Router settings for gaming are all about ensuring the connection is as good as possible. You want the computer running a game to have a prioritized connection in some cases or to be on a different channel if there’s interference. Anything you can do to improve your speed and reduce latency will help you have a better gaming experience.
Of course, not all options will be available on all routers. If you want to optimize your gaming router setup, choose a router designed for that purpose.
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Why Setup My Router for Gaming?
Setting up your router for gaming can give you a better overall experience. When your connection is stable and smooth, games just run better. A shaky connection could introduce lag or even crashes to a game at the worst possible moments.
On the other hand, choosing the proper settings for your router can enhance everything about your gaming experience. Load times, lag, and other problems that might keep you from accomplishing your goals will improve – as long as your basic connection is good enough. Specific settings benefit you more than others.
- Switch Wi-Fi Band: If you can’t use a wired connection to your modem or router, you can change the wireless network settings on your router to give yourself access to a better Wi-Fi band. It can help improve your connection because the lower bands are compatible with more devices and are generally more congested.
- Switch Channel: Changing the wireless channel, you’re operating on can also improve your gaming experience by reducing interference. Some channels are used more than others and swapping to one with fewer devices can improve your connection.
- QoS Adjustment: Many routers offer a Quality-of-Service option that adjusts how the data packets moving through your network are handled. If you need better performance on your gaming PC than your television, microwave, cellphone, and other wireless devices, you can prioritize it with a tweak on QoS.
These are only some changes to your router settings that will help optimize your gaming connection and make you more familiar with adjusting your router settings. Get acquainted with the adjustments, and you’ll be able to easily redo them whenever you swap routers or add a new device to your gaming array.
Best Router Settings for Gaming
The best router settings for gaming are the ones that work best for you. Try changing them one at a time and then playing your favorite fast-paced game to see how it performs with different settings selected.
Change Your Router’s Settings
It might initially seem a little complicated if you haven’t adjusted your wireless network before. However, it’s pretty easy once you get used to it. Here’s how you gain access to start making changes.
- Look for a label on your router that lists device information, including the default name and password. If you don’t see it there, check the manual for the router. You can also use a search engine to find your router model’s standard user ID and password. They’re all the same until you change it – which you should do once you gain access to the router’s settings for security purposes.
- Use a web browser to navigate to your router’s default gateway. If you aren’t sure what it is, check the router manual or type
ipconfiginto a Command Prompt window. The address you’re looking for will be listed as the default gateway.
- Enter the basic user ID and password to log in. Again, change these once you’re in and use ones you’ll remember that will be difficult for others to guess.
- Update your router’s firmware if an update is available. It might offer more options to improve your gaming experience versus the old firmware, fix problems, and optimize what’s already there.
- Look around at the available settings to get comfortable navigating the router options. You don’t have to change anything. Just click through the different categories, check out the advanced options, and see what kinds of things are available. As you try to make specific adjustments, seeing it and knowing where it is can help.
Every router is different, and the ways to find settings on mine might not be exactly what’s right for you. However, a little preparation and familiarizing yourself with what settings are available and where they are will make optimizing your connection a lot easier.
Choosing a Wireless Network
Many modern routers offer more than one wireless network that can be broadcast from the router. You have to enable the networks, set up their options, and then connect to the right one with your gaming PC.
The most important part of this is choosing the correct wireless network. Routers almost all offer 2.4 and 5 GHz options for Wi-Fi networks. Some routers may have a higher 6 GHz band as well. You want to connect to the highest and least-used band that your computer’s networking card can handle.
- Sign into your router and look for an option for Wi-Fi networks. It might be in Advanced Settings or have its own category. For example, my router requires me to choose Wireless Signal.
- Turn on the higher-band network if it isn’t already enabled. You want to run multiple wireless networks if your router allows it so that other devices can connect on the lower band network.
On mine, I click Enable the Wireless Band to make the network active, and then I click Apply. However, it’s already active by default on most routers, including mine.
- Give the network a different name from the others so you can recognize it easily. The name doesn’t have any bearing on its performance, so it’s based on pure preference.
- Set a password that you’ll remember, but that’s difficult for others to guess.
- Save the changes.
- Swap devices that aren’t your gaming computer to the lower band networks you don’t intend to game on. Check your phones, smart devices, and other computers.
- Connect to the high-band network from your gaming PC with the username and password you set.
This works because the 2.4 GHz network is overwhelmed by users a lot of the time. Almost every device will connect to this wireless network – and more devices than ever have network connections these days. Your other home appliances could all be using the 2.4 GHz network and reducing the amount of bandwidth available to your gaming PC.
The 5 and 6 GHz networks are less likely to be compatible with smart devices and older legacy devices. That’s a significant reason why they’re less congested.
Set Your Wireless Channels
Wireless channels are like lanes where information can flow from one place to another. If too many devices try to use the same lane, the traffic gets crowded, and things slow down. Choosing a wireless channel with less usage for your gaming computer can help improve the connection and reduce lag.
One of the challenges with finding the proper channels is that they aren’t necessarily standard. It would be best to find out which ones near you have less congestion and use those with a wireless analyzer. Luckily, you can use a free one from an app if needed.
- Download a wireless channel analyzer app. There are plenty available for free that will work for a basic scan. Once it’s on your phone, run it to see what channels more congestion might have based on where you live. If you live near many other people and many other routers, you might see a considerable overlap.
- Log into your router and go to your Wi-Fi Settings. On mine, I have to choose Wireless and then set my Region.
- Navigate to the wireless band you want to adjust. For most gamers, you’ll be looking for a 5 GHz network. On my router, there are two 5 GHz and a 2.4 GHz, so I would select the 5 GHz network I am using on my gaming computer rather than the other.
- Select a channel. Choose any number that might work based on your channel analysis. You can always swap it out later if you don’t see a performance improvement.
- Save your settings and exit the router menu.
Most routers are configured to select the best possible channel, but that doesn’t always work. You can run a speed test or check your ping and frames in your game with each swap to see how it’s affecting your gaming connection. If a channel offers significant improvement, stay on that one instead of using the default suggested by the router.
The Quality-of-Service feature in routers is fantastic because it means all traffic isn’t treated the same. It shouldn’t be. Different programs have different network delivery needs that affect how well they perform.
For example, a program just passively downloading a file doesn’t need fast and frequent network traffic. If it’s a little delayed, it won’t affect the final file and will only take a bit more time to finish. If you’re in a first-person shooter or endgame MMO raid and the network starts prioritizing a download instead of your game, it could make a profound negative impact.
You may also want to try a Dynamic Quality-of-Service option. This can change priority based on current network activity. Netgear recommends using it on connections slower than 300 Gbps.
- Log into your router and look for a Quality-of-Service function. It might be abbreviated as QoS.
- Choose to enable Quality-of-Service, especially dynamic, if you have slower internet speeds. You may need to tell the router your bandwidth or enable automatic detection. The automatic option is the better choice for most people. My router requires a speed test, and Netgear recommends having no other devices connected to the network during it.
- Adjust any settings your router requests. You may have to specify which computer or applications you want to prioritize.
- Save your settings.
If you don’t see this option on your router, you may have to upgrade to a newer one. However, if you have a fast connection, you may not need it.
Multiple User-Multiple Input Multiple Output is a newer protocol that lets routers transfer information more effectively than the old single output style. Instead of only sending information to one connected client at a time, MU-MIMO enables multiple streams, so information comes through more quickly. This is very useful for gaming, especially if you have multiple connections on your Wi-Fi network.
- Connect to your router. Navigate to the same place you set up your wireless networks. It could be in Advanced Settings, Networking, or elsewhere. It all depends on what router you’re using.
- Search for an option to enable MU-MIMO. You will probably have to select a box or toggle a button to turn it on if it isn’t on by default.
- Save your settings.
MU-MIMO offers many benefits but can also lead to less stable connections on some older devices. If you notice a performance drop after enabling it, go back in and turn it off.
What Else Can I Do to Improve My Gaming Connection?
You can do a few other things to boost your connection once your router settings are perfected. It all depends on how much money and time you want to put into your network connection.
- Look for a newer router or upgrade your wireless card. While this can cost money and take time to set up, using old equipment can seriously hamper your performance. Older routers may have only some of these settings available, and you might not be able to create as stable a connection without them.
- Check your modem and what speeds it’s capable of handling. If your modem can only handle 300 Mbps and you have a Gigabit connection, you’re losing out on a lot of speed. It will affect every part of your network. If you aren’t sure what routers and modems are compatible with your connection, speak to your ISP to get a list.
- Move the router closer to where you game. Distance definitely doesn’t help you get a stronger connection. Physical barriers like walls or heavy furniture can also reduce the actual speed you get.