How to Choose a Router in 2021 – The Definitive Guide!

Choosing a new router or VPN router may be difficult since there are so many different brands and types to select from. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve put together a list of things to think about before choosing a router. We looked at these specs when making router recommendations, starting with compatibility and ensuring sure the router supports internet speeds.
Here is the list of things you should keep in mind when choosing a router for your home or office to get the best one.


1. Consider how much you want to spend on a router

How to Choose a Router

Routers can cost anywhere from less than $100 to more than $300. The amount you should spend on a router is mostly determined by your budget. But you’ll also want to be sure you’re receiving the features you need to get the most out of your internet connection.

You’ll almost certainly pay extra for a router with higher speeds and capabilities like MU-MIMO and beamforming. Tri-band routers, as well as ones that enable telephone service, will be more expensive.

So, when considering how much you want to spend on a router, also consider what features you need to have.


2. Check to see if your new router is compatible with your ISP

How to Choose a Router

Although most routers should work with any internet service provider (ISP), it’s always a good idea to check if your new router is compatible with your ISP. Especially if you’re thinking of getting a modem-router combination.

Modems employ technology that is specific to the sort of internet connection your provider offers, and if you’re utilizing a cable modem with DSL internet, you’re in luck. Your internet just will not function. As a result, ensuring compatibility is crucial.

Most ISPs make lists of suitable modems and routers available and advice on what to look for. Here are some links to listings of compatible equipment for some of the country’s most popular internet providers:

  • Comcast Xfinity
  • Cox
  • Mediacom (PDF)
  • RCN
  • Sparklight (formerly Cable One)
  • Spectrum

3. Make sure your router supports the internet speed you pay for

Make sure your router supports the internet speed

You’ll want a router that provides greater speed than your internet subscription promises. This increases your chances of receiving the quickest Wi-Fi speeds possible, even if you’re connecting numerous devices and people at the same time. It also guarantees that the speed you pay for isn’t squandered.

However, hold in thoughts that maximum routers provide speeds on each of the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Because maximum gadgets do not use each Wi-Fi frequencies at an identical time, this general velocity is probably deceptive. Check the most velocity that your router’s 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands can handle.

Remember that wireless rates slow down due to the fact that they must go through the air or, worse, solid things such as walls, floors, and furniture. So, if you require the fastest speeds from your router for your CS:GO gaming session, use an Ethernet connection to connect to it.

4. Look for a newer wireless protocol

Look for a newer wireless protocol

When looking at routers, you’ll notice the numbers 802.11 plus a letter or a mix of letters. The wireless protocol, often known as the Wi-Fi standard, indicates how good the router’s throughput and range are. However, you don’t need to be a techie to comprehend these Wi-Fi standards. Simply seek a router that supports one of the most up-to-date wireless protocols, such as:
  • 11ax (Wi-Fi 6): The latest standard is intended to offer rates of up to 10 Gbps, although many gadgets and internet connections aren’t capable of doing so. As a result, you might not need to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 right now.
  • 11ac (Wi-Fi 5): This standard is likely to be found on most routers, and it’s more than capable of keeping you connected at rates of up to 3.5 Gbps.
  • 11n (Wi-Fi 4): This standard was the first to offer speeds of up to 600 Mbps while operating on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.

5. Use mesh Wi-Fi or extenders to spread Wi-Fi through your house

Use mesh Wi-Fi or extenders to spread Wi-Fi through your house

This is virtually self-evident: you’ll need a router with a range that covers the entirety or the majority of your home. Although some routers are more precise than others, they should all give you an estimate of how much square footage they can cover.
The TP-Link Archer A20 and XFi Pods, for example, are both recommended, but both provide an estimated range dependent on the number of bedrooms in your home.
But don’t be concerned. If your router doesn’t beam a Wi-Fi signal to the farthest reaches of your house after you set it up, you may use a Wi-Fi extender or a mesh Wi-Fi system to expand the range of your Wi-Fi signal.

6. Don’t forget optional features

How to Choose a Router

Router manufacturers are always introducing new technologies, and some of the most current updates might improve your online experience. When looking for a new router, there are a few features you should look for:

Quality of Service (QoS)

You may instruct your router on certain devices and internet connections to prioritize over others using Quality of Service. If you’re a gamer who needs to ensure that your internet connection remains reliable even if your partner or children turn on Netflix, you can instruct your router to prioritize your Xbox’s internet connection above your smart TV.

Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO)

Your router can more efficiently support numerous wired and wireless connections using MU-MIMO. Your router can only transfer bandwidth to one device at a time without MU-MIMO, even if they’re both connected at the same time. On the other hand, MU-MIMO allows your router to divide your bandwidth and support all of your connected devices at once.

Beamforming

Beamforming is a technique used by modern routers to guide a Wi-Fi signal to a device. Routers are used to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal in all directions before beamforming. Beamforming may be thought of as a more efficient, laser-targeted Wi-Fi signal with a stronger connection.