Mapping a Route to the Best Routers

February 22nd, 2013

Cisco Linksys E2100L Wireless N Router
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t have a wireless home network these days? With the explosion of connected devices, wireless routers are indispensable to leveraging online services and managing our digital lives.

Most UTOPIA subscribers utilize a wireless router with their fiber connection. Usually, this is a perfect solution. But, if your wireless router is more than four or five years old, you may not be able to get the most from your UTOPIA connection. To that point, while this blogger is not lucky enough to have UTOPIA at home, I just upgraded to a (factory refurbished) Linksys E2500 dual-band N router, replacing a D-Link we’ve used for nearly eight (!) years. The connection speed on my home network is now much improved (not surprisingly).

If you need to upgrade your router, we recommend you choose from amongst these options:

Budget-tier: Linksys E900 Wireless-N300 Router ($39)
This router offers good throughput performance, stable wireless signal, and an Internet-based Parental Control feature. The router incorporates a SD card slot, has an intuitive and responsive Web interface, and supports IPv6, Gigabit Ethernet, guest networking, and an extensive set of networking features.

Mid-tier: Netgear N300 ($59)
The NETGEAR N300 Wireless Router is a simple and secure way to share your high-speed Internet connection at Wireless-N speeds for surfing the Internet, email, online chat and Facebook. Easy CD-less installation for iPad, tablets, smart-phones, and computers, while WiFi Protected Setup gives you a secured connection at the push of a button. Compatibility with Wireless G networks allows hassle-free connection flexibility.

Mid-tier: Linksys E1500 SpeedBoost N300 ($59)
Has a nice, compact design and offers good performance. It’s affordable and comes with Cisco Connect, an intuitive software application that helps you set up and manage a home wireless network with ease.

Top-tier: Linksys E3200 High Performance Dual-Band N Router ($75)
Offers excellent performance and advanced networking features in a stylish and compact design. It has a good Web interface and also includes Cisco Connect, an intuitive desktop software utility with which even a novice user can set up and manage a home wireless network with ease.

Mega-tier: Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight ($165)
Designed with the latest in networking technology, the RT-N66U delivers exceptionally fast wired and wireless connectivity. What’s more, it comes with a powerful detachable Wi-Fi antenna to further extend wireless range.

Mega-tier: Apple AirPort Extreme ($179)
A compact router, featuring the usual aesthetically pleasing Apple styling. It can handle 400-500 megs of throughput and is more user friendly as far as Apple users go.

Mega-tier: Linksys EA6500 Dual-Band AC Router with Gigabit and 2x USB ($185)
Offers solid performance and lots of cloud-based features. It’s also very good-looking. Not as high-performing as the Asus listed above, but it is far more user friendly and can easily be found in local retail stores.