Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the best location for a router?
Place the router in the middle of a room, away from other equipment, and as high as feasible. If the router has moveable antennas, point them at rooms and devices that use your Wi-Fi in a strategic manner, rather than all in the same direction.
The best option is to call a technician if you still have doubts.
How long should a router last?
A quality router should last 4 to 5 years. But if you’re experiencing slow internet speeds and have tried every trick in the book to speed up your internet, it might be time to upgrade your router. Otherwise, one router should be.
Ascertain the router’s compatibility with your internet provider. Although most routers should work with any internet service provider (ISP), it’s always a good idea to double-check.
Routers utilize technology based on your internet provider's connection type, and if the router is paired with an incompatible internet provider, the internet won't function. Most ISPs make lists of suitable modems, routers available, and tips on what to look for.
Look for a wireless protocol that's more recent. When looking at routers, you’ll see the numbers 802.11 plus a letter or a combination of letters.
Simply look for a router that supports one of the most up-to-date wireless protocols, such as 11ax (Wi-Fi 6), 11ac (Wi-Fi 5), 11n (Wi-Fi 4).
Have a budget. Routers are available for as little as $15 to as much as $400. Your decision on that range will ultimately be determined by your demands and money.
Choose between a single or dual-band. The frequency ranges used by wireless routers are 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Because a high number of devices use the 2.4GHz band, it is more prone to interference and congestion.
The newer 5GHz frequency is usually less crowded and allows for speedier connections. A dual-band router supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies and it frequently uses both bands at the same time.
It’s easy to choose between a single-band and dual-band router. While residing in a crowded neighborhood or a densely populated location, a dual-band router is a better option.
For slower WiFi speeds or if there aren't neighbors whose wireless network can cause interference, a single-band router may be sufficient.
TP-Link Archer C80 AC1900 MU-MIMO Dual Band Wireless Gaming Router, Wi-Fi Speed Up to 1300 Mbps/5 GHz + 600 Mbps/2.4 GHz, Supports Parental Control, Guest Wi-Fi
£54.99 FREE Delivery in the UK.
This router has a built-in 33 MIMO technology that allows it to transmit and receive data on three streams. It also features an intelligent connection, which directs clients to the less congested band so they don’t have to spend too much time trying to find each other. Airtime fairness optimizes the time used for your devices. The device is available in both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands with speeds ranging from 1300 Mbps up to 600 Mbps.
Asus RT-AX55 Wi-Fi 6 AX1800 Dual-band Mesh Wi-Fi system Router, Aimesh, OFDMA + MU-MIMO Tech, 1024 QAM, Trend Micro AiProtection Classic, Adaptive QoS, black
£87.99 FREE Delivery in the UK.
This pick is compatible with Asus aimesh Wi-Fi system for seamless whole-home coverage. It has 1800Mbps Wi-Fi speed, and it’s powered by trend micro-technology to block internet security threats from all your connected smart devices. The device also comes with a built-in mesh network that allows you to connect up to five devices at the same time without having to worry about them interfering with each other.
TP-Link AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Full Gigabit Wi-Fi Router, Wi-Fi Speed Up to 1300 Mbps/5 GHz + 450 Mbps/2.4 GHz, With1 x USB2.0 Port, Qualcomm CPU, Supports Parental Control, Easy setup (Archer A7)
The pick is easy to set up and manage your network settings. The free Tether app is available for both Android and ios devices, making it easy to set up the archer c1200 and manage your network settings. You can easily share a printer locally and files and media with networked devices or remotely via FTP server guest network and parental controls.
ASUS RT-AC86U Wi-Fi AC2900 Mesh Wifi system Router AiProtection by Trend Micro, WTFast game accelerator free, Link aggregation, adaptive QoS, USB 3.0 ASUS router app support, Dual-WAN 3G/4G support
£146.99 FREE Delivery in the UK.
This product has the latest 802.11ac mu-MIMO technology 64bit dual-core processor that optimizes network traffic and connectivity speeds designed for lag-free online gaming and flawless 4K UHD streaming Wi-Fi.
D-Link DIR‑2660, EXO AC2600 Smart Wi‑Fi Router, Dual Band, 802.11 AC Wave 2 with MU-MIMO, Alexa Compatible, Black
The router has four gigabit LAN ports, so you can connect up to four wired devices with speeds up to 10x faster than standard fast ethernet connections. You’ll be able to find out the true speed of your internet connection straight from the router.
Lars Nichols is a journalist based in Buffalo, New York with 6 years of experience covering city lifestyle, technology, and media trends. As an editor and writer, he has cultivated strong relationships in a range of industries and developed an analytical eye for what makes a compelling brand. In his free time, Lars enjoys reading the latest news, trying new gadgets, and taking a walk around historic Buffalo. He also enjoys meeting with his friends for book club, getting an espresso near his apartment, and online shopping.
Who we are and how we test
At The Ambient we’re committed to recommending the best in smart home technology – and that means testing things properly.
So we work a little differently to the average tech reviews site. Testing smart home technology is often difficult: it takes time, can be disruptive to set up and thanks to the fragmented state of smart home tech, doesn’t always work together.
At The Ambient we have a host of different set ups built not only to test tech – but live it.
First, we use devices long term, rather than bashing out reviews in under a week. And when the review is published that’s not the end of the story – as ecosystems evolve via updates, we’ll update our reviews on how it changes the experience.
Testing involves integrating devices within different ecosystems, testing performance within Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home and myriad of other set ups. Our review process starts from the moment a device is ordered, rating the installation experience where professional fitting is required, to the home set up, and of course, the tech itself.
Not only do we cover the latest and greatest smart home tech, we also provide guides on the gadgets and devices you need to get your modern home firing on all cylinders.