The 5 best wireless routers of 2017
Browse, game and stream better with the best wireless routers
Determining the best wireless router comes down to the needs of your household. Hardcore gamer may require directional beamforming while more populated homes will find necessity in multi-user MIMO technology, designed to provide bandwidth to more than one device at a time. Regardless of your taste and budget, we’ve rounded up all the top wireless routers right here.
1. Linksys WRT 3200 ACM
Kickin’ it old school (and open-source)
Speed: 802.11ac: 3x 867 Mbps, 802.11n: 600 Mbps
Connectivity: 4x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 3.0, 1 x ESATA/USB 2.0
Features: Tri-Stream 160, CPU: 1.8GHz dual core, RAM: 512 MB, Flash memory: 256 MB
The Linksys WRT 3200 ACM has an unflattering design that it’s damn proud of. That’s because, unlike systems that are stylish but limited when it comes to personalization. The Linksys WRT 3200 ACM gives you unadulterated control over your wireless network connections.
Whether you want to toggle on and off guest connections, prioritize media devices, initiate parental controls or access the OpenVPN server. All the functionality you would expect from a router of this price is there. Not only that, but all of this is in place with the option of using whatever firmware you’d like, thanks to its open-source advocacy.
2. Google Wifi
The future of wireless networking gets affordable
Speed: 802.11ac 5GHz down: 101.41 Mbps, 2.4GHz down: 47.53 Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports per Wifi point (1 WAN and 1 LAN port each)
Features: AC1200 2 x 2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi, TX beamforming, Bluetooth Smart ready
Wireless mesh systems are the future, and Google Wifi only reassures us of this. Google Wifi is one of cheapest and, moreover, the easiest to configure. It’s as easy to set up as scanning a QR code on the cylindrical unit connected to your modem via Ethernet, and a few seconds after setting the name and password of your network, you can start broadcasting. Google Wifi is more about covering a wider space than exhibiting the fastest speeds.
Google Wifi also comes armed with traffic prioritization functionality. Which makes sure more bandwidth is devoted to tasks which demand it.
Such as 4K video playback or online gaming. Sure, it requires that you buy a trio of units just to use it to its full potential, but the design of the hardware – and even the software.
3. Starry Station
Wi-Fi made easy (and attractive)
Speed: 802.11ac: 1,300Mbps 802.11n: 450Mbps
Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit LAN port
Features: Dual-band Wi-Fi technology, 3.8-inch LCD touchscreen, embedded speaker/microphone
The Starry Station is not like most routers in its price range. Instead of chasing after the fastest speeds and longest range, it’s all about two things: convenience and aesthetic. The triangular design and curious LCD display make the Starry Station a welcome addition to your home whether it’s sitting atop your desk or on a coffee table in your living room.
Sure, it’s expensive for what it is, considering it offers little performance advantage over your ISP’s stock router, but what the Starry Station lacks it more than makes up for in style and ease-of-use. Just ensure that your source connection isn’t in, say, your closet.