There’s nothing quite like a family surfing the web together. The streamer blaming the gamer, the gamer blaming the two browsers, and even the pet’s collar having some Wi-Fi enabled device that messes up the quality for everyone. Sounds great, doesn’t it? If not, then looking into a router that is specialized for multiple users may be for you. Here, we take a look at the top 10 Multiple User Routers of 2017, with a focus on quality, cost, and features.
10. D-Link AC3200 Ultra
Starting off our list of the best multiple-user routers is one that also appeared as an entry in the top 10 best DD-WRT routers, the D-Link AC3200 Ultra. Looking more spaceship than router, the AC3200 is a $200 machine that is marketed to gamers and big groups alike with the “Ultra Tri-Band Wi-Fi”. While most routers on the market offer 2 connections, one 2.4 GHz and one 5GHz, the Ultra also offers a second 5GHz connection, both of which can carry a 1300Mbps connection. The QoS feature may be handy to some who need unequal connection distribution, but even without it I was able to run 9 devices on the router without any real problem (unless you count the upcoming power bill), no matter where they were at the apartment. I was able to stream 4k video without issue with all devices running, which is an excellent show of stability, especially given the somewhat underwhelming 1GHz processor. As an added bonus, the DD-WRT format can allow for tinkerers to customize more features of their router than other types may, meaning this could be a custom piece for a truly custom home.
9. D-Link AC1750 DIR-859
Though not purpose built for a bunch of users, the DIR-859 can hold its own in terms of range and speed, even with a good handful of devices and users being on the same router at once. Great for an apartment or a small household, the DIR-859 can keep up decent speeds (450 or 1300 Mbps dependent on 2.4 or 5GHz) at a good distance and even allow for multiple streaming devices across floors. However, all is not sunshine, roses and 4k for this router. Security issues can be a bit of a problem, and despite easy set up, there are limited customization options offered when compared to other routers around the same price point or a little more. For around $80 though, it’s a good deal for a high performance, medium protection router.
8. TP-Link N300
Do you have a need for multiple connections but also want to remain on a budget? If so, the TP-Link N300 is a solid choice, costing only about $25. For the price of a somewhat cheap dinner for two, you can nab a router that has a moderate amount of speed (around 300 Mbps) which can be handy for an apartment with a few roommates. Certainly not the best with range either (there was about a 100Mbps drop off across the apartment of around 1,000 Square Feet), this is a no-frills router. However, the set up is remarkably easy, and the use of consoles and computers alike are not usually a problem. As an added bonus, there is a limited 2 year warranty in case something goes wrong.
7. Securifi Almond Wireless Router
One of the easiest routers to set up, the Almond is also pretty sweet for those who have a busy house full of devices. Coming in at around $80 by most vendors, it’s not the cheapest nor the most expensive by any stretch of the meaning. Set up, as the advertisement claims, is remarkably easy with the touch screen, with myself being able to get it set up in well under 3 minutes. 300Mbps is the speed for this router as well, but the range is better than the N300 model above. In fact, I was able to reliable get connection as far out as the parking lot (though this wouldn’t be recommended for an attempt to stream). Easy, dependable, well made and with a moderate price tag, this is a good entry level router, especially for people who aren’t really down with getting into the nuts and bolts of technology.
6. ASUS RT-N66U N900
With good speed and quite decent coverage, the N66U is a slightly higher tier of quality of router for those who also don’t mind tinkering with the system a bit. Using the ASUSWRT as the primary setup and maintenance interface is a bit less simple than a touch screen but allows for significantly more customizability than the previous entry. Speed is also improved with this router, with 300Mbps found on the 2.4GHz channel and 600 on the 5GHz channel. All nine testing devices were able to run concurrently without an issue, though 4k streaming was not a possibility at the time, with 1080p being about as high as one could manage. This is a good general use router, especially for larger homes or if you have a secondary worksite (garage, shop, guest house etc.) near your home that could use some connectivity. And for $85, it’s pretty reasonably priced.
5. Google WiFi System
If your home has multiple users and a wide variety of devices inside, then the Google WiFi System is a great choice. Made primarily to be the router for your connected home, the Google WiFi uses a mesh system to make sure that the internet of things runs smoothly. Whether handling Nest data, streaming Netflix or looking up cooking tips in the kitchen, this router can handle it at vast distances of 4000 square feet. Simultaneous use is encouraged as each of the 3 hubs carries a 710MHz processor and half a gigabyte of RAM which ensures that each stream can be carried with minimal hiccup. At $279,it’s certainly not the cheapest on this list, but if you have the square footage and devices to warrant it, this should not be a problematic expense.
4. TP-Link AD7200 Talon
Great for heavy use offices who expect good performance under pressure, the $350 router can be a good investment for those who have plenty of designers or researchers under their employ. While most routers offer two channels (2.4 GHz and 5GHz), the Talon offers those and a third at 60GHz which can go at 4600Mbps. The Talon includes a pair of Dual Core 1.4GHz processors that can manage connections with astounding stability, and if needed traffic can be properly prioritized. With incredible speed, great processing power, and a range that can easily cover just about any need, it’s a great choice for those router buyers who need to think of multiple users.
3. AFOUNDRY Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router
If you want a router that could service an entire apartment complex or several floors of a college dorm, the AFOUNDRY is a good choice, at a usually pretty good sale price. With a MSRP of around $200, one might find it interesting that a majority of the time this router can be found for just shy of $100. This does not mean that the router is any less than worth the original price though, especially for multiple users and big spaces. With 6 antennas and an advertised ability to take on 100 devices (though in my testing I could only field 9, so that high of a claim is unverified, but plausible), this can carry a consistent connection of around 1200Mbps. Alongside the antenna are 3 processors all used to handle the various connections and allow for a great deal of stability. While this is a fantastic system for groups of people you can trust, the security (or lack thereof) allow for the use of this router by people who wouldn’t otherwise be given access. Set up can also be a problem for those who aren’t experienced in IT or Computer Science. That being said, if you’re in an area that you can trust the users, and need the range, this is a fantastic choice for large groups of people.
2. Netgear AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router
For a smaller family (or roommates) still looking for stability and speed, the Netgear AC1750 Nighthawk is a great deal at just over $100. Offering up to 12 stable connections at 450 and 1300 Mbps speeds (which are true in practice and advertising, at least over moderate distances), this can be great for gamers and streamers who would otherwise be at each other’s throats. In terms of range, the Netgear can easily handle the average apartment and most small to medium sized homes, though it’s not nearly as good for distance as the previous entry. The dual core 1GHz processor helps keep stability for multiple devices as well, which is a nice touch. In terms of security, there’s nothing to write home about but it’s not a slouch either, and the warranty is the standard Amazon package: 30 days to return if there’s an issue. Still, if you want a good multi-person router at a 1 person price, this may just be your router.
1. ASUS RT-AC5300
If you have a family or office that needs speed, and already has ponied up the cash for the best your ISP has to offer, the next step for you may be our top pick for multiple user routers, the ASUS RT-AC5300. At $350, it’s expensive, but with that expense comes quality. One key feature is the MU-MIMO technology (short for Multiple User – Multiple Input Multiple Output) that allows the management of many devices with the router losing minimal speed. In terms of speed, this one is perhaps not the absolute quickest, but in terms of range and consistent connection can perform with the best. Speeds can go from around 1000Mbps for the 2.4GHz channel to 2167Mbps on the 5GHz channel. In terms of connection management, there is 256MB of RAM, 128MB flash memory and a 1.4GHz dual core CPU. As a final feature, the router has no less than 8 antenna, 4 for dedicated receiving and 4 dedicated transmitters.