How to Choose a WiFi Router: Buying Guide

How To Choose A Wifi Router

Nowadays everyone wants the best, most reliable, and fastest Internet without any distortion. The router can help you in this regard. Let’s start from the basics what is a WiFi router and how to choose a WiFi router?

A WiFi router is defined as a device that is connected to the modem and provides WiFi. The router will help you to send information from the Internet to personal devices like computers, phones as well and tablets. The devices connected to the Internet in your home make up your local area network (LAN).


You can choose a WiFi router by keeping in mind the following things mentioned above:

Internet Service Provider:

First of all, you have to check who is your internet service provider. Internet service providers are the ones that can connect your home to the Internet. The Internet service providers send you a modem and a router. Sometimes both of them are in a single device. The modem can connect your home to the broader Internet.

The router is the one that partners with the modem and can connect your all gadgets. The gadgets can connect to the router with the wires or wirelessly. The Internet service providers are considered basic in terms of performance and features. The rental fee is charged for this equipment by the Internet service providers.

It is good to hear that you can return their stuff to avoid charges. They are no longer allowed to force you to use their stuff or equipment by law. In this guide, we are looking at using your router and using your Internet service provider’s modem. This can benefit you in many ways.

You can save money in the long term as well and you can enjoy the faster service of WiFi for better coverage, parental control features, easier configuration as well and guest WiFi networks. We have several different router options.

Whatever you choose you have to check its compatibility with your Internet service provider before you buy it. You can have access to search your Internet service provider’s modem to find different posts where people discuss using the routers and modems.

Kind Of Router You Need:

There are different ways to make your WiFi service faster. One of the most prominent ways is buying a new router. Calculating the rough square footage of your home helps you to choose the type of router to go for. The type of router includes:

  1. Single Router
  2. Mesh Systems

1. Single Router:

Most people choose a single router or a combo of routers and modems. You have to remember that this device will have to plug into your existing socket or a modem through the Ethernet cable which limits where you can place it.

The WiFi signals will be the strongest near the router and slow down when the router is placed away. The powerful routers provide wide coverage are large devices with several different antennas but are usually costly. Do not expect to enjoy full-speed WiFi at longer distances because the thick walls, insulation, and other devices interfere with WiFi signals.

2. Mesh Systems:

These systems help you provide the fastest service whether you have a large home and thick walls and also you want specific coverage in your garden. Mesh Systems has a central hub. This hub connects just like a single router and you can place the additional satellites or nodes anywhere at home as well.

The devices connect to the Internet with the help of the closet node so by adding nodes you can achieve wider WiFi coverage and a more smooth or reliable connection in different areas. You have to remember that each node needs a power outlet.

Single routers are less expensive than Mesh systems. But the mesh system provides more coverage and reliability as well as they provide more additional features and control options.

They are smaller than the regular router and are designed beautifully. Most of the mesh systems are expandable. You can link the individual router to create a mesh so that you can start with a single router and add more as required. You just have to make sure that you understand which device is more compatible.

Some Replacements To A New Router:

If you want more coverage and want to improve the WiFi connection then you do not need to buy a new router. You can try some alternatives to the new router. All of the alternatives have their technical challenges and potential issues. Some of the alternatives to the new router are:

  1. Ethernet Cables
  2. Power Line Adapters
  3. Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA)
  4.  WiFi repeaters
  5. Access Points

1. Ethernet Cables:

We depended on Ethernet Cables to connect computers and other devices to routers before the WiFi was present everywhere. Ethernet Cables are the ones that provide the fastest speed and are more stable and secure than WiFi connections.

The main downside of the Ethernet cable is that the device you want to connect needs to have an Ethernet port and you have to run cable from your router to the device. If you want to run these Ethernet cables to different spots then you can use an Ethernet switch.

You can plug one cable in from your router with a switch and can run different cables out to various devices. If anyone wants to get the best performance from a mesh system then they should also consider the Ethernet cables between the main router and nodes.

2. Power Line Adapters:

These Adapters are sold in pairs. Power line adapters can pass Internet signals through your electrical wiring. You can connect the power line adapter by plugging one into the power outlet that is present near your router and connecting it with the Ethernet cable whereas the other power line adapter plugs into a power outlet in a room or the area where you want faster Internet. The effectiveness of the power line adapters depends on your electrical wiring.

3. Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA):

If you guys have coaxial cables installed at your home then you can use them to create a smooth network that provides you the fastest speed and has low latency compared to WiFi. You can also buy routers, network adapters as well and WiFi extenders that support the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) standards. The Multimedia over Coax Alliance is considered as a great way to pass Internet signals to smart TV, game console, or desktop as well that does not get the WiFi signals much like the power line adapters.

4. WiFi Repeaters:

You can use WiFi repeaters to spread the WiFi signals from a single router. The WiFi repeaters potentially boost the signal in a dead spot. These devices are considered a great solution for some people but they can be inefficient and can create a secondary network with a different name from your regular WiFi.

5. Access Points:

You can take the spare old router lying around and you can look into configuring it as an access point or you can use it as a WiFi extender. If you can connect it to your main router through cabling then this can be effective.

Speed You Need:

There are several things to consider when you are trying to decide how fast your router should be. By your ISP, the maximum speed of your Internet is determined. The Internet speeds are stated in Mbps (Megabytes per second). According to Ookla’s Speed test, the median global broadband speed is fixed. The broadband speed for downloads is 79 Mbps and for the uploads is 34 Mbps.

By running a speed test in your browser you can check what download and upload speed you are getting. You have to follow some simple steps to test the speed. Type  “Speed Test” into Google to find some options.

We can refer to the FCC’s broadband speed guide to get a rough idea of how Mbps translates into Internet use which suggests that you need 3 to 4 Mbps to stream standard definition video, 5 to 8 Mbps for HD, and 25 Mbps for a single 4K stream.

You will have at least 200 Mbps if there are multiple people in your household streaming 4K video with several gadgets connected. If some of the devices are connected then you will only need 50 to 100 Mbps.

The stated speed is considered as combined maximum rather than the speed you can expect to reach with a single connected device. In real-life conditions, you will always get a lower speed.

WiFi Standards:

The WiFi standards are set up by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). There is a long list of different WiFi protocols that support different ranges and speeds. The WiFi standards always begin with IEEE 802.11 followed by a group of letters for example IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers deals with several different standards. The 802 relates to the computer networks and 11 is the WiFi and Wireless local area network (WLAN). The letters at the end are explained there.

The “n” protocol is also known as WiFi 4, “ac” is known as WiFi 5, “ax” is known as WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E and the “be” is known as WiFi 7. The WiFi 6 is considered a minimum and will provide you with some future-proofing.

WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E not only offer faster speeds but also have increased capacity, efficiency, performance, and security. You always have to remember that if you get WiFi 6 or the WiFi 6E router then your other hardware devices like a laptop or smartphone need to support the WiFi 6 or WiFi 6E to get the advantages.

Wifi Bands And Channels:

Several different WiFi protocols support different frequencies or bands. Most of the routers support 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) and 5 GHz. The dual-band router means that it supports both. There are Tri-band routers that can broadcast three signals which means that two on the 5 GHz band and one on 2.4 GHz, however, we are seeing more and more routers that include the 6 GHz band.

WiFi 6 and the earlier routers are restricted to 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The WiFi 6E routers provide 6 GHz but WiFi 7 is fast. The 2.4 GHz bands have 11 channels and each is 20 megahertz (MHz) wide. There are 45 channels of 5 GHz band but they are not limited to 20 MHz.

They are allowed to create 40 MHz or 80 MHz channels which allows you to transmit more data. There are 60 channels of 6 GHz also they can be as wide as 160 MHz. The 2.4 GHz has the longer range whereas the 5 GHz offers faster speed as well as provide greater bandwidth.

The 6 GHz has the same speed as 5 GHz and it also provides greater bandwidth. We can say this as jumping from a single-track road to a lane highway to a six-lane super highway. I.e. single road track is 2.4 GHz, the three-lane highway is 5 GHz and the six-lane super highway is 6 GHz. All of the protocols are backward compatible.

We have tested different WiFi 6E systems and found that the range is very restricted, the new 6 GHz band promises advantages for devices that support it. Some of the modern routers engage in band steering where they pick the bands automatically and you only see a single WiFi network. This seems to be simple and it will work well for most people but it can cause some issues too.

Some of the things you need to consider when you are going to buy a router. These include:

  • Consider the cost of the router
  • Check the compatibility of your router
  • Make sure the Speed Match
  • Searching the wireless protocol
  • Use Mesh WiFi systems or WiFi Extenders
  • Some upgrade features (Quality of service (QoS), MU – MIMO, Beamforming)

1. Consider The Cost Of The Router:

In this, you have to consider how much you want to spend on the router. Routers can vary in price. The prices of the routers start from $100 to $300 or more. The cost of your router depends on your budget. Your budget decides how much you should spend on a router.

Besides the cost, you also want the best features. You will have to make sure that you are getting the features you need to use the Internet services to their full potential. You will like to spend more cash on a router that supports faster speed and has some additional features like MU-MIMO and beam forming. The tri-band router costs more as well.

MU – MIMO is abbreviated as the Multi-User, Multi-input and Multi-Output. That means that your router can communicate with multiple devices at the same time.

Beamforming is defined as the feature that gives access to your router to signal directly to devices that need an internet connection. The beam forming creates stronger signals and also improves efficiency.

2. Check the compatibility of your router:

You have to check the compatibility of your router with your ISP. ISP stands for Internet service provider. Most of the routers are compatible with Internet service providers. It is a good idea to check the compatibility especially if you are using the modem-router combo. The technology used by the modems is based on the type of connection that your  Internet service provider uses and also if you are using a cable modem with DSL Internet. Sometimes your Internet won’t work, so checking the compatibility is critical. Here we help you to find compatible equipment for some of the top Internet providers in the US. These include:

  • Cox
  • Comcast Xfinity
  • XTREAM powered by Mediacom
  • Spark light
  • Spectrum
  • Astound Broadband, powered by RCN

3. Make Sure The Speed Match:

In this, you have to make sure that your router supports the Internet speed you pay for. You guys want a router that provides more speed than what’s advertised with your Internet plan. This provides you the best chances of getting the best speed even when you have several devices and people connecting at the same time.

Most of the routers advertise a combination of speeds on 2.4 GHZ and 5Hz frequencies. This combined speed is a little bit confusing because most of the devices do not use both WiFi frequencies at the same time.

Make sure to choose the router that supports maximum speed supported by your router’s 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. Remember one thing wireless speeds are slow because they have to travel through air or solid objects like walls, floors, and furniture.

If you want a maximum speed then you can connect to your router with the Ethernet cable.

4. Searching The New Wireless Protocol:

When you look at the routers you will see the number 802. 11 with a combination of letters. This is called the wireless protocol or also called wireless standards. This will help you to show how good your router is and also the range of the router.

You do not need to have additional techniques to understand the WiFi standards. You just have to search for the router that supports one of the newest wireless protocols.

  • 11ax (WiFi 6): This is considered as the new wireless standard of WiFi which is expected to provide speeds up to 10 Gbps. Many of the devices do not support these speeds.
  • 11ac (WiFi 5): You will see this WiFi standard on most of the routers. This supports speed up to 3.5 Gbps. This standard can keep you connected.
  • 11n (WiFi 4): This WiFi standard is the one that allows you to use both of the frequencies of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. This standard supports the speed up to 600 Mbps.

5. Use Mesh Wifi Systems Or Wifi Extenders:

You all need the type of router with a range that covers all or most of the parts of your home. The routers provide you the amount of square footage they can cover but some of them get more specific than others.

For example, we can say the recommended router TP-Link Archer 20 and xFi Pods provide the estimated range based on the square footage of your home and how many bedrooms are in your house. If the router does not pass enough signals to your home then you can use WiFi extenders or WiFi mesh Systems to expand the reach of your WiFi signals.

6. Some Upgrade Features:

The router brands update their features and release new technology all the time. The recent updates make more positive impact on your online experience. Some of the new features include:

  • Quality of service (QoS)
  • MU – MIMO
  • Beamforming

1. Quality of service (QoS):

Quality of service allows you to tell your router which devices and Internet connections to emphasize over others. So, if any of you is a gamer then they surely need a stable Internet connection even when other people are connected to the Internet too. You can tell your router to emphasize your Xbox’s internet over your smart TV.

2. MU – MIMO:

MU – MIMO is abbreviated as the Multi-User, Multi-input, and Multi-Output. That means that your router can communicate with multiple devices at the same time. Your router can send the bandwidth to only one device at a time even if they are both connected at the same time without MU – MIMO. It lets your router to divide up your bandwidth and support all of your connected device at the same time.

3. Beamforming:

Beamforming is defined as the feature that gives access to your router to signal directly to devices that need an internet connection. The beam forming creates stronger signals and also improves efficiency. Router would bang a WiFi signal in all directions before beamforming. Beamforming provides laser-targeted signals that also result in stronger connections.

Choosing Wireless Router – How?

If you want to choose the Wireless router then you have to keep in mind the following things that are explained below. The steps here include:

  1. Check your Internet’s top speed
  2. Have a look at local Internet service providers
  3. Check whether you already have a modem or not
  4. Check your budget
  5. Find out the amount of space that needs to be covered by the router
  6. Write a note on each device that your router will support
  7. Determine the requirements for router speed and range
  8. Restrict your search to routers in the “N” and “AC” categories
  9. Confirm that your router supports WPA2 encryption
  10. Search for a specific router
  11. Talk to the customer service

1. Check your Internet’s top speed:

You can figure out the top speed of the internet by contacting your internet service provider (ISP) or you can look at your account details. You can measure the Internet speed in megabytes per second (Mbps). The Mbps will read out bare minimum speed of router. For example, if the top speed of your internet is 160 Mbps then you will need a router that can handle at least 100 Mbps.

2. Have a look at the Internet service providers:

Whatever the service you are using, you still can have better alternatives. The current local Internet service providers may read out the kind of router you use. Some of the internet service providers have the option of renting. Renting will be more costly in the long run.

3. Check whether you already have a modem or not:

You will have to buy both the modem and router if you are starting from scratch. The modem overlaps with the Internet access point I.e. physical cable.

If you already have a modem from a different service provider then check your current Internet service provider. On the other hand, you can purchase both the modem and router for a lower price.

4. Check your budget:

You have to know your budget. It is easy to spend much money on a router and modem. You can expect to spend about $200 total on the best-quality modem and router. You have to remember that your budget should be flexible.

5. Find out the amount of space that needs to be covered by the router:

The best to determine the space is to figure out where the cable is plugged in and then walk from that point to each area and room where you want the router signals to reach.

6. Write a note on each device your router will support:

Write a list of the devices that are connected to the router. For example mobile phones, computers, laptops and consoles, etc. Writing a note on the devices will help you to figure out the size of the router. You need a large router to support different active devices at once and the other way around. A group of standard computers performing low bandwidth operations are handled by the small and the average power router. Consider how you are using the internet. Gaming or file transfers will be more processing than casual browsing and light work.

7. Determine the requirements in router speed and range:

Some things that need to be considered to determine the requirements in router speed and range include the following:

Advertised Speed:

It is defined as the combination of speed of all the router bands. This is considered the number that you will see publicized on the product description of your router.

Ceiling Speed:

Ceiling Speed is defined as the maximum speed at which your device can use the Internet. For example, if the router supports a speed of 600 Mbps then this router does not help a device that only reaches 200 Mbps attain a maximum Ceiling Speed.

Router Range:

The maximum range of your router shows how distant from it you can be while you are still receiving the signals that are serviceable. You have to buy a router with strong signals or you can buy a mesh net system for larger areas.

8. Restrict your search to routers in the “N” and “AC” Categories:

The numerical classification of 802.11 is written on every router. This numerical classification is known as international WiFi standards. If you buy a router with “AC” written in front of its model number then it provides the best performance and compatibility. The other A, B, and G designations are considered out of date.

9. Confirm that your router supports WPA2 encryption:

There are several types of security but the WPA2 encryption is the recent one. It is also considered as the most secure version of the encryption. The router with the ‘AC” designation should support WPA2 encryption. The WEP and WPA are both out of date so avoid using them.

10. Search a specific router:

Once you start searching for specific router models then go in-depth search for reviews, user feedback, and usage reports.  This type of search helps you to find the best router by giving you the best idea of how the router will perform. You can call your local Internet service provider and ask for the details of the recommended routers. The positive reviews will help you in this regard.

11. Talk to customer service:

If you buy your router by going to a physical store location then you can request input from someone in the tech department. They will provide you the more information about the performance of the router.


In conclusion, we can say that this article is written for the Wi-Fi router and how to choose a WiFi router. First of all, we have to know about WiFi routers and ISPs what are they?

A WiFi router is defined as a device that is connected to the modem and provides WiFi. The router will help you to send information from the Internet to personal devices like computers, phones as well and tablets. On the other hand, the ISP is the Internet service provider is the one that can connect your home to the Internet.

The Internet service providers send you a modem and a router. Sometimes both of them are in a single device. You have to choose the type of router that you want a single router or a mesh system. All of the basic things related to WiFi routers are mentioned in the article. In this article, I have also mentioned the things that need to be considered while choosing a wireless router.

You need to read the whole article once to know about all the details that need to be considered while choosing the router. Hope so this article will help you with your queries.

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