Image Source: Android Central
Before starting this post about which one is the Best Wireless router for 2019, let me brief you about routers and what a wireless router actually is – in case you don’t know.
Comparison Table For Best Wireless Routers 2019
|9||Netgear Nighthawk R7000|
|6||Amped Ally Home WiFi System|
|5||Netgear Nighthawk R8000|
Best WiFi Routers 2019
Quick NavigationWhat is a Wireless Router?Why you need a Wireless Router?How Much a Wireless Router Costs?Different WiFi Routers’ CategoriesBest Wireless Router 2019 Review11. Asus RT-N66U10. Trendnet TEW-812DRU9. NETGEAR Nighthawk R70008. Synology RT1900ac7. Linksys WRT1900ACS6. Amped Wireless Ally Home WiFi System5. Netgear Nighthawk R80004. Asus RT-AC32003. D-Link DIR-8902. Asus AC88U1. SynologyRT2600acBonus: Linksys EA9500WiFi Routers Related FAQ
What is a Wireless Router?
The crux of a wireless router are these:
- A Router – Well, think of a Router as a Traffic warden. It manages/directs the traffic between different clients connected to your network. In more specific terms, it forwards Data Packets, from your Network to other Networks out there.
- A Network Switch – It connects your WiFi devices, no matter how much they are, to wired devices through Ethernet cables.
- A Wireless Access Point – This last part, also called wireless AP, is a station and antenna that does nothing more than receiving/transmitting WiFi signals.
Why you need a Wireless Router?
Wireless Router is apparently a boring device which sees through internet transmission in a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), that’s why it is also called a WiFi Router. The main advantage of wireless routers is that they connect your internet with multiple devices, without connecting them with your Modem.
Now, these devices can be anything from your Xbox one/PlayStation to iPhone 6s, and from Printer to your PC/SmartTV etc.
How Much a Wireless Router Costs?
A WiFi router can cost you as low as 50 bucks to as much as $400 — the more you pay ,more you’ll get (not always actually). But that’s not the point, what I’m saying is that many people among us don’t bother much when buying a Wireless Router – by many I mean most.
For them, a $50 router and a $250 one have all the things common except the price tag. Due to this, they can’t watch 4K videos, play heavy games over LAN, make VoIP calls over the internet etc.
In short, they suffer from a disease, I call it LOSS (Lack Of Satisfaction from Home Networking System). In my dictionary, any good router is supposed to do following tasks efficiently.
Typical Functions An Advanced Wireless Router
- It provide you a unique local IP address – which is not visible on the internet — for every device you’ve connected. In this way, it protects your network from hacking.
- You can connect all your devices to internet and move from one room to another in you house – without attaching any type of cable.
- ForNetwork Storage and Backup drives, some modern Wireless Routers give you External Hard Drive support. It means you can plug your External Hard Drive in it for storage expansion.
- Some high-end routers offer you DLNA support. Through it, you’d have control over how Audio/video and other Media is distributed over your network. You can also use it for managing file sharing permissions of your network Hard Drive.
- Some other goodies you can expect are Network Prioritization, Shared Printing over USB connectivity, QoS, Port Forwarding, Backup servers, and Parental control etc.
So, a good decision you’ve made if you want to buy a new/your first WiFi router. But if you go out in the market to buy one, you’ll probably be lost in all those types that are available right now. Some years ago we had N600, N900 etc. routers. Come 2019, and we’ve got 802.11ac wave 2 routers, mesh networks and open-source DD-WRT routers too. There are some options on Band-type too. One is Dual-Band whereas other is Tri-Band. So there is a chance that you may get overwhelmed by all those types.
Choosing a single nice Wireless Router for yourself shouldn’t be that hard, right?
That’s why we’ve tried to demystify most of the types/standards you’ll probably encounter while choosing a wireless router.
Different WiFi Routers’ Categories
There are two main router categories used nowadays.
Dual-band wifi routers are called so, becasue they operate on two different wireless frequency bands: one have 2.4GHz frequwncy while other one has 5GHz.
Just like dual-band routers operate on 2 different bands, tri-band routers have 3 different bands. One is 2.4GHz frequency band while other two are 5GHz Bands. That’s the reason tri-band routers are better at handling a large number of devices, let say 20, at one time.
To help you guys, here is a table that’ll make you understand different types of routers and their top theoretical speed (in Mbps).
5GHz Band 1
5GHz Band 2
The main purpose so far was to prepare you for what you can expect later in this post e.g. terminologies, types of routers etc. So having read that much, let’s dive head first into this 2019 router buying guide.
Best Wireless Router 2019 Review
11. Asus RT-N66U
Best Wireless N Router 2019
Upon its release RT-N66U was the first N900 router from Asus, and even after more than 3 years it is still best. From its looks, you can’t say that it was released way back in 2012. Its diamond-black sleek design is still liked by many. The main design is borrowed from its previous version RT-N56U. On top of its case-like design, you will see 3 antennas raising up from its back. You can actually detach these antennas if you want, but you will need to plug them back in order to work.
On its back, you will find its 4 LAN ports and 1 WAN port too. These are Gigabit Ethernet ports and if you don’t want a wireless connection, you can connect Network cable in it. Besides these, there are 2 USB ports, a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button and a power button etc. All these are nicely aligned. As a result, its front side has no buttons.
Since it is a Dual-band N900 router, both of its 2.4 GHz and 5Hz frequency band are capable of giving you 450Mbps each. As all routers support backward compatibility, RT-N66U works with pre-N wireless standards. In order to get most of it, you will need to tweak its settings and set encryption methods to support both AES and TKIP encryption methods.
For any Wireless routers, a Web interface is very important. A complex-looking Web interface can be overwhelming for beginners or even old users. However that was not the case with RT-N66U, its web interface is fairly simple and easy to use. It has 3 main parts: Setup Wizard, General Items, and Advanced Settings. From General menu, you can view Network Map which shows you currently connected devices.
To interact with any device, simply click on it. Other things you can do in General tab are adding/modifying Guest Networks (three for each band), manage traffic/USB ports and Parental Control etc.Now talk about these USB ports. You can do many tasks with them. Some of are, connecting external storage/ printers with them and host storage on the cloud etc. You can also make RT-N66U as a Mobile Hotspot.
Well, there are some problems in it. Its USB ports are not 3.0, no wall-mounting and its 2.4 GHz is very slower than 5.0 GHz Band. But still, it can do most of what modern routers do. That too in a much affordable price.
10. Trendnet TEW-812DRU
Best Wireless Router 2019 Under 100
Costing you around a hundred Bucks, TEW-812DRU from Trendnet is arguably the most affordable 802.11ac router in the market. It is clearly aimed at people who want more performance in a relatively smaller budget. Its design is a bit different from most of the current routers.
Instead of having 3 or 5 antennas in as many directions, it has a rather square-shaped body. If you hold it vertically, it would look more like a Booklet due to its black front/back color which blends well with white color in the middle. Like Asus RT-N66U, it also doesn’t offer you wall-mounting. On the front side, there is LED-indicators + internet/power options. 4 LAN, 1 WAN port, a USB 3.0 port, and a WPS button – all are on the back side.
It is an AC1750 Dual-band router which means it has 1750 Mbps speed, 1300 Mbps on AC network from 5 GHz band and 450 Mbps of Wireless-N from 2.4 GHz Band. Of course, your smartphones and other clients have to be 802.11ac-enabled (like Samsung Galaxy S5) to get most out of this speed. For PCs, there is an 802.11ac Adapter to utilize that fast speed.
Like Asus RT-N66U, TEW-812DRU is very easy to setup. You just have to go to your local IP address from a connected PC and give your username/password and it is done. From its web interface, you can create 4 WiFi networks and up to 8 Guest Networks (Both Bands combined).
Above all, it’s web interface is very intuitive and you can see all changes you’ve applied and their progress. You can share External Hard Drive through its USB 3.0 port. One important thing is that it is DD-WRT open source firmware compatible. To secure your network, it supports WPS, WPA/WPA2 security standards.
9. NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000
In terms of design and performance, Nighthawk R7000 is opposite to Apple’s Extreme Base Station. R7000 emphasis much more on substance rather than style. It demands attention even if its bulky size doesn’t permit it. At the time of release, it packed Broadcom’s latest chip – BCM4709. Being wall-mountable can also be turned on its favor.
As we said, Nighthawk R7000 won’t get any prize over its size. Some of us may find it bulky because it doesn’t stand vertically and takes up that much space. 3 detachable antennas only add to that bulkiness. To compensate this R7000 is made wall mountable. Weighing 750g means it is one of the heaviest routers around us.
In terms of specifications, though, it doesn’t give you any chance to doubt. Being AC1900 router means a combined speed up to 1900 Mbps. One advantage having Broadcom’ latest chipset is TurboQAM technology, it enhances Wireless-N clients’ speed from 450 Mbps to 600 Mbps (3 spatial streams now give you 200Mbps each, instead of 150Mbps).
But its most impressive hardware components are its dual-core 1 GHz processor, 128 MB of flash storage memory and even a 256 MB RAM. It also has a USB 3.0 port in front of it.
Common features include Guest Networking (one for each) and OpenDNS-based Parental control. These were also present in previous Netgear routers. More advanced features are Web-filtering (up to 5 levels), built-in OpenVPN server, SMB protocol, QoS features such as managing both up and downstream.
You can use its USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports to connect printer or External Hard Drive with it.
In Hard Drives, R7000 supports FAT32 or NTFS formatted drives. To backup your data on a connected drive, it has features such as Time Machine and ReadyShare Vault. You even support your Media content on its connected Drive because it is DLNA-supported.
For managing/monitoring and repairing it, Netgear has a Genie App. It also supports third-party firmware support such as DD-WRT.
With so many features, good processor/RAM, DD-WRT support, better QoS, Time Machine + DLNA support and no apparent issues, there isn’t much you can ask more in $200. We know it is A LOT for a wireless router but it is totally worth it, and it is still less expensive than some high-end routers.
WiFi Router with a NAS touch
This is the first WiFi router from Synology. Even making NAS devices for quite a time, Synology alienated itself from making WiFi devices for home users. Like its name suggests, it’s an AC1900 router. This ensures its theoretical top speed of 1300Mbps on its 5GHz and 600Mbps on its lower frequency band of 2.4GHz.
Its overall design is very simplistic but one thing I like about this device is that it’s wall mountable. Inside this device, you’ll get a 1GHz dual-core processor and 256MB DDR3 memory. This speed-memory combo is the most-powerful one among all AC1900 wifi routers except Linksys’ latest WRT1900ACS.
USB 3.0 and SD-card Slot
On its left side, you’ll get a USB 3.0 slot for attaching any external Hard Drive. Alongside this 3.0 slot, there is a SD-card adapter slot. You can place your SD card in a card adapter and place that in this slot to use it as internal storage.
Unlike other routers in this list, this one uses the Synology’ own Synology Router Manager (SRM). Simply put, SRM is a linux-based firmware, which is also put in NAS servers by Synology. It is web-based console. The good thing about SRM is that it’s very easy to configure and customize its features — more about it below
Variety of features
There are many other easy-to-configure firmwares.
So what makes SRM stand apart?
Well it has a module called package centre. You can think of package centre as an ‘App store’ where you can install add-ons to further enhance the capabilities for routers. There are many features out-of-box too like Download station, VPN server and media server.
Some of the other things you can do with this router is to configure DNS/VPN settings, change connection type, Port forwarding, Port triggering, Parental control and DHCP settings etc.
Synology’s DS Router mobile app can also be used for managing this router. It’s available for both iOS and android. One downside of this app is limited functionality than SRM web-console.
What Others Say About It
Synology RT1900ac is a networking nerd’s dream. Having all that data at your fingertips is incredibly useful when it comes to tracking down what device or service is using the lion’s share of data in your home network — especially if you’re stuck on a restricted ADSL2+ connection, where both upload and download speeds are precious. Within your house, it’s rock solid when it comes to 802.11ac Wi-Fi, with good speeds and equally good coverage. The RT1900ac comes highly recommended — Gizmodo Australia
Its performance on 2.4 GHz is pretty average but that’s the only flaw you can find in this router. Not to forget its NAS-capability, lots of features, MU-MIMO support and intuitive software. So I would recommend it to anyone who want to taste the NAS flavor in a wireless router.
7. Linksys WRT1900ACS
Best AC1900 WiFi Router 2019
WRT1900ACS is an upgraded version of WRT1900AC which was released last year. 1900AC was declared the best wireless router for both DDWRT and NAS — before we update this list. Let’s find what its upgrade version has to offer us.
Design wise, linksys didn’t change anything. This router features the same blue-black retro design like its predecessor. 1900AC, in turn, borrowed that design from the legendary WRT54G. Like 1900AC, its successor is also wall-mountable and have 4 detachable side-ways antennas. Only one change is made in design area. So no internal fan this time.
Specs wise, this the most powerful wireless router you can have in AC1900 area. A 1.6 GHz dual-core processor with 512 MB RAM and 128 flash memory. Even some AC3200 routers don’t have this deadly hardware combo. Flash memory is very important considering the fact that this router is made to be used with firmwares such as Open WRT, tomato firmware etc.
On its rear side,it has 4 gigabit LAN ports, 1 WAN port. Besides these, there is one USB 3.0 port and one other that can act like both USB 2.0 or eSATA slot. This way there is a possibility of you connecting two external hard drives with it at one time.
This device is a 3×3 AC1900 router. This may seem average since we now have as fast routers as AC5400 ones but practically most laptops, smartphones can only utilize speed up to 1900Mbps.
This device practically requires no setup. Just plug it in, put an internet source into its WAN port and boom, you’re good to go. You can use its web-based interface to customize it further. If you want to manage this router remotely then you have to log into your Linksys account first. If you want even more freedom, you can use Linksys Smart Wi-Fi mobile — for iOS and android — to manage it. But by using app, you’ll only have access to main settings and functions only.
There are a number of different features this router boasts. To start with, it gives you the option to have a single-specific type of connection like AC-only, N-only etc. Other features of WRT1900AC are also present like Tweaking QoS, UPnP and DLNA, and other WiFi encryption schemes. Parental control is also pretty useful, it allows you to block specific types of connections and websites.
Its USB and eSATA port can be used to have an external storage. All popular file storage formats like FAT32, NTFS and HFS+ are supported by this router. Since it also supports UPnP and DLNA, you can play back the content of that attached Hard Drive.
Well, there are some minor hiccups in this router like No Time Machine Backup and No MU-MIMO. MU-MIMO can be useful in handling multiple clients. But still, these problems can be a very small issue comparing to the goodies you’re going to have with this wireless router. Not to forget about its Open-firmware support and enhanced NAS functionality.
6. Amped Wireless Ally Home WiFi System
Home WiFi system is a relatively new concept (only been a few years old) but in 2019, any list about best wireless routers is incomplete without mentioning home WiFi systems. They are different than any single router.
For this article sack, consider this: WiFi Systems are for novice users. Those who want full network coverage for their homes but don’t want to be technical by installing extenders, access points etc.
Many traditional networking-manufacturers are trying to establish their name in home WiFi systems’ market such as Netgear, Amped, Eero etc. Even Google launched its Home WiFi a couple years back, got praise by many.
How this “WiFi system” cops with other players right now? lets find out.
Amped Wireless Ally consists of a singe wireless router and an extender node that are paired by-default. This pair can fully cover an area of 5000-sq. ft without any issue. In case you have a smaller house, like 2500 sq.ft, you can ditch the extender node and buy the router only for less than 200 bucks. Both node and router have 4 internal antennas.
Both router and extender node are identical from outside and feature an all-white design. There’s no external antenna in either device. One big difference you’ll realize that this WiFi system consists of 2 devices, unlike other systems that usually feature 3 devices.
The router has 4 ports (3 for LAN and 1 for WAN) and 1 USB 3.0 port. The extender node, on the other hand, has only 1 gigabit LAN port. you can use that LAN port to connect your devices like SmartTV, Xbox etc. The router has a dual-core processor and 802.11ac WiFi standard means you’ll get the latest MU-MIMO technology and other perks.
Coming to wireless standard, Amped WiFi system is an AC2100 system. This makes it to have 1300Mbps speed on the tri-stream (3×3) 5GHz Band and 800Mbps on tri-stream (4×4) 2.4GHz Band. By having 2 different bands, this WiFi system is one of the very few among its competitors to separate bands. It means you can have two different WiFi networks in your home.
No Wired Connectivity between Router and Node
One notable deficiency you’ll find in this system is that you can’t connect the node with router via a network cable – something that is supported by other WiFi systems in the market.
This issue can be very critical because, since this WiFi system just consists of a router and an extender, you’ll only get 50% of signal strength once your wifi extender has rebroadcast the signal in far away areas of your house.
In that case, you might have a temptation to establish a wired connection between your router to extender in order to have no signal loss, but… you simply can’t do that.
Breeze-like Installation and Setup
The installation and setting-up Ally WiFi System is, as I said, a breeze. First you need to start the router. Then follow some simple steps either by accessing its admin-panel or using its mobile app. You’re done.
Now comes the node AKA extender part. Take the extender as far as you can from the router, but make that your signal strength light on the extender remains green. Green light means that the signal strength here is pretty strong. You have nothing to do else, since these isn’t any typical WiFi extender. It’s be pre-programmed to work with its router.
All in all, you’ll lose approx. 10 minutes of time in installing and setup of this WiFi system.
User-friendly Mobile App and Web Interface
Amped Ally WiFi system, like most other WiFi systems, gives 2 ways to access settings. Mobile App and Web Admin Console.
Using the Mobile App, which is available for both Android and Iphone Users, you can do things like Changing name/password of your network, turn guest networking on/off, web filtering and pausing the internet etc. You can even turn AVG security on/off, this feature will surely gonna help you taking down any harmful program in your system.
Web-filtering provided by Amped, I think, is pretty advanced. Apart from blocking specific sites, you can block sites that belong to any specific category like Adult, Dating, Gambling, Social Media, Forums and even gaming sites etc.
Now comes the second part: The Web Admin Console. Just like in any other modern router, if you want to fully customize your network. you’re going to need the web admin panel. Using Web console, you can do advanced tasks such as Port forwarding, QoS, IP reservation and even turning router into a network storage using an external Hard Drive.
Best WiFi System 2019 W.R.T Single Router Performance
Among all WiFi systems we tested, Amped Ally WiFi system had the best performance as a single router. Yes, it perform a little slower than other typical routers like Asus AC88U or Synology AC2600, but has no competitor in Wifi system realm.
I had a mostly positive feeling after reviewing this router/node pair. Yes it has one drawback or two (like no wired connection between node and router), but in return you get a fastest performance and most-advanced level customization — for a WiFi system. Add web filtering on-the-go and easy installation in it and you’ll get a pretty fair deal.
5. Netgear Nighthawk R8000
Netgear’s Nighthawk X6 is a great solution for users with many devices, each using different wireless technologies. This router will give you the best of all worlds in one package, without sacrificing performance. – Tyler Bernath from TweakTown
Netgear R8000 was released before some other AC3200 routers like Asus RT-AC3200 . On design, it is basically and enlarged-R7000 we reviewed earlier in this post. One main difference is the six-collapsible antennas you can fold for compactness.
However, you will need to open them for maximum signal reception. The angle of these antennas can make ’em look like legs of a spider. So I wouldn’t be surprised if you imagine it as a large insect on flipping it down.
Specs wise, it is a usual affair for an AC3200 router. 600Mbps on 2.4GHz for 802.11b/g/n clients, 1300Mbps on 5GHz for old 802.11n devices and one 5GHz Band left – in the case of further 802.11ac-only devices.
Therefore, forget about a slow network. Inside this router, you will find a dual-core 1GHz processor with three offload processors coupled with 128MB of flash memory and 256MB RAM. On the back of there, it is one WAN port and 4 LAN ones.
It also carries 2 USB 2.0 ports along with a USB 3.0 port – for fast data transmission. Talking more about specs, R8000 boasts the Latest Broadcom 5G WiFi Router Platform. It is an MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output) router that features 6 802.11ac streams and 3 802.11n streams.
Web-based Interface and Mobile App
As far its interface/setup is concerned, they are same features from R7000. You can either use Netgear Genie Mobile app or Web-based interface. Now you may get mixed with two options. Simply put, Mobile app is for basic tasks, for more advanced tasks like Port Forwarding or DNS, head towards web-console.
Very Good NAS (Network Added Storage) Functionality
YOU CAN CONNECT AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE TO ITS PORTS, THEN USE ITS READYSHARE FEATURE FOR A BIT OF NAS. WHILE LINKSYS WRT1900AC BEATS THEM ALL, R8000 IS ALSO ONE THE BEST FOR NAS FUNCTIONALITY.
Well, to buy it or not, completely depends on what you need. If all you do is 720p video streaming, then it would be a dry-run for it. In that case, you should go for cheaper options like Netgear R7000. But if you want some intensive real-time heavy-duty gaming over LAN or watch 4K video streaming, then you must give it a try.
4. Asus RT-AC3200
This is an Asus’ Tri-Band router. Along with Netgear X6, and D-Link Dir-890, Asus RT-AC3200 completes the trio of best Tri-Band routers. Its design would give you same deja vu of Asus AC87U because these two feature the same grayish-black angular design. It is also very huge, thanks to its six detachable antennas.
Its ports’ scene is pretty usual, 4 LAN ports with 1 for WAN and 2 USB ports (1 each for 2.0 and 3.0). Since it is an AC3200 router, you can also call it an AC1900 router with an extra 5GHz Band. Rather than increasing band-speed, Broadcom decided to increase its Band size of its Dual-Band WiFi chip. This 5GHz extra Band is only used when you will have more than one 802.11ac clients.
From inside, this routers pairs a Broadcom BCM4709 dual-core 1GHz with 256MB DDR3 RAM and 128MB flash storage – good to be even called a small server. This is the most powerful combo we have in router’s market right now. Tri-Band features such as SmartConnect are also available.
Its web interface is not great, but still very easy and robust. From Network map, you can view the connected devices in real-time. Other network map-based features are Dynamic DNS, Wi-Fi settings, and WAN settings etc.
Other two worth-mentioning features of its web-based interface are Adaptive QoS and AiProtection. Adaptive QoS can do things like Bandwidth Prioritization, that too in the basis of categories like Surfing, VoIP, gaming, streaming etc. If you don’t like this auto-QoS, it has Manual QoS for Experts where you can define your criteria for Bandwidth allocation.
The AiProtection protects your system from viruses and malware. Even if your connected client is malicious, this router will stop it from sending your personal info. But one thing, you must remember, is that enabling it may cause conflict between other features such as UPnP and Port forwarding etc.
If you want Guest Network, at its best, then it surely is best for you. Because it can support 3 Guest Networks for each of its Band, so 9 Guest Networks overall. You can attach External HDD through USB ports, to make it work as a powerful NAS server. Asus’ AiCloud lets you share, stream your data on the cloud, through any connected device.
Besides these, you can also connect a printer or a Modem to its ports. You can even make one of its LAN ports work as a WAN one. You can use its Time Machine feature of backing up your data.
Then we have an ‘apps analysis”, a feature which shows you download/upload bandwidth of any connected client in real time. At last, we have its built-in PPTP VPN server through which you can host up to 10 remote clients.
In our testing, we found this wireless router to be best for 4K UHD video streaming.
DONG NGO FROM CNET CONCLUDED: “..OVERALL, THE RT-AC3200 (ALONG WITH OTHER 802.11AC ROUTERS FROM ASUS) HAS THE MOST TO OFFER BY FAR IN TERMS OF WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THEIR BUILT-IN NETWORK STORAGE FEATURE.”
3. D-Link DIR-890
Best TriBand Wireless Router 2019
…A BIT MORE EXPENSIVE THAN THE COMPETITION, BUT IF YOU WANT THE FASTEST TRI-BAND MODEL ON THE MARKET, THE DIR-890L/R DELIVERS. IT’S OUR NEW EDITORS’ CHOICE CONSUMER ROUTER. SAYS JOHN R. DELANEY FROM PCMAG.
2. Asus AC88U
Best WiFi Router 2019
AC-88U is the big brother of AC87U which we liked pretty much. It was an AC2400 router and one of our recommendations as best wifi router for gaming — until they released AC-88U. Although this router was released in end of 2015, we decided to not include it in this list. Our point was, that we should test it personally. Now it’s time to find out what we found out in this WiFi router.
Design wise, this is little up-sized version of its predecessor. Like AC87U, this router too has mainly black design with some red color on its antennas. Speaking of which, there are 4 antennas — 1 on each right and left side and 2 on rear. AC87U had all on its rear side. Due to this single reason, this router some a little bit of extra space than the 87U. These antennas are removable too and it is also wall-mountable.
Thanks to Asus’ setup wizard you only need to have an internet connection, plug it and power it up. Doing this, you’ll be directed on a web-based console and configure you router. You can also setup these things but for this, you’ll need to have know-how of technical things such as Dynamic IP, DHCP, Static IP etc.
Asus AC-88U is a dual-band AC3100 router. Its single 5GHz can give you a theoretical top speed of 2166 Mbps — same is offered by an AC5300 router — and its 2.4GHz has a maximum of 1000 Mbps. For this matter, let me notify that asus also makes a router called RT-AC3100 which is complete replica of this one.
Except that RT-AC3100 has 4 LAN ports VS 8 LAN ports by AC-88U. Yes you’ve read right. 8 LAN ports when most of today routers have only 4. Not only this, but you can also make one of its LAN ports as a WAN one.
So you potentially have 2 WAN ports in one wifi router. Apart from this, you can combine two LAN ports to have a single super-fast connection. At last, one major advantage of extra LAN ports is that you can connect more printers, NAS drives without having to buy a separate network switch.
Other than this, there are 2 USB ports. USB 2.0 port on back while a USB 3.0 port on front side.You can use these USB ports to host a USB cellular Dongle.
Other Hardware Specs
Ac88U boasts the same NitroQAM chipset which is used by other AC5300 routers like Netgear 8500 and Asus own AC5300. Since AC88U — being a dual-band router — doesn’t have that extra band, it lacks performance when there are more than 10 devices that utilize its single 5GHz band.
Inside this router, you’ll get a Dual-core 1.4GHz processor + 512 DDR3 RAM and 128 MB flash storage. It’s also MU-MIMO supported.
As I said, its Web console is pretty easy to configure your router for the first time. After this, you’ll be shown a network map. From this map, you can view all of your connected clients at any given time and click on them to find information about them. You can also change settings such as Dynamic DNS and WAN settings etc.
There are some other cool stuff you can do with there web console. Apart from network map, you can go to QoS and Guest Network pages. It supports 6 Guest Networks. There is a special treat for online gamers. This router uses WTFast aka. Gamers Private Network (GPN), which uses its proprietary software for a better and stable online gameplay.
Then there is Asus AiProtection. This feature blocks malicious software and websites. It also offers parental controls and app-filtering. Some other advanced settings let you have URL filtering, Denial of Service protection, and keyword filtering etc.
And now you would say how on earth a dual-band router can out-perform tri-band routers? Right?
Don’t let the numbers fool you. A router can give you as fast connection as its highest frequency band can. If we consider that argument, an AC-1900/3200 routers can have speed as fast as 1300 Mbps. On the other hand AC3100/5300 can have 2166 Mbps speed through their 5GHz band.
According to testing done by Cnet, its performance matched with that of its pricier brother Asus AC- 5300. This makes it perfect wireless router for gaming, 4K streaming, and wireless printing etc. Yet, NAS and file read/write performance isn’t excellent, which, considering its price, should have been.
With the Asus RT-AC88U Dual-Band Router, you get very fast throughput performance, …… With eight LAN ports and two USB ports, this router is an excellent choice for users who want to connect multiple peripherals and wired clients, such as gaming consoles, NAS devices, printers, and home-automation hubs — PC Mag
Synology RT2600ac is the newer version of RT1900ac router (which we reviewed above in this post). For those who’ve skimmed this post, I am going to repeat what I found about RT1900ac router. It was a good dual-band router with intuitive software, lots of features and a NAS touch. On the other hand, that router fared poorly on 2.4GHz Band.
Did RT2900ac manage to perform well (or bad) than its predecessor? Let’s find out.
Dimensions and Ports
On looks, RT2600ac is an averaged-sized router that has 4 detachable/adjustable antennas. If we look at ports, then it’s on par with other routers in this post. You’ll get 4 Gigabit LAN ports, 1 USB 3.0 port and 1 USB 2.0 port. It also has 1 dedicated WAN port, although you can used LAN port number 1 as secondary WAN port.
2 WAN ports mean that you can use 2 different internet services, simultaneously, for better speed. This would be very handy feature in case you have a lot of devices demanding heavy bandwidth. However, it means that the number of LAN ports will be reduced to 3. It’s also worth mentioning that this router doesn’t come with any built-in ADSL, VDSL or Cable modem.
Beefy Hardware Specs
Inside this router, you’ll have a dual-core 1.7GHz processor alongside 512 MB of RAM. On Technical side, it’s an AC2600 quad-stream router with ‘4×4 AC radio setup’. This basically means is that this router can have a theoretical top-speed of 1733Mbps on 5GHz Band and 800Mbps on 2.4GHz Band. Since it’s a modern router, it has all the necessary bells and whistles such as beam forming, bandwidth steering, and of course, MU-MIMO.
In most routers, admin panel can be accessed by typing an IP address in browser’s search bar (e.g: 192.168.0.1). More often than not, they’re complicated for new user and many things are ill-organized in different menus/tabs. That’s why first-time users find them to be difficult.
Enter this firmware called SRM (Synology Router Management). Unlike other routers’ firmwares, this one acts like an OS of its router. Just like any regular OS (such as Windows OS), you can open multiple windows, see notifications and other things etc, all from web-admin-panel of your router.
This firmware has a control panel to access different settings, a desktop which contains shortcuts to different programs and even a start button. The most cool feature, however, is a feature called Package Center. Using package center, you can install different add-ons that’ll boost the performance and functionalities of your router e.g VPN package, Download Station Package and The Intrusion Prevention Package etc.
One important thing should be mentioned that, since this router don’t have any built-in storage space, you’ll need to connect an external storage by either using a USB external Hard Drive or a Memory Card (using SD card slot).
Considering all this, I think this SRM firmware is the most advanced firmware we’ve seen in any router ever and you’ll love it if you’re a tech-savvy network enthusiast who want to get the most from his/her router.
In case you don’t like the web admin-panel (which would be very rare considering its effectiveness), you can install free DS router app (for both androif and iPhone).
Advanced Built-in Features
Apart for the already-discussed SRM, this router also has some other goodies for us.
First among these features is web-filtering/parental controls. Usually parental controls allow you to block a certain site, but makes this router more awesome is that you can block sites that belong to a particular category such as Social networking sites, adult sites or even a specific sub-domain of a site (rather than whole website). You can even block advertising using this web-filtering and enjoy the internet as ad-free.
Other than this, If I remember, this is only the second router that lets you block https sites, other is the Linksys EA9500. Last feature worth mentioning is traffic control and management. This feature lets you analyse and customize your internet traffic over the network.
Other settings you can change are configuring the Firewall, Denial of Service (DoS), Port Forwarding and DHCP server settings etc.
Amazing Throughput Performance
Features aside, now comes the performance part. During our testing, this router, alongside Netgear Nighthawk X4S, has the best throughput on 5GHz Band. On 2.4GHz Band, however, the performance is just par with other tri-band routers in this list.
In our opinion, this is the best WiFi router for you, if you have 10 or so devices to connect with internet in your house. That being said, if you have a lot of devices, let say 20+, then look for other tri-band router in this list because they perform better with large number of devices.
Bonus: Linksys EA9500
There is one more router that, according to me, is worth a mention. Earlier this year, Netgear released R8500 and Asus launched RT-5300. I intended to include either one of the them,when I would update this post because these two are AC-5300 routers.
But then, Linksys released its own beast EA9500 – which happens to be an AC5400 wireless router. That’s why I decided to include it, instead of the former two.
On aesthetics, EA9500 looks more of a UFO/ large spider (depending upon which way you look at it), rather than a wireless router. This is not an insult but even one of the biggest routers such as Nighthawk R8000 look smaller when compared with EA9500. Such is its size.
On top of its large base, we have eight vertical antennas. Yes, you’ve read correctly. 8, no more, no less. One more thing, you can detach these giant antennas. But remember one thing, whether a router is beautiful or not, it should give good performance.
In technical terms, this wireless router is the one with tri-band, quad-stream technology – like Netgear R8500. Since it is a Tri-band router, it has 2 bands of 5 GHz and 1 band of 2.4 GHz. But one difference is worth mentioning.
Unlike other tri-band routers such as Asus RT-3200 which has 2.4 GHz and 5Ghz bands of 600 mbps and 1300 respectively, 2.4 GHz of this router can give you speed as much as 1000 mbps and 5 GHz can have a top speed of 2166 mbps.
In real-environment however, even the most advanced laptops, tablets consume data at only 1900 mbps rate.
Setup and Interface
This video will guide you through the interface and setup of this wireless router. If you don’t like its web console, you can use Linksys WiFi mobile app.
It is also capable of MU-MIMO technology. This technology enables devices with different bandwidth to allocate on different grades. Most of the wireless routers in the market have 4 gigabit LAN ports. This one has 8 of them — maximum of a wireless routers alongside Asus AC88U.
Media Prioritization is its most prominent feature. Through this feature, you can drag and drop all of your connected clients to form a priority list. This router has parental control too but one of its USP is this parental control can even block sites with HTTPS protocol.
This means that you can block sites like Facebook, Youtube etc — a major distraction source for many people.One more standout of this router is Seamless roaming. Simply put, this feature enables you to connect from one WiFi Client to another without disconnecting.
Below image will help you compare this router with AC5300 routers of Asus and Netgear. Courtesy of Cnet
As you can see, this router clearly beats the other two. Even at 150 m of distance, this device is capable of giving strong signals.
This is the Best Wireless Router for you — if money is not a problem for you. However for most people, money is a problem. This device is quite expensive and kinda useless until you don’t have a very large house. That’s why I didn’t included it in original list. That being said, I am pretty sure that this will be one of the best WiFi routers for 2019
WiFi Routers Related FAQ
What is meant by routing in computer networks?
In computer networking, routing means selecting a particular path for network traffic across different networks.
What is the use of a router?
A router is a networking device which helps to connect different devices in a network, or two different networks (of same type), and forward data packets between them. You need a wireless router because without it, you cannot have internet access in your home network.
What is the difference between a router and a modem?
In a home network, a router is a device which allows different computers/other gadgets to join same network. When different devices join your home network, they doesn’t necessarily mean they have internet connectivity.
In order to do so, you must connect your wireless router with your modem. A modem is a device which connects to your ISP either by Cable or DSL internet service. Then, the modem spread the internet access all over your home network, through your router.
What is the difference between a router, a Gateway and a switch?
Before knowing what a switch is, first we’ll discuss what a hub is. A hub is a networking device with the most simplest job: Receive a message and transfer it to every other port over that network. A Hub doesn’t know about the original sender and recipient of that particular message. It means every message will be shared with all the other devices over the network.
A Switch, on the other hand, does that same task but with more efficiency. What I meant is that while switch is used to transfer message between one port to another, the message will be shared among those only, not over the whole network.
A gateway is a ‘system’ which is capable of connecting 2 networks who are based on different protocols. A gateway can be based on Hardware, Software or a combination of both. Unlike gateway, router are used to create connection between 2 similar networks.
Can a better router increase Internet speed?
Yes, a router can increase your internet speed but that’s not for certain. Let’s imagine this scenario, If your router can have a maximum speed of 50Mbps and your ISP gives you internet @15Mbps, then you can do nothing to increase that speed. It’ll only be limited at 15Mbps.
On the other hand, if your ISP gives 30Mbps internet but your current router caps @20Mbps, then upgrading a router will definitely boost your internet speed.
Can a modem also be a router?
Although modem and router are two different things, there are some wireless routers with built-in modems. You don’t need to have cable modem or DSL to connect with these routers in order to have an internet. Here is an article which’ll help you finding out if your modem has a built-in router
How do you set up a router with your LAN?
Although setting up a router is fairly simple, I would like you to watch this YouTube video.
What is 802.11 a, b, g, n, AC and how WiFi Ad is different than all of these?
802.11 is the IEEE-given name of WiFi Standards and the letters a, b, g and n are just different versions of it. To completely know about all these wifi standard versions, visit this guide about wifi standards.
What is Wave 2 wireless?
802.11ac wave 2, or simply wave 2 wireless, is an extension of 802.11ac wifi standard. Apart from better speed and support for more connected devices, this extension offers latest technologies such as MU-MIMO and Gigabit Wi-Fi Possibility.
What is MU-MIMO?
Before talking about MU-MIMO. First lets discuss about how the traditional routers handles data packets.
Conventionally, a router talk/communicate with one device, on a network, at one time. In case there is more than one device, the router ‘shares’ its communication time with all the connected devices.
This happens so fast that we usually don’t realize it happening. If your internet bandwidth is enough then it’s good, but if it’s low due to a lot of devices then things can go south.
Enter MU-MIMO (Multi user, Multi Input, Multi Output), a standard which enables router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. This things results in better home networking experience. Here you can find the full history of MU-MIMO
Which is the best router?
This is not an easy question to answer. It depends on what you require from a router. If you want only 5 devices on your home network and want to browse internet only, then even a N600 router would be enough for you.
On the other hand, if you have a 5000 Sq. ft, 3-storey house and want to have 25 devices in your home network at one time so that you can do online gaming and video over 4K, then you should probably go for a Tri-Band router like Netgear R8000.
What is the best router for gaming?
A gaming router is a wireless router that is designed specifically for gaming. It’s mostly used by hardcore gamers who do online gaming. It features optimized network for video games and its QoS gives automatic priority to gaming packet over all other network.
Other features that usually come with a gaming router are Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual or tri-band networking and other 802.11ac features. Of course, you can have these features in other ‘non-gaming’ routers too. That’s why many people think that gaming routers are just a marketing gimmick. That’s true actually but, only to some extent, not 100%.
In our testing, best router for gaming was Asus AC3100.