Small businesses have unique needs when it comes to staying connected. Whether you run a small business from home or recently moved into a new office building, it’s important to assess your needs and choose a router that delivers a fast and reliable connection while protecting your data.
Here is what you need to know about the best routers for small businesses, the features that set them apart from other products, and the reasons why they could be a good match for your business.
One of the most important features of a business router is that it’s ready for the future. The last thing a business owner wants to do is set up and customize a router only to learn that they need to replace it two years later. A good business router will be Wi-Fi 6 ready for the coming years, as devices slowly upgrade to the new wireless protocol. This Asus model is “ax” ready and will be able to handle this new protocol.
Of course, that’s only part of what makes the RT-AX88U great. It’s a powerful dual-band router that comes with commercial-level AiProtection software for security, 8 Gigabit LAN ports, and mesh compatibility for covered especially larger areas. It also sports OFDMA and MU-MIMO technologies for giving select devices an extra speed boost when possible. All these attributes make it an easy recommendation for a small business, including businesses that are run out of your home.
Linksys Velop Wi-Fi 6 router
The Velop was an interesting choice back when the tri-band mesh router was first revealed in 2017, a 2-pack router system designed for “whole home” coverage. Now, a few years later, there are a lot more mesh routers on the market, but the updated version of the Velop is more of a “whole business” model instead, too pricey for a home but with the power and coverage that a business needs, especially a business that offers Wi-Fi for customers as part of its service.
The new version of Velop also comes with bandwidth for more than 100 devices and full Wi-Fi 6 compatibility, so it’s ready for the future of Wi-Fi and you won’t have to update again for quite some time. Everything can be managed through Linksys’ dependable app, and under the right conditions, it can offer speeds up to 5.3 Gbps. The Linksys Velop is one of the top mesh routers available right now–but it has a price to match. If you don’t care as much about preparing for Wi-Fi 6, you may prefer the Orbi mesh router below at about half the cost.
Netgear Orbi Pro AC3000
The Orbi Pro is a mesh system router designed to cover particularly large spaces – think warehouses, factories, farms, docks, larger restaurants, and other areas that may benefit from satellite routers. However, just one will cover up to 2,500 square feet, which may be enough for you! The tri-band router also comes with the latest technology, including MU-MIMO, plus the ability to manage up to 40 mobile connections with ease.
The model offers high speeds, up to 3Gbps, which positions it well for future Wi-Fi improvements. The Orbi Pro also has preset traffic separation, creating three different, customizable networks for guests, employees, and owners, which is great for small business data management. Note that you can choose outdoor models as well if you need weather protection — plus models specifically designed for ceiling attachment if necessary.
This dual-band Synology router does a little bit of everything. It offers MU-MIMO security threat detection, smart connections based on mobile device range, traffic monitoring…and that’s just the beginning. You can customize it to turn into a private cloud server and synchronize files across devices, or use add-ons to expand router capabilities and share media more easily.
You also get VPN Plus that allows you to use the router as a VPN server for additional protection. If you want a router that does more than just sit there, and you need some extra data management capabilities for your business, check out the Synology RT2600ac. The major downside is that it isn’t Wi-Fi 6 ready, so you will give up some future benefits for business-friendly features.
Netgear Nighthawk AX12
Netgear’s latest line of Nighthawk routers are Wi-Fi 6 compatible, and this powerhouse of a model, in particular, is ready to help small businesses reach up t0 11,000Mbps while also being ready for new devices. It supports 12 different streams and is a tri-band router with an additional 5GHz band for offloading devices if the other bands get too crowded, a very useful business feature for small businesses like restaurants that may have a lot of customers using mobile devices.
The router also has a 1.8GHz quad-core processor to manage all this, beamforming for targeting problematic Wi-Fi connections, and built-in support for Guest Wi-Fi management, firewalls, VPNs, and other common additions to wireless networks. It also supports the latest WP3 encryption to help keep everything safe. Connections include two USB-A 3.0 ports, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and one 2.5G Ethernet port for an extra fast wireless connection where you need it (assuming your ISP can keep up).
We chose the most powerful Nighthawk model for this pick, but if you don’t need tri-band support or a full 12 streams you can downgrade to save money while still getting many of the other benefits.
Ubiquiti EdgeRouter ERLite-3
A small business doesn’t necessarily constitute a small wireless network. As your business expands, you’ll need a router that can keep up with growing internet traffic. The Ubiquiti EdgeRouter is a great option for businesses that need a router with lots of administrative and customization features. This model gives the business owner total control, with support for OPSF, RIP, and BGP routing protocols.
The router also fully supports IPv6, and allows users to easily customize the interface depending on what they most want to monitor. The downside is that you really need an IT person on staff to set up and maintain this type of enterprise router, so it may not be the best fit for all companies. The EdgeRouter ERLite-3 also isn’t quite as fast as some of our other options, but the right tech-friendly office will love it.
For more ideas, check out this extra list of router Black Friday deals.
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