Single-band WiFi routers came with a single 2.4GHz band. Even though you could connect your devices and enjoy wireless connectivity, the spectrum received a lot of interference from other Wi-Fi devices and gadgets.
Bluetooth devices, microwaves, and even cordless phones work in the same frequency spectrum. That’s why urban users experienced a lot of interference in their network connectivity.
This led to the launch of dual-band and tri-band wifi routers within a few years.
In this post, we compare dual-band vs tri-band routers and figure out which router variant is right for you.
We’ll also enlist some of the best tri-band and dual-band routers available on Amazon.
What is a Dual Band Router?
Most modern 802.11ac routers function on dual-band technology. So, does that mean a dual-band router has two frequency spectrums?
Yes, every dual-band Wi-Fi uses 2 frequency channels to connect to devices. One channel is dedicated to the older Wi-Fi technologies like the 802.11n that works in the 2.4GHz spectrum.
This channel is mostly for backward compatibility with older devices and is generally slower and more congested (especially due to a large number of prevalent device receivers that still use this channel).
While the second channel adheres to the modern 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol and works in the 5GHz spectrum. This channel is much faster and less cluttered than its predecessor.
While using your dual-band router, it simultaneously broadcasts a 5GHz and 2.4GHz signal. Modern devices that support the 5GHz spectrum automatically connect to that channel while the older devices cling to the slower 2.4GHz spectrum.
In a way, your dual-band router hosts two different Wi-Fi networks that follow two different Wi-Fi standards. This way you can connect your 5GHz compatible devices without losing compatibility with the older 2.4GHz variants.
Now that you are aware of the capabilities of a dual-band WiFi router, let’s check out some of the best dual-band WiFi routers.
5 Best Dual Band Routers
1. Linksys AC1200
Best Rated Dual Band Router
- Router can be configured from your iOS or Android smartphones
- Value for money
- Sleek design
- Wall mounting option not present
- Network indicator LED missing
- Up to 1200 sq ft. coverage.
- Supports connectivity to 12+ devices.
- Supports speed up to 1.3Gbps.
- Apt for 4K streaming, video calls, and online gaming.
- You can add Linksys Mesh products to expand coverage.
- Easy setup and supports parental controls & separate guest accesses.
2. TP Link AX5400
Fastest Dual Band Router
- Large bandwidth support with 160MHz channel
- Wall mountable
- Provides a standard web interface for user-specific settings
- Excellent range
- Indecisive Mobile application
- Mobile application and login profiles are mandatory for advanced features
- Wi-Fi speed fluctuates
- The router is equipped with HE160 and 4T4R technologies
- Supports lightning-fast speed up to 4.8Gbps
- Features 8K streaming
- Can sustain speed up to 5400mpbs for fast gaming, streaming, and seamless downloading.
- Can cover an extensive area thanks to its 6 powerful antennas
- Has multiple vents for improved heat exchange
3. TP Link AC1200
Budget Dual Band Router
- Strong signal bandwidth throughout
- Cost-effective router with quality hardware components
- Wall mountable
- Has a mobile application for easy configuration
- Budget-friendly router
- Poor build quality
- Mobile application can only be used if you are connected to the router’s Wi-Fi network
- Provides uninterrupted stable Wi-F signal
- Equipped with 2 antennas for optimal coverage
- Supports 2.4GHz at 300Mbps and 5GHz at 867Mbps
- Can reach speeds up to 1200Mbps
- Ideal router for streaming, gaming, and browsing
- This is an ideal choice of a router for home
- Configuration can be easily done with the help of the TP Link Tether App
4. TP Link WiFi 6 Router AX1800 Smart WiFi Router (Archer AX21)
Best Dual Band Router compatible with Alexa
- Built-in 4 antennas for long-range network coverage
- Supports Wi-Fi 6 technology that provides high-speed internet with no network congestion
- Buffer free gaming and streaming thanks to its 1.5GHz quad-core CPU
- Supports WPA3 security feature
- Lag-free 4K streaming
- The router may not support IPv6
- Sometimes experiences average network coverage
- Routers can reach speeds up to 1.8Gbps
- Provides no network congestion and facilitates fast browsing and smooth streaming
- Can covers a large area with reliable and strong Wi-Fi signal throughout
- Can be connected with as many devices as you want because of Wi-Fi 6 technology
- Can be easily configured with Alexa
- Features a 1.5Ghz powerful quad-core processor that ensures minimal latency
- The router is certified for smart homes and was awarded the JD Power Award
5. Linksys AX1800
Best Rated Dual Band Router
- Extensive area coverage
- Supports Wi-Fi 6
- Provides a ton of extra features via mobile application
- Parental controls
- Value for money
- Bland design
- Users can face disturbance while switching between 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands
- No option for wall mounting
- Covers an area of up to 1200 square feet
- The device can clock speeds up to 1.8Gbps
- Can be connected to up to 20 devices without compromising on signal strength
- Can be easily set up using smartphones, PC or laptops.
- Provides Push WPS Button option for adding new devices to the network
- Reliable Customer Care services offered by Linksys
What is a Tri Band Router?
To properly understand tri-band technology, you need to compare dual-band vs tri-band routers.
While dual-band WiFi routers broadcast in two separate channels, tri-band routers can broadcast in three different channels.
In a way, a wireless tri-band router hosts three different Wi-Fi networks. It can host a 2.4GHz signal and two separate 5GHz signals.
Just like a dual-band router, the 2.4GHz signal is for backward compatibility and is aimed towards older devices. But what is the need for two separate 5GHz signals?
While one 5GHz signal is for faster connectivity with modern devices, the second 5GHz connection is to overcome any bottleneck which might arise when a lot of devices are connected to Wi-Fi.
As a rule of thumb, Wi-Fi speeds are split and shared across connected devices.
So, if you are streaming high-resolution 4K resolution content on your smart TV, it may choke up the 5GHz channel, leaving less room for other devices.
This is where the other 5GHz signal of a tri-band router comes in handy.
If you are playing multiplayer Call of Duty in 4K while connected to the same network, your tri-band wifi router will automatically sort the devices and assign the second 5GHz signal for your gaming.
This way, as opposed to a dual-band router, a tri-band router offers more speed to share among connected devices. Hence between tri-band vs dual-band router, tri-band triumphs.
Let’s check out some of the best tri-band routers available on Amazon.
5 Best Tri Band Routers
1. NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 AD7200
Best Alexa compatible Tri-Band Router
- Outstanding coverage
- Strongly built hardware
- Its processor permits super-fast gaming
- Triband is easy to set up
- Equipped with beamforming, DDoS attack security, and smart QoS
- Backup can be done directly from Router to PC
- Inefficient heat exchange can lead to heating of the router.
- No option for wall mounting
- Faces problem of frequent Wi-Fi signal drop
- Can cover a large area of approximately 2500 square feet
- Top speed of the Tri-Band Router is up to 10Gbps!
- Supports connection of 45 devices without any loss in the network strength
- Multiple ethernet ports
- Comes with smart parental control provided by the Nighthawk application
- The router is packed with advanced technologies. In a way future proof (at least for a few decades)
2. TP Link AC5400
Best Tri-Band Router for Processor
- Strongest processor
- Easy to use UI for mobile and desktop apps
- Top class 5GHz performance
- Advanced functions via updates from HomeCare
- Provides IFTTT & Alexa support
- Looks a bit clumsy
- Less number of wired ports
- AC5400 Tri-Band Wi-Fi router offers a large area of consistent coverage
- Features a 1.8GHz Quad-Core processor with 1GB of RAM
- Contains 8 Gigabit LAN ports
- Has 1 WAN gigabit port
- Provides Wi-F for 1 band over 1000 Mbps and 2 bands for 2167Mbps
- Top consumer satisfaction gaming wireless Tri-Band router
- Beamforming allows the router to stay connected with the device from a larger distance
- Features advanced security settings and functions
3. Linksys Tri Band WiFi Router for Home
Best Budget Tri-Band Router
- Strong uninterrupted performance
- East setup and handle
- Provides MU-MIMO support
- Velop mesh technology supported
- Disabled USB ports
- Parental controls are limited
- No malware protection features
- Network coverage up to 1500 square feet
- Can be connected with over 20 devices
- Provides 4K streaming and smooth gaming experience
- Buffer free streaming and browsing
- Can reach speeds up to 2.2 Gbps
- Tri-band Wi-Fi technology ensures amazing speed to all connected devices
- Features FAT, HSF, and NTFS file storage system
4. ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6 Gaming Router
Best Tri-Band Wifi Router for Gaming
- Best gaming router
- RGB type lighting
- Wi-Fi 6 future-proof tech
- Powerful hardware and great aesthetics
- 2.5Gbps wired conductor
- Top class security software
- Improved performance with distance
- Quite expensive
- Only 5 LAN ports
- Limited game-specific tools
- Features triple-level game acceleration with game packet and game server prioritization.
- Comes with a 1.8GHz Quad-core processor
- 2.5 G gaming ports for consistent, smooth performance
- Comes with top-notch ASUS AiProtection to keep security threats at bay
- Compatible with ASUS AiMesh Wi-Fi system for seamless gaming
5. NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System
Best Overall Tri-Band Router
- Highly configurable routers
- Installation is user friendly
- Fast signal throughout
- MU-MIMO capable router
- Wide parental settings
- A bit bulky
- Limited USB functions
- Provide Wi-Fi coverage up to 5000 square feet
- Supports up to 20 devices
- Has Versatile Wall plugs for seamless network coverage throughout your house
- Works smoothly with all ISPs
- Features numerous parental controls
- Installed with Tri-Band Backhaul
- For fast internet surfing and fast downloads Wired Ethernet Ports are installed
- Features Tri-Band Wi-Fi connectivity technology
The NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System will cost you roughly $200.
Dual Band vs Tri Band: Which Variant Should You Go For?
Now that you are aware of the core principles of both these variants, which is the right wifi router for you?
We have boiled it down to 3 categories depending on the area of coverage and the ideal number of expected connections. Viz.-
For a single occupant living in a flat or a small apartment, a dual-band router will do just fine. Especially due to the lower required coverage area and the smaller number of active connections.
However, if you are a hardcore gamer and you frequently invite your friend over for multiplayer gaming, then you should rethink and go for a tri-band wifi router instead.
For your home connection, if you are using your network for browsing, video calling, and streaming shows, then a dual-band wifi router will suffice.
But if you have multiple smart TVs, gaming consoles and also have a workspace for remote working, then a tri-band router is a wiser option.
However, depending on your house’s real estate, you might need mesh Wi-Fi to extend your WiFi’s reach to multiple floors.
Large cafes that attract a decent crowd should go for a tri-band wifi router. The network will suffice for live streaming videos, songs, sports events, and also cater to the network needs of visitors.
The same concept applies to offices too. They will also need mesh WiFi to establish good connectivity throughout the office space.
If your connectivity needs are limited to simple browsing, and connecting over social media, a dual-band router will do just fine. A tri-band wifi router can be overkill in this scenario.
- In terms of connectivity between dual band vs tri band, a tri band router is perfect for connecting more devices without incurring any loss in bandwidth.
- A dual band wifi router has two different signals. A dedicated 2.4GHz signal for devices that run on older WiFi protocols while the faster 5GHz signal is meant for relatively advanced devices or gadgets.
- A tri-band wifi router on the other hand generates three different signals. One 2.4GHz signal (relatively slower) and two 5GHz signals for lag-free connectivity.
- Tri band routers provide better connectivity than dual-band routers, especially when there are a lot many devices connected to your network.
Q. What is the advantage of a tri-band router?
Between dual-band vs tri-band, a tri-band wifi router has two 5GHz signals. So, when multiple devices are connected to a tri-band router, it doesn’t create any congestion for your network thus providing buffer-free connectivity.
Q. Is dual-band better than tri-band?
If your daily tasks don’t require a high-speed network connection or you are not expecting many devices to be connected to your network, a dual-band wifi router would do just fine.
Q. Is mesh WiFi better than a router?
A mesh WiFi also contains a router. In a mesh WiFi system, one node that is directly connected to the network gateway is designated as the primary router, while the other nodes act as satellites.
So, between dual-band vs tri-band mesh, any mesh WiFi connection will cover a larger area than their unmeshed counterparts.
Q. What is the best tri-band router?
According to Amazon reviews, the NETGEAR Orbi is the best-rated tri-band router. It checks all the criteria of a tri-band, and you can get one without burning a hole in your pocket.
Q. What are quad-band routers? Are there any quad-band routers available in the market?
So far we couldn’t track down any quad-band routers. However, if you are looking for a Tri-band WiFi6 router with state-of-the-art performance, then you can go for the AmpliFi Alien Router.