Top WiFi Routers for Your Home

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Today’s households have more internet-connected devices than ever before – so as you can imagine having a robust home Wi-Fi network to connect your burgeoning family of devices has never been more important.

Choosing the right router for your home can be a bit of a minefield. It isn’t as simple as choosing the most expensive. For example: there’s no point going for a dual-band router if all your devices have old wireless receivers and therefore can’t take advantage of the extra power on offer via the new 802.11ac wireless standard.

Here are our some of our top pick for the some of the best Wireless routers available today.

D-Link DIR-810L – Price, £116.

D-Link has been synonymous with home networking for years, and has just released a new range of wireless routers promising increased performance and no more pesky dropouts. With their DIR-810L, you’ll enjoy the benefits of faster speeds and increased home coverage from the get-go. The DIR-810L has been specifically designed for homes where there’s a lot of HD streaming and large file transfers taking place. It’s an ideal solution for, say, a student house where there could conceivably be as many as 20 internet-connected devices running at anyone time.

The DIR-810L is so much faster than your average router because its part of the new 802.11ac family, which has now replaced 802.11n standard. We won’t bore you with the details but AC can achieve far higher speeds than a current N router, due to fact it operates on both 2.4GHz and the new 5GHz frequencies.

The great thing about this router is it is backwards compatible with all of your existing 802.11n wireless devices. And to make the transition to superfast speeds even easier you can add USB adapters to your existing desktop and laptop computers to bring them up the new AC standard.

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DIR-868L Wireless AC1750 Dual Band Gigabit Cloud Router- Price, £140

D-Link has also announced variant of the new 8 series for users who want more than just superfast wireless connectivity. The DIR-868L USB 3.0 is also a dual-band 802.11ac router but comes with a bevy extra ports including four Gigabit Ethernet ports to provide high-speed wired connections for up to four PCs or game consoles.

The router’s SharePort Mobile app allows you to also connect a USB 3.0 storage device so you can instantly share documents, movies, pictures, and music with mobile devices and other computers connected to the network. And there’s also cloud support via D-Link’s mydlink Lite app, which helps you access, manage and view your network remotely from anywhere in the world securely.

The router operates on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless bands at the same time and has six internal antennas for even greater wireless coverage.

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TP-Link TD-W8980 N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit ADSL2+ Modem – Price, £85

TP-LINK’s new TD-W8980 is an incredibly robust all-in-one dual-band device combining both 5GHz band and the traditional 2.4GHz band. With 2 multifunctional USB ports, users can share printers, files and media across the local network.

Handily the TD-W8980 does the work of several networking devices packed into one device. It acts as ADSL2+ Modem, NAT Router, 4-Port Switch and Wireless N Access Point, eliminating the need to purchase multiple devices to access and share a high-speed Internet.

With 300Mbps 802.11n wireless and 4-gigabit LAN ports, the TD-W8980 is the ideal choice for bandwidth heavy users that rely on speedy, reliable connections for bandwidth intensive work or entertainment such as video calls, HD video streaming and online gaming.

Using the TD-W8980’s two multi-functional USB 2.0 ports, users can share printers, files and media either throughout the network at home with several different computers or even away, using the device’s FTP server functions so that you never have to part with your files.

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Belkin Powerline AV+ Starter Kit – Price, £109.99

If you live in a big house then you might have to face the fact the no matter what wireless router you use, it may not serve your entire house. So what other options do you have? Well, you can, of course, run Ethernet cables to every room, and on new build homes this is become more and more commonplace.

But there is another way: homeplugs. They’re the easiest way to create an integrated network using your existing power lines within your house.
To setup a pair of Belkin’s Powerline homeplugs it’s incredibly simple. First, you connect one adapter to your existing router and then plug it into an available plug socket. Then you plug the second adapter into an available wall socket where you want the Internet; and then you connect the other end to a device with an available Ethernet. And that’s about it.

Almost every device – except mobiles of course – has an Ethernet port and quite often a wired connection is a lot more robust than a wireless connection. Homeplugs are ideal for devices that don’t move around a lot, so if you need to connect your Sky box to your router a homeplug would be a the ideal solution. The only downside is you’re placement is obviously dictated by where you have an available wall socket. But in theory you could run an extension cable into the garden and still get full-speed wired Internet. The great thing about homeplugs is they work alongside a normal router, so they’re there to supplement the system rather than replace it. So if you have a room that’s a nightmare for wireless signal, a pair of well-positioned homeplugs could be the answer to all your wireless woes.

Belkin offers an affordable range with their Powerline AV+ starter kit. You get two plugs and you can easily add more pairs to more rooms as you see fit. What’s great about this particular set is each homeplug comes with 3 extra ethernet ports allowing you to plug in multiple devices into each home plug. So it would be an ideal solution for a lounge where you might have several devices that need to be connected to the Internet but don’t get moved around all that often.

Cisco Cloud Connect and Smart WiFi: Routing for the little guy

I’m a self-confessed tech nerd (a real built-my-own-computer nerd not just a guy in thick glasses) but not even I can get excited about routers. I love everything to do with Internet but the mechanics of how it gets into my house don’t generally excite me. So when Cisco invited me to spend half an afternoon being wowed by the latest and greatest in routing technology I was worried that I might fall into an involuntary nap, never to recover.

How wrong I was. Cisco pooled their engineering might and did the unthinkable – made routers exciting.

 

Cisco-Universal-Media-Connector

Wifi is everywhere. Cisco expects that in 2016 there will be 19 billion connected devices globally and that 1.2 million minutes of video will be viewed online every second. I’ve spent the past few days setting up wifi scales, wireless speakers, TVs and more. Now granted I’m a tech journalist but these things will be worming their way into your living rooms soon. I’ve seen a wifi fridge with a touchscreen panel attached. The future is clearly on its way. But setting up wifi devices is a pain. It’s easy to get a laptop online but a speaker with zero buttons is much more fiddly. And with more and more strain being put on your one wifi you don’t want your bathroom scales slowing down your Netflix streaming.

Cisco have made all of this easier. The new Linksys Universal Media Connector makes it a doddle to connect wired devices such as Smart TVs and game consoles to Wi-Fi networks to enjoy the magic of streaming. The connector operates in the 5Ghz band and has four gigabit ports.

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The new Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router EA6500 has blazing fast AC technology but is backwards compatible with prior wireless networks and devices using 802.11a/b/g/n. The router contains six internal 3D antennae that are designed to insure the same performance whether placed on a desktop or mounted against the wall (apparently this was a popular configuration for people). And it still looks pretty slick.

Cisco showed off a SimpleTap function, enabling you to connect devices by swiping an NFC-enabled smart phone over an NFC tag to connect to the network (great if you want to hook people up to a guest network), and they are working to jam this into as much consumer tech as possible.

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This man is such a dull conversationalist, she’d rather tweak her home network settings.
Thanks to Cisco Connect Cloud … she can!

Even better was Cisco Connect Cloud, a cloud platform that has been designed to provide convenient anytime, anywhere access to the home network and its connected devices – from a web browser or mobile device. This means it’s easier than ever before for normal people to control their Internet service. Most routers have powerful QoS etc technology built in that are never used as it’s way too complicated. Cisco have “changed the game” in terms of opening up functionality to “civilians”. It’s easier for parents to hop in from their smartphone (Android or IOS) and block certain websites. You can also see various Internet services and throttle them or block them at certain times (“No Facebook till you finish your homework”) or make sure that your downloads in one room don’t get in the way if you suddenly want to stream a movie on Netflix.

The Linksys Smart Wi-Fi Router EA6500 is targeted for availability in September at major retailers, as well as the Linksys online store. The Linksys Universal Media Connector is expected in October at the same outlets.

Create your own Hot Spot with the TL-MR3020 Portable 3G Wireless N Router

So imagine the scene, you’re hosting a stand at an exhibition, or you want to conduct a group seminar in the countryside, or better still, you’re on holiday and the whole family needs internet access. We’ve all been there, scrabbling around for a decent wifi connection or having to put up with sharing someone else’s notebook or iPhone.

TP-Link-3G

Now you can create your very own wi fi hot spot with TP-Link’s TL-MR3020 Portable 3G Wireless N Router. This highly compact router will share its internet connection at speeds up to 150 Mps once it’s connected to a 3G dongle modem, so no more searching around for a wi fi signal, create your own. The router has its own mini USB 2.0 slot for use as a power supply if needed and the router is fully  compatible with iPads, iTouche, Android Phones, Kindles and other portable Wi-Fi enabled devices.

Of course security is another issue to take care of and with the TL-MR3020’s One Button security setup, you simply press the WPS button and a WPA2 secure connection will be automatically established.

In a multi user environment you can also control how much band width is being used by each connected device, so little Johnny’s World of Warcraft session might just be sacrificed for the live footy.

All this internet connectivity for just £39.99 (excluding 3G dongle)

www.tp-link.com