Wireless internet and connectivity is the lifeblood of your house. Netflix, Xbox Live, YouTube, Sonos, Alexa, Nest’s thermostat, they all need that intenet juice to do their jobs.
For high-speed wireless internet, you need a modem, which brings the internet into your home and then you need a Wi-Fi router to send it out wirelessly. Cable and phone companies typically like to set you up with both of these devices (sometimes all-in-one) so you pay them more money. You can, however, use a different wireless router if you’re noticing slow, spotty, or poor wireless signal.
The obvious question then becomes: what Wi-Fi router should I get?
Here are tips and things to consider–including a few recommendations of different Wi-Fi routers that will hopefully provide solid internet across your home.
Needing to stand in one corner of the living room to get a Wi-Fi signal is no way to live life and will cause many people to rip their hair out in frustration.
Takeaway: Don’t skimp on a lower priced router trying to save a few bucks instead of getting one that adequately provides enough signal for all your rooms.
Everyone’s home is different so there are no guarantees until you get the router set up and try it, but here are some very general guidelines on what you should budget based on the size of the place you’d like Wi-Fi.
Expected cost estimates:
0-1,000 sq. ft. – $25-$50
1,000-1500 sq. ft. – $50-$100
1,500-2,000 sq. ft. – $100-$300
2,000+ sq. ft. – $200-$400
Routers have gotten pretty advanced in the last few years and certain ones now come with some pretty cool features built in. You can find routers which can monitor internet traffic, monitor kids’ devices, prioritize gaming over Instagram, and turn off the internet after bedtime, among other things.
Takeaway: Besides a solid and reliable wireless connection, figure out what additional features you want, such as ease of use, parental controls, insight into internet consumption, or, device priority.
The reason Google Wifi and Eero have become so popular in the last few years is that they focus on making a complicated Wi-Fi network simple enough for anyone to set up and use. You might give up a few features from the more technical routers, but, they are dead-simple to set up and can be expanded for more signal strength in the future.
These things are not cheap! Unfortunately, if you want to blanket your home in that Gucci internet, it’s going to cost you.
Take away: Although the Wi-Fi systems with multiple parts like Orbi and Eero are more expensive, they are typically simpler and you can expand them later in the future to add signal strength if you find you need more space connected.
Here are some suggestions on router options, divided into the two main groups for most people.
Lower cost and traditional router options
For smaller homes with open floor plans and people with less demanding streaming media needs–less than 10 connected devices in the home.
Expandable (mesh networking) router systems
For larger homes with more closed off floor plans and people that are streaming more media–more than 15 connected devices in the home