These are the best routers for iPhone, iPad, and Mac owners

As gateways to the web, routers are essential to a home’s network, and they’re best for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.

Linksys Velop AC2200

Buyers can find almost any router and get it working fine in their home. But Apple users need to consider some factors beyond the numbers for network speed and coverage, such as their smart home connectivity.

Many routers on the market today work with Apple’s smart home standard called HomeKit, but only some of them support specialized features called HomeKit Secure. These make a big difference for smart home accessories.

HomeKit secure router

These routers can protect a network by controlling the level of communication between smart home devices and the web.

  • Restrict to Home: The most secure setting that only allows accessories to interact with HomeKit through Apple devices. Accessories cannot connect to the Internet or other devices on the network. The router may block access to third-party services such as firmware updates.
  • Automatic: The default setting allows accessories to communicate with HomeKit and manufacturer-recommended connections.
  • No restrictions: The least secure setting allows network accessories to communicate with any other network device or Internet service.

A HomeKit-enabled router must meet a few requirements to control network devices in this way. For example, in addition to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with the latest software updates, a “hub” must also be on the network.

A hub allows devices on a network to communicate directly with each other. Apple devices that can act as a hub, including HomePod, Apple TV, or iPad, can act as a hub.

During the WWDC 2022 keynote, Apple said iPadOS 16 will affect iPads used as hubs. iPads that are already a hub will continue to work, but iPadOS 16 will not allow new iPads to be added as a hub.

The second HomeKit feature that a compatible router can facilitate involves security cameras, and this requires an iCloud+ subscription to work.

HomeKit Secure Video

HomeKit Secure Video lets you store footage from compatible security cameras in iCloud. They are secured with end-to-end encryption and do not count against the cloud storage limit.

  • iCloud+ 50GB tier: Add a camera.
  • 200GB iCloud+ Tier: Add up to five cameras.
  • 2TB iCloud+ Tier: Add unlimited number of cameras.
HomeKit Secure Video stores up to 10 days of security camera footage
HomeKit Secure Video stores up to 10 days of security camera footage

The home hub will analyze video footage to see if pets, people or cars appear on the camera so users can receive alerts on their device. Additionally, users can see the last ten days of video activity in the Home app.

Types of home networks

After HomeKit, a buyer must determine whether they need a traditional or “mesh” router, referring to how these devices handle a Wi-Fi signal.

Apple compatibility labels
Apple compatibility labels

Routers emit wireless signals in the shape of a “torus” or donut, which can be blocked or reflected by objects around the house, such as appliances and walls. In a mesh network, a device acts as the main router with additional nodes connecting to it wirelessly.

Mesh routers still emit this form of signal, but with each device emitting a signal, they overlap to create a robust network that can overcome obstacles.

Not everyone needs a mesh network, especially with the latest networking advancements of Wi-Fi 6. Both standard routers and mesh routers can work with HomeKit, so the main factor between the two choices is price. , and mesh routers are usually more expensive.

Best for HomeKit Secure: Linksys Velop AX4200 Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System

Linksys says this router can handle over 40 devices at speeds of up to 4.2 Gbps. It works with all internet service providers and is backwards compatible with Wi-Fi 5 and older devices. Additionally, the router app has features like parental controls, guest access, and device prioritization.

LinkSys Velop AX4200 Router
LinkSys Velop AX4200 Router

The Velop AX4200 has three Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port and a USB 3.0 Type A port for connecting accessories. It’s available on starting at $249.95.

Best for Ecosystem Compatibility: Amazon eero Pro 6 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router

Amazon’s eero Pro 6 is the company’s fastest mesh networking system. It offers Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 speeds, supports over 75 connected devices, and covers up to 2,000 square feet.

It is a hub for Zigbee smart home devices and works with the Thread connectivity standard. Amazon added HomeKit support in 2021 for the eero Pro 6.

Amazon eero Pro 6 Router
Amazon eero Pro 6 Router

The eero app includes optional, paid subscriptions called eero Secure and eero Secure+. These provide security services such as online threat protection, content filters, and ad blocking.

The eero Pro system costs $229 for a single router but is often on sale. It provides two Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB-C power port.

Best Coverage: Linksys Velop AC2200 System

This HomeKit router supports up to 6,000 square feet of home coverage and over 60 connected devices. Additionally, the company’s Intelligent Mesh technology provides fast and reliable range.

Additionally, Velop nodes create a Wi-Fi network that eliminates multiple usernames and passwords. Therefore, only one name and one password are required for the connection.

Linksys Velop AC2200
Linksys Velop AC2200

It offers six Gigabit Ethernet ports and is available for purchase for $299.

Non-HomeKit routers

If you decide you don’t necessarily need HomeKit functionality on your router, there are still a few good options to consider.

Best for Multiple Devices: Netgear Nighthawk AX12 WiFi 6 Router

Netgear’s Nighthawk offers speeds of up to 6Gbps, and the company explicitly mentions how great that is for 4K UHD video streaming.

Support for multiple Apple devices is what the Nighthawk does best, using “Multi-user multiple input, multiple outputs” (MU-MIMO). As a result, it transfers data to many devices at once without compromising speed.

A feature called Netgear Armor keeps devices safe on the network. Additionally, the Nighthawk app on the App Store offers remote management so users can connect to their home network even when away from home.

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Router
Netgear Nighthawk AX12 Router

It has four 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports and one 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port, as well as two USB 3.0 Type-A ports. The Nighthawk AX12 is available for $449.99 from Netgear and can sometimes be found in sale.

Best for Connectivity: TP-Link AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

This Wi-Fi 6 router offers ultimate connectivity with one 2.5Gbps WAN port, eight Gigabit LAN ports, and two USB 3.0 Type-A and Type-C ports. Additionally, eight high-gain antennas provide a level of mesh-like coverage. networking.

TP-Link AX6000
TP-Link AX6000

Customers receive a layer of security with TP-Link HomeCare, including antivirus and parental controls.

Using the company’s AX Wi-Fi Target Wake Time technology, the router can save power to intelligently schedule data transmission times. It’s available for $299.99 and can sometimes be found on sale.

Read on AppleInsider

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