The Best Router for Gaming in 2020

Best Overall

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500
  • Supports one-click VPN for more privacy while gaming
  • Monitoring options let you track usage by device and software
  • Optimized for the needs of the biggest competitive shooters around
Premium Choice

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
  • The first gaming router with customizable RGB lighting
  • Lets you dedicate an entire 5 GHz band to gaming traffic
  • Simple three step port forwarding
Great Value

TP-Link AC1900 Smart Wireless Router

TP-Link AC1900 Smart Wireless Router
  • Offers exceptional speeds for the price
  • Management software is clean and easy to use
  • Allows monitoring through a free, dedicated mobile app

Gaming routers were unheard of just a few years ago. These days, they’re are fast becoming an increasingly popular and regarded as some of the best devices for everyone, from esports pros to more casual multiplayer gamers. As games become increasingly competitive and reliant on online play, the quality of your wireless internet connection is bound to have an impact on your play style. Lag can, quite literally, mean the difference between a win and a loss.

Whether you’re hearing about gaming routers for the first time or you’re a seasoned pro looking to upgrade from your existing model, we’re here to help. Not only have we identified twelve of the best gaming routers on the market; we’ve also created a thorough buying guide that can help you decipher those specs and shop smarter.

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The 12 Best Routers for Gaming

Best Overall

1. NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500HotRate Editors Choice


Resembling nothing less than alien technology, the Nighthawk pro gaming  XR500  cuts a boastful demeanor. And while the hardware packed into this Nighthawk pro gaming router isn't from another planet, it does manage to be one of the best router for gaming you'll find anywhere. By combining incredibly high performance speeds with remarkably low levels of latency, this 802 11ac router is bound to change your online gaming lifestyle.

The included quality of service (QoS) software gives you a lot of control over how you want to balance your traffic, whether that means funneling all of your band-width to your gaming PC or console, or sharing the wealth a little more evenly. With its geo-filter option, the Nighthawk pro gaming XR500 gives you an extra advantage by allowing you to painlessly connect to the servers closest to you.

Another important highlight of this gigabit router is the presence of DumaOS software compatibility, which allows you to optimize your performance with just a few simple clicks or truly customize your experience due to its deep and complicated variety of configuration options. All this combined, makes it our top pick.

Key Features
  • Supports one-click VPN for more privacy while gaming
  • Monitoring options let you track usage by device and software
  • Optimized for the needs of the biggest competitive shooters around
  • Highly customizable dashboard with real-time metrics
WiFi Speed2 GbpsAntennasFourCPU Processor1.7GHz dual-coreConnectivity1Gb Ethernet (5)RAM512 MbUSB Ports2 x 3.0
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Premium Choice

2. ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000


The next on our list of best routers for gaming is the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 . If the XR500 and the GT-AX11000 were anything to go by, you could reasonably be mistaken into believing that every wireless gaming router on the market sports a ludicrous design. This ASUS gaming router looks like it would better suit the Iron Throne than your PC desk. However, it's fundamentally one of the best routers that can give you a head start on the next generation of online gaming.

The Asus ROG rapture is a router prepped to meet the demands of the recently released Wi-Fi 6 standard, and that helps justify its substantive price tag. For techies who want more control over their router performance, IFTT compatibility offers an impressive level of granular automation. If you are also looking for more convenience, another feature which happens to be one of the routers best features is the compatible mobile app that lets you monitor your performance and configure your settings right through your phone. The Asus ROG Rapture also sports a VPN Fusion option which allows you to easily mask your internet and online gaming activity, and four gigabit Ethernet ports for faster connections.

Key Features
  • The first gaming router with customizable RGB lighting
  • Lets you dedicate an entire 5 GHz band to gaming traffic
  • Simple three step port forwarding
  • Makes use of AiMesh technology
WiFi Speed11 GbpsAntennasEightCPU Processor1.8GHz quad-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (4), 2.5Gb ethernet (1)RAM1 GbUSB Ports2 x 3.1
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Great Value

TP-Link AC1900 Smart Wireless Router


Devices that market themselves explicitly as gaming routers often sport elaborate design and a price tag to match, but you don't need to invest hundreds of dollars to get a router that can suit your gaming demands. The Archer C9 falls in our best router list for many reasons. It is one of the refreshingly cheap gaming routers on this list that performs quite admirably. Despite its responsible price tag and unobtrusive design, it performs well outside its class in practically every important metric.

The AC1900 is equipped with the next gen 802 11ac WiFi standard. It is capable of transmitting speeds of up to 1.9Gbps with 600 Mbps on its 2.4GHz channel band and 1.3Gbps on its 5GHz channel band. The configuration dashboard is equally as modest - presenting everything you need in a clean and streamlined interface but boasting all the important QoS features you'd expect from a dedicated gaming router. Nonetheless, the best interface in the world won't mean much if there isn't any power under the hood. Fortunately, the Archer C9 excels on this front. It sports four gigabit Ethernet ports, delivers remarkably high upload and download rates while also managing to produce results from long distances.

Key Features
  • Offers exceptional speeds for the price
  • Management software is clean and easy to use
  • Allows monitoring through a free, dedicated mobile app
  • Utilizes beamform technology
WiFi Speed1.9 GbpsAntennasThreeCPU Processor1.0GHz dual-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (4)RAM128 MBUSB Ports1 x 3.0, 1 x 2.0
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4. ASUS AC2900 WiFi Dual-band Router

ASUS AC2900 WiFi Dual-band Router


The   ASUS AC2900  may not have the rock bottom price of the TP-Link, but it's definitely one of the best gaming routers that provides strong performance and some quality features which are catered to the specific needs of gamers at a relatively low budget price. In fact, the dual-band router packs in about everything you could want, not just for a gaming router but also for an all-around purpose. So whether it's business or fun, this 802 11ac router is definitely one of the best you can choose. The security functionality is truly top shelf, and the USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports make printing and network storage a breeze.

But this isn't a list for the best general routers, so it should come as no surprise that the AC2900 comes with a number of great features with gaming in mind. The configuration menu is easy to use, and while it offers a whole bevy of customization features, they aren't mandatory. But the biggest boost comes in the form of its MU-MIMO compatibility.

Key Features
  • One click LAN boost lets you easily prioritize your gaming experience
  • Comes with support for NitroQAM technology
  • Trend Micro offers 24/7 support from malicious external threats
  • Two week trial of Gamers Private Network included
WiFi Speed2.9 GbpsAntennasThreeCPU Processor1.8GHz dual-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (4)RAM512 MB
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5. NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700

NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700


If you thought the Nighthawk XR500 was a powerful piece of equipment, then you'll be shocked by what its bigger brother has to offer. Despite sporting a less ostentatious design, the   XR700 is built off the fundamentals of the lesser Nighthawk router while bringing some noticeable boosts to performance. That includes double the processing power and an extra Ethernet port for connecting more devices. The XR700 also sports an active antenna design that allows for a significantly greater band gigabit range in your home. If connecting your gaming devices via ethernet isn't feasible, that can be a distinct advantage. It also has the advantage of supporting both AD and AC WiFi instead of just the latter. This 802 11ac router also features a tri-band gigabit network capability that allows it to go up to 800 Mbps on its 2GHz channel band, 1.733 Gbps on its 5Ghz channel band, and 4.6Gbps on its 60Ghz channel band.

All that said, the XR700 does cost about $200 more than the XR500. The improvements in quality are sizable, but whether that price increase is worth it is going to depend on your unique gaming demands.

Key Features
  • All of the features of the XR500 with some noticeable improvements
  • Real time monitoring of network and game ping
  • Support for secure gaming VPNs
  • Utilizes Quad Stream Wave2 WiFi
WiFi Speed7.2 GbpsAntennasFourCPU Processor1.7GHz quad-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (7)RAM1 GB
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6. Linksys AC3200 Dual-Band Gaming Router

Linksys AC3200 Dual-Band Gaming Router


Linksys has a reputation for making phenomenal 802 11ac routers designed for the home user, and they manage to stick strongly to getting the fundamentals right with their entry to the gaming market. The AC3200 wears a relatively modest price tag, but its specs outperform its price significantly. One reason why its on our list of best routers is because file transfer speeds are lightning quick, so you won't have to spend days downloading the latest game (or deal with the increasingly overbearing updates that are now the standard), and each device on your network gets its own dedicated stream.

As an added perk, the AC3200 syncs with Killer-enabled PCs, so if you have the right equipment, the AC3200 can draw from some of the best network optimization technology around. It boasts that it can reduce peak ping in gaming by as much as 77% over the competitors. The software interface is also great, and it comes with useful remote management features as well.

Key Features
  • Makes use of the powerful Killer network prioritization engine
  • Fast and reliable speeds even while under pressure
  • Support for MU-MIMO streaming
  • File transfer speeds are blindingly fast
WiFi Speed3.2 GbpsAntennasFourCPU Processor1.8GHz dual-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (5)RAM512 Mb
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7. ASUS RT-AX88U WiFi Gaming Router

ASUS RT-AX88U WiFi Gaming Router


The RT-AC88U is positively a beast. This is a luxury router that sports incredibly speedy internet and a decent range, but its real strength comes in its cleverly designed QoS features. The 1024-Qam technology lets you achieve up to 80% better speeds at 5 GHz, and the presence of eight ethernet hubs is well beyond the industry standard. If you have multiple devices that demand physical connections and can handle the logistics, this is the best router for you.

The web app interface is simply divine. Not only does it put all the tools you need to monitor your various devices and apps in one place, it also allows for optimal security as it comes with both a dedicated VPN and all the tools you need to protect your internet connection from external threats. The RT-AC88U also supports MU-MIMO, and massive multiplayer online gamers will surely appreciate the inclusion of Gamer Private Network compatibility.

Key Features
  • All the power of the AC88U for the slight disadvantage of less ports
  • Security in the form of built-in Trend Micro support
  • Offers both a VPN and parental control options
  • Adaptive QoS lets you more readily control your gaming bandwidth
WiFi Speed2.2 GbpsAntennasFourCPU Processor1.4GHz dual-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (8)RAM512 Mb
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TP-Link AC5400 Tri-Band Gaming Router


The Archer AC5400 by TP-Link is a tri-band router that sports a truly ostentatious design. But as is often the case with more garish models, this one knows how to throw a punch. The performance is what you'd expect from a gaming router in this price range, but it truly excels in terms of usability. If this is your first router and you're looking for an interface you can navigate easily, this is one of the best options to choose from. More advanced users will find a highly customizable set of options resting underneath the hood.

This 802 11ac router is also the the best tri-band router on our list if you're looking for smart home compatibility. An expansive list of Alexa commands allow you to accomplish all of the fundamental actions you'd need with voice commands alone, and the IFTTT integration allows you to both expand those commands and automate far more sophisticated calibrations if you have the knowledge for it. And with a Trend Micro powered antivirus system, your online security is assured.

Key Features
  • One of the few gaming routers with smart home functionality
  • Supports both Airtime Fairness and MU-MIMO
  • Lets you double connection speeds via Link Aggregation
  • Powerful antivirus tools built right in
WiFi Speed2.2 GbpsAntennasFourCPU Processor1.8GHz quad-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (5)RAM1 Gb
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9. Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 Wireless Router

Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 Wireless Router


For the amount of features and quality service that the Armor Z2 offers, you won't find a more affordable option. The Wi-Fi hardware built into this device is truly powerful. It supports 802 11ac and it can easily be wirelessly set up with either a computer or mobile device. The output on a router of this class is bound to put off a lot of heat, but it's surprisingly compact and lightweight, and it contains a large number of vents to keep it in good repair even during times of peak internet usage.

The web app's management interface is smartly designed as well. All of the basic functions like changing your password and setting options for guests is neatly displayed in the main tab, while a separate section provides you with a truly astounding number of metrics about your internet usage. It's there if you need it, but it shouldn't intimidate new users.

Key Features
  • Antennas support both Beamform and StreamBoost
  • Incredibly easy wireless setup
  • Supports MU-MIMO technology
  • Great balance of speed and range
WiFi Speed2.6 GbpsAntennasFourCPU Processor1Gb ethernet (5)Connectivity1.7GHz dual-coreRAM512 Mb
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10. ASUS RT-AC5300 Gaming Router

ASUS RT-AC5300 Gaming Router


The RT-AC5300, with its black color, is an imposing piece of equipment, both in terms of pricing and size, but it's also one of the most powerful routers to make our list of best gaming routers. This gigabit router offers exceptionally high speeds on the whole spectrum from 1000 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band to 2,167 Mbps on the 5GHz band. And it offers enough range with its 802 11ac compatibility to ensure that you'll be able to make the most of that fast speed regardless of the size of your house. And while there's an incredibly diverse amount of configuration settings, the inclusion of NitroQAM technology means that everyone in your home can get access to solid internet without the need for excessive management.

Beamforming and Smart Connect are also supported to ensure the integrity of your connection even over longer distances. As is the case with many ASUS gaming routers, security and parental controls are both available in the form of its AiProtection technology.

Key Features
  • Offers some of the best range you'll find anywhere
  • Dense user interface accessible from browser or app
  • Utilizes MU-MIMO to handle multiple connections with less slowdown
  • Adaptive QoS lets you easily prioritize source devices
WiFi Speed5.3 GbpsAntennasEightCPU Processor1.4GHz dual-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (4)RAM512 Mb
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TP-Link Archer C5400 WiFi Gaming Router


The AC5400 by Archer has already made it onto our list, and for good reason. But if you're looking for similar features for a respectable decrease in price, the slightly downgraded C5400 may be the right choice for you. While it's not as powerful a device, it does offer the same variety of smart home features, and that's a rarity in the business. This black colored gigabit router also has IFTTT included in its package so you don't need to sacrifice that level of deep customization for the sake of your budget.

The gaming specific options packed in this 802 11ac router are pretty stacked as well. HomeCare provides you with QoS, antivirus powered by Trend Micro, and parental control options for every single device on your network, and the MU-MIMO protocol lets you boost the performance of those many devices across three channel bands. The antennas are designed in such a way that even in larger environments, you'll still get get incredible signal strength.

Key Features
  • TP-Link Tether gives you full network management through your phone
  • Comes with a host of Alexa skills and IFTTT support
  • Offers multiple presets for network prioritization
  • Three co-processor greatly reduce the threat of lag
WiFi Speed2.2 GbpsAntennasEightCPU Processor1.4GHz dual-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (4)RAM512 Mb
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12. NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router

NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S Smart WiFi Router


Netgear's Nighthawk series occupies a disproportionate amount of space in our list, and that's because they represent the full gamut of pricing while consistently performing above the standards for their class. The X4S is no different, and this black Netgear gaming router is positioned squarely on the lower end of pricing for high-end AC routers. It's one of the faster 5GHz routers available, and it also offers exceptionally high file transfer speeds. The Quad Stream Wave 2 WiFi only boosts the range, making it a good choice for larger households, especially those with multiple gamers.

Surprisingly for a router of this price, the X4S comes with Alexa compatibility. That's something otherwise only seen on this list in some of the TP-Link models. While it may seem like a gimmicky addition to some users, it's sure to only become more useful as smart devices become more fully integrated into our homes.

Key Features
  • Offers double bandwidth and increased range for mobile devices
  • MU-MIMO compatibility facilitates streaming from multiple devices
  • Strong and cleanly laid out quality of service
  • Eminently affordable considering its power and functionality
WiFi Speed2.53 GbpsAntennasFourCPU Processor1.7GHz dual-coreConnectivity1Gb ethernet (5)RAM512 MB
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Compare the Models

PictureModelWiFi SpeedAntennasCPU ProcessorConnectivityRAM
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro+ NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro 2 Gbps Four 1.7GHz dual-core 1Gb Ethernet (5) 512 Mb 2 x 3.0
ASUS ROG Rapture+ ASUS ROG Rapture 11 Gbps Eight 1.8GHz quad-core 1Gb ethernet (4), 2.5Gb ethernet (1) 1 Gb 2 x 3.1
TP-Link AC1900 Smart+ TP-Link AC1900 Smart 1.9 Gbps Three 1.0GHz dual-core 1Gb ethernet (4) 128 MB 1 x 3.0, 1 x 2.0
ASUS AC2900 WiFi+ ASUS AC2900 WiFi 2.9 Gbps Three 1.8GHz dual-core 1Gb ethernet (4) 512 MB
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro+ NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro 7.2 Gbps Four 1.7GHz quad-core 1Gb ethernet (7) 1 GB
Linksys AC3200 Dual-Band+ Linksys AC3200 Dual-Band 3.2 Gbps Four 1.8GHz dual-core 1Gb ethernet (5) 512 Mb
ASUS RT-AX88U WiFi+ ASUS RT-AX88U WiFi 2.2 Gbps Four 1.4GHz dual-core 1Gb ethernet (8) 512 Mb
TP-Link AC5400 Tri-Band+ TP-Link AC5400 Tri-Band 2.2 Gbps Four 1.8GHz quad-core 1Gb ethernet (5) 1 Gb
Zyxel Armor Z2+ Zyxel Armor Z2 2.6 Gbps Four 1Gb ethernet (5) 1.7GHz dual-core 512 Mb
ASUS RT-AC5300 + ASUS RT-AC5300 5.3 Gbps Eight 1.4GHz dual-core 1Gb ethernet (4) 512 Mb
TP-Link Archer C5400+ TP-Link Archer C5400 2.2 Gbps Eight 1.4GHz dual-core 1Gb ethernet (4) 512 Mb
NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S+ NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S 2.53 Gbps Four 1.7GHz dual-core 1Gb ethernet (5) 512 MB

Best Gaming Routers Buyer’s Guide

Understanding the Specs

A lot of craftsmanship goes into constructing a solid router, but a handful of hardware considerations stand above all else in distinguishing a cut rate modem from an exceptional model. For you to be able to make better buying decisions, we’ve listed the specs for each model above. However, we’re providing a deeper analysis of what they mean, to help you choose the best router for gaming.

WiFi Speed

There’s no more direct comparison of a router’s raw power than its internet or wireless speed. This is measured in either megabits per second (Mbps) or gigabits per second (Gbps). In the latter case, you can convert it easily to Mbps by multiplying the number by a thousand. This tells you how much data the router can transfer to a WiFi device in the matter of a second, and that determines everything from how fast you can download information to how smoothly video streams and how effectively a game can run without slowing down. In fast paced multiplayer games like Call of Duty, a fast internet speed will provide you with more efficiency than a slow one.

It should be noted that these internet speeds are a little more complicated than what the advertisers put on their packaging. Once you reach the range of a gaming router, there’s little to no chance that any one device will use your entire band-width. Instead, this band-width is shared, and if you’re really looking for a deep analysis of what you need, you should consider how much bandwidth you use at peak hours. The maximum internet speed listed is also a theoretical number that’s rarely the same in practice. The model of your modem and the quality of your ISP connection may have a significant effect on how fast your internet speed will be. Additionally, the distance of a device can have an effect on how fast your connection is as well as the quality of the wireless connection it receives in a pretty major way.


Fortunately, the degradation of a wireless internet signal over long distances can be mitigated to some extent. That’s where antennas come in. Each antenna creates separate streams for sharing data, and the more antenna your router possesses, the less multiple devices will be having to share the same bandwidth.

That said, you may have noticed that some of the routers with only three or four antennas are listed comparably to those with six or eight. That’s because more isn’t always better. While the number of antenna is sometimes a good indicator of quality, it’s also important to examine reviews so that you can gauge the quality of these antennas. Some manufacturers will pack in as many low quality antennas as possible to convince buyers of the quality of their equipment (but suffice to say, these routers were excluded from our list with prejudice).

And there are a number of other factors that can have an even greater impact on your bandwidth channels than another antenna or two tacked on. These include StreamBoost, Beamforming, and MU-MIMO protocols, which we’ll evaluate in more detail below. Long story short, more antennas are generally better, but you have to evaluate more than just the number of them if you want to make a truly informed decision.

CPU Processor

The processor is essentially the nerve center of your router, and as these devices have become more sophisticated, many of them make use of the same sort of powerful CPUs that you’d find in your gaming rig. This is another case where bigger is better. The more GHz packed into your gaming router, the better the router will serve you around the board, and the difference between a quad-core rather than dual-core processor is more sizable still.

But what are the tangible effects of a processor on your gaming experience? There are four fundamental considerations to weigh. The first is that stronger processors offer support for a wider selection of devices (and that’s another reason why the number of antennas alone can’t help you judge your bandwidth potential). The processor assists with multitasking and prevents devices stuttering even when there’s enough raw band-width to support the needs of all the devices on your network. The processor is also a factor in preventing bottle-necking. That’s to say that it makes sure that all the data your ISP promises to deliver you reaches its destination at the speed you expect.

Most high-end gaming modems come with both an expansive number of features catered to the needs of gamers (such as VPN, QoS, and Smart Connect) and with advanced capabilities (like the ability to service that huge number of ethernet and usb ports built in). The more of these features and functionalities that your router options, the stronger the processor needs to be to run them.


As far as routers are concerned, a wireless signal is never going to be as strong as one delivered via an Ethernet cable, and that has to do with more than distance. While devices further away receive weaker wireless signals, Ethernet cables simply deliver faster internet with less degradation across the board. All of the Ethernet outlets on our list support 1Gbps internet. It’s important to distinguish that’s the raw power that can be delivered to a single device rather than the maximum band-width by which internet signals are judged.

That means that whenever possible, you want to make sure that your high priority and high data usage devices are connected directly to your router so you can get maximum speeds. In practice, that’s not so easily accomplished. Clustering all of your important connected devices into a small space is rarely practical, so you’re going to want to consider the logistics of your home to determine how many ethernet ports you need. Being able to connect eight devices to a single hub may sound great on paper, but it’s a little more difficult in practice.


In personal computers, RAM (or Random Access Memory) is a dedicated space that’s used for holding data that is accessed regularly. It’s essentially the short term memory of your machine, and it can speed up functionality in a meaningful way. And given that routers are basically tiny computers assigned to a few very specific tasks, RAM serves the same role. It’s a useful aid to your processor, allowing it to accomplish more without having to dig deep.

So how much should RAM affect your purchasing decision? Not that much honestly. While RAM can have some effect on the speed of your router connection, it’s so minor in comparison to other factors that it shouldn’t be a major consideration for any but the most tech-oriented consumers.

Features to Look For

The base hardware alone isn’t the only factor in a router’s quality, and many come with special functionalities built in that improve the performance in a myriad of ways. You can treat this section as a glossary for some of the recurring technologies and protocol that appear on our list.


Despite being a technology only available in ASUS routers, AiMesh can be exceedingly practical for power users. It allows you to connect multiple routers together into a single network. Routers often have blind spots in performance, and construction materials and furniture can further degrade signals. If you want to link together multiple routers, AiMesh is the best, real time option for you. However, just keep it in mind that you’ll have to buy in completely to the ASUS ecosystem.

Airtime Fairness

Airtime Fairness can give a small boost to your most prioritized devices, but it likely won’t have a huge effect. Available on a lot of routers, Airtime Fairness slightly degrades the speed of your slowest device and reroutes it to more high priority devices.


Also very common for gaming routers is the presence of beamforming. Rather than evenly directing the signal across all 360 degrees, beamforming directs signals directly to each device, ensuring clearer signals even at longer distances.


While the QoS functionality in gaming routers gives you a lot more control over where your bandwidth is allocated, every configuration tool is going to have its natural limitations. That’s where If This Then That comes in. Inspired by the if-then statements that drive much of computer programming logic, IFTTT lets you establish highly precise and circumstantial commands for your router and can automate a lot of a router’s common features. It can be especially useful for routers with smart home functionality, since IFTTT functions can be created as voice activation commands. While IFTTT can require some technical knowledge to execute properly, its applications are practically limitless.


If you’re looking to get the ultimate, real time gaming experience without lag, the number of devices on your network is just as important as the raw signal of your router, and this can be especially difficult when you have multiple gamers in your household. Smartphones, gaming PCs, gaming laptops, tablets, streaming sticks, and even WiFi-enabled smart home monitoring systems can all be consuming valuable data at once. Traditional routers prioritize devices based on which starts transmitting first, and even traditional QoS decides which device gets first priority. In a traditional model, that means that a lower priority device doesn’t receive transmitted data until all the higher priority devices do.

MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) reduces the necessity that each device needs to wait their turn. Instead, it separates the bandwidth into individual streams. This ensures that all devices recieve their share constant signals without any kind of throttling. It’s an egalitarian solution for households with high levels of internet usage.


Quadrature amplification modulation is a process by which signals are delivered over a wireless network. Wireless signals aren’t delivered in a straight line but rather in a wave pattern. By adjusting the amplitude of these wave patterns, different forms of QAM can improve the quality of the wireless signal being produced and provide a significant boost to its wireless speed. This can deliver more raw power up close and even juice up devices that may suffer slowdown due to their distance from the router. So what’s NitroQAM then? It’s simply an industry buzzword for the latest implementation of QAM protocol. It’s currently the best iteration of QAM on the market, and it can deliver as much as a 25% boost to your wireless signal.

Quality of Service

Quality of Service, or QoS, refers to one of the most important features in gaming routers. A normal router will determine where to distribute bandwidth on a first come first serve basis, but QoS functions allow you to designate how much bandwidth goes to each device or piece of software. Better routers tend to offer more detailed and intricate QoS options. This feature is usually handled through the configuration section of your router’s web app or mobile app (if one is available).


StreamBoost is marketed as a bold alternative to QoS, but in actual fact, it’s more an iteration of QoS’ major principles. In short, it simply automates the process of distributing bandwidth. By drawing off some core variables and analyzing crowdsourced data from users around the world, StreamBoost analyzes how much data an app or device is using, determines how much it needs to complete its task, and prioritizes devices accordingly. How useful it will be to you will be contingent on how much micromanaging you like to do. Fortunately, StreamBoost is just established as a default, and it can be overwritten if you’d like to add or establish your own presets and configurations.


Many routers come with support for a virtual private network, either in the form of limited trials, perpetually free options, or interfaces designed to coordinate with paid options. A VPN allows you to mask your internet activity by channeling your data through a remote server. Those trying to spy on your data will instead be stopped at a remote access point. It’s become one of the most effective security tools around, and while it’s a convenient option to have bundled with a router, you don’t need a VPN-enabled router to make use of such technology.

Some routers also come with access to Gamers Private Network. While it functions on the same principles as VPN, it’s a little different in practice. Rather than mask your IP connection, it makes use of remote servers to provide you with the best connection available. And while GPN is optimized for use with MMOs, it can be a useful tool for online gamers of any type.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need a Specific Router For Console Gaming?

Whether you’re a console gamer, a PC gamer, or both, you won’t need to make a separate purchase to get access to the best internet performance dedicated to supporting your gaming features. There’s no separate router for XBox One or gaming router for PS4. Instead, you can use the same router for all of your gaming and non-gaming features and prioritize which devices get prioritized bandwidth through the router’s software interface.

Are Gaming Routers Good For Non-Gaming Purposes?

The two most basic distinguishing features of a gaming router are their power and the ability to prioritize the devices and apps on your network through their QoS functionality. Most of the fancier features of gaming routers are designed to either boost performance, range, or the capacity for multiple streams to run concurrently without signal degradation.

Power is an obvious advantage for everything from streaming 4K video, downloading media and video capture. But the QoS can be incredibly useful as well, particularly for larger households. The granular controls ensure that no one is able to hog a disproportionate amount of bandwidth and allows people who work from home to adjust their priorities according to their needs. QoS also often offers network security, VPN, and parental controls that can benefit a variety of different users.

Do I Need Advanced Technological Knowledge to Use a Gaming Router?

Exactly how a router works is a mystery to a lot of people, even gamers. While most people recognize that a router takes the internet signal from a modem and translates it into a wireless format, the technical details can often be confusing. Fortunately, you don’t have to possess an advanced science degree to make the most of a gaming router.

Any gaming router worth its salt will come with dedicated management software, and they break down things into terms that are pretty digestible. Learning the interface is the hardest part, and once you learn to navigate it, you can easily identify the devices and apps used in your house and properly apportion your bandwidth to suit your needs.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a gaming router, but there’s no need to be intimidated. Any of the routers on our list can serve as an effective choice for a serious gamer, but if you want to dig a little deeper, we’ve provided you with all the resources you need. We wish you a happy shopping experience.