How to Choose a Router in 2024

by Jones David

The right router for your home or office makes all the difference when it comes to Wi-Fi performance and reliability. With more devices connecting to home networks, we need capable routers that provide widespread connectivity along with speed and range.

However, the consumer router market offers lots of options with varying features and specifications to consider. Here’s how to choose the router that best resolves your household’s specific issues:

Why Do You Need a New Router?

Start with what you need from a new router.

  • Is your current router too slow or dropping connections?
  • Are you moving to a larger home or office that needs more widespread Wi-Fi coverage?
  • Do you need to connect more devices like smart home gadgets or laptops for remote work?

Knowing the “why” of your router purchase clarifies which features matter most. Don’t overspend on advanced capabilities you may not utilize!

Key Router Specs and Standards

Here are the main technical details to understand on routers in 2024.

Wi-Fi Version

The Wi-Fi version indicates maximum speeds and capabilities. Your options include:

  • Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac): Fast and reliable, perfect for homes and small offices. Offers typical speeds up to 1200 Mbps.
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax): Cutting-edge new standard ideal for dense, high-bandwidth spaces like creative offices. Delivers theoretical maximum speeds up to 9600 Mbps.

Wi-Fi 6 is forward-looking and future-proofing, while Wi-Fi 5 still provides excellent performance for more modest needs.


Another key deciding factor is wireless band support:

  • Single-band: Operates solely on the 2.4 GHz frequency band. Simple homes without many connections only need single-band.
  • Dual-band: Works across both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. Most modern homes benefit from dual-band routers for faster speeds and less interference.
  • Tri-band: Transmits data over one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands concurrently. Primarily useful for congested Wi-Fi environments that need expanded capacity. Overkill for typical households.

Mesh routers utilize multiple access points on one network, so single router units often feature multiple bands.


Don’t forget to account for wired connectivity, too! Router ports accommodate Ethernet cables for devices like desktop PCs and network storage.

  • 4-port routers work well for families with just a few wired devices.
  • 8-port+ routers better suit power users with home office setups, media servers, etc.

Prioritize router ports if you have many stationary wired devices. Wi-Fi handles all else.

Key Router Features

Beyond the tech specs, routers also pack helpful features to improve the user experience.

Mesh Capabilities

Mesh routers utilize multiple wired access points for expanded Wi-Fi coverage across large spaces. Key perks include:

  • Eliminates dead zones in far-reaching homes
  • Allows more connected devices
  • Enables Wi-Fi network roaming

Mesh systems work intelligently to provide one unified network. But they cost more than single routers. Assess if your space truly requires mesh capabilities.

Security Protocols

With more devices tapping your home network, security is paramount. Modern routers offer encryption such as:

  • WPA3 for robust safeguards against intrusions
  • WPA2 for baseline wireless security
  • Firewall protection against external attacks

Seeking routers with WPA3 indicates the latest security standards. Linksys, NETGEAR, and ASUS routers tend to provide advanced protocols.

Quality of Service

QoS settings intelligently allocate bandwidth to prevent lags when simultaneously streaming, gaming, video calling, etc.

If your household regularly runs high-bandwidth activities concurrently, prioritize routers advertising QoS capabilities for smoother sailing.

Customization & Controls

Software customization settings allow you to tweak your router’s functionality. Look for:

  • Guest networks to provide Wi-Fi access to visitors without revealing your main network password.
  • Parental controls for limiting kids’ internet access and monitoring activity.
  • Band steering to automatically shift device connections to less congested bands when available.

Software controls provide more ways to streamline and secure your network.

Leading Router Brands

The consumer router market offers many brand options with distinct strengths. Some top manufacturers to consider include:

  • NETGEAR: Established router company that’s a go-to for DOCSIS cable modem router combos. Fast equipment with lots of ports.
  • ASUS: Originally a computer hardware company, ASUS makes exceptionally customizable routers, packing tons of configuration options for power users.
  • TP-Link: Budget-friendly routers perfect for price-conscious shoppers, alongside higher-end models with robust features. Offers excellent value.

No singular brand is “the best” overall. Rather, assess their respective strengths against your needs.


Ultimately, it’s all about meeting your household’s specific connectivity needs – budget, bandwidth, devices, and space coverage. Brands like Asus and TP-Link lead the market but don’t ignore lesser-known names, which sometimes offer better value.

Remember, the core purpose is resolving your issues – glitchy streaming, dead zones, congestion. Beyond this article, there are plenty of helpful resources online to troubleshoot routers further, whether dealing with the LOS light blinking red on router or other common problems. Stay focused on practical solutions rather than getting distracted by acronyms and advanced features you may not ever need.

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