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If you are having a gaming PC, buying a Wi-Fi gaming router might not be your number one priority. However, you should know that a Wi-Fi gaming router is nevertheless a great item to have.
While routers might not be classed as a typical gaming accessory, they are crucial in the modern era of online gaming. This guide will definitely help you to choose for yourself the best router for gaming / best gaming routers. Interested in enjoying an elevated gaming experience? Continue to scroll down.
First time hearing ‘gaming Wi-Fi router? So you must be wondering how to choose for yourself the best router for gaming and don’t know where to start right? Good news: we are here to help you!
Before you read and comprehend the specifications on the router that you select to buy, you should have knowledge of the following terms first:
1. Internet connection speed
The first thing to consider is the speeds at which the routers can handle. As gamers, you will want the fastest speeds that can cope with a lot of data transfer now and in the future when you’re playing even more and more demanding games.
We’ve tried to cover a range of different speeds above, with some incredibly fast and some of the budget ones at more average speeds. In this case, it’s the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200 which is the most impressive on the market that you could find, and what you should aim for if speed is your number one priority, and you have the cash to spend on.
2. Processor Capacity and RAM speed
These terms are similar to that of regular computer terminology. More processor speed means the higher speed with which your gaming router handles connections and transfers data to the connected devices. Also, this feature affects QoS (Quality of Service) too. Better the rating of processor and RAM, the higher the QoS.
3. Wireless standards
This is a measure of which standards of wireless connectivity your gaming router is designed for. The widely used wireless standard, as of now, is 802.11ac which will be replaced soon by the newest WiFi 6 spec (802.11ax). You should understand that wireless standards keep changing with time and hence it is important to choose one that has the latest wireless standard specifications.
Although there are still a few Wi-Fi routers out there support the latest WiFi 6 system, you should not be worried because all the gaming routers on the market right now come from the most trusted and the most famous brands. Some examples of these are the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200, Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, and TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router.
4. Network latency
This is the lag time the data packet takes to reach from your computer to the game server. Obviously, this time should be low, or the network latency of the gaming router that you are looking for should be low.
You can consider a gaming router as best if its latency is 20 to 30 milliseconds. Notably, your gaming experience drags if the network latency is beyond 150 milliseconds. This effect you notice as missing frames in your gaming or slower response although the ISP speed is good.
5. Multiple band Wi-Fi connectivity
This relates to speed too. When bandwidth is eaten up, it can really affect the speed at which the router processes connections. With multiple bands, a router will have an easy time trying to manage everything. A gaming router transmits to multiple channels owing to this feature. The latest gaming routers available in the market are capable of transmitting up to two (dual-band) and three (tri-band) channels at a time. This will ensure that your gaming can run at full speed without any disruptions to the connection which could damage your gaming experience.
6. Gigabit Ethernet
This specifies how many wired Ethernet ports your gaming router has. You should consider how many numbers of hardwired connected devices that are in your home and then decide on this feature of a gaming router.
1. Why should I buy a gaming router?
Most router manufacturers now offer routers that are designed with online gaming specifically in mind. But what makes these routers any different to standard ones?
The main difference between a gaming router and a standard one is the Quality of Service (QoS) feature.
Regular routers don’t really care about where they’re sending your data and what data is a priority. QoS pays particular attention to sending your data exactly where it needs to go. This is important if you’re living in a busy household where multiple people are using the internet and your router is trying to manage it all. In this case, online gaming experiences can start to suffer, especially if someone in the other room is streaming Netflix in 4K quality!
Other features that gaming routers can include are more Gigabit Ethernet ports, better wireless standards to keep you up to date with the latest technology, multi-band Wi-Fi to improve the speed, and some even have built-in processors and increased amounts of RAM. Routers with powerful CPUs and RAM can handle more connections, decrease latency, and offer a better connection overall.
2. Where can I buy a gaming router?
While you can head down to your local technology store, if you want access to more choices and different options, you might want to head online instead. Online retailers such as Amazon can offer everything you need, with hundreds of options to choose from.
You can also look at tech websites such as Overclockers, Scan, and Novatech which should be able to provide you with plenty of choices when it comes to any PC, gaming component, or peripheral.
With a gaming router, it might not be the most expensive part of your build but it won’t be the cheapest either if you’re serious about upgrading it.
3. Can I leave my router on 24/7?
Yes, you should be able to leave it on 24/7.
There are a few reasons why one should switch off routers and unplug them completely from the line:
- When away from home and you are not going to be using the connection at all for any reason.
- In heavy lightning areas of the country.
- During load shedding and unstable power conditions.
Then one should reboot them when issues arise that indicate that reboot will be beneficial. And Wi-Fi hotspots? Security is the prime reason why these should be disabled when not in regular use. One should change the access passwords regularly, to avoid the hotspots being hacked and compromised.
4. How do I know if my router is working or not?
Your router has a series of indicator lights, usually located on the front of the device. These lights will let you know if your router is operating properly. The indicator lights will usually show functions that include power, Internet connection, and Wi-Fi signal strength.
5. How long do routers last?
Generally, we recommend you upgrade to a new router every three to four years. That accounts for how often people typically upgrade devices like smartphones (every two years) and computers (every three to four years).
In this buying guide, we’ve tried to come up with a few different types of routers to suit different budgets and needs. If you have the cash to spend, then it could definitely be worth going for the best router for gaming / best gaming routers: NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200, which offers great speed and performance with low latency. If your budget is a little bit tighter, there are plenty of routers you can find under $100, including the Tenda AC18 Wireless-AC1900.