Depending on how technically inclined you are, the router in your house may be something you pay a lot of attention to, or you may not even have known that your house has one. The fact of the matter is, these days almost any home with an Internet connection and more than one Internet user is bound to have a router. It’s the device that “splits” the Internet signal so that people can play a game, watch Netflix, or talk on Skype while someone in the house is downloading the latest upgrade for Photoshop.
Some companies out there advertise their routers as “gaming routers”. Now what gamer would not want a “gaming router”? They sound awesome already, right? You should go get one immediately, right? It may be worth your while to keep reading and make sure you get a real gaming router, as opposed to one that just is just advertised to be one. Gamers have long been the targets… perhaps even victims… of companies who have an expensive piece of hardware looking for somebody to sell it to. Router vendors are no different. As routers get bigger, faster, and more expensive they often get marketed to gamers who will love the speed. If you dig in, you will realize the “speed” they advertise is all throughput – and most of it not even usable. For example, some routers advertise themselves to be “Tri-band” networking products meaning they can literally have up to 3 independent WiFi networks going on them at the same time. That is really cool if you geek out to that sort of thing, but it does absolutely nothing for your gaming experience.
Games don’t need multiple WiFi networks, or massive throughput. In fact, your game really only needs about 20 Kbps of traffic to run efficiently. Here are the three most important things that games do need:
- A fast, low latency connection for Ethernet and WiFi. Games send lots of small packets as they communicate information with the game servers. These packets don’t take up much bandwidth, but the faster they are sent and received the better.
- Low packet loss – lost packets kill gaming performance because they have to be retransmitted or worse, your game moves on without a critical packet. The result is higher latencies, poor performance, and a more laggy game play experience.+
- The latest WiFi standard. Each major WiFi standard… think 11b, 11g, 11n, and now 11ac brings new useful technology to market. Wave 2 11ac brings new features that increase network performance like MU-MIMO (see separate blog post) and TX beamforming.
Real gaming routers address these three issues. They have fast hardware, and a very solid QoS (Quality of Service) solution that detects high priority gaming packets AND prioritizes them above other home network traffic. The best routers for gaming will treat gaming packets like gold… and delays everything else to get these packets where they need to go for an optimal gaming experience.
If you are looking for a gaming router, check out the Linksys WRT32X featuring our Advanced Stream Detect 2.0 Technology. I know we are a bit biased, but check out this review and see what journalists are saying about the router and how the Advanced Stream Detect 2.0 Technology is setting new performance standards when it comes to gaming routers. You will be glad you did.
Check out this article: Linksys WRT32x AC3200 Wireless Gaming Router Review