Do you have problems playing online due to high latency, sporadic lapses or intermittent cuts? Generally the problem is the router that our operator gives us, or the router that we have bought if it does not have certain hardware and software characteristics. If you are looking to buy a router that is specifically designed for gaming, today in RedesZone we are going to explain everything you must take into account to be successful with the purchase of one. We will also recommend a series of models that are perfect for online games.
To get a good gaming router right, it is very important to look at two aspects, the hardware characteristics that the equipment incorporates, because with low-end or mid-range hardware we will not have the necessary power to manage all the packages properly, and we could have sporadic lapses . Another fundamental aspect is the software, that is, the configuration options that we have available in the firmware of the routers, because the firmware is the one that will provide us with such important functionalities as QoS to prioritize the game packages.
Hardware features you must have
Gaming routers usually have high-end hardware characteristics, so you should not have any power problems if you buy a router specifically oriented to it, however, we are going to tell you all the hardware characteristics that we consider essential so that you do not have any problems. . If you see a gaming router with inferior characteristics, we recommend you look at another model that does at least meet these recommendations.
Today it is absolutely necessary for a gaming router to have Gigabit Ethernet ports , there are some gaming-oriented routers that have 2.5G Multigigabit ports and even 10GBASE-T ports, but to play you do not need these speeds, with having a router that has Gigabit Ethernet ports is more than enough. We must bear in mind that we will only take advantage of the speed of the local network when we go to download online games, and generally Internet connections are equal to or less than 1Gbps, so it does not make much sense that these ports are faster. In addition, for the difference in price that exists it is not worth it.
It is highly recommended that the chosen router has at least four ports , nowadays most routers have this number of ports, there are other models that have five, six and even eight ports for the LAN. Depending on your needs regarding the equipment that you are going to connect via cable, you will have to opt for a router that has more or less port, however, you will always be able to buy a domestic switch to expand the number of ports.
Currently all routers have hardware NAT acceleration, therefore, this important requirement is met by all gaming routers and even non-gaming routers, so we assume that this function is already in all computers.
What is very important is the ” Gaming Port ” that some models of gaming routers incorporate. This Gaming port is generally the LAN 1 port and it comes preconfigured to prioritize the device you connect via cable to this port. If you have a console or a gaming PC, our recommendation is that you connect it to this port, because it will automatically have priority over the rest of the LAN ports that the router has. The firmware of the routers makes the equipment connected to this port have priority when sending and receiving packets.
Although it is not recommended to connect a console or a PC for games via WiFi, if you have no choice but to connect it via WiFi, you should know that it is absolutely necessary for the gaming router to have simultaneous dual band . It is highly recommended that this gaming router use the WiFi 5 or WiFi 6 standard, routers that only support WiFi 4 must be completely ruled out. If possible, this router should have 3 antennas for each frequency band if you use WiFi 5, therefore , it is recommended that they be AC1900 class. If you use the WiFi 6 standard, it is necessary to have 2 antennas for each frequency band and support 160MHz of channel width, therefore, it is recommended that they be of class AX3000.
Consoles and PCs should always be connected directly to the 5GHz band , to get the best possible performance in terms of speed and stability. This frequency band has slightly less range than the 2.4GHz band, therefore, it is recommended that the router be physically close to the console or gaming PC, if not, our recommendation is to use a WiFi Mesh system oriented to the gaming and with dozens of configuration options to suit our needs, in this case, ASUS with its AiMesh is the best you can buy.
There are gaming routers that have simultaneous triple band , these are the top of the range, and they are much more expensive than simultaneous dual band. Are they worth it? If you are going to connect your gaming equipment via cable, it is clear that it is not worth the extra money outlay, however, if you are going to connect your console via WiFi it will be very worth it, in addition, we encourage you to that you buy one of these triple band routers. By having two bands in 5GHz, you can dedicate one of it to connect your laptops, smartphones and other types of devices, and leave a 5GHz band exclusively for games, therefore, it will work much better, obtaining more speed, less latency and greater stability.
Processor and RAM
The processor is one of the most important aspects of a gaming router, and that you should not neglect. The QoS system consumes a large amount of resources in the router, prioritizing the game devices, prioritizing the packets that arrive at the router so that you have the minimum latency, and even also to limit the bandwidth to the different wired and WiFi clients. . For this reason, having a powerful processor is essential for everything to flow correctly through the router.
Nowadays the minimum recommended is to have a Tri-Core processor at 1.5GHz , currently most routers have this type of processor, if you can go to the highest-end gaming routers you will see that they incorporate Quad-Core processors at 1.8 GHz, and top-of-the-range routers have a 2.2GHz Quad-Core processor. Depending on your needs and budget, you can choose some routers or others.
RAM memory is also a very important aspect, the firmware of gaming routers have many functionalities that we have to activate so that everything works perfectly, and these functions consume RAM memory. Today, the minimum recommended for a gaming router is 512MB of RAM .
Configuration options and functions
In a gaming router, hardware is a very important aspect, but having good firmware optimized for gaming with specific functions to have the best possible gaming experience is absolutely essential. Firmware is a fundamental part of gaming routers, it is useless that we have good hardware if later the router’s operating system is not well optimized, it has few configuration options and it even has random locks. Next, you will be able to know all the requirements that we consider fundamental for a gaming router.
QoS (Quality of Service) is a technology that allows us to prioritize game packages and manage them faster than other packages that reach the router, such as P2P downloads, video streaming or web browsing. Having advanced QoS in a gaming router is the most important thing in the firmware, because the QoS will guarantee a low latency in the Internet connection, it will also guarantee that we do not have “lapses” due to other network traffic that is generating another device, and, of course, it will guarantee us the best user experience by mitigating the bufferbloat that non-gaming routers normally have.
There are routers that have a very basic QoS, where we will simply be able to prioritize entire devices, there are other routers that allow us various types of QoS:
- Adaptive QoS: allows you to configure the type of service by priority, we can prioritize games as much as possible, and that P2P downloads or video streaming have the lowest priority.
- Traditional QoS: allows you to configure in detail the minimum and maximum bandwidth for certain types of traffic, in order to free up the bandwidth for games.
- Limit the bandwidth per computer: Another method to prioritize the different connections is the possibility of limiting the maximum bandwidth per client, be it wired or wireless. Thanks to this function, we can prevent a computer from consuming all the Internet bandwidth.
There are also other routers that allow us to activate the anti-bufferbloat, a system to prevent us from getting “lazy” when playing online.
Easily open ports
There are routers that have an assisted port opening system. Generally to open a port we must take into account all this:
- Private IP address where to open the port
- TCP or UDP or TCP / UDP protocol
- Internal port
- External port
For users who have never opened a port, this can seem quite complicated. Mainly because we don’t know which TCP or UDP ports certain games use, because not all games use the same ones. Gaming-oriented routers have a much easier to understand port opening system, in which we will have to do the following:
- Select the computer to which we want to open the ports (its private IP will also appear).
- Game that we are going to use
Thanks to this, we will be able to open ports in two or three steps, without having to know which TCP or UDP ports a certain game uses, because the firmware itself has a database with the main games and the ports they use.
The DMZ is another of the most important functions for a gaming router, if you have a console and open all the ports (except those that are specifically open to other computers in the “Port Forwarding” section) it is important to not worry about which ports it uses. a certain game, you can open the DMZ to play without any problem and host your own games. Today most gaming and non-gaming routers have this functionality, however, gaming routers we assure you that they do have this important functionality used with consoles.
The only thing you will have to configure in the router is the private IP address that the console or your gaming PC has, however, it is not recommended for security reasons to open the DMZ on a gaming PC, unless this PC already incorporates a Well configured firewall to deny any external traffic that has not been previously requested. If you have a console you can open the DMZ without problems, if you use a PC our recommendation is to open the ports of the games specifically, and not use this functionality.
There are gaming-oriented routers that allow us to geographically limit the connection to certain game servers. If our console or gaming PC tries to connect to a very remote server, it will prevent us from doing so. This is done in order to “force” you to connect to closer servers, therefore, you have less latency in the connection and less “lag” for sending data traffic so far geographically from us.
This functionality is something additional that some routers do incorporate and others do not, but it is not essential that the firmware has it, because the only objective is that you try to connect as close as possible to where you are physically located, anyway, the games They already take this into account and choose the game servers dynamically, depending on your location it will connect you to some servers or others, without having to limit it through the router.
In the event that you use a VPN client on your router, dual VPN functionality is essential for you. If you are not going to use a VPN client to connect to a remote VPN server and avoid regional blocks for Netflix, Disney +, and more, then this functionality is not important to you.
Dual VPN allows certain computers to go to the Internet through the configured VPN server, and other computers to go to the Internet through the real Internet connection that we have in our home. To play online, it is best to go to the Internet directly through the domestic connection, because if they go through the VPN we will have a low speed (compared to going directly) and also more latency in the connection. Therefore, a Dual VPN allows us to “separate” the network traffic depending on the source IP address, the computers that we want will go through the VPN and those that we want will go directly through the Internet connection.
Nowadays it is very popular to use VPN services to filter advertising or to watch Internet TV in other countries, VPNs allow us to do all this in an easy, fast and cheap way, but it has its handicap: all traffic would go through the VPN tunnel. Thanks to Dual VPN, we can choose which device we want to use the VPN and which not.
DoS attack mitigation
Gaming routers have systems to mitigate the possible denial of service attacks that they carry out, a DoS attack cannot be avoided, but it can be mitigated by discarding all the packets that reach the WAN. Gaming routers generally have a highly configurable and optimized firewall to mitigate these types of attacks, and that do not cause problems to the Internet connection.
In case of not having this functionality in our router, it is possible that we have high latency and also a very high jitter, because the CPU (main processor of the router) will have a usage above normal. However, it is strange that in a domestic connection they carry out DoS attacks to prevent us from playing.
Real-time latency monitor
There are gaming routers that have specifically designed firmwares where it will show us the download speed on demand, and also the latency in real time that we have with a server that we define, for example, we can define the public IP address of a DNS service like Google , or directly the IP address of a game server. In this way, it will be continuously monitoring the latency of the connection we have with that specific server, and it will also monitor the jitter (latency variation) to check if we have lags.
One of the most important dangers that we must avoid at all costs is packet loss, there are firmwares in gaming routers that allow us to see if there is packet loss due to the Internet connection or other factors. Generally this menu is in the latency monitoring section, where it will also show us this feature.
As you have seen, to choose a gaming router it is very important to choose the correct hardware and also that it has an adequate firmware, as complete as possible and specifically geared towards gaming. Now we are going to recommend a total of five models ordered from the highest to the lowest range, all of them geared towards gaming.
Recommended routers for gaming
Once we know the minimum requirements to buy a good gaming router, in RedesZone we are going to recommend a total of five models that more than meet all the characteristics that we have indicated above. We have ordered them from best to worst, but the “worst” is a really good router, so it will perfectly meet your needs and without leaving you a lot of money.
The ASUS RT-AX89X is the most powerful router of the manufacturer, it has AX6000 simultaneous dual band, 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 2 10G ports and a Gigabit port, it has a Quad-Core processor at 2.2GHz and a very complete firmware with all the functionalities that we have explained before, including a powerful QoS to prioritize network traffic and that the gaming devices have the highest priority.
Buy it at
If you are going to connect with your gaming console or PC via WiFi, this ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 router is the best you can buy. It has simultaneous triple band with WiFi AX11000, so you can have a 5GHz band dedicated specifically for games. At the level of ports and CPU power, it perfectly complies with the previous points. This router has a ROG firmware specifically designed for games, with Open NAT, a latency monitoring system and many more advanced options oriented to gaming.
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
Buy it at
The NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000 Router belongs to the manufacturer’s “Pro Gaming” family of routers, featuring powerful hardware with a 1.5GHz Tri-Core processor and DumaOS firmware that is specifically geared to give you the best gaming user experience. The hardware of this equipment is similar to other ASUS models, but this router has a complete firmware that will allow you to prioritize the gaming devices easily and quickly.
NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000
Buy it at
The ASUS RT-AX82U router and the ASUS TUF Gaming AX5400 are the two best value-for-money routers you can buy, both have very similar hardware with a Tri-Core processor and great wired and wireless performance. The main difference between the two is that the TUF model has a firmware designed specifically for gaming, incorporating a graphical user interface clearly differentiates the RT-AX82U model and other routers.
Buy it at
The TUF model has a more aggressive design than the previous model, with a total of 6 non-detachable external antennas, but both models offer very similar performance. The most remarkable thing about the TUF model is the firmware design, it is much more “gaming” than the RT-AX82U that the appearance of the firmware is the same as always.
ASUS TUF Gaming AX5400
We hope that with this complete guide of which features are the most important for choosing a gaming router, you can choose correctly.