For the general consumer, traditional routers have the impression of being difficult to set up, always requiring help from technicians. The popularization of wireless routers caused the emergence of numerous additional functions in new gen routers. Besides basic internet functions, smart routers now offer simplified settings, operations, and a more intuitive app interface. Nowadays, more IoT devices are connected to smart routers, with some even acting as network bridges/gateways increasing the connection capabilities.
Evolution of routers
Although they were solely purposed for internet connection in the past, routers are now equipped with USB ports, making them network storage disks for file sharing, video streaming devices, and other cloud sharing devices. Printers connected via routers become online shared printers. In the past, just typing 192.168.x.x in the interface makes users feel distant from the technology, not to mention the additional functions in the incomprehensible user manual. Now, more router developers are creating more intuitive smartphone apps, making use of icons rather than all text, allowing for a more user-friendly experience. Other additional functions added to newer routers include: router connection scheduling, parental controls, topology settings, situation settings, broadband group management, and more.
Unboxing experience of smart router app
Currently, smart routers usually use Wi-Fi 6. Most of them support mesh extension and have parental control features. Allion has selected 5 smart router products for their main functions to be compiled and compared in the following table:
|Brand||Generation||Encryption||Mesh extension||Technical support||Parent control|
|Access time limit|
Supervisory filter mode
|M-Brand||Wi-Fi 6||WPA2||Supported||MU-MIMO||Daily use time limit
Supervisory filter mode
|Access time limit|
After the router is installed, users can complete the settings themselves with the guidance of the app. No confusing options are shown to complicate the process; only the SSID and a password are requested. Security options are simplified to default presets or down to no more than three questions, which is more than enough for the general consumer. The following is an example:
Parental control is also included in some smart routers, which facilitate effortless daily management. Parents can now schedule the connection authorization of a specific device or block certain websites, just like the following example:
Several routers have connection speed test functions built in, allowing the user to check the upstream/downstream rate of the access point (AP), shown as follows:
Information security is another critical aspect of smart routers in the consumer market. Some routers include preloaded safety supervision functions, including detection records for malware, intrusion, vulnerability, and more. Some brands even offer advanced information security programs requiring additional payment, as shown below:
Some smart routers support voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, or can act as web storage for file sharing through a USB connection, as shown in the following:
Hidden problems of smart routers
With more functions, smart router settings go way beyond simple network settings, which lead to several unseen problems. Here are some examples:
- The smartphone is incapable of detecting the smart router.
- The smartphone app cannot sync with smart router to connect. The phone keeps on lagging and stuttering.
- When setting up the AP in the app, there is continuous redirection between the app and browser.
- The default setting for 2.4G/5G/6G comes with the same SSID, which is hard to identify, and it certainly doesn’t help when all three connections have similar setup screens.
- When performing an online update, the webpage freezes on the download screen and the loading bar gets stuck at 0%.
- When switching to traditional Chinese in the setting of the website language, some of the characters are still displayed in simplified Chinese.
- Video streaming is interrupted.
The following are some problems specified in the consumers’ feedback:
|Functionality problem||Router webpage setting
|The setting page froze and became unresponsive
The status display of the APP is not synchronized with the router
Lost router configuration
|Compatibility problem||Wi-Fi connection equipment
|The Wi-Fi connection of equipment to the router failed
The smartphone APP cannot access the router
The router status cannot be updated in the APP
Abnormality of USB identification
|Durability problem||Long-period video streaming and playing
Abnormal speed drop
Control failure of the router with APP
Abnormality of reset setting
|Wireless interference problem||Placement location||Video interrupted
|Network performance issues||Placement distance||Connection distance less than the specification
Speed drops with longer distances
Smart routers now offer much more than mere Wi-Fi settings. The APPs are designed with different features, extended functions, and setting options. As a result, it is necessary to discover the design flaws that contradict user habits as early as possible.
- Unboxing settings
- Function confirmation
- Online update
- Multilingual verification
Allion Labs offer multiple scenario verifications for different brands and models of equipment. The purpose of the testing is to ensure that your product operates flawlessly with the software and hardware from other brands available in the market.
- Wi-Fi connection equipment: Computers/tablets/smartphones/TVs/STBs/smart Internet equipment
- APP compatibility: Android/iOS smartphones
- USB compatibility: Disks/printers
Ecosystem: Various voice assistants/IoT ecosystems/remote meetings
Operational environment: Various operating systems/browsers/video streaming platforms
More and more smart network equipment is now connected to the routers. Thus, router durability and stability have also become major concerns for the users.
- Long-period supervision and monitoring of connection status
- Connection/disconnection cycle testing
- Switch ON/OFF cycle testing
- Video streaming testing
Wireless interference testing
The rapid popularity of products connected to the Internet has offered unprecedented convenience to human civilization. However, as the number of wireless products grows, wireless signal interference may occur, which impacts the user experience.
- Wireless Desense testing solution
- Co-existence and interference of the peripheral equipment
- Distance between the installation location and the router (RvR)
Network performance testing
Video streaming are requiring better visual qualities over time, whereas real-time responses are essential for enjoying online games. These are the network performance that directly impacts the consumers’ experiences.
- Throughput and RF performance testing
- Multi-user/multi-client simultaneous connection test
- Mesh roaming testing
Take the Next Step
If you are interested in router testing and want to know more, the Allion team is at your service!
Allion Labs offers key network communication testing solutions for wireless AP/AP/Router, and has also established a professional RF Wireless Lab with specialized test environments and professional equipment, providing comprehensive wireless testing reports. We can also design customized test items tailored for your products. With our integrated testing for product integrity, the quality of your product will be safeguarded in our hands.SCHEDULE CONSULTATION