Helping you understand what stats are important to make a great Gaming Router. In this article, I will describe what sets them apart and why you need one to stay ahead of your competition….
Most Important Gaming Router specs:
- Wireless Standard Supported
- How Many WiFi Bands are used
- Processor Speed and Number of Cores
- Dedicated Memory
- Ability to Set up a Priority Device
- Number and Type of Antennas
- Does it Support Beamforming?
- Number Ethernet Ports – Does it Support Link Aggregation?
- Type and Number of USB Ports
Wireless Standard Supported
Obviously, to get the latest and greatest features from your gaming router you will want to get one that supports the latest wireless standards. At the minimum, you should have a gaming router that uses 802.11ac or WiFi 5. But my suggestion, of course, will be to find a gaming router that will support the new 802.11ax or WiFi 6 that is scheduled to be available by the end of 2019.
Both WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 are great for gamers and they are packed full of awesome features but obviously WiFi 6 will have some advantages. I will briefly cover a few of the highlights here, but if you want to read any more about the differences between WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 check out my other articles….https://wifinfo.com/what-is-wifi-6/
WiFi 6’s main advantage will be that it will allow multiple devices to be connected at full rate and used simultaneously. Wi-Fi 6 will help to solve one of the biggest issues that many people have had with Wi-Fi in the past, poor reliability in high-congested areas. It uses a technology called Mu-MiMo which stands for Multi-user/Multi-input/Multi-Output. I dive into explaining this more in-depth in my other articles, but basically it allows the wireless router and end devices to use multiple antennas to pass more bandwidth to multiple users at once without slowing the speed. So if you are a gamer that hates it when your game lags or disconnects when other people use your same home network then WiFi 6 will be something that you want.
How many WiFi Bands are used
There is a big difference in network performance, depending on how many WiFi bands are used.
Great gaming routers should be Tri-Band routers. What this means is that the gaming router actually uses 3 separate WiFi bands to allocate the highest performance to all devices. Tri-band routers use one 2.4 GHz band and two separate 5 GHz channels. The purpose of this is to group slower devices in the 2.4 GHz band and also to make sure that high-performance devices like game consoles can connect on one of the much faster 5 GHz bands. Good gaming routers automatically decide which devices should be in the 2.4 GHz or one of the much faster 5 GHz bands. This dramatically improves network performance with a very noticeable difference in gaming.
Processor Speed and Number of Cores
Just like in a computer, having a faster processor or CPU in your gaming router means better performance. Processor speeds are measured in GHz so the higher the number the faster the processor will work. Example a 1.8 GHz processor is faster than a 1.2 GHz. Another thing to consider about CPUs is the number of cores. Each core is like having an extra processor to share the workload. So, a quad-core processor has 4x the capability of a single core of the same GHz rating. You can think of it like having 4 people carrying something heavy versus just one person. 4 people will have a much easier time carrying a heavy load just like a quad-core processor will have a much easier time getting you the most speed and reliability to your game.
To even further your wireless gaming router technology and performance, some routers even use “co-processors” to further assist when needed. You can think of these co-processors as good friends who come over to help you move. It isn’t their main job but they sure can help when needed. Co-processors are a nice bonus feature in some higher-end gaming routers, not a requirement but welcome.
Just like in your PC, you want dedicated memory in your gaming router. Dedicated memory is a huge factor in how your gaming router will perform. More memory equals the ability of the router to do more things at one time. You can think of this as trying to open up 20 different windows on your PC. Without enough dedicated memory your system will lag. This works the same in your gaming router, the more memory it has available the more tasks it can do at once without slowing.
Memory is also known as RAM, and it is measured in either Mb (Megabits) or Gb (Giga-bits). One Gb equals 1,000 Mb. Most users will see a good improvement with anything above 512 Mb in their gaming router.
QoS/Ability to set up a Priority Device
Some routers allow you to use QoS (Quality of Service) and set up a priority device. This is a HUGE BENEFIT to gamers because this sets up your game system to get the best WiFi connectivity possible in your network. Image this, you are home playing a marathon game and you are in the final stage of your game….. Just then someone else gets home and logs on to the WiFi and you start to lag…..
Well, QoS/ setting up a priority device stops this from happening by ensuring that your game system gets dedicated bandwidth and won’t be slowed down by other devices on your WiFi.
Basically it tells the router that your game system is more important than the other devices on the network. 🙂
Each router that supports QoS will allow you to update the settings for it in the admin panel.
If you need help to access the admin panel, check the sticker on the bottom of your router or check out my article on how to change the password in your WiFi router. It lists how to get into the admin panel of many popular routers.
Type and number of Antena
Wireless routers use antennae to communicate with devices. The type and number of those antennae can significantly affect how well your game system will work on your WiFi.
Each router will have certain types of antenna, some will have an external antenna that you can reposition. The basic types of Antenna are directional and Omni-directional.
Directional antenna are pretty simple, they send out WiFi signals in one direction and can be positioned to get you a stronger signal to a certain area or device. These are great to use if you have a stationary game system or an important device that might be further away from your router. These allow you to point a signal directly towards the device.
Omni-Directional antenna is the opposite, they send out WiFi signals in every direction at once. These are great to use in most situations because they do offer wider coverage.
The next thing to consider is the number of antennae that the gaming router has. This is important because certain WiFi devices allow multiple streams of data at once which uses more than one antenna. So think of it this way, one antenna used between your router and game system is good but more are better. You want your router and game system to allow the use of multiple antennae at once. This allows more data to transmit back and forth which means better gaming.
Dedicated Beam Forming
Does the gaming router support dedicated beamforming? This is a pretty cool feature that focuses on the WiFi signal once the router connects to a device. This focused “Beam” reduces the amount of widespread signal sent out from the gaming router and instead, the router sends over a direct signal to the device and this improves performance. Think of this as turning on a light in whatever room you are in compared to turning on every room in the house. It is more efficient to have the light on in just the room you are using just like it is more efficient to have the gaming router send you a direct wireless signal.
Number and type of Ethernet Ports
There is a very cool technology out there called Link Aggregation that “bonds” two Ethernet ports together to increase the speed to double that of just one. This is truly amazing but most people just don’t have the bandwidth coming to their house now to actually utilize that feature yet.
Type and number of USB Ports
Most higher-end Gaming Routers come with a few USB ports. These USB Ports can be used from anything like connecting a USB device like a network printer or to connect a USB Flash drive for firmware updates of the router etc.. In the case of a gaming router, they are more often used to connect a high speed external hard drive via a lightning-fast 3.0 USB port.
Serious gamers like to have backup files and having a 3.0 USB port dedicated to using for a high speed external hard drive is a great option.
Gaming Router Specs Summary
The great thing about all of the WiFi technologies mentioned above is that they help you to get the most out of your WiFi for gaming. If you are looking for a gaming router make sure that it has whatever stats that are important to you. Each gamer is a bit different and what you need might be a little different than the next person.
Just make sure that you understand and consider the stats above, they should help you decide. Once I have some time to do some good reviews, I will give you a few gaming routers that I recommend.
and just remember, with all of the improvements of WiFi technology this is just the beginning…