The need for a good wireless router has never been stronger. Not only are a majority of our devices wireless, from smartphones and tablets to laptops and media streamers, but we're also putting greater demands on them. Sites and services such as Netflix, YouTube, Spotify and online games use a huge amount of bandwidth, and a poor router can result in a movie stopping midstream, or gameplay slowing to a crawl.
The newest wireless standard, called 802.11ac, helps to alleviate those issues by providing more than four times the throughput of 802.11n routers. Plus, by using a more efficient process, the latest routers can even help save battery life on your mobile devices. But not all 802.11ac routers are created equal.
How We Evaluated
We tested all routers in our office using IxChariot to measure throughput at distances from 5 feet to 140 feet. We then measured real-world performance in an older house with thick walls, to test both range and how they handle simultaneous streams from multiple devices. Other factors used in evaluating the routers include ease of setup and use, software features and available ports.
Here are our top Wi-Fi router picks across several categories.
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