Best Long-Range Routers 2020

Best long-range routerBest mesh router for large homesBest budget router
ASUS RT-AC88UNETGEAR Orbi RBK50TP-Link Archer A7
≈ $218≈ $270≈ $80
View on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon

Data effective 2/21/20. Prices taken from Amazon.com at the time of writing and are subject to change.

Your Wi-Fi router is the heart of your home network. It makes sure all your data gets sent to the right places, and it supplies your devices with a steady internet connection. But in a large home, those connections can get bogged down when the signal bounces off walls, floors, and other obstructions.

We’ve curated a list of the best traditional routers and mesh Wi-Fi systems that will keep you connected, even in the far-flung corners of your home.

Which long-range router is best?

Mesh routers like the NETGEAR Orbi are usually the best option for very large homes and homes with challenging layouts. But the best router for your home depends on several factors besides range, including how many devices are connected to your network, the speed of your internet, and what you use the internet for.

The 6 best long-range routers

ModelPrice*Max speedWi-Fi bandsCoverageGet it
Best long-range routerASUS RT-AC88U≈$2183,100 MbpsDual bandUp to 5,000 sq. ft.View on Amazon
Best long-range mesh routerNETGEAR Orbi RBK50≈$270+3,000 MbpsTri bandUp to 5,000 sq. ft. (more with additional satellites)View on Amazon
Best budget routerTP-Link Archer A7≈$801,750 MbpsDual bandUp to 2,500 sq. ft.View on Amazon
Best router for user-friendlinessAmazon Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System≈$299+350 Mbps**Tri bandUp to 3,250 sq. ft. (more with additional beacons)View on Amazon
Best router for speed NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12≈$4006,000 Mbps
Dual band
Up to 3,500 sq. ft.View on Amazon
Best budget mesh routerGoogle Nest Wi-Fi≈$169+2,200 Mbps
Dual band
Up to 2,200 sq. ft. (+1,600 sq. ft. per additional Wi-Fi point)View on Amazon
Best long-range router
ModelASUS RT-AC88U
Price*≈$218
Max speed3,100 Mbps
Wi-Fi bandsDual band
CoverageUp to 5,000 sq. ft.
Get itView on Amazon
Best long-range mesh router
ModelNETGEAR Orbi RBK50
Price*≈$270+
Max speed3,000 Mbps
Wi-Fi bandsTri band
CoverageUp to 5,000 sq. ft. (more with additional satellites)
Get itView on Amazon
Best budget router
ModelTP-Link Archer A7
Price*≈$80
Max speed1,750 Mbps
Wi-Fi bandsDual band
CoverageUp to 2,500 sq. ft.
Get itView on Amazon
Best router for user-friendliness
ModelAmazon Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System
Price*≈$299+
Max speed350 Mbps**
Wi-Fi bandsTri band
CoverageUp to 3,250 sq. ft. (more with additional beacons)
Get itView on Amazon
Best router for speed
Model NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12
Price*≈$400
Max speed6,000 Mbps
Wi-Fi bands
Dual band
CoverageUp to 3,500 sq. ft.
Get itView on Amazon
Best budget mesh router
ModelGoogle Nest Wi-Fi
Price*≈$169+
Max speed2,200 Mbps
Wi-Fi bands
Dual band
CoverageUp to 2,200 sq. ft. (+1,600 sq. ft. per additional Wi-Fi point)
Get itView on Amazon

*Price at time of writing. Prices are subject to change.

**Amazon does not explicitly state the Eero’s max theoretical speeds, like other companies do. It instead lists a more practical approximation. However, a few comments from this reddit thread and this eero blog post imply that the device is AC1200 with max theoretical speeds up to 1200 Mbps.

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.

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.

ASUS RT-AC88U

Best overall
  • 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.
  • Wi-Fi 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 complained 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 Tri-band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System

Best mesh router for large homes
  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 5 (AC3000)
  • Ports: 4 gigabit LAN, 1 USB 2.0
  • Max speed: 3,000 Mbps
  • Coverage area: Up to 5,000 sq. ft. (more with additional satellites
  • 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 satellites add up to 2,500 square feet to the coverage area, while wall plug satellites (which are a little cheaper) 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 satellites

TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router

Best budget router
  • Wireless standard: Wi-Fi 5 (AC1750)
  • Ports: 4 gigabit LAN, 1 USB
  • Max throughput: 1,750 Mbps
  • Coverage area: Up to 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Bands: 2 (2.4GHz and 5 GHz)

The TP-Link Archer A7 can cover up to 2,500 square feet with a reliable Wi-Fi signal, and it’s a great, budget-friendly alternative to spending hundreds of dollars on a top-of-the-line router.

The A7 wasn’t built to be the fastest or the best—it was made to fit the needs of most people. To that end, it doesn’t have the fastest speeds on the market, but it’s plenty fast enough to handle the things you’d do on a daily basis, whether that’s 4K video streaming, gaming, home automation, or your run-of-the-mill web browsing.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Positionable antennas

Cons

  • Slower max speeds

Amazon Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi System

Best user-friendly router

*Amazon does not explicitly state the Eero’s max theoretical speeds, like other companies do. It instead lists a more practical approximation. However, a few comments from this reddit thread and this eero blog post imply that the device is AC1200 with max theoretical speeds up to 1,200 Mbps.

The Amazon Eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi system is a supremely user-friendly mesh router. You can mix and match between Eero Pros and Eero Beacons 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 12-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router

Best for speed
  • 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.
  • Wi-Fi 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 (2nd Generation)

Best budget mesh router
  • Wireless standard: AC2200
  • Ports: 2 gigabit LAN
  • Max throughput: 2,200 Mbps
  • Coverage area: 2,200 sq. ft. (more with additional units)
  • 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
  • No dedicated backhaul channel for point-to-point communication

What should I consider when choosing a router?

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.

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 a class of equipment. 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—which delivers better network efficiency to support more connections as well as 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 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 heightened volume than increasing range—so if your concern is distance rather than multiple devices, dual band should be sufficient.

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 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 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 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 in your router to optimize 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 A7 . The trick here is to position the antennas more horizontally so the signals spread up and down.

Author -

Rebecca is a natural techie and the friend you turn to when your Wi-Fi randomly stops working. Since graduating from the University of Evansville with a degree in creative writing, Rebecca has leveraged her tech savvy to write hundreds of data-driven tech product and service reviews. In addition to HighSpeedInternet.com, her work has been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ and iMore.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has edited for HighSpeedInternet.com for three years, working with smart writers to revise everything from internet reviews to reports on your state’s favorite Netflix show. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span (buffering kills). With a degree in English and editing and five years working with online content, it’s safe to say she likes words on the internet. She is most likely to be seen wearing Birkenstocks and hanging out with a bouncy goldendoodle named Dobby, who is a literal fur angel sent to Earth.

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