Ask LH: What New Modem Router Should I Buy?

Ask LH: What New Modem Router Should I Buy?

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

Dear 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.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • Yeah, I had a Netgear Nighthawk(?) modem cost me over $400 and the AVM Fritz!Box 7490 from Netgear themselves was not only vastly cheaper it actually seems better – can do more like VOIP with an analogue phone, faster and seems to allow/use multiple connections better. Moreover, the software access seems like you can do more and easier to personalise the modem, so I’d definitely go with the Fritz!Box

  • I discussed this issue of what modem router to buy, and unboxed the D-Link Taipan.
    I think the AVM Fritz!Box modems are excellent, but they need to release a new modem with MU-MIMO support.

  • I just setup a Draytek Vigor2760 modem router and its really really good.

    A couple of advantages (like a lot of new modem/routers) is that its VDSL/ADSL compatible, so if you are getting FTTN on the NBN you shouldn’t need to change setup when it arrives.

    Its also highly configurable which is nice!


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