The only thing smaller than the price tag on the GL.iNet GL-AR150 is its diminutive footprint. As such, it’s ideal for tossing in a laptop bag and using at hotels, cafes, and other public spaces where privacy can be a serious concern.
- Good for internet-of-things devices
- Weighs less than 2 ounces
- Very limited maximum bandwidth
TP-Link Archer C7v4
Many power users feel that the TP-Link Archer C7v4 has the widest support of any in today’s market. It plays nicely with a huge variety of builds, from the user-friendly Tomato to the seminal OpenWrT — just be sure to avoid the unsupported v5 hardware revision.
- Dual-band ac capability
- Single-core cpu is underpowered
- No mu-mimo support
While the Asus RT-AC66U comes with the company’s versatile, but proprietary, interface, it can be replaced with one of multiple options of open-source firmware that are able to provide comprehensive settings and user-friendly controls.
- 4 gigabit lan ports
- Good value for such a fast unit
- Revision b lacks open-source support
While it doesn’t offer the absolute highest speeds, the GL.iNet GL-AR750 is extremely compact and designed to provide complete control even when you’re not connected to your home network. Unlike most, it actually comes with LEDE-compatible OpenWrT already installed.
- 700 megabit-per-second throughput
- Relatively affordable
- Not intended for traditional dd-wrt
At just about $100, the Motorola MR2600 is one of the most reliable models that can be found for such a moderate price. It’s also compatible with a range of additional custom firmware, in case you decide to go in a slightly different and more streamlined direction.
- Wave 2 mu-mimo functionality
- Superspeed usb 3 connectivity
- Doesn't have a ton of ram
The Netgear R6700 is a budget-friendly choice that supports up to 25 simultaneous connections and has the range to accommodate a mid-size home. It offers a single USB 3.0 port as well as a 4-gigabit Ethernet connection, and up to 1,750 megabits of bandwidth.
- Beamforming-plus technology
- Quality-of-service prioritization
- Doesn't run as hot as most
The best choice for most households that stream a lot of high-resolution video, the Netgear R7000P is a high-end unit at a mid-level price. It features a 1-gigahertz, dual-core CPU that helps quicken the pace of most non-hardware-accelerated Linux builds.
- Mu-mimo with beamforming plus
- Claims a 2200-megabit max bandwidth
- Auto-optimizes priority connections
A common selection for connectivity control freaks, the Netgear R7800 is notable for an eSATA port that enables lightning-fast network-attached storage access. It also offers an above-average 2.4-GHz transmission, which helps legacy devices communicate at higher speeds.
- Perfect for personal web servers
- 4×4 mu-mimo architecture
- Remarkably low failure rate
It’s no surprise that the Linksys WRT1900ACS works well with custom firmware, as that’s specifically what it was designed for. It uses a high-powered, dual-core processor as well as MU-MIMO technology, and has four external, detachable antennas.
- Accommodates any operating system
- 512 megabytes of ram
- Includes four lan ports
Boasting two separate 5-GHz bands plus the standard 2.4-GHz, the Asus RT-AC5300 theoretically tops out at a somewhat ridiculous 5 gigabits per second. Its 1.4-gigahertz, 4-core, ARM processor ensures that computation-heavy configurations run smoothly.
- Rescue mode may repair bricked units
- Excellent range and stability
- 4-transmit 4-receive capability