What do Gaming Routers do?

Coby McKinley Profile image

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Updated August 8, 2022

If you’re shopping for the best router, you may consider what routers for gaming might have to offer. While most standard routers can handle most online games, gaming routers claim to provide faster speeds and a smoother gaming experience. Even if casual online gaming doesn’t require special features, an aspiring professional gamer should understand what gaming routers do. So, if you’d like to learn how gaming routers work and what they offer, read on.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Gaming routers have better hardware performance over standard models due to their increased RAM and processors.
  • Gaming models utilize advanced Quality of Service (QoS) protocols to prioritize gaming activity on your home network.
  • Look for a dual-band gaming router to further prioritize your network by bandwidth usage.

What to Look for in a Gaming Router

Gaming routers offer advanced features over traditional models. Most utilize Wi-Fi 5, but some cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6 routers provide a mode for gaming. That said, only gaming models give network priority to gaming traffic from Wi-Fi or Gigabit ethernet over wired connections. In addition, if you’re wondering why your Wi-Fi booster isn’t working, you may need to replace your current router with a gaming model.

Insider Tip

Never place all of your network traffic on a single band of your dual-band gaming router. Your network gaming will get bogged down by all the other bandwidth hogs in your home or office.

While most homes do not need a dedicated gaming router, like the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700, the gamer-centric features allow for an excellent online gaming experience in a multi-user home. In addition, a high-end gaming router will optimize your online gaming performance and utilize advanced software features to check which devices are connected to the wireless router.

If you have questions about other router issues or functions, check out our guides regarding connecting a WiFi router with a LAN cable, learning how often to reboot a WiFi router, and knowing when you need a new router.

QoS Features

The QoS (Quality of Service) features give bandwidth priority to devices like gaming PCs and consoles. Gaming router traffic is split between intensive competitive play and regular internet activity like video streaming or checking emails. So, while your internet speed may not increase, your gaming session will be smoother and have lower ping times.

Gigabit Ethernet

As any hardcore gamer will tell you, an ethernet connection is the best choice for a lag-free experience. Luckily, most gaming routers have high-end ethernet ports for superior connection speeds over normal routers.

Multiple GHz Bands

If you want a high-end router, you need plenty of connectivity options. A dual-band frequency router will have a 2.4 and 5GHz band. The slower 2.4GHz band is helpful for smart home devices and simple web browsing, while the 5GHz band is best for bandwidth hogs like online games and HD video streaming. With a dual-band gaming router, you can split your household bandwidth by need.

Cutting-Edge Wireless Standard

Most standard routers have Wi-Fi 5, which features beamforming and near-gigabit wireless internet. The next wave of Wi-Fi standards is Wi-Fi 6, which eclipses 1000Gbps. In addition, gaming routers with Wi-Fi 6 will see superior wireless performance even outside of their gaming rig.

Warning

Do not use your gaming device too far from your Wi-Fi signal. Your gaming connection will lag at the edges of your range.

F.A.Q.S

What’s best for gaming: wired or wireless connections?

While wireless performance has come a long way in recent years, an ethernet connection is still the best choice for smooth and fast online gaming. With Ethernet, you’ll have a lower ping rate, meaning less network lag.


When should I upgrade my router?

Generally, you should upgrade your router every 3-5 years. That said, if you’ve upgraded your internet plan, you should ensure that your current model can support your new speeds.


What does ping mean in gaming?

Ping is the measurement of how long it takes to send information to and receive data from another internet-connected device. For gaming, a lower ping means less lag and smoother gameplay.



STAT: According to a 2018 survey from Pew Research Center, 49% of women between 18-29 often play video games. (source)

Coby McKinley Profile image