What router do you recommend?

We get asked this question quite frequently. We are hesitant to say "buy this one" since every experience is different and every budget is different. Through our experience with our current membership, we see some trends:

  1. Most home routers are difficult to set up properly and come out of the box with poor default choices
  2. Interference in the home (usually caused by neighbors, walls, microwaves, etc) often results in poor WiFi performance and slow speeds
  3. Using one router / WiFi access point and expecting to get good results in a home larger than about 1,000 square feet (or multiple floors) will often result in poor WiFi performance and speeds and an inconsistent experience 
  4. Cheap WiFi routers work fine for 25 Mbps packages and small homes but tend to loose performance in larger homes
  5. You often get what you pay for

There has been a ton of research, testing, etc done on home routers and wireless access points so instead of telling you what you should buy, we'll point you in the direction of some of that research. Most, if not all, of these can be bought on Amazon. Some are available at Best Buy or Staples.  

Wirecutter.com review of best home router "for most people"

What if you have a home larger than around 1,000 square feet or has more than one floor? We really recommend going the "mesh" route at this point. This is basically a system that uses multiple WiFi access points that you place around your house. They talk to each other on a "private" channel and then spread your coverage (and speed) through out the house. This is not the same as buying WiFi repeaters. Do not confuse the two. WiFi repeaters are about the worst thing you can install and expect faster speeds or better service. In fact, most of the time, repeaters make your entire network perform worse.

Mesh systems are fairly new but are gaining popularity because they work and tend to have much more user friendly set-ups, often done through a smart phone app.

Take a look at https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-wi-fi-mesh-networking-kits/ for a great review on mesh systems. We have members using the Orbi and the Eero systems with very good results. Yes, these are more expensive than buying a basic WiFi router - but they really are worth it in our opinion.

If you are going for a single router to service your house, one of our favorites router is the Synology RT2600. Why do we like this? It has excellent WiFi performance and a more user friendly interface that can do so much more than be a basic router. It has been reviewed by a number of networking professionals who also approve of it. It is on the pricer side of routers - but consider this a top of the line mid-range router and an excellent high end router:

If you use the link above to purchase, the co-op will get a small percentage.

Also, read our "What Speeds Should I expect" FAQ for more information about in home WiFi.

What if I want to use a telephone service but not pay Century Link?

Au Wireless service does support a large number of VoIP (Voice over IP) options. These are often devices that plug into your Internet connection and into your phone line - allowing you to use your old "land line" phones and often keep your existing land line telephone number but cancel your Century Link phone.  It brings your telephone service in through the Internet connection.

Pros:

  • Typically much more cost effective than a traditional land line
  • You can often keep your old number
  • The features included with many VoIP systems are much greater than with Century Link (emailing voice mails, call forwarding features, integration with Outlook and other email clients, etc).
  • No contracts or reliance on Century Link
  • Excellent call quality
  • Most are compatible with e911 (enhanced 911) for emergency calls

Cons:

  • Requires a constant Internet connection
  • When the power goes out and you loose Internet, your phone service will go down as well

Here is a small list of VoIP providers that some of our members have used:

Power Phone

Google Voice (requires a 3rd party phone adapter)

Vonage

Ooma

Lingo

If you have experience with any others that you are satisfied with, let us know.