Is it better to buy a WiFi router with many antennas?

In recent years, routers with many antennas have been appearing, we generally look at the number of antennas when they are external , however, when routers incorporate internal antennas we do not pay special attention to them, but they are there. Many people believe that buying a wireless router with many antennas is better , and will provide us with better speed on our devices, however, this is not always the case , because it also depends on how many antennas the wireless clients have. Today we are going to explain if it is worth buying a router with many antennas or not.

How many antennas do top-of-the-range routers have?

Is it better to buy a WiFi router with many antennas

High-end routers, whether ” normal ” or “gaming” routers , have up to 8 external antennas to provide wireless coverage, right now there is no device on the market that has more than 8 external antennas. And it is that we will have four antennas for the 2.4GHz band and another four antennas for the 5GHz band if our router is a simultaneous dual band .

However, it is possible that you have bought a simultaneous triple band router (the third band can be in the 5GHz with “high” channels or in the new 6GHz band). In these cases where we have 8 antennas and a simultaneous triple-band router, it means that four of these external antennas are “dual”, so they emit in two frequency bands at the same time, so as not to have to put another four antennas in the router. dedicated.

Depending on the Wi-Fi standard, the number of antennas available and the channel width used, we will have a higher or lower wireless speed. In this article we have explained how to know the maximum WiFi speed of our router .

Is it worth the extra expense?

Depending on which wireless clients you plan to connect , it may or may not be worth your while to go for a cheaper model that has fewer available WiFi antennas, which translates to a lower WiFi class. Generally, all wireless clients have 1 or 2 antennas to establish communication , therefore, even if our router has four antennas, the wireless link will be synchronized at maximum speed taking into account that antenna or those two antennas of the WiFi client.

The speed that we are going to achieve with our device with 2 antennas will be the same if the router has 4 antennas for that frequency band or only 2, because the “bottleneck” will be in the wireless client. Therefore, if you plan to buy a router with more antennas to provide greater speed to wireless clients, the truth is that you will not get better performance because the limitation will be in the client. However, you will notice an improvement if we use the Multi-User MIMO that current routers and WiFi clients incorporate.

However, that a router has more internal or external antennas translates into:

  • With the Wi-Fi 6 standard we have MU-MIMO in all frequency bands , so if we have two or more wireless clients connected simultaneously and they support this feature, the router can send data to several clients simultaneously, increasing the real speed overall wireless network, since it will be continuously sending data. If they don’t support this MU-MIMO feature, we won’t notice any improvement.
  • A little more coverage : when the router has more WiFi antennas, it is possible to orient them in different ways to achieve homogeneous coverage throughout our house, both horizontally and vertically. Therefore, having more antennas means that we will have a little more coverage, but we will not notice it too much. What is important is to put the router in a good place in the house to provide the best possible coverage.

After doing dozens of analyzes of routers and WiFi Mesh systems, it is true that the more antennas the equipment has, the better it works wirelessly, however, there is not much difference to justify the difference in price between a model with 2 antennas per band frequencies to 4 antennas per frequency band. You will only notice a significant improvement if you plan to connect more than 20 devices simultaneously, and generating traffic. But for “normal” domestic use there are hardly any differences.