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Best Routers 2016

All of us have routers in our homes. And why wouldn’t we? They are essential when it comes to accessing the wealth of information that the Internet has to offer.

There is the problem with these routers, though. Just like any other hardware component, they tend to get old. And – truth be told – some of them are very well built. I had my share of routers who barely made it alive until their warranty expired, but now I’ve got a router that’s been working fine for more than five years.

Hold on, don’t congratulate me yet. I like a solid router just like the next guy, but when a piece of hardware – and particularly the router – works so well, you tend to keep it forever. You don’t want to replace it. And why would you ever want to do that?

First of all, new technologies emerge each year. And the Wi-Fi industry is moving quite fast. Much faster than your old router, anyway.

Then, new security breaches are discovered every few months. And if your router was manufactured five years ago, chances are its manufacturer stopped updating and patching its firmware. This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why you should replace your router every few years or so.

So what are the best options for the budget conscious person who still wants to have access to the latest Internet technologies? Here are my best picks.

 

1. TP-Link AC1200

The TP-Link AC1200 Wireless Wi-Fi Gigabit Router (yes, it’s a very long name indeed) makes use of the latest and greatest Wi-Fi technologies, helping you build a Wi-Fi network that can reach speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

The router supports the 802.11ac protocol and works on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, at speeds that can reach 300 Mbps and 877 Mbps, respectively.

tplink-ac1200

It has two dual band antennas and two USB ports that will help you share data and/or printers across your network. The antennas have a standard gain factor, but fortunately they are detachable, so you can install a pair of RP SMA cables and then use whatever high gain antennas you may have – or even build a pair of high gain antennas.

Just like any modern router, TP-Link AC1200 features QoS, which allows you to specify what devices should get access to a higher Internet bandwidth.

You can also build a guest network, allowing your visitors to access the Internet without having to give away your Wi-Fi password.

 

2. Portal Router

The Portal router is a brand new invention. And it’s one that will probably make lots of people happy. It’s a gigabit Wi-Fi router that claims to provide speed increases of up to 500% in comparison with a standard router.

portal-router

So what’s so unique about Portal? While most routers only work on a single channel in the 5 GHz spectrum, and the best ones make use of two channels, Portal utilizes six channels and knows when to dump a crowded channel and start using a new one that’s less crowded.

This should work wonders in theory, and it looks like practice hasn’t disappointed either. It’s not a surprise, considering the fact that the team behind it consists of former Qualcomm engineers, who have managed to raise about $800,000 for this project via Kickstarter.