Nowadays, most people look for the best dual band wifi router that allows for interchangeable usage between the two bands. WiFi routers used to operate in only a 2.4GHz band. But more than a decade ago, they started to manufacture dual-band WiFi routers, which include a 5GHz band. It was necessary since many other WiFi devices use the same frequency. On the other hand, the 5GHz frequency is dedicated only for routers’ use.
You might wonder why they can’t just produce routers with only the 5GHz band. But this band has a drawback in that it works fine at shorter distances and the signal deteriorates the farther it goes. For that matter, a dual-band router leaves you an option to interchange the usage where necessary.
Some high-end routers now include a third band, another 5GHz frequency band. Unless you have a lot of devices needing to use the WiFi simultaneously, a dual-band router is sufficient in providing an adequate uninterrupted connection. Have a look at our review of several dual-band routers. One of the following routers might fit the bill.
TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A7)
The TP-Link Archer A7 offers a superb balance of affordability, performance, and features. Although it doesn’t provide as many customization options as the rivals do, its dual-band setup, QoS, parental controls and a rare two-year warranty are enough to entice most users.
Your make-do work-from-home workstation may not have enough space to put all your home office equipment. This is where the Archer A7 can solve your arrangement woes. It’s small enough to fit on a desk, put beside a CPU, or just hang it on the wall.
The Qualcomm-powered Archer A7 router produces a maximum speed of 1,750Mbps from its dual-band. While lacking MU-MIMO technology, it has Quality of Service facility to compensate for that deficiency. In addition, the manufacturer added some more speed-boosting advanced features such as Beamforming technology for a stronger directional signal. It also boasts IPTV streaming for a satisfying streaming experience on your smart TV.
An Apple gadget person replaced his Apple-produced router (Airport – no longer in production) with an Archer A7 and found that the router had no issues whatsoever to provide excellent WiFi connection to all his Apple devices at amazing speeds. At a bargain price of less than half of the previous year’s price tag, he was satisfied with the router which satisfied all his needs.
● Offered at a bargain price.
● Balanced reasonable performance at a fraction of a high-end router’s cost.
● Offers a rare two-year warranty.
● Two industry-leading installation options, by web interface or TP-Link’s Tether app.
● Lacking a variety of customization options.
● Mediocre performance at longer range.
Overall, we find the TP-Link Archer A7 provides all the necessary WiFi connections satisfactorily. It might not break the signal speed record, but it also does not break your bank. While lacking MU-MIMO technology and low performance at long distance, it provides ample power and speed within a small house or an apartment. It may well be the best dual band router that you’re looking for.
TP-Link WiFi 6 Router AX1800 (Archer AX21)
Upgrading to WiFi 6 router for less than $100? That sounds crazy, considering WiFi 6 is the latest version of WiFi technology, and there are routers without the latest version selling at twice the price or more. The router’s name is TP-Link Archer AX21. Yes, it’s a TP-Link product – one of the world’s biggest router manufacturers.
The Archer AX21 looks standard, but it has a glossy island (or peninsular) laid diagonally on top, making it looks classy. Other than that, it’s just a squarish router with four vertical antennas at the back panel. The back panel also houses four LAN ports and a USB port that some people find easy to connect peripherals such as a printer or an external storage drive.
Although embedded with WiFi 6 technology the Archer AX21 can produce a lower total speed of 1,800Mbps for its dual band. However, you can only connect one band at a time, meaning the maximum speed offered is only 1,201Mbps coming from its 5 GHz band. Still, its throughput can give a decent performance to an apartment or a small house. It’s not a mesh router network, so if you have a very big house, don’t expect the AX21 could cover the entire premises.
● Performs better than most comparable AX1800 routers.
● Simple design with a touch of style.
● Has WiFi 6 technology from under $100.
● Equipped with WPA3 – the latest installation of WiFi security.
● Limited options of unique features.
● Absence of the latest IPv6.
In conclusion, the TP-Link Archer AX21 provides an easy choice of a router that supports the next-gen WiFi 6 at an affordable price, something rare to find elsewhere. While lacking unique features, this router performs well and can connect to the latest WiFi 6-capable latest devices. Its simplicity and above-average performance put the Archer AX21 in the top position of your list of the best routers for upgrading.
TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 (Archer AX50)
With similar descriptions to the Archer 21 reviewed above but containing higher numeric suggests that the TP-Link AX3000 Archer AX50 has the same structure and features but performs at a higher level. True enough, but you need to fork out 50% more money to get it home. With its capabilities matching other more expensive routers, it’s no wonder the Archer AX50 was awarded as the most satisfactory WiFi router in 2020.
Nevertheless, the dual-band router has a traditional look, with smooth cross-like platform and four upright antennas standing from the back panel. The back panel also houses four LAN ports and a single WAN port. Additionally, it comes with two USB ports offering flexibility with some auxiliary devices such as printers. However, much to our disappointment, it doesn’t have a multi-gig port or a link aggregation feature. But it can still fit to be your best adsl router.
The AX50’s 2.4GHz band delivers 574Mbps, but the 5Ghz band can produce a whopping 2,400Mbps. It’s a better WiFi with a 2X2 setup to cater for current needs such as 4K streaming, video calls, and active online gaming. If you have a house of 1,800 square feet or below, this router can easily cover your entire house with no worries about dead zones or interruptions with the connection. In addition, the Archer AX50 has a feature to regulate sleep time, resulting in less power consumption.
● Affordable WiFi 6 2X2 high-performance router
● Sleek and lightweight design – easy to hang on the wall for space saving.
● Savings in power consumption with the regulated sleep time feature.
● It comes with industry-leading anti-malware and parental control features.
● Lack of multi-gig ports.
● File transfer speed is not great.
In summary, it offers all the great features of an AX21 router, only with greater performance in power, speed, and coverage. Of course, that comes at a higher price. If you want more freedom with seamless online connection experience, then the Archer AX50 poses as a better choice.
NETGEAR Cable Modem CM500
The Netgear CM500 cable modem is a splendid choice to facilitate a connection for internet plans of 300Mbps or lower. This incredibly cheap cable modem can perform as well as other more expensive devices. After all, you can save from paying monthly device rental from your ISP. Although you pay a slightly bigger one-off amount at the starter, over time, you will save more.
The CM500 comes with a built-in stand to place it upright for the all-important space saving at your workstation. Equipped with 16 x 4 downstream and upstream channels, meaning it can achieve a maximum speed of 680Mbps, although it’s touted to best serve internet plans of 300Mbps or lower. Lacking some desirable features and accessories such as power on/off button and a wrench for fixing wired connection, it still works great.
A non-technical person stopped renting the device from his internet service provider and bought the Netgear CM500 cable modem after some googling. It took him less than 10 minutes to do the setting, and the Comcast internet service was ready to use. Pairing it with a regular wireless router got him to enjoy better connectivity.
● Simple and sleek design with built-in stand for upright placement.
● Incredibly cheap.
● Setup only takes less than 10 minutes.
● Giving up renting, you can recover the cost of buying the modem in about seven months.
● The web interface doesn’t provide performance statistics.
● Need to place it in a well-ventilated area since it generates some heat.
To conclude, the Netgear CM500 cable modem performs at the same level with the more expensive cables. Although it’s best for an internet plan of up to 300Mbps, it can handle higher speeds easily. If you find your rented device leaves a lot to be desired, then it’s time to call your ISP to terminate your device rental agreement and buy the CM500 immediately. You will recover the cost after only seven months anyway.
NETGEAR Cable Modem Wi-Fi Router Combo C6250
If you want to get the best dual band adsl modem router, the Netgear modem router combo C6250 easily fits the bill. Netgear, having one of the biggest names in manufacturing internet connection devices, produces all three types – modem only, router only, and modem/router combo devices. Although it’s most popular with WiFi routers, it produces some impressive modem router combo devices.
As an all-in-one WiFi solution, the C6250 delivers great speeds and maintains lag and buffer-free connection and streaming through multiple connected devices. Equipped with two Gigabit ethernet ports, you can wire-connect preferred devices for jaw-dropping fast and powerful connection experiences. On top of that, you also have an option to share a printer or hard drive using a USB port.
The C6250 has a sleek and minimalistic design. Just like the Netgear CM500 cable modem, it has a base to make it stand in the upright position, albeit a bit slanting. But don’t get the plain look to defy you – its modem is equipped with 16×4 downstream/upstream channels with DOCSIS 3.0 technology. The dual-band router delivers speeds of up to 1,600Mbps and can handle up to 25 connected devices simultaneously. The signal is enough to cover a small house or an apartment of 1,500 square feet.
● Sleek and minimalistic design made to stand upright for space saving.
● Affordable and cost-saving to buy a single 2-in-1 device instead of two separate devices.
● Compatible with most internet service providers in the US.
● incredibly fast modem speed of 960Mbps.
● Repair may create problems due to its multi-function feature.
● It only has two ethernet ports and one USB port.
This cable modem router combo should be your first choice if you don’t like a cluttered workstation. You only need to put a single device in a standing position needing a space not bigger than a pencil case. For a price of slightly more than $100 you get a 2-in-1 device that performs as well as any other regular devices of the same category. It will save you money, space and the research time to find the best device.
ARRIS SURFboard SB8200 DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Cable Modem
Equipped with both the old and new version of DOCSIS, the Arris SURFboard SB8200 modem created a big wave when it first rolled out. Although small and lightweight, the modem has a tough build. It also has little overheating problem since the design facilitates good airflow. Standing in an upright position, the DOCSIS 3.1 equipped modem saves some space at your workplace. Its four feet with rubber pads stabilize it to avoid sliding or falling over.
Priced slightly on the high side, the SB8200 is a complete modem with improved and advanced features. A new buyer initially thought the modem appeared identical to the previous model. But the similarity stops there since the new model comes with the much-hyped DOCSIS 3.1 technology. When he put it to use, he found it to be insanely fast with no signs of buffering when streaming and fast downloading of big files.
● Built with tough materials and stands firmly upright.
● equipped with the latest DOCSIS 3.1 technology.
● Huge improvement over its predecessor.
● Built with a low-latency chipset.
● A little bit expensive.
● Multiple ports can create confusions.
We opine this modem to be one of the top choices due to its build quality, latest technology application and super-fast performance with low latency. All the great features justify its slightly high price. Most users prefer the Arris SURFboard SB8200 modem over other routers, and we can’t see why you don’t.
In general, when you search for the best dual band wifi router, it’s important to consider your internet connection requirements. If you don’t have many devices to use at the same time, then you should probably pick up an inexpensive dual band router having an all-round performance. On the other hand, if you’re an avid gamer, or use a lot of high-end devices for high-definition streaming, then a WiFi 6 router with fast multiple-core processor should do it.