You’ve finally reached your limit. Every other piece of your gaming setup is state of the art, but your router is the bargain bin reject that was handed down to you by a friend who should have known better. Now that you’re tired of lag and buffering, you are in the market for a Wi-Fi router that will get you to the next level of gaming. Here’s a list of the best Wi-Fi routers for gamers.
Important Technical Terms
Before you get too deep into the shopping process, it’s helpful to know what the technical specifications mean.
There are several standards for Wi-Fi networks. 802.11g is the oldest one in general use, so the older devices in your house will use this standard. Wi-Fi-6 is the newest standard. You need to review the devices on your network to ensure that your router will support the standards used by them. The good news is that all the routers listed below are backwards compatible with the range of Wi-Fi standards.
These are the frequencies of the wireless spectrum used by your devices. The 2.4Ghz band is the slower of the two, but has better range. 5.0Ghz has less range, but much higher speed. And there are more devices running on 2.4Ghz, which increases the congestion on the band.
Wireless connections are great for versatility, but they can still be occasionally interrupted or crowded. A wired connection from your PC to an Ethernet port on your router gives you a dedicated and highly dependable connection. The downside is that you need to run Ethernet cables from the router to your computers.
Quality of Service
This is a prioritizing protocol that gives more resources to the wireless traffic designated as important. As an example, Voice over IP (VOIP) phones are given high prioritization so that you can hold a decent conversation. A router with QoS will allow you to put your gaming higher on the priority list.
A mesh network is a wireless network made of 2 or more Wi-Fi access points that work together to provide better wireless coverage to your home.
The best Wi-Fi routers for gamers list
ASUS Wireless RT-AX88U AX6000 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router
This router shows up with 4 antennae and 2 wireless bands (2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz). Are you worried about future compatibility? Well, this router has you covered. It uses the new WiFi-6 connection standard, so it will be ready for any and all WiFi-6 devices that will be released in the future. But don’t worry about your old devices, since the ASUS Wireless RT-AX88U AX6000 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router is fully compatible with existing, older wireless standards.
ASUS ROG Gaming Wireless AX11000 Tri-Band Router
This 8 antennae, 3 band router is aimed directly at you, dedicated gamer. Your multitude of connected devices will all see better performance from the 3 separate bands of traffic. It has a powerful 1.8GHz quad-core CPU running its QoS and built in security software. But the ace in the hole for the is its ability to be part of an ASUS mesh network.
NETGEAR Nighthawk Wireless AX6000 8-Band Gigabit Router
This router wins the prize for most distinctive appearance, with its two fin antennae. I won’t tell you that it has anything to do with Star Wars, but then again, it looks an awfully lot like an imperial shuttle. You decided if there’s a tiny Lord Palpatine inside it. But aside from its appearance, the other notable feature of the NETGEAR Nighthawk Wireless AX6000 8-Band Gigabit Router is aggregate LAN port capability. If you have the matching network infrastructure to take advantage of it, port aggregation can give you a real speed boost.
TP-Link Archer AX11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router
I think I have an antenna fixation. It’s the first thing I notice on a router, and there are a lot to notice on this router. 8 adjustable antennae ring the TP-Link Archer AX11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router to improve its range and coverage. This router also comes with bundled software that will give you a real time display of your network performance statistics and make setting adjustments on the fly.
NETGEAR Orbi AC3000 Mesh Whole-Home Wi-Fi System
What’s better than one Wi-Fi device? Two devices! The NETGEAR Orbi AC3000 Mesh Whole-Home Wi-Fi System is a router and a satellite device that will allow you to set up a mesh network to give better Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. Another advantage of the dual access points is the ability to have a strong 5Ghz connection in two different spots of your house. You may have been dismayed at the lack of bristling antennae on these devices but take heart. Each device has 3 antennae within their case.
TP-Link Archer Wireless AX6000 Dual-Band Router
You asked for connectivity options, and the TP-Link Archer Wireless AX6000 Dual-Band Router delivers. You get the two Wi-Fi bands, with band steering technology that will send devices to the most available band when appropriate. LAN ports? You get 8 of them at Gigabit speed. Add the 2 USB Type A ports, 1 USB type C port, and Bluetooth capability and you have one of the most connectable routers around.
Asus ROG Rapture Wireless AC-2900 Dual-Band Router
I am a fan of frugal solutions that do the job but save me a little money. The Asus ROG Rapture Wireless AC-2900 Dual-Band Router is the most affordable option in this list. It does what you need it to do, with software acceleration for your gaming experience. And it also allows you to run a VPN connection parallel to your regular internet connection. It has a modest number of antennae (3 of them) which is adequate unless you’re in some kind of strange antenna contest.
The best Wi-Fi routers for gamers – Final Thoughts
The variety of Wi-Fi router options may seem overwhelming at first look. But there’s no need to worry. You need to do your homework by gathering the requirements of your home networking environment, and then match those requirements to the appropriate router. Any of the routers on this list will give you the wireless foundation you can depend on when gaming. Have fun!
image from netgear.com