Wireless routers

We've tested 12 store-bought routers and 10 ISP-supplied models to assess their WiFi performance and security, plus how easy they are to set up.

wireless router

ASUS

RT-AC86U

recommended

77

Avg price

$419
www.priceme.co.nz

Member Reviews

    It has excellent security and the second-best score for fibre speeds. The router is good at channel switching and its 5GHz network is excellent. Its built-in software is geared towards high-speed online gaming, so will easily handle day-to-day home traffic.

    Test results

    • 73
      WiFi performance
    • 77
      Ease of use and setup
    • 90
      Security

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    Good points

    • Good WiFi performance.
    • Excellent 5GHz WiFi performance.
    • Easy to use.
    • Very good fibre speed.
    • Only some interference on 2.4GHz signal.
    • Good for channel switching.

    Bad points

    • Only OK 2.4GHz WiFi performance.

    How we test

    Overall score includes:

    WiFi performance (60%) – measured at 4m and 10m from the router. We calculated the speeds, in megabits per second (Mbps), using online speed testing apps. We repeated the test 3 times on each band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and at each distance. The speeds from both distances were averaged and scored compared to the speeds expected for the WiFi standards they were using.

    Ease of use and setup (20%) – based on an assessment of set up and how easy the device is to use including monitoring and managing network access and changing default settings (service set identifier (SSID), network key/password, encryption and WiFi protected set-up (WPS) settings). We also looked at the ease of accessing advanced functions such as guest networks, virtual private network (VPN), attached external media and parental control tools.

    Security (20%) – looked at whether the networks were encrypted, how easy it was to identify them by SSID, and the security of the network key/password.

    If a USB storage device can be connected to the router so that media is shared on the network. Also called Media Server and ReadyShare.

    DLNA is a certification that guides how media can be shared amongst devices over a network. It is often used with media sharing.

    Where a 3g or 4G USB dongle is connected through a USB port. The router can then route the 3G/4G signal through the WiFi network.

    Price is based on a December 2018 online price survey.

    Model

    • Avg price

      $419

    Speed test results

    • Fibre

      8.9/10

    • WiFi performance 2.4GHz

      5.5/10

    • WiFi performance 5GHz

      9.0/10

    • Obstruction 2.4GHz

      Moderate interference from obstruction

    • Obstruction 5GHz

      Noticeable interference from obstruction

    • Channel switching ability

      Good at channel switching

    Specifications

    • Fibre

      Yes

    • WiFi bands (GHz)

      2.4 & 5

    • Antennas

      4

    • Antenna placement

      One internal, three external on the top

    • Dimensions (WxDxH) [mm]

      220 x 160 x 83

    • Weight (g)

      500

    Features

    • Mesh
    • MIMO

      Yes

    • Beamforming support
    • Ethernet LAN ports

      4

    • USB ports

      2

    • Media sharing via USB
    • DLNA
    • Installation wizard
    • Quality of Service
    • Parental controls
    • Parental control features

      Time scheduling on devices, website filter, app and keyword filter

    • Firewall
    • Guest network WiFi

      Yes

    • WPS support
    • 3G/4G passthrough
    • VOIP
    • Wall mountable