All right, let’s be real for a moment here.
Whether you’re a PC gamer or a console gamer, and whether you built your computer yourself or pre-assembled it, one of the areas that most people simply gloss over is networking. “Just plug it in and it works, right?” While that may be technically true, there’s a lot more to it than that, especially for those on wireless. Read also our guide on the best VPN for gaming 2017.
Unlike previous articles, I will be foregoing a long explanation as to how networking and wireless connectivity works, as it would simply be too much information for this article. However, if you wish to do some more in-depth research of your own, consider reading up on wireless networking and LAN.
To condense the entirety of networking down to a paragraph would be a near-impossible task, but here goes: you have an internet connection that comes into your home. You plug your modem into your wall, and your router into your modem. The router enables wireless functionality around your home, but it can also be directly connected to. This is ideal for gaming, as wireless can be unstable. Today, we’ll be focusing on some of the best routers for gaming.
Best Gaming Routers 2017 – All Featured in this Guide
|Name:||LAN Ports||Wireless Radios||Price|
|Netgear Nighthawk X4S||4||2.4/5Ghz Dual-Band||$199|
|D-Link DIR-885L/R||4||2.4/5Ghz Dual-Band||$299|
|Linksys WRTAC3200ACM||4||2.4/5Ghz Dual-Band||$245|
|ASUS RT-AC88U||8||2.4/5Ghz Dual-Band||$269|
|Google Wifi||2/per||2.4/5GHZ Dual-Band||$100|
|TP-Link AD7200||4||2.4/5/60Ghz Tri-Band||$289|
|ASRock G10||4||2.4/5Ghz Dual-Band||$168|
Netgear Nighthawk X4S Review
The Netgear Nighthawk lineup of routers is often touted as some of the best in the business when it comes to gaming. Offering dual-band wireless, MU-MIMO technology, and multiple antennas for a strong, far-reaching signal, there’s little reason not to go for the X4S from Netgear. Another nice feature of the X4S is its ability to prioritize packets for gaming. What this means is that packets relating to sending and receiving game data will be prioritized on the network, ensuring a fast, stable connection. While this is not a new technology, and many routers have it, it’s still a nice feature. Lastly, the X4s has 4 LAN ports, making it great for connecting all of your important devices directly to the router.
D-Link DIR-885L/R Review
Let’s be honest. The D-Link DIR-885L/R looks like an object recovered from an alien spaceship. That said, it’s a very good object. Like the X4S we covered above, the DIR-885L/R features dual-band wireless, many antennas, packet prioritization, and it comes in at a decent price. That being said, “decent price” is not cheap. You’re paying for quality however, as this thing is built like a tank. It also has up to 4 LAN ports for direct connections into the router. That’s more than enough for your computer, game console and even NAS, if you have one. Overall, the DIR-885L/R is a nice option, if you’re fine with the gamer aesthetic.
If you need more information about the DIR-885L/R, considering checking out a review here.
Linksys WRTAC3200ACM Review
The Linksys WRTAC3200ACM is a router that would look more at home in an office space at a tech firm than it would sitting on your desk or in your entertainment center. However, that can be a very good thing. The WRT in its name signifies that the router is designed to promote and support open source router software, and this can be a boon for tinkerers. Not only that, but the Linksys name has been synonymous with quality for many years, and that’s for a very good reason. Although the router might not look like much, it’s definitely built with power users in mind. It might not be tailored specifically to gaming and gamers, but boy will it not disappoint them. Like our other routers in our lineup, this one also has 4 LAN ports.
If you’d like to see a review go deeper into the Linksys WRTAC3200ACM, considering checking out this review.
ASUS RT-AC88U Review
The ASUS RT-AC88U is Asus’ competition to the X4S from Netgear and the DIR-885L/R from D-Link. Coming in at a very similar price, and with a very similar aesthetic to those two, it’s another great offering if you can get past the gamer aesthetic. One major difference between this and our other linked routers, and why it made our list is because it features 8 LAN ports, which is double what seems to be the standard. It might seem like overkill, but for those with a plethora of devices to connect, this can be a no-brainer. Coming this far along, most of the advertised features sort of blur into a big mess among the competition. Dual-band wireless, many antennas, strong 2.4ghz / 5ghz performance and so on. That being said, it’s not a bad product by any stretch of the imagination.
Google Wifi Review
To say the Google Wifi is a unique product would be an understatement. While it might not be as comprehensive or power user-friendly as some of our other mentioned routers, it’s still a very exciting product in its own right. The Google Wifi is Google’s affordable foray into Mesh Networking. Effectively what this is, is a wireless network that “blankets” your home, ensuring you have a stable connection no matter where you are in your house. The way this is accomplished is by purchasing additional Google Wifi pucks. These are then connected to your main network and can be strewn across your home. Google touts that you’ll only need one for a traditional apartment, two for a moderate-sized home, and three if you wish to ensure a strong signal in a home across multiple floors. With their pricing, this seems to be a very reasonable solution to ensure a strong wireless signal throughout your home. The Google Wifi is not a traditional product, but it’s definitely an interesting one.
TP-Link AD7200 Review
The TP-Link AD7200 is a newer product which boasts a feature that has yet to be seen any any competition: 60Ghz Wifi. Yes, that’s 6-0. Offering up to 7200mbps in-home bandwidth speeds, this router is blisteringly fast. However, it should be noted that because of how wireless communication and connectivity works over radios, the 60Ghz signal is very sensitive to obstructions. Simply putting it behind a wall could be severely detrimental to your connection. However, if you have a clear line of sight from your router to your computer, this router is going ot be your best friend. That being said, even if you cannot efficiently take advantage of the 60Ghz radio, this is still a great router in 2.4/5Ghz mode. It’s still fast, it’s still reliable, and its 8 antennas offer great signal strength from even far distances.
If you wish to know more about the TP-Link AD7200, check out a review on it here.
ASRock G10 Review
The ASRock name is traditionally more associated with their motherboards, but don’t let this fool you. The ASRock G10 is a very capable, very impressive router at a comfortable price. With a design that seems to mimic the nVidia Shield and even a PlayStation, the G10 surely wins bonus points in the “Unique Router Design” category. It features 2.4/5GHz Dual-Band Wireless, 4 LAN ports and 8 antennas to ensure a strong, far-reaching signal throughout your home. Like the X4S we mentioned earlier, it also features Mu-MIMO technology, which is always nice to have. ASRock also touts it as being the “World’s Fastest 4T4R 802.11ac” router, which if true is very impressive and worth some consideration. Lastly, we’re not entirely sure what they mean, but ASRock also claims that this router is capable of controlling your homer appliances. Neat!
While this may be a shorter article than what you might be used to seeing, there really isn’t much more to say. Without testing these products hands-on, our information comes more through our own research and insight. Not to mention that when it comes to routers and networking, it’s a major topic that would be deserving of its own article, if not entire site. Regardless, we hope you find something that works for you and fits your budget! No matter what you choose, any of our choices will work excellently for you.