With more and more online experiences requiring extremely low latency and rapid buffering, gamers must understand that a proper router setup makes all the difference compared to raw internet speed. If you find that your internet speed is up to the test but the in-game experience still shows signs of lagging, it is an evident sign that your router may be performing improperly.
The ability to alter your router settings allows for a significant impact on online performance, for better and for worse, depending on the configuration. As a result of reading the below instructions, it may appear tempting to begin changing settings ASAP, yet it will help if you first understand the general foundation of how a router works.
Make a checklist of the tools
Start by checking if you have all the necessary tools and items at your disposal to ensure you can configure the router the way you want. Have you inspected the cable? Do you have in possession the correct software or apps that will determine if the settings currently running will be ideal? No matter the case, Ethernet cable remains the best connection option.
You may often wonder why there are times when you can easily play certain games with a perfect connection and others when the game simply freezes. This is often the direct byproduct of the number of towers that are connected to your router. Purchasing and using a router at default factory settings does not guarantee gaming experiences will be prioritized over the other behaviors taking place on neighboring computers.
Ethernet>Wifi. Every time.
Although WiFi routers let you play games, using an Ethernet cable always stands out as the superior option. Long cables are manufactured so you can place your computer anywhere and not be confined to a single space. Consequently, routers with gigabit Ethernet speeds are ideal for such a purpose, as they can handle speeds far faster than the typical wifi. In the event that your router speed supports this, there is a far lower chance of running into lag issues.
Unfortunately, even though long cables exist, they aren’t always ideal for routers located in other rooms. To avoid this issue, you can purchase power line adapters that can transfer the data through common outlets. They typically are solid in pairs, so you do not have to purchase two of them in case one breaks.
Ensure that your router has the option for MU-MIMO
When situated in a living space where there will inevitably be multiple machines connecting to the device, having a router with the option for MU-MIMO is essential to support heavier bandwidth. For example, if there’s an individual that will stream videos and another that listens to music, you can still play your favorite games with the highest speed possible. Without this option, the router must provide the services needed by various gadgets one at a time. Therefore, having MU-MIMO gives the router the capability to establish small networks that can individually serve the specific gadgets that need connection.
Find the right channel
Different channels are being used by the computers communicating to the router when connecting to the Internet. Therefore, the goal is to find the least used channel in the network as this can provide you the greatest stretch of uninterrupted time that will make the gameplay as smooth as possible. This often requires one to manually set the router to find the right channel, but it’s always worth it. Maintaining the security of multiple channels is essential for success, and there are plenty of guides to protect your gaming experience.
Consider your computer’s hardware
At this point, you may be considering the hardware of your gaming machine and whether the parts play a factor in the network performance. The two most important to consider are CPU and RAM, as the router will not function without a machine composed of these parts. If your router is connected to multiple devices, it won’t have the ability to take the data load.
If only your smartphone and your computer need to speak with the router, it is justifiable to lower your budget and purchase a cheaper device. Conversely, when you know in advance the device will be used by multiple people living in your household, you need to check for superior models that suit your network needs. This extends well beyond gaming as well. For instance, Smart Thermostats are needed for home temperature control and require a fast router to handle the multitude of commands that pass through.
Reboot as necessary
Every device requires reboots from time to time as their operating systems need refreshing from the bucket-load of tasks they are required to handle. For routers, it is easy to shut off the device manually by powering off and removing the outlet plug for up to 30 seconds. However, many advanced models now allow you to schedule rolling restarts programmatically. Some routers need more reboots than others due to age, with older setups known for dropping connections and resulting in crashes or freezes. There are a surprising number of customers that exist who choose to have programmable switches that allow for automatic reboots in the event that the router is not scheduled to be in use for a period of time.
Stay up to date on the latest in computer hardware and find a router that works best for you.