7 Best Routers for Multiple Devices of 2022

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Best Routers for Multiple Devices

In this digital world, Wi-Fi routers are piling up some serious overtime. They have the herculean task of supporting an ever-growing range of smart devices for studying online, working from home, streaming movies, and playing PC games all within the comfort of your household, simultaneously. And now that more Wi-Fi 6 devices are becoming available. Choosing the right router is trickier than ever. You need a good Wi-Fi connection to avoid wasting time buffering. That’s why we’ve put together the best routers for multiple devices from top-rated manufacturers capable of catering to all your devices so you can build the best home network.

IN A HURRY?  HERE’S OUR TOP PICKS…

   Dimensions (HWD)2.4GHz Performance5GHz PerformanceWi-Fi Protocol 
1.Asus (RT-AC88U)3.3x11.8x7.4-inches 1000Mbps2167MbpsWi-Fi 5View
2.Netgear Nighthawk X4S (R7800)1.97x11.22x7.26-inches800Mbps1733MbpsWi-Fi 5View
3.Netgear Nighthawk X6S (R8000P)2.1x11.6x8.9-inches750Mbps1625MbpsWi-Fi 5View
4.TP-Link Archer AX110007.2x11.3x11.3-inches1140Mbps4804MbpsWi-Fi 6 View
5.TP-Link (Archer A20)1.5x7.9x7.9-inches750Mbps1625MbpsWi-Fi 5View
6.Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80)6.7x11.5x8-inches1.2Gbps 4.8Gbps Wi-Fi 6 View
7.Asus (RT-AC88U)2.4x11.8x7.4-inches1148Mbps4804Mbps Wi-Fi 6 View

Best Routers for Multiple Devices Reviews

1. Asus (RT-AC88U) AC3100 WiFi Dual-Band Gaming Router

Sale
ASUS AC3100 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC88U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, WTFast Game Accelerator, Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Adaptive QoS, MU-MIMO
  • 1024 Qam technology 80 percent faster 5 GigaHertz at up to 2100 Mbps, 66 percent faster 2. 4 GigaHertz at up to 1000 Mbps; utilities: firmware restoration
  • 33 percent greater 2. 4 GigaHertz coverage with a 4 transmit, 4 receive (4T4R) antenna design, able to reach our widest ever coverage up to 5000 square feet
  • Expansive connectivity options: with exclusively has 8 x Gigabit LAN ports for up to eight Ethernet compatible devices to connect simultaneously
  • Powerful 1. 4 GigaHertz dual core processor, faster USB data transfers enjoy up to over 100 MB/s Speed and the router download/UPLOAD speed (WAN LAN throughput) up to 1. 8 Gaps
  • Smart Connect automatically chooses the best band available for you, Dimensions: 11. 8 x 7. 4 x 3. 3 inch (WDHP).

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 03:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Asus RT-AC88U is our top choice for the best routers for multiple devices. All though it’s one of the pricier options on the list, it’s also one of the most feature rich.

The front of the router is where you’ll find LED indicators for power, wireless activity for both bands, Internet (WAN) connectivity, WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), LAN connectivity and USB port activity. You also get four removable external antennas (two at the rear and one on each side).

It’s a dual-band 802.11ac router that uses MU-MIMO technology to serve multiple Wi-Fi client simultaneously, without sacrificing bandwidth. But each device must contain an MU-MIMO-compatible network adapter to take advantage of the technology.

You’re also getting a wealth of management options in a user-friendly interface, including gamer friendly QoS settings, parental controls, advanced file sharing and mobile cloud services.

It delivers blazing throughput on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. But the read/write file-transfer performance is middle of the road for a high-end router.

The Asus AiProtection features uses Trend Micro’s Smart Home Network solution to monitor and detect malware and viruses and block malicious Websites. Advanced settings let you create wireless SSID names, select security protocol and an authentication method, enable WPS settings, and configure VPN, RADIUS and wireless bridge settings.

The router is equipped with eight LAN ports and two USB ports to connect multiple peripherals and wired clients like printers, home-automation hubs and NAS devices.

Installation is easy with Asus’ intuitive Setup Wizard. After connecting the router to your laptop and Internet and powering it up. The Web-based console automatically launches giving you an option of using the wizard or manually configuring the router.

Pros:

  • loaded with ports and management features
  • MU-MIMO enabled
  • speedy throughput performance
  • eight superfast Gigabit LAN ports
  • AiMesh compatible
  • excellent WiFi performance
  • Dual-WAN
  • lots of useful features

Cons:

  • unimpressive file transfer speeds
  • average NAS performance
  • USB 3.0 port awkwardly positioned

2. Netgear Nighthawk X4S (R7800) Smart Wifi Router

Sale
NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router (R7800) - AC2600 Wireless Speed (up to 2600 Mbps) | Up to 2500 sq ft Coverage & 45 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet, 2 x 3.0 USB, and 1 x eSATA ports
  • Fast wifi performance: Get up to 2500 square feet wireless coverage with AC2600 speed (Dual band up to 800 + 1733 Mbps). WiFi Band-Simultaneous Dual Band WiFi - Tx/Rx 4x4 (2.4GHz)+ 4x4 (5GHz)
  • Recommended for up to 45 devices: Reliably stream videos, play games, surf the internet, and connect smart home devices.
  • Wired Ethernet ports: plug in computers, game consoles, streaming players, and other nearby wired devices with 4 x 1 gigabit Ethernet ports.
  • Loaded with advanced technology: Designed with a 1.7GHz dual core processor, 4 amplified antennas, Beamforming, MU-MIMO, Dynamic QoS, Amazon Alexa Voice Controls, and more.
  • USB connections: Share a storage drive and printer with any connected device, and create a personal cloud storage to access from anywhere, using the 2 x 3.0 USB and 1 x eSATA ports.

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 03:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Netgear Nighthawk X4S (R7800) Smart Wi-Fi Router is also an 802.11ac model that’s the perfect solution for multiple wireless devices competing for bandwidth.

Like the RT-AC88U Dual-Band Router above, it has an angular chassis with four removable external antennas. In front are ten small LED indicators giving you the status of its four LAN ports including WAN port, 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio-band activity, along with USB and eSATA activity.

In addition to MU-MIMO, it also supports 4×4 data streaming to deliver four data streams to each band. Theoretical throughput speeds are up to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1733Mbps on the 5GHz band.

The user-friendly Netgear Web-based management console offers lots of management options. The Home page displays Internet, Wireless, Guest Network and the Parental Control status’ at a glance.

Most routers only serve one device at a time. The Nighthawk X4S simultaneously sends and receives data to multiple clients with one of the fastest MU-MIMO performances, along with an impressive 2.4GHz and 5GHz range. But it can’t match the overall throughput of the RT-AC88U. And like the Asus, file transfer speeds are merely adequate.

Basic security settings include Wireless, Internet, ReadySHARE (lets you know how many peripherals are attached to the router), QoS, Parental Controls, Guest Network settings and an Advanced Settings menu.

The left side of the router holds two USB 3.0 ports. And the right side holds an eSATA port for connecting to eSATA drives.

After connecting the Nighthawk X4S to your laptop and the Web, open a browser to automatically launch the Netgear Genie management console. The genie will walk you through the rest.

Pros:

  • good selection of ports
  • lots of management settings
  • solid 5GHz and MU-MIMO throughput
  • 2.53Gbps of wireless bandwidth
  • two USB 3.0 ports
  • eSATA ports
  • full of useful hardware features

Cons:

  • middling file-transfer speeds
  • software interface needs work
  • USB performance is a miss

3. Netgear Nighthawk X6S (R8000P) AC4000 Tri-Band WiFi Router

Sale
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6S AC4000 Tri-band WiFi Router, Gigabit Ethernet, MU-MIMO, Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa (R8000P)
  • AC4000 WIFI—Up to 750+1625+1625 Mbps wireless speed
  • Memory: 128 MB flash and 512 MB RAM

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 03:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Joining Netgear’s Nighthawk family of routers is the more expensive X6S (R8000P) AC4000 Tri-Band Gigabit WiFi Router. It uses the latest 802.11ac technologies to deliver Wi-Fi across three radio bands for combined speeds up to 4000Mbps.

It comes with six retractable antennas (three on each side) that fold outward from the center of the box. The top has a strip with LED indicators for power, Web, Wi-Fi, LAN and USB activities.   

This multi-band router offers a wealth of management settings. You can access them from a Web-based console or via the Netgear Genie desktop and mobile app.

The X6S is a 3×3 router capable of speeds of up to 750Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1625Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands. Its three individual radio bands let you balance network traffic to reduce interference due to overcrowding on the widely used 2.4GHz band with fast MI-MIMO throughput. It also supports beamforming. But while it’s a good choice when you need to connect numerous wireless devices, like the two routers above. File-transfer performance could be better – especially for the price.

There’s plenty of configuration settings, including third-party parental controls that will help keep your network free from malicious Websites and adult-oriented content. On the right side of the Home screen are status tiles for Internet, Wireless, Parental Controls, Guest Networking, ReadySHARE (USB drive) and Connected Devices.

The back of the router holds four Gigabit LAN ports (two of which support link aggregation). And WAN, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 ports and a power button.

Router installation requires connecting it to your laptop and firing it up. Then it automatically launches the Netgear genie Web console. And gives you the choice of using the wizard or configuring the router manually.

Pros:

  • easy to install
  • loads of settings
  • good throughput
  • Tri-band design
  • lots of customization options
  • wired LAN aggregation potential
  • maintains stability, even with multiple connected devices
  • 90-day support included

Cons:

  • middling file-transfer performance
  • parental controls require third-party account

4. TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router

TP-Link Archer AX11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router
  • TP-Link Archer AX11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 03:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The last thing a serious gamer needs is a laggy router slowing you down. The TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router is one of the fastest high-end Wi-Fi 6 gaming routers available.

With a black textured cabinet and eight red, removable (non-adjustable) high performance antennas. It’s going to take up significant real estate wherever you put it. An LED indicator glows solid white when everything is working properly. Red when Internet connectivity is lost. And orange means Wi-Fi is disabled.

It’s loaded with features that’ll help take your online gaming to the next level in a gamer-centric user interface. You can even see real-time latency and resource utilization to help keep your network running at top speed.

You can control things either using TP Link’s Tether mobile app or the Web-based console. Of the two the Web app offers more control. The console opens to a Home screen with buttons labeled Network Map, Game Center, Internet, Wireless and Advanced.

It’s a very fast router, capable of reaching theoretical data rates of up to 1140Mbps on a 2.4GHz band. And up to 4804Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands. It uses the latest 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 technology to deliver excellent throughput and speedy file transfer performance.

When it comes to security, you get a lifetime subscription to TP-Link’s HomeCare service, which offers anti-virus protections, parental controls with content filtering and a game acceleration utility.

The rear panel is home to numerous I/O ports, like eight gigabit LAN ports, a USB C 3.0 port and a 2.5Gb WAN port for your multi-gig switch modem.

Once you plug everything in, the router is fairly easy to install using the Tether mobile app or the Web interface.

Pros:

  • easy to install
  • lots of gamer-friendly settings
  • numerous ports
  • multi-gig WAN
  • lifetime malware protection
  • solid parental controls
  • Tri-band signal
  • Web-based setup option
  • decent QoS
  • supports link aggregation

Cons:

  • bulky
  • 2.4GHz performance throughout

5. TP-Link (Archer A20) Wifi Tri-Band Router

Sale
TP-Link AC4000 Tri-Band WiFi Router (Archer A20) -MU-MIMO, VPN Server, 1.8GHz CPU, Gigabit Ports, Beamforming, Link Aggregation
  • Tri Band Wireless Internet Router for 4K video, streaming and gaming with incredible high speed, 1625 Mbps on both 5 GHz bands and 750 Mbps on 2. 4 GHz band
  • Archer A20 V3 with Powerful 1. 8 GHz 64-bit CPU, three co-processors and 512 MB of RAM powers your home network. Works as a great gaming router.
  • Eliminate buffering with MU-MIMO technology letting you connect more devices simultaneously. Multiple requests and accelerate loading Times.
  • Range boost technology enables far reaching Wi Fi for long range coverage throughout the Home. Supported Operating Systems: OS Independent Up to Windows 10, Mac OS 10. 12 and Linux
  • Advanced security: Protect your network and connected devices with a free lifetime subscription to TP-Link HomeCare­ featuring next-level antivirus, robust parental controls, and QoS.

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 03:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The TP-Link Archer 20 is a tri-band router that combines solid throughput performance. Built-in network security tools. Robust parental controls. And three years of free network security powered by Trend Micro to hit the sweet spot between price and features.

The black textured enclosure uses six nonremovable external antennas that fold out from the top of the router. There are nine small LED indicators for monitoring power, Ethernet, Internet, all radio bands, two USB ports and WPS activity.

The TP-Link Archer A20 give you lots of features for its reasonable price.

Manage it easily from a PC laptop using the Web console. Or a mobile device using the TP-Link Tether app for iOS or Android. The Web console opens to a network map that displays the number of connected wired and wireless clients including Speedtest results and the router’s IP address.

The Archer A20 can reach maximum signal rates of 750Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio band and 1625Mbps on each of the two 5GHz radio bands. It uses Wave 2 802.11ac technology, which supports MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming.

You get solid throughput and outstanding file-transfer performance, making this router an excellent choice for downloading and moving large blocks of data. But long-range 5GHz performance is middling.

The HomeCare network security and parental controls protect your network from malware and other harmful content. You can also control what kind of Websites and social media platforms your children can access and when they can access them.

The rear panel holds four gigabit LAN ports (two of which support link aggregation), WAN, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Along with a reset and power button and power jack.

The router is easy to install using the Web console or mobile app.

Pros:

  • solid throughput performance
  • easy to install
  • very fast file-transfer speeds
  • strong parental controls and anti-malware tools
  • Alexa voice control

Cons:

  • middling 5GHz range performance

6. Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) 8-Stream Wifi 6 Router

Sale
NETGEAR Nighthawk 8-Stream AX8 Wifi 6 Router (RAX80) – AX6000 Wireless Speed (Up to 6 Gbps) | 2,500 sq. ft. Coverage
  • WIFI 6 – STREAM EVERYTHING AT EPIC SPEED: Simultaneously stream uninterrupted movies, games, video calls or download/transfer files at 6Gbps WiFi speed; Works with existing and new WiFi 6 devices like iPhone 11, Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10.
  • WORKS WITH ALL INTERNET PROVIDERS: Replace your existing WiFi Router (separate modem or gateway required); Compatible with any Internet Service Provider up to 2Gbps including cable, satellite, fiber, DSL and more.
  • EASY TO SET-UP AND MANAGE: Connects to your existing cable modem and sets up and customizes in minutes with the Nighthawk app – easily manage your WiFi settings at the device and network level, test your Internet speed, view speed history and monitor data usage.
  • USB CONNECTIONS: Share a storage drive with any connected device and create a personal cloud storage to access from anywhere using the 2 x 3.0 USB ports.
  • NETGEAR ARMOR POWERED BY BITDEFENDER: The world’s leading cybersecurity protects all your home devices from virus, malware, and data theft with a 30-day free trial.

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 03:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router is one of Netgear’s first 802.11ax routers to hit the market. It offers speedy throughput and excellent file-transfer performance. But it ain’t cheap.

Shaped like something out of Star Wars, the black and gray RAX80 has two “wings” that fold up, each containing two high-performance Wi-Fi antennas – You can place the router on your desktop or mount it on your wall.

It boasts an impressive feature set that includes 802.11ax wireless technology, also known as Wi-Fi 6. You also get support for 160MHz channel bandwidth, beamforming, MU-MIMO data streaming, Smart Connect band steering, Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands.Impressive. But although it’s more expensive than rivals, it doesn’t offer as many features.

You can manage the router through the Web console or the Nighthawk mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The mobile app offers real-time network updates, push notifications, basic Wi-Fi, Internet and guest networking settings.

Throughput and file-transfer performance are top-notch. It’s a 4×4 AX6000 router that can reach maximum speeds of up to 1.2Gbps on the 2.4GHz band. And 4.8Gbps on the 5GHz band. Definitely worth considering if you’re proactive about future-proofing your network. And especially if you have Wi-Fi 6 devices that can take full advantage of all its capabilities.

You don’t get the robust game friendly QoS options and anti-malware tools that come with some of the competition, however.

At the rear of the router are five gigabit LAN ports (two of which can be used for link aggregation), a WAN port, two USB 3.0 ports, reset, power, LED on/off buttons and a power jack.

Like virtually all current routers, installation is easy. You can use the Nighthawk mobile app or the Web console.

Pros:

  • easy to install
  • strong 5GHz throughput and file-transfer performance
  • link aggregation
  • includes malware apps
  • good configuration options
  • highly secure and compatible
  • can be folded for storage

Cons:

  • most expensive router on the list
  • lacks anti-malware tools
  • slow connection speeds
  • throughput falls off quickly with distance

7. Asus (RT-AC88U) AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router

Sale
ASUS AX6000 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (RT-AX88U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, 8 GB Ports, Gaming & Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Adaptive QoS, MU-MIMO
  • Next gen Wi-Fi standard 802.11Ax Wi-Fi standard for better efficiency and throughput; ultrafast Wi-Fi speed 6000 Mbps Wi-Fi speed to handle even the busiest network with ease
  • Certified for Humans – Smart home made easy for non-experts. Setup with Alexa is simple.
  • Wider usage and more convenience 4 antennas plus 8 LAN ports to support more clients at the same time
  • Commercial-grade security – AiProtection powered by Trend Micro blocks internet security threats for all your connected smart devices
  • Better partner with mesh system; compatible with ASUS AiMesh Wi-Fi system for seamless whole home coverage’s support: Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.6, Mac OS X 10.7, Mac OS X 10.8

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 03:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Loaded to the hilt with advanced features and fast performance, the Asus (RT-AC88U) AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router was one of the first Wi-Fi 6 routers to hit the market. It remains one of the top-performing Wi-Fi 6 routers ever, leading to a fairly hefty price tag.

With a beveled top, angular front and sides, and a matte black finish. It looks nearly identical to our first choice, the RT-AX88U. It comes with four removable antennas (two in back and one on each side). In front you’ll find an LED Wi-Fi on/off button, a row of LED indicators for power, the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band, WAN, LAN (one for each port), USB and WPS activities.

Features include MU-MIMO, beamforming, Smart Connect, support for Asus AiMesh technology to create a whole Wi-Fi system for seamless roaming with one network ID.

You can control the RT-AX88U using the very capable mobile app or the more advanced Web console. The Web console’s main screen contains a network map showing all connected clients, Internet, security status, connected USB devices and Wi-Fi information for both bands.

It’s a 4×4 AX6000 router capable of data rates of 1148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. And 4804Mbps on the 5GHz band (when connected to Wi-Fi 6 devices). Armed with 802.11ax circuitry, it’s a top tier choice for your 802.11ac devices that can take advantage of the 160MHz channel bandwidth.

But it’s the suite of robust third-party software security that really clinches our choice.

Toward the front are two USB 3.1 ports. The rear panel houses 8 gigabit LAN, WAN and secondary USB 3.1 ports. You’ll also find power, WPS, reset buttons and a power jack.

Installation takes just a few minutes with the included Ethernet cable.

Pros:

  • uses the latest 802.11ax technology
  • decent 802.11ac performance
  • easy installation
  • lots of network ports
  • Dual-WAN and link aggregation
  • tons of useful features
  • 4×4 MU-MIMO and OFMDA

Cons:

  • expensive
  • only dual band
  • lacks 10Gbps network port
  • less bandwidth than tri-band models
Our Top Choice
ASUS AC3100 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC88U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, WTFast Game Accelerator, Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Adaptive QoS, MU-MIMO
NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router (R7800) - AC2600 Wireless Speed (up to 2600 Mbps) | Up to 2500 sq ft Coverage & 45 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet, 2 x 3.0 USB, and 1 x eSATA ports
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6S AC4000 Tri-band WiFi Router, Gigabit Ethernet, MU-MIMO, Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa (R8000P)
ASUS AC3100 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC88U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, WTFast Game Accelerator, Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Adaptive QoS, MU-MIMO
NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router (R7800) - AC2600 Wireless Speed (up to 2600 Mbps) | Up to 2500 sq ft Coverage & 45 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet, 2 x 3.0 USB, and 1 x eSATA ports
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6S AC4000 Tri-band WiFi Router, Gigabit Ethernet, MU-MIMO, Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa (R8000P)
Our Top Choice
ASUS AC3100 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC88U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, WTFast Game Accelerator, Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Adaptive QoS, MU-MIMO
ASUS AC3100 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC88U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, WTFast Game Accelerator, Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Adaptive QoS, MU-MIMO
NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router (R7800) - AC2600 Wireless Speed (up to 2600 Mbps) | Up to 2500 sq ft Coverage & 45 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet, 2 x 3.0 USB, and 1 x eSATA ports
NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router (R7800) - AC2600 Wireless Speed (up to 2600 Mbps) | Up to 2500 sq ft Coverage & 45 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet, 2 x 3.0 USB, and 1 x eSATA ports
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6S AC4000 Tri-band WiFi Router, Gigabit Ethernet, MU-MIMO, Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa (R8000P)
NETGEAR Nighthawk X6S AC4000 Tri-band WiFi Router, Gigabit Ethernet, MU-MIMO, Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa (R8000P)

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 03:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Routers for Multiple Devices Buying Guide

A good multiple device router is dual or tri-band equipment. It also comes with features to support simultaneous connection to a variety of devices and Wi-Fi signals, without sacrificing coverage, speed or connection. The number of devices that can successfully connect to a router depends on the router’s features, CPU and RAM capabilities.

When shopping for the best routers for multiple devices, start by considering the number of devices you need to connect. Truth is you may not need the kind of performance you get with the latest and greatest models. But if you have several users vying for bandwidth. A new router with modern management capabilities makes a world of difference – but the more features you get, the more you can expect to pay.

Best Wireless Protocol

There’s a bit to unpack here. But sit tight.

802.11ac

The most widely used Wi-Fi protocol to send and receive data is 802.11ac. It allows for maximum data rates of up to 5400Mbps (megabytes per second). And it operates on both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz bands.

It also uses MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology. You can identify a MIMO router by the multiple antennas to send and receive up to eight spatial streams for enhanced performance. MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO) technology provides bandwidth to multiple devices simultaneously so that up to four clients get their own data streams instead of waiting in turn to receive data from the router.

The Wi-Fi 802.11ac protocol also uses beamforming, which is a technology that sends Wi-Fi signals directly to the client instead of broadcasting in all directions. And automatic band steering to let the router select the most efficient radio band based on availability, network traffic and range.

802.11ax

This is the Wi-Fi protocol behind the leading-edge Wi-Fi 6 routers. It’s an evolution of the 802.11ac technology that promises increased throughput speeds of up to 9.6Gbps (gigabytes per second). Less network congestion. Greater client capacity. And better range performance. Several new and improved wireless technologies make this possible, the top of which are: OFMDA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access) and TWT (Target Wake Time).

OFDMA technology improves throughput by breaking Wi-Fi channels into sub-channels. It allows up to 30 users to share a channel simultaneously.

TWT allows devices to determine when and how often they will wake up to send and receive data to reduce power consumption.

Like the 802.11ac protocol, 802.11ax is backward-compatible to work with devices in and around your home that use 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi radios.

Best Router Speed

As you shop, you’ll see routers with labels like AC1750, AC3100, AC4000, even AX6000 and so forth. This is the theoretical maximum speed of the router. Theoretical because routers rarely, if ever reach these “maximum speeds” in real world applications.

A router that can achieve a maximum link rate of 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band is considered an AC1750 router. This means a tri-band AC3200 will give you a 600Mbps link rate over the 2.4GHz band 1300Mbps over the two 5GHz bands.

An AC5400 tri-band router will be capable of 1Gbps (gigabyte per second) speeds on the 2.4Ghz band and 2.1Gbps on each 5GHz band.

Antennas

Optimize routers with removable antennas. Many third-party, high-gain antennas that help boost performance are available. Some manufacturers even offer replacements.

No matter what you decide, make sure the router you choose supports the aftermarket antennas you want so you don’t end up with decreased performance.

Ports

Ethernet Ports

You want a router with at least 10/100/1000 (gigabit) Ethernet ports. They’ll allow you to connect to your wired devices like a desktop PC, NAS (network-attached storage) drives and home-automation hubs.

Additionally, if you think you need faster throughput or large file transfers, prioritize routers that support link aggregation.

Link aggregation uses two gigabit Ethernet LAN ports for an increased throughput of up to 2Gbps. It also covers you so that if one LAN connection goes down, you have a backup. And you can even use it to load balance your network traffic.

USB Ports

A router with at least one USB port will make it easy to plug in peripherals like a printer or a USB drive, which you can share across your network. A router with two USB ports means you don’t have to make a crucial decision between sacrificing the printer for the drive, you can share both.

Network Management Tools

This one is especially important if you have young kids around. Many electronics come with parental controls these days to block young eyes from seeing things they don’t need to see. And routers are no different.

To manage how your Wi-Fi network is used, prioritize routers with parental controls, QoS options and guest-network features. Plus, parental controls are a great way to regulate the amount of time spent online gaming and use of social network activities, for instance.

Parental Controls

Some routers only offer basic parental controls like access scheduling and Website blocking options. But more robust parental controls allow you to pause the Internet and select age-appropriate presets that automatically block access to social media platforms, including sites that contain adult content, like gambling, shopping, blogs and games.

Guest Networks

Say you have people over for the weekend. Guest networks allow you to offer Wi-Fi connectivity to them without leaving your entire network vulnerable. You create a separate network for guests with an SSID (Service Set Identifier) and password different from your main network credentials. Your guest(s) will be able to connect to the Internet without access to your files, printers or other connected devices.

QoS

Quality of Service settings give you the power to decide which applications and devices connected to the router get network priority. For example, if you’re connecting to an office meeting via video conferencing. Giving priority to your Webcam will keep you connected, even if another device is downloading files or streaming Hulu videos.

Security

Almost all routers offer multiple types of security.

A router with WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) allows you to add compatible devices by pressing the WPS button on the router and pressing the WPS button on the client device to add the network. WPA2 is a more secure connection that requires entering a network password for each device.

Routers with WPA-Enterprise security offer an even higher level of security. They require a RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) to authenticate each device.

IP Addressing

Something to keep in mind as you shop the latest routers for your multiple devices is that IPv4 will soon be replaced by IPv6 – it’s the technology used to assign IP Addresses. IPv4 is a 32-bit addressing scheme that’s about to run out of addresses due to all the devices connected to the Web.

IPv6 is a 128-bit scheme poised to replace it with a near infinite number of IP addresses to assign. You likely don’t have to worry about this much since most of the latest routers come with built-in support for IPv6 addressing. But it’s something to think about.

Price

As with purchasing almost anything electronic, figure on coughing up a couple hundred bucks. While you don’t have to save up anything like a thousand dollars, most routers are between $50 and $600. Price is highly dependent on performance and features.

Figure that an entry-level, AC1750 router with an 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol will run you less than one hundred dollars. An AC2400 router with premium features like MU-MIMMO streaming capabilities, on-the-other-hand will be between $100 to $300. But for something like a tri-band AC5400 gaming router tricked out with all the bells and whistles. You’ll be walking away feeling as much as five hundred dollars lighter.

802.11ax routers are between three and five hundred dollars. As the examples on our list show, prices fluctuate depending on data rates. The latest Wi-Fi 6E is a fantastic option if you need more wireless bandwidth. But they don’t come cheap. Expect to be out of pocket at least $450 or more.

FAQ

What do the different Wi-Fi bands mean?

Any good modern router offers two bands, 2.4 and 5GHz. Thinking about your home, since the 2.4GHz band operates at a lower frequency. It’s able to penetrate through walls and other structures. But it doesn’t offer the better range and high-speed access of 5GHz. 

Most dual-band routers will give you the option to assign a band to specific applications and clients which will ease the load on both bands. If your network is busy with numerous clients vying for bandwidth, you may consider tri-band routers. These use three radios, one operating at 2.4GHz while the other two operate at 5GHz for load balancing.

The latest Wi-Fi spectrum is 6GHz. While it promises a significant boost to wireless performance. Don’t feel like you have to run out and get all new 6GHz devices. You’ll be just fine with 5GHz for the foreseeable future.

Can I extend my wireless signal?

You’re no doubt asking because you’ve either worked in an office without enough coverage, or you live in a large, multi-story home. Wi-Fi “dead zones” are the areas in your home or office where the router’s signal can’t reach your device(s).

Solution?

You could run long cords all around the premises, which is just a tripping hazard waiting to happen. Or get a wireless range extender. This nifty piece of tech is adept at picking up a router’s Wi-Fi signal, amplifying it and rebroadcasting the signal.

The issue is that the rebroadcasted signal is half the strength of what you get from the router. And since many of these range extenders create a separate network, seamless roaming is a challenge.

And even if the one you get shares the same network SSID and password as your router, you’ll want to make sure both devices are made by the same manufacturer for a seamless connection.

What’s a Wi-Fi mesh network system?

It’s another way to fill in those dreaded dead zones without additional wiring, access points or purchasing a Wi-Fi range extender.

By using nodes or satellites to extend your Wi-Fi signal, you can extend your Wi-Fi signal across a larger area than most routers. And depending on the number of nodes in the system you choose. You can blanket a consistent Web connection across as much as 4,000 to 6,000 square feet.

Excellent considerations are Google Wifi and Linksys Velop.

Unlike most range extenders, satellites in a Wi-Fi mesh system are part of the same network. So, you get seamless connectivity as you go from room to room in your house or office.

And if you find network setups intimidating, configuration and management only requires a few taps on a free, associated mobile app.

But because Wi-Fi mesh systems are designed to be simple, you may not be able to access the same kind of in-depth settings as you can on a router.

Sale
ASUS AC3100 WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC88U) - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Router, WTFast Game Accelerator, Streaming, AiMesh Compatible, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Adaptive QoS, MU-MIMO
  • 1024 Qam technology 80 percent faster 5 GigaHertz at up to 2100 Mbps, 66 percent faster 2. 4 GigaHertz at up to 1000 Mbps; utilities: firmware restoration
  • 33 percent greater 2. 4 GigaHertz coverage with a 4 transmit, 4 receive (4T4R) antenna design, able to reach our widest ever coverage up to 5000 square feet
  • Expansive connectivity options: with exclusively has 8 x Gigabit LAN ports for up to eight Ethernet compatible devices to connect simultaneously
  • Powerful 1. 4 GigaHertz dual core processor, faster USB data transfers enjoy up to over 100 MB/s Speed and the router download/UPLOAD speed (WAN LAN throughput) up to 1. 8 Gaps
  • Smart Connect automatically chooses the best band available for you, Dimensions: 11. 8 x 7. 4 x 3. 3 inch (WDHP).

Last update on 2022-06-27 at 03:16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

WRAPPING UP

There’s never a reason to pay top dollar for features you’ll likely never use. Our top choice for best routers for multiple devices is the Asus RT-AC88U. Although a bit expensive, the price is just right considering what you’re getting, like MU-MIMO tech and a wealth of management options. Our next choice is the Netgear Nighthawk X4S (R7800). It supports 4×4 data streaming and user-friendly management controls. But lacks the throughput of our first pick. And our final top choice is the Netgear Nighthawk X6S (R8000P). It’s a 3×3 Wi-Fi router with plenty of configuration options and great performance.