Routers range from simple to complex
Wireless routers allow you to create a computer network all over your house or office without running wires everywhere, though some of the wireless routers in this report can be used in this way. Wireless routers are available at all price points and for all types of Internet users, from those who just check their email to those who take part in bandwidth-heavy activities, such as streaming video.
Our wireless router review runs the gamut from routers with older technology that are still popular for their hackability to cheap routers suitable for beginners and those who are unsure around technology to the most advanced wireless routers for Mac and Windows computers. Along the way we review the latest N900 premium wireless routers, which feature simultaneous dual-band technology and promise a potential maximum speed of 450 Mbps. We also report on wireless routers designed for network novices and discuss the world's first touch-screen wireless router.
This review focuses on wireless routers for the home and for business. If you're looking for on-the-go web access, check out our separate ConsumerSearch report on wireless cards.
In our research, we found more than 20 review sources. The best ones test routers in homelike lab setups and/or real homes. SmallNetBuilder.com conducts superb comparison tests, but its reviews can get very technical. CNET, PCMag.com and PC World (Australia) also evaluate popular units, and their write-ups are easier to digest. Other reliable sources such as MaximumPC.com, PC & Tech Authority and Government Computer News test some of the latest routers head to head, and TopTenReviews.com offers two 2013 lists of top routers, one for premium models.
For the final judgment, owner reviews at Amazon.com and Newegg.com are vital. Owners aren't experts, but some of these routers get hundreds of comments from users -- and if dozens of people say a particular unit has lousy range or won't hold a connection, you'll probably want to skip it.