What is the best wireless router?

This feels like Groundhog Day… again. My old wireless router has given up the ghost and I’m looking for a replacement. I feel like these things just tend to go bad every few years. Maybe they overheat? I dunno.

I hopped over to Amazon and to check out the WiFi routers on their bestsellers list:

  1. TP-LINK TL-WR841N
    Amazon wants a very reasonable $18.32 for this, including free shipping. Can I go wrong?
  2. ASUS RT-N66U
    I’ve owned several ASUS products, including a netbook. They have been well built. This model router is a little pricey at $126.99.
  3. NETGEAR RangeMax WNR1000
    Another popular brand, NETGEAR routers have always have a good reputation and the price is right at $24.99.

I’ve owned both D-Link and Linksys routers and have been happy with those, too. Maybe I should even go with the old stand-by Linksys WRT54GL which can be easily flashed with the latest DD-WRT firmware. Not built for speed, certainly, but generally reliable? Probably.

As a side note, I installed a Securifi Almond for a relative a few months ago. Despite over 5,000 Amazon glowing reviews saying it’s the bee’s knees, I thought it was pretty mediocre. Oh, it’s pretty and all. It has its own screen on the front and has a nice GUI, but that’s where the niceness ended for us. Some of his devices wouldn’t even connect to it. What I thought was going to be an easy experience ended up being very disappointing. We sent it back.

So, there are but a few of my options. If you’ve replaced your wireless router in the last year or so, would you offer me any thoughts about the good/bad of your experience? Would love some recommendations!

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

10 Responses to “What is the best wireless router?”

  • Lawrence KI6ZQY:

    We did apple AirPort Extreme. Sure it is expensive, but running solid.

  • Brick:

    I’ve been very happy with my RT-N66U. Encouraged two friends to get it as well and they’ve had good luck with it.

  • jim. VE4SIG:

    I vote for the wrt54 with dd-wrt – u can usually find them cheap in the local thrift store or Craigslist and you can hack them to no end – add a fan etc

  • Fred KA8EBI:

    I know several people that work with computers for major companies and they say the Apple Airport Extreme is by far the best way to go.

    I’ve never had one die but if mine does that is what it will be replaced with.

  • Brian - kj6pbx:

    I’ve used a number of different Linksys and Netgear models very successfully. Those two remain at the top of my list.

  • Phil K7TTI:

    The next router I’ll buy will have removable external antennas. The Netgear router I have is flawless however it’s range isn’t what it should be and I believe it’s due to it’s internal antennas.
    With externals I could add a cable and relocate the antenna to get the desired results.

  • Ross WA4KEB:

    I have an ASUS Rt-N12. It’s a few years old and has worked flawlessly. The interface allows me to set up multiple networks, set priorities for different computers on the networks, control access by MAC address…very flexible.

  • Matt W1MST:

    The two detachable antennas is a smart idea.

    Where we go camping we’re just out of range of the campground’s wifi hotspot. I’d like to set up a router in repeater/extender mode to use at our campsite.

    I wonder if I attach a high-gain wifi antenna to one of the ports and a omnidirectional antenna to the other?

    http://bit.ly/VNOr1o

    Maybe someone much smarter than me could comment on whether that’s a sensible idea based on the architecture of these routers.

  • jeff n1kdo:

    I replaced my WRT54GL with a ASUS RT-N66U, running Tomato.

    This works very well. I would point out that the Asus is the only one in your list that has 5 GHz and (consequently) Wireless A.

    I stopped using the WRT54GL because it could not pass data at the same rate that Comcast sends it to me. The best it could ever do, even overclocked, was about 35 mbit/sec. The Asus will do 120 mbit/sec. (yes, really.) I like it!

    I’ll not be buying another Apple wireless access point again, ever.

  • Jeff - KK4ETK:

    WRT54 with DD-WRT for the win.

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