The epidemic has caused most of us to stay at home, which means that the best budget router can now also function as a router on the network. There is, however, a dilemma for some because transferring work-related traffic with dial tone-like reliability might be a difficult task for that old router under the television.
It is time to upgrade your network if it is wheezing under the strain of supporting your work-at-home data traffic, as well as the normal gaming and entertainment activities. However, since the epidemic is straining both budgets and bandwidth, you are probably looking for a more cost-effective solution. Below are a few options to consider.
The latest Wi-Fi technology is used to offer blistering data rates and innovative features in higher-end wireless budget routers at prices that can exceed $300 or more. The goal is to increase speed, but you do not necessarily need the most expensive and latest technology to achieve it.
If you have only a few connected devices in a small apartment or house, a budget router can save you a lot of money on network connectivity. Despite their cost, budget routers can still provide good connectivity and even some of today’s most advanced features, but they lack the features of more expensive models.
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TP-Link Archer AX3000 (AX55)
TP-Link Archer AX3000 (AX55) is our budget pick for the most popular Wi-Fi router, as we already reviewed it in our best Wi-Fi router article. With OneMesh support and enhanced stability, the Archer AX3000 is an upgrade to the AX50.
In terms of actual speed, 5GHz is capable of hitting 500Mbps from a distance of 40 feet, whereas 2.4GHz will only be able to hit around 100Mbps. Interestingly, the AX55 replaces the Intel chip with a Qualcomm one, which, even though it operates at a lower frequency, is much more stable.
In terms of features, it has all the ones from the previous iteration. Security is greatly improved by the addition of WPA3, which is the most important new feature. Moreover, the device also supports OneMesh, so it can be paired with routers and Wi-Fi extenders that support TP-Link’s standard.
Additionally, HomeShield and the DNS relay feature protect users from denial-of-service attacks. However, he AX50 does not come with an external memory slot, but what you gain in return makes up for that loss.
You will also find four gigabit Ethernet ports and four beamforming antennas in the back, as well as a USB 3.0 port. AX55 also supports Wi-Fi 6, allowing it to reach these high speeds even at distances of up to 40 feet. Last but not least, it also supports MU-MIMO, which means you can connect to more than one device simultaneously without experiencing any weird latency or lag.
TP-Link Archer AX1500 (AX10)
The TP-Link Archer AX1500 (AX10) is an excellent router that supports Wi-Fi 6 for less than $100, despite having a hefty price tag.
The performance of the 2.4Ghz band isn’t that great, probably netting you an average of 80Mbps at 30 feet. Most likely due to the use of Wi-Fi 6, it can reach around 750Mbps at 30 feet in the 5GHz department, which is where it really shines. For a cheap router, stability is also pretty decent, so none of that is to be complained about. It even supports WPA3, which it received as part of a firmware update.
In terms of setup, it is fairly straightforward and follows the same procedure as all the TP-Link Archer models, so if you’ve used one before, this will be no different. In addition to the advanced controls, there is port forwarding, VPN support, and dynamic DNS support. You can simply plug the router into your computer if you do not have any technical skills, and it will take care of everything.
Apart from that, the only real downside is the lack of a USB port and the inability to operate at 160MHz, neither of which is a deal-breaker.
As soon as the word “gaming” is mentioned, items tend to skyrocket in price. However, the D-Link DIR-882 does its best not to use Wi-Fi 6, which would further increase the price, while remaining at an affordable price.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the DIR-882 is its massive antennas, designed primarily to boost performance. 2.4GHz performance is not all that great with 150Mbps at 50 feet, but 5GHz speeds can easily reach 250Mbps at the same range, so playing games anywhere in your house shouldn’t be an issue. The same applies to other activities, such as streaming in 4K, without having to deal with choppy video.
The main features include MI-MIMO and QoS, which work together to balance out the router’s performance since this router is designed to be good at gaming. Furthermore, it offers both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, as well as four Gigabit Ethernet ports.
There are only a few downsides, and in this case, it’s the lack of WPA3 and Wi-Fi 6. The DIR-882 is not really a deal-breaker, especially since it can manage decent speeds without Wi-Fi 6, and for most users, some form of WPA2 will suffice.
That is all for this post. Selecting the best router at an affordable rate can be frustrating. Hopefully, this article will help you in that regard. Leave your queries and questions below.