Home Get better internet Tips and guides Optimise your setup What to look for in a new router

What to look for in a new router


4 mins average read time

What to look for in a new router

Having to deal with dodgy internet in the home or office can be a real constraint on productivity and cause plenty of stress. While there can be multiple reasons for the issue, it sometimes can be as simple as replacing your router or modem.

When you are trying to keep everyone in your house connected to the internet, sometimes you need to make sure your current router is powerful enough to keep things running smoothly. 

If your router (sometimes called a modem) is five years or older this could be affecting your broadband performance. Like all technology, age is a factor, so it is best practice to upgrade routers every few years to stay up to date with advancements in broadband and wifi technology. 

Helpful tips

Below provides more helpful tips in detail as to what to look for in a router.  

Technical performance

A key criteria for big internet-using families such as avid gamers, smart homes with plenty of gadgets, or if you're working from home a lot. If that's you it’s worth considering a wifi 6 capable modem. You can also learn a bit about router performance from its wi-fi rating. It’s a bit like the engine rating rating on a car e.g. 1200cc for a small hatchback vs 2000cc for a medium sized sedan vs 4.8 litre for a V8. 

  • AC1200 = low end Wi-Fi 5 

  • AX1800 = low end Wi-Fi 6 

  • AX6000 = midrange Wi-Fi 6 

  • AX11000 = top end Wi-Fi 6.   

The need for speed - Your maximum internet connection speed is determined by your ISP, and the plan you have selected.  However, routers that offer faster speeds still bring benefits for connections between devices on your home network. 


While solid technical specs are great, if you’re no ‘tech guru’ you'll want to understand how easy a modem is to setup. For instance, does it come with an easy app you can download or are you able to call a hotline for assistance?  


For those homes where interior design is paramount, it’s worth ensuring the modem isn’t too much of an eyesore. Otherwise, you’ll need to think hard about where you are going to locate it and how comfortable are you with having it sitting in plain sight.  

Parental controls

For households with kids, look out for modems with parental control features, there are plenty available and can make a world of difference when it comes to monitoring what sites they access. 

Ports and ether cables

For optimum performance, some devices require a wired connection to your router. Even when it's not essential for operation, an ethernet cable ishould offer more stable connections that are much faster than wifi. Check that your router and/or mesh system has enough ports to accommodate the number of devices you want to plug directly into your router. 


It's vital to secure your wifi router because all traffic in and out of your house goes through it, and every device connects to it. Unlike physical networks, wifi systems can extend beyond the walls of your home which can make it difficult to control who can access your home network. This is especially true if you live somewhere like an apartment block.

Always check compatibility

Some routers can only reach maximum speeds of 100, 200 or 500Mbps. For any router, modem, mesh system or a combination of these you are considering, make sure that they are compatible with the broadband service provided by your ISP. 

Check the specs

The minimum specs we recommend are Wi-Fi 5 (IEEE 802.11 ac) support and WPA2 security but you could consider Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11 ax) and WPA3 security if you can afford it. 

On a final note, having good wifi and an internet connection you can rely on is all about ensuring good wifi coverage in your home or office. Routers should clearly state their coverage area in square metres on the box or online description. It’s always good to calculate the rough square meterage of your home and note anything could serve as a barrier to your signal such as stairwells or concrete and brick walls that can weaken your signal. 

There are options to boost your wifi like wifi extenders and mesh systems, but much depends on the size and construction of your home and your router placement. With the right product, you can usually remedy those pesky dead spots that don’t get a signal. Or read our broadband performance explainer to learn about other factors that can affect your broadband performance. 

In this article

More tips and tricks

Optimise your setup
Optimise your setup

Things you can do to get the most out of your connection.

Smart homes
Smart homes

Tips for making your home smarter and more connected.

 For gamers and streamers
For gamers and streamers

Guides on the latest entertainment devices and platforms.