2019’s Best Long-Range Routers

by | Dec 28, 2018 | Equipment Guides, Internet Speed Guides

Our Top 3 Long-Range Wi-Fi Routers

(Best for 2,000- to 3,000-square-foot homes)

RouterAntennasSpeedPortsRatingPrice
Linksys WRT 1900AC41 Gbps4 ENET3.7/5$$$Buy Now
NETGEAR Nighthawk AX8N/A6 Gbps5 ENET, 2 USB4.2/5$$$$Buy Now
ASUS RT-AC88U42 Gbps8 ENET, 1 USB3.6/5$$$Buy Now
RouterLinksys WRT 1900AC
Antennas4
Speed1 Gbps
Ports4 ENET
Rating3.7/5
Price$$$
Buy Now
RouterNETGEAR Nighthawk AX8
AntennasN/A
Speed6 Gbps
Ports5 ENET, 2 USB
Rating4.2/5
Price$$$$
Buy Now
RouterASUS RT-AC88U
Antennas4
Speed2 Gbps
Ports8 ENET, 1 USB
Rating3.6/5
Price$$$
Buy Now

Our Top 3 Mesh Network Routers

(Best for homes 3,000 square feet or larger)

Router# of UnitsSpeedPortsRatingPrice
NETGEAR Orbi AC220021 Gbps4 ENET3.7/5$$Buy Now
Eero Home Wi-Fi System31 GbpsWi-Fi4.5/5$$$$Buy Now
Google WiFi14 Gbps2 ENET, 3 USB3.7/5$Buy Now
RouterNETGEAR Orbi AC2200
# of Units2
Speed1 Gbps
Ports4 ENET
Rating3.7/5
Price$$
Buy Now
RouterEero Home Wi-Fi System
# of Units3
Speed1 Gbps
PortsWi-Fi
Rating4.5/5
Price$$$$
Buy Now
RouterGoogle WiFi
# of Units1
Speed4 Gbps
Ports2 ENET, 3 USB
Rating3.7/5
Price$
Buy Now

*All prices and information current at time of writing.

A Wi-Fi router is the heart of a home network, supplying devices with a steady stream of internet connection. But in a large home, that stream can slow to a trickle as the signal bounces around walls, floors, and other obstructions.

If you’ve got dead spots or significant signal loss in your home, it may be time to invest in a new router optimized for longer distances. The team at HSI (HighSpeedInternet.com) investigated the best methods for creating networks in large homes, and we’ve come up with two distinct options to help you flood your entire property with reliable connectivity: long-range routers and mesh networking systems.

Our long-range router picks are for homes in the 2,000- to 3,000-square-foot category, which are best covered by a powerful router equipped with an extender or other special features that optimize range.

The second table reflects the best options for mesh networking, which uses multiple units to connect homes with footprints of 3,000 square feet or more. This can be a more effective and efficient method than a traditional router.

Want to see how much speed your connected home needs? Click on our speed tool button to find out.

Top 3 Long-Range Wi-Fi Routers

Best for 2,000- to 3,000-square-foot homes

Most Affordable

  • Protocol: 802.11ac
  • Band: Dual (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)
  • Speed: 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
  • Ports: 4 Ethernet
  • Antennas: 4

The Linksys WRT 1900AC delivers a strong, reliable network signal to all your devices. It has built-in ethernet ports for a direct connection but also supports dual-band Wi-Fi, and its dual-core processor gives it the strength to handle multiple users at once. The best part is that all of the great options on the Linksys WRT 1900AC come at a price that won’t drain your bank account.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Open-source ready

Cons

  • Slower than more expensive routers
Best Speed

  • Protocol: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Band: Dual (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)
  • Speed: 6 Gbps
  • Ports: 5 Ethernet, 2 USB
  • Antennas: N/A

You’ll love the range and speed you get with the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX8. This is a great router for streaming in 4K Ultra HD and for experiencing lifelike VR. Its powerful throughput reduces load times even with the large amounts of data expected to be part of 5G, the next wave of internet service.

All that power doesn’t come cheap. Make sure you actually need all those bells and whistles before investing in this top-of-the-line equipment. This router is best for large homes with multiple users streaming simultaneously. If you live in a small home or only have one or two internet users, you can get by with a more affordable option.

Pros

  • Technologically advanced
  • Ridiculously fast

Cons

  • Expensive
Best for Gaming

  • Protocol: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Band: Dual (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)
  • Speed: 2 Gbps
  • Ports: 8 Ethernet, 1 USB
  • Antennas: 4

Start dominating your online games with the ASUS RT-AC88U router. This router can prioritize gaming data on your network and even optimizes the path to your gaming server. This means your games play with less lag, which can give you the upper hand. The RT-AC88U also provides a wide, reliable, and fast network for handling your other internet activities too.

A small percentage of Amazon customers complained that a firmware upgrade caused issues with the 2.5 GHz channel, but those are unconfirmed and rare reports. Don’t let that keep you from this router if superior gaming performance is what you’re after—most reviews are highly positive.

Pros

  • Designed to prioritize gaming
  • Great for LAN parties

Cons

  • Susceptible to firmware issues

Top 3 Mesh Network Systems

Best for homes 3,000 square feet or larger

Best Range

  • Protocol: 802.11 a/g/n/ac
  • Band: Tri-band (2.4 GHz, 2x 5 GHz)
  • Speed: 1 Gbps
  • Ports: 5 Ethernet, 2 USB
  • Units: 2

Netgear promises the Orbi will deliver connections at a range of 4,000 square feet. Need more distance? The beauty of a mesh network is that it’s easily expandable, so each additional Orbi will buy you 2,000 more feet of Wi-Fi signal. The dedicated tri-band connections ensure consistent, steady signal for every corner of your home.

Pros

  • Covers wide areas
  • Easy to add more units

Cons

  • Susceptible to signal interference
Highest Customer Rating

  • Protocol: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Band: Dual (2.4 GHz, 2x 5 GHz)
  • Speed: 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
  • Ports: Wi-Fi only
  • Units: 3

Netgear promises the Orbi will deliver connections at a range of 4,000 square feet. Need more distance? The beauty of a mesh network is that it’s easily expandable, so each additional Orbi will buy you 2,000 more feet of Wi-Fi signal. The dedicated tri-band connections ensure consistent, steady signal for every corner of your home.

Pros

  • Auto adjusts to usage patterns
  • Compatible with iOS and Android

Cons

  • Pricey for large homes
Most Affordable Mesh System

  • Protocol: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Band: Dual (2.4 GHz, 2x 5 GHz)
  • Speed: 4 Gbps
  • Ports: 2 Ethernet
  • Units: 1

The Google Wi-Fi mesh router system is wildly fast and virtually eliminates dead zones in your home network. Each unit creates a 1,500-square-foot network, and you can use multiple units throughout your home. The best part is that each unit is cheap enough that you can afford to fill your whole house with them.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Superfast

Cons

  • Not compatible with Amazon Alexa

Now that you’ve got the lowdown on our top picks, here’s a few things to keep in mind when choosing a router for your home.

What Should I Consider When Choosing a Router?

Number of Bands

Back in the day, routers operated on a single band and broadcast only one frequency: 2.4 GHz. As connected homes and the IoT expanded, routers began to share that bandwidth with microwaves, Bluetooth devices, wireless phones, and more.

Modern routers adapted to the increase in traffic by becoming dual band, connecting devices on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Today’s routers have taken this approach a step further with tri-band, which uses a 2.4-GHz and two 5 GHz connections.

As with most technological advances, you’ll pay more for tri-band routers and, for the average household, they aren’t necessary. Consider a tri-band router if you have heavy internet usage due to streaming, gaming, or an unusually large number of connected devices in your home.

The number of bands being used has more to do with accommodating heightened volume than increasing range—so if your concern is distance rather than multiple devices, dual band should be sufficient.

Protocol

Routers used to operate on 802.11 b and g protocols, using a single band and supporting speeds of 11–54 Mbps. If that sounds like technological gobbledygook, don’t worry. Protocols refer to a set of features or a particular iteration of technology as it relates to a class of equipment. You can read more about router protocols, otherwise referred to as Wi-Fi standards, but for the most part they simply refer to how many bands are being used.

Today’s routers typically have dual-band technology and 802.11 n, which can deliver speeds up to 600 Mbps. Some of the more powerful routers and mesh networks that made our list use 802.11 ac, the most advanced protocol, that delivers a wider channel bandwidth and pushes speeds upward of 1,300 Mbps.

Snazzy speeds and a more advanced, efficient protocol can help if you are trying to compensate for signal loss over longer distances, so stick with routers that use the 802.11 ac for optimal long-range performance.

Antenna

“The bigger the antenna, the better the signal” sounds like an old wives’ tale, but it’s absolutely true in this case. That’s why some of the more powerful routers look like massive spiders, with errant antennas sticking in all directions. Range is about signal strength, but until recently, most routers used omnidirectional antennas, and sent out equal amounts of signal strength in all directions.

Most of the routers that made our list have adjustable antennas (lots of them) so you can be intentional about covering certain areas of your home and reaching devices in previously dead zones.

Ports

The number of ports you have is also more about the number of devices on your network than it is about enabling more efficient signals or longer range. Different routers have different numbers of ports, which allow you to directly connect wired devices to the network. Because many devices access the internet wirelessly using Wi-Fi, you probably won’t need to connect many of them directly to the router. However, if you have an extensive and robust network, you may need to opt for more ports to avoid overcrowding at the network hub.

Other Features

Quality of Service

Advanced routers allow users to specify which applications get priority when divvying out the internet signal. Normally, routers simply handle all signal distribution equally with no special preference, but quality-of-service features allow you to specify what gets premium bandwidth and what gets the leftovers. This can improve your range by increasing the bandwidth to certain applications. If that’s something you want, look for routers that incorporate a quality-of-service feature.

Guest Networks/Parental Controls

A guest network allows you to set up security features and controls so you can offer Wi-Fi to kids and guests without potentially compromising the rest of your devices. These networks can be isolated from each other, offering selective access to certain kinds of activities and each requiring different passwords. While this feature isn’t necessarily helpful when it comes to covering longer distances, it’s an attractive feature for larger networks with multiple users.

MU-MIMO and Beamforming

These terms sound a bit like tech-speak, but they make a lot of sense for increasing signal to specific devices. MU-MIMO stands for “multi-user multiple-input multiple-output,” and it’s a router feature that allows you to direct the full strength of your signal to specific devices rather than sharing it across all devices. If you’ve got a dedicated device in a room far from your router that’s suffering signal loss, MU-MIMO is just what you’ve been looking for.

Another feature, beamforming, allows you to boost a signal in a specific direction rather than to a particular device and can also be essential for increasing signal across longer distances. Look for some variation of either or both in your router to optimize for longer range.

Do you need more speed for your connected home? Enter your ZIP code to discover what’s available in your neighborhood.

About the Author

John Dilley continually offers unique insights and a fresh point of view. He writes for several websites including CableTV.com and HighSpeedInternet.com. Along with writing, John has a passion for music. He is the lead vocalist and secondary guitarist for The Family Gallows in Salt Lake City. John also shares his personal ideas and philosophies through stories he publishes on his blog, JDilley’s Questions.

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