- Most Common Home Wireless Router
For apartment to 1 story house.
Wireless AC1900 – This is the router for most homes out there. The AC1900 class wireless range will cover a normal family sized one story home with no problem. I am using it in a 3 bedroom one story house and have excellent coverage across every room.
- The Average 2 Story
For larger one story house or two story home.
Wireless AC3200 – If you live in a bigger home or have a 2 story house, this will be a better fit for your speed and range.
- Strongest Class Router
Large 2 story to 3 story home.
Wireless AC5300 – The strongest class router made for large homes, many devices and top speeds.
For price and performance, the best wireless router choice goes to the to the dual band long range 802.11ac class series by ASUS.
However there are a few options as shown above.
These routers actually work for any ISP, Cable Internet or DSL or U-Verse. Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, AT&T, Century Link and more. The router plugs into your existing cable or DSL modem to broadcast a wireless signal.
The AC68U is perfect for a small to normal sized single floor household with several users / devices. But if you have a larger house with multiple floors, you may need a better model such as the AC3200 or even AC5300.
What makes ASUS RT-AC68U our favorite router?
- Best fit for a small house
- 802.11ac Newest WiFi Technology
- Dual Band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
- Dual-core processor for instant response time
- Built in USB 3.0 Port + USB 2.0 Port
- Built in FTP Sever Software
- Dual WAN Capable
- AiRadar Beamforming optimized WiFi for long range coverage
- 3 Detachable hi-power external antennas
- 4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports
- Easy to use ASUS Graphical Web Interface (view it here)
- App to manage router for both iPhone and Android OS
- File and Print Server built in!
- Up to 1900 Mbps
- IPv6 Capable
- VPN Server
- Media Server
- Multiple SSID’s
- Guest Networks
- Parental Control
- Manufactures Specs
As you can see this router is capable of being a lot more than just a router for your home. It has enough features to support a small business if needed.
My favorite part is the dual USB Ports and File / Media Server. What does this mean for you? You can plug an external hard drive into the router and access it from any computer in the house! Yes, like a “Network Attached Storage“. Not only that, you can set up the FTP server and have access from outside of the house. That’s right, a “Personal Cloud”.
With these features I am able to get my important files any place, any time. Yes, again, even if I am not at home. It also makes it really easy if you have guest over and want to transfer files to their computer. Everyone loves sharing music right? But what if you want to share music with your friends who are not at your house? With the FTP server and a few clicks, you can set up an account with a user name and password for a friend and let them download straight from your home share. The USB Ports also allow you to hook a printer up to the unit and print from anywhere. This is handy if you do not have room for a printer at your computer desk or if you want all computers in the house to have access to the same printer. You simply set it up and plug it into your router. Network printing! You could even set up an external DVD Burner to share around the house as well. I think you get the point now. It’s amazing.
Other Routers with USB?
Be careful with many of the other brands out there who have USB Ports. Most of them are USB 2.0 which is much slower than the 3.0 Port on this ASUS. But the even trickier part is most of them only allow internal access meaning you can’t create a cloud for you to access on the go. You might not think you’ll ever need this, but once you use it, you will love it. Imagine on vacation, in a hotel, boom, in your router getting your movies. Or uploading your photos from the trip. Or refilling your mp3 player. Backing up your phone, etc. All done from anywhere.
Network Attached Storage Router
This part is huge to me. It is such a great feeling to know that I am able to save my important files to my computer and back them up to my 5TB External HDD on my router. I never have to worry about my computer crashing again. All of my important work, photos, music, ideas and even this website, are all safely backed up to it. And if my house were to catch on fire or any crazy situation, I can literally yank the drive and run with it. This is reason number one it is a must for me.
ASUS vs Linksys vs D-link vs Netgear AC1900 Class Routers
The ASUS RT-AC68U is comparable to the NETGEAR R7000, Linksys WRT AC1900 and D-Link DIR-880L. Why these models? They are the top AC1900 Class routers with USB Ports. And yes they are generally more expensive.
When it comes down to the router, they are mostly the same and will perform the same with a few slight exceptions. It appears the ASUS will handle the most bandwidth according to the bench test. However the noticeable difference is ASUS’s built in software is much easier for a non technical person to use and offers much more versatility for the advanced user like me. It has all of your standard firewall options and many advanced options.
The ASUS has an Adaptive Quality Of Service screen that allows you to prioritize devices bandwidth allocation. This is amazing if you want to do gaming on one computer and stream Netflix in another room. You can tell the router to distribute more bandwidth to these machines while the lesser objects like phones and internet browsing PC’s get allocated less bandwidth.
ASUS has an FTP Server as well, my favorite part about this router. I plug in my external drive into the USB 3.0 Port and have a home media server where I and anyone I allow access to can easily share files directly. They don’t even have to be in my house. If I set them up with an account they can download from anywhere in the world. It’s very easy to use and one of the neatest tools a home router can possess. The ability to create your own personal “cloud storage”. Those other brand names do not offer the external FTP option.
AC1900 vs AC3200 VS AC5300
Why the AC1900?
It’s the cheaper router and works great for your typical small home!
But in some cases, such as a large house or a two story home, you may need the AC3200 or even the best option, the AC5300.
The numbers represent the total combined speed of the router class. That’s it. The 2.4Ghz Channel plus the 5Ghz Channel. This is why we recommend the 1900 for most users. Yes there are newer AC3200’s and even AC5300’s but the price increase is not justifiable unless you really need it or have money to spare. But you probably do not need that. If you have a device heavy environment, then yes you do. But chances are you’re only hooking up a few phones, handful of computers, TV or two and a gaming console but never all at the same time.
You probably have something like Comcast Internet at home and even with the your own modem, your internet speeds wouldn’t be used all at once through the wireless frequency. You would need over 5 computers using full bandwidth all at the same time to max this router out at 1900Mbps and you’re just not doing that. This is why we stand behind the AC1900 as far as best bang for your buck goes. Unless of course you have a big 2 story home.
Best Small Office Wireless Router? Tri-Band!
It’s possible you have a huge house or a small office with many wireless devices. The ASUS RT-AC3200, or even better AC5300 high performance router leads the pack of the latest in WiFi Technology and will cover your entire house and then some. The only problem with this router is the firmware must be updated as soon as you get it. However you can say that with any electronic device you buy, always update the firmware first. In this case if you forget to, it will drop connections randomly. So do update the firmware to the latest version. They have fixed the connection issue you may have read about in bad reviews elsewhere. Those reviews are outdated. Here is a video review from after the firmware updates.
You’ll notice the Linksys AC3200 is cheaper but the user interface is nowhere near as good as the ASUS and it lacks features such as external FTP servers. The ASUS GUI is truly better and more intuitive. As for updating the firmware, it’s a simple click of the button! They do it all for you.
What is Tri Band?
Tri Band uses 3 separate channels of wireless signal so it’s like you have 3 completely separate access points in one router. One conventional 2.4Ghz channel for older slower devices and phones and 2 faster 5Ghz channels for a combined speed of up to 3200 Mbps. Because there are two channels, the router dishes them out automatically to your home network via a Smart Connect technology. So if you have a Smart TV and a Game Console or gaming desktop it will get priority and it’s own channel. This combined with Beamforming truly helps you get the best range and fastest speeds out of your home WiFi Network. Specs.
Create Your Own Cloud Space
I can’t even say how cool this part is. The built in FTP Server allows you to plug in an external hard drive, right into your routers USB Port and access it from anywhere inside or outside of your home. Not only can you access this, but you can create user accounts and passwords and allow access to friends, family, business partners and so on. You can easily restrict them to certain folders, file permissions such as view or download only, upload only, ability to delete files and more.
Besides the FTP aspect of it, if you have like an XBOX in the house and go to the Media Player it will automatically pick up the router Media Server storage and you can play video files direct from the network storage without having your PC on.
Any computer in the house can connect, so if you’re playing a song and your friend, room mate or partner says “hey what’s that song?”. You can just put it on the drive and they can grab it and download it to their computer in seconds. It truly is the best addition to a home network. I couldn’t even imagine not having access to a network storage.
You can also set up automatic backup system to backup your own hard drive to the network storage. This is a great way to fail proof losing files if your computer were to ever crash.
Our Choice For The Best Wifi Router Review Summary
The bottom line is the ASUS runs the wireless router market due to it’s low cost, new technology, easy to use web interface and simple set up.
Linksys, now Cisco used to be the top of the line when it came to home routers but as time has gone on, they haven’t become much different and ASUS stepped in to take over with quality.