A router essentially creates your home network, over which all your smart devices connect and communicate. This makes is perhaps the most important part of your home network. And since high-end routers don't usually come cheap, that's why you should consider all your requirements when investing into a new router for your connected home. Modern routers typically come with support for both wired (Ethernet) and Wi-Fi networking capabilities, and several high-end routers also offer additional features like USB ports for connecting hard disks and accessing them from any device over your network, DLNA streaming capabilities, and even integrated support for home automation technologies like Z-Wave, ZigBee and INSTEON.
Based on the Wi-Fi specification and speeds they support, Wi-Fi routers follow a classification system, which denotes the router's Wi-Fi spec (A, B, G, N or AC) followed by its maximum link speed in Mbps (1900, 1750, 1600, 1300, 1200, 900 etc.) In addition, the speed of the LAN ports on a router is also specified in Mbps (10/100/1000), and is important for home networks that have devices connected via Ethernet cable. A Gigabit router is one that supports Ethernet speed of up to 1000 Mbps, while Gigabit Wi-Fi routers are those classified AC1600 and above.
Popular high-end router brands include NETGEAR, ASUS, Linksys and D-Link, all known for not just great hardware but also excellent, powerful software and great extras. TP-LINK has conventionally been known for its inexpensive routers that don't come with any extra bells and whistles but just get the job done as routers, though the Chinese manufacturer has recently disrupted the high-end market by offering an exceptionally well-performing, top-of-the-line AC1750 router for just $100 (which is our current recommendation for most users).
To help you buy the right router for your home, we have written a comprehensive guide that explains in detail all the factors you should consider. In addition, we have also compiled a list of the best routers currently available in the market to make your decision even easier.