Imagine a scenario, you are sitting on a bean bag with controller in hand. You are excited and happy, very close to closing out that heated Call of Duty match. Your about to clench that free headshot on your delightfully unaware opponent. Then suddenly the internet speed bogs down and throws all your well conceived plans out the window! Irritating, right? Does this happens often with you? If you’re using an old router, this may very well be the heart of the problem. In this article, we check out some of the best routers for gaming available that will put an end to the connection issues.
7 Best Routers for Gaming of 2016
Here are the top routers for gaming of this year. For detailed reviews of popular options, head to our review section.
|NETGEAR N600||Up to 600Mbps||4 Ethernet||802.11 a/b/g/n|
|ASUS AC1300||Up to 1300Mbps||4 Ethernet, 1 USB 3.0||802.11 b/g/n/ac|
|TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900||Up to 1900Mbps||4 Ethernet, 1 WAN, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0||802.11 b/g/n/ac|
|ASUS AC1900||Up to 1900Mbps||4 Ethernet, 1 WAN, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0||802.11n, 802.11ac|
|D-Link AC3200||Up to 3200Mbps||4 Ethernet, 1 WAN, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0||802.11 b/g/a, 802.11n (2.4 GHz only), 802.11ac|
|ASUS AC3200||Up to 3200Mbps||4 Ethernet, 1 WAN,|
1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0
|802.11n (2.4+5 GHz Dualband), |
802.11n (2.4+5 GHz Dualband)
|Netgear Nighthawk X8||Up to 5300Mbps||6 Ethernet, 1 WAN, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0||802.11 b/g/n/ac|
General Thoughts on Gaming Routers
There’s no doubt about it, sudden decreases in bandwidth and general connection inconsistency will take away your ability to compete in most competitive multiplayer games. Even if you’re not into competitive games, a struggling internet connection will quickly sour most online gaming experiences. While a router is not going to magically make your internet service faster — if you’re on that dial up may the Gods have mercy on you — it is an integral piece of the stable connection puzzle.
The first and most necessary piece of a good connection is paying for a high speed internet service, ideally a cable or fiber hookup. These two matched together will provide you with consistent, high speeds that are perfect for transferring large amounts of data. In this case the data happens to be all those graphical and CPU intensive tasks that video games require.
Another thing to remember is that nothing beats hardwiring your PC or console via an ethernet port. It is like the old wireless vs. wired mouse debate. Performance is just a little better with the wired options. Though wireless technology has much improved (in both mouses and routers) the ideal scenario is to have that physical connection between modem and computer and/or console.
Nevertheless, the ideal is not always the real. Sometimes due to the wiring of your house or apartment hardwiring just isn’t possible. And to further foil our plans, for some reason not all members of the household appreciate a 50 foot ethernet cable running down the hallway from the router/modem to the gaming set up. At any rate, the next best thing to hardwiring your ethernet connection is setting up a robust wireless network and these gaming routers are just the ticket.
Fortunately, router technology has evolved and there are now gaming type routers that are made specifically for handling the heavy gaming workloads. Furthermore, these routers double as not just a gaming utility, but will benefit everyone else who uses the internet. Netflix, downloading music, video and other large files will all become faster. Investing in such top notch router for gaming, is surely going to pay dividends if you plan on doing a lot of gaming and as an added benefit will make all internet related tasks better. Your house may even become the place to gather for marathon gaming sessions with your buddies.
These gaming routers are very different from regular routers. They use advanced technology and also have some pretty cool extra features that you won’t find in your standard $50 router. In our next section, we get into the nitty gritty technical details about what your extra dollars are really going towards when spending the extra dough on one of these fancy spaceships.
Normal Routers vs. Gaming Routers: FAQ
Q: What exactly am I paying for when shelling out all this extra cash for a gaming type router?
A: Extra ports, beefier processor, prioritized traffic, dual band / tri band networking, better security, smartphone router app, and software with easy configuration user interface. Essentially you are getting all the latest and greatest hardware with a brand new router. There are also nifty bonus features such as embedded VPN support so your computer doesn’t have to run VPN software in the background which takes up valuable resources.
Q: What are all the extra ports on gaming routers used for?
A: One of the obvious things you will notice are extra ports. True enough, unless you have multiple systems or host lan parties from time-to-time you may not get much use out of all the extra ethernet ports. This being said, you also typically get one or more USB ports and a WAN port.
Q: What are the USB ports used for on a gaming router?
A: Plug your printer into the router. This enables you to easily set up a local printer server so that any device on your network can access that printer. Also, you can connect a USB flash drive or portable hard drive to the router. Then using any device, smartphone, tablet, etc. you can access the content on that hard drive via the network. Another neat trick is that it doubles as a way to charge your phone if you have the right cable.
Q: How will my network be optimized for gaming?
A: The best routers for gaming are well optimized to meet the needs of demanding games while keeping everyone else on the network happy. The path gaming packets take once they leave your network can greatly impact ping time and stability. Inefficient hops lead to lag and inconsistent performance and even packet loss. These routers have processors, sometimes even dual core processors, that optimize all this activity and efficiently balance tri band networks for example. Some routers such as the ASUS RT-AC5300 even have a built-in private network which they have dubbed the WTFast Gamers Private Network (GPN). This ensures that gaming activity is optimally routed, providing low and stable ping times for gaming.
Q: What is 5 Ghz? What is 2.4 GHz?
A: These are two distinct frequencies, or ‘bands’, that devices can connect to. The main difference is that 5 GHz is faster but doesn’t reach as far as 2.4 GHz. The location of where your router is setup will determine which you connect to. Some routers, like the ASUS RT-AC5300 uses a technology called ASUS Smart Connect, which will deliver consistent bandwidth by dynamically switching devices between 5 and 2.4 GHz bands based on speed, signal strength, and load.
Here’s an excellent video from TechQuickie explaining the benefits of Tri Band:
What to Look for Before Purchasing a New Gaming Router
So are you ready now to replace your old regular router with a gaming router? Easy does it. Don’t forget to go through a quick checklist of some features to make sure you get your money’s worth.
Buying a technical device can be an overwhelming task for some and a breeze for others. But the bottom line is if you’re going to invest in one of these bad boys you may as well get the best one for your home or apartment. Just make sure that the router contains the following essential features and you’ll achieve the ideal network for gaming!
The features you should consider while buying a router are as follows:
- High Bandwidth range
- Dual Band WiFi or Tri Band (For easy and smooth multiple device connections)
- Latest standard of 802.11 ac. (This indicates that it supports Gigabits speed)
- Good Data rate
- High Frequency band (Preferable 5 GHz)
- QoS (Quality of service)
- Good Software and Security Features
These are the basic features a good gaming router should have. But of course, this all also depends on your budget. If money is not an issue, you don’t need to make compromises. Just optimize your selection decision by looking and combining all the above features and staying within your budget.
Fortunately, electronics are one category where continuous innovation keeps pushing prices lower. You can get a rock solid router for $80-100 and if you are willing to spend $200+ you can all the cutting edge features.
Reviews of the Best Routers for Gaming
Here are our reviews of the most popular gaming routers on the market.
This is one of the best gaming router with features such as 1 GHz dual core processor, USB 3.0 for smooth connection of devices. It is supported by an open source community. And it also features DD-WRT firmware. This is also a budget device which comes at $180 at street price with actual price of $200. It also claims to have the Wi-Fi speed of 1300 Mbps.
It features beam forming thus improving range and giving high level performance. This gaming router also have high power antennas and amplifiers that significantly increase the WiFi range. It has a both high quality upstream and downstream Quality of Service to provide you with great gaming performance and even great video streaming speed. So a great overall device that can easily slip into your budget as well!
This is certainly a very good choice for hardcore gamers. It can give you fastest of speeds up to 5.3 Gbps. It has got 4 external antennas and 4 internal antennas which are used for amplifying the WiFi range. Also it has got 6 gigabit ethernet ports which signifies that large number of devices can be connected to this router.
It has got 2 port aggregation meaning that it is sure to provide you with some very high wired speed. It has got smart connect which connects intelligently the fastest available WiFi band for each device. It also boasts of dynamic QoS and thus very efficient in prioritizing data traffic. It also features secured cloud storage system. It can cost up to $349 which again can be quite an affordable price for a perfect performance it gives!
This gaming router features 5th generation WiFi with a very high speed upto 1.75 Gbps. It has got band extension range from 2.4GHz-5GHz. Its AiRadar technology helps in amplifying transmissions for optimized signals. It uses twin USB ports, high QoS standards, high powered antennas, wireless data storage, file sharing, print sharing and 3G sharing to enhance the performance. It is a robust device and uses high grade components. It also features Gigabit Ethernet port and ASUSWRT dashboard UI for easy setup, control and monitoring. A perfect router for the gamers!
Now this one is known to be world’s fastest 4T4R 802.11ac. It has also got 8 high performance antennas providing maximum of 5 GHz band. Also has got an unique Gaming Boost technology and a multi user MIMO. What is very admirable is that it can remotely control your house appliances. It also consists of Beamforming technology. It is ideal for houses which have high volumes of network traffic. Also you can access the storage of a pen drive which is directly connected to the G10. It also supports self healing auto reboot. What an unique gaming router indeed!
This router has got wireless speed up to 3167 Mbps and 1.4 GHz dual core processor. With double gaming boost technology, it certainly going to give you a high performance. It has also got Gamers Private Network which performs route optimization and gives most efficient route for gaming data packets. This results in lower ping time and reduces the packet loss as well. It also supports almost every operating system like Windows, Mac and Linux. So what more do you want? Go and buy this one for an ultimate performance!
This is an 4 gigabit internet sharing router and has got a wireless access point which enhances speed and range. It also has an optimizer system which reduces game lag. It features MIMO technology that provides very strong signals. It also has got 4 inbuilt port for connecting other wired ethernet devices together at gigabit speeds. It also protects your privacy by encrypting the data using 128 bit encryption technology. Moreover it can be bought at $100 which is quite affordable one.
The Netgear N600 is a dual band router with combined 600 Mbps speed. Its simultaneous dual band feature reduces interferences and allows easy connection to more devices. It has got a NETGEAR genie® home network manager for easy installation and management. It also provides easy and fast access to external USB devices. This budget gaming router also features Multiple SSID support which sets up dedicated network for video and gaming!
Now this one provides ADSL service for internet access and creates a wired sharing network. It also features restricted access technology for parents to monitor their children. It has got IP Quality of service which helps in improving bandwidth extension all throughout the network. It comes with 802.11 ac WiFi standard and operates in 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz band.
The TP-Link Archer C7 also has got simultaneous dual band and 6 antennas for enhanced performance. It has 1 Gigabit WAN port and 4 Gigabits LAN ports which increases the speed even more than standard ethernet connections.
At a price of $269, it will give you an ultimate fast performance with full efficiency. Featuring simultaneous Tri Band technology it can deliver WiFi speeds up to 3200 Mbps. It has also got Advanced AC Smart Beam technology which provides individual beams of bandwidth at required places. For faster network speed, it has got 1 GHz Dual Core processor. Quite an efficient one for Gamers!
Now this one again gives you the best of performances with AC3500 tri band speed. Also supports 4 data streams so that you get increased throughput. This gaming router has got 1.4 GHz dual core processor and Multi user MIMO which will provide high speed signals to multiple devices. It has got intelligent QoS for highly efficient traffic optimization and an easy User Interface for its users. It can provide you with tri-band speeds of up to 5,332Mbps. So at $399 it is a worth product to try for any gaming enthusiast.
Final Word on Gaming Routers
Likely, once you start using one of these gaming routers you will never ever want to switch back over to a normal routers again. Outside of getting a fiber connection, this is one of the best ways to improve your internet connection’s performance. Gaming routers optimize gaming related traffic — prioritizing gaming data packets — while boosting performance for everyone on the network improving streaming/browsing/downloading/uploading activities.
The gaming routers optimizes the generated network traffic by demanding online games. This is one of the very best features in that it gives priority to the gaming data packets and thus helps in preventing decrease in speed even if other activities are simultaneously being accessed by other devices using the same WiFi. These routers are the ideal solution for lag free performance while playing online. Regular routers fail to provide top tier performance as they lack feature such as port aggregation, dual band/tri band networking, and identifying and giving priority to gaming data packets.
With these 10 best gaming routers, we hope your decision to buy a gaming router has become an easier one. May your future be forever lagless. Happy gaming!