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Anthony Morris
Anthony Morris

Best Buy Fios Router

If your cable internet provider charges you an expensive modem rental fee every month, consider buying your own modem instead. A modem generally pays for itself in the first year of ownership, and most will give you speedy internet for years to come. After researching nearly 100 cable modems over the past six years, we recommend the Motorola MB7621 as the best cable modem for use with most internet service providers (ISPs) and internet plans.

best buy fios router

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If you have a gigabit or multi-gig internet plan and your ISP allows you to use your own modem, the Motorola MB8611 is the best of the DOCSIS 3.1 modems that are widely available right now, thanks to its relatively low price and two-year warranty. You need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem to guarantee gigabit speeds from most cable ISPs, and some ISPs like Sparklight recommend DOCSIS 3.1 modems for new cable modem activations.

The MB8611 supports gigabit internet plans (up to 1000 Mbps or 1 Gbps) as well as multi-gig plans (between 1.2 and 2.5 Gbps). It supports those faster speeds using a 2.5 GbE (2.5 gigabit Ethernet) port on its back panel, just above the usual coaxial (round Cable TV-style) cable. The modem's port will connect to older routers with 1 gigabit Ethernet ports up to single gigabit speeds, and newer routers and mesh networks with 2.5 GbE ports at 1.2 to 2.5 gigabit speeds.

The Arris SURFboard S33 and the Netgear CM2000 have 2.5 GbE ports, which can connect to Wi-Fi 6, 6E, and 7 routers that support the 2.5 GbE standard. The CM2000 shows promise, but it is priced too high compared with the Motorola MB8611, our new upgrade pick. The Netgear also has a shorter, one-year warranty and charges for tech support beyond the first 90 days of ownership.

While a majority of the routers in our ratings do quite well in our labs, the ones here stand out with strong Overall Scores, offering solid performance at a range of distances and decent privacy and security protections.

Asus AX2700This WiFi 6 wireless router from Asus scores quite well in our throughput tests, is easy to set up via a smartphone app, and has automatic firmware updates. But the throughput lags a bit in our near-distance tests, so you might want to put a little space between the router and any devices that require tip-top speed.

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 has every modern feature that you might want from a top-of-the-line router. Featuring support for Wi-Fi 6E and a plethora of ports, this tri-band router will ensure your network provides fast Wi-Fi to all of your devices without interruption.

The Asus RT-AX86U also supports a mobile app to easily control settings, three amplified antennas, beamforming, and adaptive QoS (Quality of Service), which lets users prioritize specific network traffic, like streaming video and gaming. Speaking of gaming, the router includes a dedicated gaming port that automatically prioritizes any wired devices connected to it. If you play online multiplayer games, this is a great way to ensure you get the fastest, most consistent connection.

Why it made the cut: The TP-Link Archer A20 is a great router for home with lots of devices thanks to its three frequency bands, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and enough bandwidth to transmit 4 Gbps of data.

If possible, we recommend buying a router that supports one of the newest Wi-Fi standards. Not only will you get the best possible connection, but Wi-Fi 6 routers are better equipped to handle congested networks, which often slows down home networks.

Frequency bands are a range of radio wavelengths that transmit data over a wireless spectrum. With regard to wireless routers, frequency bands are effectively communication channels for your router to transmit data between your modem and devices.

Most routers feature 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands; the higher the frequency, the faster the data transmission rate. Unfortunately, higher frequency bands feature shorter signal ranges, so you need to be closer to your router for the fastest, most reliable connection.

Using 2.4 GHz frequencies sends data a little slower, but offers a better range (150 indoors and 300 feet outdoors). At 5 GHz, data moves faster, over a shorter range. The connection is also more susceptible to interference from walls and other solid objects. New high-end Wi-Fi 6E routers also offer a third frequency band, 6 GHz, which offers even faster speeds, at the expense of stability and range.

Most routers feature either dual-band or tri-band radio functionality, giving your devices either two or three channels to make a connection. Dual-band routers usually feature a 2.4 GHz band and 5 GHz band, ensuring they can connect to any Wi-Fi device. Tri-band routers usually add a second 5 GHz channel, minimizing congestion over the faster frequency.

We recommend a tri-band router for large home networks with many devices that stay connected to the internet around the clock. The extra band will allow more devices to connect to your network without any noticeable dips in speed. Be warned: Tri-band functionality is a luxury feature normally reserved for more expensive routers.

More powerful routers can not only handle more devices and meet newer standards, but they also push their wireless signals further. Wi-Fi signals are at their strongest when you are close to a router, with no physical objects getting between it and your device. Start moving away, or putting walls and doors between you and the router, and your connection will start to degrade. High-end routers often offer a higher maximum range, which, in turn, leads to more stability at longer distances.

You need to be connected to your modem in order to send and receive data from the web -- your router lets you do that without need for a wire. It's basically a big, fancy antenna for your modem that lets you connect with it wirelessly, over Wi-Fi. You can also use that local Wi-Fi network to connect with other devices at home, like printers or remote storage servers.

It depends on what you need and how many people and devices need to connect, but a small- to medium-sized home or apartment can probably get by with a well-tested dual-band router in the $100 range. If your home is larger, then it's probably worth spending more on a mesh system that can spread more consistent speeds from room to room. And if you're working from home, gaming online or sharing bandwidth with multiple housemates or family members, upgrading to something like a high-speed tri-band router is probably a good investment, too.

The old-fashioned way is to plug the thing in and connect it with your modem via Ethernet cable, then type its IP address into a browser's URL bar to begin the setup. The easier, more modern way is to use the router's app, which will typically walk you through setup in about 5-10 minutes. After setup, you can also use either approach to access the router's settings or change your Wi-Fi password.

You can think of your router like a radio -- it sends and receives signals through airwaves. Whereas a radio picks up audio broadcasts in AM or FM airwaves, a Wi-Fi router sends and receives data through 2.4 and 5GHz airwaves (as well as 6GHz airwaves if it's a fancy Wi-Fi 6E router).

Nearly all routers include separate radios for those bands, which lets you connect to whichever band is best. Some routers will automatically steer your connection between the multiple bands available, but you can usually turn that off as well, making each band its own, separate Wi-Fi network. The 2.4GHz band offers better range than higher bands, but speeds are limited. With 5GHz (or 6GHz), you'll be able to hit much faster speeds, but those speeds will drop off at range faster than you'll see with 2.4GHz.

In general, the 5GHz band is going to be your best bet for a reliable, high-speed connection at close and medium range, while the 2.4GHz band is great for devices at the far reaches of your Wi-Fi network, where the improved range is worth the speed tradeoff.

In most cases, you won't need to worry about updating your router more than once every five years or so, if not longer. That said, there are few things to watch for that might give you good reason to consider something new.

More important is to make sure that your router is still receiving regular firmware updates against the latest security threats. If it isn't, then it might make sense to go ahead and upgrade. I'd also look for something new if my router didn't support WPA3, the most recent Wi-Fi security protocol.

If you're thinking of upgrading because your home's internet speeds aren't satisfying, try testing those speeds out across different distances (and remember that you can only connect as fast as your ISP plan allows). If speeds seem fine when you're close to the router, but they plummet when you're a few rooms away, then upgrading to a router with stronger radios, or a mesh router with multiple devices, could be a worthwhile investment.

Mesh routers use multiple devices to relay a better Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, with fewer dead zones. It's definitely the right approach if you live in a large, multi-story home, or if there are multiple spots in your home where you can't connect as reliably as you'd like.

There are lots of great mesh systems up for sale at this point, and prices have come down significantly in the last few years. For more information and our top recommendations, be sure to check out our full rundown of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems of the year.

For starters, there's a new and improved version of the Wi-Fi standard called 802.11ax -- or Wi-Fi 6 -- and it boasts faster, more efficient home network performance. On top of that, there's a growing number of mesh router options that are well worth considering, too, particularly since many of them are far less expensive than the router combo systems that came before them.

All of that means that you've got a lot to think about if you're currently in the market for an upgrade. That's where we come in. Whether you're interested in gaming routers, mesh systems, Wi-Fi 6 routers or if you just want something decent that won't break the bank, we're here to simplify things and point you in the right direction so that you can find the best Wi-Fi router to manage your needs. 041b061a72


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