As a gamer, you want to have the best equipment to make sure nothing hinders your game. You’ve got the best headphones, gaming monitor, and controller, but your game is still lagging. What’s missing?
One possible solution to reducing lag is buying a gaming router. However, before you spend more money on yet another device, you need to know if it will work. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using a gaming router to make you wholly informed before purchasing.
What Makes a Gaming Router Different?
Before delving straight into the advantages and disadvantages of a gaming router, we need to clarify what makes these different from your standard router you would get with a typical internet installation.
Most importantly, gaming routers prioritize your gaming needs. With a typical router, you may find that your game immediately lags as soon as your roommate starts watching Netflix. Gaming routers aim to avoid that by identifying specific gaming traffic, separating it, and giving it its own “lane.”
Additionally, routers designed for gaming have added features that up the speed and, hopefully, lower the ping and jitter while you focus on your game.
Wireless Router with Ethernet Options
A wireless router is a great option to improve your room aesthetics and limit the number of exposed wires. However, wired connectivity gives you an extra boost of speed that you need when gaming. Numerous gaming routers come with the option of gigabit LAN ports for a direct, quick connection.
Dual and Quad-Core
Within the router, there is a processor chip that can have multiple cores that divide the processing work between them. A quad-core processor has four cores, while the dual core option has two. Essentially, distributing the work between the cores is supposed to make the processing speed – and therefore, your gaming connection – much faster.
You can also change the settings of a gaming router and turn on the Geo-Filter, which is basically like using a map for gaming. This feature lets you decide the maximum distance between you and the gaming server. The farther away you are, the slower the speed.
Benefits of a Gaming Router
We’ve already looked at some aspects of a gaming router that can also be considered advantages. However, there’s a lot more to explore!
Quality of Service
If you’ve ever experienced a slower gaming connection while someone in your house is downloading or streaming something, you could take advantage of the Quality of Service (QoS) features on a gaming router.
When you activate QoS features, the router can prioritize the data and separate it. Instead of having your gaming data and your roommate’s streaming data all passing through on the same path, the router will identify that the gaming data is more critical. It will send it on its separate way, free of congestion from other internet users.
Quality of Service can also decrease the total throughput of your network because these features are often not hardware-accelerated in consumer routers. So, users should be careful using this feature. If it disables hardware acceleration and you have a fast Internet connection, your speed may be degraded.
Minimize Packet Loss
Similarly, if all the data is running on the same path, this increases the probability of packet loss. If you’re focused on online gaming while your smart home devices are working and your partner is watching Netflix, some packets of data may be lost.
Using the QoS features on a gaming router helps to eliminate those losses by separating the data. With fewer failures, you get a quicker connection and less probability of ping spikes and jitter.
Another way that gaming routers can separate the data and prioritize it is through Multi-band technology. There are two general wireless speeds that routers use, the 2.4 GHz band for low bandwidth activity and the 5 GHz band for high bandwidth things like gaming.
Using multiple speeds lets the router process the gaming information on the 5GHz instead of slowing everything down on just a 2.4 GHz band. Some gaming routers even use two 2.4 GHz bands and one 5 GHz band to separate the information more and ensure a quick speed.
If you are looking for a gaming router for your teenager (or nephew or friend!), several options come with parental controls. These let the young gamers connect to the network with restrictions on exposure to content and the amount of time spent online.
Drawbacks of Using a Gaming Router
Like any product, gaming routers come with their negative side.
Similar to Regular Router
One of the most significant disadvantages of a gaming router is that its features are not exclusive to gaming routers. For example, quad-core processing and QoS features are standard options in other generic routers for a lower price.
That isn’t to say that gaming routers are useless; while they share many things with regular routers, they do have a slight boost in speed above the competition. However, it’s worth considering all your options before committing to a gaming router.
Focus on Game Packets
Additionally, while minimizing the packet loss was mentioned as an advantage, it can contribute to a slower speed. As the router separates game packets and sends them on a separate route, this takes the focus away from streaming packets. Even though the game packets are separated, they are still on one path, which could fail, causing ping spikes and jitter.
So, what’s the solution?
The Perfect Combination
Using a gaming router has definite upsides, but it is not perfect because it cannot anticipate the best pathways to take for uninterrupted gameplay. Thankfully, there is software designed precisely for that: Haste Pro.
What Haste does is takes your game data and sends it on multiple paths, and then it brings them back together at the game server. It looks for the fastest paths, not just the one or three standard options, and sends your data on those routes.
Even though a gaming router isolates the gaming packets, they still travel the single default path from the ISP to the game server, which could experience failure and cause you to experience ping spikes and jitter. Haste Pro fixes this problem by focusing on sending the data over multiple paths, substantially lowering the possibility of failure.
Therefore, to have a lag-free game, the best option would be to add both a gaming router and Haste to your home networks, lowering the ping and jitter causes on all fronts.