Routers For Gamers 101 [VTD]

One piece of networking gear that you should have is a great performing router. The market has a full range of routers that may fit your needs. But there are just too many to choose from. We’ll be focusing on routers for gamers. In this VTD we’ll be looking at what routers are, how they work, brands, and some useful resources for your viewing pleasure.

First, let’s take a look at what routers are and what purpose they play within your gaming environment. Routers are a piece of home networking gear that allows communication to take place between all of your connected devices – such as your Xbox and computer – and the internet. Typically, you’ll have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that provides you with internet service and a modem or *gateway device.

*A gateway device combines a modem and router into one device.

So What Is a Router For?

Routers serve two important purposes. The most important purpose is to protect your home network – by using the built-in security tools (Firewall, Mac Address filtering, etc.) – from intruders. As mentioned prior, another purpose is to connect all of your devices to the internet. Now, some would argue there are many other purposes, but in all honesty, those are the 2 that matter.

How Does It Really Work?

The router is connected to the modem or gateway by ethernet cable (RJ45), then your devices will connect to the router with either an ethernet cable or wirelessly (wireless router required. In 2020 most consumer routers have wireless capabilities).

Routers For Gamers And What To Lookout For

Interestingly, most high-end consumer routers are geared towards gamers. You may be wondering “Why is that?”. Well to keep it short and simple, it’s because gamers require consistent, high-performance routers to have the best experience. Gaming on low latency and inconsistent equipment results in poor connectivity and poor all-around experience. When looking for a router for your gaming environment, keep the following items in mind.

  • Specifications
    • The routers you should be considering should meet the following specifications.
      • Dual Band (2.4 GHz & 5GHz)
      • Dual band is a must. To keep it brief, 2.4GHz is a lower frequency range that offers better range and wall penetration over 5GHz. Whereas 5GHz is the higher frequency that provides consistent high-speed connectivity. Furthermore, 2.4GHz is a very popular band that has to compete with other devices in your home. For example, your smartphone and Bluetooth devices run on the 2.4GHz band. So with the flexibility of having dual bands, you can prioritize your devices to use 5GHz when gaming or streaming video.
    • There are a set of protocols that routers use to send and receive data. Today, the most widely used protocol is 802.11ac or Wifi5. This protocol theoretically allows for the maximum data rate of 5,400Mbps (5.4Gbps), with up to eight spatial streams by utilizing MIMO and multiple antennas.
    • Be sure to keep a lookout for routers with 802.11ac or 802.11ax (Wifi5 or Wifi6 respectively) wireless protocols
  • Basic Features
    • Firewall protection
    • Port Forwarding 
    • Lan Ports
  • Useful Features
    • Mobile App (?)
    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • Multiple antennae
    • Intuitive GUI for setup and management of the networking device
  • Future Proof Features
    • Mesh Networking capable
    • MU-MIMO (Multiple-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output)
      • Read more about MIMO here
    • 802.11ax or WIFI6

Popular Router Brands For Gamers

There are so many awesome manufacturers in this market that make it really hard to pick just one. Each company listed offers a one of a kind experience by providing their own unique set of features.

*This list is not ranked or put in order from best to worst.

  • Asus
  • D-Link
  • TP-Link
  • Linksys
  • Netgear

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