Routers

Wireless routers are essential networking equipment that serve as Wi-Fi® hubs for connecting computing devices to the internet. Besides computers, internet-ready consumer electronics include smartphones, game consoles, smart TVs, media streamers, and smart home devices. Offices also need these wireless hubs to create Wi-Fi networks that interconnect computers, printers, and VoIP phones. Browse the wide selection of networking products on Staples® to choose from different high-speed routers for home and office.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for Internet Routers
Whether buying their first unit or upgrading to a new one, users need to pick the right model for their internet plans. Choose a unit that’s faster than the maximum connection speed provided by the internet service provider (ISP). This decision makes the wireless hub future-proof if a home or office sign up for a faster plan. Consider the number of devices that’ll connect to the networking hub. Most models can connect to more than 10 devices at once. However, it’s important to find one that won’t intermittently drop signals or slow down with all the devices connected.

Users should also consider their internet activities when picking these networking devices. Activities that demand high bandwidths include 4K media streaming, online gaming, and video calls. Homes and offices that run multiple bandwidth-intensive applications need the fastest wireless routers available. Mid-range models are suitable for small offices and homes with only a few users.

Features to Look for in a Wireless Router
Pick either a dual-band and tri-band model. Single-band units that operate solely on the 2.4 GHz band offer significantly slower speeds. A dual-band model adds a 5 GHz frequency band. This enables it to maintain fast connection speeds even when many devices connect to it. A tri-band unit adds a second 5 GHz band to further reduce congestion and interference on Wi-Fi networks.

The wireless standard supported by a router also determines its speed and performance. Most units support 802.11n (Wi-Fi 4) or 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5). Wi-Fi 5 models are significantly faster and have longer wireless ranges. Both types use Ethernet ports for wired connections. These are useful for connecting to desktop computers and offer faster speeds than wireless connections. Look for a unit with a Gigabit Ethernet port to enjoy very fast wired connections.

What Are the Differences Between Regular and Mesh Routers?
A mesh unit includes a main hub and nodes placed around a home or an office to create a mesh network. The chief reason to get mesh routers is extending Wi-Fi range. Like regular models, mesh units can be single-, dual-, or tri-band hubs and support Wi-Fi 4 or 5. They’re ideal for large and multi-story homes and offices. They help users avoid dead zones and spotty connections in areas outside the reach of a regular networking hub.

What Is a Wi-Fi 6 Router?
It’s a unit that supports the 802.11ax standard. Planned to succeed 802.11ac, this new standard offers a maximum throughput of 1.2Gbps per stream compared to maximum single-stream speed of 866Mbps for Wi-Fi 5. Unlike 802.11ad, it doesn’t use the short-range 60 GHz band but 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. It’s backward compatible with Wi-Fi 5 and 4.  

Can Modems Serve as Routers?
No. However, there are modems with built-in routers. These hybrid devices combine the two key networking products needed to create internet-connected Wi-Fi networks. Having both products in a single unit eliminates potential incompatibility and setup complexity.

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