With the high speeds available on wireless routers nowadays you may wonder if there are still any reasons to stick with a wired network.
Well, while high-end routers may offer very fast speeds, the best wired only routers still have some advantages over their wireless competitors.
Top Picks: Best Wire-Only Routers
More on these routers later. The links above will take you over to their Amazon pages
Read on to find out about the advantages of a wired router, as well a rundown of some of the best wired routers out there.
Top 3 Best Routers that are Wired-Only
1. ZyXEL USG20-VPN Next Generation VPN (Best Wired Router Overall)
- Secure VPN functionality allows you to connect to your network remotely.
- Supports service priority for data to give the most stable connection to the programs that need it most.
- High-end security features including configurable firewalls, DMZ and VPN.
This is a great router with good security features and loads of flexibility in the customization. It's not too complicated to set up, even if you don’t have prior experience with routers. This is because there are install wizards to help you out as you configure. All done with GUI menu screens and icons...so nice and simple. Command line can be used however, if so desired.
One of the big advantages of the USG20, is the VPN functionality. This allows businesses to connect to different branches virtually (and securely), as if they were on the one network. A heck of a lot cheaper than paying for a leased line between the branches!
There is also a client VPN option, to securely let remote users access files on your network.
You don;t need to worry about firmware updates either. Zycel have added the Cloud Helper feature, which safely downloads and installs the latest security patches and features without you having to worry about it.
There's also the SecuReporter feature, which details security alerts, web usage and traffic reports.
With the advanced firewall feature, where you can control what ports are opened inbound or outbound, this is a solid router for the security lovers.
2. Ubiquiti Networks ER-8 Edgerouter 8-Port Router (Best Wired Router For Features)
- Has 8 ports for multiple connections, you can configure any of them to be either WAN or LAN ports.
- Highly configurable, set the router up exactly as you want it.
- Audible noise from cooling fans means you will need to think about the best place to put the router.
This rack-based wired Gigabit router has eight ports and all the features you could want from a professional standard router. It is managed from the Cloud, so you don't have to be on premises to make any changes. You can even do this from a phone app.
Designed for home or a small business, it has the OSPF (Open Shortest Path First) routing protocol available to use, so you can connect it to other OSPF-ready routers and segment a business network to make it more streamlined. It can also route up to 2 million packets per second, so it's no slouch.
There's the option to have multiple DHCP groups for more than one LAN subnet. And with the firewall, you can have numerous groups with policies. Thsi is great if you have more than one department in the office and you want some users to have more access than others.
If you want professional standard features, and don’t mind spending a bit of time on configuration, this could be the router for you.
3. TP-Link TL-R600VPN Gigabit Broadband VPN Router (Best Wired Router For Budget Buyers)
- 4 gigabit LAN ports and one WAN port.
- Secure VPN supported by IPSec/PPTP protocols to allow remote connectivity to your network.
- Secure firewalls and DoS security inbuilt to protect your network.
If you're on the lookout for a bargain, this is a low cost router that is easy to set up and offers some good features for your wired network. Physically, it's pretty small, so should fit well into any home or office network.
Does it have VPN tech? It sure does! You can run up to 20 site-to-site VPNs on it, so you can virtually connect multiple networks together. You can also have up to 16 PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) or L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) for remote users.
Note that as this is a budget router, don;t expect lightning speeds when using VPNs. Why? Well VPNs have extra negotiation packets and they have to encrypt and encapsulate data packets as the traverse the router. This does require significant hardware resource. if speed is of the essence, consider one of the other routers above.
Comes with 4x 1Gbps LAN Ethernet ports and 1x Gigabit WAN port.
4. MikroTik RB4011 Wired Router (Best For Multiple Wired Devices)
- SFP plus 10 Gig port functionality
- Supports VPNs (OpenVPN, L2TP, SSTP, PPTP)
- Can be rack mounted
The MikroTik RB4011 wired router can be screwed into a rack if desired.
It has 10x standard 1Gbps RJ-45 Ethernet ports, but also has a handy 10Gbps SFP port. SFPs ports are often used for very heavy traffic flows. The most obvious example for using it with this router would be for connecting to a switch.
It is possible to convert one of the gigabit LAN ports into a 2nd WAN port. Port 10 can be used for PoE (Power-over-Ethernet). This is great for installing a Wireless Access Point without having to worry about finding a dedicated power point for where the WAP will be located.
You can get into your home (or small business) network remotely with VPN. The RB4011 is powered by a quad core CPU, which helps power the router (with features enabled).
5. Peplink SUS-SOHO-T Pepwave Surf Soho MK3 Router (Best Wired Router For Small Business)
- USB port, which allows you to plug in 4G LTE internet service backup
- VLAN capabilities
- Remote VPN technology available
Here's the last router on the list. That doesn't mean it's bad - it's just the final wired router to add to the already awesome group of Gigabit routers. This is aimed more towards the business user (hence the 'SOHO' title).
The Peplink SUS-SOHO-T is a dual WAN router, in that it's designed to plug primarily into a cabled Ethernet WAN port (to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) modem). But as a backup, there's the option to plug in a 4G LTE dongle and use that as a backup should the primary cabled route go down. This is a big advantage for business users who want that extra connectivity confidence. It's all accomplished with "WAN Link Health Check" - which basically pings the primary ISP, and when it can't reach it anymore, fails over to the 4G dongle.
It is another cloud-based managed router, that can be administered remotely via a phone app or browsed to with "InControl".
VPN functionality is a possibility too. Choose between site-to-site VPN or remote VPN with 256-bit AES encryption.
Why Use a Wired Only Router?
There are plenty of advantages and reasons to use wired connections over a wireless ones. These include features like connection reliability, security and how easy it can be to set up a wired network.
Oftentimes, wired-only routers are used by small businesses or SOHO (Small Office Home Office) setups. Dedicated routers tend to have more routing functionality built into them, with more durable, and higher quality components. Extras, such as wireless features or a large number of Ethernet ports are facilitated by dedicated Wireless Access Points or switches.
This is completely different from consumer home routers, that have the wireless, very secure firewall, and mini-switch functionality built into them. These devices are fine for home users, because they are small, clutterless and get most non-techy home users onto an internet connection without too many issues. Businesses usually want something more "grown up" for their online connectivity, because connecting online is critically important for their survival.
Some home users also like these higher-end capabilities.
Having a physical link between your router and your device means you are pretty much guaranteed to get a stable, consistent connection.
As anyone who has experienced a weak wifi signal will know, an poor connection can seriously disrupt whatever you are doing online and can cause problems with everything from streaming video to playing games.
The reason why wired can be better than wireless is that wireless connections are much more prone to signal congestion from physical objects like walls, and also other wireless devices like Bluetooth speakers or even other routers in your area.
Another huge plus point for wired connections is that they are more secure than wireless ones. Whereas a hacker could potentially access your wireless network and as such all the data that is sent over your network, this is pretty much impossible on a wired network.
This is because a wired network requires a physical connection to access it. This means that unless you see an Ethernet cable trailing mysteriously out of your front door, your data should be safe.
Of course, there are ways you can make your wireless network as secure as possible. These include choosing a strong password and using an up-to-date method of security like WPA2-PSK.
Easier To Get Going
Another benefit of a wired connection is how easy it is to connect your router to a computer using an Ethernet cable. All you have to do is simply plug one end of your cable into your router and one into your computer.
While practical difficulties can arise if you need to connect a computer that is far away or in another room, in general, it is easy to connect a router and devices using wired connections.
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Wired routers tend to be cheaper, as the wireless component is not bundled in.
This is certainly true when comparing like-for-like features. However, a lot of wired-only routers tend to have other features that often aren't included with wifi routers. For example, advanced VPN connectivity, firewalls and DMZ options.
These higher-end wire only routers tend to be geared towards small offices and home tech users that want a little more than what a consumer wifi router can provide. Of course, if wireless is required, separate access points are often connected to the router.
There are, of course, also some disadvantages to a wired only connection.
Many of the devices you likely use nowadays simply need a wifi connection. For example, smartphones, tablets and smartwatches etc don’t have any way to connect to a wired connection. This means if you have any of these devices and want to connect them to your network you will need a router with a wireless connection.
Wireless networks also offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to where you use the devices. If you have a wired connection you are pretty much required to keep your computer in the same place. However, a wireless connection allows you to use your devices freely.
This is especially useful for portable devices like laptops and smartphones although less important if you mainly use a desktop computer.
Different Ways To Use A Wired Router
Ethernet is the most common way of connecting a wired network. The commonly available standards used nowadays are Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a and the recently released Cat7, These offer a variety of speeds ranging from 1Gbps on a Cat5e cable to 10Gbps on a Cat7 cable.
The recommended length for Ethernet cables is up to 100 meters long and as such, they can be used to connect over a decent sized area as long as you don’t mind laying the wires.
Powerlines are a second way to run a wired network (they are dependent on Ethernet as well!). Instead of requiring a completely new set of cables to be run throughout your house, powerline cables use the electrical wires already running through your house. ?
You simply need to plug an adapter into wall sockets near the device you want to connect to and your router. Your network will then be passed between the two points using the existing wires. You will still need to connect your devices to the adapters using Ethernet cables.
Powerlines have the benefits of a wired connection in that they offer a decent connection, as well as some of the benefits of a wireless connection in that you don’t need to lay down a load of new wires through your house.
The downside is that while you might get a consistent connection with Powerline adapters (it really depends on the condition of your electrical cabling and what is using the electric supply at the time!), the speeds on offer aren’t as good as those on offer with the latest Ethernet or Wireless standards.
Always go for Ethernet cabling end-to-end where possible.
As seen in this article, there are plenty of good reasons to set up a wired network. While you won’t get the convenience of a wireless network, you will get extra benefits including security and probably a better connection.
There also plenty of great options when it comes to buying wired routers. From simple, affordable, plug and play routers like the ZyXEL USG20-VPN, and the TP-Link TL-R600, to ones with high end, configurable features like the Ubiquiti Networks ER-8 Edgerouter, it is likely you will find one to fit your particular situation.
It should also be mentioned that wireless routers do also come with Ethernet ports, which means that it is possible to get the best from both world if you buy a wireless router.
Hopefully, you have enjoyed our article on the best wired routers. If so please share and if you have any questions be sure to leave a comment below!