “Gear Accelerator” for gaming. We had to use Google to find out that the latter merely activates a simplified version of the former. VLAN support is also missing on the RT-AX86U, which allows you to segregate less-secure IoT devices from the rest of your network, although this functionality isn’t popular on consumer routers.
We didn’t utilize any of the Trend Micro features, such as Traffic Analyzer, Apps Analyzer, Game Boost, or web history, or any of the other Trend Micro features, such as Traffic Analyzer, Apps Analyzer, Game Boost, or web history. These seem to be unneeded at best, and giving your data to a third party may be risky – it appears to be more of a security risk than a true solution (Apple busted Trend Micro in 2018 for gathering users’ browsing history with its different security-themed applications).
For many households, a $250 router is excessive. The TP-Link Archer AX21 is a fantastic upgrade for around $100 if you don’t have a lot of bandwidth-hungry devices on your network at once and only want a Wi-Fi 6 router with higher throughput and range than the one your ISP leases you. The Archer AX21’s 5GHz speeds were neck-and-neck with the Archer AX50, a router with a substantially higher speed rating, in our most demanding long-range evaluations (AX3000 compared to AX1800). The only routers that outperformed the AX21 in our test were more than twice as expensive.
- Wi-Fi 6 is the current WiFi version (802.11ax)
- 2×2 (2.4GHz), 2×2 (2.4GHz) streams (5GHz)
- None of the DFS channels are supported.
- 1 GbE WAN, 4 GbE LAN Ethernet ports
- 1 USB 2.0 port is available (480Mbps)
- Mesh-compatible: OneMesh, you are correct.
- Other noteworthy aspects include: VPN, scheduling
When we relocated the routers to a central place in our 2,000-square-foot test home, the AX21 easily defeated the AX50 in all of our upload and download tests on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Its average 5GHz performance was 30 to 40% slower than the Asus RT-AX86U and its nearest competitor, the TP-Link Archer AX6000, but considering its significantly cheaper price, it was still a great showing.
Only after we pounded them with simultaneous gaming traffic, HD streaming, and file transfers did the performance disparity between the $250 routers and the $100 AX21 become obvious. On virtually all of our tests, the AX21 comfortably beat its immediate competitor, the TP-Link AX50, although it was notably slower than the RT-AX86U and TP-Link Archer AX6000. Maximum game latency was greater, file transfers took almost twice as long, and both our wifi and Cloudflare connection benchmarks were crawling.
So, how does this affect your home network? For modest homes, the AX21 is ideal. You’ll be alright if you live alone or with a roommate and use your wifi network for acceptable, daily activities. Even for gaming, this router provides excellent speed and range for a solitary explorer or small group on a budget. If you live with a family of gamers, streamers, work-from-homeers, or folks who are constantly hitting the network with high-bandwidth activities, it’s not the ideal option. In such situations, the AX21 will be surpassed by the Asus RT-AX86U significantly more quickly.
The Archer AX21, like other TP-Link routers, is easy to set up, although there are a few stages that may be unclear. Most consumers won’t know whether they need to modify their router’s default MAC address or pick anything other than “Dynamic IP” for the connection type, and most competing routers don’t provide them in initial configuration. Apart than that, it’s normal fare, with the ability to give a single SSID to both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and the ability to activate automatic firmware upgrades.
You may use WPA3 encryption (which we suggest), designate guest networks, and explore additional settings like scheduling, parental controls, and a VPN once the first setup is complete. DFS channels and a VLAN aren’t supported, but a cheap router can’t have everything.
The AX21 supports TP-OneMesh Link’s technology, which, like Asus’ AiMesh, allows you to create your own DIY mesh Wi-Fi network by combining compatible TP-Link routers and extenders. It’s a terrific method to repurpose existing equipment while also getting a mesh system that can automatically route devices to the most appropriate access points. OneMesh, on the other hand, will not allow you to connect your mesh nodes to your core router via Ethernet cables. It’s either a wireless connection or nothing, and Asus’ approach will be slower.
For network-accessible storage, the AX21 includes a single USB 2.0 connector on the back. It’s a feature that most people are unlikely to use. Even if they do, USB 2.0 is outdated and sluggish in comparison to USB 3.0, which is currently standard on most modern routers.
You can use Alexa to operate the AX21, but you shouldn’t. You also shouldn’t give your router a TP-Link ID so you may change its settings from anywhere using the company’s Tether software. Most individuals don’t need this kind of access to their routers, and it’s a habit that might lead to a slew of security issues.
Aside from the features, which you’re unlikely to use, the AX21 delivers where it matters: amazing speeds and range for its very cheap price. The AX21 is a good option for a simpler online existence as long as you don’t put it in a house where it will be pushed to its limits.
If you’re looking for a new router in 2022, look for one that supports Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 is a newer version of Wi-Fi that is quicker, more secure, and can handle more devices than Wi-Fi 5. (802.11ac). Wi-Fi 6 is built into most modern phones, tablets, and laptops, and older devices in your home will operate great with a Wi-Fi 6 router as well. (Wi-Fi 6E, on the other hand, is too new and too pricey, with nearly no gadgets that can take use of its technology as of yet.)
There’s no need to update if your Wi-Fi 5 router is operating perfectly; but, if that’s the case, you’re probably not reading this page. It’s important finding out why your router isn’t cutting it, since this will help you figure out what to seek for.
A Wi-Fi 6 router might assist if your router is having trouble keeping up with the amount of devices on your network. There are a few things you may try before purchasing a new router if you have a terrible connection in certain areas of your house.
To begin, place your router as near to the middle of your living room as possible. To test signal strength, throughput, and latency around your house, use an app like WiFiman (free, iOS and Android).
If your Wi-Fi is working well except for one or two difficulty locations, a Wi-Fi extension may help. A new router may assist if there are numerous rooms that need stronger signal, but for big (over 2,500-3,000 square feet) or complicated locations, a mesh Wi-Fi system like Eero, Netgear Orbi, or Google Wi-Fi may be required. If you do decide to purchase a new router, be sure to test its functionality across your home as quickly as possible so that you may return it if required.
Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) radios are found in the majority of modern phones, laptops, and tablets, and are normally two-stream (2×2). In your network, you’re likely to have a lot of Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) devices, as well as some older ones.
Thanks to MU-MIMO technology, which allows it to divide its streams across clients, a 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 router will be better equipped to handle those Wi-Fi 6 devices (if they all support it). Another important feature to look for is beamforming, which allows a router to concentrate a wireless signal in the direction of a particular device. It’s featured in Wi-Fi 6.
Get a router that supports as many 5GHz wireless channels as feasible, including DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection)-bound channels. The more channels your router can access, the more you can avoid competing wireless networks from your neighbors, which may eat into your home’s wireless performance. However, if your network detects that DFS channels are being utilized by local radar systems, you may suffer some disruptions (airports, weather stations, et cetera.)
We believe that a router’s ability to operate as an access point is critical, since it will help you prolong the life of your router (and the range of your Wi-Fi network) if you switch to something newer. At the very least, your future router should include Gigabit Ethernet connections; if you currently have a gigabit internet service, look for one with a 2.5Gbps port.
Most people never utilize the bulk of their router’s functions, so unless you’re a power user with special requirements, don’t buy by feature. Automatic firmware updates, guest networks, a “access point mode” for extending the utility of your router, support for DFS channels, and WPA3 encryption are all characteristics to look for. (VLANs are also useful for power users who wish to isolate their insecure smart home equipment.)
When it comes to security, avoid using any function that sends your router’s data to a third-party organization, such as the Trend Micro services that come with ASUS routers’ AiProtection. Our recommendation is to stick to the fundamentals. You shouldn’t use cloud-based services like Trend Micro’s AiCloud or remote control programs like TP-Tether Link’s to connect to your network from away, or cloud-based services like Trend Micro’s AiCloud to connect to your router from afar.
Underscored by David Murphy/CNN
We combed through Wi-Fi 6 router evaluations to compile a shortlist of competitors based on benchmarks and expert reviews from across the web. For hands-on testing, we chose seven candidates: four top contenders and three budget choices.
We conducted our research in two different sites. We put all of our contestants in a 2,000-square-foot home for the first round. We placed the router on the far side of the house (in a bathroom), connected a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G to the router’s 5GHz network from an adjoining bedroom, and connected an iPhone 12 Pro to the same 5GHz network from the living room at both ends of the house, 45 to 50 feet away, similar to our testing for Wi-Fi extenders. We used the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G and iPhone 12 Pro because they both have 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 radios and can take advantage of our Wi-Fi 6 routers’ speed improvements, and we stuck with 5GHz because it supports faster speeds and is less susceptible to interference from neighboring signals than 2.4GHz connections. Our two iPhones were separated by different rooms and walls and had no line of sight to each other. The Samsung smartphone had no direct line of sight to the network, but it was just two walls and one tiny room away.
To come up with a preliminary score, we opened the WiFiman software on each smartphone and did upload and download tests (downloading from the Samsung to the iPhone and uploading in reverse). The WiFiman app can also be used to test Internet speeds, signal strength, and latency as you walk about your house; it’s a useful tool for troubleshooting your home network.
From then, two routers stood out as clear front-runners for our main and budget options. We retested them using the same phones in the same placements as before, but this time we moved the router to the middle of the home, following the same advise we’d offer to someone setting up their router for the first time.
The finalists were then relocated to a two-story, 1,100 square-foot townhouse. The router was situated in the ground-floor living room, near a 4K Apple TV and a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, both of which were linked to the router’s 5GHz network. We connected an iPad Pro from the bedroom immediately above the living room to the router’s 5GHz network, as well as a desktop computer with an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 adapter, MacBook Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro from an adjoining room to the router’s 5GHz network.
A 4K UHD stream on the Apple TV, a 4K Apple TV+ stream on the iPad Pro, a 16.6GB file transfer from a desktop PC to a NAS box (connected to the network via Gigabit Ethernet), World of Warcraft on the MacBook Pro, and the same WiFiman transfer test we used previously from the iPhone 12 Pro to the Samsung Galaxy S21 were all run simultaneously. We kept track of the results of all of these tests, as well as the results of Cloudflare’s Internet Speed Test, which we ran from a desktop computer. These testing revealed how the routers worked on a small number of devices at extreme range and ideal settings, as well as a large number of various devices under very demanding conditions.
Underscored by David Murphy/CNN
The TP-Link Archer AX6000 came in second behind the Asus RT-AX86U in our tests. It’s a dual-band, four-stream Wi-Fi 6 router, much as the RT-AX86U. It didn’t do as well in our multi-device tests as the Asus, and it’s generally more costly. It’s still a good choice, particularly if you want to connect a lot of connected devices, since it offers eight Ethernet connections, which is twice as many as our top selection. (If required, you could always add an inexpensive networking switch to the RT-AX86U.)
In our early data transfer tests between two Wi-Fi 6 cellphones, the Archer AX6000 functioned well. It was notably powerful on 2.4GHz, but we don’t think it’s as essential as its 5GHz performance since rival wireless networks may cause all sorts of interference in that band, which even the best routers can’t overcome.
The Archer AX6000 performed well in our multi-device testing, in which we bombarded the router with traffic from a variety of devices positioned across a two-story residence. We believe Asus’ RT-AX86U is the best router to acquire, despite the fact that it was more costly than our stronger and faster top option at the time of our testing.
The AX6000 includes a single 2.5Gbps WAN port and eight Gigabit LAN ports, which may be linked together via link aggregation to create a single, fast connection. A USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 connector and a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port are also included for connecting storage to network devices. That was a welcome surprise since we don’t commonly see USB-C connectors on routers.
The AX6000 is configured using the same browser-based user interface as the Archer AX21. You can set up schedule-driven parental controls that can restrict material by category under the “HomeCare” area, which isn’t available in the AX21 setup (gambling, social networking, etc.). You may also see which websites your family members visited and how much time they spent online. This is also where you can configure the router’s QoS, which allows you to prioritize traffic to and from specified devices, as well as activate the router’s built-in antivirus software. (Because the software is a Trend Micro feature, we have the same privacy concerns as we had with comparable functions on the RT-AX86U.) It’s best to avoid that one.)
Aside from that, the AX6000 offers all of the normal TP-Link router capabilities, including guest networks, scheduleable Wi-Fi, OpenVPN compatibility, automated firmware updates, and OneMesh. We also like that your 5GHz network may employ a variety of channels, including 36–48, 52–64 (DFS), 100–144 (DFS), and 149–165. That should give you enough of room to avoid rival networks from your neighbors. You may also use the AX6000 as a wired access point to extend your wireless network if you decide to switch to a different router in the future. Don’t throw away decent hardware.
Our affordable selection, the TP-Link Archer AX50 router, came in second. It showed somewhat better long-range performance than the AX21, but it was surpassed in all other testing by the newer, less expensive AX21. To take use of its AX3000 speed rating, you’ll need to utilize 160MHz channels on 5GHz, which most devices don’t support. Most communities lack the open bandwidth required for channels this broad, however the AX50 does allow you to utilize DFS channels to attempt to avoid competing 5GHz Wi-Fi networks. When you consider that it doesn’t support automated firmware upgrades or TP-OneMesh, Link’s we believe the AX21 is the better choice.
In our early long-range testing, the Netgear Nighthawk AX6 (RAX45) AX4300 router performed poorly, with half the average performance of the Asus RT-AX86U on 5GHz, so we ruled it out. Although it costs roughly $100 less, we believe the additional speed and range make it worthwhile to pay a little more.
In our early testing, the Linksys E9450 struggled with 5GHz signal strength; it was the only router we tested that couldn’t even connect at the long-range test site. The interior antennae didn’t perform as well as the exterior antennas, despite the router’s attractive look. Worse, the router didn’t do a good job of avoiding interference. Its automated configuration mode, which is designed to assist it in selecting a channel and bandwidth profile that avoids interfering with nearby signals, instead defaulted to the broadest feasible bandwidth, regardless of how busy the airways were. Imagine four individuals attempting to stroll along a crowded sidewalk shoulder to shoulder. Instead, we’d want the router to require that they walk in single-file.
Our third budget candidate, the Netgear R6700AX, performed well in our preliminary long-range tests, but the other low-cost routers were roughly twice as fast on 5GHz, and we had trouble getting a connection to stay on the router’s 5GHz network from our test iPhone at range. That’s not a good indication, and it led us to fear we were pushing the router’s range to the limit. We had no connection troubles with the TP-Link Archer AX21 or Archer AX50 across comparable distances, and we believe you’d be better off with any of them.
The “best router 2021” is a product that has been on the market for quite some time. It is a device that allows users to connect multiple devices and stream their favorite content with ease.
- best wifi router
- best routers 2022
- best wifi router for long range
- best wifi 6 router
- best budget router