Let’s look at the five best gaming routers available right now.
1. The Best Wireless Gaming Router: Asus RT-AC5300
802.11ac | 802.11n | 4 x Gigabit Ethernet | 1 x USB 2.0 | 1 x USB 3.0 | Tri-band | MU-MIMO | 512 RAM | 1.4GHz Dual-Core processor | Dual WAN support
The Asus RT-AC5300 is a powerful gaming router that consistently scores highly across gaming and technology websites. The RT-AC5300 is a tri-band (dual band 5GHz, single 2.4GHz) MU-MIMO router with an excellent throughput rating. (The benefits of a tri-band router!)
Connectivity comes from 4 x Gigabit Ethernet ports along with wireless 802.11acn.
Furthermore, the RT-AC5300 has some of those cool IFTTT and smart home integrations, plus a delightful user interface to run your home network through. Oh, and it looks like a crazy upside-down spider. This alone should pique your interest, but are more antennas always better?)
The other features, including adaptive QoS, parental controls, dual WAN support, and the Asus Ai suite of router utilities make the Asus RT-AC5300 one of the best wireless gaming routers available.
Downsides? The single USB 3.0 port is a slight let-down but not a huge problem. Also, the RT-AC5300 is a fairly large router, so bear its larger-than-usual dimensions in mind before purchasing for a shoebox-sized New York apartment.
2. Powerful Gaming Router: Netgear Nighthawk XR700
802.11ad | 802.11ac | 802.11n | 7 x Gigabit Ethernet | 1 x 10 Gigabit SFP+ Ethernet | 2 x USB 3.0 | Tri-band | MU-MIMO | 1GB RAM | 1.7GHz Quad-Core processor
The Netgear Nighthawk XR700 is a router with some staggering specifications. The most notable—but also potentially most gimmicky—is the inclusion of the 802.11ad wireless standard.
The wireless “ad” standard theoretically transmits at up to 7,000Mbps (although Netgear suggests a maximum throughput of 4,600Mbps. However, it also uses frequencies in the 60GHz range (whereas your regular Wi-Fi uses either 2.4GHz or 5GHz).
Unless you have a device that operates in this frequency, you cannot make use of the additional throughput.
It is a quad-stream router that also packs in Beamforming+ to create more stable connections for a larger number of devices. Features such as geo-filtering (the router connects to the game server closest to your location to reduce lag), simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi, and an additional 15 x 5GHz wireless channels give gamers more options than ever.
(Here’s how you pick the best wireless channels for your home network.) Furthermore, the Nighthawk XR700 doubles up as a Plex Media Server and comes with a six-month Amazon Cloud Backup subscription.
Downsides? Well, it does come with a fairly hefty price tag. The 802.11ad is a great feature, but it is unlikely that many users will make use of this standard. At least, not at the current time. Similarly, not many devices use the quad-stream 802.11ac wireless standard. A great investment for the future, perhaps?
3. Excellent All-Round Gaming Router: Asus RT-AC86U
802.11ac | 802.11n | 4 x Gigabit Ethernet | 1 x USB 2.0 | 1 x USB 3.0 | Dual-band | MU-MIMO | 512MB RAM | 1.8GHz Dual-Core processor | Dual WAN support
Asus’ RT-AC-86U is an excellent all-rounder and a bit of a budget gaming router model to boot. Packing a slightly more powerful processor than the newer Asus RT-AC5300, the RT-AC86U is one of the best gaming routers around.
It has a sleek, sensible design featuring three antennas, but does come with a slightly restrictive vertical mount stand.
Under the hood, the RT-AC86U comes with a bunch of router features specifically for gamers. These include adaptive QoS settings, a friendly and relatively intuitive router dashboard, Game Boost with WTFast support, and MU-MIMO for multiple user connections.
Furthermore, the RT-AC86U comes equipped with several Asus Ai Suite utilities, such as Trend Micro AiProtection that blocks malware and enforces parental router controls. The RT-AC86U is certainly one of the best all-round gaming routers you can buy.
Downsides? Not many, actually. The RT-AC86U only has one USB 3.0 port which will frustrate some users. Also, some users will find the vertical stand irritating as the router must stay in one position.