From weak signal to easily hacked
Your router is responsible for sending the Wi-Fi signal to your phone, laptop, smart TV, security camera, and more. It has a big job.
Sometimes this is the reason for your unstable internet connection, but not always. Tap or click my guide to fix your bad Wi-Fi.
Your router also plays a vital role in network security. If someone hacks your router, that’s bad news. Tap or click for a free check to see if yours has been compromised.
No matter how you take care of it, there are limits to what an old router can do. Do you need a new router? Read on to learn about and help you choose the right product for your home.
Your old router is easier to hack
Your router might do a good job of keeping you connected to the internet, but can it keep you safe? The latest security standard is WPA-3, released in 2018. Any router that uses WPA-2 encryption will need to be replaced.
Run an encryption check on your router. Go to your router’s admin menu. Under the Wireless or Security menu, you will see the encryption status. need help? Click or click on the steps to do this on my website.
If your router is not WPA3 compatible, WPA2-PSK AES is the next most secure option. This is also a sign that you need to buy a new router. Below I’ll show you how to choose the best router.
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You missed it
When buying a router, you might as well future-proof your network. More and more devices support Wi-Fi 6, but it doesn’t mean much if your router doesn’t.
Wi-Fi 6 significantly improves two key categories: speed and range.
Homes with tons of connected technology—phones, computers, smart TVs, printers, smart speakers, and smart home devices—put some pressure on the web. A Wi-Fi 6 router can easily handle 50 or more devices.
There’s something better than Wi-Fi 6, although not many devices can use it just yet. Wi-Fi 6 uses the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, while Wi-Fi 6e operates 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 in some places
Your home should have a consistent, fast network. A single router is fine for small spaces, but what about multiple rooms and floors?
Mesh networking is more popular and affordable than ever. Instead of relying on one router, mesh networking adds satellite modules around your home, covering the entire area.
These systems usually work together in sets of two or more units. As far as your devices are concerned, a Wi-Fi mesh network is a large continuous network that eliminates poor coverage, dead spots, and buffering issues.
online? Before you unplug everything, read this: The only way for a tech pro to restart your router.
Your device needs more juice
How old is your router? Routers that only support the 2.4 GHz frequency are dinosaurs.
• Single-band routers use only the 2.4 GHz band and one wireless signal.
• Dual-band routers use the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands to transmit two wireless signals simultaneously for better performance.
• Tri-band routers typically have 2.4 and 5 GHz bands and an additional 5 or 6 GHz band for a total of three wireless signals.
The single-band router needs to be replaced. Dual-band routers that support 2.4 and 5 GHz will do the job 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 keep getting requests from people for help choosing a router. It’s hard if you don’t know what to look for. There are pages on Amazon for sale, ranging from $20 to over $1000.
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, giving you the best security and fastest speeds. It only takes a minute or so.
The bottom line is: if you have an unstable connection, are not equipped with the latest security standards, or are more than three years old, you must replace your router.
Tap or click here to take our quick router finder quiz. You’ll be glad you did!
Keep your technical knowledge going
My popular podcast is called “Kim Comando today. Here’s a 30-minute collection of solid tech news, tips, and callers from around the country with tech questions. Search it wherever you get your podcast. For your convenience, click the link below to view the most recent episode .
Podcast Picks: The most intrusive home tech, the dangers of Facebook, Google’s new tricks
If you own any smart home devices, your privacy may be at risk. In this episode, learn new Google tricks, keyboard shortcuts, and some Facebook dangers. Also, this is why you should never use an in-app browser. (If you put your message in, you’re in big trouble!)
Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” apple, Google Podcasts, Spotifyor your favorite podcast player.
Listen to the podcast here Or anywhere you get podcasts. Just search for my last name “Komando”.
Learn about all the latest technologies The Kim Comando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and advises on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletter, and more, visit her website: Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of USA TODAY.