The 2022 Buyer’s Guide for Wireless Routers

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So, it’s time to upgrade your Internet router. You’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re looking for your own router so that you no longer have to rent from your Internet provider, to upgrade your router for faster service, or just looking to implement new features like more structured parental controls or guest network options, Micro Center has a variety of router options for you. Read on to learn more about how to select an appropriate router for your needs.

Are there differences between types of wireless internet routers?

As with most things in tech, wireless routers are not created equal. Many newer routers operate on two separate bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. However, if you opt for an older router, it is possible that you’ll have to verify compatibility between your devices and the type of Internet your router will bring in.

If you have a larger home, or are generally looking to cover a broad amount of space, a 2.4GHz signal is probably your best bet, as these routers are meant to extend coverage throughout a larger space. On the other hand, if your primary use case for your router is for work or for high-speed gaming, you may want to go for 5GHz, which is considered much faster.

Looking to offer Internet everywhere, fast? Consider a mesh system that will allow you to extend your wireless signal throughout your home or office.

On the other hand, if you want the best of the best, consider a WiFi 6 router. Built similarly to other routers, but with a significant technology investment in technologies that facilitate greater speed, a WiFi 6 is the best option if you are looking to run the fastest Internet out there.

How do I know what type of router is right for me?

Although it’s easy to fall into thinking that you need the fastest router out there, it is incredibly rare for individuals, or even homes, to hit the router maximums. For example, a WiFi 6 router runs 9.6Gbps. Despite this, the typical download speed in the United States is less than a percent of this. This means that although a faster router offers the potential for a greater speed, it’s likely that many will never use it.

On the other hand, it’s important to take into account how many devices will be utilizing your Internet connection. Ten years ago, many homes were running just three or four devices, but now think about how many things you have connected to your home’s network. Sure, there are the obvious ones, like your desktop, laptops, and cell phones. But what about your televisions? Streaming systems? Gaming systems? These days, even your vacuums and alarm clocks are likely smart devices that connect to your wireless internet system. Each of those devices pulls a portion of your Internet signal that must be accounted for if you want to keep everything running efficiently.

Best Router for Gamers

More than anything, a strong internet router for a gamer is one that allows for a fluid gameplay experience with no delays. Although previously, experts recommended wired internet connections for gamers, these days, wireless routers are considered just as capable.

Certainly, it makes sense to opt into a WiFi 6 router to ensure that your game runs at max speed (and the rest of your household too!) When looking into these premium options, consider something like the ASUS RT-AX86U AX5700. Sure, it’s a mouthful, but it comes with a large variety of add-ons to enhance your experience including Adaptive QoS, Trend Micro antivirus, and WTFast GPN.

Best Router for Those Working from Home

When you work from home it is important to have a strong Internet connection, but you may not have to go as spiffy as you would if you were a hardcore gamer. We recommend a middle ground option like the Netgear Nighthawk.

One router alone will cover up to 1500 square feet within your home and connect to nearly thirty devices. Additionally, this router’s software allows you to have a broad amount of control over your home’s internet.

Not only can you use it to control the security, and other user settings, but you can manage how much of the internet you allocate to each device. For example, you can set the Nighthawk to give a tremendous amount of bandwidth to your work device during working hours, and then reallocate that same amount to a streaming device to relax in the evening.

Best Router for Heavy Internet Users

If you’re a multi-tasker, even if you’re not a heavy gamer, you can often suck up a lot of bandwidth by shopping for groceries on your phone, while Netflix plays in the background and a tablet controls your home devices like a smart thermostat and robot vacuum. Someone rings the bell and more devices are tagged in as your video security system is played over Google home.

If this resonates with you, it’s possible that you could benefit from something like a LIN

KSYS EA8300. It is widely considered to offer excellent wifi performance across multiple devices and boasts easy setup along with continued compatibility with Alexa devices. Best of all, it supports integration with a mesh system, which will allow you to extend your coverage as your needs grow.

Best Router for Light Internet Users

If you’re the type who’s looking to perform small, routine tasks like checking email or scrolling social media, there is no need to invest in an elite-quality router.

Rocking a steal of a price at $70, the TP-LINK Archer AX1500 is a great option for those looking to connect a handful of devices within their home. It offers a hassle-free app setup and holds its own when tested alongside higher quality options. Although it doesn’t have all of the shiny bells and whistles of some other routers we’ve mentioned, it does allow users to set up essentials like traffic prioritization and guest networks.

Ready to Upgrade?

We thought so! Head on over to Micro Center for dedicated customer support, and high-quality products. You’ll find a wide variety of Internet routers, as well as a variety of accessories and products to help them run more smoothly. 

 More from the Micro Center Community:

Looking for more information about Home Networking? We’ve got Home Networking guides as well as articles on How to Boost your WiFi Signal, How to Troubleshoot Network Problems, and How to Access and Configure a Router. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to post a new discussion and the Community will be happy to help!


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