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Granted, not everybody needs the kind of performance that you get with the latest and greatest models, and there's no reason to pay for features that you will likely never use, but if you have several family members vying for bandwidth for things like streaming video and playing Overwatch online, a new router can make a world of difference and help keep the peace.
We guide you through choosing a router that will handle your current and future wireless networking needs, and offer our top picks to get you started. Some models can only communicate over a single radio band, while others can use two.
If one or more of your devices will be streaming video from a service such as Netflix, or connecting to an online gaming service such as Xbox Live, consider a dual-band router.
These have two radios; one connects to the 2.4GHz band, and the other connects to the 5GHz band.
In order for MU-MIMO to work, the router and the client devices must contain MU-MIMO Wi-Fi circuitry.
MU-MIMO routers and clients are still relatively uncommon, but more MU-MIMO-enabled devices, including smartphones and smart TVs, are hitting the market all the time.
That said, they are perfectly adequate for things like Web surfing and connecting to social media services like Facebook and Twitter.
Look for a router with at least four 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) Ethernet ports, which allow you to connect to wired devices such as desktop PCs, network-attached storage (NAS) drives, and home-automation hubs.
Having at least one USB port makes it easy to plug in a printer or a USB drive and share it across the network, but with two ports you can do both.
These models are a good fit for multi-device households that experience heavy network traffic via lots of video streaming, torrent downloading, file transfers, and online gaming.
Wireless Ethernet networks use 802.11 protocols to send and receive data.