For a lot of people, their ISP (Internet Service Provider) provided WiFi router is sufficient, but if you are a heavy user it may not be up to the job. Personally, I’ve always used the free router wherever possible, and even I don’t tweak too much, but there are some instances where the router needs to be replaced. And then, you hit the minefield of what to buy….
You can get fairly decent routers for £30 or so which would be simple, but enough for most home users, and these would be on par with your free ones.
However, if you need better functionality or WiFi performance, the sky is the limit and the price can be anything at all. Promises of increased WiFi range is often a white lie, and more than often expensive routers have no increased wifi range at all.
After all my research, the best I can find, and indeed where my money goes, is the TP-LINK Archer D5. Why? Well, its a powerful fully featured router, capable of ADSL connections with its inbuilt modem, or use via an existing or new Fibre modem if you are lucky enough to have fibre. The user interface is simple enough for simple users, and flexible enough for IT gurus. It has dual USB ports for media sharing, and powerful 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wifi (with guest wifi capabilities) which should improve your wifi throughout your house.
If you are going to upgrade, this is a good upgrade to go with – best price performance I could find at the time of writing.
After a week or so of use, I would say the router is stable, good connection, and undertakes all the features it says. However, if you expect substantial increase in wifi power you would be disappointed. The signal strength is only slightly above my experience of cheaper routers, but I would say the weaker signal is more reliable and has less drops than other routers.
So bottom line, its a good router, where my money went, but won’t blow you away if you want longer wifi range! (Though saying that, my house appears to be lead-lined and barely any signals go through any walls anyway). So your experiences may differ