4 Essential Router Tips for Optimal Gaming Performance

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As a gamer, three words will send a shiver down your spine:

Network Connection Lost!

Whether playing “Fortnite,” “Call of Duty,” or any other video game, this terrifying error message means there’s a problem, and it’s probably coming from your Wi-Fi router. Your internet service provider (ISP) might be the culprit, or maybe even your landlord, or it could be time to invest in some new hardware, which is always fun. Check out these router tips for a much better gaming experience.

#1 Talk to Your ISP

Even if you have a top-of-the-range router, your ISP might be (intentionally) slowing down speeds — something called “throttling.” Your ISP isn’t being nasty for the sake of it. Nope, there are various reasons why your provider might throttle your connection:

  • To regulate your network’s traffic.
  • To ease network congestion (after the network becomes overloaded with data).
  • To serve more customers without increasing network capacity.

Ultimately, it’s all to do with money. ISPs throttle data to save costs, and there’s not a lot the FCC (the government agency that deals with broadband issues) can do about it.

There are various ways around this, though. You can call your ISP and ask to increase network capacity, but they’ll likely tell you to upgrade your broadband plan for more data. It’s simple economics: The more you pay for your internet, the more data you get per month.

Or you could use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which establishes a new connection between the internet and your router that has nothing to do with your ISP. VPNs encrypt traffic so your ISP won’t even know about the new connection. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal.

#2 Talk to Your Landlord

Yep, your landlord could slow down your gaming performance without you knowing it. It’s common for landlords to limit broadband speeds, again to save cash. Yes, simple economics: The more your landlord pays for the internet, the more data you can use per month.

Ask your landlord to upgrade your home’s internet. You might get lucky or have to cover the extra cost. It probably all depends on whether you paid your last rent check on time.

Unfortunately, you have no legal rights over your connection because your landlord is still providing a service as per your rental contract, even if the internet is super-slow. Communication is the only solution to this conundrum. Good luck!

#3 Consider Your Connection

There are two main types of internet connection:

  • A Wi-Fi connection, which most gamers have.
  • Or a more reliable Ethernet connection.

“Ethernet is just plain faster than Wi-Fi — there’s no getting around that fact,” says How-To Geek.

But how fast is fast? Expect an Ethernet connection to offer speeds of up to 10 Gb/s if you have a Cat6 cable. (You can pick one up for less than 10 dollars.) Contrast this to Wi-Fi, where the fastest speeds top out at 6.9Gbps, and there’s no comparison. 

But, as you might have noticed a couple of sentences ago, Ethernet requires a cable, which means it doesn’t provide a wireless connection. If this is a problem because you lack space for a cable in your home, stick to Wi-Fi, but you’ll notice improved gameplay if you choose the Ethernet option.

Your console of choice needs an Ethernet port for your Ethernet cable, but most of them do unless you’re still playing Sonic on the Sega Genesis. 

#4 Invest in a New Wi-Fi Router

If you want to continue with Wi-Fi, consider upgrading your hardware.

There’s nothing like a brand-spanking-new Wi-Fi router to optimize gaming performance. It radically improves the connection to your console, and you’ll notice less screen lag and faster gameplay. So you can make Fortnite run better.

Choose a Wi-Fi router for gaming. Nothing else will do the job. A good one improves the graphics and audio of games and enhances the connection between your ISP and console.

Start by comparing the best routers for gaming here. Then consider:

  • Wi-Fi Standard: The Wi-Fi standard is the series of protocols that defines how your Wi-Fi network performs. The most recent standards are Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6. Six is faster than five, but both deliver super-fast speeds.
  • Wi-Fi Frequency Band: The Wi-Fi frequency band is the radio frequency that transmits data in the wireless spectrum. Ideally, you should pick a dual-band or tri-band router for optimal performance. Single-band routers aren’t suited to gaming.
  • MU-MIMO: MU-MIMO technology lets various consoles communicate with your router without impacting download speeds. Look for routers with this feature.
  • CPU Utilization: A router with a high CPU utilization manages various connections, perfect if you have a multi-console set-up.
  • Quality of Service: Quality of Service, or QoS, balances the incoming and outgoing bandwidth on your Wi-Fi router. You can adjust the QoS after you’ve set up your router.

All gamers experience router problems from time to time, but there’s almost always an easy fix. If your ISP or landlord isn’t the issue, consider an Ethernet connection or invest in a Wi-Fi router that’s built for gaming and say goodbye to “Network Connection Lost.”

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Luqman Khan

Luqman is the founder of cliffyB.com and an obsessed gamer! Overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He is also the founder of a Computer Gaming Lounge. He has been into gaming and PC Building since 2009. He is also obsessed with DOTA 2 and Rainbow Six Siege.