Nowadays, almost every piece of tech you buy is equipped with some form of wifi. From laptops and tablets to TVs and washing machines, every device wants to use a big chunk of your precious wifi bandwidth.
Top Picks: Best Multiple Device Routers
More on these routers below. The links will take you over to Amazon.
Because of this, when it comes to buying a router nowadays it is important to ensure that you will be able to connect as many devices as possible to it.
This article will explain the features that make a router perfect for multiple devices as well as taking a look at some of the best routers for multiple devices.
Router Features That Help Cope With Multiple Devices
MU-MIMO (Multi User-Multiple In Multiple Out) is a great feature that allows more than one device to use MIMO technology at the same time.
MIMO reduces the negative effects of the reflection of wifi signals by using two antennas. This helps improve connects and speed up data throughput.
MU-MIMO differs in that while MIMO could only be used by one device at a time (other devices could connect to the router, but not get the benefits of MIMO), MU-MIMO allows multiple devices to get the benefits of MIMO at the same time.
The very latest wireless standard Wi-Fi 6 (or Wireless AX) takes MU-MIMO to a whole new level. It allows up to 8 devices to talk at the same time, as opposed to 4 devices talking at the simultaneously with Wireless AC. We'll talk more about AX Wi-Fi in a sec...
Dual Band and Tri Band
Dual and Tri Band routers are basically routers that allow devices to connect to two different networks. This will usually be one 2.4GHz network and one 5GHz network or, in the case of Tri Band routers, one 2.4GHz network and two 5GHz networks.
By doing this, a router can reduce congestion which in turn allows each device to have a better and more consistent connection.
802.11ax (AKA WI-Fi 6) wireless offers improved speeds when compared to 802.11ac wifi. This means that having 802.11ax will allow more users on your network to perform functions that require these higher speeds.
This is especially important when you have multiple users each trying to stream HD video on their tablets, smartphones and computers.
Just remember that if users are accessing the internet, it is likely that your internet connection will be the slowest link in the chain. Whether or not you choose Wireless N or AC probably won't make a difference.
Quality of Service
When your network starts to get congested, which it may well do if you have a lot of users, Quality of Service (QoS) is a great function to have. It will prioritize certain types of traffic that need a consistent connection (gaming, voice calls, etc) over other types of traffic that don’t require such a consistent connection (downloads).
This should lead to a better user experience on your network for the people that need it the most!
Wi-Fi QoS is also known as WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia). Read more on that here
Powerful CPU and RAM
Having the best possible CPU and RAM allows your router to handle the stresses caused by having multiple devices connected at once.
As each device that connects requires a little part of the computer's power, the more you have, the more likely it will be that your router can deal with this well!
Top 5 Best Wi-Fi Routers For Multiple Devices
1. Netgear Nighthawk AX12 (AX6000) Wi-Fi 6 Router (Best of Best)
- The latest Wireless AX technology (up to 6Gbps theoretical) - Super-Fast Baby!
- MU-MIMO (up to 8 users) and QoS.
- Supports up to 12 Wi-Fi Streams and uses AX Wi-Fi OFDMA tech
This router comes with pretty much every feature you could want from a wifi router. If you need to connect as many devices as possible at as high a speed as possible, this is the one for you.
However, much like the features on offer, the price isn’t for the faint of heart. This could be off putting for some users.
2. Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 Open Source Smart Wireless Router (Best for Options)
- Dual-band technology allows two networks for your devices to connect to.
- MU-MIMO technology for multiple quick connections.
- Simple media prioritisation software to allow the best connection where you need it most.
Another excellent router with loads of high-end features suitable for multiple users. The only thing it is really missing is Tri Band, although it is also a little cheaper than the Netgear X8 router, above.
Either way it should provide a great service for all but the most connected networks.
3. Netgear Nighthawk X4S R7800-100NAS Router (Best for Multi-Gaming)
- 1.4GHz dual core processor.
- MU-MIMO technology and dual-band.
- QoS to ensure your gaming sessions go uninterrupted.
- 4 Ethernet ports for fast wired connections.
This router has been around for a while now. It looks very like the original R7000 Nighthawk router (which is still a damn fine router BTW). It has pretty everything you need if you want to ensure a top connection even when others are using the network.
Great if you have a home full of gamers!
4. TP-Link Archer AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router
- MU-MIMO, Dual-Band and QoS features mean it will have few problems handling multiple users.
- It;s another Wi-Fi 6 router - Blazing speeds up to 6Gbps
- Good connectivity including 2x USB 3.0 ports (type A & C) and 8 Ethernet ports.
- Wireless AX OFDMA tech and Band Steering for optimal throughput
Another router that will compete with all the routers on the list bar the top one. It has all the features needed for multiple connections although sets itself apart due to its an eye catchingly futuristic design.
5. Asus RT-AC88U Wireless-AC3100 Dual Band Gigabit Router
- 8 gigabit Ethernet LAN connections possible due to 8 LAN ports. You can also bundle 2 of the LAN ports together.
- Dual-band and smart connect allow you to connect to the best band for you.
- MU-MIMO, 4 antennas and 1.4GHz processor to ensure all devices on your network can get the best connection.
This router has all the features you could want to connect multiple devices as well as a massive 8 Ethernet ports for extra wired connections. If you have the need for super fast wired or wireless connections for streaming, gaming or file transfers, this could be the router for you.
While the routers on this list may seem more expensive than most other routers out there, they are all packed with the latest technology and features.
As the number of wifi connected devices we use increase (think IoT - Internet of Things. It is predicted that almost all electronics will be wifi enabled and ready to connect to your network!), buying one of these routers could be the best way to ensure all the devices have the best possible connection.
Of the routers on the list, the Netgear Nighthawk X8 is certainly a great choice, although it's not going to suit everyone's budget - we get that.
If you don’t want to spend as much, the other routers will probably do the required job for most users out there.
If you are have more than one user on your network (particularly wifi users) that uses a local server or NAS box or a Plex server/Kodi box etc, then a router with a little more grunt will probably be required - and that's where the above routers really come into their own!
If when you have gamers, video streamers and heavy downloaders users on your network, then again, you need a good router for the best possible experience.
Will A Budget Router Do?
Even a relatively cheap router will connect multiple devices together, and support them all at the same time.
But just bear in mind that cheap routers are fine for multiple users that aren't heavy or intensive users. If your network users are mainly just flicking through Facebook, reading the news and catching up on email, you know, general internet browsing, then that's cool. A powerful router probably isn't necessary. If this is the case, you can check out our best wifi routers article to get some ideas.
At least try to get your hands on at least a Dual Band router.
Speaking of bands....you probably thought we'd forgotten about recommending a tri-band router. Well they used to be quite pricey. But now the AX routers have flooded the market (they're dual band, but oh so powerful), the old tri-bands have dropped in price.
If you want one, you could do worse that the Asus RT-AC3200
Thanks for reading! As always, please leave a comment if you have any questions and feel free to share the article on social media.