I’m old enough to remember the good old days when you were super nerdy if you had a home network at all. And of course that network had a couple of computers and maybe a printer on it. Ah, the good old days. At this moment, there are thirty devices on my network, from the things that have always been there–my laptop, my desktop, and my printer–to a family’s worth of phones (currently four, since my parents are visiting but my wife is at work and daughter at school) and tablets (amazingly, eight) to our TV, the Xbox, and the Dish DVR. And then there are the 21st century things, like our Nest thermostat or my daughter’s Hue lights.
Obviously, the demands of the home network router are quite a bit beyond what they were when we got our first Linksys a dozen or so years ago. Over the years, we’ve had to gradually spend more and more on routers, since our network demands are simply far beyond the capabilities of a $50 device. Thus, when Amped Wireless offered to send me a review unit of their Artemis High Power AC1300 router, I thought I’d give it a shot.
Setup of the router was as easy as they all tend to be these days. Plug it into the ISP’s cable modem, plug it in, and then connect the laptop. I was able to easily get into the settings page on my laptop, and quickly renamed the network and set the password to what I had been using on the old network so that everything would just connect and I wouldn’t have to spend the night hearing the kids complain about their iThings not connecting, tempting though that might have been.
Over the next few days, I intentionally didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I could have tried to up my network usage to really put it through the ringer (although I’m not sure exactly how I could come up with more stuff to add to the network), but I decided instead to give it a real test: could it handle the traffic we’d be putting on a router we had purchased? The answer: yes.
I streamed those last several awful episodes of Luke Cage on Netflix with no issues. I introduced my son to Doctor Who (unsuccessfully at first, but then we skipped ahead to David Tennant on the advice of some fellow GeekDads and now he’s hooked) via Amazon Prime. We Plexed. We watched YouTube on the TV via Chromecast. And we went about our normal days, e-mailing and playing games and whatever else on our phones and tablets. I even spent some time annoying my daughter by messing with her lights when she was trying to do homework, which is, to me, the best reason in the world to have bought that Hue lighting system for her.
I was also able to connect an external hard drive to the router and use it as a network drive. The router features support for both USB2 and USB3 drives, which was nice.
In the end, the best recommendation I have for the router is that no one else in the family knew that I had changed it. It handled the traffic without a hitch. The only person who really saw any impact was my daughter, whose room is furthest from the router. After I swapped the review unit back out for our regular router, she complained that the Wi-Fi signal in her room was suddenly worse again. The Artemis, as it turned out, had quite a bit better range than our current router, so for the week I had it installed she was getting a better signal.
My only complaint about the router was that I felt that the administration tools were a bit lacking. It features all of the normal tools you’d expect for security and whatnot, but lacks a real-time network monitoring tool, so if you do encounter issues on your network, it’s not as easy to troubleshoot as I’ve seen with other routers. Of course, there are plenty of third-party tools available, so that’s not necessarily a show stopper.
All in all, we were happy with the Artemis AC1300. If I were in the market for a new router, I’d certainly put this at the top of the list of candidates. The router is available from Amazon for $130.