May 22, 2024


Sapiens Digital

Business Choice Awards 2020: Routers and Servers/Network Attached Storage (NAS)

No one wants to be actively thinking about office internet routers—it should simply be providing connectivity and internet access. Likewise,
no one should worry about accessing files and services on the company servers
and network storage—it should just happen. According to PCMag readers who rated their office routers and servers, the brands to choose are below.

Work Routers for 2020

Readers’ Choice Winner

SOHO/SMB Routers: Asus

It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s home or work, Asus is the router brand PCMag
readers love on just about every aspect. From cost to
reliability to setup and beyond, Asus is the perfect brand of router for your
home office to mid-sized business.

Readers’ Choice Winner

Enterprise Routers: Cisco

There was a time when routers were mainly for big business and the only
name that came to mind for most people was Cisco. Turns out, that’s still the case, with the high-end internet equipment from the company earning
high marks with PCMag readers in the enterprise.

Prior to last
, Cisco had only scored the top business router award in this
survey twice before, in 2013 and 2014. Now, it’s going strong for the second year running, taking home the
top spot for enterprise-level routers with our readers.

The other winner on the lower-end SOHO/SMB office side, is also
familiar: Asus. It
has been a consistent top player in this survey for years, only missing
out on 2017 in recent memory.

Standout scores include Asus getting an 8.7 for setup and a
killer 8.8 for the likelihood to be recommended to colleagues. (Respondents rate satisfaction on a scale from 0 for extremely dissatisfied to 10 for extremely satisfied.) Cisco likewise
has the best reliability score you can imagine at 9.1.

not all sunshine and roses for our top two winners; both saw their overall score dip from last year to this year about two-tenths
of a point, Asus to 8.6 and Cisco to 8.4. Not a big worry but
something to keep an eye on—Cisco also has the overall lowest scores in the
chart when it comes to setup and cost/value, but that’s not surprising on big
corporate routers. Plus it dropped almost half a point in the likelihood to be
recommend, down to 8.3.

The other players that made the cut in our survey results
this year include Linksys, Netgear, and TP-Link, which all have adequate overall
satisfaction scores over 8.1. None of them stand out in any of the other
categories over what Asus or Cisco have, though they come close, especially Netgear’s
8.6 for setup and the tie it has with Linksys for reliability at 8.8.

Below is the full table of results for Business Choice
2020: Routers.


Work Servers/NAS Devices for 2020

Readers’ Choice Winner

SOHO/SMB NAS Devices: Synology
For seven years running, Synology has produced must-have storage device for small businesses. Its scores took the tiniest hit compared to last
year, but not even close enough to knock Synology out of the top spot.

Readers’ Choice Winner

Enterprise Servers: Western Digital
Out of nowhere, Western Digital steps up with such
massively improved scores that it leapfrogged last year’s top big-business
storage provider to take the lead. If WD can sustain these improvements, it’ll
be golden for a long time in future surveys.

Let’s talk about consistency first: Synology is such a long-time winner in this slot that it would be a sucker’s bet to say anything else
could happen. The company’s NAS devices for business had tiny—like one-tenth of
a point—drops in scores like overall satisfaction (9.0) and likelihood to be recommended
to colleagues (9.1), but it doesn’t take off any of the shine. In almost every
single factor, the company is in a league of its own.

Other high points include setup at 9.2, reliability at 9.2
(which is up from last year’s 9.1), tech support (8.8), and repairs (way up
from last year’s somewhat dismal 7.9). If those numbers aren’t enough to make
you buy Synology, I don’t know what is.

However, if you need a real server for the enterprise, we’d
suggest you look at Western Digital this year. Last year the prize went to
Dell, but it slipped from 8.8 overall down to 8.5. That put its overall satisfaction
score in a tie with WD, but the breaker is that WD has a higher score in almost
every other factor, including the likelihood to get recommend (8.6 compared to
Dell’s 8.4). You’re not going to be unhappy getting a Dell this year,
but the numbers indicate you might want to check out WD, too.

Unlike in the router world (see above), Cisco brings up the
rear in this category, with its
servers only earning an overall score of 7.8. Cisco is on the low-end especially
for cost/value at 6.6. HPE, as it tends to do in most product categories in our
surveys, is strictly in the middle of the road.

Below is the full table of results for Business Choice
2020: Servers & NAS Devices.


The PCMag Readers’ Choice survey for Routers and Servers/NAS
was in the field from March 9, 2020, through March 30, 2020. For more
information on how the survey is conducted, read the survey methodology.

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Further Reading

Wireless Router Reviews

Wireless Router Best Picks

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