What is the Best Router Under 150 Dollars?

What is the Best Router Under 150 Dollars?

Sadly, $150 doesn’t buy you a lot these days, but it will still get you a nice Wi-Fi Router. If you are shopping for a new router in this price range, read on.

The team here at Infravio HQ has reviewed many of the top consumer-grade routers on the market today, and based on current prices, has picked the best router under 150:

100 dollar bill and 50 dollar bill

Introducing the ASUS RT-AC68U

ASUS RT-AC68U Wi-Fi Router
  • Dual band with the latest 802; 11 AC 3x3 technology for combined speeds of up to 1900 Mbps
  • 1 GigaHertz dual core CPU enables smart multitasking by dedicating separate lanes for Wi Fi and USB data; Network standard: IEEE 802; 11a, IEEE 802; 11B, IEEE 802; 11G, IEEE 802; 11N, IEEE 802; 11AC, IPv4, IPv6
  • Effortless router setup with the ASUSWRT web based interface; Dual band connectivity for compatibility and performance
  • Monitor and manage your network with ease from your mobile device using the intuitive ASUS router app
  • A protection powered by Trend Micro provides multi stage protection from vulnerability detection to protecting sensitive data; Please refer the installation manual and the user manual before use which is highly essential; Dc output: 19 Volt with maximum 1; 75 a current; Guest network: 2; 4 GigaHertz x 3, 5 GigaHertz x 3

Note: Pricing on Amazon fluctuates daily. This router was priced below $150 at the time of this writing and is likely (but not guaranteed) to stay below that mark. We aren’t able to keep up with the price changes, so we recommend clicking the Check Price button, which will send you over to Amazon to see the current price and review the product further.


The RT-AC68U won our top pick for several reasons including reliability, range, speed/throughput, features, and cost.

Good Value is defined as something that is worth the cost. While all routers can’t make this claim, we certainly feel that the RT-AC68U is a good value. Actually we feel that it is an excellent value!

Things we love about the ASUS RT-AC68U

Build Quality

Handling this router, you can tell that it is well made and not a cheap piece of junk. The external antennas are removable, and overall the router is pleasing to the eye.

The router features status LED’s on the front, indicating Ethernet 1-4 + WAN port status and activity, USB port status, 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio status, and a power indicator.

Having this indicators clearly identified and located right on the front is handy, especially since some manufacturers put the LED’s on the back, requiring you to move or pick up the router to get a visual check on it.

Speaking of LED’s, there is a button on the back to shut them off in case you are using the router in your bedroom and the bright light generated by the LED’s keeps you awake. Bonus!

I know aesthetics don’t matter to some people, but they matter a whole lot to other people, so I always include it in my reviews.

RT-AC68U front

Good handling of large numbers of devices

The RT-AC68U easily handles a large number of Wi-Fi clients. 50+ concurrent client support has been reported with no noticable slowdown.

If you have a large number of wireless devices in your home, (such as cameras, smart home devices, tablets, phones, and laptops) then you should definitely consider buying a router that can handle a large number of simultaneously connected devices – because not all routers can do so without experiencing performance issues.

ASUS RT-AC68U Wi-Fi Router
  • Dual band with the latest 802; 11 AC 3x3 technology for combined speeds of up to 1900 Mbps
  • 1 GigaHertz dual core CPU enables smart multitasking by dedicating separate lanes for Wi Fi and USB data; Network standard: IEEE 802; 11a, IEEE 802; 11B, IEEE 802; 11G, IEEE 802; 11N, IEEE 802; 11AC, IPv4, IPv6
  • Effortless router setup with the ASUSWRT web based interface; Dual band connectivity for compatibility and performance
  • Monitor and manage your network with ease from your mobile device using the intuitive ASUS router app
  • A protection powered by Trend Micro provides multi stage protection from vulnerability detection to protecting sensitive data; Please refer the installation manual and the user manual before use which is highly essential; Dc output: 19 Volt with maximum 1; 75 a current; Guest network: 2; 4 GigaHertz x 3, 5 GigaHertz x 3

Signal Strength

The signal strength on this router is excellent, allowing to to reach devices in the deep corners of medium sized homes.

The 3 external antennas also offer adjust-ability and maximum reliability compared to models with fewer or internal-only antennas.

Advanced ASUS-WRT Firmware

Stability

This router runs and runs without needing a reboot very often. Of course, pretty much any consumer-grade router will need an occasional therapeutic reboot from time to time.

The solution to that problem is scheduled reboots. This router’s ASUS-WRT firmware allows you to schedule reboots to take place automatically at a time of your choosing.

For example, mine is set to reboot daily at 2AM. Since everyone in the house is sleeping, we never notice the reboot.

Know what we do notice though? A router that is always freshly-booted and never has to be manually rebooted!

Consistency between other ASUS Router firmware

The ASUS-WRT interface on this router will look familiar to someone who has used other ASUS networking products in the past.

ASUS does a great job of maintaining consistency between their products, which means some users aren’t starting from scratch with the RT-AC68U since they are already familiar with the firmware interface.

Dual WAN capability

The RT-AC68U also includes the capability to configure one of the LAN ports as a WAN port, giving you two WAN ports.

ASUS WRT Firmware

This is nice, because it allows you to connect the router to two different internet connections, define primary and backup connections, and have the router automatically failover to the backup Internet connection if the primary connection fails.

You can also use one of the USB ports as a second WAN port, allowing you to use a 5G modem as your backup internet service if you wish. Very cool.

Most people don’t have two Internet connections and won’t use this feature, but it’s nice to know it’s there. It’s disabled by default, which allows all 4 LAN ports to be used as such.

Built-in VPN Server

If you are on the road and need access to your home network, ASUS has your back. Simply configure and enable the VPN server on the router, and you will be able to login from anywhere on the Internet to access your network as if you were at home. Just make sure you know what your public IP address is before you leave the house.

Time Machine support

If you have a USB hard drive connected to the router, you can set up the router as a Time Machine target disk. Very cool.

Things we don’t like so much about the ASUS RT-AC68U

AiMesh Feature is flakey

Many ASUS routers come with a proprietary feature called AiMesh.

AiMesh is designed to allow you to connect another ASUS router to your current router via wireless, and then place the second router somewhere else in your home or business with the goal being to bolster your Wi-Fi coverage in spotty areas.

Sounds cool, especially considering the fact that you don’t have to run a Cat5 cable to the new router. This is also marketed as a good way to re-use older routers that you may have just replaced with a new model… also a cool idea.

In practice, the AiMesh feature can be difficult to get working and once it is working, can be somewhat unreliable.

QoS Functionality doesn’t work correctly

Some users have reported issues configuring QoS in order to prioritize bandwidth for certain users or applications. This is an advanced feature and is frequently mis-configured, so we’re not sure if this is an actual bug in the firmware, or user error.

Ethernet port failures

Some users have reported certain Ethernet ports on the router failing, requiring them to either stop using those ports (you could add a basic switch if you need additional ports), or RMA the router with ASUS.

ASUS RT-AC68U Wi-Fi Router
  • Dual band with the latest 802; 11 AC 3x3 technology for combined speeds of up to 1900 Mbps
  • 1 GigaHertz dual core CPU enables smart multitasking by dedicating separate lanes for Wi Fi and USB data; Network standard: IEEE 802; 11a, IEEE 802; 11B, IEEE 802; 11G, IEEE 802; 11N, IEEE 802; 11AC, IPv4, IPv6
  • Effortless router setup with the ASUSWRT web based interface; Dual band connectivity for compatibility and performance
  • Monitor and manage your network with ease from your mobile device using the intuitive ASUS router app
  • A protection powered by Trend Micro provides multi stage protection from vulnerability detection to protecting sensitive data; Please refer the installation manual and the user manual before use which is highly essential; Dc output: 19 Volt with maximum 1; 75 a current; Guest network: 2; 4 GigaHertz x 3, 5 GigaHertz x 3

Wrapping Up

Overall, we really like this router. True, it does have some shortcomings, but every router does.

We really like the performance, good signal coverage, and reliability that you get for the price with this router. If you are looking for a new router under $150, definitely check this one out!

Which security option is best for a wireless router?

Wi-Fi security is paramount – without it, there are many things that someone could do on your wireless network – things that range from minor or barely noticeable all the way up to flat out illegal – and everything in between.

A case for security

arm coming through computer screen

Honestly, most people that are looking for Wi-Fi networks with no security or weak security are simply looking for free internet access. These people just want to check their email, surf the web, or download something without paying for internet access.

They don’t really have any hostile intent for your network.

However, there are also more sinister people looking to gain access to a wireless network for unsavory uses, such as:

  • To steal your data – perhaps they can get your credit card number or tax information to use it for fraud, or maybe they want to steal photos or other personally identifiable information and use it to blackmail or otherwise expose you
  • To invade your privacy, search for risque photos, or access sensitive financial information
  • To download or upload illegal content online without being traced back to them – things like copyrighted material, illegal software, or child pornography
  • To hack or attack other systems without being traced
  • To download or upload large amounts of data without it slowing down their own internet connection

Ultimately, it comes down to this – someone is using something of yours without paying for it and without your permission. Is that really something you are okay with?

You could be liablemasked computer hacker

Furthermore, if the perpetrator does something illegal online using your internet connection, the authorities can investigate the source IP address. This will lead them to your ISP – upon which they can subpoena your ISP to provide the associated subscriber’s name and address.

Guess whose door they will come knocking on next? Yours.

The scary part is, it could be the guy next door, someone parked in the street, or a neighbor down the road. It is very difficult to physically locate the person.

Isn’t it easier to just set up ample security from the start to ensure that you are keeping all potential unwanted guests out?

Security Methods

iphone wifi encryption selection

There are several different modes and methods you can use to secure your wireless network. The easiest, most common, and most effective solution is to enable the proper type of security and encryption protocols on your router.

This will not only prevent someone from joining your network who doesn’t have the password, it will also prevent anyone in the area from eavesdropping on what you are doing online.

The main security protocols are:

  • Open/None (AKA, no security)
  • WEP (weak security, very easily cracked)
  • WPA (better, but still weak)
  • WPA2 (best for home use)
  • WPA Enterprise (ok, for business)
  • WPA2 Enterprise (best, for business)

Can you use the Enterprise versions at home?

I can see why you would want to – the enterprise versions of each protocol renew/update their keys at a set interval, whereas their non-enterprise counterparts simply use a pre-shared key. This key update makes the enterprise versions rock-solid secure, since the key is always changing.

A typical user would not want to attempt using an Enterprise protocol at home due to the advanced knowledge required to set it up. Additionally it requires setting up a dedicated server to make everything operational.

The vanilla WPA2 protocol is enough for most users and is much easier to set up and manage.

The best security option

For home users, WPA2 is currently the best choice. If your router gives you the choice of using TKIP or AES with WPA2, choose AES.

 

wireless security signAdditional security settings

Utilizing WPA2 on your router with a strong passhrase provides plenty of security for most users. If you are extra paranoid, you can also employ some additional security methods.

Here are some additional security settings that can optionally be enabled to enhance security on your wireless network. These features are not as robust or as easy to implement as enabling WiFi security/encryption – they are intended merely to be supplements to the security of your network.

Basically, you should not enable these options without security/encryption and expect your network to be secure.

Disable SSID broadcast:

 

With the SSID broadcast disabled on your router, people won’t be able to see your Wi-Fi network, or they will only see an “unnamed network” in their list of available Wi-Fi networks. Connecting to a network with SSID broadcast disabled is more difficult – you will have to manually define your SSID in your computer’s network settings before it will connect.

Fewer people will notice your network, but advanced users can still easily find your network using the right tools. Simply disabling the SSID broadcast also does nothing to protect your privacy as information is transmitted through the air – you need security/encryption for that.

If you are connected to an Open Wi-Fi network (one that does not use encryption), anyone that knows what they are doing can intercept your traffic and view what you are doing online without you knowing it.

MAC address filtering:

 

Like disabling the SSID broadcast, utilizing MAC address filtering will also do nothing to protect your information from eavsdroppers.

It will, however, make it more difficult for an unauthorized user to access your network. MAC filtering works like a whitelist – where only MAC addresses that are defined on the list can communicate on the network.

That said, advanced users can ‘sniff’ for a valid/authorized MAC that is currently in-use on the network, and then spoof their MAC to use an authorized one.

Enabling MAC filtering also makes managing your own wireless network very cumbersome – any time you want to connect a new device to your wireless network, you first have to log in to your router and add the new device’s MAC address to the whitelist.

Does a better router improve Internet speed?

Question: Does a better router improve internet speed?
Answer: Sometimes. It depends. It’s complicated!

Allow me to elaborate…bandwidth speedometer

There are at least three factors that impact someone’s perception of how fast or slow an internet connection is. To help make my point, think of your internet connection as a pipeline.

The three factors that affect your speed as it relates to your pipeline are:

  1. The size of your pipeline (the amount of bandwidth you have)
  2. How quickly things flow through your pipeline (the amount of latency you have)
  3. Whether or not there are leaks in your pipeline (is data being dropped somewhere in the middle)

1. The size of your pipeline

Think of the amount of bandwidth you have. This is the number advertised by your ISP in Megabits per second (Mbps).

Some people have 1 Mbps, others have 1000 Mbps. This is the size of your pipeline.The more bandwidth you have, the more data that can flow through it at the same time and the less it gets clogged up.

Remember to also consider upload speed as well as your download speed, as they can both make a difference.

The amount of bandwidth you have is certainly important, but it is not the only factor in determining the speed of your internet connection.

2. How quickly things (data) flow through your pipeline

internet pipelineThis is referred to as latency – it is a measurement of the time it takes data to go from your computer, through the internet to a remote server (Facebook, Netflix, etc), and then all the way back (round trip).

Is the data moving slowly like sludge through the pipeline, or is it moving quickly like pure water?

If data moves back and forth quickly (low latency), it is likely that someone would perceive that connection as very fast, even if it were only a 10Mbps connection.

The reverse of this is also true – someone could have a large pipe with slow flow and they wouldn’t feel that it is a very fast connection. The best example of this is Satellite Internet, such as HughesNet.

Many satellite internet plans provide decent bandwidth (usually somewhere around 25Mbps) but are still known to be quite slow. The reason for this, is due to the added time it takes the signal to go all the way up into space and then be bounced back down to earth.

This results in a large pipe/slow flow scenario, and as such, many people with this type of service are generally unhappy with it.

3. Are there leaks in your pipeline?

This is referring to the reliability of your internet connection and all of the pathways your data takes through the internet on its way to/from a remote server.

If there is an issue, either with your ISP or somewhere upstream from them, you may experience packet loss. Packet loss will definitely slow down your internet connection.

See, your computer is very intelligent and can sense when packet loss is occuring. When this happens, it has to re-request the missing data and wait for it to arrive again.

This delay, depending on its severity, is typically noticeable to the user as lag/slowness. Alternatively, if there is no packet loss, then there is no need for data to be re-transmitted. This can result in favorable speeds and saved bandwidth.

Factors that impact your speed

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the three of the ways that speed is observed, lets discuss factors that will actually impact your speed.

router with lan cable

Congestion/Oversubscription

This is what happens when your pipeline gets full. It simply can’t move any more data simultaneously until either the size of the pipeline is increased, or the amount of existing data in the pipeline is reduced.

We’ve all noticed this before – a sudden burst of lag that occurs because someone else in the household is suddenly downloading or uploading a lot of data, like a movie or a game. This creates data contention issues, which is noticed as a slowdown.

Keep in mind that oversubscription could occur in your household (too many family members or roommates using the internet at the same time) or it could also occur at the ISP level – where there are too many customers eating up large amounts of data (usually during peak times of the day) and it ends up affecting other customers.

How well is your ISP connected to other networks/providers

cables in a datacenterThe internet is made up of thousands of pathways that connect various networks. In some instances, your data has to go through 20-30 routers before it reaches its intended destination (that is considered a lot of routers).

In other cases, maybe it only has to go through 8-10 routers. Generally speaking, the shorter the path your data has to take to reach its destination, the faster and more reliably it will get there.

These pathways are decided upon by your ISP.

If they have many connections to various upstream providers, including some direct connections (called peering arrangements) with major companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon etc – you will likely have a better experience than an ISP that only has one connection out to the internet.

Other miscellaneous issues that can impact your speed:

  • Equipment problems at your ISP or one of their upstream providers
  • Issues on the server side – if the remote server you are accessing is oversubscribed or malfunctioning, you will notice slowness
  • Local issues with your computer or your router, or perhaps a Wi-Fi issue

Here are some things that a new router could solve:

Wi-Fi environmental issues

Perhaps there are environmental issues impacting your Wireless performance. Maybe there is interference from too many people nearby on other Wi-Fi networks.

Maybe the guy next door uses a cordless phone or runs his microwave frequently (both of which can affect Wi-Fi). Or maybe the materials that your home is built out of is negatively impacting your signal.

There are technologies featured on newer routers such as beamforming, additional bands, etc that can overcome some of these environmental issues and deliver a better user experience.

New features and standards

Perhaps your old router only supports an older/slower wireless standard such as 802.11G or 802.11N, so upgrading to a newer standard such as 802.11AC will definitely give better data throughput and better range.

Additionally, many newer routers have quality of service (QoS) features that would make the internet connection feel faster/more reliable when data contention is in play.

The bottom line:laptop wired to router

You won’t know if a better router will improve your internet speed unless you do some testing:

  • You could just go out and buy a new router, plug it in, and hope everything improves
  • You could connect your computer directly to your router with a network cable to see if there is a performance issue related to your Wi-Fi (connecting directly will bypass your Wi-Fi)
  • Or you could bypass your router altogether – in some cases, you can plug a computer directly in to your modem to test

Whatever type of test you run, just make sure that you are consistent in your testing. Run speed tests before and after each change and document the results.

Be sure to use the same computer and same browser each time you test. Use the same speed test website/server each time, and try to test at the same time each day, since speeds with some providers differ depending on the time of day.

If you are testing a wired connection, make sure your computer is disconnected from the wireless network before you start testing.

Results:

If your internet speeds are identical when you bypass your router, it is unlikely that upgrading your router will have any noticeable effect. Perhaps you should contact your ISP instead to see if there is a problem with your connection.

But, if your internet speeds improve when you bypass your router, there is a good chance that a new router will give you the better performance you are craving.

Good Luck!

Best Router for Brick Walls

Best Router for Brick Walls

Looking for a good wireless router to go with your high speed Internet connection but live in a house or apartment made of brick or concrete?

Look no further – let’s discuss the best router for brick or concrete walls.

What is the best router for brick walls?

Here are the best routers for brick or concrete walls:

Our Pick
NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6700) - AC1750 Wireless Speed (up to 1750 Mbps) | Up to 1500 sq ft Coverage & 25 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 3.0 USB ports | Armor Security
Linksys EA7500 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router for Home (Max-Stream AC1900 MU-Mimo Fast Wireless Router)
Amazing Router, but Pricey!
ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router (AC3100) with MU-MIMO, supporting AiProtection network security by Trend Micro, AiMesh for Mesh WiFi system, and WTFast game Accelerator (RT-AC88U),Black
NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 802.11ac/ad Quad-Stream WiFi Router, 1.7GHz Quad-core Processor, Plex Media Server, Compatible with Amazon Alexa (R9000)
Adequate signal strength to penetrate brick walls
WiFi Standard
802.11AC
802.11AC
802.11AC
802.11AD
Speed Rating
AC1750
AC1900
AC3100
AD7200
Processor Cores
2
2
2
4
Number of Antennas
3 (external)
3 (external)
4 (external)
4 (external)
Prime Status
-
Our Pick
NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6700) - AC1750 Wireless Speed (up to 1750 Mbps) | Up to 1500 sq ft Coverage & 25 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 3.0 USB ports | Armor Security
Router
Adequate signal strength to penetrate brick walls
WiFi Standard
802.11AC
Speed Rating
AC1750
Processor Cores
2
Number of Antennas
3 (external)
Prime Status
Linksys EA7500 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router for Home (Max-Stream AC1900 MU-Mimo Fast Wireless Router)
Adequate signal strength to penetrate brick walls
WiFi Standard
802.11AC
Speed Rating
AC1900
Processor Cores
2
Number of Antennas
3 (external)
Prime Status
-
Amazing Router, but Pricey!
ASUS Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi Gaming Router (AC3100) with MU-MIMO, supporting AiProtection network security by Trend Micro, AiMesh for Mesh WiFi system, and WTFast game Accelerator (RT-AC88U),Black
Router
Adequate signal strength to penetrate brick walls
WiFi Standard
802.11AC
Speed Rating
AC3100
Processor Cores
2
Number of Antennas
4 (external)
Prime Status
NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200 802.11ac/ad Quad-Stream WiFi Router, 1.7GHz Quad-core Processor, Plex Media Server, Compatible with Amazon Alexa (R9000)
Router
Adequate signal strength to penetrate brick walls
WiFi Standard
802.11AD
Speed Rating
AD7200
Processor Cores
4
Number of Antennas
4 (external)
Prime Status

What’s the deal with brick or concrete?

The composition of materials used to construct a building can absolutely make a difference in the range, reliability, and performance of your wireless network.

If your house, condominium, flat, or apartment is primarily make up of brick or concrete, you have more challenges than someone living in a building composed of traditional materials such as wood and drywall.

This has do with the fact the the Electromagnetic Waves of the Wi-Fi signal get absorbed (or even reflected) more or less by different materials in the environment. In the case of brick or concrete, these materials absorb the signal much greater than wood does, resulting in decreased range and speed, and generally less reliability than the same Wi-Fi network in a wood environment.

What can I do about it?

This is where the selection of your router and it’s configuration comes into play.

Most routers nowadays are dual-band routers, which is a good thing. However, in the case of EM-absorbing materials being present in the walls, ceilings, and floors of your residence, (and therefore being present between your router and your phone/tablet/laptop) it is best to connect on a lower-frequency band if possible.

What does that mean?

Most routers can operate at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Generally 5GHz is preferred because of the greater availability of clear (non-overlapping) channels and fewer devices and interference to compete with.

However if you are dealing with brick or concrete, your primary concern is the ability for your Wi-Fi signal to penetrate the materials in your walls.

Lower frequencies penetrate better and are attenuated less by brick, so you should use 2.4GHz over 5GHz.

This logic is the opposite of what I usually recommend. As I said before, people living in brick or concrete environments have special challenges!

So I should just scrap my dual-band router?

Now, hold on. I’m not necessarily saying you shouldn’t use the 5GHz band on your router. In fact, for wireless devices that are close to your router such as in the same room, or perhaps just one room away – you should try sticking to 5GHz.

For the rooms that are further away than that, you may need to use 2.4GHz.

Overall what I’m trying to say, is that you should be prepared to test both frequencies and see which works better for you.

Best Router for Brick Walls – Netgear R6700

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router (R6700) - AC1750 Wireless Speed (up to 1750 Mbps) | Up to 1500 sq ft Coverage & 25 Devices | 4 x 1G Ethernet and 1 x 3.0 USB ports | Armor Security
  • Netgear Armor protects your network and connected devices from Internet threats; Get peace of mind knowing you have the best in class anti virus, anti malware, and data protection for all your smart devices, smartphones, and computers with a 30 day free trial
  • Fast wifi performance: Get up to 1500 square feet wireless coverage with AC1750 speed (Dual band up to 450 plus 1300 Mbps)
  • Recommended for up to 25 devices: Reliably stream videos, play games, surf the internet, and connect smart home devices
  • Wired Ethernet ports: plug in computers, game consoles, streaming players, and other nearby wired devices with 4 x 1 gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Loaded with advanced technology: Designed with a 1GHz dual core processor, 3 amplified antennas, Beamforming plus, Dynamic QoS, Smart Connect, and more

The team here at Infravio really likes the R6700 and recommends it to our readers frequently. This router is feature-rich, highly stable, and offers excellent performance without breaking the bank.

Connecting your devices to the 2.4GHz band on this router should provide some of the best performance you can hope to attain in a brick/concrete environment.

If you are still having trouble, you may want to think about deploying one or more wireless access points in your home, which will serve to decrease signal attenuation by bringing the source closer to more devices.

How to access my router from the Internet

How to access my router from the Internet

Have you ever been away from home and needed to access something on your home computer or router?

It sounds convenient, right?

It sure would be easier than driving/flying back to your home, or asking a friend or family member to go to your house to retrieve what you’re looking for.

Well, never fear. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of setting up your router for accessing it remotely via the Internet.

Here’s how to access your router from the Internet:

  • Change your router’s Administrative password to a secure password (don’t leave it at default!)
  • Enable login capability to the router’s web interface from WAN (the Internet)
  • Enable Logging/Notifications (optional)
  • Determine your public IP address, or set up Dynamic DNS (preferred)
  • Test it (optional)
  • Log in!

If you aren’t very tech savvy, be sure to stick around until the end of the article where I discuss an alternate method that works just as well, but is easier to setup.

The need for remote access

There are many reasons someone would want to access their router from the Internet. Perhaps they need to change their Wi-Fi password for a roommate, set up remote access into their home network (called a VPN), or access files on a hard drive connected to their router.

Some people may not have a specific need to access their router from the Internet today, but they want to have the flexibility to do so in the future – since they know that they may well have the need at a later date.

Procedure:

Change your router’s admin password

A Wireless-N Access Point

Most routers have two different passwords – your WiFi password (which pretty much everyone is familiar with because they need to know it on a regular basis) and your admin password.

The admin password is what grants you access to the router’s management web interface, which is where you go to make changes to the router such as change/set IP addresses, change/set your WiFi network name (SSID), change/set your WiFi password, and much much more.

Most routers come out of the box with either a default password of something like ‘admin’ or ‘password’, which is very insecure. Some routers even have a blank admin password by default!

This isn’t a huge deal, because by default, the management interface is generally only accessible from a computer inside your network. However, we are about to enable access from the Internet, so you better believe it is important to change the password to something secure.

  1. Find the private IP of your router and enter it into a web browser. This is usually 192.168.1.1, 192.168.0.1, 10.0.1.1, or something similar (depends on the brand of your router). See here for help in identifying your router’s private IP.
  2. Enter your admin username and password. If you didn’t change these when you originally installed the router, they are likely still at the defaults. The username is usually ‘admin’ or ‘administrator’ and the password is usually ‘admin’ or ‘password’ by default. Again, this totally differs depending on the router manufacturer and model. If you can’t find it, I recommend searching Google for “[router model] default password”.
  3. Once you are logged in, you need to find the password setting. Usually there will be a “General”, “Admin”, or “Administrator” area of the settings, so try looking there. You may be able to change the username in addition to changing the password. This is recommended as it will greatly increase security. Just make sure you record it somewhere – if you forget it, you will have to reset the router to defaults to get back in.

Enable login from WAN

While you are still logged in to the router’s management interface, let’s enable remote login capability:

Person using a laptop

Generally the setting will be called something like “Allow login from WAN” or “Allow login from Internet”, but it differs widely between routers. This setting will usually live in the Advanced Settings area of the management interface.

Again, if you can’t find it, try searching Google for “[router model] login from wan”.

Enable logging and notifications

This step is entirely optional and your router may or may not support this feature. While still logged in, look for “logging”, “notifications”, or a similar section. It will likely appear under the “Advanced Settings” area or the “Admin” area.

Enable any logging you desire. This will cause the router to log events, such as when someone logs in to the management interface. You may even be able to have the router email you a notification when someone logs in – again this varies wildly by model and manufacturer.

This type of information is helpful from a security standpoint – so you will know if someone else manages to log in to your router over the internet (which would be bad!).

Determine your public IP address

I say “public” IP address, because your router actually has two IP addresses, and we are looking for the public IP, not the private IP.

Your IP address is exactly that – an address. It’s like your mailing address on the Internet. Your IP address is used anytime you want to send data to, or receive data from the Internet.

Since you are wanting to access your router from the Internet, you will need to know what your IP address is.

There are a couple of ways to figure this out:

Look on your router

One way to find your public IP address, is to log in to your router and have it show you your public IP address.

Once logged in, look for a screen or tab labeled “Status”. Every router is a little bit different, so you may have to look around a bit.

The status page will usually show your router’s status, including the “WAN” or “Internet” IP address.

Ask a website

The other easy method for determining your public IP, is to query a website.

There are many “What is my IP address?” type websites out there that will examine the traffic that your computer sends to it when the page is loading, determine the IP address your traffic is originating from, and display that address for you.

Google will tell you if you simply run a search for “what is my ip”. IP Chicken will also tell you:

ipchicken screenshot

Write it down

Once you have obtained your public IP address, write it down somewhere or email it to yourself. You will need it later.

Your IP address may change

It is not uncommon for your IP address to change from time to time, or even daily. Most residential providers use DHCP instead of static addressing – this means they can change your public address allocation at any time.


Usually, this isn’t a big deal and most people don’t even notice that their IP has changed. However, when you are going to be accessing your router from the Internet, it is important to be aware that your address could change.

I’ve seen some ISP’s using DHCP and your IP address doesn’t change for months or even years. I’ve also seen some ISP’s change your address every day.

My current ISP is like this – my IP address changes every 24 hours like clockwork. Dynamic DNS is absolutely critical for me because of this.

Thus, if you are leaving for a trip and hoping to access your router from the road, it is best to record your public IP just before you leave the house to maximize your chances that that will still be the IP assigned to your router when you attempt login.

Just be aware that if your IP address changes between the time you recorded it and the time you attempt to login remotely, you will not be able to login.

Professional Router installed in a Data Rack

For this reason, it is suggested to set up Dynamic DNS (DDNS), which will update automatically when your IP address changes. Thus, you will connect to your router using a hostname like “andrewshouse.no-ip.com” instead an IP address such as 73.48.231.17.

The DDNS server will automatically update the IP address that “andrewshouse.no-ip.com” resolves to every time it changes.

DDNS is an advanced topic and is only recommended to dabble in if you are a bit of an advanced user or if you are at least feeling adventurous!

Test it

If you want to be sure that remote login will work once you are away from home, it is best to test it beforehand.

To test, you will need to access a secondary internet connection other than your regular home broadband connection. This could be a neighbor’s house, using your internet connection at work, etc.

You could also temporarily enable the hotspot on your smartphone and tether your computer to it.

Sticky note with "run a usability test" written on it

Once you are on a different Internet connection:

  1. Open a web browser and enter your router’s public IP address (or DDNS fully qualified domain name) in the address bar, then press the enter key.
  2. You should be presented with a login prompt. If you are not, try entering “http://” or “https://” before the address and press enter again. If it still doesn’t work, you may also need to append a colon and port number behind the address, such as “:8443”.
  3. Once prompted, enter your management credentials and log in!

Log in

You are now ready to log in remotely. Regardless of where you travel to, as long as you have an Internet connection, you should be able to log in.

Hopefully you already tested your ability to login as shown above. The procedure for logging in when you are actually away from home will be the same.

An easier way

If you are less techie and are simply looking for a solution that works, you may also want to research setting up remote access to a computer at your home via a service such as TeamViewer.

Teamviewer Windows App Screenshot

TeamViewer and similar services can be set up for free to access the computer in question over the internet.

The downside, is that the computer has to be left on and connected to your home network at all times in order to work.

The upside, is that it requires no special configuration on your router, and Dynamic DNS doesn’t need to be set up. Simply connect to the remote computer via the TeamViewer app on your smartphone, PC, or Mac, and TeamViewer takes care of the rest.

If you still needed to access your router, you could launch a web browser on the remote PC using TeamViewer, and then login to the router’s private IP address normally as if you were at home.

This solution is simpler, but also relies on TeamViewer to be working in order to function, so there are pros and cons for sure.

Regardless of which method you choose, Good luck!

Best Wireless Access Point for Home

One of the best  ways to improve your  Wi-Fi’s coverage, speed (throughput), and reliability, is to add a wireless access point (AP) to your home network.

What is a wireless access point anyway?

Simply put, a wireless access point is a device that connects to your wired network and makes your network available wirelessly. It consists of a network port and one or more Wi-Fi radios that are used to serve wireless devices.

Think of a wireless access point as having a second router in your home that can be used in order to extend the coverage of your wireless network. In fact, all wireless routers include an access point – it just happens to be built into the router, so it isn’t called an access point in that case.

A wireless router is like a swiss army knife – it performs several core functions within your network. Not only does it route traffic (thus the name “router”), it also acts as a firewall, a switch, an access point, a DHCP server, and sometimes a modem.

An access point only serves one purpose – to provide wireless connectivity to devices on your network. You can’t get online with just an access point – you need a router as well.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of using an access point versus a wireless router?

hands typing on keyboard

Benefits

Using wireless access point(s) gives you the ability to distribute one or more AP’s throughout your home, which serves to increase the range and signal quality of your wireless network. This in turn makes your wireless network run faster and more reliably.

Speaking of reliability – as with many things in life, devices that are designed to accomplish just one task generally perform that task better than a device that is designed to accomplish many different tasks. This principle also applies to wireless routers versus an access point – the old adage “Jack of all trades and master of none” definitely applies here.

Since access points are designed only to efficiently and reliably connect wireless devices to the wired network, they generally do the job of serving wireless clients better than a router does.

Another benefit of access points is that they can be placed strategically – such as ceiling mounted or installed inside of a network jack gang box.

Drawbacks

Wireless access points are enterprise-grade networking equipment and are not generally marketed toward consumers. Thus, they usually require a bit more technical ability and knowledge of computer networking than a consumer-grade wireless router would.

Access points also require additional wiring work. This is both a pro and a con. Since the AP is usually placed in a strategic area to provide the best coverage, it usually requires running an Ethernet cable from the desired placement location back to wherever your router is.

This can be a lot of work, depending on the construction and layout of your home, and the proximity of the AP to your router. The amount of work also depends on how accessible of a crawlspace or attic your home has, whether or not you own or rent (which means you can’t drill into walls, floors, and ceilings), and the degree to which you wish to hide the wiring versus simply running it in plain sight along the baseboard or ceiling.

Another drawback of using a wireless access point, is price. Since using an AP also requires a router, you must buy an AP and a router, plus additional cabling. In some cases, you also need to buy a switch or firewall as well, depending on your needs and the capabilities of your current router.

The time required to run wiring (or pay labor costs to have someone else do it) should also be considered.

What is the best wireless access point for home?

Some of the best wireless AP’s on the market right now, are the UniFi product line from Ubiquiti. They are extremely popular, and for good reason – they strike an excellent balance of performance, features, ease of use, and reliability – all at an excellent price point. We recommend the UniFi AC LR (Long Range) and Lite models:

About Ubiquiti

Ubiquiti Networks has been around since 2005. They are well known among wireless internet service providers for making quality gear that is easy to manage.

They were originally known for making outdoor, long range fixed wireless equipment that allowed for high speed connections between buildings over long distances. Over time, their product lines have expanded and they have moved into other technologies of computer networking such as switches, routers, and access points.

 

The UniFi Solution

The Ubiquiti UniFi wireless solution consists of several different pieces of technology that can be put together in a customized fashion to build a very robust and feature-rich network solution. We are only reviewing their access points here, but we wanted to make our readers aware that there are several other add-on’s to the UniFi solution that will add features and visibility into your network if you wish to explore that.

The main components in the UniFi solution are the access points, the security gateway, the switches, and the controller (Cloud Key). Most components are optional – you can piece things together however you’d like, using only a single component (like an AP) if you like, or using them all together.

Access Points

The access points serve to connect wireless devices to the wired network and are the main topic of this article.

UniFi Security Gateway

The UniFi Security Gateway (USG) serves as a router and firewall. This is not your typical wireless router that you purchase at Amazon – it only performs a subset of the duties that a typical consumer-grade router does, which is just routing and firewall duties.

It also generally does a much better job of handling these duties than a typical wireless router, which is expected to handle everything. Is it any wonder that most people have to reboot their wireless router regularly?

UniFi Switch

UniFi Switches are Ethernet switches that expand the port capacity of your network and allow you to plug all of your wired devices into your network reliably and at high speed. They also serve as the connection point for the AP’s.

UniFi Controller

The UniFi Controller brings everything together. It is used to configure everything initially or to make changes down the road. It also provides a ton of reporting and security features.

The Controller can be ran on a computer or server in your home, or you can opt for the Cloud Key, which runs the controller software on a self-contained micro device that you simply plug into your network.

What is ‘Prosumer’ gear? A disclaimer:

wireless network layout

By now you are probably saying “OK hold on, this sounds complicated”. You are right.

We wanted to stop here and issue a disclaimer for anyone considering purchasing the UniFi solution.

The UniFi solution is considered “Prosumer Equipment”: it is professional-level equipment that is also suitable for savvy consumers.

This equipment is designed for professional use – it is intended to be used in enterprise environments, where the requirements for speed, security, and reliability are stricter than a residential environment. That’s what makes this equipment so desirable – it is professional grade.

There are, however, tons of people using UniFi gear in their homes. It works very well for home use… as long as you can manage installing it and getting everything up and running.

Anyone purchasing UniFi equipment should be somewhat savvy with computer networking. You should also be willing and prepared to Google for help, read forums, watch YouTube videos, and have some patience during the process. If this is you – we say go for it.

If this scares the daylights out of you – perhaps the UniFi solution isn’t for you. Or, perhaps you should consider hiring someone to install and configure it for you if it’s something you really want installed in your home.

It can, after all, be installed and configured very quickly by someone who knows what they’re doing.

Different types of AP’s

There are dozens of different UniFi AP’s SKU’s, however we are narrowing it down here to the UniFi AP AC line, which supports the newest 802.11AC wireless standard. We aren’t discussing any of the older Wireless B/G/N products here.

The four main types of UniFi AC access points are HD, Pro, LR, and Lite. You can explore more about these models here: https://www.ubnt.com/unifi/unifi-ac/

Since we are looking for the best wireless access point for home, I won’t discuss the HD and Pro models here. Those models are generally geared at larger and more dense deployments than anyone would need in their home, such as a large office, church, or stadium.

The two models that the team here at Infravio recommends are the LR and Lite version. Dare I say, these models are slightly aimed at home users, even though they are enterprise-grade.

UniFi AP AC LRUniFi AC LR AP antenna

The LR model contains most of the features common to any of the AP’s in the UniFi AC line, however is is designed to go longer distances.

It contains an antenna design that allows it to reach further into the corners of your home and yard, all from a single AP. This antenna allows it to not only transmit data further distances, but it also allows for receipt of data from a longer distance – something that a simple high-powered AP can’t accomplish alone.

Ubiquiti Unifi Ap-AC Long Range - Wireless Access Point - 802.11 B/A/G/n/AC (UAP-AC-LR-US),White
  • Ubiquit Unifi AP AC Long range
  • The installer needs networking knowledge to get it to work properly so for people that can’t get it to work.

UniFi AP AC Lite

The Lite model also contains most of the features of the other UniFi AP’s, however it is smaller and more compact than the other models. It is also generally the lowest-priced option of the line, making it an excellent option for home users.

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi AP AC Lite, Dual-Band 24V passive PoE, UAP-AC-LITE (24V passive PoE Indoor, 2.4GHz/5GHz, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 1x 10/100/1000)
  • UAP-AC-LITE UniFi AP AC LITE 802.11ac Gigabit Dual-Radio PoE
  • The UniFi AC Lite AP features the latest Wi-Fi 802.11ac technology in a refined industrial design and is ideal for cost-effective deployment of high‑performance wireless networks.
  • Dual-Radio performance, gigabit speeds, the UniFi AC Lite AP delivers 5x the performance of the first-generation UniFi AP while still maintaining Ubiquiti disruptive pricing strategy.
  • Sleek, Ultra-Compact Design, uniFi AC Lite AP features a cleaner design in a reduced footprinthalf the size compared to the standard UniFi AP.
  • Scalable Enterprise Wi-Fi Management, UniFi Controller v4 software is a powerful, enterprise wireless software engine ideal for high-density client deployments requiring low latency and high uptime performance. With its software-based capabilities, the UniFi virtual control plane allows for unlimited scalability under one centralized controller. Remotely access the UniFi Controller to upgrade deployed UniFi APs while in the field.

Pros and Cons

Note: These apply to both the LR and Lite models unless otherwise noted, as they are very similar.

Pros:

  • Excellent coverage from a single access point (especially the LR model)
  • Wireless connections are reliable
  • Great price point
  • Plays nice with other UniFi AP’s (even if they are not the same model)
  • Powered over Ethernet for simplicity – no need to run separate power, just a single Ethernet cable

Cons:

  • Requires controller software (or Cloud Key) to setup initially – needs to be running regularly if you want to see data/reports or any time you wish to make changes
  • AP only – still requires a router to get online
  • Advanced setup requires some networking knowledge and persistance
  • Older UniFi AP units don’t support standard POE – make sure you get a newer one or use the included AC power brick
  • Ceiling mount can be difficult to install
  • Many people report difficultly getting good support from Ubiquiti

Performance all around

Both the LR and Lite versions bring speed and stability to your Wi-Fi network – something that I think most users are looking for. Additionally, they both support advanced features such as band steering and airtime fairness, which help ensure an enjoyable experience.

Your choice

Most people will be happy with the LR or Lite. It’s up to you to choose which one you prefer. If you are needing to cover a greater area, perhaps the LR model is the best choice. If you are more price sensitive and wanting something with a smaller footprint, perhaps you should consider the Lite model.

If you are needing to cover a really large area, you should consider installing multiple AP’s. That is one of the benefits of using AP’s instead of a single wireless router – you can grow your network over time, adding AP’s as your need for a larger coverage area increases.