How To Choose The Best Router For Gaming And Streaming

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When you?re playing online games or streaming your favorite movies, you need an excellent internet connection. Without one, you?re doomed to a life of buffering and lagging! 

With that in mind, you need to find the best gaming router money can buy. 

There are plenty of options, and I?ve reviewed five of the best for you to look at:

What Is A Gaming Router?

A regular router connects you to the internet. It acts as the central hub where all the various wires connect to. So, how does a gaming router differ?

In essence, it all comes down to the Quality of Service (QoS) features that the router boasts. With normal routers, all of your information and data gets sent wherever it has to go. Nothing is prioritized, all the power is shared. 

With gaming routers, the QoS changes things. 

In essence, it prioritizes gaming above everything else. Your router knows how important gaming is, all the focus goes on ensuring that you have as strong a connection as possible when you game. This results in a far better and stronger connection than if you used a standard router. 

Why Buy A Gaming Router?

Before you go out and buy any of the routers in this guide, ask yourself one simple question; do you need a gaming router or not?

I?ll make this as simple as possible for you. 

If you?re a regular gamer who maybe depends on gaming for a living – or just wants a better overall experience – then you should buy a router for gaming. It?s also an excellent purchase if your current router sucks and provides you with a terrible connection. 

Do you need one if you?re just browsing the web normally? No, probably not. These routers exist to optimize your gaming performance, so keep that in mind. 

How Do You Choose The Best Router For Gaming?

I?m not going to let you go in blind and try picking a router based on which ones I like the most! Instead, I?ll show you the key things to look for when comparing these products against one another. Gaming routers have plenty of features, but some are way more important than others. 

Here?s what you should keep an eye on:

RAM Speed/Processor Capacity

These sound like technical terms…and they are. But, let me explain. Effectively, the RAM speed and processor capacity refer to how quickly your router can deal with connections. The better these are, the faster it works at transferring data to your device. In short, it goes a long way to determining how quick your connection is through the router.

Network Latency

This refers to how much time it takes for data to reach the game server from your computer. The lower it is, the better. If the latency is too high, this causes lag – that horrible feeling where everything you do takes an extra second or two to register on the game. 

Typically, the top gaming routers have a latency of between 20-30 milliseconds. You?ll also see this referred to as ?ping? in a lot of product descriptions.

Ethernet Ports

To ensure you have the most secure connection, it?s best to link your device to the router via ethernet cables. Therefore, you should be cautious about how many ethernet ports a router has. If you have lots of gaming devices to connect, then you?ll need a specific number of ports to keep you happy.

Internet Speed

Lastly, look at the internet speeds quoted by the router?s manufacturer. Simply put, this tells you how fast the data will move through your router. On normal routers, this is shown as Mb/s (megabytes per second), but gaming routers are usually a lot quicker and operate at a Gb/s (gigabytes per second) level. 

Needless to say, the higher speeds, the better!

What Are The Advantages Of Gaming Routers?

You have to come to terms with the fact that these routers cost more than standard ones. But think about the benefits you get from them. A gaming router offers the following advantages that you won?t find from a normal one:

  • A more streamlined and fluid gaming experience
  • Less lag when playing online games
  • A dedicated internet connection for gaming
  • Can stream movies or TV shows at a much higher quality
  • More than one person can play online games at the same time without suffering from connectivity issues

Ultimately, this product will transform your online experience. 

Remember, they?re not really aimed at casual gamers or people who are looking for a new internet router. Gaming routers are for those who take gaming seriously and want to tackle the connectivity issues they?ve been facing. 

So, bearing all of this in mind, let?s look at the top five routers for gaming and streaming:

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700

First up, we have this offering from Netgear. It?s designed for professional gamers, and this is reflected in the impressive 6 1-gigabit ethernet ports available. I think this feature is very useful if you have loads of gaming devices to connect to a router. It lets you hook everything up through a wired connection for the fastest speeds. 

Speaking of which, you?ll get up to 7.2Gb/s with this router. 

Now that?s super-fast, and you also have a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor for optimum network efficiency. In simple terms, the processing power is top-notch!

One thing I really like is the geo-filtering feature that automatically connects you to the nearest servers. As such, your connection becomes more streamlined and there?s way less lag involved when gaming. 

Pros: 

  • Comes with a built-in VPN for added online security
  • 6 ethernet ports
  • Geo-filtering for added speeds
  • Optimized to give the lowest latency speeds for top games
  • Lets you see who?s hogging your bandwidth in real-time via an app

Cons:

  • While still fast there are other routers with better internet connection speeds
  • The features are, overall, quite basic compared to other gaming routers

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Tri-Band

From a performance perspective, I?m very impressed by the speeds this thing can clock up. The WiFi speed is around 11Gb/s, meaning you get really quick connections at all times. This is backed up by a 1.8 GHz quad-core processor for minimal latency while you game. 

You get triple-level game acceleration with this device. What does that mean? Well, it helps you boost game traffic by prioritizing the device, game packet, and game service. In doing so, this ensures you always find the best and most secure connection. I really enjoy this as it helps you optimize your gaming, depending on what game you?re playing. Sometimes, your connection can be okay on one game, but awful on another – this stops that from happening!

There?s a lot to get excited about, but it does fall into the top-tier price range for gaming routers. So, be aware that this isn?t for the faint-hearted. 

Pros: 

  • Excellent performance stats
  • Built-in VPN
  • Additional internet security features to protect your online presence
  • Triple-level game acceleration for a low ping rate
  • Has the WiFi coverage for very large homes

Cons:

  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Design can be quite bulky and strange for some people
  • Only has 4 ethernet ports

NETGEAR Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream WiFi 6 Router (RAX80) – AX600

This uber-stylish gaming router immediately impressed me with its 8 simultaneous streams feature. This gives you way more gaming capacity as you can use multiple devices on the same network at the same time – with barely any lag or latency. If I were in a house with a load of mates who wanted to game together, then this would be perfect!

There are 5 ethernet ports for you to utilize as well, which gives you plenty of options when deciding how to connect your gaming devices. There?re also 2 USB ports, which is a nice bonus and lets you create a personal cloud storage access point. 

Inside the router, you have a 1.8 GHz processor, which keeps up with the current standards we?ve seen so far. You only get up to 6Gb/s through your internet connection, which I found to be a wee bit slow compared to other products. 

I think this router is best suited to homes with a lot of gamers all playing at the same time. It’s not the fastest, but if your actual internet is good enough, then you shouldn?t face any considerable problems. 

Pros:

  • Impressive processing power
  • Offers low latency across all online games
  • Compatible with lots of other WiFi devices – including smartphones & tablets
  • Can be controlled via Amazon Alexa
  • Boosted with lots of internet security features – such as firewall and VPN

Cons:

  • The maximum speed is below-par for a gaming router in this price band
  • Is perhaps a bit too expensive considering all the features

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500

I believe this next router is one of the best-in-class in terms of budget-friendly products. It?s considerably more affordable than the previous three options, which makes it more realistic for regular people that want to boost their home gaming experience. 

Well, you?ll certainly give things a push with the 1.7 GHz dual-core processor than reduces ping and helps you get the most out of the performance. There are 4 ethernet ports on the router as well, which might not be that many, but it should be fine for more relaxed gamers. 

As with other Netgear routers, you have the brilliant geo-filtering feature to streamline your online gaming connection. I like how you still get this feature even though this is more of a budget product. 

Yes, the top speed isn?t as great as the more expensive options. Still, at 2.6 Gb/s you don?t have a lot to complain about. This is still frighteningly fast compared to a standard router! 

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Secure gaming through a VPN server
  • Excellent geo-filtering to reduce latency
  • Impressive processing power
  • Optimized for the latest and greatest games

Cons:

  • Lacks some of the more advanced features available
  • Only 4 ethernet ports may trouble some people
  • If you share your internet with lots of other people then you may need something with faster internet speeds

TP-Link AC5400

The last of my reviews is a mighty fine gaming router from TP-Link. If there?s one thing that stood out to me, it was the security features. You don?t usually pay too much attention to them, but this router has such fantastic antivirus software that it needs to be mentioned. You really feel protected from outside threats, which is good to know. 

I also discovered the Link Aggregation feature to be very interesting. Here, you can combine 2 of the LAN ports to double the connection speed. I?ve not seen any other routers possess this technology, so that?s well worth keeping an eye on. 

Obviously, you want to know some technical stats. So, it has a 1.8 GHz quad-core processor and 3GB of RAM. As such, speed isn?t going to be a problem, and this is joined with a maximum internet speed of just over 5Gb/s. Like the previous product, this isn?t the fastest, but you are buying something that?s on the lower end of the budget scale. 

Pros:

  • Very good security features
  • I love the ability to combine ports for a boosted connection
  • Low latency and dynamic optimization for gaming
  • Alexa compatible
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Internet speeds could perhaps be better
  • 5 ethernet ports might be too few for some of you

Conclusion

For me, the clear winner out of all 5 products is the TP-Link AC5400. It more than stands up to every other product in terms of processing power and RAM capabilities. There are features that help you reduce the latency as much as possible, and it?s by far and away the most secure gaming router. 

Yes, other products do beat it in terms of internet speeds. However, you have the ability to double the wired speed by combining ethernet ports, and I think this is such a convenient feature. Plus, it?s very affordable compared to some of the other gaming routers, and I think it represents exceptional value for money. 

Still want to learn more about internet routers? We’ve got you covered with more information about what an internet router is and how long they last.

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