As smart homes become more and more sophisticated, and broadband companies provide faster and faster speeds, it’s not uncommon anymore to see a house with smart cameras attached to it. Today more than ever you have the ability to see and protect your home at a moment’s notice. But what is just as important as the camera you choose? The router to which it connects.
Routers perform the job of providing speed and security to your smart cameras, and if it’s doing its job right, you’ll hardly know it’s there. Choosing a router to provide you with the features you need can be a daunting task, which is why they’re broken down here. Let’s take a look at some of the best routers on the market today for your smart security cameras.
Synology is most commonly known for its Network Attached Storage devices, it does produce a great router. If you’re picking a router for your smart security camera, then you don’t want to just buy the most inexpensive or expensive one on the market and cross your fingers. You want to consider which router provides the best features, the best security, the best performance.
Performance and Equipment
Perhaps one of the most significant drawbacks of the Synology router is the lack of LAN ports. Sure, four is a standard number on a typical router, but for one that touts itself to be a cut above, you would think there would be more. This can be especially frustrating if you’re the type of person who hardwires a lot of devices.
From an equipment perspective, Synology delivers a typical plastic device, but with a solid and durable feel to it. Vents on the top of the router help to alleviate heat buildup, keeping it cool even during peak performance. Nearly every part of the router has a use. On the rear, you will find the on/off switch, along with the USB, WAN, and LAN ports, while the front gives you a place to insert an SD card. The right side has your WPS and WiFi buttons, and the left has a USB 3.0 port. If you look at the Synology router from the top down, you’ll notice a row of LEDs providing router status.
Synology’s router has two antennae on the back and one each on the left and right sides. With the antennae and built-in feet, the router becomes bulky, which makes it a challenge to put in smaller areas and out of view. Overall, the router has an aggressive appearance, if you’re into that kind of thing.
If you need to use two broadband services, you can convert one of the LAN ports into a second WAN port. Doing so, however, results in the loss of one of your LAN ports, leaving you with only three. For most users, this results in the inconvenience of needing to use a switch to connect additional devices.
The range with the Synology router is fantastic, as it easily covers most homes plus a few hundred feet out into the yard. It will reliably stream any service you use: Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and works magnificently with home server applications like Plex or UPnP. Whether you’re streaming movies or playing games online, the Synology router holds up and performs even under heavy network usage.
Setup, Features, and Firmware
Once you successfully log into the Synology web portal, you are getting with setup. You’ll need to determine whether you want to use your router as an access point or a router. Proceed through the rest of the setup process, and you’ll have access to a beautifully designed user interface for your router.
Compared with other router interfaces, Synology Router Management (SRM), is an amazing experience. The SRM “desktop” is an area which allows you to put application shortcuts and where the windows you work with appear. You can drag and drop packages and applications to the desktop, easily seeing everything ever installed on your router.
If you have any familiarity with today’s operating systems, you’ll have no trouble navigating Synology’s router management portal. The applications are simple and straightforward, make sense, and provide controls and settings where you would expect them to be. For instance, your Network Center application is going to allow you to check the health of your connection, change and control wifi settings, and edit port forwarding or DHCP.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to get in and tinker with your devices, the Package Center is for you. You can install packages that beef up your VPN, enhance your router’s security functionality, and allow you to download from sources such as file sharing, FTP, or torrents. Packages are installed via an SD card, and there are many from which to ch.
This doesn’t mean that you need to download a bunch of additional packages to have a great experience with your Synology router. You have plenty of features right out of the box, like the ability to filter web traffic or block access to certain HTTPS sites. A really nice setting allows you to block malware sites and ads, which means you or anyone on your network can browse worry free.
As previously mentioned, if you like to get in an tinker, you’re going to like the Synology router. It’s not just a plug-and-play device, so don’t expect to only spend a few minutes on setup and go your merry way. You may find yourself spending a few hours tweaking your Dynamic DNS or port forwarding settings or messing around in the MAC address filtering section. These settings can be particularly helpful when you connect your smart security camera.
A nice additional feature available on the router is its capability to read external storage drives, which can turn your device into a basic NAS. Just find a spare external drive, throw some movies and music on it, then plug it in. The NAS option works well, but it not quite as intuitive as the Plex application. In a pinch though, it is an excellent feature to have on a router and behaves as a simple media server.
If you prefer not to go the web portal route, Synology does offer an Android application. It’s simple and basic. However, it provides information about your router, allows you to manage traffic, and edit some security settings. The application is nowhere near as robust as the web portal, but that’s to be expected.
Of course, the question is, should you buy this router. The answer is not a straightforward yes or no, but one that must take into account many factors. Are you a power user that is going to enjoy getting down into the weeds and fiddling with router and network settings? Do you own a small business? If you answer yes to these questions, then going with the Synology might be the right direction for you.
However, if your conditions just don’t predicate the need for a powerful router, or if you are the type of person who prefers just to set up your router and walk away, the Synology router is probably not something you’re going to want. The Synology portal is easy to navigate and use, but there are a lot of settings and features that can lead to confusion if you aren’t familiar with them.
The Synology router is a device that is perfect for those that want a reliable and robust network. While it can be a little overwhelming at first, you’ll soon find its portal intuitive and easy to navigate. It does require a significant amount of time for initial setup, and there is a lot to digest, but this is an ideal router that you can set to your purposes, which is especially handy if you decide to add smart security cameras to your network.
The Linksys EA6900 comes housed in a silver and dark gray case, with a flat design. On the back of the router, you’ll find four LAN ports, plus one port that is labeled specifically for the use of your broadband connection. Additionally, you’ll see a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port, a reset option, and a master on/off switch. The router comes with two antennae, a power supply, and a network cable.
Your default network SSID and password can be found on the bottom of your Linksys router. Just be sure you don’t confuse your SSID password with your router password, which is set by default to “admin.” The router password allows you access router settings if you prefer to have more granular control over your network.
Setting up requires a broadband connection, and once it has one, the router checks for firmware upgrades and updates the router if needed. Once the upgrade step is complete, you’ll be able to set up your SSID names for your 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. After you get your networks named, the router creates a unique password which you’ll use to login going forward.
Next, you’ll want to setup your Smart Wifi account with Linksys. Creating this account provides you the ability to manage your router remotely through the cloud. This is a useful account to have, as it allows you to remotely view logs, manage an FTP server, or determine the status of devices connected to your network. This is a nice feature, especially if your smart security camera is having issues, but keep in mind that accessing your home network remotely may provide hackers a way to get into your devices.
The user interface on the Linksys EA6900 looks clean and sleek. You’ll no longer see the standard HTML portal that looked like a website build in the 90’s. Instead, Linksys offers a page which utilizes modern web design, along with animated transitions and widgets.
If you’re familiar with Android, you’ll have no issues using the widgets on the main screen of the interface. They can be added, removed, and rearranged at your whim. The beautiful thing about the widgets is that you no longer have to remember every step you took to arrive at a particular page. Now you can just set a widget and get right to where you need to go.
The interface allows you to view the status or your network, make changes to the parental controls, and switch on the guest network. You can also see the number of devices on your network, change media prioritization, and manage any USB devices connected. Last, but certainly not least, you can change your SSID via a quick drop-down at the top of the portal.
You’ll also find all of your advanced features and functions in the portal as well. Like the Synology, if you like to get into the weeds, this is where you can do that. For its part, Linksys does a great job of separating and organizing these settings into a way that makes sense. Menus like “Router Settings” and “WiFi Tools” make it easy to navigate and find the settings you are looking for.
The Linksys EA6900 provides support for 802.11ac wireless channels and all wireless standards that came prior. This router includes a typical 3×3 configuration with its antennae, and while other routers don’t provide the option, the Linksys EA6900 lets you choose between 802.11n or 802.11ac on your 5GHz network.
Pros and Cons
All devices have their fair share of pros and cons, and the Linksys EA6900 is no exception. Here is a quick breakdown of the good and bad for this router.
- Simple and easy to use. Powerful router.
- The dual-core processor makes for a positive browsing experience, and there is a wealth of information available from the manufacturer, including guides and tutorials.
- Smart Wifi cloud experience is a positive experience with ease of use.
- Not entirely sure have a Smart Wifi cloud admin tool is safe from potential hackers.
- Could have more USB 3.0 ports available.
- The design feels clunky.
The Linksys EA6900 router is a solid device that offers a great experience. If you’re looking for a router that is going to provide a stable, reliable broadband connection to your smart security camera, look no further. With its intuitive setup and router configuration, this is the perfect router if you don’t want to have to worry about each individual setting. With the Linksys EA6900, you don’t have to get down in the weeds to provide your home with a performance boost.
Most people hear the word Asus and immediately think of laptops or motherboards. Many don’t know that the company has also made a good name for itself in the world of networking as well. Serious gamers prefer to go with Asus routers because they know their routers offer high speeds with a lot of features.
The RT-AC88U is no exception. The red and black colors give the router an aggressive look, and in a field of routers looking for an edge, the Asus RT-AC88U offers a variety of features that help it stand out.
Features and Design
Sure, there are many routers on the market today that offer a similar color scheme, but for some unknown reason, the Asus RT-AC88U looks different than the rest. You can catch a quick glimpse of the heatsinks inside the router, which is pretty cool because they’re red too. Of course, if you’re not into the red and black colors, you can always purchase the Asus RT-AC88U in solid black.
The RT-AC88U is a dual-band router, capable of both 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity, but this Asus device sets itself apart by using a Broadcom chipset which provides access to a higher bandwidth than the standard AC. This gives your total broadband a twenty-five percent boost, increasing the bandwidth from 1,732Mb/s to 2,176Mb/s.
Asus’ router also offers MU-MIMO, which means it can serve four clients at the same time. It’s an improvement over a non MU-MIMO router, which is limited to only sending data to one client. The drawback here is that you’ll need an MU-MIMO client, and right now there aren’t very many on the market.
You’ll find an astounding eight LAN ports on the back of the RT-AC88U, a USB 3.0 port, and a USB 2.0 port. There is also a USB 3.0 port located on the front of the router, which is under a panel that you’ll flip open.
The RT-AC88U provides a “priority” feature in its software that allows you to prioritize your devices and their activities. This is an excellent benefit for your smart security camera, as you can give it the highest priority, so you never have to worry about it being bumped on the network in favor of another device.
You’re also able to download a mobile application for the router which offers a traffic monitor that works in real-time. This app is useful in that it shows you information directly related to the ins and outs of your network traffic, which means you can monitor the network status of your smart security camera in real-time.
The Linksys RT-AC88U is at or near the top of the router list when it comes to performance. Whether you’re testing on 2.5GHz or 5GHz, you’ll see impressive speeds and throughput. Positive performance is especially important if you’re smart security camera is connected to your router. No one wants to see a choppy or slow feed when viewing video remotely. Scoring high in the performance category means the RT-AC88U is a reliable router that will provide reliable streaming through your smart security camera.
Overall, the RT-AC88U is a very impressive device. It is fast, reliable, and provides its users with a great software experience on both mobile and desktop platforms. With its eight LAN ports and MU-MIMO capabilities, this is an excellent device if you’re willing to make a significant investment. For someone looking for a router that will offer a multitude of features and a reliable connection for your smart security camera, as long as you don’t mind the cost, the Linksys RT-AC88U is a great option.
Asus delivers when it comes to their RT-AC5300 router. This tri-band Gigabit device is perfect for those that need to provide reliable broadband coverage throughout their home or business. The design, which we’ll talk about later, could be considered either terrifying or bold depending on your point of view.
Fasten your seatbelt, because when it comes to features, the Asus RT-AC5300 router does not disappoint. For starters, the router provides users with three wireless bands, as opposed to the standard two which most router offer. You’ll get your 2.4GHz band which allows legacy devices access, and two 5GHz bands, both able to support 802.11ac.
The thinking behind offering three bands is that you can set up your older devices on the 2.4GHz network, which frees up space on the 5GHz band for newer ones. With the abundance of devices capable of using 5GHz on the market today, your 5GHz network might bog down as more and more devices connect to it, so the Asus RT-AC5300 provides you with two.
Asus’ RT-AC5300 boasts a 1.4GHz processor (dual-core), and 512MB of RAM. The device offers enterprise encryption, letting you choose between WPA and WAP2, VPN options, MU-MIMO, link aggregation, and guest network capabilities.
Physically is has five LAN ports on the back, but bear in mind that this device is not a modem, just a router. As a result, one of your LAN ports will need to be used for broadband connectivity, which reduces the number of devices you’ll be able to hardwire to your network. You’ll also see USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports on the device as well.
Setup for the Asus RT-AC5300 is simple and easy. Just plug it in, connect your device to the available Asus network, and follow the setup wizard as it guides you through setting and configuring your connections. If you need to control every tiny detail of the process, Asus does provide a manual option which gives you the ability to edit the features you add and remove.
After everything has been set up, you will be able to access your settings and control panel by going to router.asus.com. This is especially handy as it means you no longer have to remember the router’s IP address.
The Asus portal is straightforward and easy to use, giving you the pertinent information as it relates to your network. This is a welcome improvement over the old-school sites that were clunky, complex, and complicated, and that was when you were using it on a good day. You will see a sleek interface that isn’t overly garish.
Performance and Range
The Asus RT-AC5300 may have the best range on the market, which is beneficial if you have smart security cameras placed in strategic places throughout your property. If your camera is set up within sixty feet of your router, you’ll get good signal strength and won’t see a drop off in network speeds.
With its eight antennae, the Asus RT-AC5300 router provides superb wifi coverage, which means that even if you own a large home or a good-sized business, you shouldn’t have any problems connecting devices to your network and experiencing quality data speeds. Again, if you’re connecting your smart security camera to your network, you’ll be glad you chose to go with this Asus router.
You can use a flash drive or external hard drive with the USB 3.0 port on the back of the router to create shared drives across your network, but don’t expect to be blown away by the speeds. However, despite these slower speeds, the Asus RT-AC5300 is still an amazingly fast with a bevy of features.
- Features – If your home or business has a variety of smart or wifi devices, the advanced network features on the RT-AC5300 are going to support them.
- Tri-band – Having two 5GHz networks available is a boon if you have several devices you want to connect to your network.
- Speed – The RT-AC5300 provides exceptional speeds for all your networks and devices.
- Range – Even if you have a large house or a lot of business space to cover, the RT AC5300 will provide coverage without sacrificing speed.
- Setup and Interface – An easy and simple setup experience, along with an intuitive interface and portal.
If you aren’t the type of person who needs a lot of features and settings, the Asus RT-AC5300 can be overwhelming.
The speed of the USB 3.0 shared drives could be faster for a router with as much power and performance as the RT-AC5300 boasts.
The Asus RT-AC5300 is a great router if you have a good-sized house or a variety of devices you want to connect. This router is ideal for you if you want to connect your smart security cameras. You’ll have plenty of coverage from a range perspective, and you shouldn’t see much drop-off in connectivity.
Having three bands is only going to increase the benefit, as it means less traffic and congestion on specified networks, which means you shouldn’t experience any choppiness or lag in your feed.
This might come down to what you need. If you have a smart camera system with multiple devices throughout your home, the Asus RT-AC5300 is a good buy. But if you’re the type of person who doesn’t need a lot of devices, or has a smaller home, the Asus router might be overkill.
TP-Link OnHub AC1900
The TP-Link OnHub AC1900 is a beautifully designed router in the shape of a cylinder. Its base is slightly skinnier than its top, and you will notice immediately that there are no visible antennae. Google created this router with the expectation that it would accentuate your decor, not contrast against it. The thinking behind this is that you’ll expand your wifi network by placing the router in a visible space, instead of hiding it away in a closet.
Google intentionally chose the cylindrical design to help propagate signal distribution. Inside the router are three pairs of 2.4GHz and 5GHz wifi antennas. These antennae are evenly spread throughout the router to allow for even distribution, with an additional 2.4GHz antenna built directly into the router casing.
Wifi support is not an issue for the AC1900, as it covers every 802.11 band available today, which includes a, b, g, n, and ac. One of the really cool features of the AC1900 is its ability to automatically detect network bottlenecks and move traffic to different bands as needed. As a result, the AC1900 doesn’t require the additional 5GHz channel that some routers offer. Google’s purpose for its router is that it grows smarter as time goes on.
There are a few things that Google did not include, which depending on your view may or may not matter. The router only offers two LAN ports, and of course, one is used to connect your broadband to the AC1900, leaving you with one. Most routers include at least four, but it appears as though Google is striving to look forward toward a world without wires.
The USB 3.0 port doesn’t provide much use as it doesn’t allow you to connect a hard drive to use as a NAS if you want to. It’s primarily used for recovering the router software if it becomes corrupted or unusable. If you rely on USB ports for connectivity or need more LAN ports on your router, it’s safe to say the AC1900 isn’t going to work for you.
A lot of routers on the market today have trouble providing a pleasant user experience for simple tasks like changing the admin or SSID password or renaming the network. This can be a hassle for a lot of average users, which is why Google has gone to great lengths to create an interface that is easy and simple to use and understand. The drawback is that power users may not have access to the depth of features they’re accustomed to.
Everything you need to do is done through the OnHub application, which is available on both the iOS and Android marketplaces. Setup is simple, especially if you have an Android device. Using a Google account will allow you to complete the setup process. This allows you to setup your SSID and network password, which basically completes the process. A few minutes later and you’re up and running.
Unfortunately, things are a little more challenging with iOS devices, but instead of setting up your own SSID and password, you’ll use the ones provided on the bottom of the router. Once you enter the appropriate information, you’ll be able to setup your own, and from there the process will finish automatically. Whether you go with iOS or Android, installation is fast, simple, and painless.
Your OnHub application provides a high-level view of your network, giving you the ability to find settings and tools that can be a challenge to find with other routers. Just as a glance you’ll be able to identify how many devices are connected to your network and see how much bandwidth each one is using.
In addition to the real-time information available, you can also view historical data in one hour, seven days, or thirty-day increments. This can be sorted based on individual devices and their specific data usages, or as a holistic network view.
You’ll find a speed.test application built into the OnHub app, which is a great way to view how your network is performing. The speed test will validate the speed between your ISP and your router, providing the strength of the connection, as well as data showing how efficient your network is performing. While it’s not a common application commonly found on routers, it is helpful if you need to troubleshoot problems with your internet.
The AC1900 also give you the ability to add more users to your router, so co-workers or family members can be given control to it. You can also reboot the router remotely via the OnHub app, which is helpful, so you aren’t forced to unplug and plug it back in if the router is misbehaving.
From an advanced options perspective, the AC1900 provides you the ability to change your port forwards, DNS settings, and control a few other settings. You also have the ability to determine which devices have network priority. That means if your smart security camera is connected, you can give it priority, so it doesn’t experience lag or network slowdowns. While devices on the network will remain connected, the device you deem the priority will be given preferential treatment.
Performance of the AC1900 is not an issue. Essentially any device you want to use on your network will connect to the router, and do so without a problem. The circular antenna setup within the router allows for more range, which means you have the freedom to place your smart security camera in more places throughout your home. That’s not to say that the AC1900 is perfect, but with the proper placement, you will have enough signal to keep your devices running no matter where you are in your home.
If you’re a person who requires a lot of customization and options with your router, the OnHub 1900 just isn’t for you. Power users are going to be disappointed with the lack of features and ports and will be better off looking in another direction.
But if those things are less important than a simple router that allows for easy setup, you may want to give the AC1900 serious consideration. It’s aesthetically pleasing, simple to set up, and easy to configure and control once it’s up and going. The OnHub AC1900 is for you if you prefer a well-designed, easy to use router that will provide good range and performance for your connected devices.
We’ve discussed several routers throughout the article, so let’s take a high-level look at the table below to see their specifications and how they compare to one another.
|Synology||Linksys EA6900||Asus RT-AC88U||Asus RT-AC5300||TP-Link OnHub AC1900|
|Antenna||4×4 MIMO (2.4GHz / 5GHz)||2.4GHz/5GHz||4×4 MU-MIMO 2.4GHz/5GHz||4×4 MU-MIMO 2.4GHz/GHz||2.4GHz/5GHz (Internal Antennas)/Bluetooth/Zibgee|
|CPU||Dual core 1.7GHz||Dual core 800 MHz||Dual-core 1.4GHz||Dual-core 1.4GHz|
|RAM||512MB DDR3||256 MB||512MB DDR3||512MB DDR3||1 Gigabit DDR3|
Gigabit x2 (Dual WAN)
|Gigabit x 1||Gigabit 1x||Gigabit x1||Gigabit x1|
|Connectivity||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac|
|LAN||Gigabit x4 Gigabit x3 (Dual WAN)||Gigabit x4||Gigabit 8x||Gigabit x4||Gigabit x1|
|Ports||USB 3.0 x1 USB 2.0 x1 SD Card Reader||USB 3.0 x1 USB 2.0 x1||USB 3.0 1x USB 2.0 1x||USB 3.0 x1 USB 2.0 x1||USB 3.0 x1|
As you can see, there are many great routers on the market today that would be a great fit for your smart security camera. Whether you’re looking for a router with great speed, a router that offers impressive range, or a router that is pleasing to the eye, you have plenty of options.
In the end, you need to choose the router that is the right fit for you and your home or business. What do you need to provide connectivity to your smart security cameras? Are they placed in a spot that has poor signal with your current router? If so, one of the Asus routers may be your best bet. Are you less worried about the range and more concerned with how your router looks? The AC1900 might be the router for you. No matter your needs, you can’t go wrong choosing a router from the list above to partner with your smart security cameras.