The average office computer jockey doesn’t have a clue where that sweet, sweet interweb connection is coming from, but IT knows all about it. And those folks pick the routers and servers (and sometimes network-attached storage devices) to hold all the important data stored in the business.
That brings us to this year’s Business Choice Awards for work routers and servers. Without them, we’d all be storing data on our hard drives and probably still using dial-up connections. These Business Choice results focus on the workplace, from SOHO (small office, home office) to SMBs (small-to-medium businesses) to enterprises. We asked admins and IT folks to share their favorites; below are the brands any biz would be happy to buy.
You can be part of Business Choice! Sign up for the Readers’ Choice Survey mailing list to receive invitations in the future.
For more, check out our picks for the Best Wireless Routers and 10 Things Business Owners Should Know Before Buying NAS Devices.
Routers for Work
In 2016, Asus was on top when it came to enterprise-class routers. Last year it didn’t make the cut because it didn’t receive enough responses. But in 2018, Asus comes roaring back into first place with a score of 8.6 out of 10 (with 10 as the best), down a fraction from 8.7 in 2016.
Asus was on top, or tied for the top, in most categories except tech support needed. Asus devices needed the fewest repairs, but almost one in three Asus routers still needed a fix. It tied with Cisco, the brand best known for business-class routers, for likelihood to recommend to colleagues at 8.5, but Cisco edged out Asus on Net Promoter Score (NPS) at 47 percent versus Asus’s 45 percent.
Cisco tied with Netgear for a second place overall finish at 8.3; that’s a dip for Netgear, which won last year at 8.5.
Bringing up the rear again is Linksys (previously owned by Cisco, but now owned by Belkin) at 8.1 overall. It also had the lowest scores in all categories with two exceptions: the amount of repairs needed (Cisco and Netgear were both worse); and the amount of tech support needed (Linksys bested everyone). That reliability wasn’t reflected in the other scores, though, not even the score for actual Reliability, where Linksys and Netgear tied for 8.4 behind Cisco and Asus at 8.7.
WINNERS: WORK ROUTERS
Back in the top spot after missing a year, Asus proves it’s got the chops to take on the work world with high scores from PCMag readers using them in the office. Asus was tops in reliability, for not needing repairs, and for getting recommendations. Your SMB or SOHO would be very happy with an Asus.
Servers for Work
When PCMag readers glom onto a brand that works, they lavish it with praise in a way that must make other companies green with envy. That’s how it is with Synology. The Taiwan-based maker of servers and NAS devices once again earns the top spot, albeit down a tick from last year’s 9.2 to a still enviable 9.0.
Synology’s numbers in this survey are typically astronomical. It earns top scores for reliability (9.4), tech support (8.7), and the likelihood to be recommended by colleagues (9.2), which produces an NPS of 77 percent. Synology’s percentages of tech support needed (59 percent) and repairs needed (39 percent) are actually not the best in the charts. But even the very best in both categories (Western Digital) didn’t have great numbers; 51 percent of WD products needed tech support.
WD was in third place among the three vendors that made the cut, improving its score a tick from 8.0 to 8.1. Like last year, second place went to the only true enterprise-class server maker in the results: Dell, which got an 8.5 overall score. Dell, in fact, had respectable scores across all the categories with the exceptions of tech support needed (86 percent) and repairs needed (76 percent)—which is even more time on the phone for your business.
For as many years as we’ve surveyed readers about business-oriented network storage, Synology has always been the No. 1 choice. Despite relatively high numbers in the areas of support and repairs, PCMag readers love, love, love this company and the products it puts out.
We email survey invitations to PCMag.com community members, specifically subscribers to our Readers’ Choice Survey mailing list. The surveys are hosted by Equation Research, which also performs our data collection. This survey was in the field from March 12, 2018, through April 2, 2018.
Respondents were asked to rate their routers and/or servers/NAS devices using multiple questions about their overall satisfaction with the solution, as well as experiences with technical support within the past 12 months.
Because the goal of the survey is to understand how the email marketing solutions compare to one another and not how one respondent’s experience compares to another’s, we use the average of the email marketing solutions’ rating, not the average of every respondent’s rating. In all cases, the overall ratings are not based on averages of other scores in the table; they are based on answers to the question, “Overall, how satisfied are you with your router and/or NAS device?”
Scores not represented as a percentage are on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is the best.
Net Promoter Scores are based on the concept introduced by Fred Reichheld in his 2006 best seller, The Ultimate Question, that no other question can better define the loyalty of a company’s customers than “how likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” This measure of brand loyalty is calculated by taking the percent of respondents who answered 9 or 10 (promoters) and subtracting the percent who answered 0 through 6 (detractors). (For more, read PCMag’s Top Consumer Recommended Companies for 2018.)
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