Every time we need a higher Wi-Fi speed
Currently, reality tells us that we have more and more Wi-Fi devices connected at home. Until not many years ago we only had smartphones, tablets and the occasional laptop or desktop computer connected to our wireless network. However, in recent years we have experienced the rise of new devices that also require an Internet connection such as:
- Smart speakers.
- Video surveillance cameras.
- Smart TV and Android TV devices.
- IoT and home automation devices.
- Smart plugs.
Obviously, the more equipment connected by Wi-Fi we will need two things: coverage to cover our entire home and the maximum possible WiFi speed to avoid problems with 4K video streaming. Regarding the bandwidth of a fiber optic connection, with the adequate speed we will not have problems.
The other thing would be to have good Wi-Fi specifications in our router. The latter is not always true, especially if the router is a few years old. On the other hand, before looking for a router with the best Wi-Fi, it is advisable to check some points of our Internet connection. This can be interesting in case we need to make a change and it prevents us from buying a new one.
What aspects should we look at when buying a router
If we want to buy a WiFi router that provides us with very good coverage and speed, it is essential that we look at the following aspects:
- WiFi standard.
- Working frequency bands.
- Number of WiFi antennas.
- Technologies such as MU-MIMO or OFDMA.
- Advanced firmware options.
Next, we are going to explain in detail everything you must take into account to buy the best wireless router.
Wi-Fi standard and frequency bands
One of the things that we must observe if we want to buy the router with the best Wi-Fi are the WiFi bands it has. The oldest one we use today is the 2.4 GHz band which is the one that has always been used in Wi-Fi networks, so we will not have any compatibility problems. Understand the standards 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ax it is also known as Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 6. Today almost any router incorporates the 2.4GHz band using WiFi 4, and only the new routers have the WiFi 6 standard, capable of providing up to 1148Mbps of theoretical speed using 4 antennas and 1024QAM modulation. Depending on the circumstances (interference, coverage received, WiFi client connected) we can achieve a real speed of about 300Mbps without many problems.
Then we would have the 5 GHz band, in which thanks to the standard 802.11.ac (Wi-Fi 5) or 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) we can reach speeds of up to 1.7 Gbps or 4.8Gbps using four antennas, depending on the standard used and if we have 160MHz of channel width or not. If we have a router of this category, obtaining speeds of more than 600 Mbps is easy to achieve, in fact, the record achieved by RedesZone is about 1150 Mbps real with the Wi-Fi 6 standard. Achieving higher speeds will depend on the technologies that it supports and of the number of antennas.
The least to look for today is a dual band router. This means that it supports the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band. However, although the 5 GHz band is faster than the 2.4 GHz band, sometimes it is convenient to use the latter more. The reason has to do with the distance and here you have explained when you may be more interested in connecting to the 2.4 GHz band or the 5 GHz band. If we want to buy a router with the best Wi-Fi, our minimum starting point has to be a Dual band router that supports Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 5.
Number of WiFi antennas
Another very important aspect that we must take into account is the number of WiFi antennas. From the WiFi 4 standard onwards, the more WiFi antennas we have, the higher speed we will be able to achieve thanks to MIMO technology. In this way, a router with four external antennas will be able to provide twice the WiFi speed than a router with two antennas. We will notice this especially if we have WiFi clients with the same number of antennas as the router, and also if we are going to connect multiple devices via WiFi because the overall speed we will achieve will be higher.
The more antennas we have, the coverage in medium and far distances will improve, due to the use of Beamforming technology that allows the router to focus the wireless signal where the WiFi clients are connected, in this way, they will get more wireless coverage, and, therefore , higher WiFi speed.
MU-MIMO and OFDMA
Two key technologies to achieve good wireless performance, whether it is better performance in one client or globally to all wireless clients, is MU-MIMO and OFDMA technology. MU-MIMO technology was incorporated into the WiFi 5 standard, therefore, if you have a router with this WiFi standard, you will have MU-MIMO.
OFDMA technology was incorporated as a novelty in the WiFi 6 standard, any WiFi 6 router that is certified will have this technology that allows us to divide the channel into subcarriers, with the aim of streamlining data traffic when we have dozens of wireless clients connected to the WiFi network.
Advanced settings in firmware
The firmware is one of the most important parts of a WiFi router, and it is that in some routers we can configure the WiFi network in an advanced way to adjust very professional parameters and achieve more wireless speed, in fact, some routers allow us to activate the functionality of Airtime Fairness, this will allow us to make slow WiFi clients not harm the faster ones, something essential if we connect many IoT clients that could harm faster clients such as smartphones or laptops.
Of course, it is also very important to choose a good brand that gives you good support and offers us good quality hardware, for example, AVM FRITZ! Box, ASUS, D-Link or NETGEAR are some of the most recommended for home environments. . Also an important aspect is support, in which firmware updates play a prominent role. These updates are very important if we want to keep our Wi-Fi network safe and free from possible attacks.
Finally, other aspects to review are the CPU, RAM and if you plan to use the router’s USB port a lot, it better be USB 3.0 and have a powerful processor to have a good reading and writing speed.
If you want a router with the best Wi-Fi and be prepared for the future, you should consider one with the standard 802.11ax, also know as Wi-Fi 6, increases the speed considerably and reaching 1 Gbps would not be difficult to achieve with a laptop with the Intel AX200 card and with 160MHz of channel width.