Many businesses want WiFi in the office – it’s convenient, fast, and it enables your employees to be productive on the go. No matter if they’re in their office or sharing desk space with a colleague down the hall, the ability to hook up to the network and get going without having to remember to lug an Ethernet cable around and hunt for a jack is always welcome. For many small businesses, however, the luxury of buying a wireless router with all the bells and whistles isn’t always an option due to budgetary concerns. That’s often a problem because they need a wireless router that’s fast but also spreads wide enough to cover the office and perhaps offers a few extra features in return. Keeping all these attributes in mind, here are our picks for the top 5 routers for small businesses!
1. Amped Wireless High Power Wireless N Router
This router is touted as being a router with one of the largest signal ranges of any router out there, and they’re not kidding- it produces a usable WiFi signal over unbelievable distances. If you have a larger office or need to send that signal over larger distances, such as a recreational area or even outside, this router will definitely make the cut when it comes to getting your signal out. It also has the advantage of being wall mountable- a seemingly small feature, but wall mounting can be extremely handy for outdoor areas or small business offices where space is at a premium.
The unit does have some downsides, but they’re minor- it’s a single band router, for example, so any devices that operate on a 5Ghz spectrum will be out of luck. Not many devices do, however, and so it’s fairly safe to say that the 2.4Ghz spectrum will work just fine for most scenarios, as most wireless routers already operate on that frequency. It also runs a little hot, so make sure that you put it somewhere with plenty of air circulation- no drawers for this one. All in all, a solid business router that will give your business WiFi with a kick!
|Amazon: Amped Wireless High Power Wireless-N 600mW Gigabit Router|
2. D-Link Amplifi HD Media Router 2000 DIR-827
If you’re looking for feature-packed WiFi routers, you’ll be happy to know that the Amplifi Media Router is a home and small business router that packs quite a bit of punch into it. First off, it’s dual band, so any devices on the 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz spectrums will be able to connect without issue. The real star of the show here, however, is its extensive traffic routing capabilities- it has feature packs that allow it to prioritize different types of traffic according to what they need to function flawlessly. This is a godsend for employees who need to video conference over WiFi or stream videos for prospective clients to view- they can be assured that their streaming traffic will get top priority over bulk downloads or file transfers, ensuring a seamless performance that won’t run into any hiccups. The router also offers a guest network option, something very handy for offices that have many visitors.
Older models of the router had some 2.4Ghz issues that have been addressed with the latest firmware update, so make sure that when you get it you apply the latest firmware patch if it hasn’t already been put on there. Other than that, this is an extremely effective router for the money that will be sure to provide solid wireless for your office at an excellent price!
|Amazon: D-Link Systems HD Media Router 2000|
3. Cisco Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual Band N900 Router
Cisco has always been a trusted name in networking, but sometimes the price tag on their enterprise equipment is a little hard to swallow. Thankfully, they’ve kept the quality going in their small business line while reducing the price so small businesses can get in on the action. This dual-band router can be described in one word: fast. It supports up to 450Mbps bandwidth using simultaneous 2.4Ghz + 5Ghz dual-band connection, and it’s capable of hosting a guest network with up to 50 devices. Both of these are pretty attractive features for a small business router, and it’s got fairly good range to boot.
There are some minor features like an external hard drive port that small businesses may not need, but the bells and whistles are secondary to the primary capabilities of this router. It’s a great router for any small business application, and it just goes to show that Cisco’s no slouch when it comes to its small business line!
|Website: Cisco Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual Band N900 Router|
4. Asus RT N56U Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless N Router
Asus has been making solid home routers for quite some time now, and their RT N56U goes above and beyond- it’s a great router that can serve in many small businesses very well. First off, its main selling point is how compact it is- it’s a fair bit thinner than many of the competitors on this list, meaning it can be put in a little nook out of the way to serve as a wireless repeater or in places where there’s simply no room for a router. It also has great signal strength, meaning it will be able to punch out of a small enclosed space if need be. It doesn’t offer the 450Mbps monster speed of some of the other routers on this list, but it makes up for it by being small, fast, cheap, and strong- if you’re looking for a versatile router to pop anywhere in the office, the RT N56U is a great choice.
|Website: Asus RT N56U Dual-Band Gigabit Wireless N Router|
5. Buffalo AirStation AC1300 Dual Band Wireless Router
This baby is a monster as far as speeds go- it supports the cutting-edge 802.11ac standard, which means that it can deliver blisteringly fast 1300 Mbps speeds on the 5 Ghz range to any devices that support 802.11ac. It’s no slouch in the 802.11n department either, and it can give the 450Mbps speeds that other routers on the list can give as well. It’s got the long range that Buffalo routers are famous for, and you’ll have no problems getting your signal to reach from its location to quite a few rooms around it and down the hall.
This router is definitely for forward-thinking small businesses, as there are virtually no clients yet that support the 802.11ac wireless standard. Once they do, however, this router will be able to deliver flawless HD streaming as will as extremely fast speeds for your internal network- definitely worth considering to future-proof a small business!
|Website: Buffalo AirStation AC1300 Dual Band Wireless Router|
Small businesses have traditionally had two options when it comes to wireless networking in their offices: They’ve either relied on unstable, weaker home routers or they’ve had to shell out great deals of money for enterprise-level wireless routers. With the advent of small business networking, a compromise is here- all of these wireless routers are great small business routers that will perform admirably without breaking the bank!