Routers are bor­ing devices. Well, agree. And the process of choos­ing a router is no less bor­ing and com­pli­cat­ed, since we sim­ply do not fol­low the devel­op­ment of Wi-Fi tech­nol­o­gy itself, we are not inter­est­ed in char­ac­ter­is­tics, new prod­ucts, etc. We sim­ply do not need it. And that’s okay. A router is a device that we buy, set up and col­lect dust some­where. We remem­ber it only when the Inter­net starts to fail, or even stops work­ing. And we start think­ing about choos­ing and buy­ing a new router for our house or apart­ment only when the old router stops work­ing at all, or the con­nec­tion speed drops, devices turn off, etc. Not always and not for every­one, of course, but in most cas­es This is true. Four years ago I wrote a sim­i­lar arti­cle, but it is already out­dat­ed. There­fore, I decid­ed to update it and talk about choos­ing a router in 2020.

To be hon­est, lit­tle has changed in the router mar­ket in 4 years. Of course, there are new mod­els, and even man­u­fac­tur­ers. Dual-band routers sup­port­ing the 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5 GHz) stan­dard have fall­en in price, new devices have appeared — Wi-Fi Mesh sys­tems, and routers with sup­port for the new Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) stan­dard have just begun to appear. This is a must-know when choos­ing a Wi-Fi router in 2021. In this arti­cle, I will cov­er this in more detail.

WAN port type and connection protocols

The WAN (or Inter­net) con­nec­tor is used to con­nect an Inter­net cable to the router. This is the first detail that you should pay atten­tion to when buy­ing a device. It depends on it whether the router will work with the provider.

A typ­i­cal router has a WAN port in one of two for­mats:

  1. DSL (ADSL, VDSL and oth­er sub­types) — to con­nect to the Inter­net via a tele­phone line.
  2. eth­er­net — to con­nect through a spe­cial provider chan­nel.

TP-Link TD-8816 router with ADSL WAN port
There are also uni­ver­sal devices that sup­port sev­er­al for­mats, includ­ing DSL and Eth­er­net. But they are much less com­mon.

In fiber-optic net­works that are now quite pop­u­lar, access to the Inter­net is car­ried out through a GPON ter­mi­nal, to which the router is con­nect­ed. Some routers have a cor­re­spond­ing con­nec­tor for con­nect­ing the provider’s fiber optic cable direct­ly. This allows you to get rid of the ter­mi­nal, which often suf­fer from pow­er surges and remove the extra link in the chain.

Which firm is better?

There are thou­sands of mod­els of dif­fer­ent routers on the mar­ket from dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers. All of them dif­fer not only in their func­tion­al­i­ty and qual­i­ty, but also in cost. How­ev­er, choos­ing the most expen­sive com­pa­ny, hop­ing for excep­tion­al qual­i­ty, is not worth it. Some­times “pure Chi­nese” works bet­ter. So let’s take a look at the strengths and weak­ness­es of each router com­pa­ny.

Among buy­ers, the fol­low­ing com­pa­nies are con­sid­ered the best and most pop­u­lar:

  • TP-Link is a Chi­nese com­pa­ny that has been suc­cess­ful­ly oper­at­ing in the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and com­put­er equip­ment mar­ket since 1996. The prod­ucts of this com­pa­ny have a high lev­el of price-qual­i­ty ratio. For lit­tle mon­ey, you can buy a prod­uct of good assem­bly and high per­for­mance. This is per­haps the most pop­u­lar brand among ordi­nary users and is most often found in apart­ments.

The best Wi-Fi router for home: 5 options to choose from, rating

  • Asus — despite the fact that the com­pa­ny oper­ates in the Repub­lic of Chi­na, its prod­ucts are clas­si­fied as “expen­sive”. At the same time, the prod­uct ful­ly “works out” its val­ue. For a good router from this man­u­fac­tur­er, you will have to pay over 3,000 rubles.
  • D‑Link is anoth­er com­put­er equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­er from Chi­na. The prod­ucts of this com­pa­ny are con­sid­ered bud­get and are very pop­u­lar among aver­age Inter­net users. D‑Link is engaged in the release of only net­work prod­ucts, so the qual­i­ty of routers and com­po­nents is very high.
  • ZyX­EL is a Tai­wanese man­u­fac­tur­er of net­work con­nec­tiv­i­ty equip­ment. The main direc­tion of its activ­i­ty is the pro­duc­tion of routers. A fea­ture of this com­pa­ny is the fact that it presents both the cheap­est mod­els and prod­ucts for peo­ple with an unlim­it­ed bud­get.
  • Huawei is a Chi­nese com­pa­ny that has been rapid­ly gain­ing momen­tum in recent years. Net­work equip­ment from this man­u­fac­tur­er is still char­ac­ter­ized only on the pos­i­tive side. The pric­ing pol­i­cy of the com­pa­ny is quite demo­c­ra­t­ic.

The best Wi-Fi router for home: 5 options to choose from, rating

It is not worth focus­ing on the com­pa­ny, because each com­pa­ny has not the most “suc­cess­ful” mod­els that slight­ly spoil the over­all pic­ture of good impres­sions. There­fore, fur­ther we will tell you which mod­els real buy­ers con­sid­er the best for home use.

ISP Compatibility

ISPs use var­i­ous tech­nolo­gies to con­nect sub­scribers. Some of them are mas­sive and are sup­port­ed by default in all routers, oth­ers are less com­mon and not avail­able every­where.

For exam­ple, many ser­vice providers use the L2TP pro­to­col, which does not work in every router. There­fore, before buy­ing, it is advis­able to check with the provider’s sup­port ser­vice whether their net­works sup­port the router you are inter­est­ed in.

If, instead of DSL and Eth­er­net, the provider uses spe­cif­ic con­nec­tion tech­nolo­gies, which rarely hap­pens, then it is bet­ter to trust the selec­tion and con­fig­u­ra­tion of equip­ment to spe­cial­ists.


A promis­ing tech­nol­o­gy that in the future may replace con­ven­tion­al cable Inter­net. When con­nect­ing using GPON, a fiber optic cable is brought into the clien­t’s premis­es. It pro­vides the high­est con­nec­tion speed among all mod­ern stan­dards, since data is trans­mit­ted not through ordi­nary wires with met­al cores, but through trans­par­ent flex­i­ble glass and plas­tic threads. Light is used to trans­mit data. Among the minus­es, it can be not­ed that com­pared to Eth­er­net, fiber optic equip­ment has a high­er cost.

GPON router uses fiber optic cable to connect

Number and type of LAN ports

Com­put­ers, con­soles, TVs and oth­er sta­tion­ary equip­ment that needs sta­ble wired access to the Web are con­nect­ed to the LAN ports of the router. This con­nec­tion always guar­an­tees max­i­mum speed, which is inde­pen­dent of dis­tance and inter­fer­ence.

And the more such con­nec­tors in the router, the more devices can be con­nect­ed to it via wire. Typ­i­cal­ly, routers are equipped with four LAN ports. But if this is not enough for you, choose a mod­el with addi­tion­al con­nec­tors.

The type of LAN ports deter­mines the max­i­mum speed of data exchange between the router and oth­er devices con­nect­ed to it via a wire.

There are two such types:

  1. fast eth­er­net pro­vides speeds up to 100 Mbps.
  2. giga­bit eth­er­net — up to 1 Gbps.

Zyx­el Kee­net­ic Viva router with four giga­bit LAN ports for home net­work
If your ISP offers Inter­net access at speeds greater than 100 Mbps, choose a router mod­el with Giga­bit Eth­er­net ports. So you will use your chan­nel to the fullest.

Popular manufacturers

Let’s find out which brand is the best. About ten man­u­fac­tur­ers of net­work equip­ment are active­ly work­ing on the mar­ket, which have home devices in their line. The choice of brand rests sole­ly on your shoul­ders. Some com­pa­nies are giants in the indus­try, respec­tive­ly, they are already wind­ing up the cost per label, for exam­ple, ASUS. Oth­er firms are just mas­ter­ing this seg­ment, there­fore they offer rel­a­tive­ly high-qual­i­ty prod­ucts at an afford­able price. Before buy­ing, read the reviews on the forums to eval­u­ate the suc­cess of a par­tic­u­lar mod­el.

We will present a list of com­mon com­pa­nies whose prod­ucts can be found in stores:

  • Cis­co (Linksys) is a lead­ing man­u­fac­tur­er of net­work equip­ment. Almost all enter­pris­es and com­pa­ny offices are equipped with Cis­co prod­ucts. Rel­a­tive­ly recent­ly, the com­pa­ny began man­u­fac­tur­ing home modems under the Linksys brand. High qual­i­ty, func­tion­al­i­ty, price above aver­age.
  • D‑Link is a well-known com­pa­ny with a wide range of routers. Man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts clear­ly com­ply with stan­dards and spec­i­fi­ca­tions, so they are reli­able and do not cause prob­lems. The cost depends on the fea­tures.
  • TP-link is a direct com­peti­tor of the pre­vi­ous com­pa­ny. The bias is made on the release of bud­get devices. There is a chance to run into a prob­lem­at­ic mod­el, but unlike D‑Link, prod­ucts are 10–20% cheap­er.
  • ASUS — the com­pa­ny pro­duces high-qual­i­ty prod­ucts, offers pre­mi­um solu­tions for any need. The price is quite high, while many routers are too “fan­cy” for res­i­den­tial use.
  • Huawei is a new­com­er to the mar­ket, which is furi­ous­ly storm­ing the rank­ings thanks to the afford­abil­i­ty of its routers. Routers do not always have firmware with Russ­ian, con­nec­tion prob­lems are pos­si­ble, but in gen­er­al, the prod­ucts are of high qual­i­ty and afford­able.
  • MikroTik is a lit­tle-known com­pa­ny from Latvia. They pro­duce reli­able and func­tion­al devices with fine tun­ing. If you find Mikrotik prod­ucts, feel free to buy.

In the line of each com­pa­ny there can be suc­cess­ful and prob­lem­at­ic mod­els, so when choos­ing, look at the device.

WiFi standards

The max­i­mum pos­si­ble data exchange rate between the router and the fleet of devices con­nect­ed to it wire­less­ly depends on the Wi-Fi stan­dard. There are cur­rent­ly two stan­dards in use:

  1. 802.11n — a com­mon, but already out­dat­ed ver­sion, which is sup­port­ed by the vast major­i­ty of gad­gets. Pos­si­ble speed is up to 600 Mbps.
  2. 802.11ac — the cur­rent stan­dard, pro­vides the high­est speed — up to 6.77 Gb / s.

But don’t let the specs fool you: the val­ues ​​shown are only the­o­ret­i­cal­ly pos­si­ble with­in the tech­nol­o­gy. Actu­al speeds are much low­er.

The speed indi­cat­ed by the man­u­fac­tur­er is also most often unat­tain­able in prac­tice. This is only a pos­si­ble val­ue with­out tak­ing into account dis­tance and inter­fer­ence.

Thanks to back­ward com­pat­i­bil­i­ty, you can con­nect any gad­gets via WI-Fi to a router with the 802.11ac stan­dard. Even if they only sup­port 802.11n and old­er ver­sions. But to unlock the full poten­tial of 802.11ac, both your router and every oth­er device on your wire­less net­work must sup­port this stan­dard.


An out­dat­ed tech­nol­o­gy that uses a tele­phone cable that runs into an apart­ment for data trans­mis­sion. Max­i­mum incom­ing data trans­fer rate: 24 Mbps, out­go­ing: 4.5 Mbps. In fact, the num­bers can be much small­er, as they depend on the para­me­ters of the client line. ADSL routers use a built-in modem — a device that allows you to con­vert an ana­log tele­phone line sig­nal into a dig­i­tal one.

ADSL is an obsolete technology

If you already have an ADSL modem installed in your apart­ment, it is advis­able to choose not an ADSL, but a reg­u­lar Eth­er­net router. To con­nect it, it will be enough to insert a tele­phone cable into the modem, and con­nect the LAN port of the modem to the Inter­net port of the router. Such a choice of device will help in the future to car­ry out an easy change of provider (you do not need to buy a new router to switch to cable Inter­net).

Connecting a LAN port to an Internet port

Number of Wi-Fi bands

Some routers can oper­ate simul­ta­ne­ous­ly in dif­fer­ent fre­quen­cy bands. In this mode, the router is able to sup­port not one, but sev­er­al inde­pen­dent Wi-Fi net­works at once.

Asus DSL-AC87VG Dual Band Router

Many pop­u­lar mod­els are able to dis­trib­ute data trans­mis­sion between two ranges. Thus, they cre­ate two net­works at fre­quen­cies of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, respec­tive­ly.

  1. Fre­quen­cy 2.4 GHz ide­al for con­nect­ing smart­phones and office equip­ment.
  2. Fre­quen­cy 5 GHz pro­vides a more sta­ble and faster con­nec­tion, and there­fore is bet­ter suit­ed for mul­ti­me­dia devices that work with video and oth­er heavy con­tent. So, if you do not want to con­nect a TV or set-top box through wires, you can use Wi-Fi at a fre­quen­cy of 5 GHz.

These net­works can oper­ate in par­al­lel with­out lim­it­ing each oth­er. But again, their total speed will not exceed the lim­it set by the Inter­net provider.

In addi­tion, not all gad­gets sup­port a 5 GHz net­work.

Our advantages

is a licensed telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions oper­a­tor that pro­vides var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices to indi­vid­u­als and legal enti­ties, cor­po­rate clients and tele­com oper­a­tors. Among oth­er things, we offer ser­vices for con­nect­ing high-speed Inter­net and installing a Wi-Fi router to orga­nize a local net­work on the user’s ter­ri­to­ry. To do this, we have all the nec­es­sary tech­ni­cal resources and a team of expe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als who have a wide range of knowl­edge and prac­ti­cal skills in var­i­ous fields, which allows them to car­ry out projects of any com­plex­i­ty.

Number and type of antennas

In addi­tion to the stan­dard and fre­quen­cy of Wi-Fi, the speed of a wire­less net­work depends on the num­ber of anten­nas in the router. The more of them, the faster the data exchange between the con­nect­ed devices and the router.

The 802.11n Wi-Fi speed lim­it for the sin­gle anten­na mod­el is 150 Mbps. With two — 300 Mbps, with three — 450 Mbps. That is, with each anten­na, the max­i­mum pos­si­ble speed increas­es by 150 Mbps. And in the 802.11ac stan­dard — at 433 Mbps.

Recall that we are talk­ing about the­o­ret­i­cal­ly pos­si­ble speeds under ide­al con­di­tions. In real­i­ty, these fig­ures are much low­er. In addi­tion, do not for­get that the total speed of Inter­net access via Wi-Fi can­not exceed the provider’s lim­it.

Anten­nas can be built-in or exter­nal. As prac­tice shows, in a typ­i­cal city apart­ment, the type of anten­nas is not so impor­tant. Con­trary to pop­u­lar myth, the dif­fer­ence is bare­ly notice­able.

But for large rooms, it is still worth choos­ing a router with exter­nal anten­nas so as not to have cov­er­age prob­lems. In addi­tion, if exter­nal anten­nas are remov­able, if nec­es­sary, they can be replaced with more pow­er­ful ones.

D‑Link AC1200 router with four exter­nal anten­nas


In fact, now there are more routers on the mar­ket than a mod­ern per­son needs. And we are not talk­ing about some indus­tri­al seg­ment. No, every­thing is much sim­pler — we are talk­ing about ordi­nary home mod­els. When I was pick­ing up a device for myself, I invol­un­tar­i­ly noticed that even a pro­fes­sion­al’s eyes real­ly run wide. And what can I say about the aver­age user — as if you get to the Chi­nese mar­ket with rags.

This arti­cle will be use­ful to ordi­nary peo­ple. Wikipedia and buzz­words to a min­i­mum, experts can pass by, I have my own fes­tive calm atmos­phere here)

But if you liked some­thing, or bet­ter not like it, be sure to leave a com­ment. It is use­ful for peo­ple, the author is pleased, com­mu­ni­ca­tion gives inter­est­ing thoughts!

Brief selection guide

Let’s go over the key points of the arti­cle again. This check­list will help you choose a good router.

  1. Find out the provider’s require­ments for the router: WAN con­nec­tor type and con­nec­tion pro­to­cols. Only then choose a mod­el.
  2. For Inter­net speeds above 100 Mbps, buy a device with Giga­bit Eth­er­net (1 Gbps) LAN ports. If the speed is low­er, Fast Eth­er­net con­nec­tors (100 Mbps) will suf­fice.
  3. If you need access to the Web only for brows­ing sites and work­ing with doc­u­ments, you can lim­it your­self to a router with one anten­na and sup­port for the 802.11n wire­less stan­dard.
  4. But if you stream video, play online games, use a lot of wire­less devices, down­load large files often, and don’t get used to deny­ing your­self, then choose a dual-band router with mul­ti­ple anten­nas and sup­port for 802.11ac.
  5. If you wish, you can buy a mod­el with a USB port to con­nect a dri­ve or a wire­less modem to it.

Rating of the best inexpensive routers for an apartment

Based on all of the above, a rat­ing of the most pop­u­lar Wi-Fi routers was com­piled. Each of them will ful­ly sat­is­fy the needs of the fam­i­ly and ful­ly com­ply with the “price-qual­i­ty” cat­e­go­ry.


Mercusys AC12G

  • WiFi stan­dard: 802.11 b, a, g, n, ac
  • Wi-Fi fre­quen­cy range: 2.4 / 5 GHz
  • Max. wire­less con­nec­tion speed: 1167 Mbps
  • num­ber of LAN ports: 3
  • num­ber of fixed anten­nas: 4

Not a bad mod­el for eco­nom­i­cal users. The man­u­fac­tur­er appeared on the mar­ket recent­ly (in 2012), but has already man­aged to estab­lish itself on the good side. Among the two range routers of the bud­get seg­ment, this mod­el has the high­est speed qual­i­ties. The speed will be enough to watch and trans­mit HD video, “heavy” com­put­er toys. Con­nect­ing and con­fig­ur­ing the device will not be dif­fi­cult, since the ver­sion is com­plete­ly Rus­si­fied. There is sup­port for IPTV, giga­bit inter­faces, the abil­i­ty to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly work in two bands. The mod­el lacks a USB port and a DLNA serv­er. For the most part, they are not real­ly need­ed. But the lim­it­ed angle of rota­tion of the anten­nas will force you to choose a place in the apart­ment where to install the router so that the recep­tion / trans­mis­sion of data takes place quick­ly, with­out prob­lems.


Xiaomi Mi WiFi Router 4

  • Inter­net con­nec­tion: Eth­er­net RJ-45
  • WiFi stan­dard: 802.11 b, a, g, n, ac
  • Wi-Fi fre­quen­cy range: 2.4 / 5 GHz
  • Max. wire­less con­nec­tion speed: 1167 Mbps
  • num­ber of LAN ports: 2

What is the main char­ac­ter­is­tic of a good device? In con­nect­ing it, set­ting it up and remem­ber­ing it dur­ing gen­er­al clean­ing, in order to wipe off the dust. This cat­e­go­ry includes a router from the Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­er Xiao­mi. It is aimed at sim­plic­i­ty and ease of use, how­ev­er, like the entire line of brand prod­ucts. Its oper­a­tion and set­tings can be adjust­ed and updat­ed from your smart­phone. As in the mod­el described above, there is no USB port installed. In order to increase the num­ber of LAN ports, you will have to buy a switch. But still, this is one of the most reli­able bud­get mod­els of Wi-Fi routers on the mar­ket today.


Keenetic Omni (KN-1410)

  • inter­net con­nec­tion: exter­nal modem
  • WiFi stan­dard: 802.11 b, a, g, n
  • Wi-Fi fre­quen­cy range: 2.4 GHz
  • Max. wire­less con­nec­tion speed: 300 Mbps
  • num­ber of LAN ports: 4

Unlike the two pre­vi­ous mod­els, this router has a mul­ti­func­tion­al USB port. This expands the func­tion­al­i­ty of the device. There is a file upload sys­tem, sup­port for com­mon file sys­tems, and the abil­i­ty to work with MacOs. The user base, the dis­tri­b­u­tion of rights and the abil­i­ty to con­nect 3G / 4G modems are not all the func­tions that the device can per­form. The mod­el is suit­able for users who want to use the max­i­mum of USB devices, with­out pay­ing atten­tion to the data trans­fer rate. Kee­net­ic Omni is not the fastest router, but quite attrac­tive as an inex­pen­sive bud­get option.


Tenda AC6

  • WiFi stan­dard: 802.11 b, a, g, n, ac
  • Wi-Fi fre­quen­cy range: 2.4 / 5 GHz
  • Max. wire­less con­nec­tion speed: 1167 Mbps
  • num­ber of LAN ports: 3
  • num­ber of fixed anten­nas: 4

An inex­pen­sive device from a Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­er — the mod­el is quite non-stan­dard and orig­i­nal in design and char­ac­ter­is­tics. It com­bines good per­for­mance and low price. One of the main fea­tures from the man­u­fac­tur­er is that the router can work with dig­i­tal tele­vi­sion from dif­fer­ent providers. The man­u­fac­tur­er ini­tial­ly posi­tioned the device for instal­la­tion in rooms, hous­es, apart­ments. Of course, the speed is some­what reduced in remote rooms, but not as crit­i­cal as oth­er ana­logues. There­fore, the cov­er­age area can be called more or less uni­form. With a rel­a­tive­ly small radius (girth) of action, oth­er­wise it is a styl­ish mod­ern router.


TP-LINK Archer C6

  • WiFi stan­dard: 802.11 b, a, g, n, ac
  • Wi-Fi fre­quen­cy range: 2.4 / 5 GHz
  • Max. wire­less con­nec­tion speed: 1167 Mbps
  • num­ber of LAN ports: 4
  • num­ber of fixed anten­nas: 4

It is impos­si­ble to pass by the clas­sics of the genre — the routers of the LINK line. The good rep­u­ta­tion of the man­u­fac­tur­er has been mak­ing its prod­ucts in demand on the mar­ket for a long time. Baby TP-LINK Archer C6 eas­i­ly cov­ers the area of ​​a typ­i­cal two-room apart­ment. Its speeds are enough to simul­ta­ne­ous­ly watch video on a PC, play games on a tablet, stream a pic­ture on Apple TV from a lap­top. The device has a nice design, four anten­nas, all the nec­es­sary func­tions for home use. No USB, but that won’t be a prob­lem for users who just want an inex­pen­sive, good Wi-Fi router.