Routers (2021)

by | Nov 6, 2021 | 0 comments

When you are working online, a router (and modem) is very important. Perhaps 15 years ago, yes, you could probably get any router and it would work. Modems have become too complicated from ISP (Internet Service Provider) standpoint, but generally, we don’t like those combined Modem/Router hybrids either. Part of that has to do with if the modem goes, so does the router and same vice versa.

But the router can be important in many ways, especially if you wish to do basic security functions and have certain amount of devices. You should also consider what is being connected and why. If you have 1 smart TV, 1 PC, and 1 Mobile phone, any of the routers work. If you have 5 laptops, 4 Smart TVs, and 5 mobile devices, you’re probably going to want something a bit more workable. More-so if you’re equipping several products (i.e. Front Door Cameras, outside cameras, etc) in addition to other products.

It is also important to note that sometimes, routers could either degrade in performance after a long while (which is years usually) or simply no longer satisfy the need of your setup. An example is asking an N66U from roughly 7 years ago try to be your Gigabit handling connection. Unfortunately, it just isn’t going to cut it and you will have to upgrade. Besides, it also doesn’t have the support that it should to stop certain exploits from affecting your network, which we get to the next point. Some routers also stop getting supported and if the last update was lets say 2018, it is possible that you have a vulnerability to your network that you may not even be aware of. If you have a router from your ISP, this may not even be in your control to find out. Not that I’m saying the ISP is a liar by any means of course, but your typical support may just tell you that it is supported. So why don’t we take a look at some good investment routers?

It is important to be said that any of these product links that are clicked on are paid links. With that out of the way, onto the routers!


Standard Price: $179.99

So the Asus routers have been great, especially at entry level. You might be wondering why I chose the AX68U first and its because of its starter entry. The AC versions are basically done early at this point, but part of that has to do with support and also because the internal hardware is also older. At this stage so late in 2021, one may as well go with the AX Series if looking long term. All ASUS routers have, for the last few years, been simple enough to get along with. You can update with ease, and for the most part, it is set it and forget it! They even come with a monitoring solution from TrendMicro to monitor what goes inbound on your connection if you choose to use it, though that does mean you are relying on practically robots to help you out (And of course the user/terms agreement with TrendMicro). The only flaw to the AX68U is that much of the hardware is similar as the AC68U with the obvious exception of the WiFi capability and processing speed. You will get the benefits of AX WiFi along with the support, but its not going to be insanely fast, especially if you are going to be connected MANY devices at once or you’re trying to have access to more than 400 Megabits when downloading. Although, this could be decent to extend your WiFi if you need more than 1 router for your location by utilizing its Ai Mesh feature with another Asus Router.

Netgear Nighthawk AX 5-Stream Dual-Band WiFi 6 Router (AX2400/RAX30)

Standard Price: $169.99

If I’m being honest, while I include a Netgear router, I would say this is limited to home setups more than business. Don’t get me wrong, they have surprised us quite a bit in the last few years and come with very easy setups, potentially easier than even ASUS for connecting and setting up the router. Netgear has been around long enough so it does make sense that they have at least a good idea of what is needed. This is what we would consider their starting router. They come with Netgear Armor which is powered by Bitdefender and we do enjoy Bitdefender’s protection capability. You do have a trial access however with the Netgear Armor, but for usually $99.99 a year, it could be worth the investment as it covers all your devices including your phones. While they have advanced options, sometimes it can be a bit confusing to find what you’re looking for or may lack certain features in favor of convenience.


Standard Price: $229.99

This begins the real powerhouse for ASUS routers. The AC87U was great for its time, sans the “Spider” routers (look up the AC5300 and AX11000 for that context) and while the AC86U is still purchasable which is still a power house, the AX82U for a little bit more than the AX68U, you get a little more processing power, but much more performance overall. It can even reach the 1 Gigabit threshold when needed! It also offers a few extra things in the household like having that one person in the family at home who loves to play games and want that little extra non-hassle while you’re doing whatever you need to do.

Netgear Nighthawk 5-Stream Dual-Band WiFi 6 Router (AX4200/RAX43)

Standard Price: $249.99

There isn’t much to say about this Netgear router that hasn’t been said before on the AX2400. This is a bit more power to handle faster WiFi Speeds and performance when using more devices or having a stronger connection overall (like a 1 Gigabit connection). The only thing is it is still best considered as an advanced home router rather than a business router as certain things tend to fall short depending on the business environment.


Standard Price: $279.99

The AX86U gives you the best performance around of all the AX Asus devices listed thus far. In terms of key potentials, you can have a dedicated 2.5 Gigabit port if you want better speeds either on a device or inbound and offers to be used as a 2nd inbound Internet Connection. Yes, you can hook 2 Internet providers onto this one and each would work well. Set the best one you primarily use on 1, set the next best on the other, then the router handles which needs to be used. 1 of the connections goes down? No problem. It just switches to the alternative until that connection returns.

Ubiquti UniFi Dream Machine

Standard Price: $299

This surprisingly small Ubiquti branded product is useful for homes and smaller businesses. Yes, it sorta does look like something from Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home devices that just simply blends in. When you get the device, you simply connect your modem to it, then your first connection (preferably wired), and go through the setup process of your network. Once done, you will have access to an array of useful and easy-to-read information about your network setup. Also, updates are rather simple to do. Go into the interface, it may tell you that there is an update. Just go in and start the update, and before too long, you should be squared away. In our opinion, having something like this in a home is usually a giant leap than the average routers below $140 price tag.


Standard Price: $349.99

The only reason you might be looking into the AX88U is you want to consolidate ALL your physical network connections since in terms of speed, its not worth the price increase from the AX86U. But if you have the money, then go for it! It is a monstrosity however and weighs a bit. It comes with 8 Connections in the back with 2 ports meant to be dedicated for dual internet connections like the AX86U, but won’t constrain your physical connection limits unlike the AX86U. Though if you really need more physical connections, you might be better off getting a switch or 2, but now we’re talking beyond normal use in your environment if you’re having to still get some switches in addition to this. But you won’t be disappointed with what it provides as its mostly similar to the AX86U with more antennas for the network. Plus, this comes with WTFast for 1 device if absolutely needed for that gamer, but chances are, you may be worried about connectivity so its not as important.
This isn’t to say this is the definitive list, but it is easy to say that these are more your routers for typical connections these days. There are far more advanced routers with crazy good features if you know how to use it and better secure your networks, but some of them require a touch of an IT Friend (Hello!) to help out, such as pfsense or using a Synology/QNAP system as your router and each come with some downfalls. 1 Example of such a downfall to those is you will need a WiFi device add-on which adds expense and expertise requirement to connect it back to the device. That is also with added expertise of learning your more advanced router.

Though, that is why you have someone like us that might be able to recommend such technical devices or even better for your needs! Don’t hesitate to get a hold of us.