You were all set to drop a few hundred dollars on an Eero network network. But then the company was bought by Amazon, which you already know controls a large part of the internet, so maybe you also didn't have control over your small private part of it too. If you feel stuck because you really need a new router, don't panic. There are opportunities if you'd rather avoid Eero (as well as Amazon, Google and Apple). Good opportunities!
There are also ways to check your entire network to find out if you need a new router to begin with. But first-router options.
We have previously discussed how there are two types of routers to be aware of. Mesh routers, which are multiple routers, communicate with each other to cover a large space and get around possible wifi killers such as mirrors, pipes and thick brick walls; and point-to-point routers, which are usually a single router set at a central point in the home.
Point-to-point routers can be extremely powerful and have many tricks to get around dead places, usually best for small homes and apartments. Routers used in a network network are smaller and less powerful, but you buy more and dot them throughout your home. They are better for multistory homes or really big and sprawling.
Traditionally, we have highly recommended Eero because it's easy to set up, it's good enough for everyone, but the biggest bandwidth hens, and that's attractive. But Netgear Orbi starts at under $ 300, comes in a wide array of configurations, and can be as fast as Eero. It's a lot bigger though, and if the multiple conversations I've had with my mother in a week are something to go with, it's harder to set up than Eero too.
Ubiquitis Amplifi Networking Network is another great option starting at $ 150, which is the Linksys Velop system, starting at $ 300. If you happen to be using an Asus router or two, you can create your own network from old and new Asus routers using AIMesh.
But before embarking on expanding your current network or buying a brand new setup, dual and triple check that the problem with your current system is router based.
Decide if the problem is your modem
The router and the modem are two different things, although they may sometimes be the same device (it's confusing, I know). Your router routes your traffic on your network. It handles how all the units in your home speak to each other. The modem communicates with the outside world. Sometimes these two devices are the same. Many ISPs bind the modem and router together or give you a modem with a built-in router (they are often referred to as a Wi-Fi modem).
But if you have two boxes, then chances are that you have a modem and a router. The modem will usually connect to the outdoor Internet via a coaxial cable. It will then connect to your router, or internal network, via Ethernet cable (it is the one that looks like a fat phone line). To test if your modem is the problem, you will navigate to your network settings. Usually, this address is http://192.168.100.1, but you will check with the user manual for your specific modem.
I use an Arris modem, which is a very popular modem brand that works with a wide variety of cable internet providers, including Spectrum. Other modems will look different, but many of the discussed principles and tips will still apply.
When I log in to my modem, I quickly see this look at the connection for it.
A look at Status ] column tells me my internet is up, but this column looks different when the network for your area is down or if your modem is difficult to connect to. If Status column ever says anything other than the above, you can assume that there is a problem somewhere between the coaxial cable that goes into your modem and your ISP's infrastructure. Go ahead and contact your ISP, who will either inform you of a power outage or send out a technology to chase the problem at the end of your ISP.
If the status column shows that the connection is good, scroll down on the same page.
You now see a box called Downsteam Bonded Channels . If it's not on the home page of the modem, then look around. It can be located in another tab.
The number of channels available depends on your ISP, modem, and connection, and most of us do not need to be aware of it. What is crucial here is the Power and the SNR columns. Power represents the signal strength, and the number should fall between -15 dBmV and 15 dBmV . If the power is outside this range, try another coaxial cable and restart the modem. If that doesn't solve the problem, contact your ISP.
SNR stands for Noise ratio signal . SNR must be over 33 dB . Again, if the SNR is lower than that, check the coaxial cable and replace it if possible. If that doesn't solve the problem (after a restart, of course), then there may be significant noise elsewhere on the line. It could be a tree that touches a cable, or a wire that was not properly buried outside the house. No matter what the problem probably falls under your ISP's mission, call them and have them send a technician.
The final set of numbers to double check is Upstream Bonded Channels . This table can usually be found on the same page as your downstream channels.
Again, the number to worry about here is Power . It is usually the last column. A good power level per channel is between 38 dBmV and 48 dBmV. If it is much lower or higher, you will check the coaxial cable and / or contact your ISP.
Determine if the problem is your Ethernet cable
If the modem works perfectly with good SNR and Power level The problem may be the Ethernet cable that connects the modem to your router (if the modem and router are separate). Turn off both. Replace the Ethernet cable and turn both the modem and router back on. If everything starts to work smoothly, with consistent speeds, then congratulate. You've solved your entire network for under $ 10.
Decide if the problem is your router
Unfortunately, if you are positive, everything is perfect from your ISP down through the modem, probably owed to your router. If you have a computer with an Ethernet cable, connect it directly to your modem and test your speeds using a resource like speedtest.net, giving you a decent idea of the average speed or fast.com, which tests your connection speed for Netflix servers.
If everything works perfectly, your router is likely to be the problem.
But you don't have to replace it right away. Sometimes it is easy to fix the router as to adjust the channel it transmits. Wifi, which all wireless signals (including your TV) operate on separate channels and the more crowded a channel gets worse on the internet. Most recent routers find the least crowded channel, but sometimes the automatic channel task fails.
It is quite easy to find out if this is the problem, at least if you have an Android device useful. Download WiFi Analyzer that can show you all the different Wi-Fi signals as routes around you. If your router wifi is in a messy channel, identify a less messy one. Then change the channel on your router. Each router does this differently, so refer to your router or search "wifi channel change" and the name of your specific router.
If you don't have an Android device around, use a Windows or macOS device (iOS has no available Wi-Fi channel analyzer app). On a MacOS device, press the Option key and click WiFi menu in the menu bar at the top right of the screen. Then select Open wireless diagnostics . It will take a few moments to make a diagnostic report, which will show you the best channels for wifi
For Windows users, we recommend Wifi Analyzer, which our colleagues at Lifehacker have written a useful guide to.
If a poorly selected channel is not the culprit, other factors in your home may interfere with the signal as it travels from the router to the device. Don't worry, we've already done a comprehensive guide to troubleshooting the problem.
And if that is the problem, or if none of the above solutions have helped, it may be time to invest in a new router. Fortunately, you can do it without involving Amazon, Google or Apple.