Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

Why would you need to buy a new Wi-Fi router? Isn’t the one you get from your internet service provider good enough?

For some users, they’re fine. But if you’ve bought into the smart home revolution, there’s a good chance it won’t be adequate.

Today, you can buy a new class of “smart routers”. They’re specifically designed to cope with the demands of running a smart home. Are they right for you? Let’s find out. Here are five things that make smart Wi-Fi routers worth buying.

1. Network Security

Routers are a weak link in your home network’s security. Using one is much better than plugging your computer directly into an internet-connected modem Why You Should Use a Router Even With Only One PC Why You Should Use a Router Even With Only One PC Every household with internet access should be using a router, even if there's only one PC connected to the network. Here are a few compelling reasons why. Read More , but historically they’ve been an easy target for hackers.

In the past, it wasn’t such a big problem. A good anti-virus program Compare Your Anti-Virus' Performance with These 5 Top Sites Compare Your Anti-Virus' Performance with These 5 Top Sites Which anti-virus software should use? Which is the "best"? Here we take a look at five of the best online resources for checking anti-virus performance, to help you make an informed decision. Read More kept you protected from all but the most aggressive and hard-to-spot viruses, and most households only had one or two gadgets connected.

It all changed with the advent of smartphones. An average North American home now has 7.4 internet-connected devices. As smart technology continues to permeate every corner of our lives, the number will grow exponentially. Gartner predicts the number could be as high as 500 by 2022.

Advertisement

Lots of these new devices don’t yet have the same robust defense as your computer. Given how much information they know about you 9 Examples of How Smartphones Are Eavesdropping on You 9 Examples of How Smartphones Are Eavesdropping on You If you aren't careful, your smartphone may be listening in on your conversation -- even when you aren't on a call. But is it real or is it just paranoia? Read More , it’s a cause for concern.

Thankfully, router manufacturers are upping their game. For example, F-Secure’s new Sense router sends all your smart devices’ traffic through its Sense network. The network can block potentially dangerous traffic based on its reputation and behavior, stop tracking companies from profiling your online behavior, and send you a notification if one of your gadgets suffers a breach.

You should also check out the Chime Wi-Fi router. It comes with pre-installed software from anti-virus experts at AVG. It will automatically protect all your smart home gadgets from malware and phishing attacks.

2. Easily Manage Users and Devices

Most routers are stuck in the technological dark ages. Lists of network-connected devices are cryptic and hard to understand, managing users is impossible for anyone who’s not technologically savvy, and you need a PhD in programming if you want to change the router’s advanced settings.

It’s hard to know why the biggest manufacturers haven’t tried to simplify their products, but they’ll soon be facing stiff competition from hungry start-ups.

Take the new Luma router, for example. The accompanying app gives you complete control over all the users on your network. You can:

  • Choose who can and cannot access your network with a single swipe.
  • Add parental controls for your kids.
  • Receive alerts when your kids try and access restricted content, and instantly grant or deny access.
  • Pause the entire network and stop all devices from getting online.
Luma Whole Home WiFi (1 Pack - White) - Replaces WiFi Extenders and Routers, Works with Alexa, Free Virus Blocking, Free Parental Controls, Gigabit Speed Luma Whole Home WiFi (1 Pack - White) - Replaces WiFi Extenders and Routers, Works with Alexa, Free Virus Blocking, Free Parental Controls, Gigabit Speed Fastest home on the block: Ultra-fast WiFi delivered to every square inch of your house. No dead zones. No buffering. No kidding. Buy Now At Amazon $149.00

3. Better Coverage

Signal “dead spots” around the home 8 Tips to Effectively Boost Your Wireless Router Signal 8 Tips to Effectively Boost Your Wireless Router Signal If your wireless router's signal doesn't seem to reach very far, or if your signal keeps dropping for some weird reason, here are a few things you can do that might fix it. Read More are a familiar and annoying occurrence. Why can you instantly speak to your friend on the other side of the world on a cell phone, but your router’s signal can’t reach your bathroom?

The technology to improve coverage has been around for a long time, but the traditional manufacturers have largely decided not to implement it.

Poor coverage creates problems for a connected smart home. If Gartner’s prediction is correct, you’ll have smart gadgets in every room in your house within a few years. They’ll all need a stable and reliable connection.

Smart routers offer solutions. Google’s OnHub router 7 Reasons Why Your Next Router Should Be a Google OnHub 7 Reasons Why Your Next Router Should Be a Google OnHub Home routers are pretty much all the same. If you've seen one, you've seen them all. But the Google OnHub router is like nothing you've ever seen before. Read More has 13 antennas rather than the usual two. They are in a circular pattern that broadcasts your network evenly in all directions. None of them are visible, Google wisely tucked them away inside the router’s casing.

TP-Link OnHub AC1900 Wireless Wi-Fi Router - Google TP-Link OnHub AC1900 Wireless Wi-Fi Router - Google Super fast Wi-Fi speeds up to 1900 mbps to help with smooth streaming, gaming and downloading Buy Now At Amazon $118.50

An alternative approach uses multiple smaller devices to create a mesh network Are Mesh Nets The Future of The Internet? Are Mesh Nets The Future of The Internet? Mesh nets are powerful decentralized networks that may change the way we use the internet. Here's how they work. Read More . If you live in a large property, it’s a better solution than having one router in a central location. Eero sells its routers in packs of three; you place them around your home and they link together to create one large, continuous network. Each router covers approximately 1,000 square feet.

eero Home WiFi System (Pack of 3) - Blanket Your Home in WiFi, Replaces Wireless Router and Range Extender, Gigabit Speed, WPA2 Encryption eero Home WiFi System (Pack of 3) - Blanket Your Home in WiFi, Replaces Wireless Router and Range Extender, Gigabit Speed, WPA2 Encryption eero is the world's best-reviewed Whole Home WiFi System that replaces your wireless router and any range extenders. No more dead zones. Now with Alexa Skills. Buy Now At Amazon $355.49

4. Troubleshooting

Most home routers could double as Christmas decorations 3D Printed Christmas Decorations for Perfect Geeky Holidays 3D Printed Christmas Decorations for Perfect Geeky Holidays Why not save yourself some cash this Christmas and 3D print some festive adornments for your home? Read More ; the countless lights blink endlessly, with barely any indication of what they all mean.

That’s problematic when something goes wrong. If resetting the device doesn’t resolve your issue, you’ll be making a dreaded call to your ISP. You could be waiting days for a technician to visit.

Manufacturers of smart routers are trying to simplify the troubleshooting process 7 Simple Steps to Diagnose a Network Problem 7 Simple Steps to Diagnose a Network Problem Network issues are frustrating, especially when the problem lies with your ISP. Next time you can't get online, here's the process you should follow on your end to diagnose the network problem. Read More .

On the Starry Station router’s large touchscreen display, an orb represents every device on your network. If something goes awry, the orb changes color. Tapping it will let you know what’s wrong and the recommended course of action.

It’ll also send an alert if you should move a device from its 2.4 GHz network to its 5 GHz network and give you detailed monthly stats about your network’s performance.

Starry Station - Touchscreen WiFi Router - Simple Setup and Easy Parental Controls. Fast Gigabit Speed Starry Station - Touchscreen WiFi Router - Simple Setup and Easy Parental Controls. Fast Gigabit Speed The touchscreen router that makes fast WiFi easy to use and set up Buy Now At Amazon $275.95

5. Design

The days of bulky and unwieldy tech are long gone. The current design emphasis is on gadgets that enhance the look of your home. Smart home gadgets aren’t just useful, they’re visually stunning.

However, it seems the message never got through to many router manufacturers. Look at this picture of the Belkin F5D72304 from 2003:

belkin router 2003

And here’s a current D-Link N300:

dlink n300 router

Spot the difference? There’s certainly not much to spot. Sadly, you’re looking at almost 15 years of development. It’s not exactly ground-breaking.

Once again, start-up smart router manufacturers are leaving the traditional giants in their wake. Go back and look at the aesthetics of all the smart routers I’ve discussed so far in this article. Every one of them looks fantastic. They won’t look out-of-place underneath your suave new 60-inch 4K TV.

Compare them to Linksys’ newest smart router, the WRT3200ACM. Sure, it’s got some great features — a 1.3 GHz processor, a smartphone app, USB 3.0 ports — but look at it! Would you really want that out on display?

linksys wrt1900ac

Do You Want a Smart Router?

To summarize, “smart routers” is a vague term. No two smart routers work the same way or have the same goals. However, they will all have at least one of the following features:

  • Improved security.
  • Accompanying smartphone app.
  • Intelligent device monitoring.
  • Seamless integration with existing smart home gadgets.
  • Parental controls and/or network restrictions.
  • Easily manage users.

If those features are important to you, perhaps you should consider making a purchase.

Do you think a smart router is a good investment or are you still unconvinced by the benefits? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. John J Moore
    February 4, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    I have had issues hooking up anything in an AT&THE setup (e.g., extenders). Do any of these products have the ability to swap out their router with the one provided by AT&T? Moreover, is the setup simple, not esoteric?

  2. Helen
    December 26, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Good Day,
    I would like to advertise on your website makeuseof.com by posting a single link on the homepage or an article with two links in news, blog or forum section.
    Guest post (article) can be made by your writers on any topic, or can be made by ours.
    All payment we make via PayPal straight after the article goes live.
    If you want to make a counteroffer – feel free to contact me.
    Please inform me how much you want for such advertisement and if you have more than one website for such ads.
    Thanks!

  3. Retrocausal
    December 23, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    These routers are US/Canada only, as far as I can see. Europeans still use telegraph poles and morse code to communicate. This comment was relayed through said means.

    • Abhi
      December 24, 2016 at 1:20 am

      LOL