The 9 Best Long-Range Routers of 2021

Eliminate those dreaded Wi-Fi "dead zones"

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Not every router is the same when it comes to delivering the range you need to cover a large home. While many wireless routers offer super-fast speeds when you’re up close, you’ll often find them falling off as you move farther away — sometimes even to the point of even losing your connection entirely.

If this is your situation, then you need one of the best long-range routers to help you enjoy smooth online performance no matter where you are in your home. Whether that’s streaming Netflix, hanging out with friends and family on Zoom, playing games, or just surfing the web, there’s something here for everyone.

We think most people should just buy the Asus’ RT-AX88U, as it offers solid range and ample features, but you’ll find plenty of other options here for every type of home, family, and budget.

The Rundown
Best Overall:
Asus RT-AX88U at Amazon
The four antennas give it enough range to cover a typical four to five-bedroom house, depending on where you place it.
A rare gem that will give you solid coverage around a large home with a price tag that won’t be too hard on your wallet.
The Orbi is all about giving you the best performance and coverage by letting you place multiple units around your home.
Best for Gaming:
Asus GT-AX11000 at Amazon
Yes, this router looks like a beast, but it also has the performance to match, with the power of a desktop computer packed inside.
Linksys’ Velop MX12600 gives you three mesh units for about the same price that most others charge for only two.
This offers the same great coverage as the classic Orbi system, but significantly boosts the speed and the number of devices it can handle.
Best Parental Controls:
TP-Link Archer AX6000 at Amazon
You’ll be able to block websites by age categories, set up time limits for internet access, and see which websites your kids are visiting.
With large, hawk-like wings, this router looks like a cross between a stealth fighter and the Batmobile.
It provides a basic connection long after most other routers have given up.

Best Overall: Asus RT-AX88U AX6000 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

Asus RT-AX88U
4.7

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Setup Process
    4/5
  • Connectivity/Ports
    4/5
  • Network Performance
    5/5
  • Software
    5/5
What We Like
  • Supports the latest high speed Wi-Fi 6 standard

  • Excellent performance

  • Eight LAN ports for plugging in devices like a TV and console with a cable

What We Don't Like
  • A bit pricey

Asus’ RT-AX88U is a powerful router that you can easily drop in as a replacement for your existing setup, and it has a great balance of range and features that will meet the needs of just about anyone. Best of all, it uses the latest and fastest version of the Wi-Fi standard, called Wi-Fi 6, so it will serve your home well for years to come. 

The sleek, low-profile design of the RT-AX88U means it won’t look too out of place in your home, and the four antennas give it enough range to cover a typical four to five-bedroom house, depending on where you place it. You’ll also find a generous collection of eight wired ports on the back for connecting devices that need top performance or simply don’t have Wi-Fi.

We’ll be honest, the web interface is a bit daunting — it’s designed more for power users who want to do a lot of tweaking — but fortunately Asus also has a mobile app for iPhone and Android. As our reviewer Jeremy notes, the setup process couldn’t be any easier, as the app walks you through everything to get you up and running. It’ll also let you easily reconfigure things like parental controls later on.

There’s no shortage of advanced features here, but they’re tucked away so you won’t need to worry about them unless you really want to dig in deeper.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: AiProtection, WPA3, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AX6000 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 8

"The Asus RT-AX88U is an excellent Wi-Fi 6 router and is a great way to future proof your home network even if you don’t already have a lot of Wi-Fi 6 devices." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Asus RT-AX88U

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best Budget: TP-Link Archer C80 AC1900 Wireless MU-MIMO Wi-Fi 5 Router

TP-Link Archer C80 Wi-Fi Router
What We Like
  • Very affordable

  • Strong Wi-Fi signal

  • Easy setup

What We Don't Like
  • Limited positioning options

Picking out an affordable router that delivers great range can be tricky, but fortunately there’s TP-Link’s Archer C80, a rare gem that will give you solid coverage around a large home with a price tag that won’t be too hard on your wallet. 

While the Archer C80 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive routers on our list, it delivers where it counts, punching out a surprisingly powerful signal to reach the far corners of your home.

This router packs in a surprising amount of performance-boosting technology for a router in its price range. While this means TP-Link had to cut a few corners on some of the advanced features, it still manages to handle the important things like basic parental controls and a quick and easy setup through its mobile app. 

We tested this one out in a five-bedroom, two-story home, where our reviewer Erika found its range held up against many pricier routers. The only downside is that it struggles with multiple devices streaming and gaming at once, so if you have a busy family this probably isn’t the router for you.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AC1900 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4

"Every closet, bathroom, and bedroom maintained a signal, and I experienced no dead zones whatsoever." — Erika Rawes, Product Tester

TP-Link Archer C80

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Best Mesh: Netgear Orbi Whole Home Wi-Fi System

Netgear Orbi RBK50 Mesh Wi-Fi System
4.5

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Setup Process
    4/5
  • Connectivity/Ports
    4/5
  • Network Performance
    5/5
  • Software
    4/5
What We Like
  • Speedy performance

  • Full home coverage

  • Beautiful

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Older devices complicate things

While most routers look like imposing black boxes with antennas sticking out in every direction, Netgear’s Orbi takes a different approach, and it’s a refreshing change. This is a piece of technology that you won’t mind having in your living room, and that’s important as it’s exactly where the Orbi is meant to go. 

As a mesh Wi-Fi system, the Orbi is all about giving you the best performance and coverage by letting you place multiple “satellite” units around your home in the places where you need the best performance. If you’re like most families, that means you’ll probably want one in the living room or rec room for getting smooth Netflix streaming on your smart TV and lag-free gaming on your Xbox or PS5, and then maybe another one upstairs in your home office or study to get your work done. 

You’ll need to plug one of the Orbi units into your modem, of course, but the others can be dropped anywhere around your home, giving you whole-home coverage focused on the places where you need it most.

Need even more coverage? You can buy additional Orbi satellite units to spread an even wider net of coverage throughout your home. Best of all, as we explain in our full review, this one is really easy to set up, and provides great features like sophisticated parental controls and lots of room for connecting your wired devices, too.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: NETGEAR Armor, WPA2, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AC2200 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports:4 (per unit)

"When you take the phenomenal range, speedy performance, and MU-MIMO support together in a package, it’s frankly amazing. You will have a hard time finding a better wireless router than the Netgear Orbi." Bill Thomas, Product Tester

Netgear Orbi Whole Home Wi-Fi System

Lifewire / Jordan Provost

Best for Gaming: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX10000 Wi-Fi Gaming Router
4.6

Our Ratings
  • Design
    5/5
  • Setup Process
    4/5
  • Connectivity/Ports
    4/5
  • Network Performance
    5/5
  • Software
    5/5
What We Like
  • Advanced Wi-Fi 6 Support

  • Extremely fast performance

  • Cutting-edge game-centric QoS

What We Don't Like
  • Large footprint

  • Pricey

If you’re a gamer, or you have one in your home, then a normal long-range router isn’t going to cut it. Today’s fast-paced online games require slightly different features than most routers offer, and if you want to be able to enjoy your favorite shows on Netflix or Disney+ while someone else in your home is off playing Call of Duty, then you’re going to need a router that can keep up, such as the GT-AX11000.

Yes, this router looks like a beast, but it also has the performance to match, with the power of a desktop computer packed inside. This allows it to handle all the demands of gaming traffic, delivering lag-free performance that means you won’t see everything freezing up just as you’re about to make that critical shot. And there's still power and range to spare for everyone else in your home, with the eight antennas easily covering a three-story, five-bedroom home. 

Like other Asus routers, this one is also packed with features, but it tucks them away for those who just want to quickly get up and running with the basics. As a gaming router, however, it also has a bunch of special tricks up its sleeve to give you the fastest performance, and while you can read all the details in our full review, suffice it to say this is a router that will truly help you up your game.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: AiProtection, WPA3, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AX11000 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5

"I took my mobile device down to my garage, about 100 feet from the router in a direct line, with a ton of interference, including metal, in the way. At that extended range, I was able to achieve a top download speed of 54Mbps, still plenty of speed for streaming and gaming." — Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Router

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen

Best Value: Linksys Velop AX4200 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (MX12600)

Linksys Velop AX4200 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (MX12600)
What We Like
  • Affordable Wi-Fi 6 Technology

  • Great Coverage

  • Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6

What We Don't Like
  • Requires mobile app for initial mesh set up

  • Lacks built-in VPN server

  • Limited parental controls

Although mesh Wi-Fi systems provide fantastic coverage, they can get pricey as they involve multiple units for you to place around your home. To be honest, you’re not going to find a good mesh system on the cheap, but Linksys’ Velop MX12600 comes close, giving you three mesh units for about the same price that most others charge for only two. 

Despite the more affordable price, Linksys isn’t cutting any corners here on performance. In fact, this Velop Wi-Fi 6 system provides the best range of any mesh system in its class, with three units able to handle homes of up to 8,100 square feet.

Our testing bore this out too, as we could stream Netflix smoothly on our iPad even when standing across the street from our house. It’s also a cinch to set up thanks to Linksys’ mobile app.

Like most mesh Wi-Fi systems, you’ll drop the Velop units — which look like small towers — in key areas around your home to give you the best coverage where you need it. You also get plenty of wired ports on each unit for hooking up devices that don’t have Wi-Fi, and even a USB port so you can conveniently pop in a flash drive with your favorite photos so everyone in your home can access them.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: WPA3, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AX4200 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4 (per unit)

Best Splurge: Netgear Orbi AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System

Netgear Orbi RBK852 AX6000 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System
4.7

Our Ratings
  • Design
    4/5
  • Setup Process
    4/5
  • Connectivity/Ports
    4/5
  • Network Performance
    5/5
  • Software
    4/5
What We Like
  • Blazing fast performance

  • Excellent range

  • 2.5Gbps WAN port

What We Don't Like
  • Very expensive

  • Lacks some advanced features

  • No USB ports

We’re already big fans of Netgear’s Orbi — it’s one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems you can buy — and now there’s a version with the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology that pulls out all the stops to give you incredible performance throughout your whole home. It doesn’t come cheap, and if we’re being completely honest it’s probably more than you need right now, but this one is more about investing for the future.

Put simply, this offers the same great coverage as the classic Orbi system, but significantly boosts the speed and the number of devices it can handle. You’ll get the best performance out of newer Wi-Fi 6 devices, but it handles the much more common Wi-Fi 5 devices really well too. This means you get great performance today that will get even better as you upgrade to the latest smartphones, tablets, and laptops, nearly all of which come with Wi-Fi 6 built-in.

It’s also ready for the fastest multi-gigabit internet plans, as it’s built from the ground up to deliver raw speed to wired and wireless devices throughout your home. In fact, our testing showed that even a single Wi-Fi 6 Orbi station could cover a moderately sized home well enough on its own, so a standard two-pack means you’ll likely never have to worry about dead zones unless you live in a sprawling estate — in which case, you can simply add more units to expand the coverage to your heart’s content.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: NETGEAR Armor, WPA3, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AX6000 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4 (per unit)

"Just one base station is powerful enough for a moderately sized house, and adding a satellite can vastly improve speeds and range."Jeremy Laukkonen, Product Tester

Orbi AX6000

Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen 

Best Parental Controls: TP-Link Archer AX6000 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router

TP-Link Archer AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router
What We Like
  • Eight Gigabit LAN ports

  • Free security & parental controls

  • Includes USB-C port

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky Design

  • Limited antenna adjustment

TP-Link’s Archer AX6000 may not be the most attractive router on our list, but it checks all the right boxes where it counts, with support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 technology, solid performance, and a range boost feature that will make sure you can get online even when you’re out in your backyard, as we discovered in our full product review. This all comes at a price more affordable than many routers in its class. 

What makes the Archer AX6000 really stand out, however, is the free, lifetime access to the company’s HomeCare security suite. While many other router makers charge you a monthly subscription fee if you want to access their best parental controls and other security features, TP-Link is throwing these in for the price of the router, and it’s not skimping on them either.

You’ll be able to block websites by age categories, set up time limits for internet access, and see which websites your kids are visiting and how much time they’re spending there.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: HomeCare, WPA3, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AX6000 | Bands: Tri-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 8

"Beamforming technology gives it the ability to concentrate Wi-Fi signals on the devices that matter to you most, while range boost allows the signal to travel farther." Erika Rawes, Product Tester

TP-Link Archer AX6000

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Best Design: Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 12-Stream AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 Wi-Fi 6 Router
What We Like
  • Sleek design

  • 5Gbps Ethernet port

  • Supports link aggregation for multi-gigabit internet plans

What We Don't Like
  • Security features require ongoing subscription

  • USB ports can't be used for printer sharing

If Batman had a router, it would be the Nighthawk RAX120. With large, hawk-like wings, this router looks like a cross between a stealth fighter and the Batmobile. Unlike the Orbi, Netgear isn’t going for subtle here — the RAX120 is part of the company’s flagship Wi-Fi 6 router lineup, and Netgear is making it clear this is a powerful, futuristic router.

Unlike the spidery look of traditional long-range routers, the RAX120 hides its eight antennas inside those sweeping wings for a much classier look, but they’re still ready to punch out a strong signal that can cover your entire home, so you’ll be able to enjoy Netflix or hang out on FaceTime even when you’re out on your back deck, as we discovered in our full review.

An impressive set of wired ports around back gives you plenty of room for wired devices, and there’s even a high-speed one should you need that for gaming or connecting other high-performance systems. You probably won’t need it today, but with internet plans getting faster all the time, it’s nice to be ready for the future. Netgear also offers some of the best security and parental controls available, although sadly you’ll have to pay an extra subscription fee to take advantage.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ax | Security: NETGEAR Armor, WPA3, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AX6000 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 5

"The router has an impressive range overall, and I didn’t experience any dead zones, which has been a problem with other routers in the past. The speeds on the AX12 did slow down when faced with obstructions though, especially outdoor walls and appliances." — Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Netgear Nighthawk AX12

Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Best Coverage: Ubiquiti Amplifi HD Mesh Wi-Fi System

Ubiquiti Amplifi HD Mesh Wi-Fi System
What We Like
  • Outstanding coverage

  • Very easy setup

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for busier households

  • Slower speeds at extreme ranges

Ubiquiti’s Amplifi HD focused on doing one thing and doing it very well, and that’s getting the maximum range possible from a mesh Wi-Fi system. It provides unparalleled range for those who need to cover a sprawling estate, although it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not going to win any speed records. Ubiquiti may be able to bend the laws of physics a bit here, but it can’t break them outright, and one of those laws is the farther a wireless signal goes, the weaker it gets. This is a system that’s more about range than speed. 

In practical terms, this means that while the Amplifi HD can deliver up to 20,000 square feet of wireless coverage, at longer distances this will likely be enough only for casual web surfing and checking your messages. Still, at least it provides a basic connection long after most other routers have given up.

At more normal indoor ranges it can deliver smooth Netflix streaming and video conferencing performance even in a large five-bedroom home, but as we found in our full review, don’t expect it to do well at handling a lot of devices. It’s a great choice for things like smart home devices that don’t need a lot of performance, but you won’t be able to game and stream on more than a couple at a time.

Wireless Spec: 802.11ac | Security: WPA2, Guest Wi-Fi Secure Access | Standard/Speed: AC1750 | Bands: Dual-band | MU-MIMO: Yes | Beamforming: Yes | Wired Ports: 4

"This is an ideal system for someone with a large area to cover, but it’s not a powerhouse capable of managing an army of devices like the Nighthawk AX12 or the TP-Link Archer AX6000." — Erika Rawes, Product Tester

Amplifi HD

 Lifewire / Erika Rawes

Final Verdict

Asus’ RT-AX88U offers a wealth of advanced features along with expansive range backed by fast Wi-Fi 6 performance. If you’re looking to cover a larger home without spending a bundle, however, then TP-Link’s Archer C80 is worth a look.


FAQ
  • What is a long range router?

    Many of the problems that we blame on our internet service could be resolved simply by improving how the internet is distributed inside our homes.

    A long-range router can provide very real benefits for your household. They're designed to cover larger areas, which means that you don’t have to install Wi-Fi extenders all around your house or deal with annoying dead zones, and if you have multiple devices scattered throughout your home, a long-range router can reach all of them. They also often include advanced features to speed up your connection and allow a larger number of users and devices to utilize your network.

  • How do you know if you need a Long-Range Router?

    While dead zones and dropped connections are obvious indicators that it’s time to get a long-range router, problems like lagging and buffering on services like Netflix or choppy video calls on Zoom and FaceTime can also be a good sign that your current router just isn't cutting it—especially if they only occur when you're farther away from the router. Before upgrading to a newer and more powerful router, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the technology involved. One way to help find the best router for your needs is to use a network analyzer such as Netspot, a free tool that can help you get a map of what your Wi-Fi coverage looks like. This can help you identify where the wireless signals are weakest in your house along with dead spots or areas prone to interference. 

  • Should you get a Long-Range Router or a Wi-Fi Extender?

    If you’re having problems getting wireless coverage into one specific area in your home, then one of the best Wi-Fi extenders can be a quick and cost-effective alternative to replacing your entire router. However, you’ll almost always be better off getting a long-range router if you can afford it, as that will expand the coverage in every direction, making things easier in the long run.

  • Do faster routers provide better range?

    Not necessarily. You'll get the fastest possible speeds from any router when you’re sitting right beside it, but those speeds can quickly fall off as you move farther away if the router can't deliver a strong and focused signal. The best long-range routers are specifically designed to put out a powerful signal that can travel farther around your home, while also penetrating obstacles such as walls and floors.  

  • Should I buy a mesh network instead?

    Traditional long-range routers rely on sheer brute force signal strength to cover a wide area. A mesh network, on the other hand, uses multiple routers broadcasting the same network signal to create one large network. These networks have the main router directly connected to the modem and a series of satellite routers that act as extensions of the main router, all with the same SSID (network identifier) and password. These will have faster speeds than traditional Wi-Fi extenders since they're designed to work together for maximum performance. They also allow for future expansion if necessary. An advantage of mesh networks is that they can cover larger areas than any single router. A disadvantage is that all those connected routers make for a more expensive system. 

What to Look For in a Long-Range Router

Wireless Standards

There are a wide range of wireless standards, which are based on different radio wave spectrums. The bottom line when shopping for a long-range router is to ensure that it can offer good performance and range on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Signals in the 2.4GHz frequency range travel farther anyway, so you usually won't have a problem with these on any router, but if you want the maximum speeds in the far corners of your home, you'll need a router that can punch through a strong 5GHz signal too.

Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router
Lifewire / Yoona Wagener

Security

High-end long-range routers often come equipped with advanced security features such as firewalls and current encryption standards such as WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) that block suspicious activity on your network. Other security features to look for include support for router level VPN implementations. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and when you use one your data is sent through a secure, encrypted connection that obscures your identity from prying eyes. 

MU-MIMO and Beamforming

MIMO stands for multiple in, multiple out, and is a method for coordinating multiple radio antennas in a wireless network. MU-MIMO (the MU stands for Multi-user) is a variation of MIMO designed for 5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi networks. It improves the performance of connections made using it. Essentially, MU-MIMO is a technology that improves the performance of long-range routers.
Beamforming
is another technology designed to improve performance in routers. Put simply, traditional routers are omnidirectional, casting a signal over a wide area, diluting the signal. In the case of routers with beamforming, the signal is directed to devices that connect to the router in a concentrated beam that improves signal strength. For this reason, your new long-range router is likely to have an array of antennae. Rather than send equal signals in all directions, these antennas can be aimed towards areas of the house that are most in need of extra signal strength.

About Our Trusted Experts

Jesse Hollington has over three decades of experience in information technology and networking and has installed, tested, and configured just about every type and brand of router, firewall, wireless access point, and network extender, dating back to the days long before Wi-Fi even existed.

Jeremy Laukkonen is an experienced tech journalist with a background in automotive repair that has taught him the importance of breaking down complex technical subjects in understandable ways. He specializes in VPNs, antivirus, and home electronics, and manages his own automotive blog on the side.

Bill Thomas is a New York-based freelance writer who covers technology, music, film, and gaming. They reviewed the Netgear Orbi Whole Home Wi-Fi System on this list.

Erika Rawes has written for Digital Trends, USA Today, Cheatsheet.com, and more. Her areas of expertise include consumer technology, such as long-range routers.

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