Any home using broadband Internet relies on a wireless router, and most simply use the one that came with the service. However, there are plenty of reasons to swap out that old model with a more powerful one instead.
Even if you haven’t stuck with the base router all this time, your router might be on its last legs by now due to age. That already means it’s not the newest model out there, so it may not support all of the latest standards, like 802.11ac.
When you’re shopping for the best wireless router for gaming, you’ll have a few aspects to consider, such as speed and bands.
Single- or Dual-Band?
Some router models only use one radio band to communicate while others can use two. The single-band ones are less expensive, but they are also forced to compete with Bluetooth enable devices, mobile phones and microwaves. While that’s fine for social media and general Internet surfing, that’s not going to work for gamers.
Those looking to connect to online gaming services like Steam, PlayStation or Xbox Live or to a video streaming service like Hulu or Netflix, a dual-band router could be the better choice. As you might have guessed, these feature two radios; these connect to the 2.4- and 5GHz bands. The latter usually has less traffic than the former, allowing for less interference.
Of course, tri-band routers also exist. In this case, an additional radio helps operate on the 5GHz band. These are a good choice for those who are looking to utilize heavy network traffic, such as simultaneous online gaming, torrent downloads and video streaming.
Top 10 Best Wireless Routers for Gaming
Gamers will immediately appreciate the design of this router, which looks like a futuristic item from a space shooter. However, the real gem behind this router is that it can be heavily customized, allowing you to modify the settings to enhance your online gaming experience.
It also relies on beamforming techniques so that it can easily maintain transmission without losing signal. The Athena suffers little resistance maintaining consistent video and music streaming across multiple devices. In other words, you won’t disconnect at the wrong time even in the busiest wireless environment.
A massive tri-band router, the AC3200 from D-Link offers powerful speed while looking super stylish at the same time. In fact, it doesn’t really look like a router–it features a pyramid design and sports six antennas throughout its candy red body. It’s even one of the biggest models you’ll find, but all that bulk isn’t for naught; it can deliver great speeds and maintain a very strong connection for online gaming.
Simply put, this is a brilliant router that performs excellently, proving that Asus has improved in how it can handle 802.11ac technology after the less-than-thrilling performance of the RT-AC66U. Although it performs beautifully in this mode, those with clients that only support 802.11n might not see much of a benefit.
Setting up the router is a simple task; it comes with a Quick Start Guide that provides the step-by-step instructions. After connecting to the LAN port and opening your browser, the setup page automatically appears, so there’s little room for error here. This is especially true with the inclusion of the Quick Internet Setup Wizard.
Quite the large device, the WRT1900 is also easily accessible for those who are seeking to install open-source firmware to optimize their gaming experience. Not only that, but it can maintain its signal strength even at farther distances. Housing a 1.2GHz processor along with 256GB of DDR3 RAM, the WRT1900 is also among the most powerful routers that gamers can purchase.
Netgear was the first to offer its users a tri-band router, making an impressive debut with the Nighthawk. This router is designed to keep up with the so-called Internet of Things, meaning it will be able to handle more and more devices that are always running in the background. Gamers don’t want their signals interfered with, so you’ll need a router that can handle the heavy overload; the Nighthawk might just be that router.
This router offers great speed when it is coupled with wireless clients from the current generation. Linksys even promises that it will provide better speeds for devices that are released in the future. For now, it’s a router that provides easy setup and great functionality for any kind of user, gamers included. It’s a little pricier than others and can run warm, but it’s still a great choice.
The AC750 from D-Link is pretty convenient in its own right thanks to its portable size that lets you make wireless networks on the go using hotspots, mobile phone connections, as well as wired Internet. Not only that, but it even provides the ability to charge your phone and similar devices. This is the perfect choice for gamers wanting to get a quick game in no matter where they are.
A behemoth device, the RT-AC3200 has six antennas and a powerful performance. It comes chock full of features, but it can be a bit pricey for the average gamer. It’s the second largest device on this list, featuring a similar design to the RT-AC87 but better overall performance.
From Linksys, this router uses new technology to offer fast performance to several devices simultaneously. It looks exactly like the AC2400 Dual-Band router, both in terms of size and its matte-black finish. It also sports four antennas. However, the performance has improved considerably thanks to its inner hardware, making it the better choice for gamers.
This is a router that offers great performance and an easy-to-use interface, all coupled with a sensible price for a gaming router. Not only that, but you’ll also have access to additional parental controls via the Advanced Settings page, allowing you to set a particular schedule during which a client may access the Internet. This is perfect for the parent looking to get a gaming router for a child but who doesn’t want them to spend the entire day playing video games.
Though there are many different routers out there, these are the top 10 best wireless routers for gaming in 2016.