Dear Lifehacker, are you able to recommend a good modem? I'm with Internode. I need a modem router, with wired ports and wireless, and support for naked DSL. In terms of the wi-fi area it needs to cover, I'm in a pretty small townhouse. Someone's buying it for me as a gift, so price is flexible. Thanks, Mork
There are a few questions you should answer whenever you're thinking of buying a new router or modem router — how much do you want to spend, how big is your house, and so on. If you're in a smallish townhouse, you won't necessarily need a multi-room setup like Google Wi-Fi or Netgear's Orbi, so a single powerful wi-fi router should be enough for your needs. If you want a modem router, your choices are a little more limited.
If someone else is paying, I'll make a couple of mid-priced suggestions for you. You can get a good wireless router at around the $200 price point in Australia, and a good modem router around the $300 price point. With that in mind, and the fact that you'll want a few wired ports as well as decent wireless for your Internode naked DSL connection, my first two suggestions would be the AVM Fritz!Box 7490, which Internode actually recommends and sells, and the Netgear Nighthawk D7000, a modem router version of the excellent R7000.
You could spend more and get something even gutsier like a Netgear D8500 or D-Link Taipan, but in a smaller house without a surfeit of devices connecting simultaneously, it would be overkill. Remember you can extend the range and coverage of your wireless network with extenders in the future, too. A mid-range router like the D7000 should be all that you need.
The most important thing with any router that you buy is that it's stable and consistent in its performance. I'd much rather spend a little while longer actually setting up my home wi-fi — rather than with a simple set-and-forget, one-size-fits-all router — to know that I won't have to muck around with the settings in the future. Wi-Fi is a tricky beast at the best of times, so you want something that just works — and I can vouch for both of these devices from personal experience.
Have a question you want to put to Ask Lifehacker? Send it using our contact form.