Best wireless routers to increase broadband speeds

Last updated: 16 July 2022   By Justin Schamotta

Wireless routers provided with broadband aren't always the best or fastest - here we look at router upgrades that can increase both the speed and coverage of wi-fi in your home.

Wireless routers, like everything else, age. What might have been perfectly adequate a couple of years ago, might now be causing your wi-fi to slow down or even drop out.

The best router for you will depend on how your devices connect to the internet. If you have an ADSL or FTTC connection (BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet, Sky, etc.), then the Deco X73-DSL from TP-Link is a worthwhile upgrade, which is reasonably priced given its impressive coverage, speed, and total capacity.

Those with a full fibre or cable connection (BT FTTP or Virgin Media) should consider the Archer AX73 from TP-Link - it also combines great performance and specs without breaking the bank.

wireless router
Credit: Casezy idea/

Which wireless router should I choose?

While broadband providers invest in keeping up with the latest wireless router technology, they still don't always offer the best devices. So here we've looked at six of the best router upgrades currently available to help improve your broadband speed and coverage.

These can be divided into two groups, which require different types of broadband connection.

  • ADSL (copper wires) or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) (often known as superfast fibre) connections either need a router with a built-in DSL modem or a separate DSL modem. For simplicity, we've looked at the three best routers with built-in DSL modems for a straight swap.
  • Virgin Media cable or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband connections don't need a DSL modem, using instead the provided modem. We've included three of the best non-DSL routers - though it's worth noting that ADSL/FTTC connections could use these routers but would need a separate DSL modem.

Wi-fi protocols

To help you get to grips with the world of routers, it's worth learning a little about the protocols that enable devices to talk to each other wirelessly.

Developed by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers), the standards that wi-fi devices adhere to are updated every few years, with each improving on speed and capacity.

The latest standard is wi-fi 6 (also known as 802.11ax). Theoretically, this will enable network throughput of up to 10Gbps (some 30% faster than wi-fi 5), as well as allowing increased simultaneous data streams and network capacity.

However, while your router might advertise itself in wi-fi 6 terms, you won't get the benefits if your devices don't support it.

Examples of devices that do support wi-fi 6 include:

  • Phones: iPhone 11 and 12, Samsung Galaxy S10 and S20, Huawei P40 Pro
  • Laptops: Asus Chromebook Flip c436, Dell XPS 13 (2020), HP Spectre x360
  • Tablets: Microsoft Surface Go 3 , Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

It's important to note that devices using the previous standard (wi-fi 5 or 802.11ac), or even earlier wi-fi protocols (802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b, etc) will still work with a wi-fi 6 router as they're always backwards compatible, it just won't be as fast as the headline speeds.

Nevertheless, as wi-fi 6 will become the dominant standard it's still worth buying the most up-to-date router even if your devices only support wi-fi 5 to future proof any upgrade.

Mesh support

In our analysis of the best wireless routers, we've also favoured routers that support mesh. Mesh is another new technology that can help to improve wi-fi coverage around a home.

Mesh works by establishing one wi-fi network where additional mesh devices are able to extend the same network to provide seamless coverage across a larger area. Therefore, routers that support mesh, will allow you to boost coverage by easily extending the network in future if you want to.

Superfast fibre broadband

Best wireless router upgrades for FTTC and ADSL

Price Wi-fi protocol Band Max speed Mesh Voice assistant Security
TP-Link Deco X73-DSL £180 Wi-fi 6 Dual 5.4Gbps Yes Alexa TP-Link HomeShield
Asus DSL-AX82U £239.47 Wi-fi 6 Dual 5.4Gbps Yes Alexa skill ASUS AiProtection Pro
TP-Link Archer VR2800 £129.99 Wi-fi 5 Dual 2.2Gbps No None Basic options in app

1. TP-Link Deco X73-DSL

Best for: Larger households or those with a lot of data-hungry inhabitants, on an ADSL or FTTC broadband plan.

Device Price Wi-fi protocol Band Mesh
TP-Link AX5400 VDSL Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 £140 Wi-fi 6 Dual Yes


  • Huge number of possible connections
  • Mesh-enabled


  • Parameter tweaking limited

The Deco X73-DSL from TP-Link is a superb router and more than capable of managing the connection requirements of most households.

The manufacturers give the example of it simultaneously supporting three devices downloading at high speed, 20 IP cameras streaming, 40 devices streaming at 720p, 5 streaming at 4K, 10 streaming at 1080p, 45 devices browsing the web, and 35 smart home devices.

If you've got devices that can work via wi-fi 6, you'll be able to get speeds of up to 5.4Gbps.

TP-Link Deco X73-DSL wireless router


The Deco X73 is integrated with a DSL modem, so is suited to those with VDSL2, ADSL2+, ADSL2 and ADSL connections.
It has four Gigabit Ethernet WAN/LAN ports, a USB 3.0 port for local storage, and a couple of phone sockets (the Deco offers 250 minutes of voicemail storage when phones are connected).


The Deco X73-DSL resembles a futuristic white vase, which makes a nice change from the usual spikey block affair.

Ports are arranged neatly up its spine and a small LED lets you know when it's connected.


The Deco X73-DSL's signals are enhanced by BSS Colour and Beamforming, enabling it to boast coverage of up to 270 m2.

Because the Deco X73-DSL is mesh enabled, this coverage can be further extended by adding more Deco units to form a unified network - ideal for operating in large spaces.


Like other TP-Link devices, the Deco X73-DSL comes with HomeShield Basic Plan, enabling you to tweak your access preferences.

Options include managing online time and blocking inappropriate content, prioritising bandwidth, and detecting external threats.


Weight 1.76Kg
Size 21.1 x 13 x 12.3 cm
Wireless type 5 GHz Radio Frequency, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
Standards IEEE 802.11ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz
IEEE 802.11ax/n/b/g 2.4 GHz
Wi-fi speeds 5 GHz: 4804 Mbps (802.11ax)
2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps (802.11ax)
Compatibility VDSL 2 / ADSL 2+ / ADSL 2 / ADSL


Best for: Gamers on an ADSL or FTTC broadband plan.

Device Price Wi-fi protocol Band Mesh
ASUS DSL-AX82U AX5400 Dual Band WiFi 6 xDSL Modem Router £242 Wi-fi 6 Dual Yes


  • Programmable lighting
  • Ability to prioritise network traffic
  • Mesh-enabled


  • Relatively expensive
  • Complicated web portal

The ASUS DSL-AX82U is a great option for gamers. It can prioritise your gaming over other network traffic and has much of the same hardware as its pricier brother, the RT- AX88U.

Some of its features include 4x4 MU-MIMOs, support for 160MHz channels and a top speed of 5.4GBps.

ASUS DSL-AX82U wireless router


The DSL-AX82U contains a DSL modem so is suitable for those with ADSL (copper wires) or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections.

Wi-fi 6 devices will work to their best with the Asus DSL-AX82U. Those running on lesser standards won't perform quite as well - though they will still work.

As an example, a device supporting wi-fi 5 will have a maximum speed of up to 433Mbps.


Resembling an alien helmet, the ASUS DSL-AX82U is presumably designed to appeal to gamers.

A large lit area resembling eyes can be made to change colour on demand. You can choose from hundreds of colours and program them to align with specific modes.

If you want to make a feature of your router, then the harsh lines and futuristic design might well appeal.


The DSLAX82U supports mesh technology via ASUS AiMesh, which allows you to create a whole-home network using multiple ASUS routers.


The DSL-AX82U comes bundled with the AiProtection Pro package. This helps keep out security threats before they can reach your devices, including devices that cannot install anti-virus software - such as IoT devices and game consoles.

The package also features parental controls that allow you to view or change security settings on each of your family member's devices.

Usefully, this can all be done remotely via a dedicated app.


Weight 0.57Kg
Size 27.6 x 18.4 x 16.5 cm
Wireless type 5 GHz Radio Frequency, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
Standards IEEE 802.11ax/ac/n/g/b/a/e/i
Wi-fi speeds 5 GHz: 4804 Mbps (802.11ax)
2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps (802.11ax)
Compatibility VDSL 2 / ADSL 2+ / ADSL 2 / ADSL

3. TP-Link Archer VR2800

Best for: Those looking for a cheaper option who don't need extended wi-fi coverage with mesh, on an ADSL or FTTC broadband plan.

Device Price Wi-fi protocol Band Mesh
TP-Link AC2800 Wireless MU-MIMO VDSL/ADSL Modem Router £130 Wi-fi 5 Dual No


  • Relatively cheap
  • Straightforward app


  • Not the fastest
  • Not wi-fi 6
  • No mesh support

TP-Link have a solid reputation for all things wi-fi, and the Archer VR2800 is no exception. This capable and unobtrusive bit of kit is more than adequate for small to medium-sized households wanting to improve on the router supplied by their ISP.

TP-Link Archer VR2800 wireless router


The Archer's integrated DSL port supports all standard DSL connections. The device itself is powered by a Broadcom 1GHz dual-core CPU. As Broadcom makes the world's most widely used chipsets for DSL products, compatibility with your ISP is highly likely.

It's not the fastest router available, managing 2167Mbps on 5GHz and 600Mbps on 2.4GHz. Bear in mind that these speeds are for wi-fi 5 devices, so will be slower still if you're running on older protocols.

The Archer has four Gigabit Ethernet ports for gaming, hd video and the like. Its two USB 3.0 ports can be used for hard disks, printers and flash drives.


The Archer VR2800 is designed to unobtrusively sit on your desk, lying flat and rectangular with only the four antennae to draw attention to it.

The ethernet ports and power button/cable line the rear edge, while a notch on the side contains the two USB ports and wi-fi buttons.


Unlike the other two integrated-DSL routers we've looked at, the Archer VR2800 doesn't support mesh technology, so you have to rely on the four external antennas to create your network.

It does, admittedly, do a good job of it, making use of power amplifiers and low-noise amplifiers to boost the sending and receiving signals, and beamforming to find and create targeted connections.


Settings for things like parental controls are found in an accompanying app, which can be used from any Android or iOS device.

Features such as Guest Network and Block List lets you take control of your home network and who has access to it.


Weight 0.73Kg
Size 19.7 x 3.7 x 26.3 cm
Wireless type 5 GHz Radio Frequency, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
Standards IEEE 802.11ac/n/a/b/g/n
Wi-fi speeds 5 GHz: 2167 Mbps (802.11ac)
2.4 GHz: 600 Mbps (802.11ac)
Compatibility VDSL 2 / ADSL 2+ / ADSL 2 / ADSL

Virgin Media and full fibre broadband

Best wireless router upgrades for cable and FTTP

Price Wi-fi protocol Band Max speed Mesh Voice assistant Security
TP-Link Archer AX73 £148.97 Wi-fi 6 Dual 5.4Gbps Yes None TP-Link HomeShield
Linksys MR9600 £199.99 Wi-fi 6 Dual 6.0Gbps Yes None Basic options in app
Netgear Nighthawk AX5400 £203.45 Wi-fi 6 Dual 5.4Gbps No Alexa & Google Netgear Armor

1. TP-LINK Archer AX73

Best for: Our top choice for full fibre or Virgin Media broadband customers looking to boost their wi-fi speeds and coverage.

Device Price Wi-fi protocol Band Mesh
TP-Link AX5400 Dual-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router £149 Wi-fi 6 Dual Yes


  • Mesh-enabled
  • Static link aggregation on two ports


  • One USB 3.0 port

The TP-LINK Archer AX73 is our router of choice if you've got a full fibre or cable connection. It's got 5 gigabit ports, six high-performing antennas and a funky design that also helps keep it cool.

TP-LINK Archer AX73 wireless router


The Archer requires a connection with an external modem to work, like fibre-to-the-premises or Virgin Media cable. Other than that, set up is a simple process using either the intuitive Tether App or the web interface.

The Tether App also allows you to manage network settings from any Android or iOS device.

Once set up, you'll be able to connect up to 128 devices on the 5 GHz band, and 96 devices on the 2.4 GHz band.


The Archer looks contemporary, with the top side entirely covered with scale-like vents and an oblique rectangular structure.

At the back there are 4 x Gigabit LAN Ports and 1 x Gigabit WAN Port. We like that there is static link aggregation (LAG) available with 2 x LAN ports to boost throughput. It's a feature that is becoming more prevalent on the better routers.

As well as the usual on/off buttons, there's an additional option to turn the LEDs at the front off - a nice addition in our opinion.

A single USB 3.0 port adorns the side.


The Archer AX73's six antennas form a signal-boosting array that TP-Link say can adequately cover the average three-bedroom house.

Coverage receives an additional boost from beamforming tech that concentrates wireless signal strength towards clients, and high-power FEM that improves transmission power.

If you find that you still have areas with patchy coverage, support for mesh means you can add other TP-Link OneMesh products to extend the network.


The Archer has a decent security set up with the Aviva-powered HomeShield. This identifies IoT devices, including cameras and voice assistants, to block all potential security holes.

It also records abnormal incoming traffic, and automatically blocks requests from enlisted IPs.

Parental controls allow you to manage online time and block inappropriate content.


Weight 1.45Kg
Size 27.25 x 14.72 x 4.9 cm
Wireless type 5 GHz Radio Frequency, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
Wi-fi speeds 5 GHz: 4804 Mbps (802.11ax)
2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps (802.11ax)
Compatibility Fibre plans

2. Linksys MR9600

Best for: Gamers or large households wanting to future-proof their homes with wi-fi 6 and the Linksys Velop mesh system, and who are on a full fibre or Virgin Media connection.

Device Price Wi-fi protocol Band Mesh
Linksys MR9600 Dual Band Mesh WiFi 6 Router (AX6000) £200 Wi-fi 6 Dual Yes


  • Mesh-enabled
  • Easy set up


  • No prioritisation
  • Signal doesn't have best penetration

The Linksys MR9600 may not be the most powerful router for its price range, but it's good nevertheless.

It can cater for up to 40 devices in a range of some 3,000 square feet, while offering speeds of up to 6.0Gbps.

Linksys MR9600 wireless router


The Linksys MR9600 works with cable or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband connections.

Set-up is via the accompanying app and is relatively straightforward - you can have it out of the box and managing your network in under 10 minutes.


The Linksys MR9600 harks back to the traditional router design i.e. a square box. The plus side is that it's also relatively small, so doesn't intrude.

The ports are arranged along the rear end, with a WAN port, four LAN ports and two USB 3.0 connectors. There are also a couple surprisingly large LEDs and a power button.


Linksys say the MR9600 can provide coverage in spaces up to 3,000 square feet - though thick walls will moderate this figure.

That said, the MR9600 is mesh enabled, you can always link it to other Linksys Mesh-enabled routers to take up any slack.


Set-up and maintenance of the Linksys MR9600 is done via the associated app. From here you can enable parental controls to set time limits, schedule time-specific wi-fi access, and restrict websites on kids' devices.

There are also automatic firmware updates and you can set up separate, password-protected wi-fi network for up to 50 guests.


Weight 0.94Kg
Size 28 x 17 x 6 cm
Wireless type 5 GHz Radio Frequency, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
Wi-fi speeds 5 GHz: 4804 Mbps (802.11ax)
2.4 GHz: 1147 Mbps (802.11ax)
Compatibility Fibre plans

3. Netgear Nighthawk AX5400

Best for: Gamers looking for smart voice control with Alexa or Google, on a full fibre or Virgin Media connection.

Device Price Wi-fi protocol Band Mesh
Netgear Nighthawk Wifi 6 Router (RAX50) £190 Wi-fi 6 Dual No


  • Good coverage
  • Alexa and Google assistant-enabled


  • One USB port
  • No prioritisation

The Nighthawk is a solid router that will improve your speeds and reduce drag when using multiple high-demand devices simultaneously.

Netgear says that it can cover up to 2,000 square feet and connect more than 60 devices, with a maximum speed of 5.4Gbps.

Netgear Nighthawk AX5400 wireless router


The Nighthawk works with cable or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband connections. It's relatively easy to set up and there's an accompanying app to check the resulting speeds.

There's support for plans of up to 1Gbps, and a top speed of up to 5.4Gbps provided you have a wi-fi 6-enabled device.

To connect said device, you have a choice of one WAN and four LAN Gigabit ethernet ports. Note that there's only one USB 3.0 port.


Netgear have designed the Nighthawk with an eye on the gamer market, with an angular, roughly hexagonal build.
Ports are lined up at the rear, with the lights arranged down the centreline at the front.

Behind the scenes, there's a triple-core 1.5GHz processor that ensures smooth 4K UHD streaming on smart TVs, mobile devices, and gaming consoles.


The Nighthawk boasts coverage of up to 2,000 square feet, thanks in part to the beamforming tech that boosts both the reliability, range and speed of wi-fi connections for 2.4 and 5GHz.

Multiple devices can connect at the same time with no noticeable depreciation in speed thanks to OFDMA (orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) - a technology in wi-fi 6 that allocates in both the time domain and the frequency domain.


The Nighthawk comes with a 30-day free trial of the Netgear Armor service. It includes threat protection from Bitdefender, automatic firmware updates and security patches, and separate and secure access for guests.

There's also an app that gives you secure access to your home network from mobile devices, and where you can set up parental controls.

Be aware, however, that some of the extra features you may see advertised with the Smart Parental Controls require a subscription after the 30-day free trial comes to an end.


Weight 0.57Kg
Size 29.6 x 20.6 x 5.7 cm
Wireless type 5 GHz Radio Frequency, 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency
Wi-fi speeds 5 GHz: 4804 Mbps (802.11ax)
2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps (802.11ax)
Compatibility Fibre plans up to 1Gbps

Verdict: the best wireless router in 2022

The choice of available router can be overwhelming, which is why we've selected the best all-rounders for the two types of internet connection.

For those with ADSL/ FTTC connections, the Deco X73-DSL is a great option. It can connect up to 200 devices simultaneously and offers speeds of up to 5.4 Gbps for wi-fi-6-enabled devices.

However, if you're a gamer, the ASUS DSL-AX82U might justify its extra expense given that it offers the option to prioritise network traffic, thus reducing latency.

For households with a Virgin Media cable or fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband connection, we'd recommend the Archer AX73 from TP-Link.

For the money, it provides excellent performance. We particularly like that the design focuses on cooling without losing visual appeal, and that there's an option for static link aggregation.

Lastly, check out our guide to find out more about how to improve broadband speeds, as well as how to secure a wireless router from any potential threats.

Comments (1)

Garry Jones
22 March 2022

Can anyone recommend me the best product from the list mentioned in this site.

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