WiFi Routers: Best Options, Information & Guide

Image of a person inspecting a WiFi router with a magnifying glass

If you are trying to decide which router is right for you, or discover the best WiFi routers currently on offer, then this guide will get you on your way. From what a router is, to deals and FAQs, let's get started.

What Is a WiFi Router?

image of a router

Throughout the day we will connect to the internet many times for various reasons: a bit of online shopping, to catch up on a stream, or just to scroll through social media. In order for us to be able to do so, we need to connect to a data network, either through 3G/4G/5G services or through a broadband connection. To get a broadband connection, most of us will use a router.

A router quite simply routes an internet connection from a modem into an accessible data form that can be accessed via WiFi or a wired ethernet connection. Data packets are then exchanged via your broadband provider's network to your devices, resulting in the deliverance of your search request. These devices also usually contain a firewall which acts as an additional layer of security on top of your system's in-built defences.

Routers additionally come in both dual-band and single-band frequencies. Dual-band routers are optimal, as they receive and transmit data signals on both 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz wavelengths, allowing for the load to be spread over two paths, resulting in higher speeds. Single-band routers operate over only 2.4 gigahertz frequencies, which can result in congestion and slow speeds (though as such these routers tend to be cheaper).

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How to Install a Router

Using a router is really quite a simple process, though steps can differ slightly between models and brands. As a rule, router installations and setups go as follows:

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  1. Plug your modem and router into a power source
  2. Plug an ethernet cable from your modem to the router port marked WAN (or directly from the router to the ethernet wall port as appropriate)
  3. Connect another ethernet cable from the router to your computer to complete configuration steps such as setting up your password
  4. Your router should now be fully configured, and you can connect your devices via WiFi
  5. When connecting devices for the first time via WiFi, you may need to press the WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) button to allow for device pairing, and for your WiFi to be visible to your intended device

Some models of routers may have designated installation or management apps. In these cases (and also in general) it is important to make sure that you have read through the accompanying paperwork and guides to ensure that you have set up and installed everything correctly.

Be careful where you place your router! WiFi routers excel when they are in open spaces, and away from other electronic devices that could interfere with their signals. Avoid putting them in corners, cupboards and cluttered areas, in general, to get the best out of your WiFi signal.

What Is a Modem vs Router?

It’s easy to get mixed up with technical mumbo jumbo, and mistaking modems for WiFi routers and vice-versa is a common error. While they are associated devices, they do fulfil different roles.

Typically, a modem receives the data from the network of your broadband provider, translates the raw data packets, and gives it to the WiFi router for wireless transmittal. The WiFi router then transmits the data it has received either via WiFi or a wired connection, in a language that common devices such as mobiles and computers can understand. So ultimately if you connect to WiFi, you are connecting to the router rather than the modem.

WiFi modems (also known as gateway modems), however, are currently the most common form of household broadband. These devices combine both modem and WiFi devices together, allowing you to have a much smaller set-up without the cable spaghetti,

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Do I Have to Use My Broadband Supplier’s Router?

Good question, and the answer is no. Most of the time when you take out a broadband package, this will also come with a WiFi modem (or WiFi router), which is included in your monthly price. This device is generally only rented to you and may have to be returned at the end of the contract. If you would prefer to supply your own WiFi modem, you would need to look for an appropriate plan that allows for this.

image of a wifi router in a box

Though using your broadband supplier's router can help in terms of tech support and guaranteed compatibility, modems bought from retailers can be more advanced, cheaper overall, and potentially much faster.

It is important though to consider cross-compatibility when doing so. If your WiFi router has specific capabilities such as being a 5G router, but your internet speeds and plan are extremely slow, then buying a superfast router will not miraculously increase your internet speed, as your broadbands core capabilities are lower than what your router is capable of.

Need to know how fast your internet is? Check out our free internet speed test to find out if you are getting what you pay for.

What to Look for When Comparing WiFi Routers

Similarly to when we compare broadband deals, there are many things to consider when choosing a WiFi router or modem. With prices starting from around €25 and exceeding €500 for top-end equipment, it is important to know exactly what you need, and what your metrics are before splashing your cash. Here are a few points to think over:

  • What range do I need?
  • Will I also need to buy a booster/range extender or mesh network?
  • Does it have the right number of ports for USBs, ethernet cables etc?
  • What is my budget?
  • Does the device come with inbuild security such as WPA/WPA 2?
  • Are your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and device bandwidth’s a match? (Can your router deliver your internet speeds in simple terms)
  • What type of WiFi does your router have? WiFi 6 is ideal with a theoretical maximum speed of 9.6 Gbps, WiFi 5 is more common with a maximum of 3.5 Gbps
  • Is it a 5G router, or a 4G router?

To reiterate, however, the most important thing is that your chosen device is compatible with your provider's service and that your provider actually allows for external devices to run their service. If you are uncertain about either point, make sure to read your device specifications and contract policy thoroughly, and make contact with your provider if you are in any doubts.

Which Is the Best WiFi Router in Ireland?

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Using some of the criteria demonstrated in the previous point, we have slimmed down your options to three of the best routers Ireland currently offers, under the €100 mark.

Best WiFi Routers
Brand Model Price Band Type Supports Speeds Up To
TP Link Router Archer VR2100 AC1200 €92.99 Dual 1.7 Gbps Mbps
D-Link Router DIR-X1560 Wi-Fi 6 1500 Mbps €61.75 Dual 1.5 Gbps
Google Router Mesh WiFi €89.50 Dual 1.2 Gbps

When searching for a WiFi router, you will generally find that TP Link routers dominate the Irish market. As such, they tend to offer the wisest variety of choices and prices. That being said, out of these three solid choices, the D-Link Router appears to be the best value for money, combining a good price-point, along with superfast speeds.

WiFi Router Frequently Asked Questions

What is an IP? How do I find it?

IP stands for Internet Protocol address and is basically the address used to identify your device and connect it to the internet network. Methods of identifying your IP address will vary depending on your system, but websites such as whatismyipaddress.com can help you to find this with only a few clicks. Alternatively, follow one of the below processes:

  • Window device
    Click start, and type “command prompt” in your search bar. In the window that appears type “ipconfig”, and hit enter. Your WiFi router's IP address will be the number to the right of “Default Gateway”
  • macOS Device
    Go to your system preferences and open the network pane. Your IP address will be listed under “Status”

Can I Have More Than One WiFi Router?

Yes. If you have a secondary ethernet port or are happy to run an ethernet cable from your primary modem to the location of your second modem/router, you can utilize a secondary WiFi source. Alternatively dongles and mobile broadband can also help to access the internet in black spots.

Router Connection Problems?

  1. Change your routers location to a more open position
  2. Try to connect on another device, your initial device could have an issue
  3. Can you connect via an ethernet cable? There may be an issue with the WiFi or your devices WiFi settings
  4. Update your system, and check for new drivers
  5. Restart your router
  6. Switch WiFi bands (if you have a dual band device)

If all else fails, refer to your devices guide for further troubleshooting, or get in touch with the manufacturer to seek support. Alternately check out our broadband down troubleshooting guide.

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The services and products mentioned on this website may only represent a small selection of the options available to you. Selectra encourages you to carry out your own research and seek advice if necessary before making any decisions. We may receive commission from selected partner providers on sales of some products and/or services mentioned within this website. Our website is free to use, and the commission we receive does not affect our opinion or the information we provide.