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A Faster New Router for the Home: The Best $20 Spent in a While

For years, my wife Melanie and I suffered through slow Internet speeds. We cursed Time Warner and lamented that Verizon FiOS didn’t exist in our area. I sometimes had to switch over to my cellular data to watch YouTube videos because our Internet connection was so terrible.

Even after we got our new cable modem to replace the one we had for 8 years, there was no noticeable change in speed. We cursed Time Warner some more.

A couple months ago, I happened to be having lunch with a client whose company makes computer hardware. We had just finished working on a smart home security product website with him. He was part of a small team within a large corporation whose speciality was in routers. I asked him if router technology had evolved much in the past 5 or so years. I told him I had used the same router for the past decade. “Uh, yeah, there’s been some change in router technology since then,” he told me.

I had totally blanked on the possibility that our slow Internet was due to our inefficient router. With multiple devices—iPhones, iPads, AppleTV, Fitbit scale, and a few laptops—all competing for data over Wifi, my old ass router was struggling. Not too long after the revelation, I went on Amazon, searched for “router” and saw that there was a sub-$20 option from TP-LINK with 4.5 stars from over 5,000 customer reviews. I read some of them and browsed a few more expensive options. It sounded too good to be true since I also saw that $100+ options existed, but I gleaned that for an apartment of our size, the $20 option would be more than plenty.

I pulled the trigger on the TP-LINK TL-WR841N Wireless N300 Home Router. It came a couple of days later via Amazon Prime. It took me 10 minutes to install and to make sure all my devices around the house were re-connected. Only challenge is that I couldn’t figure out how to set up our wireless printer with the new router. I’m hoping Melanie will solve it.

Once the KANG NETWORK was up and running, it was as if we had cleaned our Internet pipes with Drano. The difference in performance was night and day. Melanie and I played Dominion and the game loaded up 2-3x faster than before. I watched movie trailers and music videos without lag. I even thought about streaming a movie on Amazon or Netflix, but gave up because it takes too damn long to find something worthwhile to watch sometimes. Everything felt blazing fast, and I couldn’t believe it was because of a router that could’ve been replaced at any point in the past few years for under $20.

This past weekend, we were able to enjoy HBO Now through our Apple TV. Just a few months ago, we didn’t dare stream anything through Apple TV because the video would halt every two minutes or not even load at all. To watch the premieres of Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, and Veep without a hitch felt amazing. Go router!

2 thoughts to “A Faster New Router for the Home: The Best $20 Spent in a While”

  1. I’ve add the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 (C7000-100NAS) for about 8 months now. I’ve loved it. I used to have my network drop all the time and never had an issue. Then about 2 or 3 weeks ago I’ve started seeing drops and now once or twice a day. I contacted Netgear and they want to charge my $90.00 to help me analyze the problem. I just want to send it back. I’ve checked a wifi channel analyzer and split my router out to a channel not being used. As I’ve looked at forums seems to be a common problem and Netgear has not really resolved. Just my luck to pay top dollar and have the vendor want more money to fix their poor quality product. I’ve always been a Netgear customer. Not anymore. Now I need to find a replacement.

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