Hardware makers are always steps ahead of gamers’ expectations from gaming hardware. Gaming mice, headsets, keyboards, monitors, and even sound cards and motherboards are thoughtful inventions designed to improve the gaming experience.
Just when gamers think they’ve had the best possible gaming experience, these tech companies think otherwise — they haven’t had the best of us yet.
Lately, the big names in the router manufacturers community have introduced their gaming modems — an innovation is built specifically for online gamers.
That said, many are not sure how this router differs from the conventional routers.
What Are Gaming Routers and Are They Worth Buying? Gamers seek to know what distinguishing features make it preferred over the standard routers. If this is you, read on.
This article gives a brief on gaming routers, its features, and performance, compared to regular routers.
What does the gaming router offer users?
As with any product, before you consider a gaming router, identify why it is choicest, over other options.
First, the gaming router’s Quality of Service(QoS) makes the key difference. This feature is designed to deliver your data to the desired destinations.
Of course, all routers promise this feature. But, regular routers are not concerned about categorizing traffic. Typically, your conventional router perceives all traffic as the same – whether Netflix, web browsing, uploading, or downloading files on Dropbox, running BitTorrent at optimum speed, or gaming.
Your everyday router group all internet connections equally – gaming routers give preferences.
The downside of this standard distribution comes glaring when you stay in a high-traffic environment where many users attempt to connect to the router at the same time. Your internet may be unable to satisfy all the hungry devices simultaneously.
For instance, if while playing FIFA, someone uses the same connection to upload photos and another stream 4K video, you would soon experience an annoying laggy gaming experience. This is where gaming routers come handy. It offers your gaming console dedicated data.
Gaming Router Features — Quality of Service (QoS)
The QoS collects incoming data and gives your gaming traffic top priority. That is, the gaming router tries to reduce packet loss for your gaming connection while separating the rest outgoing and incoming network data.
StreamBoost by Qualcomm ranks among the most popular quality of service tools. It features several game routers as they are mostly powered by Qualcomm chipset.
That said, manufacturers are developing their unique versions. Technologies such as StreamBoost are regarded as adaptive QoS, as it self-regulates to meet the fluctuating demands of a home network.
Typically, adaptive Quality of Service doesn’t have to frustrate’ other user’s experience – Except you configured it to.
Primarily, the device aims to provide a balance sharing formula for available incoming bandwidth for users.
But being a game-designed router, the device prioritizes your gaming QoS – again, if you configure it to.
What other features does the gaming router offer?
Gaming routers are packed with loads of Quality of Life(QoL) and QoS features. Here are some key features to consider in a gaming router:
Consider the number of Gigabit Ethernet ports in the router. Some routers have up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports for users with an extra-fast internet connection. Your home network determines what suits you.
Ask — How many active devices do you wish to connect to your router? And do you wish to increase the number in the future? These questions should influence a well-informed decision.
Gaming routers often come with up-to-date wireless standards. Although 802.11ac is the universal standard currently, 802.11ax is in the offing and may soon replace the 802.11ac. Also, the 802.11ay is designed to work in the 60GHz spectrum — presently, 2.4GHz and 5 GHz are the latest versions.
Most top routers support multi-band Wi-Fi. These devices can now share networks with three channels simultaneously. Some game-based routers feature tri-band, which delivers data to a 2.4GHz and two 5Ghz. Others use the newer but seldom-talked-about 60 GHz frequency.
RAM and Processor
High-potent gaming routers are designed with better RAM and high-potent CPUs. The higher the memory and power of your gaming router, the better its ability to handle more extensive connections and discourage latency. Besides, it also builds and utilizes more advanced Quality-of-Service features.
Remember that these features are not exclusively designed for game routers.
That said, they are scarce — if ever found — in low-ended routers. It is, however, obtainable on mid-ranged and high-class models.
What traffic priorities does a gaming router offer?
After buying your gaming router, setting up your network priorities should be a priority. Here are different ways to prioritize your router traffic for an improved gaming experience.
Do you wish to prioritize your wireless connections over wired connections? Your gaming routers offer you this flexibility.
If you wish that all gadgets on your network access a specific app, simply prioritize your network by service. So, you can configure all connected devices with unique priorities too, for example, games, or services like Netflix.
By IP address
All devices connected to your network come with dedicated IP addresses. Where all devices have an address with no dynamic allocation when it connects on the network – referred to as static IP –, the router allows you to dictate priorities for the individual IP addresses.
By MAC Address
A MAC address is a unique identifier. After connecting your router, the gaming router registers the gadget’s MAC address. You may use these individual identities to set priorities for each device.
Many gaming routers allow a combination of prioritizing options. You can prioritize both IP and service simultaneously. Indeed, this is a heaven-made game traffic optimization match.
Gaming Mode on D-Link routers
“Gaming Mode” is a default option in D-Link routers. Its manufacturer recommends the mode for players having difficulty with certain online games. It further mentions that the gaming Mode comes handy when playing an online game from behind the gaming router.
Although the D-link lacks documentation in this regard, interestingly, “Gaming Mode” is practically the same with “Full-Cone NAT.”
If you turn off the gaming mode, your gaming router uses the “Symmetric NAT.”
Note that your gaming router distributes internet connection to connected devices via Network Address Translation (NAT). It discards incoming traffic by default since your router is clueless where to send it.
For instance, you establish an outgoing internet connection with your Xbox console. When the console gets a response, the Xbox receives incoming traffic from the router.
When on Symmetric NAT, your gaming router will direct traffic to your Xbox if the connection is from the same source the Xbox console opened a communication link with
In Full-cone NAT –otherwise called “Gaming Mode” for D-Link routers – your router sends incoming traffic to your game console.
That is when on Gaming Mode, your game box can create an outgoing connection while receiving incoming connections from another address.
To use the Xbox Live, you may need to enable Gaming Mode on your D-Link router.
Is a gaming router’s cost worth it?
If you think gaming routers are but another marketing tactic, think again. This innovation spots useful game-designed features, including extra Gigabit Ethernet ports, game traffic prioritization, powerful router hardware, and modern wireless standard.
However, noteworthily, these features are not exclusive to gaming routers. The Gigabit Ethernet, Quality of Service (QoS), and the dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi are typical features in more expensive routers.
Read also: To Rent or Buy a Router from Verizon
Meet Eriksson Ray. I’m the co-founder of TenWitch.com. Our website is dedicated to the coverage of product reviews, buyer’s guides, best lists, etc. We can help you to choose a new modem/router or troubleshooting your Internet connection.