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Here’s How a Gaming Router Works (And Why You Need One)

Gamers who like to stream video games need something that’s powerful enough to deliver a strong connection between their internet service provider to the computer or gaming platform. That source of power if a router. Whether playing on an Xbox or computer, using WiFi or an Ethernet cable, the name of the game is speed, and a router that is specially designed to handle HD streaming and multiple devices at once is a must for anyone who plays video games.

A gaming router with ample QoS or Quality of Service means that it has the power to deliver the high-end graphics and audio of a game to ensure that you’re playing the game the way it was designed to be experienced. Having the best gaming router is important not just for delivering a high-quality gaming experience, it also ensures that everyone in your home is able to continue streaming video and browsing online without any interruptions.

Routers with Ethernet connections are ideal for gaming, with the wired connection typically delivering a faster speed for online use. Ideally, you want a WiFi-enabled wireless router that can be connected with an Ethernet port for the computer you use for gaming, while still providing WiFi in the home for other devices. A WiFi-enabled router also allows you to move around the home with your computer when gaming, but if you find that you’re consistently dropping the signal for your game or seeing a lag in graphics, we recommend setting up your router close to where you normally game to allow for an Ethernet connection.

An AC2200 wireless rating and above is ideal for gamers who don’t want to use an Ethernet, but those routers have a high price point. Using an Ethernet helps to bring up the speed and we’ve included routers that come close to that rating, which still pack an impressive amount of power and speed into their WiFi setting.

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of what to look for, here are the best gaming routers to buy right now.

1. NETGEAR Nighthawk Dual Band Smart WiFi Router

With extreme WiFi speed that enables mobile streaming to run faster and a huge range that provides HD coverage to every device in the home, the NETGEAR Nighthawk is perfect for gamers who need fast streaming service while sharing their WiFi. The NETGEAR Nighthawk comes equipped with features like Airtime Fairness, which prevents network lag caused by slow devices, and high-powered amplifiers that push fast WiFi to the entire house, ensuring that gamers will have a lag-free experience while the rest of the home gets their own fast WiFi.

Pros: With a 1GHz Dual Core Processor, the NETGEAR Nighthawk has a large enough bandwidth to deliver WiFi to up to 12 or more WiFi devices in the home, which means it can handle online gaming while other people are in the home.

Cons: Can potentially overheat.

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2. TP-Link WiFi Router

The TP-Link Smart WiFi Router has AC1750 WiFi, ideal for gamers and those running multiple devices at once. It utilizes bandwidth prioritization QoS, which can handle connecting up to 50 devices at once. With 2,500 square feet of coverage, the TP-Link Smart WiFi Router can reach every corner of your home and is easy to set up thanks to the Tether App, which allows you to remotely monitor and check in on your WiFi.

Pros: Compatible with Alexa, features WPA/WPA2 wireless encryption, parental controls and guest access.

Cons: 5GHz is not as good when too far from the router.

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3. ASUS Tri-band WiFi Gaming Router

The aggressive styling of this WiFi router features eight antennae and a red and black colorway, which should be a dead giveaway that this is a gaming router. Of course, the router is not just looks. This tri-band system features dual 5 GHz bands and one 2.4 GHz band. Plus, it has four LAN ports, a WAN port and even a USB 3.0 port, giving you plenty of connectivity options.

Pros: Powerful tri-band connection. Multiple connection ports. Protected by TrendMicro for secure browsing.

Cons: Firmware may need to be updated.

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4. NETGEAR Dual Band Smart WiFi Router

With the ability to handle multiple HD streaming devices and boasting enough range to reach any spot in your home, the NETGEAR Dual Band Smart WiFi Router comes with 2.4GHz and 5GHz, which will keep all your devices running lag-free at the same time. Designed for optimal HD video and gaming streaming, the NETGEAR Dual Band Smart WiFi Router has Gigabit Connectivity to quickly connect all your WiFi-enabled devices to your router.

Pros: Four LAN ports, works for streaming and gaming.

Cons: With an AC rating of 1200, gamers may need to use the Ethernet when playing online.

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5. Linksys Dual-Band Open Source Router

This powerful dual-band router from Linksys has several features that make it a good option for any gamers that require fast connections. The open-source firmware allows you to customize the router to your needs, and it provides WiFi to multiple devices at once without slowing down. There are plenty of connectivity options, thanks to the four ethernet ports, USB 3 port and eSata port.

Pros: Powerful MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output) performance won’t slow you down when using multiple devices. Allows you to create a separate guest network for guests.

Cons: Can run hot.

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6. TP-Link AC5400 Gaming Router

Not only does this powerful router from TP-Link look like a beast, but it performs like one, too. The tri-band router features two 5 GHz bands and one 2.4 GHz band so you can dedicate one band to gaming without slowing down whatever anyone else in your house might be doing. It has eight antennae, and the black and red styling suits many gaming setups. Plus, there are eight 1-gigabit ethernet ports.

Pros: Eight 1-gigabit ethernet ports allow you to connect multiple devices. Tri-band network allows you to dedicate a single band to gaming for optimal speeds.

Cons: The compatible app to control this router is somewhat lacking.

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7. D-Link WiFi Router AC2600

D-Link’s powerful WiFi router is great for gamers and anyone who wants to stream high-quality video content without buffering. But it also has other features that are designed with convenience in mind. One of the best features is Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, giving you the opportunity to, for example, restart the router if there are connectivity issues with your voice. There are four 1-gigabit ethernet ports for plugging in a variety of devices.

Pros: Compatible with smart speaker devices. Four 1-gigabit ports. WiFi mesh capable.

Cons: Can occasionally reset unexpectedly.

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