There are plenty of reasons to buy a new router. From the fact that Wi-Fi 6 is now available, promising faster download speeds and more features, to the fact that you might have moved and need a router with more range, a good router can change your experience with Wi-Fi altogether.
Of course, it's not quite as simple as headind down to Best Buy and simply picking up a router. There are a number of things to think about before you get a new router, such as how much range you need, what kind of download speeds you want, and what kinds of smart features you'll take advantage of.
That, however, is why we've put together this guide. Here are 6 things you need to think about before upgrading your router.
Wi-Fi 6 is here
Wi-Fi standard naming schemes have traditionally been a little confusing to understand, but that has finally changed with the latest standard -- Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 offers a range of features over previous-generation Wi-Fi standards, but the most immediately obvious is that it offers theoretical speeds of an impressive 9.6Gbps. Of course, you won't get that in real life, but you'll still get much faster download speeds than you would on previous-generation routers. You'll also get the ability for your router to communicate with multiple devices at a time, and better security.
There aren't a ton of routers with Wi-Fi 6 support out there just yet, but there are some; and if you want to future-proof your home, it's worth getting a router that supports the new standard. The most recent models include the Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6 mesh routers.
Do you need a mesh router?
No matter what your situation, it's worth getting a mesh router. Mesh routers essentially allow you to place multiple access points around your home, improving the range of your network, and ensuring that you have fast speeds even far away from the router. But even if you don't have a large home, it's worth considering a mesh router. That's because of the fact that many mesh routers allow you to add access points down the line, which could come in handy if you move.
How fast is your internet?
Your Wi-Fi speed can be limited by two things -- the speed of your router, and the speed of your internet provider or plan. You can't do a whole lot about your ISP's speed except for upgrade your plan to a faster one, but you can do something about your router's speed.
It's worth ensuring that your router offers faster speeds than your internet provider. That will mean that you can fully take advantage of your plan, even if you upgrade your plan down the line. After all, if or when you upgrade, you don't want to have to upgrade your router yet again. It's all about future-proofing.
How many bands do you need?
If you want faster performance from your router, it's worth considering a dual-band, or even tri-band, router. More bands essentially means that your router can connect to more devices at once, which is perfect for the era of the connected home and 4K video streaming. A smart dual-band or tri-band router automatically sorts your different devices into different bands, which means that you'll get the fastest speed possible whenever you're connected. If you really only want to connect a computer or phone, a single-band router will probably do the trick. But if you have smart home devices, multiple phones, multiple computers, and maybe even a smart TV, it's worth having a dual-band or tri-band router instead.
If you're looking to get more features from your router, it's worth considering a smart router, which can be controlled through a smart app, allowing you to tweak settings, manage which devices are connected to your network, and more. Smart routers also allow you to easily set parental controls and limits, which is perfect for those who want to ensure that their kids aren't online all day every day.
Some smart routers offer other features. For example, the Eero 6 and Pro 6 has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, which allows you to connect Zigbee devices, to be controlled with Alexa. It's a handy feature, and perfect for those building a smart home.
Last but not least, it's important to think about the security of your internet connection. Some routers offer built-in VPN features, while others encrypt your connection to make for more private browsing. Some router manufacturers even offer security subscription services, like Eero, which offers Eero Secure+, which offers encryption, password management, and more -- for only $9.99 per month.
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