The best gaming routers could make the world of difference to your multiplayer performance. When it comes to technology for your home, there are few things as infuriating as bad Wi-Fi, and it just so happens there are gaming-specific routers that can enhance your connection for your favorite pastime. Of course, these will particularly benefit you if you do a lot of streaming, since that can put a lot of strain on your bandwidth.
One serious plus side to the best gaming routers is that you may have more Ethernet ports than a typical router. We would generally recommend that you stay plugged in via Ethernet. In particular, the best gaming PCs can truly benefit from a wired connection, and depending on your configuration, you may only be able to go online if you wire-up. Either way, wired connections are much more stable than Wi-Fi, and don't forget that most service providers give quoted speeds to you based on a wired connection.
In this day and age, faster internet is more important than it's ever been. If you work remotely, or just a few days from home per week, your job depends on reliable internet. Add on Ultra HD (4K) streaming and demands for multiplayer gaming, and you've got a router that will be working overtime. Having said that, the upper echelons of internet speed will rely on the area you live, your service provider, and the cabling situation in your building, but the best gaming routers can use features and interfaces to enhance things for you no matter where you live.
Fortunately, WiFi 6 (802.11ax) is here, and it boasts significant improvements over the previous generation. It's estimated that the latest iteration of the technology is up to 250% faster than what was previously available with Wi-Fi 5, with faster throughput speeds, and much more bandwidth to play with. WiFi 5 topped out at just 3.5 Gbps, however, WiFi 6 is capable of 9.6 Gbps. Keep in mind that devices have to be Wi-Fi 6 compatible in order to benefit, though.
The best gaming routers 2023
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The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro is a tri-band WiFi 6 router designed for gaming and heavy internet use. It retails for $449.99 and promises speeds up to 11,000Mbps, offering gamers and streamers an enhanced gaming experience. The Rapture has an extreme, gamer-focused design with 8 large antennae and customizable RGB lighting. It offers rich connectivity with 4 Gigabit LAN ports, one 2.5Gb and a 10Gb WAN port plus two USB ports. It's powered by a quad-core 2.0GHz CPU and uses a combination of beam-forming antenna and OFDMA tech for enhanced range and coverage.
Asus's Triple-level Game Acceleration includes a dedicated gaming LAN port, packet prioritization, Mobile Game mode, and Gamer VPN for a fast connection to game servers, making the Rapture perfect for online gaming. The router also comes with the free AI Protection Pro suite, which includes WPA3 security protocols and advanced parental controls which alone is incredible value. The router is easy to manage with the Asus Router app for iOS and Android, making setup and management of the network simple and straightforward. The app also provides on-the-fly network optimization, device management, and parental controls.
The Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro offers great value for large households with many connected devices, especially for heavy online gamers and streamers. The Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro is a powerful router that justifies its existence with its network smarts, excellent security features, and user-friendly app.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 takes each and every spec for gaming routers and pushes it over the top. This includes a 2.5GBase -T port for faster-wired speeds, and also 802.11ax via tri-bands on the wireless side, plus Dynamic Frequency Switching for additional 5 GHz frequencies. In our eyes, it is one of the best you can buy.
Until recently, this was the owner of our top spot on this list. On top of that, this router can be expanded via Asus’ AiMesh which allows additional Asus routers to be reconfigured as mesh nodes. Gaming-centric features include WTFast, latency-killing Games Radar, and VPN Fusion to segregate gaming traffic. For the discerning gamer looking for the top router, and willing to pay the price, this Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 easily makes it a top contender for the top of this list.
The TP Link Archer c5400X is a gaming version of the recent c5400, and it's a damn good gaming router. While it doesn't quite match the ASUS Rapture because it doesn't have any in-built tech to actually enhance your gaming connection, the TP Link wins out on ease of use. You can control everything via a simple menu, and it's packed with features to help you tweak your set-up, including those all-important QoS options.
In terms of wireless performance, the C5400X manages very impressive speeds over the 5GHz range - some of the best available today - but is merely above average when it comes to 2.4GHz. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but if you operate most of your devices further away from the router, you should consider one that performs better at 2.4GHz, especially before paying the high price of this one. If you're serious about gaming, though, you should be fine (and delighted) with the 5GHz speeds you get. Overall, this is a great piece of kit, and only misses out on the top spot by a whisker.
Let's face it: Most users won't be in need of the Rolls-Royce of gaming routers. But many will be in the market for the next best thing. That is, by far, the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 router.
It's sleek, with an understated appearance that requires much less space than the aforementioned ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300, but it still packs most of the same punch. One of its most alluring features is its Netduma OS software, which allows for a long list of settings to optimize that comes perfectly tuned out of the box, with options to allow you to connect to the quickest and closest servers, and Dynamic Frequency Selection to help you cut down on any noise or potential interruptions. This pick is excellent in its own right, and certainly capable of keeping you afloat in any game.
Sometimes, you need the best speeds money can buy. If that's what you're most concerned with, then Asus's premiere RT-AC88U router can absolutely deliver. With four antennas and a dual-core 1.4GHz processor, it can hang with the big boys in terms of performance, but where it truly shines is its lightning-fast wireless speeds, the highest out of any of the other routers on this list. If you choose, you can purchase a NitroQAM adapter to push it even further to its limits.
Otherwise, this router with four antennas, a wide selection of management features, and advanced settings that allow you to painlessly install just about any form of custom firmware imaginable. It's hardly the best option for anyone on a budget, but its utilitarian design and nature should rein in buyers looking for less flash and more performance.
Think that Wi-Fi 6 is only for the most expensive models? Well, think again as that barrier to entry to 802.11ax router has dropped considerably to a sub-$200 router with the Netgear Nighthawk AX4. From a performance standpoint, this router can keep up with the routers costing considerably more when it comes to throughput on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.
It also delivers the goods when it comes to streaming media, and simultaneous gaming, showing the benefit of this latest wireless standard designed specifically for efficient data transfers in a congested wireless environment. The downside of this router is that the interface, while serviceable, is rather pedestrian, and not as pretty as Netgear’s more gaming oriented offerings. As long as you can get past this, the AX4 is an otherwise solid router that shows you can get great performance at a lower price point.
If the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 is the Rolls-Royce Ghost of gaming routers, the XR700 is the Phantom. Expensive as it might be, it's built for a sort of timeless luxury you can't put a price on. Seeing as it supports the blisteringly fast 4,600Mbps 802.11ad networking standard, buying the Netgear Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR700 means future-proofing your home connectivity infrastructure for years to come, especially since only a handful of laptops are compatible. That said, don't let a lack of interoperability get in the way, as the XR700 is fully backward compatible with the present-day 802.11ac spec as well, delivering high speeds over 5GHz and even 2.4GHz bands at up to 1,733Mbps and 800Mbps, respectively. All that, combined with its fantastic QoS gaming prioritization technology and its equally robust DumaOS software, the Nighthawk XR700 is yet another win for Netgear.
Best gaming router: FAQs
Which router is best for gaming?
In our opinion, the best gaming router is the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX1100. It has a Quad-core 1.8Ghz processor and features AiMesh technology. For many, this router will be total overkill since your connection will need to be utterly incredible to push it to its limits. If you want the absolute best, though, you'll struggle to do better than its 2.5GBBase-T port.
Which gaming routers do pro gamers use?
If you're wondering what sort of internet E-Sports athletes use when they're competing, remember that purpose-built arenas are designed to get the absolute best performance out of them. E-Sports arenas will have have unholy technology built in to the architecture from day one, so it'd be hard to emulate that kind of connection strength. What we can look to, though, is streamers and content creators though, who arguably put more strain on their internet. Most likely, streamers will use one of the best gaming routers to ensure their connection is rock-solid, although this is very situational.
What is the best gaming routers for PS5?
A great pick for PS5 would be something like the TP-Link Archer C5400X. It's one of the best gaming routers on the market for its ease of use, and its extreme power. While there aren't any features to enhance your connection, there are faster-than-average 5Ghz connections and an easy menu to help control everything.
If you're in the UK, another decent upgrade to your home internet setup could be achieved by sorting out your broadband. We've rounded up the best broadband deals in the UK this week.