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Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

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Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Netgear

Top Product: TP-Link Archer AX21 Wi-Fi 6 Router | $130 | Amazon

If you’re still bearing with spotty Wi-Fi in your home in 2020, it’s time to accept you’re not going back to the office any time soon and buy a new router. Assuming the connection coming into your house is solid, a more up-to-date, advanced router might be the missing piece of the equation in ensuring steady, wide-ranging wireless internet throughout your entire home.

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Routers come in all shapes and sizes, and lately, they even come in duos, trios, and more: mesh systems have rapidly gained popularity for their ability to blanket your space in Wi-Fi, but not every space needs the added hardware and expense. Likewise, the recent Wi-Fi 6 standard brings perks, but you might do just fine with something cheaper and unassuming. Here’s a look at the best routers you can plug into your modem today.

Best Wi-Fi 6 Router for Most People: TP-Link Archer AX21

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Andrew Hayward

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If you’re buying a new router, it’s a pretty good idea to opt for a Wi-Fi 6 device if you can. The latest wireless standard significantly boosts the top maximum speed, but is perhaps, more importantly, better suited to deal with numerous devices at a time—good news for those of us with phones, laptops, tablets, consoles, smart TVs, smart home gadgets, and more in the mix.

Some Wi-Fi 6 routers will cost you hundreds of dollars, but TP-Link’s Archer AX21 is a great option that hits a sweet spot in terms of functionality and price. This dual-band router supports Wi-Fi speeds up to 1.8Gbps (total) and delivers powerful performance thanks to its four high-gain antennas and beamforming technology to provide better, more targeted connections with your devices.

Best Mesh Router: Google Nest Wi-Fi

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Google

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I use Google’s Nest Wi-Fi in my own two-story house, and it’s such an effortless, easy-to-use mesh system that ensures that every corner of my home—and even the basement and backyard—have speedy wireless internet available. Nest Wi-Fi is powered by a main router unit that plugs into your modem and can cover roughly 2,200 square feet with Wi-Fi, and then you can expand further with smaller nodes that plug into wall outlets around your home.

To borrow a phrase from Google’s chief rival Apple, it just works. The nodes sync up easily and I haven’t encountered odd drops or hitches in my months of using it, plus the smartphone app provides network controls, diagnostics, and other details. On top of that, each node doubles as a Google Assistant smart speaker … in case that’s a thing you want. Nest Wi-Fi does not support Wi-Fi 6 and it’s pricey, but it’s such a vast upgrade over my past single-router setup. It could be the same for you.

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Best Budget Router: Linksys EA6350

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Andrew Hayward

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Not looking to invest a bunch of cash in a new router right now? No worries: the Linksys EA6350 delivers strong speeds in a small footprint and is typically less than $75. If you’re using hardware that’s a few years old, it will almost certainly provide an upgrade, even if it doesn’t have Wi-Fi 6 capabilities and isn’t built for larger spaces.

The Linksys EA6350 is a dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi router that can deliver speeds up to 867Mbps via 5GHz and 300Mbps via 2.4GHz, both of which are much higher than the average internet connection coming into American homes. Intended for spaces up to 1,000 square feet, this one’s a good pick for an apartment or smaller home and can still deliver 4K video streaming and speedy downloads.

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Best Budget Mesh Router: TP-Link Deco S4

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Andrew Hayward

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TP-Link’s Deco S4 delivers the same kind of specs as the above Linksys router, with up to 867Mbps via 5GHz and 300Mbps through 2.4GHz, but does so with a multi-unit mesh design that spreads a signal across a much larger footprint. The two-pack can cover up to 3,800 square feet, while the three-pack is rated for up to 5,500 square feet.

The Deco S4 system can’t hit quite as high of theoretical speed peaks as Nest Wi-Fi and these units won’t blend into your space as easily either, but it’s hard to argue with the price: $110 for the two-pack and $150 for the three-pack. Amazon customers seem to agree on that point, too, giving the TP-Link Deco S4 a 4.6-star rating. TP-Link offers more powerful versions of the Deco system with varying designs, too, in case you’re looking for something more robust.

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Best Gaming Router: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000

Illustration for article titled Wi-Fi Down Again? Drop the Dropped Connections and Upgrade to the Best Wi-Fi Router

Image: Netgear

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For the truly serious gaming fan who demands the best of the best, the brand new Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR1000 is one perk-packed Wi-Fi 6 option. This beastly router is powered by a triple-core 1.5 GHz processor and Netgear’s DumaOS 3.0, which provides power user features such as optimizing and allocating bandwidth for certain uses (such as live streaming) and geo-fencing to help you pick the best gaming servers to connect to.

Netgear sent me a sample that I’ve been using for the last few weeks in place of my usual Nest Wi-Fi setup, and even with a single access point, it has delivered speedy wireless access throughout my home. More pressingly, of course, gaming performance has been excellent whether notching headshots in Fortnite or nabbing glorious aerial goals in Rocket League. At $350, however, only the super-hardcore with money to burn need bother.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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