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Best Modems / Routers

Navigating the world of modems and routers can be intimidating when you don’t understand what all the features are and what they mean for you.

Whether you’re trying to figure out how to keep up to speed with a NBN modem, looking to buy a wireless modem or router, wanting to upgrade your system with mesh Wi-Fi, or something else entirely - you don’t need to be a tech genius to learn what to look for. Continue Reading...

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249 listings

ASUS RT-AC68U
  • Award Winner 2021

RoutersASUS RT-AC68U

4.4 from 132 reviews
Frequency BandDual-Band (2.4GHz, 5.0GHz)
Maximum Wireless Speed1,300 Mbps

With a strong connection, wide range, and an arsenal of easy-to-use features, the ASUS RT-AC68U helps you connect to the world around you.

  • Reliable connection

  • Can connect to many devices simultaneously

  • Excellent range

  • Build Quality
    4.8 (16)
  • Value for Money
    4.7 (16)
  • Ease of Setup
    4.4 (15)
  • Reliability
    4.7 (15)
  • Wi-Fi Range
    4.7 (15)
  • FeaturesBeamforming, Built-In Malware / Anti-Virus Protection, External Antennas, Mesh Compatible, Mobile App Control, Parental Controls and Quality of Service
  • Number of Ethernet Ports5
  • Wi-Fi Standard802.11 a, 802.11 ac, 802.11 b, 802.11 g and 802.11 n
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports1
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports1
  • Dimensions 160 x 220 x 83.3 mm
TP-Link AC1600 Archer VR600 / VR600v

Routers and ModemsTP-Link AC1600 Archer VR600 / VR600v · includes 2 listings

4.1 from 64 reviews
Frequency BandDual-Band (2.4GHz, 5.0GHz)
Maximum Wireless Speed1,300 Mbps

The TP-Link Archer VR600 and VR600V modem routers are reliable units that give you speedy connection and come packed with features - they're made to get the job done and more.

Price (RRP) $199.00 to $209.00

  • Widespread coverage

  • Stable NBN connection

  • Rarely drops out

  • Build Quality
    4.4 (17)
  • Value for Money
    4.6 (17)
  • Ease of Setup
    4.4 (17)
  • Reliability
    4.2 (17)
  • Wi-Fi Range
    4.3 (17)
  • FeaturesBeamforming, Quality of Service, External Antennas, Parental Controls and Mobile App Control
  • Number of Ethernet Ports4
  • Wi-Fi Standard802.11 a, 802.11 b, 802.11 g, 802.11 n and 802.11 ac
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports1
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports0
Netgear Orbi
  • Award Winner 2021

Routers and ModemsNetgear Orbi · includes 3 listings

4.1 from 52 reviews
Frequency BandTri-Band (2.4GHz, 2 x 5GHz)

The Netgear Orbi boasts tri-band technology, the quickest available internet speeds, and a set-up time of near minutes - features that make us think this device is well worth a shot.

Price (RRP) $649.00

  • Fast, stable connection

  • Far-reaching, consistent coverage

  • Simple to remotely manage

  • Build Quality
    4.1 (23)
  • Value for Money
    3.5 (23)
  • Ease of Setup
    3.7 (23)
  • Reliability
    3.8 (22)
  • Wi-Fi Range
    4.4 (23)
  • FeaturesParental Controls, Mesh Compatible and Mobile App Control
  • Number of Ethernet Ports4
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports4
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports4
  • Smart Home CompatibilityAmazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 VDSL/ADSL D7000

Routers and ModemsNetgear Nighthawk AC1900 VDSL/ADSL D7000

3.4 from 239 reviews
Frequency BandDual-Band (2.4GHz, 5.0GHz)
Maximum Wireless Speed1,300 Mbps

Netgear’s AC1900 D7000 Nighthawk uses beamforming technology and external antennas to give you a speedy connection throughout your whole home or office.

Price (RRP) $268.00

  • Wide range

  • Fast internet with many devices connected

  • Connection sometimes unreliable

  • Build Quality
    2.9 (39)
  • Value for Money
    2.2 (40)
  • Ease of Setup
    3.2 (39)
  • Reliability
    2.2 (39)
  • Wi-Fi Range
    3.5 (39)
  • FeaturesBeamforming, External Antennas, Mobile App Control, Parental Controls and Quality of Service
  • Number of Ethernet Ports4
  • Wi-Fi Standard802.11 a, 802.11 ac, 802.11 b, 802.11 g and 802.11 n
  • DSL SupportADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+, VDSL and VDSL2
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports1
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports1
  • Dimensions 50 x 285 x 185 mm
ASUS AC1900 DSL-AC68U

Routers and ModemsASUS AC1900 DSL-AC68U

4.1 from 38 reviews
Frequency BandDual-Band (2.4GHz, 5.0GHz)
Maximum Wireless Speed1,300 Mbps

Price (RRP) $299.00

  • Build Quality
    4.4 (11)
  • Value for Money
    3.7 (11)
  • Ease of Setup
    3.7 (11)
  • Reliability
    3.8 (11)
  • Wi-Fi Range
    4.0 (11)
  • FeaturesBeamforming, Built-In Malware / Anti-Virus Protection, External Antennas, Mesh Compatible, Mobile App Control, Parental Controls and Quality of Service
  • Number of Ethernet Ports5
  • Wi-Fi Standard802.11 a, 802.11 ac, 802.11 b, 802.11 g and 802.11 n
  • DSL SupportADSL and VDSL
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports0
  • Number of USB 3.0 Ports1
  • Dimensions 160 x 220 x 83.3 mm
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What is the difference between a router and a modem?

A modem with a plugged in cable in the foreground with a man on a computer in the background

Modems and routers are both essential tools in getting online.

  • A modem is a device that connects your home to the internet service from your provider. Alone, a modem will not provide you Wi-Fi.
  • A router delivers the internet connectivity that connects the devices in your home to Wi-Fi. They need to be connected to a modem with an Ethernet cable.
  • A modem-router is a single device that has everything you need to establish a wireless Internet connection in your house by acting as both a modem and router, connecting the Internet and your home network. If you ever hear a device referred to as a “WiFi modem”, it’s a modem-router.

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will most likely provide you with a generic modem-router. While this may just get the job done for you, there are plenty of features on third-party routers that often boost Wi-Fi signal and improve upon the range, security, and stability of your network’s connection.

Frequently asked questions

If you want Internet access, then yes, you’ll need a modem and a router, as they have different functions that work together to keep you connected. Of course, if you get a combined modem-router, then you won’t need the two separate physical devices.

When you’re shopping around, you may find the abbreviations LAN and WAN next to some ports on wireless routers.

LAN stands for local area network, and devices (often in the same building) using a LAN use it to connect to the internet, as well as directly communicate with each other through the LAN, without needing to go through the public internet. A LAN can be connected wirelessly, through a wire, or both.

WAN stands for wide area network, and this network connects your router to your service provider. It’s not geographically restricted as a LAN is. Technically, the Internet itself is a WAN.

To connect devices on your home network, use LAN ports. Connect a modem or any device connected to the public Internet to the WAN port.

Yes. While most modem-routers should be compatible with your ISP, check first with your provider to see if the one you’re considering buying is one that they support.

Factors to consider when choosing a modem or router

Features

A lot of added features present in store-bought modems, routers and modem-routers won’t be found in your typical ISP-supplied device.

  • Beamforming: Beamforming lets you focus a wireless signal towards a specific device or devices, instead of the signal spreading in all directions as it usually would. A router with beamforming determines where your device is and casts a stronger signal in that direction, giving it a more speedy, reliable connection.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): QoS is a feature in routers that lets you customise the type of data that gets prioritised on your network. When your network becomes overloaded with Internet traffic, QoS lets you prioritise bandwidth-intensive activities like Netflix or online gaming to reduce lag, and direct less attention to the other things you’re doing on the Internet at the same time. You can also prioritise which devices get better service - often users will prioritise a desktop or a smart TV over mobiles.
  • Parental controls: This feature helps you keep your kids safe when they’re exploring online. It makes it easy to view a family member’s internet activity and the types of content they’re looking at, and lets you control their usage by applying content filters and scheduling block times.
  • External antennas: Most routers (and some modems) will let you connect an antenna directly to it, letting you focus the power in the direction you need it most, ultimately making for a high performance connection.
  • Mobile app control: Being able to manage your WiFi network on your phone lets you do things like block users, track data usage, set internet speeds across different devices, and troubleshoot problems.
  • Mesh compatible: A mesh network is a system of Wi-Fi extenders that increases and strengthens the range of your wireless network, and automatically switches you to the extender with the strongest signal. A mesh compatible router or modem will let you add these devices to the network to give you better coverage.
  • Built-in malware/anti-virus protection: This keeps your home network safe from viruses and hackers, and is particularly important when you connect lots of devices (not all of which you can realistically ensure are secure) to the same network.

Frequency band

Most routers (including those supplied by your ISP) have dual-band technology, meaning they broadcast a 5 GHz signal and a 2.4GHz signal. Dual-band Wi-Fi allows you to host two Wi-Fi networks simultaneously, and lets devices connect to whichever frequency they’re compatible with - newer devices can usually connect to either.

If you shop around you might also come across tri-band routers - these have an extra 5GHz band and can be suitable for those looking to support a higher number of devices.

Wireless speed

Wireless routers list their speed in megabits per second (Mbps). What your network needs depends on the needs of those in your home or office - for example, if it’s just you in your house, you may be fine with between 50 to 100 Mbps download speeds and 10 Mbps upload speeds if you’re uploading sizeable files to the Internet.

You’ll need faster speeds as you add more people and connected devices to your network, or if you do more bandwidth-intensive activities, like video streaming, conference calls, or sending large files.

Wi-Fi standard

If you’re confused about all the numbers, letters, and acronyms that describe Wi-Fi standards, you’re not alone. Wrapping your head around Wi-Fi standards can help you cut through the noise and figure out what the differences between them mean for you.

Generally speaking, when choosing a router, you should go for one that runs on a newer standard, so you can take advantage of its better speed and signals.

Here are some quick pointers to help you out:

  • The latest Wi-Fi standard is Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) - it’s faster and can support more devices than Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), its predecessor.
  • Earlier standards include 802.11n, g, a, and b.
  • Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 routers are often compatible with their earlier counterparts, which is why you may see routers with multiple standards listed.

Number of Ethernet ports

Ethernet or LAN ports let connected devices share data. Most routers have 4 Ethernet ports. If you want your network to accommodate more wired devices (such as multiple computers, a printer, or a network hard drive) on a network, then you should look for a router which lets you hook up all these devices to it simultaneously.

If you’ve found a router you love but you’re still left wishing it had more Ethernet ports, fear not. You can add Ethernet ports to your network by purchasing a switch, which connects to your router and has more Ethernet jacks for you to connect to.

Smart home capabilities

If you have a smart home system, then you’ll want a router that is compatible with your Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, or other device. Mesh router systems may offer more in terms of wider network coverage for your smart system than a traditional router.

Read reviews on app experience of routers you’re considering. If it’s too difficult to set up, configure, and manage, then having a fast connection may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

Wi-Fi range

Routers usually only have a certain range (usually of around 50m), so you’ll have to measure the square footage of your home or office to see whether an individual router can keep your whole space connected.

Physical barriers such as walls can also interfere with signal, creating “black spots” around your home that don’t have any signal. You can increase the range of your Wi-Fi router with a Wi-Fi range extender that can be placed strategically to sidestep these obstructions and help transmit signal to these black spots.

Price

Prices for a modem, router, or modem-router vary greatly - you can find some for as little as around $50, while pricier devices can cost you up to $1000. Most will however set you back between $130 and $330.

Some routers only offer extra features - such as a mesh Wi-Fi system - as part of a subscription package. Decide for yourself whether such ongoing costs are worth it for you.

Wrapping up

It can be hard to look past the often free modem-router that your ISP gives you and fork out money for a third-party one. If you do decide you want a new modem, router, or modem-router, there are plenty of options on the market that give you great value for your money.

Ensure you’re considering what kind of support your home or office needs when shopping around, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a well-connected space.