Gaming routers are more than just RGB lights and red antennas. In fact, gaming routers tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to hardware with things like multi-gigabit Ethernet ports and faster CPUs. The fast Ethernet can be perfect for high-end gaming PCs or NAS systems saving gameplay footage for streamers. These routers also often have specific enhancements for gaming such as an easily accessible gaming QoS toggle.
It's also worth noting that speed is not the ultimate goal of a gaming router since speed doesn't win firefights. Ping does. Ping is the measurement of the time it takes your gaming console or PC to contact the multiplayer server. A high ping can make it seem like your shots are missing even though you're on target because what you're seeing is every so slightly delayed versus what the server sees.
The human mind can compensate for consistent pings pretty well but if your router is struggling to keep up, your ping times could start to swing. Gaming routers are overkill by design to avoid getting backed up like this even when loaded up with dozens of devices or family members streaming cartoons. I've also had the privilege of testing and reviewing each of these routers (links below) so I can confidently recommend each one.
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Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 AX6000:
$449.99 $199.99 at B&H (Sunday only)
While not specifically a gaming router, the Nighthawk RAX120 is a very powerful router with all of the individual components needed for gaming. Its AX6000 wireless speeds aren't terribly impressive on their own but this is a 12-stream router while most other AX6000 routers stick to six or eight streams. That gives this router plenty of extra capacity to handle data. It also has a 5Gbps Ethernet port for a fast NAS or to integrate into a multi-gig wired network.
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX6000:
$399.99 $309.99 at Amazon
ASUS promised better performance than its older AX6000 routers thanks to a new SoC powering it and dual 2.5Gbpe Ethernet ports. That makes this one of the only routers to support internet connections up to 2.5Gbps while still supporting a 2.5Gbps local device. Coverage is also strong with four large antennas. As far as wireless performance, this router shines with consistently high speeds. ASUS' gaming software also helps you keep the most important connections running strong.
TP-Link Archer GX90 AX6600:
$249.99 $224.99 at Amazon
The Archer GX90 stands apart from the others here as a tri-band AX6600 router. TP-Link has two 5GHz bands available on this router and labels one as a gaming band. This allows you to keep all of your streaming, browsing, and smart home devices on a separate Wi-Fi band from your gaming systems. This can be helpful in congested areas that have a lot of 5GHz interference.
TP-Link has included a single 2.5Gbps Ethernet port for internet or local devices. TP-Link's router app also allows you to instantly enable gaming optimization when needed.
ASUS ROG Strix GS-AX5400:
$249.99 169.99 at Amazon
The ROG Strix GS-AX5400 is one of the cheaper ROG gaming routers but it's still a great pick for many gamers. It has a quick dual-band AX5400 connection that only sacrifices a bit of 2.4GHz speed compared to AX6000 models. Translation: no negative impact on gaming. This router is a good pairing for a gigabit internet connection with gigabit Ethernet ports.
You still get ASUS' great software with gaming optimizations and even AiMesh. If you're looking for an affordable gaming router for a smaller home, this is a great pick.
It can be hard to figure out what's really important when shopping for a gaming router but each of these options gets just about everything right. While the Netgear isn't a self-described gaming router, it has the hardware to keep up with just about anything, including gaming. I noted in my Nighthawk RAX120 review just how quick this router is when paired with a fast internet connection. In fact, my main complaint in the review was the price making this deal stand out even more.
I also reviewed the ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 and found it to be one of my favorite gaming routers of the year with excellent 5GHz performance and a wide range of software features for gamers. Of note, VPN Fusion allows you to use a VPN on your entire home internet connection while passing through individual connections that don't work well with VPNs, such as gaming devices.
For something a bit cheaper, the TP-Link Archer GX90 might be the perfect fit. This tri-band router is a capacity monster with its tri-band connection keeping your gaming connections away from the rest of your devices. Even while stressing the connection with multiple live streams, gaming performance stayed high in my Archer GX90 review.
Last but not least, the ASUS ROG Strix GS-AX5400 is the right price given its fast gigabit speeds and the fine-tuning enabled by ASUS' software. In a rare event, I actually like the RGB on this router in my ROG Strix GS-AX5400 review. The subtle light bar on the front can be customized to be any color you choose. Don't forget that ASUS router also allows you to use other ASUS routers to form a mesh network.
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When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.