If you’re a Verizon Fios customer, then you’re enjoying the benefits that an optic fiber connection can offer you. This technology has been around for quite a while, but it was primarily used for the backbone of the Internet. But over recent years optic fiber has expanded all the way to many customers’ homes. This allows users to experience unprecedented Internet speeds and much larger bandwidth than with cable connections.
However, sticking to the router provided by Verizon may be somewhat limiting. If your contract allows it, you can purchase your own router, with specific features suited to your needs. So read on if you want some advice on the best router for your Verizon Fios service.
The first router we’ll look at is the EA7300 by Linksys. It uses the 802.11ac wireless standard and has a dual-band operation. The 2.4 GHz band supports a maximum speed of 450 Mbps and the 5 GHz band caps at 1300 Mbps. This router also features a powerful dual-core processor with good performance, although typical users won’t need to use its full capabilities.
Setting up the router is pretty straightforward, thanks to the included set-up wizard. 30 minutes should be enough for the average person to connect all required cables and get it up and running. You can also download a handy app for iOS or Android which allows you to control many of the router’s settings.
One of the advantages of the EA7300 is the incorporated multi-user MIMO, or MU-MIMO, technology. MIMO stands for multiple-input, multiple-output, and it is a technique used in telecommunications to send and receive multiple signals at the same time using multiple antennas. MU-MIMO allows sending and receiving multiple signals to several devices at once.
What this means for users of the EA7300 is that you can expect improved performance in activities that use a lot of bandwidth, like streaming and online gaming, as long as the receiving device also supports MU-MIMO.
In fact, it supports 4K video streaming and online gaming, and it handles these tasks pretty well. There is no visible lag when streaming 4K video, and multiple users can be playing online and working without significant loss in performance.
The range on the EA7300 is also really good. Thanks to the three integrated antennas, the signal goes a long way, and you probably won’t lose Wi-Fi signal even in a house with multiple floors or all across your backyard.
You still get a USB 3.0 port that allows you to connect an external storage device and access it online, making the EA7300 a complete package.
The Netgear R6120 is a more affordable option compared to the EA7300, yet it is a powerful router. It is also a dual-band, 802.11ac device.
The supported Wi-Fi speeds are a bit slower compared to the competition: 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 900 Mbps on 5 GHz. To put it another way, this router lacks Gigabit Ethernet. Even if the true Internet speeds on customer homes usually cap at smaller values, it is still a major disadvantage of the R6120. But on the upside, this router is compact, easy to use and budget-friendly.
Installing the router is a simple process overall. To start using it, you only need the passphrase that is printed on a label stuck to the router itself. Further customization is available either through a web browser interface or a mobile app, available for iOS and Android.
The mobile app is easy to use, the only downside being that you cannot use it unless you are directly connected to the router’s network. On the other hand, it also makes changes in configuration safer. Another nice feature is the inclusion of a Guest Network that operates on the lower band of the router.
The R6120 performs well for the price. It has a pretty decent range and supports streaming and online gaming, although it will probably suffer if multiple devices are doing this at once. 4K streaming is also not supported. This router also has a ReadySHARE USB Access port, but unfortunately, it is a 2.0 USB port.
The Archer C7 brings the best of both worlds together when compared to the other two models. It is powerful enough for most people, while being a friend of your wallet.
The C7 supports next-gen 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and its dual-band speeds rival with that of the EA7300: 450 Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1300 Mbps at 5GHz. Again, the inclusion of Guest Network Access is a great, secure way for guests to access your network.
Setting up the C7 is really easy, just like with its rivals: just plug in the required cables and find the network name and passphrase on the label. The Tether app, available for both Android and iOS, is easy to use, as well as the web browser interface.
Overall, the C7 simply performs well in all aspects. 3 external antennas for the 5 GHz band and 3 internal ones for the 2.4 GHz band provide plenty of range, even for large houses. The external antennas can also be redirected for more focused power, if the need arises.
The maximum recommended number of users is five, where at least two of them are performing heavier activities: streaming and gaming. As long as this is respected, the user experience is great, with no faults or lag. The only downside is that 4K streaming is not supported.
Furthermore, the C7 has not one, but two USB ports for printer or external hard drive sharing. The caveat here is that it these are USB 2.0 ports.
The three routers on this list have distinct features, each having their strengths and weaknesses. The one that is most solid all-around is the TP-Link Archer C7. It covers all the needs that most users will ever require. It features Gigabit Ethernet, 2 USB ports, great range and speeds and ease of usage, and all for an affordable price. The two disadvantages of the C7 are no support for 4K streaming and lack of USB 3.0 connectivity.
Users with no budget restrictions can try the Linksys EA7300. It does most things that the C7 does well, but supports 4K video streaming and USB 3.0. The downside is that it has only one USB port.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Netgear R6120 is the most affordable option. Get it if you have the most basic of needs and you will be surprised with the performance of this compact router.