If you’re buying a router for a small business for the first time, it can be hard to know what features you should be on the lookout for.
Top Picks: Best Small Business Routers
More on these business routers further below. The links above will take you over to the respective Amazon product pages
As well as this, you may look at some of the consumer routers out there and think that by buying one of these routers, you will be able to get a higher number of features at a lower price point.
While this is in some ways true, you must remember that small business routers have been designed with businesses like yours in mind. The features on offer may not be the same as the ones on a consumer router, but they are the features a small business is more likely to require.
If you want to know what to look out for in a router for business, as well as see a rundown of some of the best routers out there, please read on!
Business Router Features To Look Out For...
VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows users to access the business network from wherever they are located. This can be great for a small business as it allows people to work from home, or in fact from wherever they can get an internet connection.
While this is a function available on many consumer routers, the VPNs on business routers generally have a focus on strong security and allowing a high number of users to access the network simultaneously.
Dual WAN (Wide Area Network) is a very useful feature for small businesses as it allows two internet connections from two different ISPs. This is important because if your business relies on its internet connection, having a second one can act as a backup if the first one goes down.
This will make your internet connection more reliable and means there is less chance that your business will crawl to a standstill, due to the loss of an internet connection.
QoS stands for Quality of Service. It is a function on many routers that allows them to prioritize different types of traffic over others.
For example, if you are sending a large amount of data over your network, while also taking part in a conference call, a router with QoS will be able to prioritize the data from the video call. This should lead to less lag, and less chance that your meeting will be ruined by a bad connection!
While, sticking to the same example, the file transfer may be a little slower due to its data being less highly prioritized, this is generally not going to be as disruptive as a bad connection on a video call.
Of course, if you actually need to transfer files as quickly as possible, you can set the router to prioritise the data from file transfers instead.
Advanced Content Filtering and Site Blocking
Small business routers often have advanced content filtering and site blocking. This allows the network owner to block certain sites or keywords when using the work network. Basically, using this feature you can ensure your staff (or yourself) aren’t spending all their time on Facebook!
While we obviously want all our routers to be safe, the data and importance of the data sent by small businesses mean that small business routers will usually have much stronger security settings than consumer routers.
This can include stronger encryption on VPNs, improved firewalls, UTM gateways and a DMZ port.
A DMZ port on a small business router allows a server to be directly connected to the internet while also ensuring that if anyone gains access to the computer, they won’t be able to access the rest of your network (the LAN).
Business Grade Hardware
Business routers are also more likely to be built to a better hardware grade or standard. This is likely to be advantageous to your business as the higher quality hardware means there is less chance of router failure.
Business routers are also often likely to be offered with good customer support from the manufacturer (at a separate cost)
Advantages and Disadvantages Of A Small Business Router
We have already listed the main features (above) that will lure you towards going the extra mile and opting for a business grade router.
Remember that router uptime at your office is so much more important than your home router.
Ok, it's never convenient for your router to reboot or dropout whenever you are halfway through streaming an episode of Game Of Thrones or when you are catching up on Facebook.
But downtime at home won't cost money. Downtime at the office? It can be a serious headache for any business owner, and very costly! Business grade routers tend to be built with more quality and tolerance so that they remain up when you need it.
Some manufacturers offer maintenance support (of varying levels), so you can swap out your router relatively quickly and easily. Cisco are especially well-known for this.
Of course, there are also some disadvantages. Small business routers are generally more expensive than their consumer counterparts. In some aspects, it may also seem like you are getting fewer features for your money as they often don’t have 802.11ac wifi, the ability to attach hardware via USB or other features you may be used to getting on a consumer router.
However, if you run a small business it is important to remember that these routers have been designed specifically for your business needs. If you run a business it is likely that you will be more than happy to sacrifice some of these consumer features for the specially designed business features.
Top 3 Best Routers For Small Business
None of these business routrs have built-in wifi. We recommend attaching a WAP (Wireless Access Point) in order to bring wireless functionality to your office network.
1. Cisco Systems RV325K9NA Gigabit Dual WAN VPN 14 Port Router
- Dual gigabit WAN ports to ensure consistency with your internet connection(s).
- VPN secured by SSL and IP/Sec.
- 14 LAN ports (1Gbps) for multiple simultaneous wired connections.
- Configure via GUI.
The biggest selling point on this router is its dual-gigabit WAN ports which allow you to connect to two internet connections at once for load balancing and/or redundancy. This router also allows very high speeds, has good security / VPN features and a USB & DMZ port.
If you need two WAN ports and don’t mind the lack of wifi this could be the best router for your small business.
2. Ubiquiti Networks - ERPOE-5- PoE EdgeRouter
- Ability to configure individual ports to either LAN or WAN.
- Dual WAN functionality.
- PoE (Power over Ethernet) ports for compatible devices.
- Configure via GUI or Command Line (CLI).
- Supports VPN (Site to Site / OpenVPN etc).
This is a great router with plenty of advanced options to set it up exactly as you want it. This will be great for someone who needs a finely tuned router for their business, although, will take some technical know-how to tweak to perfection.
3. TP-Link TL-R600VPN Gigabit Broadband VPN Router
- Superfast wired connection: 1 Gigabit WAN connection and 4 Gigabit LAN ports.
- VPN with IPsec/PPTP VPN protocols.
- Strong SPI firewall and DoS defense to protect your network.
- Very cost-effective.
- Some of the features are limited (only 256 DHCP hosts - VPN limited connections etc).
This is a cost-effective router for business. It offers solid enough connectivity.
There is no wifi connectivity, or WAN load-balancing option, and some of the features have limitations. But, if you are simply looking for a way to your business connected securely to the internet, this router could be the one for you.
That is all for our rundown on the best routers for your business needs. As I’m sure you have noticed, while it may be tempting at first to buy a consumer router for your small business, there are many reasons why it is a good idea to go for a small business router.
The features on these routers are specifically designed for businesses like yours and as such are a better suit than consumer routers.
Out of the routers on our list the Cisco and Ubiquiti routers are likely to be the best fit for a lot of small businesses. However, if you need a more cost effective solution, and don't need umpteen features with little limitation, the TP-Link router would be a good choice.
We hope you have enjoyed this article on the routers for small businesses. If you have we always appreciate a social media share!