A gaming router is overkill for most of us, but if you want low-latency performance and sophisticated capabilities, here’s what we propose.
If you’re a PC gamer, you’re well aware of the importance of speed. Only the latest and fastest CPUs, plenty of RAM, the fastest solid-state drive (SSD), and the most excellent graphics cards make gaming setups worthwhile. While that combination will undoubtedly result in a speedy system, online gaming performance can be affected if it’s linked to a congested network with an internet connection managed by an overworked or outdated wireless router. Furthermore, with so many people working from home due to COVID-19, home networks are being strained more than ever. If game speed is essential to you, it’s definitely worth your effort to look into network optimization.
There are a lot of gaming routers on the market that claim to improve your gaming performance, but which ones are genuinely the best? Is it worth it to spend a little extra money on a wireless gaming router that supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard? This buyer’s guide contains everything I’ve found so far, beginning with the models I believe you should focus on first in your search for the best gaming router.
What you will see here?
Dual-Band or Tri-Band?
Any decent gaming router will have at least two radio bands. The 2.4GHz frequency is the most often utilized and is more congested than the 5GHz channel. The 2.4GHz band has a far better range than the 5GHz band, but it can’t match the 5GHz’s speeds.
A tri-band router is your best choice if you have a lot of devices connected to your network, especially if you’re using range extenders to reach the remote corners of your house. Tri-band routers offer a second 5GHz frequency to your network that you may use for specific devices or apps. You may, for example, set aside an entire 5GHz band for gaming (if your PC or console supports 5GHz Wi-Fi) and utilize the other 5GHz band for high-bandwidth activities like video streaming, big file transfers, or torrent downloads. The 5GHz band will deliver the highest throughput performance if your gaming machine is close to your router.
What is Wifi-6?
Wi-Fi 6 or High Efficiency (HE) Wireless is another name for 802.11ax, and there are plenty of Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market. This standard is called the development of the 802.11ac standard. Several new and enhanced wireless technologies, including Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and Target Wake Time, offer faster throughput speeds (up to 4.8Gbps), reduced network congestion, larger client capacity, and better range performance (TWT). OFDMA boosts total throughput by dividing Wi-Fi channels into sub-channels, allowing up to 30 users to share a single channel.
Target Wake Time (TWT) is a power-saving feature that allows devices to choose when and how often they wake up to start sending and receiving data. TWT technology is intended to improve the battery life of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets and battery-powered intelligent home devices like security cameras and video doorbells.
These features make Wi-Fi 6 ideal for Wi-Fi mesh networks, which are quickly becoming the most popular alternative for wide-area home networking, especially now that their prices are starting to fall.
1- Asus RT-AX86U Gaming Router
I’d suggest the first gaming router to the vast majority of people and a router I’d recommend to just about everyone, to be honest. The Asus RT-AX86U is a midrange Wi-Fi 6 router with fast connectivity choices and gamer-friendly settings. Malware protection, and robust parental controls.
We enjoyed the previous model because of its fast, consistent speeds, an extensive list of gamer-friendly features, and excellent performance in our latency testing. The RT-AX86U, released in 2020, has all of the same features as the RT-AX86U, plus compatibility for Wi-Fi 6 for a list price of $280. That’s not cheap, but more flashy gaming routers may cost upwards of $400.
- Installation and management are simple.
- In testing, the throughput was excellent at close range.
- LAN with several gigabits.
- Aggregation of links.
- Parental controls and virus prevention are both available.
- Only available in vertical mount.
- Long-range and file transfer performance is mediocre.
2- TP-Link Archer AX11000 Gaming Router
A sluggish network is the last thing a committed gamer wants to slow down. The TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router is an excellent example of this. Even for a Wi-Fi 6 router, it’s a touch costly at $399.99, but you have total control over your gaming bandwidth for that money. It also displays real-time latency and resource use, allowing you to keep your network functioning smoothly. Not only did the AX11000 perform well in our tests, but it also has robust parental controls, a lifetime anti-malware subscription, and a game acceleration tool, all of which are housed in a stylish gamer-friendly interface.
- It’s simple to set up.
- There are a lot of gamer-friendly settings.
- There are a lot of ports.
- WAN with several gigabits. Aggregation of links.
- Malware protection for the rest of your life.
- Parental restrictions that are effective.
3- D-Link DIR-867 Gaming Router
The D-Link DIR-867 was the most affordable gaming router with prices often falling below $120 — and it performed surprisingly well, with the fastest average speeds on the 2.4GHz band in both top speed lab testing and home-based real-world speed tests. It also performed admirably on the faster 5GHz band, outperforming numerous wireless routers that cost substantially more.
Although die-hard gamers will certainly desire additional features geared toward their gaming experience and performance, the DIR-867 gaming router does contain a quality service engine that allows you to prioritize gaming traffic over other sorts of network traffic. Most people will be satisfied with that — especially if they don’t want to spend much money on anything more extravagant.
4- Amplifi HD Gamer’s Edition
Take a look at Ubiquiti’s Amplifi HD Gamer’s Edition if you’re searching for a router with gaming-friendly core features and a design. Still, you’re also interested in multipoint mesh networking. It didn’t do particularly well in lab-based top-speed testing, but it shines at extending a consistent, fast Wi-Fi signal from room to room thanks to plug-in range extenders that are about as simple to use as they come.
Furthermore, the distinctive, beautiful design doesn’t take up a lot of room, and with a touchscreen on the front and LED lights around the base, you’ll want to leave it out in the open, where the mesh router functions best.
Provides four gigabit Ethernet ports.
Display with a touchscreen
Parental restrictions on the average
WiFi-6 isn’t available
5- Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 WiFi 6E Gaming router
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 was the first Wi-Fi 6E router available, demonstrating that adopting a new standard early has drawbacks. We like this router’s high Wi-Fi throughput, ease of setup, integrated security, compatibility for OutFox, a service that promises lower gaming latency, and the wired ports’ versatility with link aggregation.
However, the GT-AXE11000 is highly costly; there are relatively few Wi-Fi 6E devices on the market, and our tests with the current firmware revealed poor QoS performance. Reverting to previous firmware cured the problem; however, it also brought latency concerns. Asus was still working out some software glitches when we tested.
- Wi-Fi 6E is the most current wireless standard.
- Subscription to security software is included.
- Fast, having a variety of Ethernet interfaces.
- It’s large and pricey.
- QoS concerns have been discovered in the latest firmware.
- Wi-Fi 6E gadgets are still in their infancy.
6- NetGear Nighthawk XR1000 Gaming Router
The Netgear NXR1000 isn’t for everyone, especially considering its $300+ price tag. However, those looking for a genuine gaming router with granular settings rather than flashing lights should consider this the best gaming router.
Processor with three cores running at 1.8GHz.
WiFi 6 compatibility.
NETGEAR Armor is a cybersecurity solution by NETGEAR.
There isn’t a multi-gigabit LAN port.
So there you have it: some of the best gaming routers. They all have their distinct characteristics and come in various pricing ranges. The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is the most excellent gaming router you can purchase now, but there are many other options. Choose an appropriate position for it and tweak its settings to reduce signal interference and the potential performance difficulties that it may create. In an ideal world, you’d pick a router that can dependably prevent latency from spoiling your gaming sessions while also not breaking the budget.