A solid router is the center-piece of the house community. As our lives get increasingly digital, multiple gadgets and growing bandwidth necessities all push the router, community, and net connection to their limits. When it comes to PC gaming, this indicates the router is regularly underneath heavy load to deliver bleeding part overall performance. The nice gaming router is one which could cope now not best with our modern overall performance needs, however additionally the future demands of 4K video, Twitch streaming, VR, etc.
The essential function that a gaming router desires to include is Quality of Service settings (QoS). This facilitates prioritising gaming site visitors over different content, making sure low latency all through sport play. This becomes even extra essential while different humans in the community are simultaneously ingesting bandwidth, together with streaming movies or downloading game documents.
With these criteria in mind, we narrowed things down to top picks in several categories after having gone hands on with the latest models and evaluating for usability and performing benchmark tests. Also, be aware that while a decent router can provide service for several years, the market continues to change. Best Netgear Routers don’t go out of date as often as some components, but the router segment was far more static years ago; these days there’s a lot more emphasis on additional features and faster speeds.
As a general recommendation, in case your router is carrying 802.11n or older wireless, it’s really time to look at what contemporary router hardware can do to convey your community on top of things. And of course, don’t forget to check out our buying guide for a wireless USB adapter—there’s no feeling strolling an 802.11ac router with assistance for 4 streams in case you’re using an outdated purchaser adapter.
Netgear Nighthawk XR500
The Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is the great gaming router for maximum users. It features AC2600 speeds (N800/AC1733), a dual core 1.7 GHz processor, dual USB 3.0 ports, Beamforming and MU-MIMO. It also uses Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), which adds fifteen additional unlicensed channels on the 5 GHz frequency to minimize interference. The only real deficiency hardware-wise is the router has only four Gigabit LAN ports while some competing products have eight.
The Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is the exceptional gaming router for most customers. It capabilities AC2600 speeds (N800/AC1733), a twin core 1.7 GHz processor, twin USB 3.Zero ports, Beamforming and MU-MIMO. It also uses Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), which adds fifteen extra unlicensed channels at the five GHz frequency to limit interference. The most effective actual deficiency hardware-wise is the router has the simplest four Gigabit LAN ports even as a few competing products have eight.
The Netduma OS inside the XR500 offers some of improvements which help make this router our pinnacle select, along with Geo-filtering—which lets in a radius to be set (commonly <3000 km), and then the router will preferentially connect to the nearest gaming server—in addition to Bandwidth Allocation that lets in for granular control of prioritization of gaming devices. Finally, there is strong QoS for prioritization of gaming traffic.
The performance boom of the Netduma OS genuinely shines via in our 2.Four GHz tests which put the XR500 nicely above the opposition. Although the 5 GHz speeds were not nearly as awesome, the XR500 is still our pinnacle pick out as it performs so properly proper out of the box and is simply optimized for gaming.
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Gaming Router builds on the success of the company’s AC5300 model that won this category in our previous version of this guide. It features beefed-up hardware, including a move from a dual core to a quad core processor, and doubles the RAM to 1GB. Other shortcomings are also addressed, with both USB ports now the faster USB 3.0, and a total of eight Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired devotees.
In addition, the GT-AC5300 features a gaming centric interface with features such as tracking Network Ping, and Ping Deviation over time. This model also integrates with WTFast for faster connections to gaming servers, and includes a one-device subscription to the service.
Specs, logos and flashy interfaces aside, we were eager to see how this model performed, and it did not disappoint. In testing the Asus ROG had excellent 5 GHz speeds on both distances tested. This model really showed its stuff on our network gaming congestion test, as it generated both the highest FPS of 33.617, while also streaming with the lowest video packet loss of 7.76 percent. For the price of $400, the Asus ROG router totally trounces the competition.
Take the already capable Linksys WRT3200M router, let Killer Networking redo the software including the KPE (Killer Prioritization Engine), and we get the Linksys WRT32X. This router takes prioritization of gaming to the next level, but the catch is that it really shines when the client is a Killer NIC, which are only integrated into motherboards or notebooks. With a Killer client, we can stream four simultaneous 4K videos, and still game at over 26 FPS- an impressive feat.
While the 2.4 GHz performance lagged behind some of our other mid-range choices, the WRT32X performed exceptionally well in our 5 GHz testing. At close range the 5 GHz speeds rivaled those of our top picks and even beat several in the far tests. Even without a Killer Networking adapter, the WRT32X performs very well. But if you’re rocking a gaming laptop or motherboard with a Killer NIC, purchasing this router should be a no brainer.
The Asus RT-AC68U features AC1900 speeds (N600/AC1300) that are fairly standard in this segment. It takes a fairly business approach to the router design, with matte black plastic in a vertical design, with three antennas that can be positioned. The router features a 3 x 3 antenna design and a dual core 1GHz processor inside, with 256 MB of RAM with 128 MB of flash memory. With wide support for custom firmware such as Merlin, Tomato, DD-WRT and OpenWrt, functionality on the RT-AC68U can be exponentially upgraded with a simple firmware flash.
While several others have struggled on the 2.4 GHz frequency, the RT-AC68U hardly breaks a sweat. The only real problem for this otherwise capable router is that it got bested on the streaming video tests and falls short in 5 GHz performance. However, priced at $160 with support for just about every custom firmware the RT-AC68U is great for power users on a budget.
Priced below $50, the D-Link DIR-879 EXO is a steal for any gamers with heavy budget restrictions. It features a flashy orange design with four antennas that actually resemble the appearance of much higher end routers. While the overall performance isn’t great, the router performs quite well considering it’s nearly a third of the price of other competing AC1900 gaming routers.
While the 5 GHz performance and range are actually quite admirable, the 2.4 GHz speeds left quite a bit to be desired. Another possible deal breaker could be the lack of any USB ports, but with a price tag so low we’re actually surprised there weren’t more features missing. If you can’t afford to save up for one of our higher ranked routers, the D-Link DIR-879 EXO is probably the best $50 router you can find for gaming.
How we test gaming routers
All the routers in this guide have been tested first hand the usage of a selection of high bandwidth packages, together with gaming, 4K video, file transfers, and preferred net browsing. The modern model of the router’s firmware changed into flashed onto the router on the onset of checking out. All the patron devices used were steady in the course of trying out, going for walks, the cutting-edge drivers and software program.
Testing was accomplished for throughput the use of NetPerf software. A desktop with a Gigabit Ethernet port (10/a hundred/1000) is used to send the facts through a wired connection to the router via a CAT 5e cable.
Three check runs had been executed on every wi-fi adapter at each of the two.Four GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, at both the close and far distances, with the very best throughput of every parameter pronounced. The purchaser used is the Trendnet TEW-809UB, our desire for the Best high-quit USB Wi-Fi Adapter. The throughput is tested each at a “near” eight’ (2.4m) distance with direct line of sight, and also at a “a long way” 30’ (nine.1m) distance with an obstructing floor and wall inside the way, as well as some metal ductwork intervening. The “near” test indicates the peak throughput of the hardware, whilst the “far” take a look at is a greater realistic check of what the cease consumer will revel in while separated from the router by means of a wall or ground.