Test results for 15 dual-band wireless routers.
Please note, this test is of routers only, which do not have modem capability, not modem-routers.
The new crop of dual-band wireless routers promises an end to wireless networking bottlenecks, delivering lightning speed and enormous signal range. We bought and tested 15 top dual-band models to see which ones can give you greater Wi-Fi freedom.
- Dual-band routers can be faster and more versatile than single-band models.
- Many can set up two separate networks.
- Ease of use is particularly important for new users.
Why buy a dual-band router?
Wireless communication is taking over the home, fuelled by a rapidly expanding portfolio of internet-connected devices, from computers and smartphones to media hubs, net-enabled TVs and possibly even fridges. As more of these devices are added to the network there’s an increasing need for greater bandwidth to cope with growing demand.
But there’s only so much traffic you can load up on one wireless network, and you can quickly reach that threshold if you’re using your home Wi-Fi for multiple devices. Web browsing from mobile devices is experiencing phenomenal growth, and it’s not unusual for a family to have users browsing the web and watching internet catch-up TV on computers, streaming movies to portable devices or TVs and playing console games with live internet access – possibly all at the same time. The more users join a network, the sooner you hit the bandwidth ceiling of your router and have to start turning things off.
That’s where dual-band routers come in. The latest concurrent/simultaneous 802.11n models offer greater throughput by actually creating and using two different networks – one in the 2.4GHz band, and one in the 5GHz band – to effectively double capacity. Or, you can cater each network for separate uses – one network for intra-home media streaming, for example, and the other for normal internet use. Bear in mind, however, that these are wireless-n routers (802.11n), and if you connect a device that is only capable of wireless-b or g, you’ll only achieve the throughput of the slower device.
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- Apple AirPort Extreme
- Asus Dual-band Wireless-N Gigabit Router
- Belkin N600 Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router
- Belkin N750 Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router
- Buffalo AirStation Nfiniti HighPower
- Cisco Advanced Dual-Band N Router
- Cisco Maximum Performance Wireless-N Router
- D-Link Xtreme N Dual-band Gigabit Router
- D-Link Wireless N Dual-band Router
- DrayTek Vigor2830 Series
- Edimax 300Mbps Wireless Concurrent Dual-Band Gigabit iQ Router
- Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router Premium Edition
- Netgear N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router
- Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router
- TP-Link 450Mbps Dual-Band Wireless N Gigabit Router
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