In this Internet revolution age, online presence is needed even for small businesses that function at homes or in small office buildings. For them to exist online, there is always a need for a secure, faster and reliable router. Primarily, they provide improved security and allow several electronic devices to share a common Internet connection from the Internet Service Provider (ISP).
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The capability of the best small Business router should be such that it can significantly support the required number of users with excellent connectivity speed and within the desired range (distance coverage). They support different types of ports (LAN, USB etc.). The care should be taken to know the type of devices that will be connected to the business network. QoS (Quality of Service) and Scalability are the secondary set of desired features.
Based on the research, the 6 Best Small Business Routers in 2020 are as follows:
1. Asus BRT-AC828 router
Connectivity: 8 Gigabit Ethernet ,2 USB ports and 1 M.2 SATA port.
It can offer more than 10 simultaneous connections. It is quite expensive.
Impressive Features: Dual WAN and RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service – to authenticate each client) support. During network failure, the Backup WAN takes care of the services without getting interrupted. (i.e.) Failover support exists. The add-ons support to expand the router functionality is impressive. Asus has also partnered with Trend Micro to offer a built-in security package called AIProtection.
2. Netgear Orbi Pro router
Operating range: Around 5,000 square foot area
Type of router: Tri-band (for load balancing /traffic separation)
Connectivity: 1 x Gigabit WAN, 4 x Gigabit LAN
Significant Features: This mesh router can service large offices particularly areas that may reap the benefits from satellite routers. It supports MU –MIMO (Multi user – Multiple input Multiple output) technology to take care of the bandwidth requirements for multiple devices simultaneously. Hence, it is more suitable for commercial purposes (Internet café , gaming center etc). It can handle up to 40 mobile connections effortlessly. If needed, 3 separate networks can be configured separately for guests, staffs and owner(s) and customized accordingly. Easier installation, but very expensive.
3. Netgear Nighthawk X10 router
Connectivity: 6 x 1G Ethernet ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports and 10G LAN SPF connection (characteristic feature of enterprise routers)
Amazon Cloud Drive – This X10 small business router facilitates automatic data backup to Amazon Drive cloud-based storage service.
Remarkable features: This smart router is the fastest router in the industry for streaming media. It has an efficient 1.7GHz Quad-Core Processor based on the Quad-Stream architecture, supporting wireless speeds of up to 7.2 Gbps. This router can be controlled by Voice commands using devices with Alexa support. In overall, it can handle up to 45 devices and works on MU-MIMO technology, beamforming (directional sending and receiving to and from a specific client rather than broadcasting in all directions) etc.
4. Synology RT2600ac router
Connectivity: 4 x Gigabit WAN, 2 x USB ports
Features: 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 4GB flash storage
Notable features: It provides better security features by preventing unauthorized access and firewall management. “virtual office” setup can be done to offer secure remote access to the employees, working remotely. With multimedia expansion capability, it can act like a server and host multimedia content across users. With proper configuration, it can be used as a private cloud server with advanced file management capability. It also supports MU-MIMO, beam-forming etc. last but not the least, it offers backup WAN or failover support at the time of network failure.
5. Linksys MR 9600
Type of router: Dual-band (better performance for very small offices)
Connectivity speed: Wi-Fi speeds up to 6 Gbps and four Gigabit Ethernet ports
Distance coverage: Up to 3,000 sq. feet
Highlighting features: More than 12 devices can be simultaneously connected using this one router using intelligent mesh technology. The Linksys Smart App enables the user to easily setup the network using the router. The Wi-Fi can be controlled from anywhere and at any time using this router. The antennas are not removable. It is a reliable router and comes with an affordable price. It is not suited for cloud-based service with VPN. Their operating range can still be extended.
6. Linksys Velop Wi-Fi 6 router
This “whole business” model router can offer Wi-Fi for customers as part of its service. The new version of Velop also provides bandwidth support for around 100 devices and fully compatible with Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ax or High Efficiency (HE) Wireless officially. It will support improved wireless technologies including Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and Target Wake Time (TWT). OFDMA improves overall throughput (several users simultaneously share channels). Target Wake Time (TWT) is designed to reduce power consumption by allowing devices to specify the wake up time (sending and receiving data, inactivity period etc.).
This employs mesh technology, where the satellites communicate with each other and provide coverage throughout the small business area. Satellites in a Wi-Fi mesh system are all part of the same network and provide seamless connectivity as you roam throughout the house. Wi-Fi mesh systems are designed to be simple.
Small businesses that already use a fiber connection must upgrade to gigabit ports to match or increase their speed requirements. To stay connected within the building and avail interrupted service, opt for the wireless routers than the wired counterparts. Also, it is necessary to check that they meet the minimal security standards at least. Third-party antennas support, Wi-Fi range extender options, Security features like Firewall and VPN (Virtual private networks) are other important factors to be considered before purchasing the best small business