Blazing-fast 802.11ac routers may have made their debut in 2014, but 2015 still saw an innovation explosion in the router space.
This year, routers appeared that protected every device in your home from threats—not just your PCs, but smart TVs, consoles, and tweeting coffee pots, too. Several manufacturers embraced mesh networking, or using several small routers to create a singular, all-encompassing network across your home. AVG’s Chime mixed mesh networking with deep privacy options, like VPN and Tor support.
New ideas hit traditional routers, too, such as MU-MIMO 802.11ac routers that can send and receive data from multiple devices simultaneously, which increases network speeds. It’s starting to hit the market in enthusiast routers like the Linksys EA8500 and Asus’ aggressive RT-AC5300U. Conversely, Google shook up the market with its sleek, simple OnHub—a router relentlessly designed to “just work.” Normal folks will love it, though hardcore geeks will loathe its locked-down nature.