With computers, mobile devices, gaming consoles and more, we’ve become increasingly reliant on fast, reliable WiFi. Add smart home technology to the equation, and it becomes easy to see how important having a reliable signal throughout your home really is.
Having a strong internet connection from your internet service provider is important when it comes to speed and convenience, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Outdated WiFi routers can hamper the ability of your network to support all your devices, and that’s where a smart home WiFi system comes into play.
A smart WiFi system uses cutting-edge technology to make using your internet more convenient. The exact features that a system will have depends on the specific router, but most of them will use a mesh network in order to beam quality internet throughout your home. By using a base “hub” and then satellites placed strategically throughout your home, you can eliminate dead zones and make running around your home searching for a good signal a thing of the past.
Outside of these useful mesh features, the types of benefits that a smart router can offer will vary. From extremely customizable parental controls with the Netgear Orbi to taking your home network with you on the go with Ubiquiti AmpliFi, there’s a huge amount of utility and convenience out there if you do a little digging.
What Makes a Good Smart Home WiFi System?
WiFi Connectivity – Your primary concern when buying a smart router is ensuring that it’s able to provide you with an excellent signal. All the smart features in the world aren’t very useful if you can’t maintain a stable connection, right?
The strength of your WiFi signal is really going to come down to the underlying technology. Some smart routers are just built better than others, and having that extra tech really makes all the difference.
When shopping for a WiFi router, you really want to find one with simultaneous Tri-Band WiFi radios. The majority of routers are dual-band devices, which provides average connection speeds but can still become congested once you start to add a bunch of devices in. Having that extra band will provide you with a congestion-free and more consistent connection, which is super important for those with a lot of devices and smart homes.
There are some differences between tri-band WiFi radios as well, and some of them are designed in order to have a 5GHz radio solely dedicated to the backhaul. This means that there’s an entire frequency used by the router solely to communicate with its satellites – eliminating interference from other devices. One of the best devices when it comes to that dedicated band is the Netgear Orbi, although other models like the Linksys Velop allow the system to dynamically choose a backhaul band which also has its perks. The other tri-band routers generally leave all three bands open for both the clients and the backhaul traffic, such as in the case of the second generation eero router.
Wired Connectivity – While WiFi connectivity is probably going to be the most relevant feature to keep in mind, it’s important that your router have some port for wired connections as well. In many cases, a hardwired connection can provide faster speeds than even the best wireless signal, and this might be important for equipment like gaming PCs where having the best connection really matters.
To put it simply, the more ports you have on your router, the more devices you can connect to the router directly. If having support for hardwired connections is important to you, keep an eye on the ports available while making your decision.
Hardware – The best smart WiFi routers have good underlying hardware. Stronger specs in areas like processors, memory, and storage specs can really go a long way when it comes to getting the best performance out of your WiFi system.
Better specs doesn’t always necessarily equate to a better router overall, but it’s a pretty good indicator in most cases.
Smart Home Support – Smart homes require a really strong WiFi connection in order to function optimally, and having a quality smart WiFi system is a big part of that. When shopping for a router, consider looking for features like Amazon Alexa that make controlling your network a breeze.
Thing to Consider Before Buying a Smart Home WiFi System:
Range – While the majority of smart routers have a range that is suitable for most homes, there are definitely some differences between different models and brands that may make a difference.
For larger homes, having a router that can reach every inch of your property is a must. A lot of smart routers have some pretty incredible reach due to the ability to easily extend their mesh network, but that’s not always the case.
Maximum Number of Units – Since these smart routers generally beam WiFi to a larger distance through the use of additional units placed throughout your home, it’s important to keep in mind the maximum number of units that a router can support. If you’re trying to cover a very large area, your WiFi system will need the capability to expand to meet your needs.
Bridge Mode – For most of us, our smart WiFi router will be replacing our traditional equipment and handling all aspects of the network. However, for one reason or another, there are a lot of people that would like to keep their existing network working as is. Some WiFi routers can work in bridge mode, which allows you to use the mesh network to expand coverage while keeping the WiFi technology on the pre-existing router.
This sort of technology is especially useful for those looking for a router in commercial situations, as oftentimes a business will have WiFi that is configured and customized by an IT team. There are even routers like the Netgear Orbi Pro that start in bridge mode by default since they’re intended exactly for this application.
A lot of routers have the ability to go into bridge mode, but some like the Luma don’t. If you’d like to keep your existing equipment working as is and enhance rather than completely replace, you’ll need to do some research to ensure you end up with a model that works for you.
Parental Control – Some smart routers are better than others when it comes to parental controls. The majority of models have the ability to block adult websites, but routers like the Orbi extend far beyond that functionality with features ranging from setting screen time limits to enforcing tech-free bedtime for your children. If you have a family and want your router to do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to keeping your kids safe online, there are certainly routers that do the job better than the rest. Our top pick for parental controls is probably the Netgear Orbi due to the collaboration with Disney on the fully-featured Circle app.
Subscription – Almost all smart routers will work without an additional monthly fee, but some have extra features locked behind a monthly subscription. When comparing the benefits that each router has to offer, keep in mind any additional charges you’ll have to take care of to unlock the full potential of your network.
Dimensions – Last but not least, you’ll want to keep the dimensions of the router in mind. Some systems like the eero are super compact and can fit in pretty much anywhere, while routers like the Orbi are tall towers that are difficult to hide. If you’re concerned about your router sticking out like a sore thumb, there are definitely models that nail the aesthetics and design better than others.
Our Favorite Smart Home WiFi System
There are a lot of different routers on the market, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. With that said, there are definitely some models that stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Our top pick for a smart home WiFi system would have to be the eero. It’s a strong device all around, has a compact design, and is extendable to a huge degree. You can add as many eero units as you’d like to transmit WiFi over an impressive distance.
A solid runner-up would probably the Orbi. This netgear router has far more support for wired connections and has excellent parental control options, but it can only support up to three satellites and one main router — a drawback that knocks it out of the running for the best router overall.
Our top picks are solid systems in every sense of the word, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the absolute best pick for your home. Take a look at our comparison of other options such as the eero vs. Google WiFi or NETGEAR Orbi vs. Google WiFi for a more complete picture of what the market has to offer.
Smart WiFi is the new name of the game in residential wireless tech, and there are now many devices on the market that offer high-tech routers that promise to blow your existing router out of the water.
There’s no denying that an outdated router can cause some noticeable problems when it comes to your network. Whether it’s WiFi dead zones where you can’t get a great signal, or slower speeds overall due to aging hardware, it’s certainly true that brand new network technology can make all the difference.
But how much better is a “smart” system? These networks are often a good deal more expensive than a traditional router, and it’s easy to start wondering whether they’re worth the extra expense.
Below we take a look at the Netgear Orbi vs. Nighthawk AC1900 to try to find an answer to that question. Is the Orbi head and shoulders above the more traditional Nighthawk router? Or is all that “smart” technology just meaningless hype?
Let’s break down what each device has to offer so you can decide whether to join in on the mesh network revolution, or keep things more traditional with an older, high-quality gateway.
We spend more time online than ever before. From gaming on desktops and laptops to streaming Netflix and Hulu on our mobile devices, a large part of our entertainment in 2018 relies on the internet. Add to that the wealth of information available on pretty much any topic, and the convenience and utility offered by smart devices and it becomes clear that a fast connection is extremely important.
The speed of your internet package is important, but do you have the equipment to really take full advantage of the connection you’re getting from your ISP? Smart WiFi routers have a significant advantage over traditional wireless equipment, and below we take a look at the Luma vs. Google WiFi — two popular routers with some pretty significant differences.
When it comes to delivering reliable internet to your home, not all routers are created equal. Let’s break down the similarities and differences to help you figure out which router is right for you.
Keeping your entire home outfitted with fast, efficient WiFI has never been easier. More and more smart routers are coming onto the market with a wide selection of features to choose from, but the truth is that there have been intelligent routers on the market for a while at this point.
The most recent Google router to hit the market was Google WiFi, but before that there was Google OnHub, available in collaborations with TP-Link and Asus.
There are a lot of products to sort through when it comes time to outfit your home with new networking equipment, but are the newer devices really better?
Below we take a look at the Google OnHub TP-Link vs. Asus to determine which one is the stronger model, as well as whether this older smart technology can keep up with newer options.
With how high-tech our homes have become, there’s new excuse to have an outdated router powering your network. While a large part of your Internet speed is tied to the package you’ve purchased from your ISP, you may be dealing with slower speeds due to older internet equipment as well.
In the past few years, we’ve seen a big jump in the quality of routers, as well as a number of new “smart WiFi routers” that offer more intelligent networks with fewer dead zones and a faster, more stable connection.
Below we take a look at the Plume vs. Google WiFi — two different takes on the smart router that approach the equipment from completely different angles. It’s safe to say that not all routers on the market are created equal.
Read on below to figure out which option is right for you and your home.
When it comes to keeping your various devices running efficiently, a fast and stable internet connection has never been more important. If you have a high-tech home, chances are that you have a fast internet package from your ISP, but can your old, outdated router keep up with the demands of a modern smart home?
Many people don’t realize the enormous impact that having an up-to-date, intelligent WiFi system can have on their network’s speed and stability. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a surge of smart devices that all offer their own take on high-tech wireless connections. But which ones are worth your time?
In this article, we compare the Google WiFi vs. Onhub TP-Link in order to help give you a sense of what each router brings to the table. Read on below to figure out if Google got it right the first time, or if their sophomore effort is the router to beat.
When it comes to creating a fast and reliable WiFi signal, not all routers are created equal. With technology like smart homes and gaming PCs demanding a speedy and consistent network, having a wireless connection that can meet these demands is no longer optional for many households.
When most people think of increasing their speeds, their first train of thought goes to the internet package they pay for from their ISP. It’s true that this has a large influence on the capabilities of your connection, but the quality of your router can be the difference between an average network and an exceptional one.
Below we take a look at the Netgear Orbi vs. Google WiFi — two excellent smart WiFi routers that each offer a significant upgrade over your older, traditional equipment.
There are, however, some significant differences between the two. So let’s get into the details and help you figure out which router is right for you and your home.
Having a fast WiFi connection is well and good, but it’s only one half of the equation. In order to really ensure that you have a strong signal throughout your entire home, you’ll need a WiFi router that has cutting-edge technology and the ability to eliminate dead zones within your home.
Below we compare the Luma vs. Orbi — two smart routers that use a mesh network in order to beam reliable WiFi to every corner of your property. They both have their benefits and drawbacks, but which router comes out on top?
When it comes to having a capable home network, you shouldn’t have to make compromises. A large part of your speed depends on the package you pay for from your ISP, but many people don’t realize that outdated router technology could be slowing down their network or keeping it from reaching its full potential.
The WiFi scene has seen a huge jump in technology over the past few years, and traditional routers are quickly being replaced by “smart” routers that offer better reliability, convenient features, and the speeds you need for a high-tech home.
Below we take a look at the eero vs. Google WiFi — two routers that have been pioneers in the intelligent networking industry. Do these older brands still offer stiff competition for newcomers? Or are these smart routers not quite as smart as they seem?
Both routers have their benefits and drawbacks, and this article should help you get a sense of which device is right for your home.
With how much time we spend online, it’s becoming more and more important to have a fast and reliable internet connection. The majority of that speed comes from your ISP, but there’s a possibility that your outdated networking equipment is actually holding your connection back.
The routers on the market today are far more advanced than they were even just a few years ago, and it’s possible to lessen or even eliminate a lot of pesky problems like WiFi dead zones or network latency by adding a smart router into your network.
There are a variety of excellent routers on the market, but today we’ll take a look at the AmpliFi HD vs. Google WiFi. We’ll break down the similarities and differences and help give you a sense of what each router has to offer, so you’ll be armed with the appropriate information when it comes time to buy.
With how much time we spend online these days, there’s no excuse for having an outdated router and an unreliable connection. While we don’t always have control over the speeds offered by our internet providers, a quality smart WiFi router can make a big difference when it comes to outfitting your home with a reliable connection.
Today we compare the eero vs. Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD — two smart technology options that replace your aging router and blanket your entire home in fast and consistent WiFi.