Oh the irony: Apple ranks highest in overall satisfaction among wireless router makers

Here’s some irony for you: now that Apple is apparently abandoning the AirPort Express, the AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule, the company ranks highest in overall satisfaction among wireless router manufacturers in a new study by J.P. Power.

The report finds that overall satisfaction with wireless routers has increased by a full 24 points from 2015, and is now 847 (on a 1,000-point scale). Apple ranks highest with a score of 876, followed by ASUS (860), D-Link (856) and TP-Link (854).

While satisfaction has improved in all 10 factors, the largest increase is 30 points in ease of use (which includes the installation process). Another area related to ease of use with the product is restoration of service with minimal effort, in which overall satisfaction has increased 27 points from last year (to 854 from 827).

Product features related to the performance of wireless routers also have significantly improved. Reliability of service connection, range of Wi-Fi signal and download/upload speeds have generated increases in satisfaction of 24, 26 and 25 points, respectively.

“What’s critical to customers is the ability to easily establish a reliable online connection through their wireless router regardless of the type or number of wireless devices they are using, smartphone, laptop, smart TV or other wireless device,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director and telecom, media & technology practice leader at J.D. Power. “Router manufacturers providing a product that’s intuitive to set up and operate and that functions with few connection interruptions are well positioned to increase satisfaction, customer loyalty and repurchase intention.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Overall satisfaction among customers who say they “definitely will” or “probably will” purchase the same wireless router brand they currently own is 241 points higher than among those who say they “definitely will not” or “probably will not” repurchase the same brand in the future (615 vs. 856, respectively).
  • Fewer than two in 10 (16%) customers experience problems with their wireless router. The most frequently experienced problems reported include frequency of resetting the router (42%); slow internet speeds (38%); initially connecting to the internet (31%); limited Wi-Fi range (26%); installation process (31%); and slow upload/download speeds (21%).
  • The percentage of customers who access the Internet via a wireless router in their home varies by the type of device. Most customers use a wireless router to connect their laptop (82%), followed by smartphone (80%); tablet (71%); desktop (55%); gaming console (53%); printer (50%); smart TV (47%); and streaming device/media player such as Chromecast or Roku (42%). 
  • Price is the primary reason for choosing a wireless router brand (45%), followed by range of signal strength (41%), brand reputation (37%) and ease of use (34%).
  • The average price paid for a wireless router is $124—an increase of $16 from 2015.
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