Ask any Call of Duty enthusiast, and he’ll agree to this idea which claims:
To be a hardcore gamer, you need the best gaming routers of 2018.
You might ask: what makes the best gaming router? Is the brand name enough? How much speed will it offer? What about the reliability of signals? Will it be equally beneficent to both the fast and slow Internet connections? Will it allow multiple users to play HD, 4k videos simultaneously?
To answer all these questions,this article comes into play.
- Best Gaming Routers Of 2018
- 1. N600Dual BandNETGEAR – Best Budget Router
- 2. AC1300ASUS RT-ACRH13Dual-BandGigabit – Best Signal Strength
- 3. AC1750ASUS Dual-Band4-Port – Best Mid-Range Router
- 4. TP-Link AC1900 - Best Long Range
- 5. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 – Best Under $200 Router
- 6. D-Link AC3200 – Best Design
- 7. NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 – Under $300 Router
- 8. D-Link Ultra AC5300 – Best for Gaming Experience
- 9. NETGEAR AC5300 Nighthawk X8 Tri-Band – Technologically Loaded
- 10. Linksys WRT AC1900 – Best for Pro Gamers
- 11. ASUS Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 (RT-AC68U) – High Speed Wi-Fi
- 12. AMPED WIRELESS RTA2600 – Best For Gaming
- Gaming Router Buyer Guide
- Why You Need A Router?
- Things You Need To Look For while Purchasing A Gaming Router
- Go For 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- High Frequency Band (5GHz)
- Dual-Band Connectivity
- Wi-Fi Speeds
- Open Source Firmware
- Smartphone Integration
- Quality Of Service
- What is Your Budget?
- How To Clean?
- Use An Air Blower
- Mistakes To Avoid
- Not Putting It In A Central Location
- Using Its Default Channel
- Assuming More Antennas = Better Range
- Ignoring The 5gHz Frequency Band
- Not Checking For Regular Firmware Updates
Best Gaming Routers Of 2018
After testing more numerous gaming routers, we have prepared a list of the top 12 of them. Regardless of the home network you are using – and whether you indulge in Console or PC Gaming, these routers will provide spotless performance. Consequently, you’ll be allowed the peace of mind to concentrate fully on the game at hand.
Want to take your gaming experience to the next level? There’s only one way you could do that:
|N600 Dual Band NETGEAR||1.3 lbs||Two||802.11 a/b/g/n||N/A||4|
|AC1300 ASUS RT-ACRH13||0.55lbs||Two||802.11 A/C||Yes||4|
|AC1750 ASUS||1.4 lbs||Two||801.11 AC||N/A||4|
|TP-Link AC1900||3 lbs||Two||802.11ac||N/A||4|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900||3.45 lbs||Two||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||N/A||4|
|D-Link AC3200 Wi-Fi||2.5lbs||Three||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||N/A||4|
|NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200||2.43 lbs||Three||802.11 A/C||N/A||5|
|D-Link Ultra AC5300||3.21 lbs||Three||802.11 a/g/n/ac||Yes||4|
|NETGEAR AC5300||7.45 lbs||Three||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||Yes||7|
|Linksys WRT AC1900||2.1 lbs||Two||802.11 A/C||N/A||4|
|ASUSRT-AC68U||1.4 lbs||Two||5.8 GHz Radio Frequency, 802.11 a/b/g/n, 802.11 A/C||N/A||4|
|AMPED WIRELESS RTA2600||1.4 lbs||Two||802.11 A/C, 5.8 GHz Radio Frequency, 802.11 a/b/g/n||Yes||4|
1. N600Dual BandNETGEAR – Best Budget Router
Offering dual-band connectivity, long range, and a fast wireless performance, the N6000 Wi-Fi Router has been a huge success. In addition to this, it has an aesthetic appeal, an affordable price tag, and a natural Web interface. That said, it is not without its shortcomings.
If you are looking for big, pointed antennas adorning your device, you won’t find them in the Netgear. This device has internal antennas so you won’t have to worry about their direction.
However, you can know in which direction they have pointed thanks to the eight LED-lights sitting atop the device. This lack of external antennas means that this device is more compact and tidy than devices with external antennas.
Thanks to its setup application which is named as Netgear Genie, it took us less than five minutes setting up the whole package. Remember, in those five minutes, we unpacked the N600, installed its application and got the whole thing running. The instructions were so easy to follow I don’t think you’d have any trouble getting the device up and running.
Turning our attention to its features, and it needs reminding that N600 supports dual-band connectivity. Put simply, it means that it would support both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. While the former frequency can be used for browsing the internet, the 5GHz frequency makes playing hardcore games a cinch.
You might ask: how would I set those frequencies? Well, thanks to the user-friendliness of this device, setting the frequencies is super easy. For, it comes with two wireless networks, one for each frequency. Depending on your needs, you can turn both the frequencies ON and OFF alternatively.
What’s more, this device will also let you form a guest network on both bands. Guest networks come handy if you have guests most of the time and you don’t want them to impede your wireless’s speed. For example, if you are an office holder –guest networks won’t let the guess access your personal files or printer.
One more feature which I would really like to talk about is the Traffic Meter. As its name might imply, this tool lets you control N600’sbandwidth. For instance, you can set an upper limit on data – meeting which all further downloads will be stopped. This feature is particularly useful if you have a data plan that isn’t limited.
Surprisingly, the Netgear N600 doesn’t support Gigabit Ethernet. As hardcore gamers will testify, this is a feature which only the most low-end routers don’t provide
Despite the obvious shortcoming – lack of Gigabit Ethernet, the N600 has more than enough features to compensate. It is affordable, offers a plethora of useful features and even allows you to set your bandwidth limit. What more could you ask for!
2. AC1300ASUS RT-ACRH13Dual-BandGigabit – Best Signal Strength
Despite the fact that it’s 2018, some devices still provide its users with the traumatic USB 3.0 experience. Have doubts? Look no further: the AC1300 is one of those devices. However, to balance things, it has provided a whole lot of other, more useful features. So it would be cruel if we ignore the latter and criticize AC1300 for the former.
In the buyer guide succeeding the product reviews, we have talked about the importance of smartphone integration. Although it might not be the feature you are anxiously looking forward to, it will help you the most.
You may ask: how will it do that?
By virtue of the intuitive ASUS App. For instance, the app will provide you with the exact speed AC1300is providing at any particular instance. Also, you’d be able to see how many devices are connected at any time. Similarly, you can monitor and manage the bandwidth from the app as well.
To take things up a whole new level, ASUS has provided this device with the MU-MIMO technology. This technology allows the AC1300 to switch between the two frequencies on its own. Depending on which band is providing more speed at the time, it will automatically switch, without letting you know. In this way, you’d get the best Wi-Fi speed without asking. Isn’t that brilliant?
Have doubts about my claim? Just run the speedtest.net app. You’ll be amazed – in a good way – to see the speed coming your way.
Also, if you didn’t buy Netgear N600 for the lack of antennas, this one has four of them. To be honest, I didn’t see any performance difference between these four antennas and the invisible ones of N600. Still, if you like the sight of antennas powering your entire home with signals, you’ll love this band of four.
Beamforming technology is another feature which justifies the slightly high price tag of this device. By virtue of this technology, gone are the days when your wireless routers pumped signals in all directions. Instead, by sensing where most of the connected devices are, it will send signals in the same direction. You won’t have to come down from your room and close to the device in search of better signals strength.
Finally, setting up this device is the easiest task you’ll do throughout the day. Consisting of only three steps – yes, ONLY THREE, setting up the device will take less than two minutes.
Attaching USB Ports to theAC1300 always seemed to me as a pleasing idea. However, ASUS could have done better than integrating this device with a USB 3.0 Port. It slows down the transfer of data from the flash drive to the AC1300.
Combining useful features, user-friendly interface and a competitive price tag, the AC1300 from ASUS merits your attention. Yes, it does have shortcomings, but the list of features mentioned above does more than enough to compensate.
3. AC1750ASUS Dual-Band4-Port – Best Mid-Range Router
Although this article is dedicated to hardcore gamers, even small business owners will find the features of this ASUSAC1750 delightful. Though relatively pricey, it provides excellent range, has good performance and advanced features.
If you ignore the three weird-looking antennas, this device is a thing of art. For example, the casing Ha a delightful diamond-shaped pattern and also has ASUS’ branding in gold color at the top.
You can also find connection status, USB device connections, and wireless bands thanks to the nine LED-lights. Finally, once the connection is active, the LED-lights will turn solid blue, telling you it’s time to game.
One thing which frustrated me about ASUS AC1750 was its setup guide. At a time when most manufacturers try to make this experience as seamless as possible, ASUS has done exactly the opposite, at least with this device.
To set up it up, you’ll have to connect the ASUS AC1750 via one of the LAN ports to the computer. This, however, is the easy part. The difficult part starts when the “Quick” Start Guide comes into play. Everything – right from the connection of cables to the positioning of antennas is mentioned here. Not Good!
To make my mood better, everything after the setup process went ahead seamlessly. For, there was the smartphone app which has become a part and parcel of ASUS devices. Also, I was happy to find that ASUS AC1750 runs on the latest, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, hence ensuring that I get the best speed on offer.
What was more important to me was the feature known as Quality of Service (QOS). Though relatively underrated, this feature alone has the tendency to take your gaming experience to the next level. How? Let’s explain with an example.
Let’s assume that you are playing Call of Duty and browsing Facebook at the same time. Now, as you know, it is the former that requires amore uninterrupted flow of data from the Wi-Fi. What if your Wi-Fi knows that and provides uninterrupted supply to your game, at the cost of Facebook?
This is actually what the QOS feature does. It prepares a list of functions which are getting Wi-Fi signals from the router. Based on their usage, it decides which one needs data the most, before sending the data to the same.
Put simply, if you want to play Call of Duty without any mid-game hinges, the QOS feature is one you need to have.
Lastly, the firewall properties of this device are top notch. They allow you to block content by URL or keyword, hence ensuring you don’t receive any malicious information. What’s more, you can also block whole networking services as well.
It’s difficult to set up. That is the one, major problem which most users reported with this device.
If you, like me, have the nerves to go through the setup process, the upcoming features will brighten your mode. Hence, when I see it now, I assume that the mental cost which I paid while dealing with the setup process was worth it now that I have tasted the features on offer.
4. TP-Link AC1900 - Best Long Range
Not many Wi-Fi routers have been sold as many times on Amazon as the AC1900. This despite the fact that it is far from inexpensive. So, you may wonder, its popularity will have something to do with its features.Let’s find out.
Classy. If you ask me a one word review of its appearance, this is the term I would use. In addition to the glossy finish on top, it has silver accents playing further emphasizing its good looks. Add to it its hardback book size, and you have a classy-yet-sturdy model in your hands.
Although setting this device is a cinch, there was one anomaly which I detected afterwards. For, TP link claims that it supports double band connectivity. It does that, but not before you ask it to. In simple words, it comes with pre-determined frequencies as default: 2.4GHz for UK and 5GHz for the USA. Hence, if you don’t live in the US, you’d have to reset the frequencies to make sure you get the best speed. Check our list of best wireless routers to chose one of best speed.
Changing the frequencies was straightforward, and this is when I came across the Guest Network setting. Included in the package, this setting allows you to set two guest networks – one for each band. In this way, you can make sure no outsider-access for your sensitive documents, whether at home or in the office.
What impressed me more than the freedom to theguest network was the ability to up and downgrade bandwidth control. I don’t have unlimited Internet data at my disposal so I normally require a router which allows me to set an upper limit so that I don’t go beyond my means. Thankfully, by allowing me to control my network’s bandwidth, the TP-Link AC1900 gave me just that.
As for the wireless range, it was fantastic, to say the least. Maybe, it had something to do with the beamforming technology which is on offer should you choose to buy AC1900. As stated above, the beamforming technology detects where the device using the internet is. Afterward, it directs all its signals towards that direction.
To finish off, I couldn’t help but commend the 24*7 customer support provided by TP-link. Not limited to this product, you can utilize this support when you are installing theTP-Link AC1900 to schmooze through the whole installation process, and that too with no cost whatsoever.
One problem with non-US based users had with this device was its default settings. For example, the frequency bands came preset. That means that whether or not you like it, a 2.4Ghz band might be allocated to your location. So, before start using the device, check what its default band is.
The thumb pad of this keyboard is not fixed properly and needs adjustment. However, it’s still useable though very squeezed and you will occasionally touch it when using the keyboard.
5. NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 – Best Under $200 Router
Being a combination of Netgear’s Genie software and super-fast 5GHz speed, the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 will make short work of your gaming. That said, for anybody who is interested in its shortcomings, the short Wi-Fi range is a big red herring.
At 11.2*7.3*2.0’’, the AC1900 is one of Netgear’s smallest. That doesn’t mean that its miniscule design didn’t allow Netgear to innovate. It is full of innovative technologies – and the three antennas attached to its back side are just one example.
For example, these antennas are enough on their own which means you can aim them to get the strongest possible signal. However, if you feel that they are letting signals go in wane, you can unscrew them and install third-party options. There will be no bad effect on the performance of the Nighthawk AC1900.
Looking closely at its front side and you’ll notice at least a dozen LED-lights. These lights aren’t there without a reason and serve useful purposes. Each of these lights has specific functions to perform: one mentioned at their bottom.
For instance, by checking all the lights, you can gauge whether it is ON, connected to the Internet, on which band is the activity going on. What’s more, these lights also show WPS, whether or not you have turned on Wi-Fi transmissions and if the Ethernet ports are active or not. Hence, they are more than useful.
As for its performance, I was amazed – in a good way to see that the Nighthawk AC1900router backs open source support. This feature is helpful if you plan on using it for long. For, to give you one example, older iPhones stop working when Apple stops sending updates. Similar is the case with many old routers when their manufacturer stops send firmware updates, rendering it susceptible to online attacks.
However, since Netgear has made the Nighthawk AC1900open source, it means you can update its firmware on its own. That is, you can purchase from the market any supporting firmware and update it. This feature alone has added years to the life of the Nighthawk AC1900.
Finally, to just gloss over its most important features, you get Quality of Service feature from the AC1900. It also supports simultaneous dual bands – hence making sure you get the best Wi-Fi speeds. The Netgear App which comes alongside allows you to perform various changes to your Wi-Fi right from your smartphone.
Users have mostly voiced two complaints about this model. They complain that its range isn’t simply enough. Also, if you love warranties, the 1-year warranty offered by AC1900 won’t satiate your appetite.
For those of you looking for an affordable router with all the high-end features, the AC1900 is all you need. Though it doesn’t have the range to fill multiple stories, it is best for online gaming due to the high speed on offer.
If looks could sell a product, the D-link AC3200 might have been the best seller on Amazon. It has a Sci-fi appearance, one which is aided by the six antennas in tow. However, before you assume anything, allow me to clarify that looks aren’t the only thing worthwhile about this model.
Look at any other router, and the best of them will provide only two Wi-Fi networks. The AC3200 has upped the ante by providing as many as three (two 5GHz and one 2.4GHz). If you aren’t a nerd, I recommend combining all three networks into a single, Smart Connect mode. Doing so will allow the AC3200 to choose the best band for you.
It also has a built-in VPN, which allows you to access your home network stealthily. Taking advantage of this feature, however, is far from easy. For, you have to have a knowledge of the Dynamic DES to take full use of it.
On towards the features which you can actually use, and the AC SmartBeam deserves a mention. Rather than you sitting close to the device to get signals, this technology will make sure that it is the signals that will chase connected devices and not the other way around.
Also, in most homes, multiple devices use Wi-Fi at the same time. If your home is one of them, the Smarter Bandwidth offered by the AC3200is a godsend.
By looking at the activities which each user is performing on the Internet, it will allocate maximum traffic to the one whose activity asks for it. In simple words, if you are playing COD and have a brother browsing Facebook, you’ll receive maximum traffic thanks to SmartBeam.
The lack of detachable antennas hasn’t made life easy for some users. For others – who are in majority, its relatively high price serves as a major deterrent.
If yours is a small home which has lots of Wi-Fi using devices, this device will make you happy. Yes, it doesn’t have a lot of features, but it has those which you can actually use. So, unless you don’t want something extra, the D-link AC3200 will suffice.
7. NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 – Under $300 Router
As you might have guessed by now, there are two types of gaming routers available in the market. One, there are those which contain a LOT of features. Then there are others which contain a LOT of usable features. The Netgear AC3200 belongs to the latter category.
If uninterrupted video streaming is your dream, it will come true provided you have the pockets to buy this model. It has a maximum speed of 3.2Gbps. Although your network might not achieve it, in reality, it should give you a taste ofits speed range. So, if you want breathtaking Wi-Fi speed over a large number of devices, the X6 AC3200 is what you need.
Once again, just like the abovementioned AC1900, the AC3200 also provides three Wi-Fi networks. However, it has something extra when compared to its counterpart: the Smart Connect technology. Provided you let this technology take over the reins from you, it will select the best Wi-Fi for every device. It means you won’t have to fret over manually selecting best Wi-Fis for every device.
To get the signals no matter where you are, the AC3200 uses two different but complementing technologies, the first of which is the QOS. This technology prioritizes the length of bandwidth based on the usage by each device. It means every device will get Wi-Fi based on the activity that might be going on it at that time.
Second, if you choose to buy Nighthawk X6, the beamforming technology will chase your device to send signals. It means you’ll never have to leave your bed and sit close to the device to get uninterrupted signal supply.
Aiding beamforming in its quest to deliver signals at your feet are the six antennas and powerful amplifiers. While most other devices use only antennas, Netgear has justified the price tag by providing signal amplifiers.
Apart from its seemingly crazy price tag, users have also complained about the performance of the 2.4Ghz band. According to them, this band – whenever selected by Smart Connect, slows down the Wi-Fi.
Although it contains a host of useful features, shortcomings like the buggy 2.4Ghz band badly let down this device. For, when someone is paying as much as this device demands, he would expect seamless performance, one which isn’t provided in this case.
8. D-Link Ultra AC5300 – Best for Gaming Experience
If you have very deep pockets – and I mean VERY, only then you can afford to have a go at this device. Boosting an eye-watering cost, it has all the features which you can expect from such an astronomically-priced device.
Overlooking the number of antennas D-Link Ultra AC5300 has– it has six of them, we are more concerned with their upgradability. For, it is the flexibility and not the number of antennas which dictates how good they are. Luckily, D-link recognizes this fact as they have made the antennas upgradeable to let you change them with a better option if you want.
That said, you might not want to change anything in a device which is so pricey. And that is where the MU-MIMO technology comes into play. This tech allows the AC5300 to connect multiple devices at the same time, while not letting speed to compromise.
Continuing our discussion about its speed, the 4*4 data steams mean you can enjoy lag free gaming experience, while also viewing 4K HD videos without the nuisance of buffering. If that wasn’t enough to satiate your speeding appetite, rest assured that the Nitro QAM technology won’t let you down.
While speed is also important, it would be useless if the range of the Wi-Fi signals isn’t good. Once again, by virtue of its AC Smart Beam technology, the AC5300’s signals won’t leave you alone. They have the capability to track down connected devices before inundating them with signals. It means there will never be adearth of signals no matter what your distance is from the device.
Also, if you aren’t a nerd, you’d love the three band technology of AC5300. Provided you give it free reins, this technology will decide which device deserves how many signals. It means that signals will be divided on the basis of activity carried out across each device. So you won’t have to suffer game lag while your friend is browsing freely on Facebook.
As suggested above, a ridiculously expensive price is the one, major turnoff about this device.
Be it design, features or setup, this device stacks right up there with the best of the lot. Hence, if you can afford to pay its asking price, it is likely you won’t have any regrets afterwards.
9. NETGEAR AC5300 Nighthawk X8 Tri-Band – Technologically Loaded
Are you a fan of data streams? Want not one, not two, but four of them simultaneously? Provided you are nodding in agreement, the features of Nighthawk X8means you are in dreamland.
For those users who are always on the look of more antennas, it has eight of them – four internal, four external. Hence, provided you pay your monthly Internet bills on time, there will never be ashortage of signals around you.
If you have used old routers in the past, you might testify that, after a few years, manufacturers normally stop sending firmware updates. This, in simple words, means that the device is all but useless. However, since this device comes with an open source firmware, it will never go out of fashion. You can use it for years with no wait for manufacturer updates as you can get them on your own.
This device, like other expensive models out there, also provides three Wi-Fi bands. This, however, is not the big news. The big news lies in how this device distributes these bands based on your Internet activity.
Taking help from the technology named Smart Connect, it will allocate Wi-Fi bands based on the activity on your device. These bands, in turn, will complement the activity you are carrying on your device. Put simply, if you are playing COD and your friend is browsing Google, it is you who will get more speed.In this way, the AC5300 Netgear will make sure that every device gets the best band for the activity going on it.
Most users have one major problem with this device: the customer service. While very few had any problems with its features, of the few who had, the customer service was poor, to say the least.
Despite costing in the upper echelons of prices, this device has a fair few features to lure customers. It is the most technologically advanced router to have ever come out of Netgear’s warehouse. Hence, if not anything else, this fact should calm your nerves which are tingling after seeing its price tag.
10. Linksys WRT AC1900 – Best for Pro Gamers
It’s a drone in disguise. These were my first feelings when seeing this device on the Amazon. Thankfully, it didn’t fly and let me check all of its features for this review. Here’s how it fared.
After its design, another feature which raised my hopes of this device was the way it allowed me to prioritize websites for better speed. Put simply, if you browse high data consuming sites occasionally, it lets you set prioritize those sites. Afterward, the device would automatically send more Wi-Fi speed whenever you open that site.
What’s more, if you have children who are having exams, you can check their Wi-Fi routine via the Visual Map feature. As the name implies, this feature will let you see the exact locations from where the connected devices are operating. Hence, while you might love this feature, your school-going age children might hate it.
Another area of praise about this device is the way it lets you open source it. For, be it the antennas, the power cord or even the firmware, it allows you to replace anything from the market. In this way, even when the manufacturer will stop sending updates, you can update the firmware on your own.
Despite its low price, AC1900 provides you with a feature which you normally find in high-priced options: beamforming technology. As explained above, this technology makes sure the signals reach you no matter where you are. So you won’t have to leave your room and sit close to the device for better signal transmission.
Although it isn’t astronomically priced, its price is anything but cheap. For this price, you at least expect MU-MIMO technology or Quality of Service. Sadly, it provides neither.
The AC1900 provides good Wi-Fi speed, comes open source ready and even boosts the high-end beamforming technology. If you think you can live without MU-MIMO, there is no reason why the AC1900 isn’t worth a shot.
11. ASUS Dual-band Wireless-AC1900 (RT-AC68U) – High Speed Wi-Fi
If you are an advanced gamer or a professional user, the stellar performance, a plethora of useful features and solid build of AC1900 make it worth every penny.
Have doubts about my claim? You know what to do: scroll down.
Before the inception of AC68U, AC66U was the protagonist of ASUS. Hence, comparisons are bound to arise between this model and its predecessor. On the first count – that of weight, this model weighs 200g more, hence giving an indication that it comes fully packed with new hardware.
What’s the new hardware, you might ask? For starters, it has five Gigabit Ethernet ports for people who want stable, fast wired connected. I know you might scoff at this idea, but hey, we used Wired connections before Wi-Fi. Why not give it a try again?
Setting up this device took me less time than writing its review. All credit goes to the ASUS graphical user interface which made the whole process a cinch. Once connected, I had to stay safe from online threats, and that was where the AiProtection reared its beautiful head.
Powered by Trend Micro, the AiProtection provides multi-stage protection. It doesn’t matter which device you are using the Wi-Fi signals. For, from blocking malicious sites to preventing uncalled for storage of your data, it will do all, silently.
As for the Wi-Fi speed, I had to say that it was breathtaking. Since we were using premium testing hardware, the Wi-Fi hit a top speed of 42 before going down. To retest what we had witnessed, we rechecked the device again, to similar results. So, if anything, the Wi-Fi speed offered by this device is unprecedented.
If you aren’t an advanced Wi-Fi user, you might not take advantage of the extra Wi-Fi speed on offer. Also, you will have to buy a stand since this device isn’t wall mountable.
If you think you have what it takes to benefit from high speed, the ASUS AC68U is calling. What’s more, it doesn’t cost much, so you can afford to experiment whether or not its high speed benefits you.
12. AMPED WIRELESS RTA2600 – Best For Gaming
Gamers usually love routers which are customizable and that is the reason why we included this on our list. Extremely customizable, it lets you replace/change its settings to take your gaming experience to a whole new level.
Why do we declare it the best for gaming, you might ask? Here’s the main reason: the scintillating double band experience offered to us by the RTA2600. Put simply, while its 5 GHz band offered a top speed of 1733Mbps, the 2.4 GHz band went as far as 800Mbps. Hence, unlike other routers in this review, it doesn’t matter which band you’ll select, both will provide breathtaking speed.
Speed on its own, however, wasn’t enough for us. As gamers, we like to play with friends sitting around us. It means that we want them to have the same gaming experience as us. Consequently, we cannot afford a router which picks and chooses users to deliver high speed. What we want, however, is the MU-MIMO technology so that everybody gets equal speed.
And as our earlier declaration might have insinuated, the RTA2600does just that. In fact, we streamed four high quality, 4k videos at the same time. None of them stopped for browsing even once for the course of their respected time periods.And while the four antennas and eight amplifiers might have been enough, Amped Wireless wasn’t taking any chances on the range of Wi-Fi Signal. So, in addition to these twelve – yes TWELVE monsters, this Wi-Fi still has the beaming technology. It means no matter where you are sitting in your house, the Wi-Fi signals will get you.
Users have complained that the coverage area of the RTA2600isn’t as advertised. Some also complained about the price tag.
If you live in a one story apartment – and are looking for a device to fill it with signals, go for AMPED WIRELESS RTA2600. However, if your house is bigger than this, look at other options in this review.
Gaming Router Buyer Guide
You might think: why should I go through this guide when I have already chosen a gaming router?
This guide is designed to let you avoid the potholes in which most other gamers fall while choosing a router. In other words, you’d have enough information after going through this guide to make sure no shopper can con you into buying a faulty product.
Why You Need A
Since you are going to spend a substantial amount of money on it, you need to ask this question. Hence, while your friends might see it as something trivial, we won’t. Here are the top reasons why you need a router:Gamers are a sensitive breed. Things as “small” as an unstable Internet Connection or slow Wi-Fi speeds could ruin their day. While we couldn’t do anything about the former – yet – we have to make sure you don’t have any problems relating to the latter. Select any of the routers from the abovementioned list, and nobody will ever complain that you are too sensitive.
And how could you connect multiple devices at the same time – while assuring that each of them has the same network speed?
Yes, via a router.
That is why you need a router. Put simply, it ensures your PC’s IP address isn’t accessible to the Internet provider. As a result, it stays away from the criminals.
So, if you want to reduce a number of ping spikes to negligible, you need a router.
Things You Need To Look For while Purchasing A Gaming Router
Go For 802.11ac Wi-Fi
There are two types of Wi-Fi standards available in the market: 802.11ac and 802.11n. Of the two, the former is the latest, hence our recommendation that you choose it.
There’s a reason why we are recommending that. For, ask Wi-Fi nerds, and they will tell you that when it comes to speed, 802.11ac is miles ahead. Put simply, while 802.11ac is capable of 1300MBps speed, which is 3x faster than the 450MBps speed offered by 802.11n.
One more thing, despite being technologically advanced, the 802.11ac Wi-Fi is available at an extremely competitive price. So you won’t have to pay over the odds to get it.
High Frequency Band (5GHz)
After you plug the network cable into a Wi-Fi router, the radio waves transmitting Internet signal will have two choices. Either they can transmit it through the 2.4GHz frequency or they can do the same via 5GHz frequency. These frequencies are also known as bands.
When Wireless routers were introduced for the first time, they only had one frequency band: the 2.4GHz. However, with the passage of time – and after demands from customers for greater speed, they introduced the 5GHz frequency.
Apart from providing better speeds, the 5GHz band provides another, subtle advantage: it saves your device from outside interference.
Most Wi-Fi using devices still run on the older 2.4GHz brand. This creates a lot of interference, resulting in weak Wi-Fi Signals.
However, when you will buy a router which has a5GHz frequency, there won’t be as much interference from outside devices. Consequently, both the speed as well as the strength of your Wi-Fi signals will increase.
Talking about wireless routers, their most important characteristic is the range of their signals. Obviously, that device which provides a greater signal range is better. That is exactly why you need to go for dual band connectivity.
As suggested by its name, a dual-band wireless router will operate on two bands: 2.5GHz and 5GHz. This is in stark contrast to its predecessor which operates on only one band: the 2.5GHz one.
Consequently, since it is able to connect to both bands, a dual-band router has the option to pick and choose. In other words, after sensing signals from both bands, it will choose the one which offers theleast resistance. This reduction in resistance, in turn, will make sure you have extra signal strength
Apart from the signal strength, another advantage which a dual-band user will give you is speed. Since it operates on the 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a dual-band router is capable of providing between 500 and 900 Mbps. That is, if you have more than one people using the Internet at thesame time, you need a dual-band wireless router.
To summarize, if you want better speed, have more people using the Wi-Fi at the same time or like browsing high definition videos, a dual-band router is all you need.
Since we have recommended choosing 802.11ac standard, it offers many speeds. These speeds are based on the combination posed by 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. For example, if you are using AC 1200 at 2.4GHz, it will have a maximum speed of 300Mbps. If you are using the same AC1200 at 5GHz, it will offer a maximum speed of 867Mgps.
That said, there is a reason why we named the speeds as “maximum”, which means you might not be able to get it at home. This is because there are a number of factors which limit Wi-Fi speeds. As long as you don’t eliminate those factors, it would be impossible for you to attain maximum speed.
In the past, your phone, laptop and streaming TV took turns receiving downloads from your router. In other words, only when one device was done with receiving data from the device that the other stepped forward. Currently, the situation has changed with all of them able to simultaneously stream or download from the internet.
Have you ever contemplated the reason for the change?
Well, the reason is Multiple User, Multiple Input – Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology. To abstain from sounding too technical, this technology lets your router send data to multiple users/devices simultaneously.
While the technology is complex to understand, its effects are as visible as a sunny day. To see the technology in action, here’s a small experiment you can perform:
Connect multiple devices to the sametransmitter simultaneously. Afterward, start browsing high quality videos on each. If all the devices stream the video without a hitch, your router is already using the MU-MIMO technology. However, if the videos continue to stream intermittently, it is probably time you go out and buy a new router.
With a device that has a built-in MU-MIMO technology, you’ll get two advantages. First, it will make your network faster. Second, it will increase its capacity, which means it will enable your network to handle more devices simultaneously.
That said, like any other technology which is relatively new, MU-MIMO has few shortcomings. The most important of which is its inability to work anywhere but in the 5GHz band. That is, if your router is using the 2.4GHz frequency band, you might not be able to utilize this technology.
Actually, you might not need to know about beamforming because nearly all modern routers have it built-in. However, if you want to contemplate its benefits, you need to know what it does, and how it benefits you.
In simple words, the term beamforming dictates the ability of the router to direct signals towards the intended wireless device. That is, wherever you are sitting, the signals will be able to detect your presence. As a result, you won’t have to go searching for them.
While this technology has now become ubiquitous, the older, 802.11n Wi-Fi routers had problems with it. For, in those routers, both the router and the device had to be made by the same manufacturer for the technology to be working.
Thankfully, this restriction has now been lifted with the arrival of new, 802.11ac Wi-Fi routers. Nowadays, regardless of the brand difference, beamforming comes built-in in most routers.
Open Source Firmware
Like any other technological device, routers have firmware built-in into their memory. Whenever a router is susceptible to attack, its manufacturer releases the necessary update to patch up the loophole. Consequently, the router remains safe from malware attacks.
Unfortunately, the abovementioned argument holds true only for the latest routers. In simple words, with the passage of time, even the best of manufacturers stop sending updates. For, they believe that it is useless to continue working on older products when they have new ones to turn to.
However, since home owners and office goers continue using the same routers for years, it is they who become a potential target of attacks due to this decision.
It is why we recommend buying a router which supports open source firmware.
If you have a router which supports it, no longer will you need to rely on the manufacturer for updates? Rather, as Buffalo has done with their AC1750 router, you can open source it from the market.
Hence, if you have an open source firmware, you can make sure your router stays protected for years. What’s more, you don’t even have to rely on manufacturer updates for the security.
Tell me: do you like visiting the router’s web interface every time you need to change the Wi-Fi Password? Me neither. That is why you need a router which is integrated with your smartphone.
In recent years, some manufacturers have produced routers which offer an Android or iOS application in the package. Via these apps, you can control some, if not all of the functions that previously required visiting the router’s website.
If your wireless extender can be integrated with your smartphone, there are major advantages to garner. For example, you don’t have to remember the login and web address every time the Wi-Fi password needs changing. You can do this and much more from your smartphone.
Quality Of Service
Have you ever wondered why Facebook opens in a second but HD vides take an eternity to start? The reason for this anomaly is simple: your router lacks Quality of Service or QOS.
If your router provides QOS, it means it prioritizes critical data over the less important traffic. For example, if you are playing Call of Duty and browsing Facebook at the same time, it is the former that requires anuninterrupted flow of data. If your router has QOS, it will sense this, and supply the data to COD without any interference.
What’s more, some routers give you the option to designate certain sites as apriority. Do that, and you’ll see how those websites would open uninterrupted all the time.
Hence, if you want low ping while playing games – or normally require a lot of internet bandwidth, you need QoS.
Even if it ticks all the right boxes,your router will be useless if it doesn’t deliver high bandwidth. For, it is bandwidth which determines the speed of your internet. Set it high, and you can schmooze through Call of Duty Sessions without a hitch. Drop it low, and you’ll have a hard time playing 8 Ball Pool.
You may ask: how much bandwidth is too much? Luckily, this question has a definite answer: 160Hz. This figure will be mentioned on your router, provided it is latest.
Beware that there are some old routers in the market which still offer the outdated 40Hz bandwidth. In case you have made the mistake of buying them, you can say goodbye to your COD sessions.
Like any other equipment available on the internet, gaming routers come with a warranty. However, their presence is the only thing which unites warranties. For, both the lengths to which they will apply and the terms of which they remain valid are mostly different.
Whereas a better warranty may indicate the confidence the manufacturer has it his product, a small warranty would indicate exactly the opposite. Another area where different warranties fare differently is the components which each of them covers.
For example, there are some warranties which only cover the inner parts of the router. There are others, however, which also covers the antenna. Remember, the more parts a warranty says it will cover, the costlier the product will be. Hence, you need to get a product which is an amalgam of good quality/features and acceptable warranty.
What is Your Budget?
Have you ever heard the term cost transparency? It indicates that the company is upright with you by hiding no additional costs. Sadly, when it comes to gaming routers, cost transparency isn’t to be seen.
Have doubts about my claim? Look at any Wi-Fi router on Amazon. Once there, on paying close attention, you’ll see two costs. The first is that of the item only. The other includes setup and other services which will be provided by a local pro.
However, if you think you can install the router on your own, the cost transparency debate goes out the window. What matters is the amount of money you are willing to pay. Even if you think you’re getting a steal on a product, hang around a little, searching other sites for the same product.
Some times, companies reduce the prices of their products. Such sales are usually valid for new products. So, by scouring the Internet, you’re giving yourself the chance to get the best value for your money.
How To Clean?
Just like everything else, routers have a life span, beyond which they will be useless. Hence, we cannot make them immortal by mere cleaning. What we can do, however, is to increase their shelf life. It is for this purpose that you need to clean your router.
As any other electric device, the greatest damage posed to a router is by heat stress. Since it has to work to connect all of your devices, a router gets heated. This heat, when it goes above the safe limits, has the potential to damage its wires and components.
To prevent this heat from building in, router manufacturers provide it with vents. These vents allow the heat to escape, thereby keeping the inner router temperature at a manageable level. The problem arises when these vents get clogged with dust.
When they do, there is no way for the heat to escape. What’s more, the smaller a router, the smaller its vents, and the more danger there is of heat buildup.
Use An Air Blower
One of the simplest ways to clean your router is to blow air through it. This highly pressurized air will clean the vents and allow the trapped heat to escape. Here’s how you can clean your router via a blower:
- Unplug the router
- Tip it to its side from where you can see the vents
- Clean the vents using a blow of compressed air – you can purchase compressed air from most electronic stores
- If you still see specks of dust, pick them out with a cotton swab. Remember, you need to scoop the dust out, and not poke at it, doing which will only drive the specs further.
Note: You need to clean your router once every month. That said, if you live in a dusty area, carry out that cleanup operation every fifteen days. Don’t worry about time for all the whole process will take is no more than twenty minutes.
Mistakes To Avoid
Ifyou want your router to operate seamlessly,you shouldn’t give it reasons to do otherwise. Put simply, all of us inadvertently make some mistakes which reduce our Wi-Fi’s speed. Take hold of them, and you’ll be good for ever.
Not Putting It In A Central Location
Ask experienced router users, and they might testify to the importance of a router’s location. You just cannot place it behind a large metallic fixture, in a cupboard or alongside a concrete beam.
Why I hear you ask?
Well, obstructions mentioned above are a line of sight barriers. In other words, they would weaken signals by obstructing their path to your device.
What should I do then, I hear you ask?
You should put your router in a more central location. For example, for those living in multistoried buildings, placing routers close to the stairs is recommended. Conversely, if yours is a studio apartment, place your router on an elevated surface to allow it to distribute signals evenly.
Using Its Default Channel
I know how tempting it can be once you purchased a product, to unpack it and start using right away. However, unless you aren’t averting a nuclear war, you shouldn’t do that. For, if you do it, you will likely use the default channel of your router.
It is where the problem lies.
Unless you live in a far off valley, your default channel will be the same as that of your neighbor. Consequently, interference will start to occur, weakening your wireless performance.
To prevent this from happening, you need to change your Wi-Fi channel. I know what you’re thinking: but I’m not a geek. Well, you don’t need to, all the whole process will take is a couple of minutes. The duration hould suggest how easy the whole process is.
Assuming More Antennas = Better Range
When purchasing a router, most people equate the number of antennas of the router with its signal range. They assume, wrongly, that the more the number of antennas, the better will be the wireless range.
As you might guess from my tone, this assumption is wrong.
The range of Wi-Fi signal isn’t dependent on the number of antennas, or any number for that matter. If anything, it depends on the orientation of the antenna. And if you want better Wi-Fi reception, experts recommend keeping the orientation perpendicular.
Ignoring The 5gHz Frequency Band
As we suggested in the buyer’s guide, you need to go for dual-band connectivity. Your work, however, doesn’t stop there. For, after investing in a router which offers dual-band connectivity, make sure its 5GHz radio is enabled.
But why, I hear you ask?
Forthe simple reason that since the 2.4GHz band is ubiquitous, it will be more cluttered all the time. Consequently, if you are also using it, there would be more interference all the time. This interference, as you might guess, will temper with the performance of the router.
So, if you want to avoid this avoidable interference, just enable the 5GHz band of your router.
Not Checking For Regular Firmware Updates
Of late, some manufacturers have come up with routers which automatically check for updates, before upgrading.However, if your device is a bit old, there is a very good chance that it doesn’t update regularly.Hence, you might need to check regularly for updates.
How would the updates benefit me, I hear you ask?
New updates bring with them important functions, new settings and performance improvements which can greatly improve the performance of your Wi-Fi.
Regularly updating your device is especially critical for those users who have a new router. For, these routers only receive updates once new Wi-Fi standards are both finalized and approved. What’s more, new updates can remove the loopholes left out in the previous one, hence making your device secure.
Gamers are a sensitive breed. Things as “small” as an unstable Internet Connection or slow Wi-Fi speeds could ruin their day. While we couldn’t do anything about the former – yet – we have to make sure you don’t have any problems relating to the latter.
Select any of the routers from the above mentioned list, and nobody will ever complain that you are too sensitive.
Related Buyer's Guides:
- Best Gaming Desks
- Best Mechanical Keyboards for Gaming
- Best Travel Wireless Routers
- Best Secure Routers
- Best routers with longer range