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November 30, 2017

Vanquish lag for good with the best routers for gaming

by John_A

With the latest mobile gaming platforms and 4K-ready machines like the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X, you may find yourself needing the best routers to support your streaming games with minimal lag. Rather than throw your controller every time you start to rubber-band or glitch around the screen, think about investing in the best routers for gaming, which are designed specifically for the high performance you require.

Our pick: Zyxel Armor Z2 AC2600 – $170

This MU-MIMO enabled Zyxel model is designed for “power users” that need top reliability and speed for their Wi-Fi signal for smooth 4K gaming. It offers combined top speeds up to 2600 Mbps and uses beamforming technology to concentrate your Wi-Fi signals. Plus—and this may be particularly important if you are on a budget—it’s not as expensive as many other high-end routers with plenty of gaming features.

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Best fast — yet affordable — router: Asus RT-AC5300 – $260

This tri-band router includes MU-MIMO technology and out-of-the-box access to WTFast Gamers Private Network, a network of servers that have been shown to have excellent performance befitting high-speed games. Smart connect will also switch between bands automatically for you, so if a bunch of friends come over with their smartphones, you don’t have to worry about your game suddenly cutting out. The speed is also top-notch with a max throughput of 5,334 Mbps. Frankly, if you aren’t a hardcore gamer, this router is a little much for the average home.

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Best for eliminating lag: Netduma R1 – $200

Netduma sacrifices speed — the wireless speeds cap out at around 300 Mbps — for a whole lot of quality. That makes sense. Games don’t require massive bandwidth, but they do require a low-latency, high-reliability connection.

The router is packed with features like traffic prioritization, geo-filtering when locating servers, anti-flood features, player blocking, and profiles to help make sure that lag never plagues you, no matter game you are playing. All of these minimize network issues that can cause lag.

It supports all internet connection types, and allows you to customize internet allocation if you have multiple gaming machines with different needs. If you are primarily looking for a router to deal with lag and similar issues, take a close look at this one!

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Best for large homes: Netgear Nighthawk X8 – $400

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The Nighthawk X8 is a tri-band, MU-MIMO ready powerhouse that can support up to 5.3 Gbps of wireless speed, and includes the latest beamforming tech to target any consoles or mobile devices that might not be getting a very clear signal. You can also use Netgear’s software to prioritize things like gaming or HD streaming as needed. This router’s massive array of antennas should cover large homes with ease.

Ordinarily you may not need this much power unless multiple games are being streamed around your home, but in this case you might want to consider investing in the demanding future of gaming, because this router should last you for years (unless you want to get involved in something like mesh networking).

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Best Buy

Best dorm model: TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 – $110

This Archer model offers a different sort of solution. It’s a more mobile dual-band router, and TP-Link suggests that you use the 5GHz band for clear, lag-free online gaming, while reserving the 2.4GHz band for your other wireless connections. Despite its size, the router still offers beamforming technology and a max throughput of 1,900 Mbps. It’s ideal for setting up wireless networks in dorms and small apartments, but note that there are also larger, sturdier versions of this model if your lifestyle is a little more permanent.

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Best budget option: Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC1750 – $50

While our TP-Link model is more affordable, this Buffalo router is even less expensive. It’s ideal for augmenting an existing router setup to allow for more gaming machines, or supporting gaming on the go if you and your friends have a favorite meet-up spot that can support your own router or Wi-Fi hotspot. With that said, it could serve as a home router if you’re on a very tight budget. The N300 offers a single band with a max speed of 300 Mbps, and lots of open source configuration options, so you can find just the right place in the network for this device.

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Editors’ Recommendations

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