Technology

Essentials of Best Router for Your Gaming Setup

If you are invested in a high-speed internet connection but still face speed-related issues, the offender is your router. Gaming routers are specifically designed and advertised for their superior speed. When engaging in online gaming, your router significantly impacts your overall experience. Your blazing-fast connection speed becomes futile if you’re stuck with a subpar router that can’t maintain a stable connection. Further, if you’re grappling with problems like disconnections, lag, or other gaming-related issues, consider exploring the optimal router settings, valuable tips, and effective tweaks for an enhanced gaming experience.

Why are Gaming Routers Unnecessary?

A gaming router is specially crafted to improve network settings for an optimal gaming experience, or at least that’s the message marketers aim to convey. They aim to persuade you that gaming routers provide unique benefits that standard routers cannot, encouraging you to invest more for a superior wifi connection. Although gaming routers may have held an advantage in the past, there’s currently little compelling reason to insist on using them. While they may offer certain advantageous features, like additional Ethernet ports and more potent antennas, these amenities are optional for casual gamers, especially when your gaming system is the sole device consuming bandwidth in your household.

Best Router for Your Gaming Setup:

Remember that a router labeled for gaming doesn’t automatically equate to superior performance. It should suffice perfectly if you discover a reliable non-gaming router with the appropriate specifications. Now, let’s explore how to fine-tune your router for gaming by leveraging the following choices and functionalities. These adjustments will assist in reducing network problems, enhancing overall performance, and, ideally, ensuring uninterrupted gaming sessions.

Enable Quality of Service

Quality of Service (QoS) is a router feature designed to prioritize data packets from specific connected devices. This feature proves valuable when multiple users are engaged in bandwidth-intensive activities on the network. For instance, if your spouse is streaming 4K content on Netflix and your son is video chatting and downloading large files in the background, these activities consume a substantial portion of your available bandwidth. When you attempt to play a game under these conditions, there needs to be more bandwidth left, resulting in lag and subpar performance.

Use Gigabit Ethernet Ports

Opt for a router equipped with gigabit Ethernet ports to ensure future-proofing and attain peak performance. Gigabit Ethernet can handle speeds up to 1,000Mbps, assuming your internet connection can support such speeds. If you have multiple gaming systems, seek a router with additional Ethernet ports to avoid needing a separate switch. If your router is distant from your gaming setup and running an Ethernet cable is impractical, consider using powerline adapters. These devices enable internet data transmission through standard power outlets in your home.

Use Modern Wi-Fi Standards

Ensuring your router supports the latest wireless standards is essential. Most routers display a designation like AC2600 or AX1500, indicating the standard they use and their theoretical maximum speed. AC, or Wi-Fi 5, was prevalent in routers in 2020. However, AX, or Wi-Fi 6, is emerging as the new standard. Currently, Wi-Fi 6-compatible devices are not widely available, and none of the current-generation gaming consoles support it. Therefore, investing in a Wi-Fi 6 model will future-proof your setup when in the market for a new router, but Wi-Fi 5 remains suitable.

Optimize Your Wireless Channel

One of the primary reasons to steer clear of Wi-Fi for gaming is the potential for Wi-Fi signals to interfere. When signals encounter interference, they may fail to reach their intended destination and must retransmit the data. In cases where interference accumulates, it increases latency and packet loss, adversely impacting your gaming experience. Interference can manifest on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, but it is notably more prevalent when utilizing the 2.4GHz band. The 2.4GHz band in the United States operates on just 11 channels, with only three being non-overlapping.

Schedule Reboots

When a device encounters issues, your initial troubleshooting step is likely familiar turning it off and then on again. This practice is particularly relevant when dealing with older routers, which can unexpectedly disconnect and freeze without apparent cause. You can streamline the process by establishing an automated router reboot schedule to preempt some frustrations. Some routers come equipped with this feature by default. If your router lacks this functionality, transitioning to custom router firmware might provide the necessary solution.

Universal Plug-and-Play

UPnP, short for Universal Plug and Play, is a common feature found on routers that simplifies the process of port forwarding for you. Various internet protocols communicate through distinct ports, which your router employs to determine the appropriate device for incoming traffic. Online games use numerous ports, and if you encounter issues with features like voice chat in a specific game, it’s likely because you need to manually configure port forwarding on your router to direct that traffic correctly. UPnP automates the port forwarding process as it becomes necessary for different devices on your network.

MU-MIMO

MU-MIMO, an acronym for Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output, holds significant relevance when your network caters to numerous devices. As previously discussed, it’s typical for multiple users to engage in bandwidth-intensive tasks while you aim to enjoy uninterrupted gaming. Without MU-MIMO, your router must attend to each device sequentially, potentially reducing overall network speed. The router establishes several communication channels with MU-MIMO to handle multiple devices simultaneously. You can delve further into this topic by referring to our comprehensive MU-MIMO overview.

Final Words

Selecting the best router for your gaming setup ensures a smooth and lag-free gaming experience. Prioritizing features like Ethernet connectivity, support for the latest Wi-Fi standards, and technologies such as MU-MIMO and QoS can significantly enhance your gaming performance. Additionally, automating router reboots and understanding the importance of UPnP can simplify your gaming network management. Considering these essentials, you can optimize your gaming setup and enjoy a more reliable and responsive online gaming experience.

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