Along with this recognition, the UNG Gainesville Campus received a $25,000 grant to increase support for adult learners. The grant was subsequently renewed in 2012 for an additional $25,000. The intent of the grant was “to galvanize [adult Georgians] to change their situation, thereby boosting the state’s economic growth” (University System of Georgia).
As part of this same initiative, in March 2011, the University System of Georgia’s Office of Military Outreach awarded the UNG Gainesville Campus the Soldiers to Scholars grant enabling the university to better serve military personnel in its service area. With the ALC grant funds, institutional funds, and faculty/staff support, the University of North Georgia has continued to grow its support for veterans and adult learner students.
With a growing number of both student veterans and adult learners, UNG created the Center for Adult Learners & Military (CALM) in 2012 in an effort to better serve these non-traditional student populations. CALM was renamed in January 2017 to Veteran & Adult Learner Programs (VALP).
In August 2020, VALP and Orientation and Transitions Program (OTP) merged to form a new department: Nighthawk Engagement and Student Transitions (NEST). This merger has increased the number of dedicated staff trained to serve Veterans and Adult Learners. NEST is now able to provide a dedicated team of staff members for Veterans and a dedicated team for Adult Learners. Having specific staff dedicated to each of these programs allows NEST to continue all previous VALP programs with an addition of new programs better geared toward each specific population. These programs will help Veterans and Adult Learners connect, prepare, and navigate their college career.
NEST is the point-of-contact concierge for the Veteran and Adult Learners and provides advisement as requested, ACE transcript reviews, portfolio counseling, career advisement, and mentoring. NEST also works with faculty and staff by providing them training opportunities concerning Veteran and Adult Learners.
Transcripts must be sent directly to UAB from the institution to be considered official. For transcripts sent through a secured transcript service (like Parchment, eScrip, or National Student Clearinghouse), please select University of Alabama at Birmingham from the vendor’s dropdown menu.
UAB Office of Undergraduate Admissions
1720 2nd Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35294-2936
The best wireless headphones are a must-have tool for multitasking and staying connected, and thanks to constant improvements in Bluetooth connectivity and battery life, they’re only getting better with time. Whether you’re in the market for a wireless gaming headset for staying competitive, water-resistant earbuds for working out unencumbered, or a classic noise-cancelling headset for working in the field, wireless headphones supply you the freedom to move freely and stay productive without struggling with tangled cables and loose connectors. We’ll break down some of the best wireless headphones currently available on the market and review a few key considerations to keep in mind when adding this essential piece of tech to your busy lifestyle.
— Best Overall: Sony WH-1000XM4
— Best In-Ear: Apple AirPods Pro
— Best Noise-Cancelling: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
— Best for Gaming: Razer BlackShark V2 Pro
— Best Budget: Jabra Elite 45h
— Best For Apple Devices: Apple AirPods Max
With so many feature-rich products to consider, compiling a list of the best wireless headphones was no simple task. Here are a few of the key features we took into account to arrive at our selections.
Battery Life: Battery life is perhaps the most significant limiting factor to a wireless product’s usefulness. All of the best wireless headphones on this list offer a single-charge battery life between 20 and 50 hours with the exception of the Apple AirPods Pro, which offer only 4.5 hours of listening per charge due to their significantly small form factor. They balance that short charge length with wireless charging via their charging case for a total playtime of 24 hours.
Brand: Brand history and track record are factors that we took into consideration when compiling this list. Wherever possible, we favored products from companies with a history of manufacturing many different types of audio gear. Banking on the reputation of well-known audio manufacturers can better ensure product reliability and quality of customer service, which can make all the difference when making a larger purchase.
Design: Wireless headphones come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, and we leaned heavily into the style, comfort, and convenience of each design when making this list. Each of the selections is suited for busy lifestyles and long-term use, with lighter weights and smaller forms favored wherever possible.
Compatibility: Though Bluetooth is the standard for wireless headphone connectivity, not every pair of wireless headphones is compatible with every Bluetooth device. We took care to select wireless headphones that are compatible with the widest variety of wireless devices, and whenever possible, we picked wireless headphones that offer a 3.5-millimeter audio jack for use with legacy audio devices like older computers and some gaming consoles.
We further explain how we test audio gear here.
Why It Made The Cut: These wireless headphones from Sony feature some of the best noise-cancelling performance available on the market and offer substantial single-charge battery life.
— Battery Life: 30 hours
— Water-Resistant: No
— 3.5 mm Jack: Yes
— Automatically pauses playback when removed
— 10-minute burst charge for 5 hours of operation
— Multi-device pairing for productivity
— Not water-resistant
— Easy to accidentally trigger touch controls
— Most settings only accessible via the smartphone app
The stylish and well-rounded Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphones are a great example of the best wireless headphones the market currently has to offer. With the unique combination of a utilitarian feature set and a premium fit and finish, these headphones are suitable for a wide range of lifestyles from the most casual to the most demanding. They feature an above-average maximum operation time of 30 hours on a single charge, which makes them a reliable choice for everyday use while commuting or working. A built-in quick charging function allows users to enjoy an extra five hours of operation with a brief 10-minute charge, so this is a great option if you’ll be running down your battery on a regular basis. They’re also able to pair with multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously, which is perfect for working uninterrupted when pivoting from a computer to a smartphone.
While the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones have plenty of thoughtful features that make them good for everyday use, they do have a few design idiosyncrasies to work around. For example, they aren’t officially water-resistant, so they’re not the best choice for extended use outdoors. They also feature a capacitive touch control system that’s located on one of the ear cup exteriors, which makes unintentional taps inevitable when adjusting the headset. Finally, all of the headphones’ advanced features are only accessible through a smartphone app, which means that you won’t be able to make fine adjustments to your equalization (EQ) or even pair to new devices without getting out your phone.
This item is available refurbished on Amazon for $259 ($90 less expensive)
Why It Made The Cut: The highly-engineered Apple AirPods Pro get Full Marks for flexibility, style, and sound quality.
— Battery Life: 30 hours
— Water-Resistant: Yes
— 3.5 mm Jack: No
— Compatible with Apple MagSafe wireless charger
— Active noise-cancelling and hear-through modes
— Includes three sets of silicone tips for customizable fit
— Single-charge battery life limited to 6 listening hours
— No charging cable included
— Small speakers allow for limited bass response
Featuring one of the richest feature sets in their class and sporting an instantly recognizable design that’s built for convenience and portability, the new Apple AirPods Pro are some of the best in-ear wireless headphones that money can buy. These sweat and water-resistant earbuds feature active noise-cancelling technology that performs on a level comparable to that of bulkier over-ear designs, aided in part by customizable silicone ear tips that ensure good isolation and a snug fit. Users can also toggle between noise-cancelling and hear-through modes to engage in conversation and maintain situational awareness without the need to remove an earbud, making them a flexible option for listening in public spaces. The AirPods Pro do their best to push bass frequencies despite their small size, and thanks to built-in adaptive EQ tech that automatically optimizes the headphone’s tonal balance based upon your listening material, the AirPods Pro offers quite a consistent and well-rounded sound overall.
As far as battery life goes, the AirPods Pro offers 6 hours of playtime on a single charge, but this range can be extended to 30 hours with the use of the charging case. This is to be expected for such a compact product, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’ll be using them often. The charging case itself is a new-and-improved MagSafe compatible design that allows for secure wireless charging using Apple’s proprietary MagSafe magnetic charger, but it’s also chargeable via Lightning cable. Unfortunately, neither charger is included with the AirPods Pro, so you’ll have to pick one up if you don’t already have one on hand.
Why It Made The Cut: Bose’s industry-leading sound quality meets powerful noise-canceling tech in these sleek headphones.
— Battery Life: 20 hours
— Water-Resistant: Yes
— 3.5 mm Jack: Yes
— Tailored four-microphone design for improved voice recognition
— 11 adjustable levels of noise-cancelling
— Durable premium build with stainless steel headband
— Needs to be powered off to charge
— Voice recognition may require calibration out of the box
— Touch controls are sensitive and can be accidentally initiated
The Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 from Bose are a perfect match for studying, taking calls, attending virtual meetings, or listening to music in noisy environments. As the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones, these are set apart by their robust four-microphone pickup design that works to isolate users’ voices from their environment for improved dialog clarity. Listeners can even toggle between 11 different levels of noise-cancellation strength for further customization. The headset uses a combination of touch controls and physical buttons that allow users to access Alexa, control playback, and adjust noise-cancelling settings without the need to go through the optional smartphone app. As is customary with the technologies, the touch controls tend to erroneously trigger during user adjustment of the headphones, while the physical buttons don’t suffer so much from this problem.
For the best user experience, the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 require a bit of adjustment out of the box. The headphones tend to cut out and mistake voice input for background noise, but this voice sensitivity can easily be adjusted via the app to calibrate an optimal level of voice isolation. Charging also needs to take place with the headphones powered off, which limits their flexibility somewhat. Perhaps most significantly, the headphones don’t offer a hear-through mode, which limits their usefulness in social settings like shared workspaces. Still, the noise-cancelling performance of this model is second-to-none if you’re looking for some legitimate aural isolation.
Why It Made The Cut: The BlackShark V2 Pro features a gooseneck microphone and a boosted low-frequency response paired with a solid high-frequency lift for immersive game audio and pronounced vocal clarity.
— Battery Life: 24 hours
— Water-Resistant: No
— 3.5 mm Jack: Yes
— THX 7.1 surround-sound compatible for dimensional audio
— Comfortable foam earpads with lightweight structure for extended wearing
— Removable super cardioid mic for pronounced voice isolation
— Not wirelessly compatible with Xbox
— Passive noise cancellation is less effective in loud environments
— Mini-USB charging port can feel loose
Thanks to the dexterity enhancement, voice connectivity, and freedom of movement they offer, wireless headphones are a no-brainer upgrade for any competitive gaming setup. Razer’s BlackShark V2 Pro gaming headset is one of the best wireless gaming headphones on the market, featuring a lightweight construction with soft earpads that won’t get uncomfortable or weigh you down over long gaming sessions. A detachable gooseneck microphone with a tightly-focused super cardioid pickup pattern allows users to send crystal-clear voice communications via Bluetooth, and integrated support for 7.1 surround sound offers spatial audio playback that’s a must-have for an immersive gameplay experience. The headset uses an included Micro-USB cable that can feel rather loose in its socket, but thanks to its single-charge battery life of over 20 hours, this isn’t a problem you should encounter too often.
The BlackShark V2 Pro is a Bluetooth-compatible wireless headset that works with PlayStation as well as gaming PCs, but it’s unfortunately incompatible with Xbox via its wireless interface. An included 3.5-millimeter audio cable circumvents this problem, but if you’re an Xbox user looking for a fully wireless experience, you’ll want to grab a proper Xbox Wireless Headset instead. The headset also lacks active noise cancelling, but it does offer some level of passive noise cancellation thanks to its substantial ear cups, which help to block minor ambient noises like air conditioners and street noise.
This item is available refurbished on Amazon for $114.98 ($25 less expensive)
Why It Made The Cut: The Jabra Elite 45h wireless headphones pack an impressive maximum single-charge life of 50 hours that’s hands-down one of the best budget wireless headphones on the market.
— Battery Life: 50 hours
— Water-Resistant: Yes
— 3.5 mm Jack: No
— Extremely long battery life
— Foldable and compact
— Able to function while charging via USB-C
— Lacks a wired connection
— On-ear design may slide and require intermittent adjustment
— Unreliable support for use with computers
While they may lack the bells and whistles of other headphones at least twice their price, these stripped-down wireless headphones from Jabra are flexible enough to be worth a look regardless of your price preference. Besides their affordable price point, the Elite 45h’s primary advantage over competitors is their whopping maximum single-charge battery life of 50 hours, which allows for multiple days of use while limiting the odds of being caught with a dead battery. They’re also lightweight and compact, which makes them a good companion for traveling and commuting.
In terms of connectivity, the Elite 45h is a strictly wireless Bluetooth design and isn’t compatible with Lightning or 3.5-millimeter audio connections. The headphones are able to achieve some degree of wireless connectivity with computers, but Jabra’s support for this is spotty at best, meaning that you’ll be officially limited to using these with tablets and smartphones. The Elite 45h is also an on-ear design that’s liable to shift during use over extended periods, so there’s a minor trade-off between value and comfort in that regard. For charging, a single included USB-C cable does the trick, and the headphones offer the added bonus of being fully functional even while charging.
Why It Made The Cut: Apple's AirPods Max is a luxe-pair of comfortable over-ear headphones designed to work as well as possible with the company's computers, phones, and tablets.
— Battery Life: 20 hours
— Water-Resistant: No
— 3.5 mm Jack: No
— Extremely long battery life
— Incredibly comfortable
— Able to function while charging via USB-C
— No wired connection
— Worse experience with non-Apple devices
The AirPods Max is Apple’s highest-end headphones, and they’re both better looking and more comfortable than most pairs we’ve tried. The AirPods Max are over-ear headphones that can communicate with Apple’s other gear more reliably, thanks to its custom-designed H1 processor. The headphones can still connect to non-Apple devices via Bluetooth, but the experience of pairing and unpairing them will be more cumbersome, and you'll get slightly worse battery life. The H1 processor is powerful enough to make micro-adjustments to your audio to optimize the way it sounds without requiring you to manually move sliders on an EQ (equalizer). You won't notice rapid changes in the way your music sounds but would hear a difference if you did an A-B test with the AirPods Max and another pair of headphones.
The H1 also lets you listen to certain albums, movies, and TV shows in Spatial Audio, which allows you to get a surround sound-like experience from a pair of headphones. This is a feature that's available regardless of the device it's paired to. The library of content that's available in Spatial Audio is limited, but continuing to grow rapidly, so this hardware feature will become even more useful over time. The H1 processor is what makes the AirPods Max stand out, but they also support common features like active noise cancellation and transparency mode.
One of the few ways in which the AirPods Max is decidedly average is battery life. The headphones will last up to 20 hours per charge, which is only okay, and you'll need to use a Lightning cable to refill the battery. That's an annoyance in a world in which every other pair of headphones — and most other gadgets — has a USB-C port. The AirPods Max will still get you through a transatlantic flight without conking out, but you'll still need to plug them in a couple of times per week if you're an avid music listener.
If you generally listen to music on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the AirPods Max is the ultimate pair of headphones, and the $70 discount you can get on Amazon right now helps justify the upgrade.
The key limiting factor to wireless headphones’ usefulness is their built-in battery life. The best wireless headphones typically offer a battery life within the range of 20 to 30 hours on a single charge, with some extending up to 50 hours before needing to juice up. Whether or not you’ll be using them on a regular basis, remembering to charge your wireless headphones when they’re not in use can make or break your ability to use them when you need them. When in doubt, opt for a pair with longer battery life to make your life easier.
If you’ll be using your wireless headphones while working out, go for a design that’s built to water-resistant specifications. Not only will this prevent sweat from slowly killing your wireless headphones, but it’ll also protect them during the odd jog in the rain. You might also want to consider an in-ear design, which is more liable to stay put during bouts of physical activity than a traditional over-the-head model.
Multi-device pairing is a relatively new feature that’s making its way into wireless headphones and other audio devices, and it’s convenient for pivoting between devices like laptops and smartphones when engaging in multiple work activities. If you’ll be keeping on your wireless headphones while moving to and from your workspace, a design that’s capable of simultaneous multi-device pairing is worth a look.
Though they seem all but extinct, audio devices that require a traditional 3.5-millimeter audio connection for use with headphones still do exist. Some wireless headphones include this backward-compatible connector technology and feature a cable that allows users to hear audio from devices like music players and gaming consoles with a 3.5-mm jack. If you continue to use technology that includes audio jacks, then this is definitely a factor to consider before making a purchase.
Q: How much do wireless headphones cost?
On average, wireless headphones cost anywhere between $100 to $500. You generally shouldn’t have to pay any higher to enjoy the high-quality wireless sound. Of course, certain specialty designs like the $3000 electrostatic Shure KSE1500 in-ear headphones do exist, but these are exceptions to the rule.
Q: Are wireless headphones good for gaming?
Wireless headphones are a great choice for gaming thanks to the added freedom of movement they provide. The best gaming headsets like the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro generally include a gooseneck microphone at close mouth proximity that delivers clear voice communication, while some models also include spatial audio compatibility for added immersion.
Q: How do I recycle old headphones or earbuds?
Recycling old headphones and earbuds involves following the same process that you’d take when recycling any old electronic components, which varies depending on the programs available in your local community. Some headphone manufacturers also offer their own sustainability programs that encourage users to send in used stock for refurbishment and recycling.
Q: Wireless vs true wireless: what's the difference?
The difference between wireless and “true wireless” headphones is a mere technicality that has little to do with their Bluetooth device connection and instead involves the presence of physical wiring connecting the two earphones. “True wireless” headphones like the Apple AirPods Pro lack a physical connection between the earpieces. A pair of wireless headphones that includes a wired connection between the left and right ear—as is the case with many traditional over-ear designs like the Sony WH-1000XM4 — is simply a “wireless” system.
Q: Which brand is best for headphones?
The best brand for headphones depends largely on the listening material and context of use. Longstanding headphone brands like Sony, Bose, and Jabra are some of the best options on the market for reliability thanks to their time-tested sound and design features, while lifestyle-focused brands like Apple and their subsidiary Beats by Dre will offer a more future-facing and customizable user experience.
Q: Which wireless headphones are the most durable?
Wireless headphones aren’t typically known for being a rugged pieces of electronic equipment, but the JBL UA Streak True Wireless Headphones might be some of the most durable wireless headphones available. They’re small enough to fit securely in your ear during your most strenuous workouts, and they offer an extremely high IPX7 waterproof rating, which means that they can survive submersion in one meter of water for up to 30 minutes.
Q: Can I recycle my old Bluetooth headphones??
You can recycle your old Bluetooth headphones, but determining where will depend on the availability of governmental or community programs near you or whether the company you purchased it from has an in-house recycling program. Here’s more about how to recycle electronics.
The best wireless headphones offer easy connection to your audio device of choice and offer a hassle-free way to communicate on the go. For a well-balanced pair of wireless headphones that will excel in nearly every situation thanks to features like extended battery life and multi-device pairing, check out the Sony WH-1000XM4. If you require something water-resistant and workout-friendly, the Apple AirPods Pro get the job done and take up very little space. Users who require robust noise-cancelling will appreciate the customizable sound isolation of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, while gamers will be better suited by the comfortable passive noise-cancelling design of the Razer BlackShark V2 Pro. Finally, if you’re shopping for wireless headphones on a budget and don’t require noise cancellation features, the reliable Jabra Elite 45h performs surprisingly well thanks to their jaw-dropping 50-hour battery life.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
English learners and students with disabilities are under-identified as gifted and talented, but states that have specific policies requiring schools to offer services enroll these students at much higher rates.
That’s according to a new study conducted by NWEA, a research and educational services organization, using data from the 2017-18 Civil Rights Data Collection and the Stanford Education Data Archive.
Researchers found that English learners and students with disabilities are identified as gifted and talented at rates equal to one-eighth to one-sixth of their representation in the overall student population.
However, they also found that in states where schools were required to have formal plans for gifted services, they were 10 percentage points more likely to offer services to English learners and students with disabilities. When states conducted audits to make sure schools were offering services, schools were 23 percentage points more likely to offer gifted services to these students.
“One of the clearest takeaways from examining these data is the correlation between state policies and the more-equitable identification of gifted and talented students,” said Scott Peters, senior research scientist at NWEA, in a news release.
The researchers also found that the top 5% of schools with the highest equity of enrollment of English learners and students with disabilities identified as gifted were smaller, had more students from low-income families and had lower overall test scores.
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In the remote work era, your Wi-Fi router is piling up some serious overtime, doing a lot more than just helping you stream movies and play games. Home Wi-Fi routers keep millions of people working, and they're also connecting an ever-growing range of smart home devices. That means picking one that does the best job for both you and your wallet is trickier than ever, especially now that we're seeing more Wi-Fi 6 devices becoming available.
We've outlined below our top picks among home and office Wi-Fi routers we've tested. Read on for our labs-tested favorites, followed by the buying basics you should know when buying a router. Also note: At the very end of this article is a detailed spec breakout of our top router choices.
Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks
Wi-Fi 6E is the leading edge of consumer home wireless tech, so it's not a must-have for homes with many devices that might not yet support the standard. But being able to future-proof your network for under $200 is a winner in our book, and that makes the Archer AXE75 the best choice for people who want a full-featured router that they won't have to replace for a long time. The AXE75 is a pioneer in bringing 6E down as low as we've seen it in price. The perk: Enjoy the lack of in-air competition while you can, as the 6GHz radio band should remain uncrowded for a bit, until wider Wi-Fi 6E adoption takes hold.
Beyond the groundbreaking price, the AXE75 a solid performer. All you need is to start collecting 6E-compliant client devices to leverage this bargain router to the max.
Anyone thinking about hopping aboard the 6GHz Wi-Fi train but unwilling to spend a bundle, your engine has arrived. Parents will also be pleased to learn that the AXE75 includes access to HomeShield Basic, TP-Link's strong parental controls and basic network security tools. You can block internet access for individual users, apply age-based filtering, and see how long a user has been online. (Opting for a monthly or annual paid plan can supply you even more control.)
The Synology WRX560 provided very good scores on our throughput tests, offering superior throughput in both bands. It also performed well on our Wi-Fi signal strength tests, delivering strong 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi to all corners of our test home except for the garage. Plus, the router could even pass for home decor, thanks to a unique black enclosure that stands vertically, with beveled edges and grillwork that supply it a futuristic, minimalist look. The WRX560 is an excellent, feature-rich mainstream router.
For around $200 you get the latest Wi-Fi 6 technologies, solid throughput performance, and wide Wi-Fi signal coverage. The Synology WRX560 is easy to install and manage and gets you into a Wi-Fi 6 network without spending a bundle. If you require multi-gig ports and parental control software, be prepared to spend significantly more money for a router like the TP-Link Archer AX11000.
The TP-Link Archer AX10 is proof that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to upgrade your network with Wi-Fi 6 technology. This reasonably priced dual-band router delivered solid throughput on the 5GHz band and good signal range in our performance tests. Though it lacks features that are typically found on more expensive models, including link aggregation and USB connectivity, you’d be hard pressed to find these features on any sub-$100 router.
If you want to take advantage of the faster connection speeds, decreased latency, and more efficient client battery life that you get with Wi-Fi 6, but you need to keep costs down, then the TP-Link Archer AX10 is an excellent choice.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 is one of the most advanced routers we’ve seen, and is certainly one of the most expensive. Using the latest Wi-Fi 6E technologies, it offers access to four radio bands—including the newly liberated 6GHz band—and is equipped with numerous high-speed networking ports, including two 10GbE ports and one 2.5GbE port. It delivered speedy data rates in our performance tests, but its 5GHz signal range could be better.
Hard-core gamers with deep pockets should put it on their networking equipment short lists. At just under $700, the Rapture GT-AXE16000 doesn’t come cheap, but if you want the latest and greatest in home Wi-Fi, this is the router to get. It not only uses the relatively new and un-crowded 6GHz radio band and comes with lifetime network security and parental control software, but it is mesh-ready and offers lots of game-enhancing settings.
The Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro is not only one of the fastest Wi-Fi 6 routers we’ve tested, but it is incredibly well appointed. This router is physically huge, but for good reason: It’s equipped with a boatload of connectivity options, including 10Gbps and 2.5Gbps network ports. The router also supports link aggregation, offering the potential for truly massive bandwidth and future-proofing. It also offers a gamer-friendly user interface and lots of settings designed to optimize your gaming experience.
Whether you’re a gaming enthusiast or simply demand a top-of-the line router to power your home network, the Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro has you covered. It uses the latest 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) tech to deliver best-in-class performance, and comes with free anti-malware and parental control utilities that help keep your network and everyone connected to it safe from viruses and unsavory websites. Perhaps the only reason you wouldn't want it is if you require Wi-Fi 6E support. In that case, you'll want to check out the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 mentioned above.
The Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 is more than just a cool-looking, dual-band router. Designed with gamers in mind, it offers a slick user interface with lots of game-enhancing settings, and it delivers speedy throughput. It doesn’t have any multi-gig Ethernet ports, but it does have a dedicated gaming LAN port that is automatically given bandwidth priority, and it supports link aggregation.
If network lag is affecting your game, the Strix GS-AX5400 can help put you back on top. It supports all of the latest Wi-Fi technologies, and comes with lifetime parental controls and anti-malware protection. It also offers features like Game Boost, Gear Accelerator, and Mobile Boost to optimize your network for the best possible gaming experience. Moreover, the Strix is mesh-ready should you want to create a seamless whole-home Wi-Fi system.
The three-piece Eero 6 Plus Wi-Fi 6 mesh system delivered blazing throughput speeds and excellent signal range in our performance tests. As with most mesh systems, it is a snap to install and manage using a phone and a user-friendly mobile app, and it has the distinction of being the first Eero system to support 160MHz channels.
The three-piece Eero 6 Plus is ideal for use in larger homes of up to 4,500 square feet. It uses low-profile nodes that are designed to blend in with any home décor while providing a strong Wi-Fi 6 signal to every corner of your house. In addition to eliminating dead zones, the Eero 6 Plus doubles as a home-automation hub that uses a Zigbee radio to control smart devices such as cameras, locks, lighting, and thermostats.
You don’t get multi-gig Ethernet ports, USB ports, or Quality of Service (bandwidth) settings with the Motorola Q11, but we were impressed with its fast throughput performance and relatively strong signal coverage. This system supports all of the latest Wi-Fi 6 technologies, including 160MHz channel bandwidth, which enables faster data rates than the 40GHz and 80GHz channel bandwidth that you get with 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) systems.
The Motorola Q11 mesh system is a good fit for homes of up to 5,000 square feet. It’s easy to install and uses low-profile nodes that support wired or wireless backhaul. It’s a solid performer, but you’ll get better performance from our Editors’ Choice winner, the Eero 6 Plus. That said, you’ll have to pay a little extra for parental control and network security software with the Eero system, while both utilities are free with the Motorola Q11 system.
Reasonably priced as far as mesh systems go, the Wyze Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Router Pro two-pack is the clear choice for medium or large homes over the company's other Mesh Router, since the Pro adds 6GHz support for future-proofing your network. It also delivered speedy 5GHz throughput in testing, is easy to manage, and offers multi-gig and USB connectivity. The built-in network security software is integrated into the easy-to-use mobile app, which you probably already have if you own other Wyze smart home devices. If your home is smaller, you can order a single router for $179.98, which covers 2,000 square feet. If you need to go bigger, you can opt for a three-pack for $393.99 that covers 6,000 square feet.
If you need to spread reliable Wi-Fi throughout a home up to 4,000 square feet—especially if that home already has other Wyze devices—the Mesh Router Pro two-pack is an excellent choice that won't break the bank.
Killer throughput performance, 6GHz data transmissions, and wide signal coverage are all reasons why the ZenWiFi ET8 is our runner-up pick for Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems. At $530, it’s not exactly affordable, but it is one of the more well-equipped mesh systems out there, offering a multi-gig WAN port, USB connectivity, and Trend Micro-powered network security.
Wi-Fi 6E clients are still few and far between, but if you want to make sure your network is ready for 6GHz data transmissions, the ZenWiFi ET8 is an excellent choice. It uses two nodes to cover homes of up to 5,550 square feet, installs in minutes, and comes with free lifetime anti-malware software and parental controls that let you monitor internet usage, apply age-based web filters, and pause internet access with the touch of a button.
If you've got a lot of living space, you'll likely need a mesh system with at least three nodes to blanket it with usable Wi-Fi signals. But you also need to spend a lot of money on cleaning, energy, and other basic expenses for all that space, so ideally you'll keep your networking costs to a minimum. The X4300 Pro does just that, offering three nodes with up to 7,000 square feet of coverage for a fraction of the cost of competing mesh systems. Plus, it has speedy performance and is easy to install and manage.
Sure, the ZenWiFi ET8 above is also an option for very large homes, but if you don't need its Wi-Fi 6E or multi-gig LAN capabilties, the X4300 Pro is a better choice for those who live large without spending big.
Buying Guide: The Best Wi-Fi Routers for 2023
When you're shopping for a new wireless router, it's best to start by considering the size of your coverage area and the number of clients you need to support, as well as the types of devices that you'll be connecting. Not everybody needs the kind of performance that you get with the latest and greatest models, and there's no reason to pay for features that you will likely never use. If you're looking for a lower price rather than a big bundle of bleeding-edge features, check out this list of budget routers. But if you have several family members vying for bandwidth for things like streaming Netflix video and playing PC games online, a new router with modern management capabilities can make a world of difference and help keep the peace. Below we guide you through choosing a router that will handle your current and future wireless networking needs, and offer our top picks to get you started.
Nowadays, any router worth its salt will offer at least two radio bands, a 2.4GHz band and a 5GHz band. The 2.4GHz band operates at a lower frequency than the 5GHz band and offers better range because it is more adept at penetrating walls and other structures. However, it doesn't offer the fat pipe and high-speed access that you get with the 5GHz band.
Additionally, the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi band has to compete with other devices in the home that use the same frequency, such as microwave ovens, Bluetooth gear, and wireless phones. That said, it is perfectly adequate for tasks like web surfing and connecting to social media services like Facebook and Twitter. If one or more of your devices will be streaming video from a service such as Netflix, or connecting to an online gaming service, the less crowded 5GHz band offers significantly more throughput with minimal signal interference. Most dual-band routers allow you to assign a band to specific applications and clients, thereby easing the load on both bands.
If you have a busy network with numerous clients vying for bandwidth, a tri-band router is the way to go. They use three radios—one that operates at 2.4GHz and two that operate at 5GHz, for load balancing. For example, you can dedicate one of the 5GHz bands to handle tasks like video streaming and torrent downloading, and reserve the other 5GHz band for online gaming, leaving the 2.4GHz band free for applications that don't require lots of bandwidth. If you have a house full of gamers, we have a specific best gaming routers list for you.
Finally, there's the 6GHz band, which the FCC made available for Wi-Fi use in 2020. While this new spectrum promises a significant boost to overall wireless network performance, few devices support it yet. Plus, the FCC has yet to approve consumer Wi-Fi routers to operate at full power on the 6GHz band, so take performance claims with a grain of salt. For more on that topic, see our story What Is Wi-Fi 6E?
Wireless Ethernet networks use 802.11 protocols to send and receive data. One of the two most widely used Wi-Fi protocols, 802.11ac, allows for maximum (theoretical) data rates of up to 5,400Mbps and operates on both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz bands. It utilizes Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology, which uses several antennas to send and receive up to eight spatial streams, resulting in enhanced performance. It also supports beamforming, a technology that sends Wi-Fi signals directly to a client rather than broadcasting in all directions, and automatic band-steering, which lets the router select the most efficient radio band based on network traffic, band availability, and range.
The 802.11ac protocol also offers downstream Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology, which is designed to provide bandwidth to multiple devices simultaneously rather than sequentially. That means up to four clients can have their own data streams instead of waiting in turn to receive data from the router. In order for MU-MIMO to work, the router and the client devices must contain MU-MIMO Wi-Fi circuitry. Routers that support MU-MIMO are widely available, but the fact that consumers have been slow to understand exactly what the benefits of MU-MIMO are has kept the number of client devices somewhat scarce.
You'll see 802.11ac routers with labels like AC1200, AC1750, AC3200, and so on. This designates the theoretical maximum speed of the router. For example, a router that can achieve a maximum link rate of 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band is considered an AC1750 router. A tri-band AC3200 router gives you 600Mbps over the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps over each of the two 5GHz bands, and an AC5400 router is capable of speeds of up to 1Gbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2.1Gbps on each of the two 5GHz bands.
It's important to note that routers rarely, if ever, reach these "maximum speeds" in real-world applications, but if you're looking for performance, consider one of the high-speed routers (but be prepared to pay a premium). We thoroughly test all routers that come through PC Labs, so you'll know how much muscle a product has before you buy.
The second of the two most widely used Wi-Fi protocols is 802.11ax, the technology behind today's leading-edge Wi-Fi 6 routers. Wi-Fi 6 is an evolution of 802.11ac technology that promises increased throughput speeds (up to 9.6Gbps), less network congestion, greater client capacity, and better range performance courtesy of several new and improved wireless technologies, among them Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and Target Wake Time (TWT). OFDMA improves overall throughput by breaking Wi-Fi channels into sub-channels, allowing up to 30 users to share a channel at the same time. Target Wake Time (TWT) is designed to reduce power consumption by allowing devices to determine when and how often they will wake up to begin sending and receiving data. TWT tech is expected to extend the battery life of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, as well as battery-powered smart home devices such as security cameras and video doorbells.
Additionally, 802.11ax takes advantage of previously unused radio frequencies to provide faster 2.4GHz performance, and it uses refined uplink and downlink bandwidth management to provide enhanced Quality of Service (QoS). It also offers uplink and downlink MU-MIMO streaming (whereas 802.11ac only supports downlink MU-MIMO). As with the 802.11ac protocol, 802.11ax is backward-compatible and will work with devices that use 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi radios. For more on the benefits of the 802.11ax protocol, check out our primer What Is Wi-Fi 6? and see our speed tests.
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 (Credit: Asus)
Wi-Fi 6E, with support for the 6GHz band, is the latest standard. It's not significant enough an improvement to merit its own 802.11 designation, however, instead operating under the same 802.11ax designation as 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wi-Fi 6 transmissions. And as mentioned above, 6E routers are just starting to hit the market and currently can't operate at full power on the 6GHz band.
What comes next after 802.11ax? That would be 802.11be, known as Wi-Fi 7. Some routers supporting this future standard have been announced, but no client devices support it yet, and the standard itself hasn't yet reached its final version.
Wireless routers come with a variety of features, and as is the case with just about everything, the more features you get, the more you can expect to pay.
Look for a router with at least four 10/100/1,000 (gigabit) Ethernet ports, which allow you to connect to wired devices such as desktop PCs, network-attached storage (NAS) drives, and home-automation hubs. If you require faster throughput for large file transfers, look for a router that supports link aggregation. Simply put, link aggregation uses two gigabit Ethernet LAN ports to provide increased throughput (up to 2Gbps). It also provides a fail-safe if one LAN connection goes down and can be utilized to load-balance your network traffic.
Having at least one USB port on the router makes it easy to plug in a printer or a USB drive and share it across the network, but with two ports you can do both. Additionally, try to choose a router that offers removable antennas. Some router manufacturers offer replacement high-gain antennas that will help boost performance, and there are a number of third-party antennas available. Just make sure your router supports whatever antennas you buy, or you'll probably wind up with decreased performance.
If you want to manage how your Wi-Fi network is being used, make sure your next router has parental controls, QoS options, and a guest-network feature. Parental controls allow you to limit network access for certain users to specific times and days, ideal for parents who want to keep tabs on their child's online gaming and social networking activities. Some routers offer basic parental controls such as access scheduling and website blocking options, while others provide more robust controls that supply you the ability to pause the internet and select age-appropriate presets that will automatically block access to social media platforms and sites that contain things like adult content, gambling, shopping, blogs, and games.
A guest network lets you offer Wi-Fi connectivity to guests without leaving your entire network vulnerable. In a nutshell, you're creating a separate network for guests with a Service Set Identifier (SSID) and password that are different from your main network credentials. This lets your guests connect to the internet, but it doesn't supply them access to your files, printers, and other connected devices.
A Wi-Fi router's app offers controls for QoS, guest networking, and more. (Credit: PCMag)
With QoS settings, you can decide which applications and clients get network priority. For example, if one device is streaming Netflix video, and another device is downloading files or running a print job, you can supply priority to the streaming device to avoid choppy, out-of-sync video. The same goes for online gaming; assigning a high QoS priority to a gaming console such as the Microsoft Xbox Series X or the Sony PlayStation 5 will help reduce lag time and Excellerate overall gameplay. It also means you can keep those new work applications protected, like a phone using voice over IP (VoIP) or that webcam that's keeping you connected to your office staff meeting via video conferencing.
Almost all routers offer several forms of security. A router with Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) lets you add compatible devices with the push of a button. Just press the WPS button on the router, then press the WPS button on the client device to add it to your network. For a more secure connection, you can use Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA or WPA2), which requires entering a network password for each device. Routers with WPA-Enterprise security offer a higher level of security than WPA/WPA2, but they require a Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service (RADIUS) server to authenticate each client.
The technology currently used to assign IP addresses, known as Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4), will eventually be replaced by its successor, IPv6. IPv4 is a 32-bit addressing scheme that before long will run out of addresses due to the number of devices connecting to the internet. IPv6 is a 128-bit scheme that will offer an (almost) infinite number of IP addresses. Most current routers have built-in support for IPv6 addressing, but it's a good idea to verify this if you want to be ready for the transition when IPv4 finally hits the wall.
Like anything else, router pricing is based on performance and features, which means you can see some big cost differences depending on the kind of router you're considering. The numbers and letters in the router's name are often a hint of the features it offers and thus how much it costs. An entry-level AC1750 802.11ac router will cost anywhere from $60 to $100, for instance. But if you want an AC2400 router with MU-MIMO streaming capabilities, expect the price to land in the $100 to $200 range. A tri-band AX5400 gaming router with all the bells and whistles could cost as much as $500, while the latest 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6E routers can range above $500, depending on throughput rates and features.
As you'll see below, Wi-Fi mesh systems can be even more expensive. Remember that those prices typically reflect you buying not just a single router, but one or two mesh nodes, too.
If you live in a large or multiple-story home, you may have Wi-Fi "dead zones." These are areas of your home where your main router isn't able to reach with a wireless signal. An easy way to solve this, without the hassle of running long cords around your home, is a Wi-Fi range extender, which will pick up your router's Wi-Fi signal, amplify it, and rebroadcast it. They come in both desktop and plug-in variations, and are relatively easy to install.
They do have limitations, though: The rebroadcasted signal is typically half the strength of what you get from your main router, and most of these create a separate network that makes seamless roaming through your home difficult. However, some router manufacturers are now making extenders that will share the same network SSID and password as your existing router. There's a catch, however: The router usually has to be made by the same manufacturer as the extender and must support seamless roaming capabilities.
Amazon Eero Pro 6 (Credit: Amazon)
If a range extender doesn't do the trick, consider overhauling your network with a Wi-Fi mesh system. This technology offers an easy way to fill wireless dead zones in your home without the need for additional wiring, range extenders, or access points. They utilize extension nodes, or satellites, to extend your Wi-Fi signal across a larger area than most routers are capable of. Systems such as Google Wifi and the Linksys Velop employ mesh technology, where the satellites communicate with each other to provide coverage throughout your home, while others use a dedicated Wi-Fi band to communicate with its satellite. Depending on the number of nodes in the system you choose, you can spread a consistent internet connection across as much as 4,000 to 6,000 square feet of space.
Satellites in a Wi-Fi mesh system are all part of the same network and provide seamless connectivity as you roam throughout the house, and they do not usually require any configuration or management beyond a few taps on a free, associated mobile app. A number of the solutions in this category support high-end features like guest networking, device prioritization, parental controls, and MU-MIMO, but because Wi-Fi mesh systems are designed to be simple, in most cases you won't be able to access the same kind of in-depth settings you can on routers. For that reason, power users and compulsive tinkerers might not love Wi-Fi mesh systems, but for everyone else who finds network setup intimidating, these are among the friendliest and most innovative options you can find today.
We broke out our top picks above in detail, outlining the best use cases for each. We've also outlined the core specs of those same top picks in the handy table below.
And if you want to investigate the mesh alternatives to a classic router in more detail, we have some additional links for you: Read about The Best Wi-Fi Mesh Network Systems and How to Set Up a Wi-Fi Mesh Network. Finally, once you've found the right router, bookmark our tips for setting up your router and boosting your Wi-Fi signal.
There are plenty of great wireless headphones out there, which can make the process of shopping for a new pair a little overwhelming, especially if you don't know where to start. With such a wide variety of different brands and models to choose from, trying to find the best wireless headphones or earbuds can feel like you're hunting a needle in a haystack.
In all honesty, there's no single best pair out of headphones out there, because a lot of that is subjective, based on your individual needs. But that doesn't mean some headphones aren't better than others. To help you narrow the field and find the best wireless headphones for your needs, I've rounded up some of the top of the crop right now. Whether you're looking for premium over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones or some rugged true-wireless earbuds, I've got you covered with some solid options for just about any budget.
I've tested all the models on this list and have fully reviewed several of them. If you're looking for more-refined headphones and earbuds best lists, you can also check out our roundups of best wireless earbuds, best noise-canceling headphones, best workout earbuds and headphones and best open wireless earbuds, among many others. I'll update this list as new top wireless headphones hit the market.
Best wireless headphones of 2023