Cool Tech for Your Commission Check: Best Routers 2015

By
Cullen MacDonald
August 26, 2015

While we’ve covered some pretty fun––albeit not totally necessary––gadgets in our CoolTech posts (remote controlled quadricopters, anyone?), we’ve gone over some very practical tech as well, like tools for backing up your data and mobile apps for daily use. Here’s another post about something practical that you probably aren’t even thinking about–– Wi-Fi routers. There are some particularly cool options out there, if you’re looking for better, faster wireless Internet in your home or office.

Best Routers 2015

1. Google OnHub

Price: $199.99 Google OnHub is a Wi-Fi router that was designed to be displayed, rather than hidden behind your TV or knotted in a tangle of wires under your desk. The router’s cylindrical shape packs 13 antennas, and Google claims Wi-Fi speeds can reach up to 1900 Mbps. Pros:

  • Super easy to set up.
  • Can simultaneously support up to 128 devices.
  • You can prioritize certain devices for faster connection (if, for example, you’re streaming an HD video on your smart TV).
  • Supports all the latest Wi-Fi protocols.
  • Has a really sleek design, so you dont hide it away, giving you better connectivity.
  • Automatically scans networks in the area to ensure it doesn’t interfere with other networks.
  • Has a speaker, but for what? There are signs this product will be a huge new market for Google, and it will definitely get more features in the future, supporting more and more “smart devices.” The device’s software is updated automatically.
  • Has an app for iOS and Android that lets you monitor traffic, prioritize devices, troubleshoot issues, and perform basic maintenance and setup.

Cons:

  • It is available for pre-order only, with a release date of August 31, 2015 (you only have to wait a few days, so it’s really not that bad).
  • Because OnHub isn’t on the market yet, there isn’t a lot of information out there yet to help you decide whether or not to buy (reviews, etc.).

2. Apple Airport Express

Price: $99.00 The Apple Airport Express is a small router and Wi-Fi booster that can be used like a traditional router or simply as an extender in conjunction with another router. (Which means you can actually use it with onHub OR the next pick on the list.) Pros:

  • Has a dedicated app to help you with fast setup.
  • Operates on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands, allowing it to send and receive data at the same time.
  • Supports Apple Airplay. Just connect Airport Express to speakers and control the music from your computer or iOS device. If you live in the Apple device ecosystem and already have speakers, this is super awesome. If not, check out our post on Sonos Home Audio.

Cons:

  • Has a USB port, but I haven't figured out a real use for it other than a networked printer.
  • Doesn’t let you prioritize a certain device like OnHub does.

3. Apple Airport Time Capsule

Price: $299.00 Like the Airport Express, the Apple Airport Time Capsule has simultaneous dual-band support. However, it does more than simply act as a router. It is also a wireless hard drive that can work with your Mac’s Time Machine backups. Pros:

  • Supports all the modern Wi-Fi things you don't know and don't care about (supports 802.11ac technology, etc.), but trust us, it's future proof and it’s fast.
  • Has a 2 TB hard drive built in for automatic backups.
  • Has a USB drive, which allows you to connect a network printer OR plug in an external drive for network storage. In other words, you can connect any external hard drive and share those files across your Wi-Fi network and all your devices, including PCs. (Why oh why doesn't the Airport Express support this?!)
  • Built-in firewall for safer internet browsing. Apple is sort of known for their security.

Cons:

  • Price. At $299, it’s the most expensive product on the list.
  • For the investment, it’s really really worth it if you’re a Mac user.

There you have it––best routers 2015. If you’re looking for a new Wi-Fi router that can outperform the one you have now, consider these options. Questions? Let us know in the comments.