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As you shop around for internet service, you might notice an unexpected expense for AT&T, which is the monthly rental charge for the modem/router combo that the service provides. The AT&T-approved modem/router (or gateway) comes with a $10/mo.* rental fee, or $120 per year. What’s more, the best modem for AT&T is the one supplied by the provider as you must use an AT&T modem per the service agreement. However, using your own router with AT&T’s modem can add additional features like customized speeds and security features.
Best AT&T router winners
|Ancatus-WiFi 6 Router AX1800||$||WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK/WPA3-PSK security protocol, 5 ports, 4 FEMs & 4 5dBi antennas, connect up to 40 devices, easy setup, compatible with 99% of ISPs||1,800 Mbps||Best for AT&T U-Verse 1,000 Mbps Plan||Best Overall|
|ASUS N300 WiFi Router||$||3-in-1 router/access, point/range extender, wireless modes, 2 detachable 5dBi antennas, WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Enterprise security protocol||300 Mbps||Best for Basic Plans||Best for Range to Price Point|
|Linksys N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router||$||4 Ethernet (10/100 Mbps) ports, WPA/WPA2 personal and SPI firewall protection, easy setup, parental controls||300 Mbps||Best for Internet 10-100||Best for Features to Price Point|
|Asus AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router||$$$||Dual core CPU, dual-band, 1 GHz, ASUSWRT web-based interface for easy setup & control w/ASUS Router App||1,900 Mbps||Best for Fiber Plans||Best for Setup and Controls|
How we chose the best router for AT&T
When looking for the best AT&T router, we compared the supported speed to the price of the device. Other features for routers compatible with AT&T to use in conjunction with the provided best AT&T modem included:
- The number of ports offered
- Parental controls included
- Setup and control ability, such as controlling the device through an app
- Band number
- Security features including encryption and firewalls
- Extended ranges
- How the device directs Wi-Fi signals and how that affects speed, range and reducing interference
Finally, we also looked at customer reviews online, including Amazon star ratings and comments about how it was to use the product.More on our methodology
Best router for the AT&T U-Verse 1,000 Mbps plan: Ancatus Wi-Fi 6 Router AX1800
For a higher speed plan, the Ancatus Wi-Fi 6 Router AX1800 is a speed demon at 1,800 Mbps. It has updated security protocols of WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK and WPA3-PSK. It helps with coverage through features like beamforming technology, four independent FEMs and four powerful antennas of 5dBi. It can cover up to 2,100 square feet. This router can also simultaneously connect up to 40 devices. Setup through a Web UI helps the process. The company also states it’s compatible with 99% of internet service providers, so odds are you can still use it if you switch services. In short, if you do a high amount of streaming, gaming and downloads, this router is a solid option.
Some reviewers state that this AT&T router option seems like it is made of cheap materials and the brand is lesser known.
Best router for the AT&T basic plans: ASUS N300 Wi-Fi Router
If you run on very light internet use and only need the AT&T basic plans, this small AT&T router option with two ports will likely serve your needs at a model’s lower price point. It gets 300 Mbps, making it enough for the basic plans, which run in tiers of 0.8 Mbps, 1.5 Mbps and 5 Mbps expected download speed. It boasts the security protocols WEP, WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise and WPA2-Enterprise. It also has 10/100 Mbps LAN port bandwidth. The multiple three-in-one router/access point/range extender wireless modes are a good perk and four SSIDs help with bandwidth allocation. The two detachable 5dBi antennas also give wider coverage.
While the ASUS N300 sits at a respectable 4.2-star rating on Amazon at the time of writing, it is still an older single-band model and reviewers state problems with the tech support from ASUS. If you decide you need faster internet or need to connect more devices down the line, you’ll also be looking for a new router.
Best router for the Internet 10-100 AT&T plans: Linksys N300 Wi-Fi Wireless Router
The Linksys N300 gets up to 300 Mbps of transfer speed, making it a good option for the AT&T core plans, which run in tiers at 10 Mbps, 18 Mbps, 25 Mbps, 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps expected download speeds. So, a lower transfer speed router may fit your needs better on these plans. For the price point, you get a wide range of features: four Ethernet ports at 10/100 Mbps, customizable security settings like WPA/WPA2 Personal and SPI firewall protection, easy setup with included software and parental controls.
It currently sits at a 4.1 Amazon star rating at the time of writing. However, reviewers state that speeds can fluctuate, it does not have the strongest Wi-Fi signal for many people and it seems to perform best in smaller spaces.
Best router for the AT&T fiber plans: Asus AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Router
With 1,900 Mbps for speed, the Asus AC1900 is good for mid to high data plans, like the AT&T fiber plans. It’s dual-band, uses the WPA2, WPA, WPS security protocols and offers 10/100/1000 gigabit ports. The one GigaHertz dual-core CPU keeps Wi-Fi and USB data separate. The Asus AC1900 has a respectable 4.5 rating on Amazon at the time of writing. A massive benefit is the easy router setup using the ASUSWRT web-based interface. The ASUS router app also allows you to conveniently control the device.
For a drawback, its higher price might push it above what some people are looking to spend, especially considering you still have to pay the AT&T modem fee. Some reviewers also state that they had firmware issues and some people have problems with the support line.
Should you rent or purchase your AT&T equipment?
You may be wondering what the point of purchasing your own AT&T router would be, especially when the provider requires you to use the supplied AT&T compatible modem and router combo. But using your own router can have its perks. Below are some pros and cons to help you decide what the best option is for you:
Pros of getting your own router
Features allow for greater customization, like more control features, added security protocols, speeds customization and a greater number of ports
You will still have to pay the AT&T rental fee, but you can add extra features with just a one-time payment for the router, and you can choose one that fits your budget
Cons of getting your own router
You have to know what you’re looking for in a router, which may require being versed in the technical terms or a longer time spend researching the products
The AT&T modem router combo that the provider supplies comes pre-set to work with the network and plan, which is easier on you as a consumer
What to look for in an AT&T compatible router
Four of the main features to consider when looking for an AT&T router to go with the AT&T modem gateway include:
- Speed: The speed of the router is the most important, and it’s listed as Mbps (megabits per second) or Gbps (gigabits per second). The faster the speed, the faster your data transfer will be and the less lag you’ll experience.
- Security: Good routers have a firewall or two, as well as the latest encryption, like WPA2.
- Setup and controls: Routers may be controlled through apps, websites or software to make setup easier. Controls like a parental block can also be a useful option.
- Number of ports: Pay attention to the port number, as that will help you hook in the right number of devices you have.
Looking for AT&T modems?
AT&T at the time does not offer modem compatibility. Per AT&T contract, modems used must be AT&T issued. So if you’re looking for a modem compatible with AT&T service look to the obvious source, AT&T service provider!
The bottom line
Having your own AT&T router can help improve internet speeds. Even though you still have to use the AT&T certified modems, having your own router can add additional features and make your internet experience run smoother. And remember, your broadband supporting equipment is only as good as your ISP plan, so stay knowledgeable about your current service and if it’s still right for your current needs.
Need a faster internet plan?
Are you finding you don’t have a fast enough internet service to keep up with your streaming, gaming and downloads? Look for an internet plan that has the fastest speeds in your price range so your internet signal keeps up with your online activities.
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By Michelle Honeyager
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