How to Make Your Router Faster for Gaming

Optimize your router for better gaming performance

What to Know

  • You can't optimize every router for gaming. Don't expect every router to support every setting or every change to improve performance.
  • Performance gains, even with a good change, can be slight. Make sure to monitor your ping when gaming to get a sense of improvements.
  • You don't need to upgrade your router, even if it's cheap. Switching from a wireless to a wired connection is the best change to make.

This article provides information on how to make your router faster to support gaming, which often requires faster internet speeds.

Make the Switch to a Wired Connection

Connecting your computer or games console to the internet via a wired connection is almost always better than connecting wirelessly. Depending on your personal internet package, devices, and home setup, the difference may not always be night and day, but more often than not, it can be.

However, a wired connection is a lot less flexible than a wireless connection, and not every home is equipped to support running wires from router to device. If you can't set up a wired connection, all isn't lost, and there are many more tweaks to be made.

Use 5 GHz Wireless Over 2.4 GHz Wireless

If you're using a wireless connection for gaming, using the 5 GHz band as opposed to the 2.4 GHz band is usually a strict upgrade. This isn't always the case, however, because 5 GHz wireless has a shorter range than 2.4 GHz wireless and struggles more to penetrate obstacles.

Though, given an appropriate range and layout, 5 GHz wireless is faster and more stable than 2.4 GHz wireless and will lead to better connections in-game.

Boost Your Wi-Fi signal

Regardless of whether or not you use 2.4 GHz wireless or 5 GHz wireless, a better Wi-Fi signal is always an improvement. Depending on your personal setup and individual router, there are many ways you can go about boosting your Wi-Fi signal.

These tips and tricks may not work for every setup, but if you haven't optimized your Wi-Fi signal's strength and you live in a decently sized home, this is an important way you can improve in-game connections when gaming wirelessly.

Upgrade Your Router

Gaming routers, in the abstract, are something of a dubious value in the sense that a lot of modern routers offer the same spreads of features as do routers that go out of their way to brand themselves as a 'gaming' product.

However, in comparison to, for example, the default router an ISP will give you when signing up for an internet package, a good gaming router will be an excellent upgrade that will support all the best features and settings you'll want to tweak to improve your connection when gaming.

Forward Specific Ports on Your Router

Certain programs, like games, use different ways of connecting to the internet completely behind the scenes using different ports on your router (not physical ports where you plug cables into). Depending on the game you're playing, the specific ports the game uses may not be open by default.

On a game-to-game basis, forwarding the necessary ports to your gaming device can improve connections and turn choppy gameplay into a much smoother experience. You will have to do some online research to discover what ports your game of choice uses, however.

Enable QoS

When multiple users are connecting to the same router and doing bandwidth-intensive tasks, like streaming 4K video, playing games, or downloading large files, connections all around can slow down. Enabling QoS delivery (quality of service) addresses this issue.

Given limited network capacity, QoS will dynamically allocate bandwidth depending on what the users connected to the network are doing. If you're having a video call or playing a game, you'll get "priority" behind the scenes, while someone simply browsing the internet won't.

  • How do I make my Netgear router faster?

    Netgear routers have a few options designed to maximize performance. Netgear recommends changing the Maximum Transmission Unit (MTU) from the default 1500 to 1436. This reduces the size of the largest packet that can be sent; bigger packets sometimes destabilize the network. Find MTU settings in the Netgear menu's Advanced section. If you have a wireless setup, Netgear also recommends using channels 1, 6, or 11 or using dual-band transmission if your device supports it. Turn on MAC filtering to improve network efficiency, and consider updating your router's firmware to maximize performance.

  • How do I make my Belkin router faster?

    Belkin recommends subscribing to the fastest internet plan possible to maximize your router's performance. If things seem to be running slowly, try resetting the router, or, if it's an older device, consider upgrading to a newer Belkin model. Make sure your router isn't obstructed by physical obstacles, such as walls. Make sure you have the latest firmware and consider boosting your Belkin router's bandwidth settings in the Channel and SSID settings.

  • Why does restarting a router make the internet seem faster?

    Since your router is a computer, things can go awry in its operation. The CPU can overheat, a bug could be causing a memory leak, and many other minor problems can diminish your internet performance. Turning off the router, waiting 10 seconds to make sure the memory is completely cleared, then turning it back on can eliminate those minor issues.

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