In the age of overwhelmingly quick technological advances, our electronic devices become obsolete sooner than they break.
We regularly need to replace older devices so we can embrace these changes and enjoy faster and better technologies.
One of these technologies is the Gigabit Internet which is brought to our homes through gigabit routers.
If you’re in the market for a new router, you should know what qualities a gigabit router has and whether you need one.
What Is A Gigabit Router?
A gigabit router is a device that can handle Gigabit Internet.
It has internal switches that transfer data at one gigabit per second.
So, it doesn’t look different from other routers of older generations.
The only difference is that its WAN and LAN ports can transfer data at a maximum of 1000 MBPS.
These routers have different ports that can transfer 10, 100, and 1000 megabits of data per second.
And since Gigabit Internet has been around since the 1990s, most modern routers already have gigabit capability.
The high-end routers released recently have multi-gigabit technology and are capable of transferring several gigabits of data per second.
A gigabit router works with cable and fiber optic Internet and is generally more expensive than its predecessors.
It can offer considerably faster and more reliable Internet connections as it has the latest Wi-Fi standards.
It also has a specialized Gigabit Ethernet port that works with category 5e and higher Ethernet cables to transfer data at high speeds.
However, due to its limitations, it can’t deliver its promised speed over Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi signals are slower to reach devices because of the interference due to them having to pass through physical obstacles.
What’s Gigabit Internet?
Internet speed refers to the number of bits that can be transferred in a second.
It has come a long way throughout the history of the Internet, giving us faster and faster connections as technology evolves.
Gigabit Internet is the fastest and newest Internet generation and is capable of delivering one gigabit of data (1000 megabits) per second.
In addition, the Internet speeds are symmetrical, meaning the download and upload speeds are equal.
That’s different from older generations, which generally have slower upload speeds.
It’s an excellent option for content creators who need to upload videos or users who work from home and require super-fast connections.
Video chats, streaming, and online gaming are other activities that can significantly benefit from Gigabit Internet.
Gigabit Internet alleviates all the limitations of using numerous connected devices at one time.
Nowadays, every family member has more than one device that requires a fast Internet connection.
Most apps require Internet, and the bandwidth will get hogged quickly if several people at your home are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
Gigabit Ethernet Vs. Fast Ethernet
You’ll hear terms like “Fast Ethernet” and “Gigabit Ethernet” when considering Internet options for home use.
These options determine the maximum speed you can get on your devices.
Ethernet is a protocol developed by the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) to determine the rules by which equipment within a network can communicate.
It also determines the fastest speeds at which data can be transferred.
Since its introduction in the mid-80s, the Ethernet protocol has taken three forms, each building upon the previous version.
These versions have different hardware requirements—particularly cable types—and can operate at different distances.
The basic Ethernet standard supports transfer rates of up to 10 MBPS, which we can see in old devices.
It works on the IEEE Standard 802.3, which has had many different subversions to respond to the growing needs of the IT world.
However, the highest transfer speed the basic Ethernet can offer is 15 MBPS.
The maximum distance that a basic Ethernet version can transfer data is 100 meters.
The basic Ethernet standard was eventually upgraded to Fast Ethernet, offering higher speeds of up to 100 MBPS.
With the IEEE standard 802.3u, Fast Ethernet enabled users to perform tasks with higher bandwidth requirements, such as streaming and gaming.
Depending on the cable type, it can transfer data at higher distances, up to 2000 meters.
As you can see, the primary difference between Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet is their data transfer speeds.
Gigabit Ethernet is the latest technology, capable of transferring data 100 times faster than the previous version, Fast Ethernet.
Using the 802.3z standard, it can transfer data at distances of up to 5000 meters, depending on the cable type.
Its applications are mostly for demanding tasks like VoIP and multimedia streaming.
The Gigabit Internet has also improved, with more advanced versions introduced over the years.
Multi-gig Internet can deliver more than 1 GBPS of data but isn’t widely available due to infrastructure limitations.
Do You Need Gigabit Internet?
Having the fastest Internet speed isn’t unreasonable or excessive in today’s world.
Nearly all electronic devices are connected to the Internet and require super-fast speeds that Gigabit Internet can offer.
But does everyone need Gigabit Internet?
You should consider your Internet requirements to decide whether Gigabit Internet is beneficial for you.
If you use the Internet for light and casual browsing, you’ll be more than happy with Fast Ethernet.
Loading a web page requires 1 KB, while sending an email takes 10 KB.
Even more bandwidth-hungry applications like streaming don’t require that much speed.
Streaming 4K video takes less than 20 MBPS, so a Fast Ethernet plan is more than enough.
For example, Netflix 4K streaming requires at least 15 MBPS.
Playing online games also doesn’t need more than 40 MBPS.
However, the key point here is the number of users.
These numbers apply to one person doing these activities on one device.
If several people are connected to the same network and performing data-intensive activities, such as transferring large files and streaming, Gigabit Internet might be necessary.
Again, the bandwidth required for operating several devices on the Internet depends on the activities you perform.
For example, streaming 4K video on up to four devices requires less than 100 MBPS.
However, you may need higher speeds to get lag-free performance if you want to perform other tasks while streaming 4K videos.
In addition, Internet service providers often don’t give you the exact speed stated in your purchased plan.
So, if you’re a heavy user, you may require the gigabit plan.
Note. Gigabit Internet may not benefit gamers, though many people believe it will.
That’s because high-speed Internet doesn’t reduce ping, which is crucial in a lag-free gaming experience.
So, you may not need super-fast Internet unless you download many heavy gaming files.
Limitations Of Gigabit Internet
Getting Gigabit Internet sounds exciting, but it’s not as easy as purchasing the router and hooking it up to your devices.
It has some limitations that may prevent you from getting your desired speed.
Although Gigabit Internet has widespread coverage across the US, you may still need to check with your local Internet service provider to ensure they offer it, especially if you don’t have fiber service.
Since it’s available in most US states, you shouldn’t have trouble finding an ISP to get gigabit.
In fact, many ISPs offer multi-gig services at competitive and reasonable prices now.
However, you should always check before purchasing.
In addition to the availability of gigabit services in your area, you should ensure you have the right equipment to receive it.
If you have an old modem, router, or modem/router combo, it’s likely that they don’t support Gigabit Internet.
You’ll need to purchase a compatible router if your ISP doesn’t rent you one.
3. Device Compatibility
Getting the fastest Internet is one thing and being able to use it is another.
The devices that connect to your Gigabit Internet should have the capacity to run it; otherwise, they will bottleneck your speed.
That’s especially the case if you plan to connect your devices wirelessly.
Wireless standards have improved dramatically over the years to accommodate faster speeds.
Your devices should support the Wi-Fi 6 standard to receive Gigabit Internet.
However, don’t expect to get the advertised speed if you connect your devices wirelessly.
That’s because wireless connections always encounter interference that can reduce speed.
In addition, distance from the router can affect the transfer speed.
It’s only possible through a wired connection and the right type of Ethernet cables that can transfer 1 GB of data per second.
Ethernet cables higher than Cat5e will do.
4. External Limitations
Many external factors can prevent you from getting the speed promised by your ISP.
The most important factor is the number of users connected to your local and wide area networks.
The higher the number of people on the same channel, the lower the bandwidth and your Internet speed.
Your ISP infrastructures also affect their ability to deliver their promised speeds.
However, these limitations are present in any Internet plan because all networks get congested and channels get crowded.
So, although you won’t get a full 1GBPS speed, you’ll notice the difference after upgrading to Gigabit Internet.
Best Gigabit Routers
The advances in Internet technologies have made gigabit routers widespread.
As a result, you can find these devices easily if you’re in the market for a new router.
However, this wide availability makes it difficult to choose the right one.
Below are some of the best gigabit routers available in today’s market.
1. TP-Link Archer AX11000
The Archer AX11000 is one of the best routers on the market, featuring three 1GB+ ports, making it great for future-proofing your Internet gear.
It has three speeds at different channels: 4804 Mbps (5 GHz Gaming), 4804 Mbps (5 GHz), and 1148 Mbps (2.4 GHz).
Packed with eight 1GBPS LAN ports, one 2.5 GBPS WAN port, and two USB 3.0 ports, it offers enough for the most crowded households to get wired connections.
Although it says “gaming” in its name, you can use it for any data-heavy task to get the fastest and most reliable connections.
2. ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 is top-of-the-line with every advanced technology you can ask for in a router.
The most impressive feature of this router is that it has four bands.
While the latest modems have a maximum of three bands, this router has added the 6 GHz frequency band, allowing you to access a wider variety of channels and experience less congestion and latency.
Although it’s a bit bulky, it comes with many ports, including two 10 GBPS, four 1 GBPS LAN ports, and one 2.5 GBPS WAN port.
It also has many built-in security features, including a tool to block malicious sites and parental control software.
3. TP-Link Archer AX21
The routers recommended above are the best devices recommended by pros.
However, they are on the more expensive end of the price spectrum.
If you are looking for a budget gigabit router that gives you decent features, the Archer AX21 is for you.
Wi-Fi 6 technology, four 1 GBPS LAN ports, TP-Link’s OneMesh feature, and ample coverage make it a great value for the money.