Your router is responsible for sending Wi-Fi signals to your phone, laptop, smart TV, security cameras, and more. He has a great job.
Sometimes it’s the reason why your Internet connection is spotty, but not always. Tap or click to see my guide to troubleshooting bad Wi-Fi.
Your router also plays a crucial role in network security. It is bad news that someone hacks into your router. Tap or click for a free check to see if yours has been compromised.
There’s a limit to what your old router can do, no matter how well you take care of it. Do you need a new router? Read on to find out and get help selecting the right one for your home.
Your old router is easier to hack
Your router may be doing a good job of keeping you connected to the Internet, but is it keeping you safe? The latest security standard is WPA-3, released in 2018. Any router that uses WPA-2 encryption should be replaced.
Run an encryption check on your router. Go to the administration menu of your router. In the Wireless or Security menu, you will see the encryption status. Need help? Tap or click the steps to do this on my site.
If your router doesn’t support WPA3, WPA2-PSK AES is the next most secure option. It’s also a sign that you need to get a new router. I will tell you how to select the best router below.
More tech tips in your inbox:Try my free emails packed with technical insights.
You are missing out
By purchasing a router, you could also future-proof your network. More and more devices support Wi-Fi 6, but that doesn’t mean anything if your router doesn’t.
Wi-Fi 6 significantly improves two critical categories: speed and range.
Homes with lots of connected technology — phones, computers, smart TVs, printers, smart speakers, and smart home devices — put a lot of strain on a network. Wi-Fi 6 routers can easily handle 50 devices or more.
There is something even better than Wi-Fi 6, although not many devices can use it yet. Wi-Fi 6 uses the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, while Wi-Fi 6e works on the 6 GHz band. You’ll find this technology built into many mesh networks.
Location, Location, Location: Where to Put Your Router for Better Speeds
Your signal is weak at certain points
Your home must have a constant and fast network. A single router works fine for small spaces, but what about multiple rooms and floors?
Mesh nets are more popular and affordable than ever. Instead of relying on a router, a mesh network adds satellite modules around your home, covering the entire coverage area.
These systems generally come in sets of two or more units that work together. As far as your devices are concerned, mesh Wi-Fi is one big continuous network that eliminates poor coverage, dead spots, and buffering.
Internet out? Before you unplug everything, read this: The only way tech pros reset their routers.
Your devices need more juice
How old is your router? Routers that only support 2.4GHz frequencies are dinosaurs.
• Single band routers only use the 2.4 GHz band and a wireless signal.
• Dual-band routers use the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands to transmit two wireless signals simultaneously, providing better performance.
• Tri-band routers typically have 2.4 and 5 GHz bands and an additional 5 or 6 GHz band to carry three wireless signals in total.
Single band routers need to be replaced. A dual-band router that supports 2.4 and 5 GHz will get the job done for homes with fewer than five connected devices. Get a tri-band router that supports three signals for homes with more than five connected devices.
5. How to choose a new router
I always get requests from people looking for help choosing a router. It’s hard if you have no idea what to look for. There are pages for sale on Amazon with prices ranging from $20 to over $1,000.
Good news: my team and I did the hard work for you. Take our proprietary router quiz. Answer a few questions and we’ll recommend the best router for your home that gives you the best security and the fastest speeds. It only takes a minute or so.
The bottom line is this: replacing your router is a must if your connection is spotty, not equipped to the latest security standards, or more than three years old.
Tap or click here to take our quick router search quiz. You’ll be glad you did!
Keep your tech savvy on the go
My popular podcast is called “Kim command today.” That’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and tech callers like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, click the link below to watch a recent episode.
Your privacy could be at risk if you have smart home devices. In this episode, he learns new Google tricks, keyboard shortcuts, and some Facebook perils. So here’s why you should never use browsers in the app. (If you put your information in them, you’re in big trouble!)
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just look up my last name, “command.”
Learn about all the latest technology in the kim commando show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.