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In the past, WLANs have been working endlessly to address traffic-flow issues. Because a radio channel is accessed serially, the importance of a network’s reliability cannot be overstated. SDN’s integration with WLAN will give complete control of wired and wireless networks, delivering a number of additional benefits, including reduced costs and increased productivity. We’ve tested the latest Wi-Fi routers to find the best ones—from budget options to top of the line—to make your wireless network faster and more responsive. It’s something you’d want to look into if you really want to spend hours tweaking, have an Ethernet wired home, or can spend a lot of time adding UniFi access points to create a bespoke solution for your home. Putting devices in the right places is key to any mesh network’s success. We started by placing the main router or node in the living room, in the center of our testing space, and connecting it to our cable modem via Ethernet.

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A great router should provide many years of reliable service, and buying one with more recent technology can future-proof it for longer. The Asus ZenWiFi AX looks like our top pick, but it adds compatibility for the new Wi-Fi 6 standard, along with extra WPA3 network security.

Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers have only been widely available since spring of 2020, are still far more expensive than Wi-Fi 5 routers and don’t bring a huge performance leap to most homes. It’s physically large, but that gives the CT8 the benefit of extra space for more connection options. Since the router and node are the same, they both have three rear-mounted Ethernet ports and one WAN port . That translates into extra connections for wired devices like streaming boxes, TVs, and game consoles. If you place the mesh node in your den or home office, you can connect your laptop or desktop PC to it for better speeds. It also means that you can connect the second CT8 to the first with an Ethernet cable for quicker speeds between mesh nodes (aka “wired backhaul”), if your home is wired for that.

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The software supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless networks in the two popular frequency bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). The dashboard shows WiFi information in real-time and allows you to optimize performance and troubleshoot your wireless networks. Xirrus WiFi inspector, developed by Riverbed, is a free wireless network monitoring software for traffic, status, and clients. Public wireless networks are more vulnerable to packet sniffing attacks. So, to protect yourself from such attacks, avoid using public networks and use HTTPS.

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Position the device and then fire up inSSIDER to see the signal strength. This is really useful if you are trying to setup a Wi-Fi network in a place with lots of thick walls, glass or mirrors, or multiple floors. Wi-Fi 6 has arrived and promises speeds of up to 10Gbps by combining both the 2.4GHz and two 5GHz networks in your home.

It can prevent packet sniffers from monitoring the traffic for the websites you visit. WiFi monitoring is the act of analyzing wireless networks to see the status, load, traffic, speed, and signal strength of each network. What’s great about inSSIDer is that it can actually help improve your connectivity. For instance, say you are trying to find the best location to place an access point or router.

For nearly $100 more than the CT8, the speed improvements won’t be worth it for most people in most homes. But the upgrade is worth the added expense if you’ve already invested in gigabit internet service and need a powerful mesh network to work with all that bandwidth. It’s the upgrade pick for those who need the latest technology to squeeze out the fastest connection, always. Below is a list of the best tools we’ve discovered for wireless analysis and enterprise monitoring – some are FREE and others are paid tools. Nonetheless, we recommend downloading them and giving them a try in your networks to see if they meet your qualifications. With Wireshark, you can troubleshoot, optimize, and improve the security of 802.11 wireless networks. You can view and troubleshoot WiFi networks and their connectivity at the convenience of your Android mobile device.

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The CT8 also come with subscription-free AiProtection Pro network protection, which includes service optimizations that can prioritize voice and video communications over gaming, among other options. AiProtection Pro’s internet security helps prevent malware from infecting your phones and PCs, and also offers options intended to filter objectionable content from your children’s devices. These are services that would cost extra on the Eero, Motorola, and Netgear Orbi mesh kits. That’s something you Word Reader can’t get just by adding another access point or wireless extender to your existing router. The Asus ZenWiFi AX is the right choice if you currently use or are planning on upgrading to a gigabit or faster internet connection. The XT8 is almost a mirror twin of our pick, the CT8, but it includes extras such as Wi-Fi 6 compatibility and WPA3 security. Neither are critical inclusions right now, but both will help keep the XT8 from becoming obsolete for a longer period of time.

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