What’s the Best Router for Streaming?
Serial streamers and gamers both have a common enemy: lag. It can mean the difference between watching the season finale all in one go or waiting for it to get released on—well, DVD. While your internet speed is one thing, even the highest speed doesn’t matter if you have a router from 2018, when you could still get away with internet speeds of 20Mbps (and still play online games!). But those days are over and it’s time to make way for 2022’s best.
We’re talking 4K UHD video compatibility, impressive speeds, and even some low prices. This guide provides a rundown of the best routers for streaming in 2022 and includes some familiar brands such as TP-Link and D-Link, as well as a few favorites like ASUS.
Which router is the best for streaming?
Routers are like a good pair of shoes. While your favorite pair might be a good fit for you, they may not work the same way for someone else, regardless of price or brand. Wading through an nearly endless selection of routers can be hard, however, a checklist may make short work of it when comparing the features of each device. Details to consider include:
- Line speed support
- Networking capabilities
- What the internet will be used for, such as gaming, emails, browsing, streaming, TV, phone, etc.
- The device size and aesthetics
Best for: Internet users who want the best
The Orbi offers Wi-Fi Mesh systems, cable routers, and the use of a *cough* satellite (or three!). While there are a number of packages to choose from, the Rolls Royce of the range is the NETGEAR OrbiTM Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E Mesh System with 3 Satellites. You’re going to want to kick the tires on this one:
- The enormous 10.8Gbps makes it the frontrunner for best Wi-Fi router for streaming.
- Revolutionary Quad-band mesh Wi-Fi 6E technology.
- There’s the Wi-Fi 6E exclusivity, which means a separate band from 2.4GHz and 5GHz users.
- 10 gigabit wired internet port.
- An incredible range of 12,000 square feet.
- Premium installation services.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a smoother streaming router than this. There’s also the powerful quad-core 2.2GHz processor and optional access to NETGEAR Armor. It’s pricey and the Orbi Tri-band Mesh WiFi 6 System, 6Gbps Router + 2 Satellites with 3 systems start from around $999.
Best for: Households that are anti-lag and anti-buffer
If you had to choose a router based just on its appearance, the ASUS RT-AC5300 might just win. It’s fast, it has range, and it offers an app so you can easily navigate your network. It’s worth unpacking some of these features, including:
- Saying this router is fast is a vast understatement, as it can get speeds of up to 5,334Mbps, making it ideal for 4K videos in ultra-high definition. It’s also great for gamers, thanks to its low latency.
- Its range is impressive, thanks to 4×4 antennae that include AiRadar universal beamforming. Link this up to AiMesh devices and you’ll enjoy an unrivaled range.
- For gamers, there’s access to the Gamers Private Network® from WTFast®, which is designed to lower ping time and minimize packet loss.
- AiProtection on the RT-AC5300 allows users to turn off utilities with peace of mind that their data integrity remains intact.
It’s hard to nitpick at the ASUS RT-AC5300, except that the design might not appeal to everyone. But that seems superficial as it offers peak performance that makes streaming a rewarding experience. This allows it to make its case for runner up to the best router for streaming.
At around $300, it’s decently priced and an affordable second-in-line to the NETGEAR Orbi.
NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12
Best for: Streamers who have had issues with Wi-Fi dead spots before
Another top router choice is the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12, which is made for streaming. It’s designed to drop those dead zones and lag and offer super-fast streaming for 4K UHD videos. Gamers aren’t left in the dark here, and neither are the remote workers that rely on a smooth connection for video conferencing. This unit packs a few punches, including:
- Speeds up to 6 Gbps that easily fight off buffering for 4K streaming.
- Nighthawk routers come with an app allowing you to manage your network from a mobile device.
- As a Wi-Fi 6 device, it has four times the device capacity of Wi-Fi 5.
- If you’re going the wired route, this router offers five times the wired speed than those using a typical Gigabit Ethernet port.
Let’s face it, most routers look like their design is inspired by the latest sci-fi movie and the AX12 is no different. However, with its smooth lines and relatively small footprint, it’s easy to accommodate it on a shelf or bookcase. Here’s the rub; it’s expensive. At $600, you’re paying for the speed especially if you’re running a wired home or office network.
TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router
Best for: Peak performance at an affordable price
Another router that looks as if you’re called to a meeting on some star commander’s ship, and the TP-Link AX11000 has the connection flex we all want in a router. If you’re streaming solely for gaming purposes, the multi-gig wide area network (WAN) will be a great help.
- 10,756Mbps is all you need to stream from multiple devices at the same time.
- It offers 12 streams for those multiple transmitting capabilities.
- 1024 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) that improves data encoding.
- A superb streaming experience as you get to indulge in 4K UHD video streaming.
Sure it’s big and a bit clunky but who cares with that kind of performance? With its stellar capacity and multiple-device support, the entire household can stream and chill. Beamforming technology ensures that you receive a clearer, stronger signal for stellar data clarity. Furthermore, it’s priced around $259.99, which is reasonable for a high-performance device such as this.
TP-Link Deco X20
Best for: Multi-level or staggered properties
Unassuming and sleek, the TP-Link Deco X20 is a must-have if network coverage over a large area is what you need. Large houses or properties that use add-ons as home offices will benefit from the range on this device. It resolves Wi-Fi dead zones and a selling point is its enhanced whole-home coverage. Other benefits include:
- Wi-Fi 6 speed and reduced lag, as more devices can effortlessly stream.
- Connect over 150 devices – the ideal solution for smart homes that incorporate home security systems, smart appliances, devices, and more. This easily makes it the best router for streaming on multiple devices.
- Seamless roaming is great for those who live in multi-level or split-level homes.
- Enhanced security through HomeCare network security tools, parental controls, and antivirus.
- Simple setup that’s as easy as downloading an app.
- Compatible with Alexa.
Not only is the Deco X20 affordable at $259.99, but it’s also a great home router that offers coverage for those who can’t afford to walk from one room to the next without dropping signal and, worst of all, that long-distance video call with grandma. The system comprises of three mesh components, which make it ideal to stagger throughout the house for continuous signal.
Reyee RG-E5 Wi-Fi 6 Router
Best for: The mid-range streamer
A smart home is just one of those things that slowly happens to us and before we know it, we can check the content of our fridges while we’re in a store. Devices like the Reyee RG-E5 help this process along by connecting up to 128 devices. But it’s the overall streaming performance that allows this number to stick its head out as a fair contender in the streaming router game, with features such as:
- Wi-Fi 6 supports multiple devices at stellar speed.
- Offers strong security such as parental controls and anti-malware protection.
- The router offers a 2.4GHz and a 5GHz band, with the prior offering speeds up to around 800Mbps and the latter 2400Mbps.
- Multi-user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) ensures multiple devices can stream data at the same time.
While it offers much in the way of speed, a strange omission from the technical team is its inability to support WPA3, which could pose security problems. There are also no USB ports, which can limit use. However, at a price of $149.99, this device’s performance will be tough to beat.
ASUS ZenWifi ET8
Best for: Range, range, and more range!
Just when you’re used to the sheer joy in streaming that Wi-Fi 6 brings, ASUS goes and steps it up a notch with the Wi-Fi 6E—and the “e” is the expanded version, which adds a new 6GHz band to the mix, a definite win for the streaming brigade as it reduces lag through lower latency. Best of all? The 6GHz band is only reserved for Wi-Fi 6E users, which cuts out all the traffic on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. That said, you can still use the 5GHz backhaul with this device, but it’s not recommended. If that wasn’t already impressive, there’s more:
- Welcome to a world with 8K streaming. It’s not enough to just compare ISP and TV packages to accommodate 8K, you also need the right router.
- Two mesh routers that cover an area of 5,500 square feet or one router that covers around 2,750 square feet.
- High security standards through Instant Guard which include VPN.
- A simple setup through the ASUS Router App which offers auto-synchronization, identifying, and backhaul selection which saves a lot of time and effort.
You’re going to pay a couple of hundred more for this one and it might just be worth it. The Wi-Fi 6E is groundbreaking and for streamers, there’s simply no going back from this. The routers are small and aesthetically pleasing, which makes them simple to incorporate into your home’s décor. It’s just a great all-rounder, but comes with a hefty price tag around $700.
D-Link Smart AC2600
Best for: Households with a set budget
The full name of this model is the D-Link Smart AC2600 High Power Wi-Fi Gigabit Router. If you’re in the beginning stages of a smart-home set-up, this device is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. But its true strength lies in its TV streaming capabilities. Here’s why:
- It offers up to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,733Mbps on the 5GHz band, which means no lag or buffering.
- It features a dual-core processor which ensures your Wi-Fi runs smoothly.
- Comprehensive parental controls keep the little ones safe online.
- You can set up and manage your router with the D-Link Wi-Fi app.
- It offers Wi-Fi Mesh compatibility which allows you to extend your range if needed.
While this might be labeled a budget option, it’s so much more thanks to stellar performance and a host of features that make TV time the relaxing pastime it’s meant to be. While it might not be the go-to option for serious gamers, it’s a worthy contender in this sphere, especially if you’re looking for something under $150, as this one comes in at around $129.99.
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