Best Long-Range Routers 2021

Expert router recommendations for your large home

  • Best standalone long-range router
    ASUS RT-AC88U
    ASUS RT-AC88U
    $$217.76
    • Range: Up to 5,000 sq. ft
    • Max throughput: 3,100 Mbps
  • Best mesh router for large homes
    NETGEAR Orbi RBK50
    NETGEAR Orbi RBK50
    $285.18 (for 1 router + 1 extender)
    • Range: Up to 5,000 sq. ft. (Up to 2,500 sq. ft. per device)
    • Max throughput: 3,000 Mbps
  • Best budget router
    TP-Link Archer AX10
    TP-Link Archer AX10
    $79.99
    • Range: N/A
    • Max throughput: 1,500 Mbps
  • Most user-friendly router
    Amazon Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System
    Amazon Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System
    • $319.00
    • Range: Up to 4,750 sq. ft. (more with additional beacons)
    • Max throughput: 350 Mbps*
  • Best budget mesh router
    Google Nest Wi-Fi
    Google Nest Wi-Fi
    • $163.99
    • Range: Up to 2,200 sq. ft. (+1,600 sq. ft. per additional Wi-Fi point)
    • Max throughput: 2,200 Mbps

Our top pick: Which long-range router is best?

Mesh routers like the NETGEAR Orbi are the best option for very large homes and homes with challenging layouts. Mesh routers are built to work with multiple mesh Wi-Fi points placed around your house—they’re great for coverage, but you have to buy the extra Wi-Fi points separately, which can get expensive.

Standalone routers like the ASUS RT-AC88U have less flexible coverage, but they usually cost less. Standalones use powerful antennas to stretch your Wi-Fi into the furthest corners of your home.

The 6 best long-range routers

Best long-range routers

ModelPriceMax speedWi-Fi bandsCoverageGet it
Best long-range routerASUS RT-AC88U$219.993,100 MbpsDual bandUp to 5,000 sq. ft.View on Amazon
Best long-range mesh routerNETGEAR Orbi RBK50$256.87+3,000 MbpsTri bandUp to 5,000 sq. ft. (more with additional satellites)View on Amazon
Best budget routerTP-Link Archer AX10$79.991,500 MbpsDual bandN/AView on Amazon
Best router for user-friendlinessAmazon Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System$399.00+350 Mbps*Tri bandUp to 4,750 sq. ft. (more with additional beacons)View on Amazon
Best router for speed NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12$436.376,000 Mbps
Dual band
Up to 3,500 sq. ft.View on Amazon
Best budget mesh routerGoogle Nest Wi-Fi$153.99+2,200 Mbps
Dual band
Up to 2,200 sq. ft. (+1,600 sq. ft. per additional Wi-Fi point)View on Amazon

What should you look for in a long-range wireless router?

Obviously you want to look for range specifications in a long-range router. Make sure it’ll do a good job covering your home. Another good thing to look for is mesh compatibility (if you get a standalone router). This basically lets you expand your network using mesh points in the future if you need better coverage—it’s a bit of a hybrid.

For any router, you want to check its memory and processor, as these will determine how powerful your router is (and therefore how efficiently it can do its job). Look for at least 128 MB of RAM and preferably a multi-core processor/CPU. And as for speed, make sure it’s at least AC1200—anything older is out of date.

Check out our expanded section on long-range router specs and features below for more of the nitty gritty details.

ASUS RT-AC88U—Best standalone long-range router

Best standalone long-range router

$248.55

  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 5 (AC3100)
  • Ports: 8 gigabit LAN, 1 USB 3.0
  • Max speed: 3,100 Mbps
  • Coverage area: Up to 5,000 sq. ft.
  • Bands: Dual band (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

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 complain that a firmware upgrade caused issues with the 2.4 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

  • Wider range than most standalone routers
  • AiMesh compatibility

Cons

  • Back antennas that can partially block WAN and USB ports

NETGEAR Orbi RBK50—Best mesh router for large homes

Best mesh router for large homes

$299.99

  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 5 (AC3000)
  • Ports: 4 gigabit LAN, 1 USB 2.0
  • Max throughput: 3,000 Mbps
  • Coverage area: Up to 5,000 sq. ft. (more with additional Wi-Fi points)
  • Bands: 3 (2.4 GHz, 5.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz)

 

NETGEAR promises the Orbi will deliver connections at a range of 5,000 square feet. Need more distance? The beauty of a mesh network is that it’s easily expandable, and there are several Orbi products to choose from if you need more coverage. Additional Wi-Fi points (which Orbi calls satellites) add up to 2,500 square feet to the coverage area, while the cheaper wall plug satellites add up to 1,500 square feet.

The tri-band router dedicates one frequency band to the backhaul connection between Orbi satellites. This optimizes the other two frequency bands to make sure your data gets transferred at top speed.

Pros

  • Large coverage area per Orbi device
  • Dedicated frequency band for backhaul

Cons

  • USB 2.0 port instead of 3.0
  • More bulk than other mesh Wi-Fi points

TP-Link Archer AX10—Best budget router

Best budget router

$79.99

  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 6 (AX1500)
  • Ports: 4 gigabit LAN
  • Max throughput: 1,500 Mbps
  • Coverage area: N/A
  • Bands: 2 (2.4GHz and 5 GHz)

The TP-Link Archer AX10 does not advertise its range or coverage area, but it can amply cover an area around 2,500 square feet, similarly to the less expensive (and older) TP-Link Archer A7, which is a bestseller on Amazon but doesn’t actually perform very well.

There are plenty of cheap routers available, but the AX10 is a good value because it mixes an inexpensive price tag with the latest Wi-Fi technology: Wi-Fi 6. So even though it doesn’t have the same top speeds as other routers on this list, it’s a great budget router, and it’s beamforming and OFDMA tech allow its signals to reach distant connections efficiently.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Wi-Fi 6

Cons

  • Slower max speeds

Amazon Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System—Most user friendly

Best user-friendly router

$399.00

  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 5 (possibly AC1200*)
  • Ports: 2 gigabit LAN
  • Max throughput: 350 Mbps*
  • Coverage area: Up to 4,750 sq. ft.
  • Bands: 3 (2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz)

The Amazon Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi system is a supremely user-friendly mesh router. You can mix and match between Eero Pro and Eero Beacon mesh points to fit whatever kind of coverage you need. Pros have more range and LAN ports for wired connections, while Beacons are smaller wall plugs with built-in night-lights.

Like the Orbi, Eero uses three frequency bands for Wi-Fi. One band is dedicated to backhaul communications between Eero devices, so the mesh system’s operations don’t interfere with your usable bandwidth.

Pros

  • Night-light function in Eero Beacons
  • Dedicated frequency band for backhaul

Cons

  • No voice control function, despite being an Amazon product
  • Slower top speeds

Pro tip: Max throughput vs. actual speed performance

Most routers advertise their top speeds. For example, an AC1900 router would usually say it offers speed performance up to 1,900 Mbps. While those numbers may technically be true, routers actually perform well beneath the theoretical max.

The Amazon Eero advertises a practical speed range rather than its theoretical speed, which makes its speeds look much slower than the other routers on this list. But in reality, it’s definitely fast enough for multiple internet users, 4K video, gaming, and anything else.

NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12—Best for fast speeds

Best for speed

$555.99

  • Wireless standard (AX6000)
  • Ports: 4 gigabit LAN (2 aggregate) and 2 USB 3.0
  • Max throughput: 6,000 Mbps
  • Coverage area: Up to 3,500 sq. ft.
  • Bands: 2 (2.4 and 5)

You’ll love the range and speed you get with the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12. This is a great router for multigigabit internet plans because it supports LAN port aggregation for wired connections up to 2 Gbps (which basically means you can combine two Ethernet ports for faster speeds). Its eight high-powered antennas, quad-core processor, and VPN support also make this router a powerhouse.

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 who are constantly online. Smaller homes and networks with only a few internet users can get by with a more affordable option.

Pros

  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Port aggregation to support multigigabit wired connections

Cons

  • High price tag

Google Nest Wi-Fi—Best budget mesh router

Best budget mesh router

$139.00

  • Wireless standard: AC2200
  • Ports: 2 gigabit LAN
  • Max throughput: 2,200 Mbps
  • Coverage area: 2,200 sq. ft.
  • Bands: 2 (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)

The Google Nest Wi-Fi mesh router system is wildly fast and virtually eliminates dead zones in your home network. The main router has a range of 2,200 square feet, and you can expand your network further with additional Wi-Fi points. Each point also works as a smart speaker and adds up to 1,600 square feet of coverage.

It’s a great mesh system, and its low starting price makes it the perfect introduction to mesh for those on a budget.

Pros

  • Google Assistant–enabled
  • Expandable
  • Backwards compatible with Google Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Ethernet ports only on router, none on points

Long-range router specs and features

Choosing the perfect router can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Finding a router that will fill a large space with a strong Wi-Fi signal adds another layer of consideration. Go over these specs and features when searching out the right router for your home.

Form factor

There are two categories of long-range routers that work well in large spaces: expandable mesh Wi-Fi systems and traditional routers with amped-up antenna and Wi-Fi radios.

Traditional long-range routers use powerful antenna arrays and signal amplifiers to pump out Wi-Fi signals strong enough to reach the farthest corners of your home.

Mesh Wi-Fi systems are expandable and offer flexible coverage over wide distances and difficult floor plans.

See also: The Best Mesh Wi-Fi Routers

Traditional routers have more coverage shortcomings than mesh systems—their range is more affected by obstacles like walls and weird house layouts. Mesh routers are a little more complicated to set up and can cost more, depending on how many devices you need.

Wireless protocol

Routers used to operate on 802.11b, g, or n protocols, using a single band and supporting speeds of 11–300 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 your router. Routers use protocols called Wi-Fi standards that encompass a lot of things, but most people use them to identify how fast the router can transfer information.

Today’s routers typically have dual-band technology and 802.11ac, which can deliver speeds up to multiple gigabits per second. Some of the more powerful routers and mesh networks that made our list use 802.11ax or Wi-Fi 6—the most advanced protocol. Wi-Fi 6 delivers better network efficiency to support more connections and give you even faster speeds.

Pro tip:

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 802.11ac or ax for optimal long-range performance.

Number of wireless bands

Back in the day, routers operated on a single band and broadcast only one frequency: 2.4 GHz. As connected homes and the Internet of Things (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 they’re not necessary for the average household. 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.

Pro tip:

The number of bands being used has more to do with accommodating a higher volume of data than increasing your Wi-Fi range. So if your concern is distance rather than multiple devices, dual band should work well for you.

Antennas

“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 yours 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 and 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

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 like a security camera 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 it can also be essential for increasing signal across longer distances. Look for some variation of either or both of these features in your router for longer range.

Our verdict

You have a few options if you’re looking for a router to fill your space with a strong Wi-Fi signal. The best standalone router for a killer range is the ASUS RT-AC88U. With up to 5,000 square feet of coverage, a ton of ports, and adaptive QoS features to prioritize gaming, this router has all the features you could want for your home network.

If you need a more flexible network, the NETGEAR Orbi mesh Wi-Fi system has an impressive range with just two points—especially considering that many other mesh routers can’t reach up to 5,000 even with three devices. And because it’s a mesh system, it’s easy to add more Orbi satellites to expand your network to perfectly fill your space.

Long-range router FAQ

Which Wi-Fi frequency has the best range?

The Wi-Fi frequency band with the best range is 2.4 GHz.

Wi-Fi routers often work using two frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz band has better range, but the 5 GHz band is good because it is less crowded and can carry faster speeds.

When long-range routers mention their maximum range, that’s how far the 2.4 GHz signal can reach when there’s nothing blocking it.

What is the best router for a two- or three-story home?

A mesh router like the NETGEAR Orbi or Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System  is the best option for homes with complex layouts and multiple stories.

Wi-Fi signals weaken as you put more physical obstructions or distance between you and the router. Mesh networks mitigate that problem by distributing Wi-Fi from multiple points and automatically connecting your devices to the strongest signal.

If your house is more vertical than horizontal (for instance, if you have a three-story townhouse), you can probably get by with a traditional router like the TP-Link Archer AX10 . The trick here is to position the antennas more horizontally so the signals spread up and down.

Author -

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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