Apple, Belkin, Trendnet make most reliable routers

Most people don't fret much about their Wi-Fi routers, because they're pretty reliable compared to other devices. Just under three-fourths of our surveyed router users pronounced themselves either very satisfied or extremely satisfied with the reliability of their Wi-Fi routers; and nearly half of the router users who phoned tech support said that their wait on hold was 5 minutes or less. Overall, less than a quarter of survey respondents reported having one or more problems with their routers.

That said, not all router brands are created equal. Readers graded Apple slightly above the pack, giving it high marks for reliability and usability. That's a small step up from last year, when Apple earned just one better-than-average mark (for ease of use). Belkin also garnered high marks for usability–a repeat of its performance last year–as did TrendNet.

The biggest disappointment was 2Wire, whose ratings fell dramatically this year. 2Wire received worse-than-average grades on three measures, as readers indicated that they were less than pleased with the reliability of the company's hardware. The low scores are a big change from last year, when 2Wire got top marks for ease of use and was rated average in other areas.

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