Choosing our Routers

Used Products:

How to choose a wireless router?

There is a vast array of different routers on the market. All with different features and capabilities. It may seem overwhelming on which features would be needed or what capabilities you may want. So how do you choose?  Here are some factors that we here at TP-Link think will help you in your decision and show you why TP-Link’s award-winning wireless network products are better than the competition.  

Should you need technical support the other leading competitors will either charge you or only have few avenues to reach them. Here at TP-Link, we have technical support over the phone, via online chat, and email. Not to mention our forums where you can interact with other users.

In need of warranty replacement? Going with another manufacturer gives you a window of one year before you would be forced to buy a whole new device. Having a TP-Link router gives you two full years of coverage, a whole year longer to protect your investment to your networking needs. 

Speed 

Wi-Fi Standard

When choosing the best Wi-Fi router, the first factor to consider is the wireless standard being used. Wireless technology is constantly evolving to meet the demand for higher speeds. Common wireless technologies are 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4), 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) and 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6). And you can easily tell from the name that Wi-Fi 6 is now the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology, born to improve speed, increase efficiency, and reduce congestion in heavy bandwidth usage scenarios.

Wi-Fi speed is affected by distance, obstacles (such as walls and ceilings), electronic interference, and the number of devices connected to the network. And here are some general suggestions based on daily online activities.

Number of Devices

Activity

Recommended Technology

1-2

Web surfing, email, video chat or internet phone calls

Wi-Fi 4

3-5

Online multiplayer gaming, 4K streaming

Wi-Fi 5

More than 5

All of the above plus downloading large files and live streaming video

Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6

 

Wi-Fi Band

The main Wi-Fi bands are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Some may have two separate frequency bands in the 5GHz area. The router operates both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, ensuring amazing wireless performance. Simple tasks like sending e-mails or web browsing can be handled by the 2.4GHz band while bandwidth-intensive tasks like online gaming or HD video streaming can be processed by the 5GHz band – all at the same time. Dual-band or tri-band Wi-Fi routers also emit their wireless signal on the 5GHz frequency. Make sure that the router is dual-band or tri-band, and then you can select the best band to get the best performance.

 

QAM

The router could pack more data with higher QAM. For example, with 1024-QAM, each symbol carries 10 bits rather than 8 bits, improving raw speeds by 25% compared to 802.11ac 256-QAM. Watch Netflix at home or live stream Twitch Broadcasts from your home computer – with 1024-QAM, streaming just got that much better. If you want a faster wireless network, take it into consideration.

 

Coverage 

The environment also plays a pretty big part in the coverage and performance of wireless devices.

In different houses, due to various Wi-Fi interference and different reception sensitivity of clients, the devices will not perform in the same way. Generally, the range of 2.4GHz is about 65 feet and 5GHz is within 50 feet to guarantee a good networking experience. High gain antenna, Beamforming technology, and other factors help improve range.

Number of Rooms

Type of House

Recommended Router Model

1-2

Apartment, Studio

Archer A7, Archer A8

2-3

Mid-Size Ranch, Small Townhouse

Archer AX 73, Archer AX 90

3+

Split-Level, Large Size Ranch

Archer AX6000, Archer AX11000

 

Antennas

The antenna should be taken into consideration when buying a Wi-Fi router. The antenna can have one to four "channels" to give you more space to send data. Generally, more antennas mean faster speeds and greater coverage. And the high-gain antennas could transmit Wi-Fi signals to more places in the home. Sometimes the router does not use all the antennas you see, or some antennas are internally embedded into the router.

Beamforming Technology

The router with the Beamforming technology detects the location of your connected devices and concentrates the Wi-Fi towards them to create stronger overall connections.

 

Capacity

Wi-Fi speed is also affected by the number of devices connected to the network. If you have lots of devices in your home, you can pay more attention to the following features/technologies when choose a Wi-Fi router.

MU-MIMO

When one client was communicating with a router, the other clients would have to wait until the transmission finished. MU-MIMO (Multiple-User, Multiple-Input, and Multiple-output) overcomes this issue by allowing multiple users to access the router’s functions without congestion. With the help of MU-MIMO, routers can now communicate with different clients at the same time. This greatly boosts network efficiency, especially in high-density scenarios, as each client has more chances to access the router without wasting time waiting.

MU-MIMO was first introduced as an upgrade for Wi-Fi 5, but only 4x4 MU-MIMO (downloads only) is supported. In 2019, The Wi-Fi 6 version of MU-MIMO is 8x8 MU-MIMO which means your router antenna can transmit data to 8 devices simultaneously.

Ethernet Ports 

LAN stands for a local area network. It consists of two or more devices that are connected by physical cable or wireless connection in a certain location. Conversely, a WAN, or a wide area network, covers multiple geographical areas. The most typical example of WAN is the internet.

For Wi-Fi routers, the LAN port is designed for local connection while the WAN port is used to gain public internet. So, a high-speed port is critical to your connection speed.

There are multi-Gig, Gigabit, and fast Ethernet ports. You can take full advantage of broadband at speeds up to 1 Gbps through the Gigabit WAN port. When choosing the best router, check the internet speed provided by your ISP and select the right router with the ports you need. If you have great demand for wired connection, you also need to pay attention to the number of ports, especially the LAN ports for connecting your home devices.

Port Type

Speed

Speed Comparison

Fast Ethernet

100 Megabits

-

Gigabit

1000 Megabits

10x faster than Fast Ethernet

Multi-Gigabit

2500 Megabits and above

25x faster than Fast Ethernet

 

Router Comparison Chart

           

Model

Archer AX11000

Archer AX6000

Archer AX90

Archer AX73

Archer A8

Archer A7

Version

1

1

1

1

1

5

Speed Class

AX11000

AX6000

AX6600

AX5400