How to choose a router

How to choose a router
How to choose a router
2018-11-07 19:27:58 - last edited 2019-01-29 18:33:37
  • With so many options available today, how do you chose which one to go with when purchasing a new router?  Do you go with Single band, or dual band?  What about Tri-band or mesh?  Do the ammount of antennas matter?  Should I get a gateway or a standalone?  What questions should I ask the sales rep? The process can be nerve racking and we would like to help.  This article will give you questions you should ask yourself when you are looking to purchase a new device.

 

  • Am I looking for a gateway or a stand-alone router?  Gateways combined a modem and router into one device, but they are limited typically being either for DSL or Cable services.  If your ISP is not DSL or cable you can ignore gateways all together.  Gateways are convenient because you only need to buy one device, however a draw back is that if it fails you have no access to the internet at all, where as with a modem and router setup if your router fails you can still at least get internet from the modem to one computer, so you won’t be completely down.  Another drawback, especially with cable ISPs is you are limited in features.  If you like to have full control over your network device and settings a gateway may not be the best choice for you. 

 

  • What is the speed package you are paying for?  Knowing the download speed you are paying for can help eliminate entire lines of products.  For instance, if you have or plan on having a speed package above 100 Mbps then you would want to avoid any router with fast ethernet 10/100 ports.  This is because the speed on these ports is limited to a maximum of 100 Mbps.  If you know you will never go above 100 Mbps then looking at devices with fast ethernet will save you money.

 

  • How many devices will you be connecting?  This is so important because, you want to make sure you get a router that is capable of handling the load being put on it.  The more devices the faster a processor you want the router to have.  5 or so devices and single-core processor will be fine.  10 or more and you will want at least a dual-core processor on your new router

 

  • How many bands do I need?  Do you want a Single, Dual or even a Tri-band router?  To answer this you need to understand the difference, single-band routers are 2.4GHz only. Dual and Tri-band router typically are 5GHz, with the difference being that tri-band splits the channel options into two separate bands.  So now you need to know the devices connecting to the router are they capable of connecting to a 5GHz network or can they only communicate on 2.4GHz?  If only 2.4GHz then its likely you will only need a single-band router.  If they can communicate connect to 5GHz then we would defiantly recommend a dual or tri-band router.

 

  • Does the ammount of Antennas matter?  Yes, in most instances it does.  Generally speaking you increase the network bandwidth with each new antenna added.  This is because each antenna increases the number of streams your devices can connect to and communicate with.  Speeds are affected by both the number of antennas of the router and the number of antennas on the client devices.  The more antennas available the more streams you can connect to and your throughput is increased as a result.

 

  • What Features do I need?  This is actually subjective, but you should look at a router’s features to insure you are getting everything you want in a new router.  Things such as Beamforming, MU-MIMO are great to have but only if you have client devices capable of using these features, if not then purchasing a router with these features can be a waste of money.  You have to look at what features are important to you and base your router selection off of that.

 

  • Over all these 6 questions will help you in your quest to find a new router.  If you have questions about a router we recommend contacting the manufacture.  They are the best resource to figuring out will a product be right for you.  For TP-Link reach out to us via our help line at 866-225-8139 or  https://www.tp-link.com/us/support/contact-technical-support.
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18 Replies
Re:How to choose a router
2019-10-10 16:54:11

@rootwilliamson 

 

Your W2400 should not be rebooting itself.  1st thing I would check is to see if the power cord is connected completely.  Next check the outlet or surge protector to make sure there are no issues there.  Try a diffferent outlet that you know is working properly.  Try swapping the Units and making the remote one the primary and vice versa.  Basically rule out the physical issues first.  

 

Next make sure both units show on the current firmware.

 

If that all fails then a possible issue with the device's power module exist and likely an RMA will be needed.  

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Re:How to choose a router
2019-10-26 17:09:45

@Carl What about choosing a brand? It looks like most router companies allow their routers to work together so there may be benefits from sticking with a brand. However, from what I can tell, formerly top-of-the-line routers (e.g. my archer C5400 v2) have not been pushed wds, mesh, repeating, range extending, or dd-wrt support. It's not obvious that even the latest and greatest from tp-link, the AX11000 supports ways to wirelessly work together. Is TP-Link thinking of ways to let us buy and integrate new products? Or do only other vendors provide paths to grow and improve our network without tossing significant investments out? 

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Re:How to choose a router
2019-10-28 12:05:49

@Carl 

Over all these 6 questions will help you in your quest to find a new router.  If you have questions about a router we recommend contacting the manufacture.  They are the best resource to figuring out will a product be right for you.  For TP-Link reach out to us via our help line at 866-225-8139 or  https://www.tp-link.com/us/support/contact-technical-support.

 

Thanks a lot for this, I did not know there was this ressource to compare routers.

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Re:How to choose a router
2019-10-28 16:55:34

@slickshoes182 

 

 

Its hard to really say.  Support is not invovled in product development so we cannot comment on why a particular feature was missing or not included in a specific product.  At times it likely that there are hardware issues or a certiain feature was not in development at the time the product was devloped.  This is of course speculation and by no means accurate 100% of the time.  Many of our products are compatible with 3rd party firmware but we don't much advertise it as we do not support it and it voids your warranty.   The best way to know what features a product has is to look at its user guide or contact support.  

 

For your Archer C5400 V2, it will not support our OneMesh service that can turn exisiting equipment into mesh devices.  It also does not have WDS mode, which turns your router into a Range Extender, although it does not have to if its the main router.  the Repeating router only needs to support it.  

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Re:How to choose a router
2019-10-29 03:29:16

@Carl Does the ax11000 support wds? Unfortunately, I do not see it listed on its specification page or anywhere else that I can tell. If it does, it means I could attach nearby devices to the ax11000 router via ethernet, and then get a very speedy connection wirelessly from the ax11000 in wds to a primary c5400 (the c5400 connected to internet modem), right?

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Re:How to choose a router
2019-10-29 16:19:08

@slickshoes182 

 

Yes the AX11000 does support WDS,  Advanced - Wireless -WDS.  However keep in mind if you do this you are regulating the AX1000 to a mere Range Extender and in doing so losing all of the benefits the router and WiFi 6 offers.  The AX11000 should be powerful enough to cover the an average sized home in America.  If you do need both your best course of action would be in my opinon to get a gigabit Powerline kit like the TL-PA7010 and set yor C5400 up as an AP.  connect the C5400 to the remote adapter and the base adapter to the AX11000 that would act as your main router.  

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Re:How to choose a router
2019-11-13 19:22:45 - last edited 2019-11-13 19:35:53

@Carl I looked at the TL-PA710 reviews on Amazon and none of the reviews I have seen got over 200 mbps, only 1 got over 100 mbps, and I saw like 20 reviews that got under 100 mbps, so seems like not a great option for me. I'm thinking I'll wait until black friday (November 29) and see if TP-Link announces new WDS, repeater, or onemesh compatibility is coming soon for the archer c5400. If they don't, then I guess I will have learned my lesson that TP-LINK routers don't get new features (make sure when you buy a new TP-LINK router it has all the features you will ever need, no upgrades) and just throw it away.

 

I have an old router (what I used before my new TP-LINK archer c5400) and it looks like their vendor has added repeating, media bridge mode, and mesh support to it, so I can use it with their new AX11000 in a variety of ways.

 

I really hope TP-LINK will upgrade some of their legacy routers though. I would love to keep the c5400 and buy more TP-LINK products. It will be a bummer to throw it out but it does not appear that TP-LINK is creating a path forward for people that have invested in their ecosystem.

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Re:How to choose a router
2019-11-14 00:43:14

@slickshoes182 

 

When it comes to Powerline there are a mulitude of factors that determine the speed including but not limited to, distance, number of hops, eletctircal interference and quality of power lines.  WDS is a very old and often unreliable form factor for expanding network services.  Range Extenders are good but most people do not understand that they do not improve speed, only range.  When it comes to OneMesh we do have plans for all product catergories to have products that receive this upgrade include routers, Range Extenders and Power Line adapters,even some of our legacy devices will end up reciving the update such as the newest version of the Archer C7 and Archer A7.  As for the Archer C5400 the likelyhood of this router recieving the update is very low as the product line has been discontinued.  

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Re:How to choose a router
2019-11-15 02:54:32

@Carl Thank you for insight. My newbie thinking is that using a range extender would halve the maximum theoretical capacity of a network connection, but potentially increase the usable bandwidth if the signal is attenuated. Many TP-Link products have very high theoretical speeds, but in practice, lower usable speeds are often measured (e.g. using something like speedtest.net) because of the attenuation (whether powerline or wireless). Additionally, many wireless products out there (TVs, sound systems), use outdated wireless standards and subpar antennas so it certainly seems like they would benefit from being connected to TP-link routers in a "media bridge" mode (as opposed to range extenders mode).

 

I am hopeful that with new exciting technologies like Onemesh, TP-Link will finally have faith in their approach for expanding networks. I checked my other router, and it was first released in 2013, and stopped being sold long ago, but got a firmware update this month, so I am hopeful that TP-Link will keep pace with a product like the C5400 which is much newer (first sold 2016 on amazon.. I bought mine in 2017).

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Re:How to choose a router
2019-11-18 19:58:20

@slickshoes182 

 

As you are aware there are various factors involved in getting adequate speeds to a client device.  These include, the device's network card, the capablities of the AP, whether that be a Range Extender, Powerline or the rotuer itself.  Distance, enviroment and interference.  All off these factors affect the maximum attainable speed, not to mention that the advertized speed is theroretical maximums of all bands combined and is the internal network transmission rates and not the internet speeds.  Due to the technology behind range extenders, unless they are operating as a OneMesh node you will never see full speeds to the far end end points.  You may see an improvement because of the improved signal but typically Standard Range Extenders will never be faster than 50% of your total ISP speed.  

 

When it comes to updates for end of life products.  Typcially we will only provide an update if a sercurity flaw or bug is detected.  New features will not be added to end of life products, I also one the Archer C5400 so i know this isn't the greatest news but on the bright side this product already has phenominal range and if centerally located should not have issues covering the average US home.  

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