Whether you’re looking to set up your WiFi for your new home or need a reliable router for your office, choosing the right one can be challenging. With so many options on the market, it’s important to assess your needs first to make sure you can address your key requirements for your home or work environment.
As work becomes increasingly reliant on the reliability and strength of your internet connection, ensuring you have the bandwidth for zoom calls, file sharing, and instant collaboration is key.
We’ve included an overview of the best VoIP routers for your business or home setup to compare them against your budget, user numbers and security needs.
What is a VoIP router?
A VoIP router is a hardware device that allows you to make and receive phone calls over the internet, via your internet service provider (ISP) or VoIP provider, rather than through more analogue or traditional landline systems.
Different types & uses of VoIP routers
There are five basic router types. We’ve outlined the essentials of each type below:
1. Wired routers
A basic wired router will use an ethernet cable to connect to the modem or ISP on one end and the network’s connected devices on the other end. Wired routers are used less in modern working environments as now most require the mobility of a wireless router option.
2. Wireless routers
With a wireless router, you’ll connect to a modem via an ethernet cable in the same way as a wired router, but your local devices, such as mobiles and laptops, will connect wirelessly via WiFi.
3. Edge routers
An edge router will be at the edge of the ISP networks, allowing them to spread data across all connected networks. This helps the provider to stabilise data flow and aid more efficient and robust communication among those networks.
4. Core routers
A core router is usually used by enterprise businesses with large local networks, covering them for demanding data needs. These routers are the most powerful of the five different types and, unsurprisingly, are also the most expensive. Unless your business uses huge amounts of data across hubs, routers and bridges, a core router should be beyond your requirements.
5. VPN routers
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) router houses all the core router features and functions of a standard router but with the bonus of providing VPN protection for all devices that connect to it. That means workers can protect their IP address, hide activity from cybercriminals or bad actors, and continue working with sensitive data or private projects safely and remotely.
A quick look at the best VoIP routers for business and home setups
|Quality of Service (QoS)
Frequency Bands, Wifi Speed
|- Wi-Fi standard 802.11ac
- Speed of 5,400Mbits/sec
- 2 USB 3 ports
|TP-Link Archer VR2800
|- VDSL2/ADSL2 and dedicated cable -
- WAN port
- Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac Wave 2,
- 2 USB 3 ports
- Speed: 2,800Mbit/sec
|- Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac,
- 2 USB 3 ports
|Adtran Netvanta 3400 Series
|- 10 Fast Ethernet (10/100MBps) ports (x2 WAN, x8 LAN)
- Enterprise class QoS
- PoE option, 802.1Q VLAN support
|Cisco RV320 Series
|- 6 Gigabit Ethernet ports (x2 WAN, x4 LAN)
- Load Balancing
- Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI)
- Supports 7 VLANs
|- 5 Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 MBps) Ports (x1 WAN, x4 LAN)
- Up to 300Mbps 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wireless
- SPI & NAT firewall security
|Netgear Nighthawk X10
|- Seven (7) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports
- Two (2) USB 3.0 ports
- 1.7GHz Quad Core Processor
- Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac + 802.11ad.
|Combined speeds of up to 1900 Mbps
|- Four RJ45 for 10/100/1000/Gigabits BaseT for LAN ports
- One RJ45 for 10/100/1000/Gigabits BaseT for WAN port
- Two USBs (one x 2.0, one x 3.0)
|Linksys EA8300 Max Stream
|Start from £169.07
|- Tri band WiFi speeds up to 2.2 Gbps (5 GHz / 400 Mbps) + (5 GHz / 867 Mbps) + (2.4 GHz / 867 Mbps),
- Four gigabit ethernet ports,
- One USB 3.0 port
|Cisco 900 Series
|150 Mbps/50 Mbps
|- Four LAN interfaces
- Up to two-gigabit ethernet ports
- Integrated security features.
What are the important features of VoIP routers to look for?
The VoIP telephony space is full of jargon, and all the acronyms can become a little overwhelming if you’re not totally sure what you need from a VoIP router.
Likewise, when it comes to maintenance and troubleshooting your own hardware, knowing the features, functions, and their respective acronyms will come in handy. So here are a few of the key features you might want to look for in a router.
1. Quality of Service
Quality of Service (or QoS) refers to the performance and level of service offered. QoS policing refers to the traffic management of data packets that travel across the network simultaneously. The feature allows you to ensure your router prioritises your traffic if you don’t have sufficient bandwidth. If you run a business with a high volume of traffic, with large call volumes and data usage, it would be wise to look for QoS on your router search.
2. Coverage Speed and Bandwidth
It’s important to establish your bandwidth needs before starting your search for a router. There are two options when it comes to your router’s bandwidth: dual-band routers (two signals) and tri-band routers (three signals).
Every wireless router will use two wireless frequencies or ‘bands’; either 2.4 GHz or 5GHz. The former provides a more basic level of connectivity with weaker bandwidth, whereas 5GHz will cover you for a smaller distance but with higher bandwidth. Dual-band routers offer one band for each frequency; tri-band routers give you one 2.4GHz alongside two 5GHz bands. Your router should also give you a speed outlined in megabits per second (Mbps), but it’s important to consider the router’s speed and ensure this aligns with your bandwidth requirements.
VLANs or virtual LANs enable you to handle different challenges within your network, such as security, scalability or network management. If you opt for a router that features VLAN, you will benefit from being able to segment your network, safeguard your data and moderate your network congestion.
4. WAN & LAN Ports
All routers will come with several LAN ports plus at least one WAN port. Both of these will be important for you and your business when using VoIP technology, particularly if you’re using a wired VoIP desk phone or PBX.
WAN stands for wide area network, so your WAN port is essential to connect your router to your ISP and your modem. On the other hand, your LAN port (local area network) connects to your local devices, such as your computers and VoIP desk phones, via an ethernet cable.
5. OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access)
OFDMA stands for orthogonal frequency division multiple access. This allows you to optimise data traffic within the network and is built into the latest versions of WiFi 802.11ax or WiFi 6. OFDMA enables more reliable data transfer, meaning you’ll benefit from better call quality and less latency with video conferencing and VoIP calls.
MU-MIMO (multi user-multiple input, multiple outputs) is a relatively new technology built to enable multiple users’ internet access simultaneously without slowing connection speed. This feature is a good one for the requirements list if you know you’ll have more data traffic, particularly during specific peak times.
7. H.323 and SIP Support
If you’re a business team conducting many video calls, it’s worth looking for a router with H.323. This is a standard that enhances VoIP calls but also supports your video calls over the IP network, facilitating more reliable, quality video meetings.
SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and is the internet protocol that allows you to establish communication sessions between two endpoints. This comes in handy not just for voice calls but also for instant messaging, collaboration apps and file sharing.
VoIP routers reviews
1. Linksys EA9500
The Linksys EA9500 is built with better high-speed connectivity and reach in mind. With eight aerials, the VoIP router provides a great range and fast WiFi connectivity with average download speeds of 100Mbits per second.
The first on our best router for VoIP list boasts eight Ethernet ports and an Ethernet WAN socket. That means it’s a great choice if you want to connect to an external broadband modem. The EA9500’s twin USB ports also allow you to share a printer and a hard disk on the same router.
With a visual management interface, you’ll also be able to set up advanced features such as dynamic DNS and guest networks.
2. TP-Link Archer VR2800
If you’re on the hunt for a high-performance router that’s also great value for money, the TP-Link Archer VR2800 may well tick those boxes. The VR2800 comes with Wave 2 802.11ac WiFi, VDLS2 and ADSL2 connections and more.
Considering how easy the router is to install for any small business space or home environment, it packs an impressive punch in terms of its performance. Configuring the Archer VR2800 will take a matter of minutes, and you’ll also benefit from 2 in-built USB cables, VDSL2/ADSL2 and dedicated cable WAN port and a speed of 2,800 Mbit/sec.
3. ASUS BRT-AC828
If you’re running a small workspace or busy home office, the Asus BRT-AC828 could be a strong contender in your search for a suitable VoIP router. The router comes with eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as 2 gigabit WAN ports and a hardware VPN server.
With the ASUS BRT-AC828, you’ll be able to automatically switch to a backup connection if you were to lose access to your main line. That means it’s a great choice if business continuity or disaster recovery are front of mind for you and your team, as it boasts robust performance throughout the day. The router’s range is also great, with speeds of 1733 Mbit/sec; you’ll find a reliable connection is maintained even if you’re straying far from the hub.
4. Adtran Netvanta 3400 Series
The Netvanta 3440 Series from Adtran is a router series that packs a punch. Each router n the series offers multiple networking functions, all within a single, compact platform.
These routers offer impressive speed and power, 10 fast ethernet ports (10/100Mbps), enterprise-class QoS, and 802.1Q VLAN support. What’s more, setup and configuration are made super easy and accessible thanks to Adtran’s web-based user interface.
5. Cisco RV320 Series
If you need an affordable yet powerful VoIP router, you can’t go far wrong with the Cisco RV320 Series. Boasting several advanced features, it is the best VoIP router on the market in terms of getting value for your budget.
With dual ethernet ports, you’ll benefit from two connections to your internet service provider. Using load balancing between both, you’ll get high performance and continuity at a relatively low price point.
With Cisco’s RV320 series, you’ll be getting a router that’s built with security at the core. Security features include an SPI (stateful packet inspection) firewall and hardware encryption, among others. This impressive router offers reliable, secure connectivity to power your VoIP phone system as well as load balancing, SPI, VPN and 6 Gigabit ethernet ports.
6. Netgear WNR3500L
The Netgear WNR3500L is another one of our best VoIP routers that’s ideal for use at home or in smaller offices. An entry-level, open-source router, it doesn’t have the power for larger workplaces, but if you’re a small business or startup with a more modest budget, this will be ideal.
Much cheaper than others on this list of best VoIP routers, Netgear’s offering still has speed and range. With speeds up to 300 Mbps, It has five-gigabit ethernet ports in addition to a USB port, SPI & NAT firewall security. The router also boasts double firewall protection and DoS attack prevention, as well as WiFi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2—PSK) and WEP.
7. Netgear Nighthawk X10
Being the best router for VoIP isn’t necessarily the same as being the fastest router. The Netgear Nighthawk X10, however, is an option that belongs in both discussions. The router is marketed as ‘the world’s fastest.’
The Nighthawk X10 delivers an ultra-fast, lag-free WiFi experience. It packs in a powerful 1.7GHz quad-core processor, and antennas to boost reach mean it can offer combined wireless speeds of up to 7.2Gbps. That’s alongside featuring seven-gigabit ethernet ports and a pair of USB 3.0 connections.
8. Asus RT-AC68U
Well-known and respected in the tech field, Asus offers impressive gaming hardware as well as top-of-the-range routers. It’s the RT-AC68U from their RT Series which makes our countdown of the best VoIP routers.
The dual-band gigabit WiFi router offers the latest 802.11ac 3×3 technology for combined speeds of up to 1900 Mbps. Its dual-core CPU also enables smart multitasking by dedicating separate lanes for WiFi and USB data.
9. Linksys EA8300 Max Stream
The Linksys EA8300 Max Stream offers tri-band technology. That means you’ll benefit from the fastest combined WiFi speeds across all connected devices. And whether you’re running a busy office, or a home office and family home, you’ll be pleased to know, the EA8300 caters for over 20 wireless devices.
This is a great option if you’re looking for a customisable router. With options to prioritise data allotment or balance data flow across the wireless bands, you can set your preferences for how you use your connectivity.
The reliable Linksys router provides speeds of up to 2.2 Gbps (5 GHz / 400 Mbps) + (5 GHz / 867 Mbps) + (2.4 GHz / 867 Mbps) and is equipped with four-gigabit ethernet ports.
10. Cisco 900 Series
If you’re looking for a great router for small or mid-size businesses, a Cisco 900 Series router has to enter the discussion of the best router for voice over IP. The series is designed specifically with those organisations in mind. It’s a compact, fan-less platform that delivers enterprise-class performance.
Each of these Cisco routers offers four LAN interfaces and either one or two-gigabit ethernet ports. You’ll also benefit from impressive security features with SLA monitoring, verification, and configuration management, all included within the security suite.
How to avoid the worst VoIP routers
If you rely on VoIP services for your business communications, as most of us do in the modern workplace, it’s important to know what to avoid. Knowing what to home in on in terms of your router functionality can help you avoid issues such as call interruptions, jitter and latency.
It’s a good idea to follow the three rules below to avoid getting stuck with one of the worst VoIP routers for your business.
1. Focus on security features
Your required capacity is a critical factor in choosing the best router for voice over IP. The speed at which your router can distribute data in an office varies depending on the model you select. Make sure that the throughput you choose is correct for your company. Your router shouldn’t support anything less than Wireless-N 802.11n technology.
2. Consider your required capacity
Knowing your capacity needs is a critical factor in choosing the best router for VoIP. The speed at which your router can distribute data in an office varies depending on the model you select. Make sure that the throughput you choose is correct for your company. Your router shouldn’t support anything less than Wireless-N 802.11n technology.
3. Look for control features
Your choice of router must give you the level of control you need over your business network. You may want to establish restrictive access to specific content in your company. You might need to ensure staff can’t access harmful content online. These requirements aren’t directly related to VoIP. They’re still crucial to your router decision.
Originally published Oct 13, 2020, updated Jan 17, 2023