Is a Gaming Router Worth it? 7 Advantages
Without a great internet connection, your gaming computer can’t dominate the competition. You know that a fast and stable internet connection is essential to victory.
Gaming on Wi-Fi shouldn't be a laggy mess in 2023. That's where a gaming router comes in. These specialized routers optimize your online gaming experience with low latency over Wi-Fi. Read on to learn the advantages of a gaming router.
What is a gaming router?
A gaming router is designed to improve your online gaming streaming performance through:
- Fast data transfer speeds
- Low latency
- Prioritize gaming traffic
- Granular control
Gaming routers have higher-end components with extra Wi-Fi bands to handle more devices, a faster CPU, and more RAM to prioritize device load. However, the critical difference between a gaming router and a regular router is its advanced Quality of Service (QoS) controls, which allow you to fine-tune your home network to ensure smooth and lag-free gameplay.
Standard routers don't discriminate between different types of traffic. They send data packets on the network as they are received, treating all traffic equally. All traffic has equal priority. So, if your roommate is streaming Netflix, a standard router can impact your gaming performance, as it doesn't prioritize your gaming traffic to ensure smooth and uninterrupted streaming.
What is QoS technology?
With a gaming router, you can enjoy lag-free gaming without delay, thanks to QoS technology that recognizes and prioritizes gaming traffic. It helps reduce latency if you're gaming and others use your network.
QoS analyzes incoming data and boosts your online gaming in 3 ways:
- Prioritizing your game network speed
- Minimizing packet loss
- Ensuring stable and reliable gaming connections
At the same time, QoS also separates non-critical traffic and groups it into a separate stream, allowing your gaming traffic to take priority and minimizing the impact of other traffic on your gaming experience.
What gaming router speed should I choose?
The FCC recommends minimum download speeds of 4 Gbps for online multiplayer games - remember, that's per person. GeForce NOW's Cloud gaming service requires 35 Gbps to play at a maximum resolution of 1600p at 120 FPS.
Your home's ISP connection is the most significant factor and sets your router's maximum speed limit. If you're subscribing to 30Mbps, your download speed won't be faster than that, regardless of your router. Use M-Lab for a quick 30-second speed test.
With Wi-Fi 7 on the horizon, Wi-Fi 6 or the IEEE 802.11ax standard promises theoretical maximum speeds of up to 9.6 Gbps. Wi-Fi 5, or the IEEE 802.11ac standard, is 3.5 Gbps. So - look for a Wi-Fi 6 or 6E capable router.
What does a gaming router do?
When it comes to gaming routers, you get what you pay for. Gaming routers optimize performance for online gaming with features like fast data transfer speeds, low latency, and advanced Quality of Service (QoS) controls. These features can help reduce lag and ensure smooth and stable connections, even if multiple users and devices share your home network and Internet bandwidth.
Not all gaming routers are created equal. It's essential to research and choose a router that is suited to your specific needs.
Gaming Router Advantages:
1) Superior connection speeds
Specialized gaming routers handle the high bandwidth demands of online gaming with fast data transfer speeds and low latency to ensure smooth and lag-free gameplay. With a gaming router, you can experience quicker and more responsive connections with fewer delays and interruptions. QoS prioritizes your congested home networking traffic to ensure you'll continue gaming.
2) Low latency
Latency measures how long your network responds to an action you take on your keyboard. Latency is crucial for gamers, as even a tiny delay can spell disaster in fast-paced games. Fortunately, gaming routers offer low latency, with delays under 50 milliseconds (ms). Low latency ensures that your in-game actions are translated to the screen as quickly as possible, giving you a competitive edge and allowing you to react to in-game events in real time.
When shopping for a gaming router, look for one with low latency to ensure the best gaming experience. If latency creeps in, buy a gaming router that has multiple ethernet ports for wired connections. An ethernet or a wired connection is still faster and more stable than wireless.
3) Improved video and audio
Gaming routers optimize your streaming connection, minimizing audio and visual distortion, ensuring you experience the highest quality audio and visuals possible. With a gaming router, you can enjoy clear and crisp audio, and fewer missed lines of dialogue or lost content due to traffic congestion. You'll also experience less stuttering and lower audio/visual artifacts risk.
Gaming routers use Quality of Service (QoS) to improve performance accuracy. With a gaming router, you can be confident that you're getting the most out of your gaming setup.
4) Granular controls for easy customization
Many gaming routers offer granular controls, enabling you to fine-tune your network to optimize performance and prioritize your gaming traffic. Their visual interface allows you to customize settings and preferences to suit your needs.
With granular controls, you can easily customize your gaming router to fit your needs and ensure you get the most out of your network. You can set up:
- Multiple networks
- Customize QoS settings
- Configure security and firewall settings
A simple visual interface lets you easily track the changes you make to your network, making it easier to self-service. Whether you're a casual gamer or a pro, these controls can make all the difference in your online gaming experience.
Gaming routers cost more than standard routers. This investment can pay off with a better gaming experience with reduced lag, especially if your home network splits between several users with multiple devices.
5) Extra support for multi-user households
Multi-user support is a key gaming router advantage, making them ideal for households with multiple gamers, streamers, or online workers. With a gaming router, you enjoy superior baseline performance for all users on your network and support for many devices.
Think of the number of bands you need on WI-FI as lanes on the freeway. Each lane supports a device - so the more lanes your gaming router supports, the quicker the required service. Whether using phones, smart tech, or accessories, a gaming router can handle it without sacrificing speed or compatibility.
6) Advanced security features
For gamers, security is critical. After all, you don't want your network to be compromised while in the middle of a tense match. That's where gaming routers come in with advanced security features, such as firewalls and VPN support, to protect your network from threats and ensure a secure and reliable connection while gaming.
Firewalls are a barrier between your network and the outside world, blocking unauthorized access and protecting your devices from attacks. Gaming routers may also support VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections, which create a secure, encrypted connection between your device and a remote server to protect your data and privacy while online.
These advanced security features are crucial for protecting your network and ensuring a smooth and secure gaming experience. Look for a gaming router with these features to give yourself an extra layer of protection.
7) Wider Wi-Fi coverage
Gaming routers have a broader range due to their superior hardware, ensuring that all your devices can connect to the internet without issue. For households with multiple gamers, coverage is vital. After all, you don't want to be kicked out of a game because your connection isn't strong enough.
Most gaming routers are adequate for homes up to 1,000 square feet, but you may need additional tech to cover larger or unconventional layouts. The Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 gives a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout a 3,500-square-foot home.
While it won't increase speed, a repeater over a router can boost the signal if you experience dead spots while gaming.
For gamers, a high-quality gaming router can equal victory or defeat. Whether a casual player or a competitive pro, a gaming router can help improve your online gaming experience. With advanced Quality of Service (QoS) features, these routers allow you to take control of your Wi-Fi signal, traffic, and household bandwidth, ensuring a smooth and seamless gaming experience. So if you want to up your game and take your online performance to the next level, a gaming router might be worth considering.
*The opinions reflected in this article are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect any official positions or claims by Acer Inc.
About Robert Stark: Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.