It’s the 21st century version of the question “Who’s using all my hot water?”: “Who’s using all my bandwidth?” If you have kids of video-watching and gaming age, there’s a good chance they’re putting a strain on the home WiFi network. And if that’s the case, then you need a Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2350 Smart WiFi Router.
Specifically designed for multiple users, the Nighthawk is a super-fast and long-range WiFi router. The stats are impressive (if these things impress you): 802.11ac Dual Band, combined speed of 2.53Gps, and a 1.4GHz dual core processor. And most interestingly, something called Dynamic QoS technology that knows what kind of bandwidth you’re using and adjusts accordingly. (If Dad’s watching a movie while Mom’s on an online shopping spree, he’ll get more juice.)
Set-up was relatively painless for a WiFi router — with a built-in app that works you through the process — and once it was up and running, web pages loaded almost instantaneously; and there was no lag when loading video. Even more impressive was the range: The signal from our old router didn’t make it to the bottom floor, and we had to use a separate range extender to get full home coverage. With the Nighthawk, we had full bars in the corner of the house farthest from where the router was placed. And with up to four users, on four different devices, no one reported any lags in speed or connectivity. So what’s the catch? Well, the Nighthawk isn’t cheap — but these days it’s probably a better investment than a new hot water heater. [$280; netgear.com]