The Best Gaming Routers in 2018 For Lag-Free Multiplayer Gaming

Multiplayer gaming has become highly pervasive thanks to the availability of capable consoles and gaming hardware starting at relatively affordable prices. While most hardcore gamers prefer a wired network connection for the lowest possible latencies during online gaming, modern wireless routers have evolved to a point where they can give provide the low latencies of wired connections along with the freedom of remaining untethered. While all W-Fi routers can stream games, gaming routers provide a few extra features to ensure low pings and latencies for minimal lag during multiplayer gaming.

Before we move on, there are some factors to consider before splurging on a gaming router. Gaming routers are not too different from conventional routers but feature certain enhancements tailored towards the gaming audience. This includes everything from a more aggressive look to more 5 GHz bands and extra connectivity options. Newer technologies such as MU-MIMO and beamforming are also important considerations for a gaming router as is the Quality of Service (QoS) software functionality for prioritizing bandwidth. In this article, we shall take a look at some of the best gaming routers available in the market today to help you make a sound purchase decision.

1. ASUS Gaming Router GT-AC5300


ASUS Gaming Router GT-AC5300

  • Features: Tri-Band (2.4 + 5 + 5); 1.8 GHz quad-core CPU; 8 antennas; VPN Fusion; Built-in Trend-Micro protection; AiMesh; ROG Gaming Dashboard
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 5.3 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 8 / 2 (2x USB 3.0)
  • Dimensions: 11.46 x 4.72 x 14.88 in
  • Weight: 8.82 lbs

The ASUS GT-AC5300 combines the best of wireless technologies into a highly capable gaming router. With a 1.8 GHz quad-core CPU, 4×4 802.11ac MU-MIMO tri-band radio, the GT-AC5300 ticks all the necessities in terms of hardware. While the design might not suit everyone, the included 8 antennas provide enough coverage to all corners of your home.

The software is feature-packed but there have been some initial issues with the original firmware. However, ASUS has released new firmware that not only addresses these bugs but also enables AiMesh functionality if you have other ASUS routers in your place. Also, the GT-AC5300 supports band steering so the router automatically moves your devices to other bands depending on the bandwidth requirement and physical distance of the client.

2. NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk Pro Gaming


NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk Pro Gaming

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); QoS packet scheduler; 1.7 GHz dual-core CPU; 4 Antennas; Easy Setup; DumaOS; Built-in gaming VPN client.
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.
  • Data Transfer Rate: 2.6 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 2 (2x USB 3.0)
  • Dimensions:14.93 x 10.84 x 4.18 in
  • Weight: 3.71 lbs

The NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk Pro enjoys wide patronage as a capable gaming router. The router runs on DumaOS that shows vital statistics and prioritizes gaming traffic from PCs and consoles. It also sports a Geo filtering option to prioritize bandwidth based on client device location. The NETGEAR XR500 also comes with a built-in gaming VPN client to protect the user from DDoS attacks.

Performance of this router is top-notch and the Wi-Fi range is excellent even in large homes. There are few points to consider, though. DumaOS does not provide a mobile app and only the remote admin can only be secured to one IP or range. If lag-free online gaming is what you are after, the NETGEAR XR500 Nighthawk is one of the best you can get.

3. NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk AC1900


NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk AC1900

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); QoS packet scheduling; Works with Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant; 1 GHz dual-core CPU; DDoS prevention; Smart Parental Controls
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 1.9 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1x USB 2.0)
  • Dimensions: 11.22 x 7.26 x 1.97 in
  • Weight: 3.45 lbs

The NETGEAR R7000 provides a rich feature-set and performance to boot. With up to 1.9 Gbps of theoretical transfer speeds, the R7000 is a good gaming router for the Xbox One or the PS4 alongside a PC as long as not all of them are streaming 4K. However, with the included QoS functionality, you can allocate the maximum resources for your game and still be left with sufficient bandwidth.

Setting up the router is fairly easy even for novice users but if you are adventurous enough, you can easily install custom firmware. There have been reports of NETGEAR service not being particularly responsive sometimes so it is best to follow the manual during the first setup just to ensure a hassle-free experience.

4. TP-Link Talon AD7200

TP-Link Talon AD7200

  • Features: Tri-Band (2.4 + 5 + 60); 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU, 8 antennas; MU-MIMO
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ad
  • Data Transfer Rate: 7.2 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 2 (2x USB 3.0)
  • Dimensions: 9 x 9 x 1.7 in
  • Weight: 4 lbs

If there’s an award for the most forward-looking router, the TP-Link Talon AD7200 can be a prime contender. The AD7200 is the first router to support the 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard that operates at a 60 GHz frequency. The higher frequency allows speeds up to 4.6 Gbps and will soon be the standard of the future. However, not many devices currently support it so unless you have a greater than 2 Gbps pipe and in fact, have 802.11ad devices, this router comes as a tough sell.

Nevertheless, it is still a capable router for those who need the 2.4 and 5 GHz band. It supports beam-steering and offers wide coverage even for large homes. Users have reported that there could be some issues with respect to software and firewall setup but overall, the AD7200 gets you prepared for the future if you don’t mind shelling out the money.

5. Linksys AC3200 WRT32X


Linksys AC3200 WRT32X

  • Features: Tri-band (2.4 + 5 + 5); 1.8 GHz dual-core CPU; 4 antennas; Killer Prioritization Engine
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 3.2 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 2 (1x USB 3.0 + 1x USB-eSATA combo)
  • Dimensions: 2 x 9.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Weight: 1.76 lbs

If you’ve bought a gaming PC or laptop in recent years, you might have come across Killer. The company works with Wi-Fi solution providers to create solutions that accelerate game performance over the network by reducing peak pings. The Linksys WRT32X is a router that incorporates Killer’s network prioritization enhancements to deliver a great online gaming experience.

The WRT32X can sync settings with other Killer-enabled PCs and laptops. Those using other devices such as Xbox One or PS4 consoles can still prioritize their game bandwidth via the custom interface. There have been some issues with the firmware of the device and the lack of advanced security options. However, since the device is OpenWRT compatible, you can install a compatible custom firmware to unlock additional functionality.

6. D-Link EXO DIR-882 AC2600


D-Link EXO DIR-882 AC2600

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 4 antennas; QoS prioritization; Dual-core CPU; 4×4 data streams; Band steering
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 2.53 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 2 (1x USB 2.0 + 1.x USB 3.0)
  • Dimensions: 7.1 x 10.2 x 1.8 in
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs

The D-Link EXO DIR-882 AC2600 is one of the cheaper gaming routers available for who like gamer-friendly features such as QoS packet scheduling without the bells and whistles of the much more expensive contemporaries.

D-Link is known for offering great performing routers with easy-to-use interfaces and the DIR-882 is no different. However, the software can get a bit too simplistic for those looking at extensive customization. Some users have reported problems in connecting their Macs to the router. This is because the router broadcasts the ‘NA’ country code instead of ‘US’, which the Mac looks for on startup. Otherwise, the DIR-882 serves both as a good gaming router and a general purpose router as well.

7. TP-Link AC5400 Smart Gaming Router


TP-Link AC5400 Smart Gaming Router

  • Features: Tri-band (2.4 + 5 + 5); 8 antennas; QoS prioritization; 1.4 GHz Dual-core CPU with 3 co-processors; Beamforming; Built-in threat protection; Works with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 5.4 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 2 (1x USB 2.0 + 1x USB 3.0)
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 9.1 x 1.7 in
  • Weight: 3 lbs

The TP-Link AC5400 Smart Gaming Router offers a lot of gamer-focused features for the price. The 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU and 3 co-processors (one for each band) and 8 antennas offer a tri-band network that can connect to and stream games and multimedia to multiple devices at once. The router also includes TP-Link HomeCare powered by Trend Micro that offers a combination of antivirus, parental controls, and QoS scheduling.

The router offers great performance but the firmware does take a bit of getting used to. It is better to check out new firmware updates in detail before proceeding to install them as some functionality might be lost. However, the current iterations of the software have improved drastically and this router is still one of the best gaming routers one can find. Just make sure to handle the antennas with care.

8. Linksys WRT3200ACM


Linksys WRT3200ACM

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5) with Tri-Stream 160; 4 antennas; QoS prioritization; 1.8 GHz Dual-core CPU; Open-source ready; Smart Wi-Fi app
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 3.2 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 2 (1x USB 3.0 + 1x USB-eSATA combo)
  • Dimensions: 9.7 x 2 x 7.6 inches
  • Weight: 3.57 lbs

The Linksys WRT3200ACM offers something unique in the sea of gaming routers. Although the router supports two bands — 2.4 and 5 GHz, it uses multiplexing to double the 5 GHz bandwidth using that Linksys calls Tri-Stream 160. The WRT3200ACM is also Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) certified so that it can operate in a clear dedicated airspace instead of the other crowded ones.

Although the included software is capable enough, installing custom firmware was found to greatly enhance the performance of the router. Also, there are no built-in monitoring tools available, so a third-party open source firmware is necessary to get the most out of this router.

9. D-Link AC3150 Ultra DIR-885L/R

D-Link AC3150 Ultra DIR-885L/R

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 4 antennas; QoS prioritization; 1.4 GHz Dual-core CPU; SmartBeam; Easy setup
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 3.1 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 1 (1x USB 3.0)
  • Dimensions: 4.13 x 14.45 x 10.24 in
  • Weight: 3.83 lbs

The D-Link AC3150 Ultra DIR-885L/R offers everything one expects from a gaming router including high bandwidth support, 4×4 data stream, QoS scheduling, and more. The D-Link DIR-885L/R offers a great performance for the price and the router is easy to setup.

There have been a few issues with respect to the software but most of them have been ironed out in recent firmware releases. With MU-MIMO support connecting to multiple devices is a hassle-free experience. Although the router is priced about average for the features on offer, it often sees big discounts so you’d do best to look out for a discounted price if you’re interested in this gaming router.

10. NETGEAR R7500-200NAS Nighthawk X4

NETGEAR R7500-200NAS Nighthawk X4

  • Features: Dual-band (2.4 + 5); 4 antennas; Dynamic QoS prioritization; 4×4 Wi-Fi architecture; 1.4 GHz Dual-core CPU; NAS ready; Compatible with Amazon Echo/Alexa
  • Wireless Protocols: 802.11ac
  • Data Transfer Rate: 2.3 Gbps
  • No. of Ethernet / USB Ports: 4 / 2 (2x USB 3.0 + 1x eSATA)
  • Dimensions: 13.8 x 10.2 x 3.2 in
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs

The NETGEAR R7500-200NAS is Network Access Storage (NAS) ready so you can hook up your NAS server to the router to act as a media server. The 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU supports a 4×4 Wi-Fi architecture with MU-MIMO technology. Apart from two USB 3.0 ports, the R7500 also offer a dedicated eSATA port for connecting NAS drives.

The overall performance of this gaming router is excellent and has improved even further with new firmware updates. The default software does not offer too many parental controls and also does not easily show which devices are connected to which of the bands. Still, you get a lot of hardware for the price with excellent coverage. We strongly suggest flashing DD-WRT firmware if you are comfortable with it.

Final Thoughts

Dear readers, that would be all for our list of the best gaming routers to consider buying today for smooth online gaming. Apart from wireless routers, there are also wired routers for gaming that are available if you prefer to totally reduce any latency issues. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below. We will do our best to provide a timely response.

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