Our Top Picks for Wi-Fi Routers That Go the Distance

Our Top 3 Long-Range Wi-Fi Routers

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

RouterAntennasSpeedPortsRatingPrice
#1Linksys WRT 1900AC41 Gbps4 ENET3.8/5$Buy Now
#2NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 – AD720047.2 Gbps6 ENET4.2/5$$$$$Buy Now
#3TP-Link Archer C1900 31 Gbps4 ENET, 2 USB4.1/5$Buy Now
#1
RouterLinksys WRT 1900AC
Antennas4
Speed1 Gbps
Ports4 ENET
Rating3.8/5
Price$
Buy Now
#2
RouterNETGEAR Nighthawk X10 – AD7200
Antennas4
Speed7.2 Gbps
Ports6 ENET
Rating4.2/5
Price$$$$$
Buy Now
#3
RouterTP-Link Archer C1900
Antennas3
Speed1 Gbps
Ports4 ENET, 2 USB
Rating4.1/5
Price$
Buy Now

Our Top 3 Mesh Network Routers

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

Router# of UnitsSpeedPortsRatingPrice
#1NETGEAR Orbi AC2200 Tri-Band Home Network23 Gbps4 ENET4.1/5$$Buy Now
#2Eero Home Wi-Fi System21 GbpsWi-Fi only4.6/5$$$Buy Now
#3Luma Home Wi-Fi System 23.9 Gbps2 ENET, 3 USB3.7/5$$Buy Now
#1
RouterNETGEAR Orbi AC2200 Tri-Band Home Network
# of Units2
Speed3 Gbps
Ports4 ENET
Rating4.1/5
Price$$
Buy Now
#2
RouterEero Home Wi-Fi System
# of Units2
Speed1 Gbps
PortsWi-Fi only
Rating4.6/5
Price$$$
Buy Now
#3
RouterLuma Home Wi-Fi System
# of Units2
Speed3.9 Gbps
Ports2 ENET, 3 USB
Rating3.7/5
Price$$
Buy Now

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.

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Top 3 Long-Range Wi-Fi Routers

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

#1: Linksys WRT 1900AC

Best Overall

Amazon Rating:  (3.8 / 5)

Protocol: 802.11ac
Band: Dual
Speed: 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
Ports: 4 Ethernet
Antennas: 4
Dimensions: 9.8 x 7.7 x 2 / 2.11 lbs.
Other Features: 1.2 Ghz dual-core ARM CPU, open source ready, beamforming

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.

#2: NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 – AD7200

Most Powerful

Amazon Rating:  (4.2 / 5)

Protocol: 802.11 ac/ad
Band: Tri
Speed: 7,200 Mbps (7.2 Gbps)
Ports: 6 Ethernet
Antennas: 4
Dimensions: 8.81 x 6.61 x 2.91 / 4.11 lbs.
Other Features: Quad-Stream MU-MIMO, 1.7GHz quad-core processor, Plex Media Server

A powerhouse of a router, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 – AD7200 will blast your Wi-Fi signal to every corner of the house. This is a great router for streaming in 4k Ultra HD and for experiencing lifelike VR. But 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 piece of equipment.

#3: TP-Link Archer C1900

Best Value

Amazon Rating:  (4.1 / 5)

Protocol: 802.11 ac
Band: Dual
Speed: 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
Ports: 4 Ethernet, 2 USB
Antennas: 3
Dimensions: 8.7 x 3.4 x 6.6 / 2.75 lbs.
Other Features: 1GHz dual-core processor, beamforming

Great for gaming and streaming, the TP-Link C1900 packs a punch while remaining one of the most affordable high-power routers. Its 900 mW amplifiers and dual-band antennas deliver a far-reaching signal while maintaining a high throughput rate. Plus, you’ll enjoy your online entertainment more after saving a few bucks on your router.

Top 3 Mesh Network Systems

Best for homes 3,000 square feet or larger

#1: NETGEAR Orbi AC2200 Tri-Band Home Network

Best Overall

Amazon Rating:  (4.1 / 5)

Protocol: 802.11 a/g/n/ac
Band: Tri
Speed: 3,000 Mbps (3 Gbps)
Ports: 4 Ethernet
Units: 2
Dimensions: 6.7 x 3.1 x 8.0 / 2.32 lbs.
Other Features: Dedicated tri-band connections

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.

#2: Eero Home Wi-Fi System

Most Versatile

Amazon Rating:  (4.6 / 5)

Protocol: 802.11 a/g/n/ac
Band: Dual
Speed: 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps)
Ports: Wi-Fi only
Units: 2
Dimensions: 4.76 x 4.76 x 1.24 / 0.64 lbs.
Other Features: MU-MIMO, beamforming

We’re recommending the Eero Home Wi-Fi system for its versatility. It works with both iOS and Android technology. You can easily add-on more Eero units to expand your network. Eero even learns the Wi-Fi usage patterns in your home and adjusts itself to maximize the efficiency of your home network.

#3: Luma Home Wi-Fi System

Best Value

Amazon Rating:  (3.7 / 5)

Protocol: 802.11 ac
Band: Dual
Speed: 3,900 Mbps (3.9 Gbps)
Ports: 2 Ethernet, 3 USB
Units: 2
Dimensions: 4.5 x 4.5 x 1 / 0.3 lbs.
Other Features: Parental controls, guest networks, compatible with Alexa

These lightweight little units pack plenty of signal, carrying Wi-Fi into each room of your home. Up front, Luma is a less expensive option, but because these smaller units have a shorter range, you’ll eventually need more of them to cover the same square footage. The advantage? Luma integrates with Alexa and Echo, offering you a seamless Internet of Things (IoT) experience in your home.

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.

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