Internet service providers sometimes like to save on the routers they provide. You do not necessarily have to accept that. Our product table shows you what a good router is capable of. Here you can easily select which technical functions you need and which you can safely do without. For example, not every router includes a DSL modem . When sending large amounts of data within your network, you should pay attention to a corresponding data transfer rate . Modern routers create more than 1 Gb/s and combine two frequency bands.
Purchase advice: How to find the right router in 2019
- The best router for your smart home integrates WLAN and DSL modem as well as a media server and a telephone system.
- For the switch to IP telephony and the use of older ISDN devices, the router must have an “S0 socket”.
- Buy a router with USB interfaces and use your printer as a network printer and connect an external hard drive as a media server.
In the 2018 router comparison, you will learn the important router selection criteria for your network. With a router, you establish access to the Internet and build a home network. Instead of using a router from Deutsche Telekom or a provided device with basic functions from another provider, it is worthwhile in many cases to buy your own router. Selected models can do much more than connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi.
1. Buying guide and router comparison – buy the best router
What exactly is a router actually? A current router integrates several devices in one. The basic version is a DSL modem for the connection to the Internet, with an integrated LAN switch for the connection of the terminals in a network.
For the wireless connection of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, a WLAN access point is installed as standard. In addition, there are models with hard drive or USB interface to connect an external hard drive , which can act as a private cloud and media server.
2. The router selection criteria
By switching Telekom from analog telephony to IP telephony, many have changed the wiring in their own four walls. There are no analogue ports left , so the phones are now connected directly to the router. The following table gives an overview of the different routers on the market:
|ADSL Router||ADSL belongs to the copper cable technology and allows a bandwidth of up to 16,000 Kbit / s. The technique is considered obsolete.|
|ADSL2 + router with WLAN||ADSL2 + combines copper and fiber, speeds up to 25,000 Kbps are possible|
|VDSL router||This is mainly fiber optic technology used, transmission speeds up to 50,000 Kbit / s are possible.|
|Router with media server function||These routers are suitable for the modern home, have your own private cloud and canstream media to smartphones, TVs and other devices.|
To connect older ISDN devices, the router must have an “S0 socket”. At the same time, the router must be suitably equipped for the requirements of the new DSL technology. To be able to continue calling, you need a router with telephone system and V (DSL) modem.
For the connection via DSL a DSL modem is necessary, for the connection over cable a cable modem. The wireless connection is via WLAN – pay attention to the fastest possible WLAN standard. WLAN-ac is currently the fastest transmission standard, and the corresponding routers are downwards compatible with the older WLAN standards.
If the router supports the WPS function, you can connect to new devices at the push of a button without having to enter the long code. Through a USB interface, you can connect a printer and turn it into a network printer. An external hard drive is used as a private cloud by connecting to the router.
2.2. The data transfer rate
Pay attention to the highest possible data transfer rate. If the router uses both frequency bands, the channels can be combined and devices exchange data even faster. For the networked house, the fast router is the decisive basis.
Tip: For the extremely fast data exchange, the router should support dual-band WLAN and WLAN-ac.
2.3. Type of antennas
Routers with more than one antenna provide optimal reception. Many current routers are equipped with three antennas and thus achieve a longer range.Routers with repeater function are suitable for forwarding the signal from the main station and are suitable for large apartments and houses.
2.4. Best entertainment on the media server
If the router can act as a media server, music and movies can be streamed to connected devices . To provide the data either a hard disk is installed or it can be connected via a USB interface, an external hard drive and use as a NAS server. Compared with the standard routers, the routers with media server offer many advantages , the following summary summarizes the advantages and disadvantages:
- Store music, videos and pictures centrally and access them
- Stream music and movies on your smartphone, PC, notebook or Smart TV
- Practical backup medium for higher data security
- Enables the private cloud in your own home
- More expensive to buy
- Setup may require some patience
The private network must be as secure as possible and deny access to unauthorized third parties. Therefore, the firewall in the router is enabled by default and Wi-Fi encryption is via the WPA2 standard .
In addition, update the router software when an update is available. You should also replace the default password with your own strong password.
2.6. Well-known brands and manufacturers
Routers from manufacturers such as AVM, Netgear, Siemens, D-Link, Telekom and Vodafone are particularly popular in Germany. In addition, many other brands offer good equipment. You can buy cheap routers from 3com, Allnet, Apple, Asus, Belkon, Billion, Cisco Systems, Conrad, Draytek, Edimax, Funkwerk, Hama, Hewlett Pakard HP, Huawei, Intellinet, Lancom, Level One, Linksys, LogiLink , MicroTik, Philips, Samsung, Sitecom, SMC, Sony, Tenda, Thomson, TP-Link, TRENDnet, Western Digital, ZTE and Zyxel.
3. FAQ: Questions and answers about the router purchase
3.1. When to replace the router?
If you still have an old router without integrated telephone system, it is time for a new device. By switching off analogue connections and activating IP telephony, telephones are now connected directly to the router, which must have the necessary interfaces for this.
3.2. How to connect the router with Wifi?
To connect the WLAN box is completed in a few steps. For the conversion to the new IP telephony new cabling is needed. The previously required splitter is removed and the router is connected directly to the telephone socket.Phones now connect directly to the router.
3.3. How do I configure a router?
To connect your devices to the Internet in your own home, you must first configure the router. To do this, call up the router IP in the browser, open the configuration menu and enter the connection information provided by the provider. How this works depends on the router and the manufacturer. Follow the steps in the instruction manual.
3.4. Why restart the router?
It should not happen, but sometimes the connection to the internet is hanging. Connection problems to the Internet and a low transmission speed can often be eliminated by a reboot. In case of disturbances, these measures are one of the first steps.
3.5. What is a mobile wireless router?
The Wi-Fi box at home is usually connected via DSL or cable to the Internet. An alternative is the wireless connection to the nearest 3G or 4G radio mast. In such a router you insert the SIM card of the provider , connect your smartphone, notebook and tablet with this via WLAN and surf the net immediately.
Such routers with a slot for a SIM card are also available as a mobile router with WLAN and battery. These fit into the jacket pocket and allow the provision of a network with internet access on the beach, in the park or at the campsite.
3.6. Which router is the right one?
If only a PC and a smartphone is connected to the Internet via the router in the household , a simple WLAN router is sufficient. However, if you want to take advantage of the convenience features and turn your home or apartment into a smart home where TVs, shutters, lights, and more are connected to the network, you need a good router. Among other things, pay attention to the supported WLAN standard , the frequency bands and maximum data transfer rates.
3.7. Which accessories are useful?
In large houses and apartments, the WLAN signal from the router does not reach the basement, the attic or the garden. To increase the range of Wi-Fi at home, you can buy a wireless repeater or powerline adapter.