As broadband proliferates, so do the services that rely upon fast video streaming and low-latency activities such as gaming and VOIP. Having a slow router is a serious bottleneck and having one without a significant range can really reduce its performance in homes that have a lot of obstacles to navigate.
If you are looking for powerful home wifi routers that have the fastest speed and longest range, then you should consider three: the Asus RT-AC88U, the Netgear Nighthawk X4 and the Asus AC2400.
Based on a battery of tests done by CNET, the Asus RT-AC88U is the clear leader in terms of speed – promising 2167 Mbps over 5Ghz band and 1000 Mbps on 2.4Ghz band. There are few clients that can support such WiFi speeds but expect to get at least 700Mbps as standard. It is primarily designed for gamers who require both high speed and low-latency. Another nice feature of this router is that it comes with 8x 1Gigabyte network ports that can be configured in some interesting ways. For instance, two of the ports can be channel bonded for better performance and one of them can be converted into an additional WAN port, allowing for two WAN ports in total. This is nice if you have two broadband providers and want to provide some failover in case one goes down.
The two runners up are close in performance on paper but differ in real-world tests. The AC2400 wins out in terms of speed, whereas the Netgear Nighthawk wins out for range.
Both routers boast excessive speeds of 1734 Mbps on the 5Ghz band and 600 Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band but in practical tests the Netgear didn’t perform as well as the Asus. That said, it made up for its slower speed in terms of range (roughly 300 feet) and the fact that it had a lot of options to add multiple storage devices and act as a NAS on your network. If NAS is important, then you might appreciate the Nethawk options and interface. Also, if you don’t have supremely fast bandwidth, then the Netgear’s QoS features seemed to improve the management of slower but latency-sensitive data (such as Skype for VOIP). However, if you have a very fast bandwidth pipe coming into the device, you won’t experience much benefit from QoS, which makes the Asus more compelling under those circumstances.