Slow Wi-Fi speeds? Spotty connections? Dead zones? Slow buffer and load times? Are your kids looking at questionable content online instead of doing their homework?
All these problems could be stemming from your router. You know, that little device you connect your devices to for internet access and Wi-Fi. Routers are essential for your internet connection, but dealing with them can be a major pain.
Luckily, it doesn't have to be. You can control certain brands of routers with your smartphone, making adding parental controls, running performance tests and the like, easier than you would expect.
Instead of using a web browser to access your router's settings, managing your home network is simplified with apps developed for controlling your specific router model.
Here's our list of the best router management apps for the more popular brands:
If you are a Netgear router owner, we recommend that you install the excellent NETGEAR Genie app on your mobile device.
Genie will let you change your network name, channel, and Wi-Fi password conveniently right in the app itself. You can even turn on or off your guest network on-the-fly for times when visitors need internet access.
There's also a Traffic Meter section where you could monitor and set limits for your internet data.
Other useful features included are a network map diagram (lets you see all your network's connected devices), and parental controls.
If your Netgear router supports USB connections and you have a connected storage device, you could even stream your media files, such as movies and music, straight to the Genie app itself.
Paired with their Windows or Mac version of Genie, you could even print off your iPhone or iPad and make any printer AirPrint compatible.
This is one of the most fully featured brand-specific router apps out there.
Linksys Smart Wi-Fi
This app will allow Linksys owners to monitor and manage their networks remotely, even when they're not at home.
Users can also configure guest networks, parental controls, and prioritize internet traffic for specific devices within the app.
There's a slight prerequisite, though. Users will have to register a Linksys user account first. Additionally, the app will only work with their Linksys Smart Wi-Fi line of routers.
For ASUS routers, you'll need the aptly named mobile app called ASUS Router.
Similar to other router management apps, ASUS Router allows you to set your network settings like SSID and Wi-Fi password, configure a guest network, monitor real-time traffic and view connected devices.
For advanced users, there are extra features such as bandwidth limiting, multi-router management, Wi-Fi sharing, and a special Game Boost mode.
Router firmware updates and settings backup can also be performed within the app.
TP Link Tether
With this app, you can set up your TP Link router's Wi-Fi network's name and password fresh from the box. It also allows for real-time management of connected devices and you could block specific ones, such as suspected Wi-Fi thieves, from accessing your network.
Together with parental and access time controls and URL white or blacklisting, the Tether app ensures you know what goes in and out of your network, including data from multiple TP Link Routers.
For owners of Wi-Fi extenders, this app even helps you find the optimum location to extend the reach of your Wi-Fi network.
DS router by Synology
Synology is more known for their Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices but they make this fancy AC Wi-Fi router too.
From initial router setup like setting up the administrator account to more advanced tasks like setting up parental control and tweaking the router's firewall for traffic management, this app lets you conveniently do that from your mobile device.
DS router is a must-have for anyone lucky enough to own this Synology router.
(Note: Noticeably absent are the other popular router brands like Belkin and D-Link. They don't have iOS or Android router management apps yet as far as we know.)
Bonus: Wi-Fi Network tools
As a bonus tip, we'll leave you with two networking apps you could use, regardless of your router brand:
Fing for Android
Fing for Android is a free network scanning tool for analyzing Wi-Fi networks. It identifies, records, and tracks connected devices by IP or MAC Address, and even has advanced tools like Ping, port scanning and traceroute. Use this app to detect Wi-Fi thieves that may be piggy-backing on your network!
Fing is a rich networking app that all Android users should have in their toolsets.
Network Analyzer Lite for iOS
iOS users can try the free Network Analyzer Lite for network analysis. Similar to Fing, this app can detect and identify all the devices connected to a network and will display details like vendor name, IP and Mac addresses.
The app will also display basic network information like SSID (network name), default gateway, and your external IP address.
We hope these apps will help you monitor, control and manage your router better.
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