Best Routers for Gaming

It doesn’t matter what your favorite platform is. Whether you like Xbox products, PlayStation, or PC gaming, there is one constant that never changes: you need top-shelf networking equipment or your gaming experience is going to suck. We all know how big of a problem lag and delay can be, and if your network equipment isn’t up to scratch then your teammates are going to get angry with you. As they berate you for your poor performance, you might try to explain that it wasn’t your fault because you had network performance problems. But few gamers ever accept that as an excuse, and instead they’ll try to call you out by claiming you’re simply making excuses for being incompetent.

BestGamingRouter2The problem of network performance is magnified if you do any kind of ranked or professional gaming as well. When you game competitively in leagues, you can bet big money that your competition has the highest performing networking equipment to give them an edge over their enemies. As a gamer, you absolutely need a quality router or you run the risk of latency and bottleneck issues that will have everyone on your team treating you like a newb before you can say “game over.”

But which router should you select to support your gaming? Finding the right router is especially hard right now due to the fact that a new wireless technology has emerged. The following are the top router picks to help you stay at the top of your game without distractions like bandwidth capacity issues that will turn you into a loser. Before you consult the list below, please note that for best performance, you always want to be hard wired with RJ45 Ethernet cables as opposed to using Wi-Fi. Wireless connectivity is completely dependent upon your environment and if WiFi is what you need, consult my list of best wireless network routers that focus on such performance.

Best Routers for Hardcore Gamers

The Buffalo Air-Station Extreme AC 1750

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The latest and greatest routers seem to be implementing the new 802.11 AC wireless technology with multiple bands to boost the total maximum wireless throughput. This model, like few others in this list, boasts a maximum speed of 1750 Mbps – which is about 1.75 gigabits total throughput. The biggest drawback to this model is the absence of IPv6 support, but that isn’t a huge deal. Though IPv6 has been gaining traction in the past few years, it seems that most of the world is waiting as long as they can before they have to switch to the new protocol. And for the technology you get in this machine, it is fairly priced at about $150.00 but you can find deals online that price it just above $100.00.

Features and Specifications:

  • Support for wireless 802.11AC
  • Dual band
  • 1300 Mbps with 5 GHz and 450 Mbps with 2.4 GHz (total 1750 Mbps)
  • 5 gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Guest network feature on the native firmware

Amazon: $119.99

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The Asus RT-AC66U

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This router has frequently appeared in many of the top router lists all over the Internet for good reason. It offers fantastic hardware, speed, and performance, and it also has the right chipset to support Tomato and DD-WRT. Not only can you flash this router, but it  provides tremendous wireless support and throughput as well. As the name suggests, it supports the latest and fastest Wi-Fi standard (802.11AC). If you choose to hardwire your gaming console or PC to your router, you won’t be disappointed with this model’s gigabit Ethernet ports, either. And for the value you get from this router, it is reasonably priced at about $167.99 on Amazon, but brick-and-mortar retailers will price it a little higher.

Features and Specifications:

  • 600 Mhz CPU speed
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 128 MB flash memory
  • 3 external antennas
  • 11 AC support
  • 1750 Mbps total wireless throughput

Amazon: $142.84

FlashRouters: $299.95

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The Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900

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The Nighthawk AC1900 has also garnered a lot of attention in the marketplace because it is a high-performance router. Like the previous two models, it offers 802.11AC connectivity in both the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz ranges to provide you with blazing fast wireless speeds. In addition to its fast gigabit Ethernet ports, it also gives you QoS support to give your gaming traffic forwarding preference over other types of traffic on the network. It does cost a little bit more at a price around $199.99, but the native software is feature-rich. To put it simply, this is one of the highest-powered and pumped-up models that Netgear has to offer in the consumer market.

Features and Specifications:

  • A 1 GHz dual core CPU (wow!)
  • 3 external antennas
  • 11AC support
  • QoS capabilities on native firmware and the ability to use DD-WRT
  • 1900 Mbps total wireless throughput (600 Mbps with 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps with 5.0 GHz)

Amazon: $189.99

FlashRouters: $349.95

RouterSource: $299.99

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The Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station

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For those of you Apple evangelists out there, this list would be incomplete without a top-of-the-line Apple solution. This router made the list because it provides the latest and greatest speeds and supports 802.11 AC. Though it is pretty darn easy to setup, it does have a couple drawbacks. Firstly, it only provides 3 gigabit Ethernet ports whereas other models will provide 4 or 5. Also, it doesn’t offer as many features as other models in the same price range. It costs about $179.99 on Amazon, but you can find deals and used equipment for around $100.00.

Features and Specifications:

  • 11 AC support
  • 1300 Mbps wireless speed
  • 6 antennas for increased wireless signal strength
  • Beamforming feature to deliver the strongest wireless signal to your devices

Amazon: $179.99

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In Summary

These are among the best routers on the market for gamers. Instead of using a barebones system that costs less than the price of a single game, use one of these routers to ensure you have a fantastic gaming experience. Though many gamers like to hardwire their consoles for faster speeds, the wireless throughput on these models is phenomenal and you won’t have to worry about Wi-Fi becoming a bottleneck. Lastly, many of these routers can be upgraded to DD-WRT for free if you are unhappy with the original firmware.

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