Router Test 2018 • The 12 best routers in comparison

By Rachel Premack
Last updated: May 06, 2018

The router is the heart of a home network system which works with the DSL, WLAN, and telephony. What you should consider when buying a router.

In this article, we're not just talking about how a router works. We are also pointing to common alternatives, which are usually a bit cheaper. You will also learn which different types of router are produced. We clarify the benefits of that through the use of a modern router arise. We tell you what to look for when buying. In this article, you will also learn where the purchase is very easy and cheap.


What is a router?

The central office, which regulates the communication from different terminals, is often a router. By this electrical device, a home network is usually created in the computer, smartphones, and tablets can be integrated. Within the network, data can now be exchanged. This way, the photos taken with the smartphone are easily transferred to the computer.

 

Modern printers that have a network interface can often be integrated into the home network created by the router. Thereafter, it can be printed with other terminals without requiring a cable connection. Current TVs can often also communicate with the router. The contents of media libraries and video sharing platforms are easily transferred to the flat screen TV when the router is connected to the Internet.


The router's regulated traffic makes it possible to play the content of the internet on different electronic devices.


The router is today the most important interface, which ensures a stable connection between the devices of the home network and the worldwide network.


The electronic device is the interface through which all end devices are connected. Commercially available routers have at least four network interfaces for this purpose. An Ethernet cable can be connected there so that computers and other devices are connected to the router. Most routers also generate a Wi-Fi signal that wirelessly integrates devices.

How does a router work?

In the past, people used only simple modems and network cards to connect their computers to the global network. The devices allowed only a low transmission speed, so that certain content in the network could not be seen, heard and enjoyed. Only when new cables were laid, the speed increased. Now often was no longer just a modem, but a router used more Connecting terminals to the Internet.


In many routers that you can purchase today, one is already modem integrated. So the electric machine can be connected with a DSL or - VDSL - terminal. After that, the device connects to the worldwide network. Modern routers are equipped with modems that can transmit large amounts of data.


Often devices are offered that distribute at least 30 megabytes per second.


Since the contract providers often provide simple modems which can work with the router and can be connected to a fast LAN - and wireless to create a network.


The Internet signal is passed through the router to other terminals. Most routers have a radio interface. Through WLAN function, Computers, Smartphones or Televisions can communicate with the network. The router also establishes an internal network so that data can be transferred between the terminals.


The router is the interface that mediates between the Internet and the terminals.


For example, if you want to go to a web page, your input is sent to the router in the browser window. The router sends the request to the Internet. The answer is forwarded to the terminal.


Because the router accesses the Internet and controls the resulting traffic, computers are protected. Modern routers act like a firewall blocking out the dangers. So these devices also serve security because pests are not so easy to access the domestic network. The access to the router can also through an encryption more difficult.


What are different types of routers there?





For permanent use of a network can different routers are used, which significantly differ. The manufacturers offer as simple LAN router too, by up to four devices can be connected. Customers can also purchase Wi-Fi devices that can communicate with a far greater number of computers, , and TVs. The companies that produce network devices also offer LTE - Router, with which a special Internet connection can be made.


The common LAN routers usually cost much less than other devices that can also be used to create a network. These devices can connect different computers, laptops, and televisions. Thus, a data transfer between the terminals is possible, which are connected to the LAN router. In addition, printers can be shared. To communicate with the router, the devices must use cables get connected. In the process, so-called Ethernet cables are used. Because of this, LAN routers are often sold as Ethernet routers.

 

The LAN router often has a modem that connects the device to a broadband connection. The router can dial into the worldwide network via the WAN connection. The devices that are connected to the device using LAN cables can now access the Internet. Many devices offered as LAN routers offer additional features. So many manufacturers equip their version of the LAN router with a firewall, which provides additional protection.

 

The simple LAN routers usually have no radio interface. Thus terminal are not involved via the WLAN. 


Basically, cables are required. This visible connection can be annoying when the terminal is not in the vicinity of the router. In addition, certain devices such as smartphones are not connected with the LAN router.


However, the connection via the Ethernet cable is much more stable than the wireless network.


Especially with larger downloads, the cable connection may be worthwhile. The manufacturers of routers also offer WLAN variants. These wireless routers are a combination of different functions that are combined in one device. You sometimes have an integrated mode through which one Connection to the Internet is established. End devices can be integrated either via a cable or via the wireless network. This way, even smartphones can be integrated into the domestic network. Even wireless printers can be easily connected. In this case, the cables are omitted because the devices communicate via the WLAN.

 

Often, these devices are also sold as a DSL router. They have useful functions: For example, a telephone system is sometimes integrated into the routers with which different DECT telephones can communicate. Often the routers can be used to make phone calls over the Internet. They master the VoIP technology so that no additional device is needed for the telephony. Appropriate contacts are made by different telecommunications companies like the Telekom or Vodafone offered.


The expansion of the Internet is progressing creeping only in remote areas. In some areas, the DSL speeds are so slow that watching videos is hardly possible. In this case, the LTE routers that are offered by some manufacturers should help. These devices access the 4G LTE network, which is mainly used by smartphones

 

Under ideal conditions, this data link can transmit up to 100 megabits per second. Prerequisite is, however, a radio tower, which is located nearby. Then the LTE routers are another alternative. In many other cases, however, the purchase of a DSL or LAN router is recommended. In an existing DSL contract, they are excellent options for secure communication between end devices and the Internet.


Many telecoms providers not only connect to the Internet, they also offer routers and modems that need to be used. If only one modem is ordered, this telecommunication module can be connected to a router. Then, the router is just the internal network, the communication with the Internet is still done by the modem. Only, in this case, the purchase of a router can be recommended, which has integrated modem.


Advantages of modern routers

The use of a current router offers many benefits. After all, high speeds can be achieved with these modern devices, so that data is distributed quickly. Because different devices communicate with the router, fast access to the Internet is possible. All devices are protected by the router. After all, the web pages and IP addresses that are called are just the address of the router visible,  behind which all addresses of the terminals are hidden.


From the outside, it is not clear how many devices are connected to the router. This makes external access to malware and hackers more difficult. The terminals, which are also equipped with an IP address, remain hidden behind the address of the router. Modern routers automatically integrate the terminals. You have a DHCP server that handles the automatic assignment of IP addresses without any conflicts arises between the terminals.


The router not only gives access to the Internet. Finally, the devices also create a home network so that home computers can be used to exchange data. In the past, a hub was often used for this purpose. This additional device can be omitted if a modern router is used.


Some current routers are equipped with a USB port. There, an external hard drive can be connected, which from then on serves as data storage - and offers space for important backup copies. The hard drive is not only accessible through the computer. Often, the TV can use the data storage. For example, you can play movies and photos that you previously saved on the hard disk.


Unlike earlier routers that permanently much electricity needed that consume today's model's much less energy.


Some routers even offer the option of automatically switching to a power-saving mode at certain times. Due to the minimal consumption are costs reduced. Thus, a change may be worthwhile if the existing router is already a bit older.


Many modern routers have practical security features. This can be used to activate a practical child safety lock on some models. Then certain websites that should not be accessed by minors can no longer be reached.


A further advantage of a modern router is the built-in firewall, which is for security providers. The virtual wall that some of the current devices have made illegitimate access difficult.


Many communication providers now offer high Internet speeds. So can be surfed at rapid speeds. Contracts that guarantee speeds of up to 100 megabits are not uncommon. This speed with older routers does not reach a consumer. In this case, the purchase of a new network center may also be worthwhile.


What features should I look for when purchasing a router?

In the 1990s, the Internet was only used by a few people, who dialed into the worldwide network with 56 kilobytes of modems. In this millennium, the traffic has increased immensely. In 2014, exactly 80 percent of all persons older than ten years used the internet in Germany. In 2010, the proportion was still at 75 percent.


Most people who access the Internet use DSL access. The telecommunications providers offer different packages. Often, the package includes a device that connects to the network. So there are additional costs because the rudimentary modem is rented at high prices. In this case, the exchange of a modern DSL router can be particularly worthwhile.


Even with the use of an older router is worth an exchange. However, consumers should definitely pay attention to certain functions. So a stable and secure Internet and network connection for different devices can be created.

 

If no additional device is to be connected, the router must have the integrated modem. For easy integration of different devices, a WLAN function is helpful, by which a radio network is created. If an additional modem is used to connect to the Internet to produce, is a router, the no integrated modem has an alternative.


These models are only slightly cheaper than the complete DSL, LAN or WLAN routers. It can only save a few dollars.




Before buying, make sure that the router is easy to configure. Take into account, for example, the quality of the user interface through which important settings can be made. If you are If you are familiar with the technology, the router should also have a pro mode that allows deep intervention. As part of our test series, in which we tested common models, we came up with good menus that allowed the router to be controlled. Such devices, which score with simple menus, are created for example by AVM, but also by Netgear and TP-Link.

 

However, it is not enough just to pay attention to the user interface. Your new router should, for example, master the Internet protocol IPv6. Only, in this case, the device can continue to serve as an interface that connects computers, tablets, and laptops to the Internet. There are still routers available that only know the older IP4 protocol. These devices will not be used in the long term as more and more telecommunications companies switch to the new IPv6.

 

With the WLAN access point built into the many routers, you can connect different devices to the home network and the Internet. The routers that have an access point send in the 2.4 and 5 gigahertz range. However, some older routers can only transmit in the 2.4 gigahertz range. This frequency is also used by mobile phones. Thus the signal is weaker than with the devices, which are also in the 5Send frequency range.


So before you buy you should make sure that the future router is transmitting in both frequency bands at the same time to guarantee a stable internet connection.

 

The practical WLAN interface, which is not available to all routers, enables the wireless connection to the Internet. The router but should with additional Gigabit LAN ports to be equipped with the devices using an Ethernet cable to the device can be connected. This creates a more stable Internet connection, which can be particularly beneficial when downloading huge amounts of data. So make sure that the future router has at least four LAN ports

 

Other connections can make life easier, for example, a USB connection can be connected to the other terminal devices as printers or hard drives directly to the router. Therefore, make sure that the router has at least one USB port. The best are devices with at least one USB 3.0 port are provided, the high transfer rates when copying of data possible. Then the routers a small media server serve the photos and films provides that on the hard drive were stored.


On many routers can be phones connect. If you want to operate a complete telephone system, a device that can be used as a DECT base station is worthwhile. This allows wireless phones to connect to the router. Some manufacturers also offer routers, telephony over the Internet enabled. These routers can also be used with conventional telephones.


Unfortunately, the rich details of the manufacturer are not sufficient to obtain a comprehensive picture of the various routers to make that consumers can purchase currently. Instead, you should also consider the experiences of other users reporting on their experiences on the web. However, the subjective reports of users do not always help to inform themselves about the respective router.


Even better are product reports written by independent experts. On this website you will find objective reviews, beyond the pre - and disadvantages enlighten, by practical tests have been discovered. To see expert testing with safety just the router, the different devices to the network brings.


How much is a router price?

The company must be paid for different routers, which differ significantly. Simpler models cost little money...


So you can buy rudimentary LAN router already at prices from 36 dollars. However, you can only connect devices that have an Ethernet interface to these models. Although most computers, no smartphones can be connected to such routers. Also, certain game consoles, such as the PlayStation Portable (PSP), cannot connect with such routers with the global network...


In this case, a wireless router that provides a wireless connection is required. Simple Wi-Fi devices sometimes cost little more than 60 dollars. However, these routers only offer certain functions. Although various devices can be integrated into the network created by the devices, however, these routers do not always comply with the current state of the art. So sometimes users have to give up the important WPA2 encryption. Often, these routers cannot be connected to the telephone.

 

Somewhat more expensive routers offer a larger range of functions and a stronger WLAN signal. These usually have an integrated DSL modem through which an Internet connection can be made. Often, these devices, which are available from prices of 120 $, integrated a telephone system. So VoIP phone calls can be made if a little more money is invested in the router. The higher quality devices in this price range can be even combined with DECT phones that do not require a cable.


For a price of around 240 dollars, you can purchase a powerful router, which offers a variety of functions and settings options. Such devices support the often very particularly fast wireless ac technology, the data transfers of up to 1,300 megabits possible. Often, such routers act as network storage because a hard disk can be attached to different end devices is accessed...


An expensive router can be worthwhile because it makes life easier with various multimedia devices. Nevertheless, you should inform yourself in advance. Finally, in our reviews of different routers that belong to different price ranges, we also discovered expensive models that do not offer all the desired functions.


How did we test the routers?




Our experts were allowed to check different routers in the context of a test series. The devices were also used in practice. Not every router could convince in the everyday test. However, our tests started before the first use of the equipment. For example, we tested the quality of the packaging.


 We also read the operations manual. We examined the comprehensibility of the written explanations. We also examined if additional graphics contributed to the understanding. Only if the router even by a layman, the instructions for disposal could be configured stand, which was devices in this test segment highly rated.


During commissioning, the quality of the connections was checked. We also tested the user interface. If only an English-language web interface was available, a more negative rating was used. If a German user interface could be used, which could be easily understood, a positive end note in this area of our tests took place. As part of this, we also tested the quality of the WLAN signal. We tested how easy it was different devices connected to the respective router.

 

After these tests, a protracted test phase took place in which the router was used extensively. We used different devices. We used classic computers, laptops, and tablets. We distributed data to hard disks if the router had a USB interface. But we also downloaded large amounts of data to test the performance.


We connected TVs to the network. Such devices were among others to the streaming of series and films used. We connected game consoles like the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4 to the respective router. In connection, we invited demos from the online offerings down to the pace to consider. We also played online to test the router.


We used streaming devices like the Chromecast to access Netflix and other video portals. We also used the router to surf the web with smartphones. So we could get a comprehensive picture.


We discovered before - and disadvantages, which we with our product reports enlighten. These arose after tests which we report in the reviews. This gives you complete information about the routers that are currently available in retail and the Internet.


How did we test the routers?




The practical routers that create a network are produced by different manufacturers. After the production of sensitive electrical appliances, they are sold via electronic stores and online shops. Among the manufacturers include well-known computer companies such as Asus, which also laptops and other devices produce. Smaller companies specialized in the production of network technology also offer routers. An example is the Taiwanese ZyXEL Communications Corporation, which exports routers to Europe. The most famous company dedicated to the production of routers dedicated but has come from the Federal Republic


Electro market or online shop: where do I buy my router best?

Consumers who want to buy a router can visit electrical stores. Different variants of the router are offered, for example, by the regional spin-offs of Saturn and Media Markt. Other electrical shops also offer the practical devices. Routers from well-known manufacturers are also sold through different online shops. We and other portals such as experts-beraten.de inform about the Nach- and the benefits of buying opportunities. You will find out where the purchase is especially worthwhile.


If you visit a regional electronics store, you only have to find the right shelf before it faces some routers. However, consumers will quickly notice that the electrical shops only have a small selection on offer.


A price comparison reveals that the same routers are often cheaper on the internet.


Finally hitting stores the high personnel costs and the costs for operating the exhibition rooms are often the prices for routers and other electrical appliances on. 


When buying over the Internet such costs can be eliminated because the virtual sales room of online shops can be easily opened in the browser. These benefit from low labor costs, which makes many products cheaper. When buying online accounts for the arrival and the rental of a parking space. This avoids further costs.


Instead, only a few mice clicks are required if the desired router is purchased, for example, via Amazon. There is a huge assortment of network devices offered. The consumer can also be very well informed because he can research the worldwide network. This is where reviews and product reviews on current routers that you can currently purchase clarify. This provides you with comprehensive information that often does not exist in the crowded electronics market.

 

An order via the Internet is also much more environmentally friendly. A study by the Clean Tech Institute, commissioned by the logistics giant Hermes, points to this. The numbers According to caused by an online - buying around for a product purchased on average 0.3 kg CO2. If the same product were purchased in traditional retail, 0.55 kilograms of CO2 would be produced.


By buying online so the environment is protected. For this reason, too, we can only recommend this form of purchase. However, you should first check the routers that are currently available.


We help with our reviews that reveal the strengths and weaknesses of network devices. Then you can order a device that will allow you to access the Internet in the future.