If you’re regularly getting beaten by other gamers (despite being as good or better than them), the problem may actually lie in your router… and not your skills. Network congestion can slow down your internet and cause you to miss that important headshot. If you want to make those headshots, capture that flag, and stomp on the competition, then meet your new best friend, the Gaming Router.
A gaming router is going to increase your speed while decreasing latency and lag. The best routers for gaming will be much faster, and more powerful, than your home router. Home routers treat each device on your network as equally important, this will slow down your game as your game packets are forced to wait their turn to be processed.
A gaming router prioritizes your game packets, making sure you that your controller actions happen before your competition and giving you the edge you need to win.
Top 5 WiFi Routers for Gaming
When there are many devices connected to your network, or someone is uploading or downloading files, your router can become overwhelmed, and you will notice a slowdown. When gaming online, this slowdown causes glitchy gameplay, leaving you hamstrung when competing with other players online, and ultimately being dropped and even blocked from game servers.
A gaming router uses more processing power, software designed to speed up gameplay, more antennas that send a better signal, and even dedicated servers, to keep you lag free and on even ground with your competition.
Best Choice: TP-Link Archer C5400v2
Pros & Cons
- The option to devote an entire band to just gameplay
- A Thick blanket of Wi-Fi that extends far beyond the typical range.
- Xstream architecture leads to a router with unsurpassed speed.
- This kind of power does not come cheap.
- Wi-Fi Speed – 5334Mbps
- CPU – 1.4GHz Dual-Core
- Ethernet Ports – 4x Gigabit
- USB Ports – 1x USB 3.0 + 1x USB 2.0
- Antennas – 8x External
- Data Streams – NitroQAM (QAM-1024) and 4-stream
- Wireless Compatibility – 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency, 5 GHz Radio Frequency
- Frequency Bands Supported – 3
TP-Link Archer C5400v2 Review
The TP-Link Archer C5400v2 Gaming Router is a Tri-Band router which allows the user to dedicate an entire band to gaming while still supplying plenty of power to the rest of your devices with the remaining two bands.
It uses the new, and three times faster, 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless internet standard and it delivers that signal to your device by using 8 dual-band antennas making it one of the best gaming dual band routers available.
The Archer C5400v2 processes the information using a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor along with three co-processors. XStream architecture speeds up processing as does MU-MIMO technology, which allows for multi-device connections.
It also features Bandwidth Prioritization, also known as Quality of Service or QoS, for even more speed augmentation. QoS allows you to instruct the router to set your game as the top priority, and it will receive bandwidth at the expense of all other devices.
The Archer C5400v2 can also use Alexa voice commands to control your router. With Alexa, you are able to prioritize a device, run a speed test, share a guest Wi-Fi password, etc., without even touching your router. The IFTTT integration the router is equipped with allows you to set triggers that react when something happens.
For example, you can configure it to send you an email when a device drops from your network, or to turn on the printer when a certain device is introduced to the network.
Premium Pick: Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
Pros & Cons
- Built-in options to limit traffic
- Considerable processing power of the router
- The setup uses a very easy to understand dashboard
- One of the more pricey routers on the market.
- Wi-Fi Speed – 2.6 Gb per second
- CPU – 1.7GHz Dual-Core
- Ethernet Ports – 5
- USB Ports – 2x USB 3.0
- Antennas – 4x External
- Wireless Compatibility – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Frequency Bands Supported – 2
Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Review
The NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 WiFi Router is a dual-band gaming router that can produce speeds up to 2.6Gbps. Processing is done via the Dual-core 1.7GHz Processor for plenty of power under the hood.
Four external antennas deliver the signal at speeds up to 2600Mbps and there are 15 separate channels in a 5GHz band for interference-free gaming.
This router features a system of advanced control over QoS, also known as Quality of Service. The advanced controls in this router are designed to reduce network congestion and lag even more so than many other routers that feature QoS by giving you complete control over every byte of traffic.
You can limit upload and download speeds on a per device basis. Limit bandwidth set parental controls and set the priority order of every device connected to your network. You can use a Geo-Filter to limit the distance to servers or other players if you feel that far away players are slowing down your game speed. There are also four Ethernet ports for fast wired gaming.
Best Value: TP-Link AC 1750
Pros & Cons
- 2500 sq. feet coverage
- Ideal for streaming and gaming
- Budget option
- Wi-Fi Speed – Up to 1750 Mb per second
- Ethernet Ports – 4
- USB Ports – 1x USB port
- Antennas – ex External
- Wireless Compatibility – 802.11.ac
TP-Link AC 1750 Review
The TP-Link AC 1750 router is a router designed for power-users. It’s powered by a potent processor and the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO technology. It utilizes the TP-Link tether app for an improved Wi-Fi signal and advanced options regarding setup and control. This is especially helpful for those with children thanks to parental controls.
Furthermore, TP-Link AC1750 features up to 2500 sq. feet of coverage. The web interface will have the router set up and running very quickly.
Finally, you get 24/7 top-of-the-line technical support combined with a 2-year warranty.
Best Cheap Pick: NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 – AC1750
Pros & Cons
- Stable connections
- Multistage security system
- Could use more antennas
- CPU is weak
- Wi-Fi Speed – 1,750 MB per second
- CPU – 1GHz Dual-Core
- Ethernet Ports – 4
- USB Ports – 1x USB 3.0
- Antennas – 3x External
- Wireless Compatibility – 802.11ac
NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 Review
The NETGEAR Nighthawk R6700 is a powerful router from NETGEAR, the company which appears often on our lists when it comes to routers. This router uses the latest 802.11ac technology for improved speed and coverage, boasting the coverage of up to 1500 sq. ft. dual-band technology enables multiple devices to connect to the router at once.
Three external antennas work to make sure that plenty of strong signals is consistently delivered to every device on your network, and that no signal is weak or dropped.
The R6700-AC1750 router offers built-in access to Beamforming+ and Smart Connect technologies, which are used to improve gaming performance and strengthen the connection. NETGEAR Armor, Powered by BitDefender, provides multi-stage security which ensures protection from all types of vulnerabilities.
Best for Huge Setups: ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
Pros & Cons
- Incredible 11 Gbps of speed
- Pro-grade Gigabit Ethernet switch with four ports
- Easy setup
- Lack of customization options
- Extremely expensive
- Wi-Fi Speed – 11000Mbps
- CPU – 1.8GHz Quad-Core
- Ethernet Ports – 4
- USB Ports – USB 3.0
- Antennas – 8x External
- Wireless Compatibility – 2.4GHz, 5 GHz, 5 GHz – 2
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Review
The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is a router built from the ground up for gaming. Its triple-level gaming acceleration makes sure that gaming is prioritized on the network. The three levels include GameBoost technology, Game First, and private gaming networks. These will make sure you have literally no issues with ping.
The GT-AX11000 uses a 1.8GHz quad-core processor to deliver Wi-Fi speeds up to 11Gbps. It features 4 LAN Ethernet ports for wired gaming and 3.0 USB ports for file sharing. Eight external antennas deliver a solid internet signal to the whole house no matter how large it is.
Wireless Routers For Gaming: Buying Guide
The speed of the router is the single most important thing that you are going to look for when you are buying a new gaming router. Online gaming requires a lot of bandwidth, and the speed at which your information travels from one place to another can make the difference between winning and losing.
A high-speed multi-core processor
High-speed data will need high-speed processing. Many routers feature multiple signals across multiple bands, each of these signals will need to be processed.
A household with many devices can put quite a strain on a router especially during gaming sessions, and a multi core processor will be essential to keep traffic moving during a gaming session. If you interested in how much data games use, check out our article titled how much data does online gaming use.
A Multi-Band Router
A dual-band router, or even better, a tri-band router, is needed to reduce bandwidth congestion for a good gaming experience. Many multi-band routers can automatically detect the needs of network devices and automatically shift them to the ideal band. A tri-band router allows a user to devote an entire band to gaming and eliminates any other devices from taking bandwidth and slowing down game play.
Many gaming routers will allow you to prioritize each of your devices and determine who gets access to available bandwidth first. Often called Quality of Service or QoS, this allows you to give your gaming system the highest priority which will help ensure that your game gets all the bandwidth it needs.
If there is a drop in bandwidth, it will slow down the cell phones and laptops before it slows down your game.If you have a router capable of device prioritization, but find setting it up difficult, check out our article titled router settings for gaming.
Multiple antennas will lead to more stable coverage across your internet environment with less dead spots. You can aim most antennas and point the signal in the best direction.
Many antennas now feature beam technology, which locks on to a device, forms a beam that tracks the device, and delivers a more consistent signal. More antennas on a router is also a good sign that there is more processing power and other features built in to the router.
Multiple Ethernet Ports
Even though wireless routers are getting faster and more powerful every day, a wireless signal is just not as fast as a wired signal and sometimes you will need to plug in to get the best performance for your game. For that reason, you are going to want to make sure that you have multiple Ethernet ports onboard your router to plug in any devices that need to do serious competitive gaming.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Gaming Routers?
A Gaming Router is an internet router that includes features specifically designed to improve online gameplay. Among other things, online gaming is very demanding on bandwidth, processing power, and speed, many home routers are simply not built for this type of internet environment.
Can a gaming router increase internet speed?
A gaming router does not actually increase your internet speed, you purchase your speed from your service provider. If you want to know more about internet speeds, check out our best internet for gaming. What a gaming router will do is manage that speed much, much better than your basic router.
It will also process that information faster, as well as spread a thicker blanket of Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. These things will make it seem like your internet is faster.
Are gaming routers worth it?
If you play online games, even casually, then a gaming router can dramatically improve your online experience, and possibly even put you ahead of your competitors. If you do not play online games, the extra features some of these routers offer will be useless to you and will not justify the higher cost.
How to set up a gaming router?
Just about every router, gaming and non-gaming, comes with a free app or browser page that guides you through setting up your router. You just need to download the app or navigate to a website.
Where to buy a gaming Router?
Even though there are plenty of gamers, gaming routers are still a niche item, and a trip to a local electronics dealer will probably yield a very disappointing selection. Therefore, you are probably looking at an online purchase if you want to get the best one for your individual needs. The links on this page are very good places to start.
Getting the best wireless gaming router isn’t essential for running new titles (like the best gaming GPU is) but it’s quite important if you’re a fan of multiplayer games. I mean, what’s a good PC worth if you’re lagging behind enemies all the time?
If you already have some of the best gaming routers we mentioned, check out some awesome wifi extenders for gaming to fix/improve your multiplayer performance.
- Rhodesa, Wired Router vs. Wireless Router, JCC, March 11, 2019