You may be in the market searching for the best small business router for your company, but don’t be taken in by the flashy gizmos and futuristic designs. In this case, what you see is what you might not really get. It can be easy to be taken in by appearances, where routers look the part of a space age gadget, when in reality, they could simply be a shell of a subpar router.
What you need could be right in front of your eyes, and many times its best to not judge a book by its cover. This is why we’ve taken a look behind the scenes in the search for the best router for small business so that you can spend more time concentrating on the latest marketing strategy or business plan rather than scratching your head on finding the best router.
Although there are still many older, reliable models which can be capable of handling your business’ internet demands, we wanted to ensure that these routers also had the latest features so that you could future proof your office for a long time to come. We’ve got all the info here in this guide. Read on.
When it comes down to it, we are living in the 21st century, and your technology should reflect that. Your router is your gateway to the world outside the four walls of your office space, and you want it to be the best it can be. Your focus needs to be on speed, on your router being able to handle multiple connections at the same time, while having the latest security features and wireless technology. Your connection is your lifeline- you have to ensure that it is stable so that your work doesn’t suffer.
It should have the following features to be considered a place in this guide.
QoS: This simple setting can do wonders for prioritizing VoIP traffic as well as transforming a standard router into one that can handle internet requirements for your office.
Dual Band: You need to have both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands for your business so that your traffic can be separated to avoid unnecessary congestion.
Multiple LAN ports: This determines how many devices can be connected wired – being wired helps to avoid VoIP call issues, and if the router of your choice does not have enough LAN ports, you can always opt for a Network Switch.
Dual WAN: This is abbreviated from Wide Area Network and helps to connect carious LAN networks into one WAN, which can make a difference in Load balancing and more. Also, having dual WAN can help allow your business to use two separate internet connections from different ISPs, and can act like your network’s backup should one fail.
VLAN: A VLAN, or Virtual Local Area Network helps separate devices into different LAN segments for better identification of network groups.
VPN: Virtual Private Network is an absolute must for any best business router, because users can have access to the business network no matter their location. Business routers also focus more on security and have better capabilities in handling multiple users on the network at the same time.
Have the latest wireless standard: Having 802.11AC is important are this is the newest standard which is way faster than the older N version. You need this to stay relevant and to future proof your business.
Knowing the above requirements, the BlueGadgetTooth team reviewed a whole bunch of routers to determine which was the best small business router for your company. More detailed information lies ahead.
1. Asus RT-AC87U
4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
2. Linksys AC4000
4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
3. TP-Link Archer C3200
4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
The ASUS RT-AC87U is a router that is in a class of its own. Power packed with features that will make your business run smoothly, it’s a steal deal and our Editor’s pick for the best small business router for 2017.
The futuristic, no nonsense design is attractive and the installation and set up process is very user friendly and simple to complete. When we try out a new router, the BlueGadgetTooth team always anticipates a little trouble during the installation and configuration process, but the ASUS RT-AC87U was a dream to work with. This is the kind of router you want for your business, one that is easy to get up and running, while providing all the essential features needed for a business.
Asus does seem to be leaders of the business routers pack with this model. The build is sturdy and we love the matt finish that makes keeping it clean from dust that little bit easier. For those of you who are worried about space, this can be mounted on your wall – so super plus points there!
The AC87U’s Quantenna QSR1000 steps up the 5GHz wifi due to the 4x4 streams instead of 3x3 from earlier. The theoretical speeds are bumped up as well, how this affects you purely depends upon your plan with your ISP. Other features that take this to the top of the line is the IPv6 compatibility, 4 Gigabit LAN ports, Gigabit WAN port and the much needed USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.
The Ai Protection feature helps keep your business network protected from malware and also alerts you to devices that are infected with viruses – in addition to this, employers can be assured, as they can restrict certain website access from their employees.
We read about problems that this router had when it was first released, but as quite some time has gone by, we know that the glitch firmware has been corrected, because we found no problems in our testing or overall performance.
We tested the AC87U from multiple distances to check how reliable and stable the signal strength was, and it delivered. We reached nowhere near theoretical speeds, but that could change one day when our ISP finally wakes up. However, 250Mbps at a close range, with the strength waning to 85Mbps from a distance of 30 feet is still impressive. The 2.4GHz band also proved to be impressive, with speeds ranging in the 40Mbps – 50Mbps range.
Equipped with the latest wireless standard of 802.11AC, the EA4000 has a bunch of features that is built to impress and deliver. When we checked out the features, we were excited about trying this one out and reviewing it, and we did have some high expectations – and we can’t WAIT to tell you about them!
With MU-MIMO, six external antennas that seem to work overtime effortlessly to provide awesome speeds and connectivity to the Tri-band feature, the EA4000’s power packed features work in tandem to deliver an unmatched performance which will make a HUGE difference to your business’ performance online.
It is one of the most powerful wireless routers available in the market, and the Linksys Max-Stream provides remote access control toy our network so that you can access it from anywhere, anytime – worried about the network while flying out for a business meeting elsewhere? No need to worry now!
Because this is so powerful, your entire team in your office space or small business can do their own thing without worrying of dropped connections – so if you have a graphics company or film review, each of your team members can stream 4kHD, or test out new games, browse, stream music in the background while checking mail at the same time.
The advanced features such as their-time fairness help your devices to find their optimal speeds, so faster devices can access faster speeds and vice versa. Also, the Beamforming feature helps to focus and deliver a stronger connection all connected clients. And if you’re really on the cutting edge of technology, it can work with Amazon Alexa. Also, you can know more about guest credentials; switch the guest network on and off and more.
We were already impressed with the stats of the EA9300, and the speeds were consistent with our expectations. There were no complaints from us, even two weeks into testing because our connection was super reliable and the speeds well over 200Mbps at any given moment. Our mobile devices also enjoyed seamless roaming, no matter which room we were in, and in our eyes, it is the little touches and improvements that makes this a high performance router for small businesses.
When it comes to value, the TP-Link Archer C3200 has everyone beat hands down. It’s a case of beam me up Scotty, because this futuristic looking device seems right at home in a Star Trek series. It is not as pricy as other wireless routers, but it is not the budget friendly aspect that makes the C3200 a great buy.
Any small business knows that a Tri-band technology is a must – having three separate wireless bands to connect all your devices to makes a huge difference. Your small business will have a certain number of devices; on average a single person has at least 3 devices – so your office will be operating a lot more.
But having three bands is useless if there is no smart connect which helps to divert various devices to the correct channel, avoiding congestion and slow devices that could clog up your network and this is why the Smart Connect feature is simply brilliant.
4 external antennas are good, but 6? That’s even better! TP-Link hasn’t skimped on any feature that may affect performance with a 1GHz dual core processor to give you uninterrupted connectivity. Added to this, the 3 coprocessors give that added boost as well, ensuring your network does not suffer.
For tech newbies, the TP-Link C3200 is easy and simple to set up, which saves time if you are not used to handling complicated gadgets. The Tether app also helps in simplifying things and network management. Beamforming is a must, as we mentioned in our list of features vital for the best small business router segment, and this one has it too.
As it has a combined speed of 3200Mbps, you can relax, knowing that speed is going to be the least of your worries.
When it came to performance, we were very happy with this model. Having a small business meant we had up to 30 devices running at all times, whether our smart phones, laptops, computers, printers – you name it, we probably had it.
We got speeds as promised, and all this for a fraction of the cost of what other business routers were priced at. Excellent range even over distances, nothing as compared to the Linksys EA9300, but enough to do the job.
When it comes down to it, the above three routers are the best for each segment in the race for the best small business router competition. In all honesty, you may be tempted to buy the first one that comes your way, but careful research (all available here for you), helps make sure that you get something that is ideal and well suited for your business’s internet needs.
Many small businesses go for a consumer router, thinking that there won’t be much of a difference in performance, but that’s where you would be wrong. Built and designed specifically for small businesses, these routers have the best of features needed to run a business smoothly while ensuring that performance is not affected.
All in all, whether you are on a tight budget, or don’t want to compromise on quality or performance, or are simply looking for one which delivers overall, these routers, after being carefully tested, pass all our criteria. And this is why you should always opt for the best small business router for your business, instead of getting a consumer router.