Hardware manufacturers target gamers with a variety of specialized gaming hardware. Gaming keyboards, headsets, mice, monitors, and even gaming motherboards and sound cards are available. But it doesn’t end there. Most major router manufacturers now offer “gaming routers”—-routers that are specifically designed for online gaming experiences.
If you’re looking for the best router, you should think about what routers for gaming have to offer. While most standard routers are capable of handling most online games, gaming routers claim to provide faster speeds and a more fluid gaming experience. Even if casual online gaming does not necessitate special features, an aspiring professional gamer should be aware of what gaming routers are capable of. So, if you want to learn how gaming routers work and what they have to offer, keep reading.
What Does a Gaming Router Do?
What distinguishes a gaming router from a regular router, if manufacturers want you to buy one? The main distinction between a gaming router and a regular router is the presence of Quality of Service (QoS) features. A QoS utility is primarily concerned with getting your data to where it needs to go.
Isn’t that something that all routers do? They do, indeed. However…
A typical router is unconcerned about the type of traffic. To your router, BitTorrent at full speed, Dropbox uploading, and downloading files, web browsing, Netflix, and gaming are all the same. When it comes to your internet connection, everything has equal priority.
Of course, if you live in a busy household with multiple people trying to use these services at the same time, your internet may struggle to keep up. And if you’re trying to beat someone online at FIFA while someone else streams 4K video and another upload their entire photo collection, your online gaming experience will be noticeably sluggish.
What to Look for in a Gaming Router
Gaming routers have more advanced features than standard models. Most use Wi-Fi 5, but some cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6 routers include a gaming mode. However, only gaming models prioritize gaming traffic from Wi-Fi or Gigabit ethernet over wired connections. Furthermore, if your Wi-Fi booster isn’t working, you may need to replace your current router with a gaming model.
While most households do not require a dedicated gaming router such as the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700, the gamer-centric features enable an excellent online gaming experience in a multi-user home. A high-end gaming router will also optimize your online gaming performance and use advanced software features to determine which devices are connected to the wireless router.
QoS (Quality of Service) features prioritize bandwidth for devices such as gaming PCs and consoles. Gaming router traffic is divided into two categories: intense competitive play and regular internet activity such as video streaming or email checking. While your internet speed may not improve, your gaming experience will be smoother and have lower ping times.
Multiple GHz Bands
A high-end router must have numerous connectivity options. A dual-band frequency router will have two bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band is useful for smart home devices and basic web browsing, whereas the 5GHz band is ideal for bandwidth hogs like online games and HD video streaming. You can divide your household bandwidth by need using a dual-band gaming router.
Any dedicated gamer will tell you that an ethernet connection is the best option for a lag-free gaming experience. Fortunately, most gaming routers have high-end ethernet ports for faster connection speeds than standard routers.
Cutting-Edge Wireless Standard
The majority of standard routers support Wi-Fi 5, which includes beamforming and near-gigabit wireless internet. Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of Wi-Fi standards, with speeds exceeding 1000Gbps. Furthermore, gaming routers with Wi-Fi 6 will provide superior wireless performance even when not connected to a gaming rig.
Processor and RAM
Modern gaming routers are equipped with faster, more powerful CPUs and more RAM. With more power and memory in your gaming router, it can a) handle more connections while attempting to reduce latency, and b) create and use more advanced QoS features.
How to Prioritize Your Gaming Router Traffic
Configuring your network priorities is one of the most important things to do after purchasing a gaming router. What is the best way to prioritize gaming router traffic in order to provide the best gaming experience?
Prioritize by Service
Do you want every device on your network to have access to a specific app? Configure your network to prioritize services. For example, you could configure every device on your network to prioritize a specific game or video streaming service, such as Netflix.
Prioritize by Network
The network can prioritize gaming routers. That is, you can prioritize wireless connections over wired connections.
Prioritize by IP Address
Behind your router, each device on your home network has its own IP address. You can specify the network traffic priority for each IP address if each device has a static IP address (one that isn’t dynamically assigned when it joins the network).
Prioritize by MAC Address
A MAC address is a unique identifier for your hardware. When your device connects to your gaming router, the router receives the MAC address of the device. The network traffic to devices can then be prioritized based on their unique identifier.
Is a Gaming Router Worth the Money?
Gaming routers aren’t just a gimmick. They truly include a slew of useful features, such as gaming traffic prioritization, additional Gigabit Ethernet ports, the most recent wireless standards, and powerful router hardware.
It’s important to note, however, that none of these features are unique to gaming routers. All higher-end routers include QoS, Gigabit Ethernet, and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
What’s best for gaming: wired or wireless connections?
While wireless performance has improved significantly in recent years, an ethernet connection is still the best option for fast and smooth online gaming. Ethernet has a lower ping rate, which means less network lag.
What does ping mean in gaming?
Ping is the amount of time it takes to send and receive data from another internet-connected device. Lower ping means less lag and smoother gameplay in gaming.
When should I upgrade my router?
In general, your router should be upgraded every 3-5 years. However, if you’ve upgraded your internet plan, make sure your current model can support your new speeds.