While technology makes our lives easier in so many ways, there are certain tasks that make a girl want to yank her hair out. Choosing a WiFi router and setting up your home network can be one of them. How do you choose which one will work for you and your family, and still be easy to set up without breaking the bank?
Ever stared dumbfounded at the shelves of wireless routers and wondered how on earth to choose? We’ve done the legwork for you. These three WiFi routers will get you up, running, and the WiFi juice flowing in just a few steps and keep a little cash in your wallet to boot.
For the Tech Newbie: Securifi Almond ($79)
WiFi has never been easier. Simply connect the sleek and slim device to your modem and a power source, and Almond walks you through set-up via a small touchscreen interface... so no computer is even needed. A few taps and a password selection later, you and your family will be surfing the web (with all of your hair in tact). The colorful icons will look familiar to anyone who uses a smartphone, so setting up security features like passwords, screen locks, and device connections becomes a summer breeze instead of turning into a storm of frustration.
Even if you have a range of gadgets — from old Kindles to new Macbooks — your devices will be compatible with this router since it works with all Macs, PCs, or Linux computers, as well as iPhones, and Android devices.
For the Growing Brood: Cisco Valet Plus ($34.95)
Got a lot of hungry Internet users to feed? The Cisco Valet Plus is perfect for larger homes and families since it comes with boosted signals to reach the farthest nooks and crannies under your roof. Plus parental controls help you block unapproved websites from curious eyes, yet easy guest account set-up so visiting friends can hop on your signal without gaining access to your entire network.
Other essential tech, like gaming consoles and printers have easy set-up too, so you can stay entertained and productive wherever you are in your home. Just plug your modem into the Valet Plus, insert the included USB key into your computer, and follow the on-screen setup instructions and boom! You’re surfin' like nobody's business.
For the Internet-Obsessed (and a few gamers to boot): Belkin N600 DB ($79.99)
Sibling fights used to be about who was hogging the bathroom, but now it’s all about who is monopolizing the WiFi signal. The Belkin N600 DB router puts an end to the scuffles thanks to its dual-band technology and a feature called “Intellastream,” which allows multiple users to connect without diluting the signal. The router even prioritizes tasks to prevent, say, your streaming movies from freezing mid-frame while others are using the WiFi for, say, video games (not that that ever happens in my house).
The N600 DB is the only router on this list that uses a CD to install software, but the on-screen instructions are simple and easy to understand. One interesting feature of this router is its self-healing properties— it automatically updates once a week and switches to the clearest signal available so you get the best connection possible. Plus, you can feel a little bit better about your purchase since $1 of every Belkin purchase goes back to the community to help local charities.