Best Routers For Small Business 2020: Top 3 For Office, Home & Commercial use!
You have to understand that the best routers for small business should be picked as per your needs since it all depends on overall coverage, speed, and other customization features. Once you figure out the size of your business, there should not be any problem while choosing the best office router on your own.
As far as a small business is concerned, you should also pay attention to the security features of a router so that you can enjoy a reliable connection in order to develop your online presence. In other words, security features must be your first priority to consider. Therefore, I’m going to share with you the ultimate router’s buying guide down below, keeping in mind the businesses with large volumes of traffic.
Here Are 5 Best Small Businesses WiFi Routers For 2020:
TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 – Best Overall
Linksys Tri-Band (Max-Stream AC2200) MR8300 – Runner Up!
NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12 – Best For Office!
1. TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router – Best SOHO Router
- 802.11ax WiFi standard with OFDMA
- Eight Gigabit Ethernet LAN Ports
- 1.8Ghz Quad-core CPU
- MU-MIMO & Beamforming
- 8x External Antennas
Who’s it For:
Those who want the best high-performance and the latest WiFi technology for their business without compromising on performance.
The TP-Link Archer AX6000 is a future-ready dual-band router. As a dual-band router, it works on two frequency bands – 5GHz band and 2.4GHz band. In order to provide a combined promised speeds of up to 5952Mbps, the router ensures speeds of up to 4804Mbps on the 5GHz and up to 1148Mbps on the 2.4GHz. On the inside, it boasts a robust 1.8GHz 64-bit quad-core processor and 1Gb of RAM with 128Mb of flash memory.
At a glance, the Tp-Link Archer AX6000 looks quite elegant and rugged. It is square-shaped – like a drone and comes in a black package. In other words, it is a simple, plain, and flat-looking router, which is responsible for doing some weird things. With respect to its body, the AX6000 is made of hard plastic with some heat vents on the top.
On the sides, the AX6000 houses small high-performance or high-gain antennas; it has eight antennas in total and allows you to lift them to a 90° angle. Furthermore, you also get rubber pegs on the bottom of the router so that it can be placed on a desktop. You can hang it on your wall as it has mounting options too.
If you’re tech-savvy, believe me, you’re going to love this router as its performance is highly technical. In other words, the AX6000 is a high-performance, blazingly fast, and feature-rich router offering the advanced QoS feature so that you can enjoy 4k streaming and gaming without any interruption by the other devices on the network.
In order to get the most out of it, you have to use its 5GHz frequency band as 2.4GHz WiFi spectrum is so crowded and promises slower speeds.
The security of the router becomes a very important factor to consider, especially when purchasing for businesses. That’s why Tp-Link Archer AX6000 is going to be a great option for you as it guards your entire office’s network against viruses and malware. With the Active Content Filtering feature, you can keep your family more secure and safe on the web.
Pros & Cons:
What I like:
- The Archer AX6000 is compatible with IFTTT and Amazon Alexa.
- It supports Port Forwarding, DHCP service, and guest network, and can work as a VPN server.
- Its compatibility with the latest technologies such as OFDMA, MU-MIMO, and Beamforming.
- Its setup is extremely easy. It can be set up through the Tether app and Bluetooth in no time.
- It is compatible with DOCSIS 3.1 and offers USB-A & USB-C 3.0 ports.
What I don’t like:
- It doesn’t support the WPA3 Internet protocol.
If you want the faster speeds throughout your office, the Archer AX6000 will be perfect for you. In my testing, it performed well and was quite easy to manage and install with a wealth of connectivity ports with a great set of features. However, Archer AX6000 is a bit pricey but wins out over legacy connections.
2. Linksys Tri-Band (Max-Stream AC2200) MR8300 – Best Router For Office
- 802.11ac WiFi standard
- Coverage up to 2,000 square feet
- MU-MIMO & Beamforming supported
- Maximum WiFi speeds of up to 2.2Gbps
- 5x Gigabit Ethernet Ports
Who’s it for:
Everyone who needs a budget-priced that offers seamless streaming throughout their home.
Unlike TP-Link Archer AX6000, the Linksys MR8300 is a tri-band router and thus offers three frequency bands, such as two 5GHz and one 2.4GHz. Each of the two 5GHz bands promises maximum possible WiFi speeds of up to 867Mbps. On the 2.4GHz, it tops out maximum WiFi speed of up to 400Mbps. Moreover, it has built-in Velop Mesh technology that allows you to add a Linksys Velop node in order to expand the coverage up to 4,500 square feet.
The MR8300 is a solid-built WiFi router, covered within a rugged black plastic body. On the top, you’ll see tons of perforations for heat ventilation and a wall-mounting slot on the back. Meaning, you can place the router on the desk and hang it on a wall. Besides, it includes six high-power amplifiers with four external antennas and are ready to give excellent WiFi coverage throughout your house. With the help of four Gigabit Ethernet ports, you’re free to make multiple wired connections via Ethernet Cables.
The overall performance of the router is top-notch. It is equipped with a powerful 716MHz quad-core processor and 512Mb of RAM with 256Mb of flash memory. Using its bands, the MR8300 gives you the next level 4K streaming and Ultra HD gaming experience. Its USB 3.0 port takes all the responsibilities for sharing the media content and storage devices such as NAS and external flash drives. Similar to Tp-Link Archer AX6000, it also has Bluetooth for setup and app connectivity.
Pros & Cons:
- It has a built-in Velop mesh WiFi system for creating a mesh WiFi network for your office.
- Excellent Ultra HD streaming and gaming experience without any buffering.
- The Linksys app is very helpful and allows us to monitor and manage the WiFi remotely.
- Setting up the router is super easy and can be done in no time using the Linksys app.
- MU-MIMO and Beamforming supported with bulti-in Bluetooth 4.1 LE.
I don’t like:
- It includes a single USB 3.0 port.
The Linksys Max-stream MR8300 will be an ideal option for you if you’re planning to replace or upgrade your existing office network. It is feature-rich and offers excellent performance.
With the capability of Velop mesh technology, you can expand its WiFi coverage up to 4,500 square feet or more, depending on the nodes you add to it. So Linksys MR8300 is my second top pick for small business routers.
3. NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12 – Best Commercial WiFi Router
- AX6000 WiFi 6 12-stream
- Up to 6Gbps speed
- Bandwidth for 30+ WiFi devices
- WiFi coverage up to 3,500 square feet
- Smart Connect, MU-MIMO & Beamforming+
Who’s it for:
An ideal option for power users and those who want a feature-rich router with advanced future-proofed technologies.
The Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 is the next generation WiFi 6 compatible router. It boasts a powerful quad-core 64bit 2.2GHz processor, 512Mb of RAM, and flash memory of up to 1GB. As a 12-stream dual-band router, it offers eight streams on the 5GHz band while four streams on the 2.4GHz.
With the combined top theoretical speeds of up to 4.8Gbps, it tops out a maximum speed of up to 1.2Gbps on 2.4GHz band and 4.8Gbps on the 5GHz band, respectively.
Unlike previously reviewed TP-Link Archer AX6000, the RAX120 offers the latest WPA3 internet encryption standard. Additionally, it also supports 8×8 MU-MIMO (1024-QAM & OFDMA data transmissions) and Beamforming+ technologies.
Router’s design is quite elegant and looks futuristic with a matte black finish. On the top, the router has some LED indicators for LAN, WPS, WAN, and power. Additionally, it also contains WiFi On/Off and WPS buttons. On the back panel, it contains four Gigabit LAN ports (two of which are used for link aggregation), one Gigabit WAN port, a 5Gbps Multigig port (ethernet connectivity), and two USB 3.0 ports for adding external storage devices and sharing media content between devices.
In my testing, I found that the router’s throughput performance over the 5GHz band was outstanding. With the help of its own QoS engine, you can prioritize traffic to particular devices and users. For that, you have to use its web portal as its Nighthawk app offers only basic and quick control options. On the other hand, I used this router in my office without any issues.
Moreover, I got excellent WiFi throughput in the dead spots of my office, where my older router required WiFi boosting devices such as repeaters/extenders and switches. However, the performance of a router entirely varies from office to office; you might get different in your scenario.
Pros & Cons:
What I like:
- Simultaneous 4K/8K streaming up to 12 devices at the same time.
- It has backward compatibility with older 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi standards.
- Multigig port and LAN aggregation support is very useful and ensures speeds of up to 5Gbps.
- It supports the denial of service protection with the latest WPA3 encryption.
- Excellent range, easy to configure, elegant design, neat web interface, and super performance, especially on the 5GHz band.
What I don’t:
- It lacks malware protection.
The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 is a super beast in terms of features and technologies. It can handle a small office with ease where everyone wants to be connected to the internet all the time. It lets you connect more than 30 devices at once without compromising on performance.
Being WiFi 6 compatibility, it supports advanced MU-MIMO OFDMA technology. Meaning, your office colleagues will enjoy excellent WiFi speeds even at the greater distance. However, the AX12 is a bit pricey and doesn’t include built-in Malware protection. Seeing that, I’ve to take the router at the third position on my list.
The Ultimate Buying Guide: What factors to consider before choosing a router for small businesses?
In order to shop the best router for your business, you have to go through this buying guide. Below are the top six things you need to consider before shopping for a router.
Router’s bands: (2.4GHz & 5GHz)
When it comes to transmitting WiFi signals, a router uses several bands — one 2.4GHz and one 5GHz band or one 2.4GHz + two 5GHz bands — in the radio frequency spectrum (RF). They play a vital role when you connect any WiFi-enabled device to WiFi. The 2.4GHz band is much slower and offers fewer speeds but has a better capability to penetrate
walls and other obstacles. So make sure you pick a router that can work on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz band.
This technology is responsible for simultaneous multiple device connections as long as the client device supports it. Unlike the older technology SU-MIMO – which sends and receives data in one direction at a time from the client device. As a result, they leave most of the bandwidth unused while sending — one at a time — the data packets one after another.
On the other hand, a router that supports MU-MIMO with 4×4 streams can handle four 1×1 MU-MIMO devices, 2×2 MU-MIMO devices, or two 1×1 MU-MIMO + 2×2 MU-MIMO, etc., at a time. In other words, an MU-MIMO compatible router can communicate to multiple devices simultaneously, depending on the streams router offers. Now you can’t avoid the fact that MU-MIMO technology is one of the essential factors to consider while shopping for a router. If you’re interested in MU-MIMO, check out my article – the best WiFi routers for multiple devices.
This technology is responsible for the router’s strength as it allows your router to focus a wireless signal directly toward connected devices —without losing its strength — instead of sending in every direction. So make sure your router supports both Beamforming and MU-MIMO technologies.
The QoS (Quality of Service) feature lets you control your network’s traffic; that’s why it is also known as Network prioritization feature. For instance, one of your office colleagues is downloading large files, and you’re streaming any web content at the same time, here you can set a priority using QoS so that you can get more bandwidth than your co-workers. However, these settings may vary from router to router.
USB ports on a router is a common feature these days. Therefore, most routers include either one USB port or two – unfortunately, many mesh systems don’t. Besides, they can be USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 types, depending on the router.
As you already know that USB ports let you connect external hard drives, share files, stream download media content such as videos and photos, and access shared files from any network remotely even though you are away from your office.
Plus, you can charge your mobiles and other gadgets as well. So it’s always better to have a router that offers USB ports, especially USB 3.0. Even you can expect these USB ports from cheap WiFi routers too.
Since we’re looking for the best router for business, LAN ports become an essential factor for us. LAN ports are used for making wired connections via Ethernet cables. However, most cheap routers offer ‘fast Ethernet ports (10/100)’ rather than ‘Gigabit Ethernet ports’ (10/100/1000).
In other words, Gigabit Ethernet is ten times faster than Fast Ethernet and tops out maximum speeds at 1,000Mbps while Fast Ethernet at 100Mbps. Most modern and high-end routers may offer eight and more ports with the capability of link aggregation, while the standard routers have four ports.
1. Which is better, a wired router, or a wireless WiFi router?
A wired router is better than a WiFi router in terms of performance, security, consistency, and reliability. It is because you plug them directly into the router; as a result, you get a reliable connection.
On the other hand, a WiFi router allows you to connect many wireless devices to the network easily without worrying about those weird-looking cables. So it entirely depends on where you are going to use them, whether it is your home or office. However, if you’re running a small business, a wired router will be a better option.
2. How many WiFi routers do I need to build a small business network?
When it comes to building a small business network, you’ll need a couple of routers, depending on the size of your business. Or you can use switches and routers together if you are running a business with large volumes of traffic.
3. What is the best WiFi router for the office in 2020?
Without any doubt, the best office router in 2020 is Netgear Nighthawk AX12. With the coverage of up to 3,500 square feet, the AX12 allows up to 30+ devices to connect at the same time without compromising the performance.
4. Can I use two routers on the same network?
Of course, you can! You can easily use two routers on the same network. And there are many benefits as well if you do so. For example, you will be able to connect more wired devices, they will allow you to create mixed wired and wireless network setups, and you’ll be getting a better signal range throughout your office or home.
In order to connect two routers together, read here. Instead, you can add Ethernet Switches to your existing network. However, I would suggest adding a wireless access point to the network than a second router. As a result, you’ll get better WiFi networks.
5. How to choose a wireless router for business?
Make sure your desired router offers high-level security, the latest WiFi standard, built-in Firewall, Guest Network, excellent coverage throughput, and capability of handling multiple devices simultaneously. Or, you can read my router’s buying guide above, which is designed for business routers.
6. What is better for businesses – a router or a mesh WiFi system?
If you’re planning to buy a router for your office or business purposes, you should go for a router that offers excellent security, solid or uninterrupted coverage throughput, future-proofed, and capable of minimizing dead zones in your office. That’s why a mesh WiFi system will be a better option as these types of systems allow you to add satellite nodes as many as possible and thus help extend your WiFi coverage without compromising on speeds.
I don’t think that there is anything left when it comes to shopping the best routers for small businesses. However, my overall favorite router was Tp-Link Archer AX6000. I was impressed by its performance — especially on the 5GHz band — and features.
Still, you have any doubts or not happy with the list; let me know. I’d love to hear from you.