Gaming has really taken off over the last few years, particularly online gaming. The events of 2020 have pushed even more people into gaming with all the lockdowns happening across the world. Sometimes though, it feels like our internet is not fast enough so how do we solve this? Will a gaming router solve the problem and make our internet faster?
Your internet speed is determined by your internet service provider (ISP). The type of router you have can’t change that but what it can do is make the connection better. A gaming router comes with a wealth of features that allow you to tweak it to give your gaming PC or console the best possible connection.
There is more to it than what your connection speed is and what router you have. If you are asking the main question in this article, then I can assume you are trying to get the most out of your connection. Today, that’s what we will talk about, getting the most out of your existing internet connection.
Does a gaming router increase your internet speeds?
So now we are getting to the meat of this article. This is most probably what you came here for if you are thinking about buying a gaming router because you want to enhance your gaming experience. You know that increasing your internet speeds and lowering your latency is a good way to start. Don’t worry; I’m going to answer your questions.
A gaming router is designed to give you the most out of your internet connection. It does this by prioritizing your gaming PC or console. It also has certain components and architecture that allow the signal that is being sent to the router to be processed a lot faster, which helps with latency.
I feel like it would be a good idea to take a bit of a deep dive into why and how a gaming router can enhance your experience. Before we start, I do need to add that if you are on a fiber or cable connection, then a gaming router will only enhance that speed and latency by a little bit.
In my experience, even three or four milliseconds of less ping can be the difference in a match of Call Of Duty, Battlefield, or Rocket League.
The benefits of a gaming router
The benefits of a gaming router: Latency
The biggest benefit of a gaming router is that it decreases your latency. We already discussed how the router could not change your internet speed, but it can lower the latency by a fair amount.
How it does this is, it shortens the time it takes for a signal to travel from your gaming machine to the router. It is also optimized to process the signal fast before it sends it off to your ISP.
It is important to note that once the signal leaves your router and goes through to the ISP, the gaming router has done its job. Now your latency depends on how fast your ISP can get the signal to the gaming server.
The benefits of a gaming router: Antennas
Another huge benefit that a gaming router has is the components it has. A gaming router is often built with better components, and this includes bigger and better antennas. These big antennas allow for a wireless signal to travel further and be stronger at a further distance than normal antennas do.
The benefits of a gaming router: Ethernet ports
They often also have more Ethernet ports. What this means is you can connect more devices to the router itself without having to use extenders and switches. Connecting a cable directly to the router makes for lower latency.
The benefits of a gaming router: Priorities
Some gaming routers allow you to prioritize certain machines so that when lots of people are using the internet, you won’t necessarily be too affected. This is because your machine is the priority.
Internet speeds: Why your internet is speed is slow?
As we mentioned above, your internet speed is limited to what you get from your internet service provider. When you enter into an agreement with your internet service provider, they will quote you on what speed you will get. This is determined by where you live and what kind of medium is available in your area.
So far, the fastest connections we have with the lowest latency is through a medium that is called fiber-optic cables. If you live in an area that still uses copper or perhaps even satellite internet in places like rural areas, you won’t be able to achieve the best possible latency and/or speeds.
Basically, what I am trying to say is there is a limit to how fast your internet can be. That limit is determined by the area you live in and the connection type. It also depends on what you have agreed on with your internet service provider based on what you pay.
There are a few things that you can do within your house that will definitely help you to get the most out of your internet speed. Remember that even though we pay for a certain speed, we are not guaranteed to get it. That is actually the most common complaint and questions that we and ISP’s get regarding internet speeds. This is what you can do to help:
- Use a wired connection when you can.
- Buy a gaming router, obviously.
- Check to see if you have any signal interference.
- Restart your router at least once a week.
Why you need to restart your router?
Like most electronics, a router has memory. It uses this memory to perform its tasks. If you have a few devices connecting to the router and requesting tasks, the memory can get clogged.
Restarting the router will reset the task log in the router’s memory. This will make your router run faster and with fewer hiccups.
Internet speeds: Wireless/WIFI is slow
So, this is one of the major factors that determine whether or not you are going to get the most out of the internet speed that is allocated to you by your internet service provider. There are a lot of factors that can affect the speed of your internet when using a wireless connection.
If you are on a wireless connection, then this section is aimed at you, to help you understand why your internet speed is not reaching the maximum capacity. Let’s say that you are paying for a 100mb line, but you are only getting 30 to 70 megabits per second speed. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this could be happening.
- You are too far from your router.
- There are too many walls between you and your router.
- There are too many wireless interferences in the area.
- There are too many devices connected to the router wirelessly.
While all of these reasons can impact the speed of your internet, it is important to note that you will never get the full speed of your line while using it wirelessly. Wireless connections also have higher latency, and sometimes this can be pretty significant, especially for gaming online.
You are too far from your router
All routers have their limitations. Wireless signals can only travel so far. The distance that a signal can travel depends on the antennas of the router and what is in the signal’s way.
There are too many walls between you and your router
While wireless signals do penetrate through closed doors and walls, passing through a wall makes the signal weaker. This can shorten the distance that the wireless signal can travel significantly.
There are too many wireless interferences in the area
While this is rare, I actually have personal experience with this. Something as small as a Bluetooth signal or a wireless headset signal can impact the signal of your wireless internet. In fact, the problem was so severe for me that I could not use my phone’s internet at all while my wireless PS4 controller was on. It was weird, and it only happened with one router.
There are too many devices connected to the router wirelessly
This should seem pretty logical. If you have a line speed of 100 megabits per second and someone is using 25 megabits per second for what they are doing. You will only be able to get 75 megabits per second. The problem also occurs when your router is being overworked and feeding a signal to too many devices.
What internet speed is good for gaming?
Before we get into this section of the article, I need to point out that latency is more often than not more important than your internet speeds. This means that the connection from your gaming machine to the router and then to the medium in which it travels through from your connection to ISP is the most important. Let’s take a look at what speeds are good for gaming.
Once your internet speed hits about 50 megabits per second download speed and between 5 and 10 upload speed, that will be pretty much the cap that you need to hit. Once you go above that, the biggest benefit you get is faster downloads. You will also get better quality streaming if you stream your gameplay to a service like Twitch, Facebook gaming, etc.
Download speed: How it affects gaming
People often have the misconception that your download speed is the most important factor when it comes to internet speeds for gaming. This simply is not true. The download speed only helps with downloading the server actions to you.
Upload speed: How it affects gaming
The upload speed is just as important as the download speed, and for game streamers, it could actually be more important than the download speed.
Your upload speed determines how much data can be transferred at once from your machine to the game server. So, when you pull the trigger in a game, your upload speed can determine how long it takes to register on the server.
What internet speeds are good for gaming: The verdict
You might not be able to control whether or not your internet is provided to you via copper, satellite, or fiber. For each of these, I would say that the cutoff for what a good internet speed should be for gaming is 50 megabits per second download with 5 to 10 upload speeds.
Top 3 Best gaming routers
Do I recommend having a gaming router? Yes, I do, especially if you play fast-paced games as I do. These games include Rocket League, Fortnite, Battlefield, and Call Of Duty. I have used a fair few gaming routers and will give a list of my top 3 gaming routers.
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 AX11000 Tri-Band Router
Wow, the name of this router is a mouthful. Asus is an established brand in the gaming community, and their routers do live up to the high standards that they have set for themselves.
The Rapture has a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU with 256MB of flash memory and, finally, 1GB of RAM. The router is optimized to accelerate gaming traffic so that your connection to game servers is optimal.
The Raptor comes with Asus’s own AiProtection, which is designed to keep your network safe. The Tri-band supports frequencies of 2.4GHZ, 5GHz 1, and 5GHz 2. The Tri-Band frequency ensures that all your traffic does not interfere with each other.
This router is number 1 on the list for a reason and you will not be disappointed. After all, Asus is a gaming-focused company.
NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 Router
This powerful beat of a router has a 1.7GHz processor and 512MB of RAM built into it. It allows for wireless speeds up to 2.6Gbps. The router uses “Geo-filtering” to determine where the best servers are. This is to reduce ping. It also has a dual-band of 24 GHz and 5.0 GHz.
The Nighthawk allows you to create a dedicated gaming lane. Think of it as an express lane for your gaming PC or console connections to travel through with no interruptions or traffic. It also comes with a VPN for your gaming connections to keep your network secure.
The router allows you to monitor the network activity so that you can see who is using the most bandwidth.
TP-Link AC5400 Tri-Band Gaming Router
This is another great gaming router, and it is made by network experts, TP-Link. The AC5400 has a quad-core 1.8GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage space.
The router also has built-in support for Alexa integration, which adds a nice touch of convenience.
With the Tri-Band frequencies, you can dedicate one lane to gaming for optimal performance and latency.
The router comes with great parental controls for all you moms and dads out there. For security, it comes with a robust, next-level Antivirus.
A gaming router cannot change the physical limitations of your internet connection. It also cannot change the speeds that get allocated to you by your ISP. What it can do though, is optimize your connection so that you get the most out of it.
Gaming routers have a sneaky little trick up their sleeves when it comes to giving you the best possible latency. Having better latency equates to having a better gaming experience for online gamers.
Should you get a gaming router? Yes, you should. Hopefully, this article has helped you make an informed decision.