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TECH: Wireless Routers, The Best Models Of 2017 And The Future Trends
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Wireless Routers

The Best Models Of 2017 And The Future Trends

By Max Rogers

BT 201705 Tech 06With a variety of connected devices like smartphones, smart TVs and other mobile gadgets that rule our lives, it is easier than ever before to equip a home or office with wireless routers.

hl01However, not all wireless routers are equally created. Some models operate via one radio band, so-called single-band routers, while others use two radio bands at once (dual-band routers). The first ones are typically cheaper, but they must compete with other devices in their surroundings that communicate on the same band, such as wireless phones, microwave ovens and Bluetooth devices. Due to signal interference, they are only suitable for social media and Web surfing. On the other hand, dual-band routers combine two radios - one of which is connected to the 2.4GHz band while another works on the 5GHz band. These offer fast output with minimal signal interruption, which makes them ideal for gaming duty and video streaming. There are also tri-band routers which operate via three radios - two of them work at 5GHz and one at 2.4GHz. These routers are perfect for multi-device households that are in need of heavy network traffic, involving plenty of downloading, video streaming, file transfers and so on.

When purchasing a wireless router, you need to take into consideration many things, including number of clients, size of a particular coverage area and devices you want to connect to your wireless router. To narrow down your choice when looking for a wireless router, take a look at some of the best models on the market that are showcased as follows -

Asus RT-AC88U

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Asus RT-AC88U is a dual-band wireless router that comes with four antennas, multiple USB ports, numerous Gigabit LAN ports, a huge feature set and advanced NitroQAM technology which enables blazing-fast wireless performance above 1GB/sec. It uses the latest Multi-User output and input technologies, providing several clients with Wi-Fi connectivity at the same time and with no bandwidth. There is a minor catch though. To use this router and experience those fast speeds, you must purchase a compatible NitroQAM network adapter that supports MU-MIMO technology.

Synology RT2600AC

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RT2600 is an upgrade to previous Synology's RT1900AC model. It is not only one of the fastest wireless routers you can buy on the market today but also one of the most comprehensive routers with a vast set of features. What makes it special is the possibility to operate it as a network storage server when connected to an external hard drive, allowing you to share stream contents and data to either local or remote clients. This quad-stream router generates an impressive speed of up to 1,733 Mbps while working on the 5GHz band as well as up to 800 megabits per seconds on the 2.4GHZ band. If you are looking to make a secure, non-compromising, robust home network, Synology RT2600AC is right for you!

Linksys WRT AC3200

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In a nutshell, Linksys WRT AC3200 is a Wi-Fi router that offers open-source firmware support along with excellent features, such as 1.8GHz dual-core CPU, Tri-Stream 160, 256MB flash memory and 512MB RAM. Being equipped with MU-MIMO and Tri-Stream 160 technology, this wireless router delivers superfast Wi-Fi performance. The only drawback is its spotty coverage in some situations and it may not look suitable in a residential setting.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200

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Designed for large households, this big router is full of extraordinary networking features, including Multiple Output data streaming, Multi-User Multiple Input, 10G SPF+ LAN port, 160MHz Wi-Fi technology and speedy 60 GHz networking. This amazing router can turn in quick 5GHz range performance score that nearly reaches 1Gbps. All of this justifies its high price and make it a great device to future-proof the wireless network.

Google Wifi

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Though Google Wifi is not the fastest wireless system, it is one of the most affordable and the easiest router to configure. However, you need two things to use it - a Google account and an Internet-connected Android or iOS mobile device (like a tablet or smartphone). It covers approximately 1,200 square feet with a single point i.e. one unit, which is suitable for an average-sized apartment or a small home. With more points (up to 6 is available in total), the area of coverage rises accordingly. For example, a set of three units can cover about 4,000 square feet. When it comes to data output, Google Wifi can achieve Wi-Fi speed of over 470 Mbps.

Future Trends Of Wireless Routers

Connectivity and standards

Wireless technology will embrace soaring connectivity in future, featuring new connected applications and devices that will increase a demand for wireless bandwidth and drive market growth in terms of new standards, services and innovative network products. The 802.11ac wireless standard (5G or wireless AC) is very likely to rule the roost over the next few years. As this wireless standard becomes more popular worldwide, purchasers will start discerning between 867 Mbps 5G and more advanced 1.3 Gbps and 1.7 Gbps variants. It will force most of the router manufacturers to get into the 1.7 Gbps technology with a wide range of new routers, while lower speeds will be reserved for cheaper offerings.

Router design

Despite the strange throwback, the router size has been reduced and external design has been enhanced notably for the last few years. However, this trend cannot continue for long. While the external appearance (i.e, the router cases themselves) will continue to improve, internal antennae will not be able to support the new wireless standards and provide the best speeds. Therefore, we may expect to see external antennae to appear again on wireless routers over the next couple of years. In the long term, number of external antennas will be increased to support multiple devices and higher speeds. Besides, we can expect to see over the coming years an increase in both power consumption and router size.

Router security

There is a growing trend around the world to shift security to the network perimeter rather than protecting network endpoints. As Wi-Fi routers become more complex and powerful, they will concurrently become more valuable and vulnerable for hackers. For that reason, many manufacturers would opt to differentiate their wireless routers on the basis of new software and/or security features. For most security-conscious consumers, there will be non-updatable, fully-accredited firmware in some Wi-Fi routers.

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