The best router for streaming is a sought after commodity with subscription streaming services gaining favour over traditional cable and satellite TV packages. It’s important that you have a fast internet connection along with the right equipment that can handle multiple high-quality video streams at the same time. 4K is quickly becoming the new standard over full HD (1080p), which means bigger files, more bandwidth being used and a stronger demand for the best internet connections and best router for streaming money can buy.
Products at a Glance
Why Do You Need A Good Router For Streaming?
Sometimes, the stock modem, router or modem/router combo isn’t the best router for streaming, and some internet service providers will charge you rental for said equipment. More and more savvy internet users are buying their own routers to circumvent charges and allow for the best connection speeds possible. It all comes down to bandwidth management and internet speed, whilst internet speed is mostly up to your internet service provider to deliver on, router technology plays a big part in both areas. The latest Wi-Fi technology is 802.11ac, also known as Wi-Fi 5, there is also Wi-Fi 6 but this isn’t as readily available and is mostly built into high-end devices like gaming laptops. It’s best to get a Wi-Fi router with at least 802.11ac technology baked in to get the best speeds for your Fire Stick, Google TV, Apple TV or other streaming devices. Anything less than this will likely see drops in streaming speed, especially when multiple users are streaming simultaneously. This is also a great example of when quality of service enabled routers work to manage bandwidth on internet connections to prioritise high-demand traffic (such as streaming).
Keeping in mind different budgets and routers that match various users requirements, here’s our five best options:
Best Router For Streaming in 2021
Amazing software/app suite
Fair price point
Not all features may be used for streamers
Featuring eight antennas and tri-band gigabit technology, this best router for streaming will certainly provide some great quality streams alongside looking after power-users looking to play multiplayer online games at the same time. Yes, it’s a gaming router, but it’s the perfect solution for high-bandwidth families thanks to it’s brilliant app/software for maximum traffic control. It’s extra features such as adaptive QoS ensure everyone will get the bandwidth they need for the right tasks, providing your internet service provider is keeping up their end of the deal that is.
Asus Smart Connection is also great for bandwidth management, switching each connected IP address between 5Ghz and 2.5Ghz when needed to ensure high bandwidth tasks are getting the best connection possible for their environments. This router is a brilliant proposition for multiple users who download, play online games and stream simultaneously and regularly.
Large coverage area
Supported by major US ISP
Overkill for one person households
When people mention Netgear Nighthawk, they think massive panel antennas, gaming focused and best router for streaming. This modem/router combo is the post-college grown-up that knows it’s strengths and how to perform. With a smaller footprint than most high-performing best router for streaming and a seek-looking four antenna design, it’s potential speeds future-proof the router for when ISPs manage to catch up.
Its beamforming compatibility is great for users looking to catch a good connection without investing in a home network setup or Wi-Fi extenders. The USB 3.0 ports are great for providing storage that can be used by all the family at a local level, although cloud storage will probably be easier and safer to use in the long run. Again, this is another great option for households and networks looking to all stream at once with minimal disturbance to load times and stream quality.
Wi-Fi 6 capable for strong fast connections
8 Antennas For large Coverage Area
Very expensive for casual streamers
Aiming for a gaming audience, AX11000 sets itself apart from the competition as one of the best performing Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market right now. If your streaming device is compatible, there’s a considerable difference in making sure your best router for streaming is also Wi-Fi 6 ready. Providing you have a good environment for Wi-Fi signals, Wi-Fi 6 performs just as well as a wired ethernet connection.
It’s major issue it’s it’s laser focused gamer targets, which will put off some streaming enthusiasts for a cheaper model, don’t fall for this trap. AX11000 is great for big families and heavy streamers, making sure everyone has incredible bandwidth and signal strength. It’s parental controls will also be a god-send to parents making sure homework is done without distractions by blocking sites and apps such as YouTube and Netflix.
Solid specs for the price
Considerable upgrade from ISP stock router without over-spending
Not aesthetically pleasing
Linksys is putting it’s money on MU-MIMO support with this best router for streaming, and providing your streaming device is compatible with the technology, you’ll get a lot out of it. Otherwise, its high price point doesn’t make EA7500 as competitive as other routers in its band currently.
It’s a clear performer for management options and for an all round family router for a mid-range option however. It’s a good option for introducing 802.11ac Wi-Fi into your home alongside it’s user-friendly options and settings in the Linksys companion app which is why it made the list. Just make sure that you can take full advantage of it’s features before purchasing.
Best budget option
Great coverage when compared to expensive alternatives
Not much of an improvement on ISP stock modem/router combos
A sub $50 router/modem combo normally isn’t worth purchasing when you already have a ISP router bundled in with a package, unless it’s a Netgear C6220. It’s more of a value for money purchase rather than investing in performance chasing hardware. Users can expect around 20% improvement on download speeds when compared to stock ISP routers, providing a user’s home isn’t full of obstacles and made of lead.
It’s also 802.11ac compatible and dual band (2.4Ghz and 5 Ghz) which is amazing for the price, with two 1 Ghz ethernet ports for wired purists. It might be an idea to check if this router will be compatible with higher-end ISP packages though, as C6220 isn’t going to support anything over 250Gbps. Although small families and single users won’t need to worry about getting a large internet bundle anyway. This is the perfect router for one or two concurrent streamers and casual users.
Ultimately, there’s always advantages to owning your own router/modem. It can often lower your internet package costs and will most likely perform at least a little bit better than an ISP-provided router. For multiple streaming households, it’s always wise to invest in a robust piece of equipment that will support the bandwidth of multiple users streaming/gaming. The best router for streaming will always be based on your individual set up and needs.
Things To Consider
What does Tri-Band mean?
A tri band router broadcasts 3 separate bands. It will broadcast a 2.4 GHz band, and it will broadcast 2 separate 5 GHz bands. It’s like having 3 separate networks in one device.
Is Wi-Fi 6/801.11ac the fastest?
Wi-Fi 6 is the next-generation wireless standard that’s faster than 802.11ac. More than speed, it will provide better performance in congested areas.
How does QoS Work?
Quality of Service (QoS) is a set of technologies that work on a network to guarantee its ability to dependably run high-priority applications and traffic under limited network capacity. QoS technologies accomplish this by providing differentiated handling and capacity allocation to specific flows in network traffic.
Is Mu-MIMO important?
Both MU-MIMO and non-MU-MIMO (SU-MIMO) devices operate faster because all devices on the network have less time to wait to get data from the Wi-Fi router.
What Is a Wi-Fi Extender?
A Wi-Fi extender connects with your router (either wirelessly or through a wired connection) to help extend your internet signal into rooms that are Wi-Fi dead zones due to walls, furniture obstructions or general spacing.
2.4Ghz vs 5Ghz
A 2.4 GHz connection travels farther at lower speeds, while 5 GHz frequencies provide faster speeds at shorter range.
ASUS WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC5300) wins out of our selection here. It comes packed with premium features and a great Wi-Fi range without the $300+ price tag. It’s primarily a gaming router, but the value for money and versatility makes it the best router for streaming.