Best router for streaming in 2022


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Budget Pick

Best budget router for streaming

NETGEAR Nighthawk 4 Stream AX4 RAX40

NETGEAR Nighthawk 4-Stream AX4 RAX40


Things to consider when purchasing a router for streaming

If you’re someone who is relatively new to streaming or knows next to nothing about routers, there are a few things you should know before buying. Being aware of the following will allow you to make a better decision when on the hunt for the best router for streaming.

Upgrade your internet before the router

Technically speaking, yes, almost any router out there will be good enough for streaming provided your internet connection is already fast enough. Streaming live usually requires a good bit of bandwidth. You may think you have a good enough connection if your download speeds are high.

However, it’s the upload speeds that truly matter. The upload rate or bitrate of your internet connection matters the most. Twitch recommends a 2500 – 4000 Kbps connection when you are streaming live. Of course, depending on the resolution, this will only go higher.

That’s number is just the bare minimum. If you are doing simultaneous downloads and have a lot of devices connected while streaming, you will need higher speeds. We recommend somewhere between a 25-50Mbps connection for most households.

Fortunately, fast internet is not as expensive as it once, which brings us to the next point you need to look out for.

What is gigabit internet and do I need it?

As the name implies, Gigabit internet has a theoretical speed of up to 1000Mbps or 1Gbps. Some ISPs will match the download speeds with the upload speeds, which is something you’ll need to check beforehand. Gigabit Internet is great if someone in your area provides it.

Who doesn’t want faster internet? Of course, a Gigabit connection will be quite pricey, but it’s not as bad as you may think. Not many people truly need Gigabit Internet, as even something like a 100-200Mbps connection would be more than sufficient for most.

However, it’s great to have, especially if you’ll be uploading to Youtube a lot as well as streaming.

Why are there so many gigabit routers these days?

While on the hunt for the best routers for streaming, you’ll often find that many of these are Gigabit routers. This has a direct correlation with the fact that many routers now support Wi-Fi 6. 

Wi-Fi 6 not only brings speed improvements, but it also happens to be more stable and reliable. Now, not everyone has a Gigabit connection, nor do they intend to. Maybe it’s because of the high costs, or maybe because of the fact that a Gigabit connection is not available everywhere yet.

Still, since making a Gigabit router does not cost that much more than making a slower one, it’s easy to see why Gigabit routers are so popular. Even if you don’t have a Gigabit connection, you can still benefit from a Gigabit router.

If you have an external file server such as a NAS setup, it is better to connect it directly to a Gigabit router as this lowers the latency. Since a Gigabit router will have more leeway, you are less likely to notice a fluctuation in speed when transferring files.

What about ethernet ports?

Let’s switch back to some practical stuff for the average consumer. More ethernet ports are what you really want to worry about when buying a new router. You already might have your workstation PC, TV, and console connected with an ethernet cable to your router.

In situations like this, it is most likely that you are going to have a separate dedicated space for streaming/gaming in your home. So, it is important that you plan accordingly.

A wired ethernet connection is always going to give you less latency, better speeds, and an overall more reliable connection compared to Wi-Fi. Many of the “gaming” routers will have more than two Ethernet ports at the bare minimum, so you can hook up as many devices as needed.

If that’s not the case for whatever router you go with, you can always buy a separate ethernet switch to make up for the lack of ports on your router.

Router features important for gaming

Most routers won’t exactly have features that are important for or crucial to streaming. This is because there’s not much you can do on the router side to make the streaming experience better. Well, that was the case a couple of years ago anyway.

Some routers will incorporate features that reduce latency and packet loss while optimizing your network for gaming. Of course, not all routers will have these features, so you will need to know what you are looking for.

Different manufacturers will have different names for these features. Some call it game/streaming optimization, others call it game acceleration. However, the general term that you are looking for is known as QoS (Quality of Service).

Quality of Service allows you to configure the priority of all of your devices. For example, if you have your gaming PC’s priority at the highest, the router will make sure it receives minimal packet loss and the best latency. It will route the transmission to the PC first.

Some routers will also have a feature such as a “game detection” mode that directly correlates with QoS. Whenever you are streaming or playing a game, the router might automatically detect it and prioritize it in the QoS list.

Best router for streaming – understanding the specs

Since you’ll likely have an idea of what to look for, it’s also important to understand some of the specs so you don’t get confused with technical jargon when looking at product pages.

Here’s what you should know:

Router Coverage

The Wi-Fi signal will be closest to the router, and it will drop off as you move further away. This is a given. However, many people are not aware of the fact that a router’s spec sheet tells you how much of an area it can cover.

Some routers can provide coverage of up to 2500 sq. ft, while others can only cover 1400 sq. ft house. Of course, these details are to be taken with a grain of salt.

Single-band vs dual-band vs tri-band routers

When looking around the best router for streaming, you’ll come across these terms frequently. Simply put, these are distinct radio frequency bands used in Wi-Fi. Single-band routers use a 2.4GHz connection.

A Dual-Band router will have a 2.4GHz connection, as well as one with a 5GHz connection. Finally, a Tri-Band router will have two 5GHz connections and a single 2.4GHz connection. 

The 5GHz Band is faster and has more bandwidth, making it perfect for streaming. On the flip side, 2.4GHz Wi-Fi comes in handy if you need better signal integrity, while being slower.

This is important for streaming. You can prioritize your PC and other gaming devices to use the 5GHz band, while your portable devices are connected to the 2.4GHz connection. This reduces interference and provides lower latency while streaming. 

What is Wi-Fi 6

These days, the best router for streaming is going to have a Wi-Fi 6 connection. Wi-Fi 6 is also known as 802.11ax, a number you’ll often see on the box. It is the successor to Wi-Fi 5, also known as 802.11ac.

Wi-Fi 6 brings various improvements such as Multi-User, Multiple Input/Output (MU-MIMO), and OFDMA. Both of these features allow more devices to be connected without much interference. Transferring data is also more seamless.

Best router for streaming

TP Link Archer AX10000

TP-Link Archer AX10000

Wi-Fi Protocol

802.11ax Wi-Fi 6

Ports

1 x 2.5GbE WAN, 8x GbE LAN, 2x USB 3.0

Pros