What is dual band router?
A dual band router means wireless router that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
There are two types of dual-band wireless routers: selectable and simultaneous. With selectable dual band, actually it is a single band. Your router can only work in single band in a time either 2.4GHz or 5GHz. On the other hand, the simultaneous dual band router can operate in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at the same time. Simultaneous dual band would be preferable since you can cover all mix band wireless clients concurrently.
There are many advantages with dual-band wireless routers such as:
- 5GHz frequency band is less interference and cleaner than the crowded 2.4GHz band, this band is ideal for smooth streaming video and fast responsive online gaming.
- Provides optimum data throughput when each ends of the router and the clients work in the same dual-band technology.
In a nutshell, wireless router with 5GHz band provides better performance in streaming HD video and gaming when connects to the same 5GHz-based wireless clients. Now, what criteria you need to know in selecting the best dual band wireless router?
Best dual band wireless routers
Originally dual band router was designed with 802.11a/b/g, but today dual band router is based on 802.11a/b/g/n with the addition of N standard. This is the first criteria, the second one is antenna technology. MIMO is widely used either 2×2; 3×3; and some routers are designed with 4x4MIMO technology such as those for HD and 3DHD media streaming. The newer improvement adopted by D-Link is the Smart-Beam antenna technology which sends focused beams of bandwidth to individual wireless clients simultaneously as it is adopted to the new DIR-645 Whole Home Router 1000.
The gigabit Ethernet-ports is a plus feature for high speed gigabit wired connection to any gigabit-NIC devices. Other features you need to consider for best dual band wireless routers are the Quality of Service (QoS) and or WMM (wireless multimedia) based QoS. With QoS, the router analyzes and separates the traffic based on the time sensitivity. Lastly the availability of USB port and its functionality is also very essential for your best dual band wireless router.
What about the speed?
simultaneous dual band providing aggregate bandwidth depends on the design of it’s technology. The recent Wireless N technology is packed with three spatial data streams technology that delivers speeds of up to 450Mbps. If each band gives the speed up to 450Mbps, the aggregate bandwidth is 900Mbps. Thus this is called N900 technology.
Well, recent wi-fi technology is 5th generation (5G) which can provide speeds of up to 1300mbps that can be adopted by most of the manufacturers to date. For example Netgear with its R6300, Linksys with its EA6500, as well as D-link with its DIR-865L and more. Surely 5g wifi technology is relatively still expensive.
Here are few wireless N dual band routers which are classified as very popular in the market to date.
Apple Airport Extreme Base Station
Up to now Apple Airport Extreme base station is very popular as one of the best dual band wireless router products. And no wonder, the price is still high and is more expensive compared with other dual band routers in its class. Each new introduction of wireless dual band router, people are hunting for the reviews comparing the new comer with Apple Airport Extreme.
It supports wireless N dual band delivering high speed up to 300Mbps each band and can cover up to 50 concurrent users ideal for large home and small offices. It supports both Mac and PC. Averagely 4.4 stars customer ratings with the following attributes:
- Ease of installation 4.5 out of 5 stars
- Ease of use 4.6 out of 5 stars
- Range 4.5 out of 5 stars
- Extensibility 4.4 out of 5 stars
- Solid connection, positive reviews from the customers with averagely 4.4 out of five stars customer ratings
- Gigabit Ethernet ports both LAN and WAN interfaces
- USB port for either shared storage or printer. You can add USB hub to let you connect both storage and printer at the same time
- Supports guest network
- Only 3Gigabit LAN Ethernet ports compared with other routers which typically support four ports. I don’t think that you require more gigabit ports for the router but solid wireless connection for sure to let you roam with your mobile devices including Android or iPad. Desktop computers becomes less demand in few years later. Wireless connectivity would be more demand.
Still waiting for the next generation of Apple airport with higher speeds like its competitors. Click here for Apple airport Extreme manufacturer’s description and spec details.
Asus RT-N56U Black Diamond
Unlike the two above routers which are powered by N750 technology, the Asus RT-N56U is powered by the wireless N600 technology delivering high speeds of up to 300Mbps each band.
The RT-N56U includes gigabit Ethernet ports for both LAN and WAN interfaces like the other two routers above. Unlike the other routers which use the software base NAT, the Asus RT-N56U is powered by the hardware NAT acceleration engine. And the router also supports the Al-Radar for optimized and reliable wireless coverage.
And this is very important; the router supports two USB ports to let you share the storage and the printer at the same time eliminating the need of purchasing a print-server. This helps you conserve the energy to support eco-friendly environment. The router receives very positive customer reviews with 4.0 out of five stars averagely with the following attributes:
- Ease of use 4.2 out of 5 stars
- Speed and reliability 4.4 out of 5 stars
- Lots of features 4.4 out of 5 stars
- Range 4.4 out of 5 stars
There are several issues reported by users who gave 1 star rating and some of them are summarized below:
- Asus support is severely lacking
- have yet to be able to successfully access the internet before finally need replacement
- hard to get the technical support before finally got gear replacement
- disappointed with the faulty power supply which fell apart when moved to other location, replacement was great for several days before finally dead.
These minor issues are only those who are unlucky with the products compared to those who gave 5 star ratings that are 80% more than those who give 1 star ratings.
- High speed and solid wireless connection and good range
- Gigabit interfaces and two USB ports for storage and printer
- Doesn’t support guest network
For more detail, click here the Asus RT-N56U manufacturer description and specs. Recently Asus introduced new RT-N66U N900 router, great router – unfortunately it failed at the first release with the broken firmware, but new firmware fixed the problems and you know this new product receives very positive reviews from the customer with average ratings of 4.2 out of 5 stars and it becomes another best dual band wireless router in the market .
Linksys E4200 N750 Dual Band Router
The Linksys E4200 series is the fastest router that Linksys ever ships to the market today. The router uses wireless N750 dual band technology delivering the high speeds of up to 450Mbps in 5GHz band and up to 300Mbps in 2.4GHz band.
The router supports Gigabit Ethernet interface both for LAN and WAN interfaces. The router includes one USB port with centralized UPnP media AV server to let you stream HD media files to any types of your home theater devices including XBOX, Blu-Ray player and HDTV. Unfortunately you can use the USB port to host a USB printer.
Linksys E4200 simultaneous dual band wireless router supports advanced security features including WPA/WPA2 and Guest network. Read customer reviews in Amazon the router receives good customer ratings averagely 4.0 out of five stars with the following attributes:
- Ease of setup 4.4 out of 5 stars
- Range 4.3 out of 5 stars
- Reliability 4.3 out of 5 stars
- Unreliable 3.3 out of 5 stars
- Solid connection and good range
- Gigabit interfaces and USB port for shared storage
- USB port doesn’t support shared printer, but you can manage the network printer using Cisco Connect Software
Click here for more detail Linksys E4200 manufacturer specs.
Netgear WNDR4000 N750 Wireless Dual Band Router
Like Linksys E4200, the Netgear WNDR4000 supports simultaneous dual band with N750 technology. WNDR400 supports one USB port to let you host a shared storage with its Ready-Share technology and it is DLNA compliant.
Netgear also introduces the WNDR3800 premium edition (N600) which supports USB port to allow you share either storage or a printer. Both routers support gigabit interfaces for both LAN and WAN interfaces.
Netgear routers supports multiple SSIDs; you can create guest network each bands (total 4 SSIDs). This is beneficial that you can create separate network each bands to let the guests access the best network their computers can support. The router receives averagely 3.8 out of five stars customer ratings with the following attributes:
- Ease of setup 4.2 out of 5 stars
- Reliability 3.6 out of 5 stars
- Speed 3.9 out of 5 stars
- Range 4.0 out of 5 stars
For detail WNDR4000 manufacturers spec and description click the link.
Note to date (Oct 2012) the rating of this product drops to 3.2 out of 5 star ratings. But the new product WNDR4500 receives positive reviews with 3.8 out of 5 star ratings.
- Good range and speed, easy to setup
- USB port for shared storage and DLNA compliant
- Guest network each band
- USB port cannot host shared printer, but the WNDR4500 can
Those are all best dual band wireless router products the most popular ones in the market with high performance and wide coverage. For a larger home, you can add a wireless range extender if a wider range is required.
By Ki Grinsing