If you are playing with a super-fast connection, but still struggling with speeds, it could be your router. In the end, the speed of your internet doesn’t matter if your gaming hardware can’t keep up with it. A bad router can ruin any online gaming experience.
PC, console and even mobile-gaming enthusiasts prioritise the value of speed. Router manufacturers of the current era know that and are now focused on manufacturing gamer-centric routers to capitalise on this trend.
However, how does gaming routers differ from the standard routers? Moreover, do their features really matter? The manufacturers are now indulged in making routers which are dedicated to gamer-centric audience. The key difference between the gaming routers and the regular consumer routers is the built-in QoS features.
Why Are Gaming Routers Overhyped?
Gaming routers have a lot of similarities when compared to regular high-end routers. The key difference between them is that gaming routers are specifically designed to optimize network settings for the best gaming experience possible. They optimize data mainly to improve speed and reduce lag with top of the line components.
Gaming routers come with some exciting features such as gaming-oriented QoS, proprietary monitoring, and optimizing software. We will discuss these features in detail in the following sections, so stay tuned.
What Is The Best Router For Gaming: Features To Look For
Keeping in mind the following features and tips will minimize network issues, maximize network performance, and hopefully result in interruption-free gaming sessions.
1. Quality Of Service (QoS)
The devices connected to your router battle for bandwidth which makes the connection slow. This also maximizes lag. While you can’t see the melee, you can definitely feel the impact.
Quality of Service is a feature that prioritizes specific data packets for certain connected devices. It comes in handy when multiple users are on the same network, doing network-intensive activities. It is an automatic service that can prioritize bandwidth to particular devices, or even applications, depending on how much bandwidth they need on the network.
The traffic of your gaming and streaming applications is sent first, allowing you to decide how much bandwidth is entitled to a particular application. This helps in improving the performance. With QoS enabled, you can prioritize gaming data over Netflix, Skype, and even torrent download data. As soon as gaming data arrives on the router, it is immediately forwarded to your device.
2. Gigabit Ethernet Ports: The More, The Merrier
While gaming, you should always prefer Ethernet over Wi-Fi. Gaming on Wi-Fi is certainly possible. But by doing so, you’ll be sacrificing speed and latency for the convenience of being cable-free. You should use a router with gigabit Ethernet ports to ensure future-proofing and maximum performance. Gigabit Ethernet can handle speeds up to 1000 Mbit/s.
3. Wireless AC and Dual-Band Support
If Ethernet is not an option, you should at least have a wireless AC router. The wireless AC standard introduced a 5 GHz band. The downside is a shorter range.
A dual-band Wi-Fi router supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. This is because older devices( i.e. certain smartphone models) only support 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi. You may not want to go full 5 GHz just yet. Having both bands allows you to use 2.4 GHz on older devices, and 5 GHz on your gaming and media devices. 5 GHs can declutter the signal distractions to your gaming devices and drastically improve speeds.
4. Mu-Mimo: Multi-user, Multiple Input, Multiple Output
This is an important feature if your router supports several devices. Without MU-MIMO, your router has to serve each device one by one. Thus, the overall network speed is reduced. With MU-MIMO, it can set up multiple ‘mini-networks’ and serve each device simultaneously. This can provide an excellent gaming experience without any interruption.
5. Wireless Channels
One of the main reasons to avoid Wi-Fi for gaming is that Wi-Fi signals can interfere with each other. Regardless of which band you are using, you should analyze your Wi-Fi network. Find which channel is least used, and manually set your router to use that channel. This would help with signal interference and congestion, hence improving speeds.
6. Processor and RAM
CPU and RAM are the first considerations we make while choosing computers and mobile devices, but not so for routers. But routers have to handle tons of network data every single second.
The processor and RAM helps your router process requests from multiple devices faster. It also opens up for more Quality Of Service preferences.
7. Security And Access Controls
Parental controls are an essential feature to look for in a router, especially if you have kids at home. It allows the user to block access to certain malicious sites. It also allows to limit online gaming or overall network access for certain hours of the day or week.
All routers offer some kind of security feature and the most common amongst them is Wi-Fi Protected Access. This feature requires a person to use a password to access the network. However, if you are looking for more sturdy security features, look for routers that support WPS-Enterprise or RADIUS authentication.
Top 10 Best Routers For Gaming 2021 Reviews
1. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
This is the first of the new Wi-Fi 6 class of routers, and it does not disappoint. Its performance is good at close range and improves with distance to set a new example for those who want to fill a huge home with high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity. Powered by Broadcom’s BCM43684 Wi-Fi chip, this router creates a tri-band 802.11ax network.
It can tap into the latest wireless techniques which includes Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access, it’s fantastic frequency selection and it also has the ability to use any of the 15 5GHz bands to provide you with the clearest signal. Inside, it has a Quad-core 1.8 GHz processor. It also has 1GB RAM and 256Mb of space for firmware and settings.
It keeps your gaming band clean. What does this mean exactly? It implies that tri-band networking lets you dedicate one 5GHz band to only gaming. This way, you can avoid competing for bandwidth with other devices on your home network. These features, no doubt, makes the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 one of the best wifi router for gaming.
The GT-AX11000 also provides triple-level game acceleration to boost game traffic every step of the way. This reduces the game latency for a better gaming experience.
It comes with a powerful whole-home Wi-Fi system. It includes a new feature namely- ASUS AiMesh, which helps to create a whole-home Wi-Fi network using multiple ASUS routers. This feature provides the user with a time-saving central control and seamless roaming capability. Laden with so many exciting features, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is fit to be crowned the best router for gaming in today’s era.
The low latency design of GT-AX11000 is like a gamer’s dream come true. It helps blow away the competition in alien attacks, sword duels and urban car chases. Alongside the device’s four downstream Gigabit Ethernet ports is a single 2.5G Base T Ethernet connection for those who prefer wired connections.
The software elements of the routers open even more optimization preferences, and it starts with gaming. Enthusiastic gamers can register their favorite games with the router for boosted performance. The GT-AX11000 may lack it’s competitors heavy-duty security app, but it’s Security Scan can sniff out vulnerabilities. It can block malicious websites but is not as thorough as the security extras provided by Norton Core and F-Secure Sense routers.
It also comes with parental controls which is very useful when you have kids at home. It can block objectionable material. You can also schedule times when using the web is off-limits. The router comes with a fancy structure and costs a little higher than high-end gaming routers. However, it is definitely worth every penny.
2. Asus RT-AX88U AX6000
Its 802.11ac performance is not record-breaking, but is fairly solid. The RT-AX88U delivers an impressive 943Mbps speed, which is the result of the 160MHz channel bandwidth. This router is designed to give your online gaming a double boost.
Its adaptive QoS prioritizes game packets for smoother online gaming. It comes with built-in wtfast to minimize game ping and lag. The RT-AX88U is a dual-band router that provides 1024 QAM. It offers a total networking speed of about 6000Mbps – 1148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 4804Mbps on the 5GHz band. Although it is pricey, it has earned its position in the list of the best router for gaming as well as the best wifi router for gaming.
The eight Gigabit LAN ports makes RT-AX88U ideal for homes if you have wired devices such as NAS systems, PCs and switches. So it is suited for you if you are looking for the best wired router for gaming. It also has AiProtection Pro, powered by Trend Micro. This feature enables automatic, regularly updated security signatures to protect your device and personal data from internet threats.
The strong security system also provides advanced parental controls. It offers a wider range of network connectivity with 4 antennas for extra convenience. It is ranked amongst the best gaming wifi router.
3. Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Wi-Fi Router
The router minimizes ping and maximizes performance with four 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports for lag free, wired connectivity and 1.7GHz dual core processor.
It supports dual band operation and comes with Dynamic Frequency Selection which lets you tinker with the 5GHz channel if you are experiencing interference.
Set-up wise, the XR500 is pretty exemplary. However, it doesn’t contain a broadband modem, the component that allows the router to connect to and interpret the signal coming in from a standard broadband socket. The fibre broadband’s socket comes with an Ethernet port to which XR500 can connect to directly.
The XR500 has an array of speed-boosting techniques using NetDuma’s DumaOS software. It is very similar to the Linksys WRT 32X’s Killer Prioritization engine. It’s QoS feature prioritizes bandwidth. The router can also be set to Hyper-Traffic mode.
The XR500 has geo-filtering to limit the distance between your location and the gaming server you connect with. This helps to reduce network lag. With Qualcomm’s QCA 9984 Wi-Fi chip inside, this router is a powerhouse that is rated at AC2600.
This router is for those who take online-gaming seriously with a high-throughput, low-latency design. VPN, WPA/WPA2, and the Gaming VPN client support protects your network identity and prevents DDoS attacks. So this router can prove to be the best router for gaming and streaming. However, if you’re looking for a built-in modem, then this might not be the best choice.
4. TP Link AC5400 Router Archer C5400
Tri-band with four Stream and NitroQAM technology delivers up to 5400Mbps Wi-Fi speeds over 2.4GHz band with 1000Mbps and two 5GHz bands with 2176Mbps. The router provides ultra fast 802.11ac wave so that you can enjoy 4K videos and play online games simultaneously.
It comes with a unique antivirus feature. TP-Link HomeCare protects every single device on your network from the latest threats with powerful security, antivirus and parental controls. It enables you to set up a personal VPN server with an open VPN client to browse the web. It also gives you access to files without paid VPN subscriptions.
The router also works with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT. MU MIMO provides multi user support which allows high speed connections. This is possible because of the powerful 1.4GHz dual core CPU and three co-processors.
Its advanced hardware delivers the best performance with every device in your home. The co-processors mentioned above, handle each Wi-Fi band. The dual-core CPU takes care of everything else. The router’s processing brain power keeps your Wi-Fi running smoothly, allowing you to do different things on the internet simultaneously.
With its powerful antennas, the router lets you take your gaming laptops to areas where the Wi-Fi connectivity usually gets ruined. The QoS controls lets you choose your priority devices. You can choose between gaming, streaming or other activities. This helps you keep your connections fast when you are doing the things you love.
TP-Link Archer C5400 has topped some of the lists for the best router for gaming and streaming. It’s also considered to be one of the best wifi router for gaming.
5. Netgear Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router R7000 AC1900
The R7000 is not the fastest 802.11ac router, but its throughput at the 5GHz band is amongst the top speeds. This dual-band router virtually supports all Wi-Fi clients, regardless of their Wi-Fi standards. It also has a dual-core CPU running at 1000Hz with 256Mb of DDR RAM. It provides a storage space of 128GB as flash memory.
When it comes to speed, the Nighthawk R7000 offers about 600Mbps of wireless speed. The router includes a Broadcom BCM4709 chip as well. It provides the users TurboQAM technology, which increases the router’s spatial stream capacity.
The router is compatible with the Circle With Disney App which is built-in. This is one of the smartest ways for families to manage time and content online. You can also pair your USB drive and router via NETGEAR ReadyCloud USB access.
NETGEAR Armor powered by BitDefender is a network-wide anti-virus, anti-malware, fraud/phishing security on unlimited devices with a 30 days free trial. The router supports WPA2 security protocols.
All these features make NETGEAR Nighthawk R7000 one of the best router for gaming and streaming. For all the features it offers, it’s price is quite reasonable. Therefore it has also topped our list of the best cheap router for gaming.
6. Asus RT-AC5300 Wi-Fi Gaming Router
The router provides a 2.4GHz band at 1000Mbps for older legacy devices. It also provides two 5GHz bands at 2167Mbps 802.11ac. With the ever increasing number in 5GHz-capable devices, the 5GHz bands became crowded. This is the reason why two 5GHz bands are provided.
It comes with a 1.4GHz dual-core processor from Broadcom and 512Mb RAM. Other features include WPA Enterprise and WAP2 Enterprise encryption, MU MIMO, adaptive QoS as well as guest network functionality.
To increase throughput, the router is equipped with VPN servers, 3G and 4G data sharing and link aggregation. This combines multiple network connections. It also comes with five Gigabit Ethernet ports.
However, this is just a router, not a modem. This means that one of the Gigabit Ethernet ports is a dedicated WAN port for connecting your existing modem. This router also comes with one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 ports as well. The USB 3.0 port allows the user to share the hard drives and USB sticks across the network.
MU MIMO technology enables multiple compatible clients to connect at each client’s respective maximum speed. It supports every operating system.
However, this is a very expensive router. The speed that it provides certainly doesn’t match its cost. Its gamer-centric features mean that you may be paying for features that you are not going to use, if you want the router for your entire home.
Not to forget, if you have got a huge house with plenty of Wi-Fi devices for playing games or streaming media, then this router is probably a good wifi gaming router as well as the good router for gaming and streaming at this price.
However, if this is not your scenario, then the ASUS RT-AC5300 is likely an overkill as it is very expensive. Within this price range, there is no room for grey areas. Thus think carefully before you make a purchase.
7. Asus AC2900 Wireless Router
MU MIMO gives every compatible device its own dedicated full speed Wi-Fi. This helps multiple devices to connect at the same time without slowing down the network. The adaptive QoS allows you to easily prioritize gaming packets and activities.
Under the solo gaming mode, you can assign full dedicated bandwidths while gaming. It incorporates ASUS AiProtection, a commercial-grade network security system powered by TrendMicro Smart Home Network.
The router features 1.8GHz 32 bit dual-core processor. This optimizes network traffic and connectivity speeds from the USB 3.1 Gen1 Gigabit LAN ports. The router is designed for lag-free online gaming and flawless 4K UHD streaming with WTFast game Accelerator. You can also manage your network with the ASUS router app.
All in all, the ASUS AC2900 is one of the greatest router for gaming and streaming. This router is affordable, which makes it a competitor in the list of the best wifi gaming router at this price range.
8. TP-Link AC5400 Tri-Band Gaming Router
This router is power-packed with leading edge 1.8GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU. There are three co-processors and 1GB RAM. This makes the router work tirelessly at the heart of your network command centre to deliver the power you need.
The router comes with intelligent traffic prioritization. The amazing optimization engine runs relentlessly to identify traffic and deliver high speed. It also optimizes throughput and reduces latency for a premium quality service. You can prioritize gaming above all other activities. This makes it one of the great gaming wifi router.
The router provides tri-band Wi-Fi speeds over the 2.4GHz and two 5GHz bands.Three Wi-Fi bands make it easier to streamline your network and stay competitive in the heat of the online gaming battles without facing lags. The router harnesses MU MIMO and Airtime Fairness to understand your Wi-Fi needs.
These gaming routers have features similar to other high-end gaming routers. It provides comprehensive threat protection. However, it also provides twice as many Gigabit Ethernet ports as most other routers. Furthermore, it makes your browsing safer with VPN access.
There is one exciting feature that comes with this router. You can team two LAN ports using Link Aggregation to double connection speeds from 1Gbps to 2Gbps for NAS devices and PCs. Powerful anti-virus works from the router protects all your devices from cyber threats.
It is a little costly but since it comes with all the essential features an online gamer requires, it is worth buying. It is certainly not the best cheap router for gaming but is one of the best gaming wifi router as it provides best wifi for gaming according to the users’ reviews.
9. Asus GT-AC5300 Gaming Router
The Game Dashboard comes with Game IPS controls. It protects your network in real-time while delivering data rates up to 5334Mbps across prioritized ports. The Game IPS is powered by Trend Micro. It provides multi-stage protection for your gaming network from external attacks.
The 1.8GHz quad-core processor maximizes data throughput from eight ports and dual USB 3.0 for optimizing network traffic. It also optimizes connectivity speeds. The built-in VPN facility enables you to run a personal VPN and ordinary internet connection simultaneously.
The main feature of this router is that it provides coverage up to 5000 square feet with high speed connectivity. This feature is not common in most routers and makes it one of the best gaming router. This router is also ideal for VR and 4K streaming as its processors works relentlessly to provide high speeds. For this reason, it has topped our list of the best router for gaming and streaming.
10. Razer Sila Gaming Wi-Fi Mesh Router
The Razer Sila features a whole lot of technologies designed to give gamers the fastest and most reliable Wi-Fi connections within their homes or offices. This is possible because of the features such as Razer FasTrack, multi-channel ZeroWait DFS and Mesh capability with a dedicated backhaul.
Setup and management through the mobile app makes Sila installation and use simple and quick. The Razer FasTrack software featured in this router is a QoS engine for smart traffic management. By using deep packet inspection and adaptive learning technology it allows its users to prioritize traffic based on applications and device types.
It comes with built-in detection for Playstation, XBox and Switch consoles. Users can easily fine-tune their networks for the smoothest gaming or streaming experience. It also features one-touch gaming mode. This feature automatically reserves bandwidth for online gaming. How cool is that!
The patented Multi-Channel ZeroWait DFS technology in this router enables clean Wi-Fi channels. This avoids network traffic and maintains high speeds for the most demanding applications without the susceptibility to downtime, hanging and disconnection.
The router is also capable of advanced mesh networking. Two or more Razer Sila routers can be combined to provide smooth, fast Wi-Fi coverage across areas up to 6000 square feet. As a tri-band router, it features a dedicated 5GHz backhaul and independent fronthaul links operating on up to four simultaneous DFS channels. This further reduces interference and network congestion.
This router is developed in collaboration with wireless home networking partner, Ignition Design Labs. The intelligent active steering feature ensures client devices are always connected to the strongest signals.
This router comes in a medium price range. However, it is worth buying for it is loaded with so many features. The router also features app and smart software support, i.e. it comes with iOS and android apps. These apps contain advanced features such as guest network and security controls.
The high speed connectivity over a large coverage area makes this router one of the great router for gaming and streaming. It is also ranked as the best wireless router for gaming of our list.
Is Gaming Router Worth The Money?
Gaming routers are not just a marketing ploy. Though some of them are quite similar to regular high-end routers with great connectivity speeds, those manufactured with the gaming audience in mind, are designed a little differently from the regular high-end routers.
Gaming routers genuinely come with a host of useful features for gamers, such as gaming traffic prioritisation, additional Gigabit Ethernet ports, the latest wireless standards, and powerful router hardware. However, it is important for the audience to remember that none of these features are exclusive to gaming routers. Qos, Gigabit Ethernet, dual band 802.11ac Wifi are common features in all high-end routers.
What actually makes these gaming routers different are its additional features like a Wi-Fi coverage area up to 5000-6000 square feet, advanced security features, MU-MIMO, Game Dashboards and many more.
The main motive behind making you aware of these differences is so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the numerous options available in the market.. Each of these routers have different specs made for all kinds of gaming enthusiasts. And not to forget, the price range only increases with more and more features.
If you want your online gaming experience to be smooth and lag free, or your streaming to be interruption free, then it is time to switch to a gaming router. There are a lot of different factors which may influence the overall speed of your internet connectivity. Being a true gamer means you have to make sure that you get the maximum speed.. Enabling the gaming mode might prove to be one of the easiest steps for you to improve the speed for a smooth gaming experience.
So keeping all the additional features in mind that a gaming router can provide for the ultimate gaming experience, gaming routers are definitely worth buying.
Best Router For Gaming – Your Pick?
A regular router does not care about the type of traffic. Therefore, if you are looking for the ultimate online gaming experience that is smooth and lag-free, you should look out for the best router for gaming.
For gamers, any regular router won’t work. Gamers know the value speed and always ensure that they have the best equipments that are available in the market. Even if you are looking for routers best for online HD streaming, we’ve got you covered. .
Nowadays the market is flooded with so many gaming routers having various features. So it can be a tricky task to invest money in a router that you think is best for gaming as well as streaming. Don’t you worry! The above guide can prove to be a wholesome guide for an audience ranging from beginners to pros.
In this guide, we have shortlisted the best router for gaming as well as the best router for gaming and streaming. Prior to purchasing a router, whether it is a regular one or for gaming, you should be aware of your requisites. Research different products and weigh their pros and cons, see if the brand can be trusted. You should keep in mind your requisites while buying a gaming router or any product for that matter, so that you don’t have to regret after investing a great deal of money in it.