What’s the Best Router for Security?
The more technology advances, the more Wi-Fi capable devices we accumulate in our households. Computers, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, game consoles, and many other Wi-Fi-enabled devices all connect to our routers. The increasing prevalence of wireless devices coupled with increasingly common cyberattacks, mean that it’s important to choose a Wi-Fi router with strong security.
Not all routers are created equally, so it’s important to consider the level of security offered in any router before making a decision. Performance is important, but the ideal scenario is to find a router with good performance and top-notch security. With that in mind, what are some secure router options to consider, and what makes these routers so safe?
Asus RT-AX88U AX6000
Asus is a brand known for the security of its routers and the RT-AX88U has several key features that make it a highly-secure router for everyday use.
This router is Wi-Fi 6 compatible and secured by the latest and most stringent security protocol: WPA3. This means the router, by default, will use a security standard that is the latest and greatest. This gives it an immediate leg-up on routers that still rely on the older WPA2 security protocol, which is considered to be outdated technology in 2022.
Like many other Asus routers, the RT-AX88U is further protected by the AiProtection Pro comprehensive security suite from Trend Micro. This full-fledged security suite offers all RT-AX88U owners commercial-grade security at no additional cost. This is worth noting as many routers charge a subscription fee for advanced security features.
Key features found in the AiProtection Pro suite are:
- Blocks malicious websites
- Protection against malware, phishing, spam, adware, hacking, and ransomware attacks
- Intrusion prevention system to protect against external threats, including distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks
- Infected devices on your network prevented from connecting to botnet servers
- Built-in virtual private network (VPN) server with OpenVPN support
- Advanced parental controls
Along with being a secure router, the AX6000 speed designation on this model means you can get up to 6000Mbps bandwidth for all devices on your network. While your speed and bandwidth will vary based on your internet service, the router is capable of virtually any speed your internet service provider (ISP) can provide.
Eero Pro 6 Mesh Wi-Fi
Now owned by Amazon, the Eero Pro 6 mesh Wi-Fi system is good option, especially if you have a larger footprint that needs to be covered with secure Wi-Fi. The mesh Wi-Fi system uses multiple access points rather than a single central router. This means you can strategically place Eero Pros around your home to ensure every square inch is covered. In fact, according to Eero, three units should be able to cover up to 6000 square feet.
The Eero Pro 6 upholds the Wi-Fi 6 standard to support up to a gigabit of speed. It has tri-band support, which allows it to handle at least 75 connected devices and also happens to be a very secure Wi-Fi router, utilizing the WPA3 security protocol.
Eero also offers advanced security features with its routers which come in two subscription plan options: Eero Secure ($29.99/year) and Eero Secure+ ($99/year).
The Eero Secure plan offers:
- Advanced threat protection
- Content filtering via parental controls
- Ad blocking
- Activity insights to see how devices use the network
- VIP support
Eero Secure+ offers all of the Eero Secure plan features plus:
- 1Password password manager
- Encrypt.Me secure VPN
- Malwarebytes anti-virus
- DDNS remote access
Because it uses the WPA3 security protocol and offers these additional security plans, the Eero Pro 6 is a secure mesh Wi-Fi system that can handle a network of many simultaneously connected devices.
Netgear Nighthawk R8000
Netgear has been a trusted name in wireless networking for years, so they know a thing or two about making routers. With the Nighthawk R8000, you get a router that provides a blazing fast 3200Mbps speed. In addition to speed, the R8000 has tri-band technology as it offers one 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands. This technology intelligently assigns each of your devices to the optimal band to maximize your speed.
Strong performance isn’t all the R8000 router has to offer, though. With a subscription price of $99.99/year, the router allows access to the Netgear Armor service bringing cybersecurity to the forefront.
Netgear Armor is powered by Bitdefender and adds extra protection for your home network. Netgear Armor scans all devices connected to your network to look for security vulnerabilities and protects these devices against cyberattacks. It also enables safe browsing, which blocks fraudulent sites and scans outbound traffic against its list of unsafe websites.
Circle Smart Parental Controls is an additional feature to control the type of content that is allowed to be viewed on the network. This allows any websites you deem inappropriate to be blocked.
In addition to the performance and advanced security, what also makes this router one to consider is the ease of setup. You simply install the Nighthawk app and follow the on-screen prompts to get up and running quickly. The app also offers a convenient interface for managing your wireless network.
TP-Link Archer AX55
Like Netgear, TP-Link has been in the wireless network space for a long time. The company’s router offerings have continued to evolve over the years, and the Archer AX55 takes advantage of many of the newest Wi-Fi technologies. The router offers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, with a maximum speed of 2400Mbps on the 5GHz band.
Base security comes in the form of the WPA3 security protocol, which means this router is using the most up-to-date network security standard. Like the other routers we’ve looked at, TP-Link offers an additional software-based layer of protection.
Advanced security for the AX55 is handled by TP-Link HomeShield. This protection includes:
- Real-time network scanner that detects security vulnerabilities and potential threats
- Parental controls to manage online time and block inappropriate content
- Internet of things (IoT) device identification
There is also an advanced security offering, HomeShield Pro, for a subscription fee of $54.99/year. This pro-level protection offers the basic HomeShield features plus:
- IoT device security
- Malicious content filtering
- DDoS protection
- Port intrusion protection
All of the included features make this a secure option for any household. The IoT device security is of particular note for those households that are embracing the growing trend of smart home devices. For more than a decade, we’ve been connecting our computers to Wi-Fi, but now you have to think about many other different types of devices, such as TVs, refrigerators and even washers and dryers.
Another capability that makes this a router to consider is its flexibility to operate either as a single router, or to act as a mesh Wi-Fi system when paired with the TP-Link OneMesh Range Extender. This mesh setup is optimal for larger homes as the additional range extenders can significantly expand the coverage area of your Wi-Fi signal.
While Synology may not be as well-known as brands like Netgear and TP-Link, they do have an offering with solid speed and a high level of security in the RT2600ac router.
Synology’s router offers up to 2530Mbps data transfer speeds and operates on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The RT2600ac also comes with optional mesh Wi-Fi technology, as Synology’s MR2200ac can be added to expand your Wi-Fi range for easy whole-home coverage.
This router also comes with business-grade security, with features such as:
- Continuous firmware updates to protect against current threats
- Threat Prevention scans all traffic to detect and block malicious packets
- Built-in security databases prevent devices from inadvertently accessing websites known to contain malware, phishing scams, and other types of cyberattacks
In addition to these advanced features, the Synology RT2600ac leverages the security of the WPA3 protocol. As with some of the other routers on our list, WPA3 is a critical component of the overall security of the router.
Synology’s Safe Access application adds even more protection in the form of intelligent web filtering and parental controls. A unique feature of the Safe Access system is the ability to create user profiles so you can link all devices used by each family member to their profile. This way, parental controls and filters can be applied on a per-person basis rather than at the device level.
Gryphon AX Mesh Wi-Fi
Gryphon, another lesser-known brand, has created a secure Wi-Fi router with its AX Mesh Wi-Fi.
This router is labeled a mesh system, but there is no requirement to have more than one of the routers. A single AX can cover up to 3000 square feet, and the network can be expanded as much as you need by adding additional routers as a mesh Wi-Fi solution.
Data throughput on the Gryphon AX is well above average at 4300Mbps thanks to Wi-Fi 6 technology. This level of throughput is significant for households with a large number of connected devices. This capacity for many devices is also aided by its tri-band capabilities, offering two 5GHz bands and one 2.4GHz band.
In terms of security, the Gryphon AX has several key features to keep your Wi-Fi network protected:
- Automatic software and threat database updates to protect against the most recent threats
- Router-level protection for all connected devices, including IoT devices
- Machine learning to analyze all devices to protect against hackers
A unique option offered with the Gryphon AX is the Gryphon HomeBound service. This app encrypts all of your smartphone data no matter where it is being used and routes it back to your Gryphon router. In doing so, you’re assured of receiving advanced security features even when you are away from home.
Performance plus security
All modern routers have at least some level of security built-in, but some are more secure than others. With cybersecurity being such an important issue, any modern router with a focus on security will offer WPA3 encryption as it is the most recent and solid security protocol available.
In addition to this basic security requirement, a secure modern router will typically offer additional features such as data packet scanning, intrusion detection, malicious website blocking, and parental controls. Some routers, such as the ASUS RT-AX88U, even come with a built-in VPN to securely encrypt all outgoing data and protect your IP address.
While the best Wi-Fi router for security is tied to your specific needs, all of the options we’ve reviewed offer security within the router itself as well as an accompanying security software suite.
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