Wireless routers have emerged as one of the most aggravating in-home technology devices of 2020, as remote work and online learning during the coronavirus pandemic strained Wi-Fi bandwidth, spurred device upgrades, and tested the sanity of millions of Americans.
According to the J.D. Power 2020 Wireless Router Satisfaction Report, purchases of wireless routers increased while ease-of-use satisfaction decreased, suggesting that most consumers are unable to install and/or troubleshoot their routers without some degree of struggle.
Overall customer satisfaction with wireless routers fell nine points from 2019, with declines recorded across all 10 measurable categories. These include drops in satisfaction with Wi-Fi range, reliability, upload and download speeds, the ability to restore connection easily, security capabilities, price, ease of set-up, variety of features, intuitive user interface, and customer service.
The TP-Link ranks highest in customer satisfaction with wireless routers, an increase of 11 points from its score in 2019. The D-Link router ranks second and Netgear's router ranks third. Linksys, ASUS, Motorola and ARRIS all fell below the industry average for satisfaction.
"To make the process more user-friendly, manufacturers should supply customers with simple, guided instructions and links to instructional videos on installation and optimization tricks," said Ian Greenblatt, technology, media and telecom intelligence lead at J.D. Power. "As working from home has become a permanent situation for many, customers will look to optimize their Wi-Fi. Manufacturers that differentiate themselves with user-friendly straight-forward instructions will surely pull ahead."