With subscription streaming services gaining popularity over traditional cable and satellite TV packages, the best router for streaming has become a highly sought-after item on the market. It is critical that you have a fast internet connection as well as equipment that is capable of handling several high-quality video streams at the same time, as described above.
Full HD (1080p) is soon becoming obsolete, and 4K is swiftly becoming the new norm. This means larger files, greater bandwidth use, and increased demand for the fastest internet connections and the greatest streaming router money can buy.
Streamers rely on high-speed internet to deliver outstanding pictures and sound quality. Having the best router that’s up to the work is important to delivering sharp and clear movies. Not only does the router have to accommodate numerous streams, but it must also prioritize essential devices.
The best streaming routers offer excellent data transfer speeds and come with technologies like MU MIMO and beamforming. They should also function on multiple bands and be compatible with emerging technologies like Wi-Fi 6.
Read more: Best Wifi Routers
Why Do You Need A Good Router For Streaming?
It is possible that the default modem, router, or modem/router combo is not the ideal router for streaming, and some internet service providers will charge you a rental fee for the necessary equipment. More and more informed internet users are opting to purchase their own routers in order to avoid paying fees and to ensure the fastest possible connection speeds.
What it all boils down to are bandwidth management and internet speed. While internet speed is largely determined by your internet service provider, router technology plays a significant role in both of these aspects of computing. Eighth-generation Wi-Fi technology, commonly known as Wi-Fi 5, is the most recent available. Wi-Fi 6 is also available, but it is not as widely accessible and is primarily found in high-end devices such as gaming laptops.
It’s ideal to get a Wi-Fi router that has at least 802.11ac technology to ensure that your Fire Stick, Google TV, Apple TV, or other streaming multiple devices receive the fastest possible rates. Anything less than this will almost certainly result in decreased streaming speed, particularly when several users are streaming at the same time. Another excellent illustration of how quality-of-service-enabled routers function to control bandwidth on internet connections in order to prioritize high-demand traffic is provided by the example above (such as streaming).
Best Router For Streaming In 2021
1. ASUS WiFi Gaming Router (RT-AC5300)
With eight antennas and tri-band gigabit technology, this best router for streaming will undoubtedly deliver high-quality broadcasts while also catering to the needs of heavy users who want to play multiplayer online games at the same time. Despite the fact that it’s a gaming router, it’s also the ideal choice for families with large bandwidth requirements, owing to its amazing app/software for optimum traffic management. Its other features, like as adaptive Quality of Service (QoS), ensure that everyone receives the bandwidth they require for the appropriate tasks, provided that their internet service provider adheres to their half of the bargain.
When it comes to bandwidth control, Asus Smart Connection excels, switching each connected IP address between 5Ghz and 2.5Ghz as required to guarantee that high bandwidth jobs have the best connection available for their surroundings. When several users are downloading, playing online games, and streaming multiple devices at the same time on a regular basis, this router is an excellent choice for them.
2. NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo (C7800)
Typically, when people think of Netgear Nighthawk, they think of huge panel antennas, gaming-centric features, and being the finest router for streaming video. This modem/router combination is the post-college grown-up who understands his or her own capabilities and how to work optimally. Given its smaller footprint than other high-performing best router for streaming multiple devices, as well as its seek-looking four antenna design, the router’s potential speeds, help to future-proof the device for when ISPs finally catch up.
Users wanting to get a decent connection without having to invest in a home network setup or Wi-Fi extenders would benefit from its beamforming compatibility. The USB 3.0 ports are excellent for providing storage that can be shared by the entire family on a local level, however, cloud storage is likely to be more convenient and secure in the long term than local storage. Once again, this is a fantastic choice for families and networks who want to broadcast everything at the same time with the least amount of disruption to load times and stream quality.
3. TP-Link Archer AX11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router
Aimed squarely towards the gaming community, the AX11000 distinguishes itself from the competition by being one of the best-performing Wi-Fi 6 routers now available on the market. If your streaming device is compatible, there is a significant difference between ensuring that your best router for streaming multiple devices is also Wi-Fi 6 ready and not only Wi-Fi 5 ready. For as long as you have a conducive atmosphere for Wi-Fi signals, Wi-Fi 6 will function indistinguishably from a wired Ethernet connection.
It is a significant problem. Its laser focused gaming targets will turn off some streaming aficionados who are looking for a more affordable model. Don’t fall into this trap. For large families and heavy streamers, the AX11000 is an excellent choice, ensuring that everyone gets amazing bandwidth and signal strength. A bonus feature is that it has parental controls, which will ensure that schoolwork is completed without distractions by banning websites and applications such as YouTube and Netflix, among others.
4. Linksys EA7500 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router
With this best router for streaming, Linksys is putting its money on MU-MIMO support, and as long as your streaming device is compatible with the technology, you’ll get a lot out of it. Aside from that, the EA7500’s high price point prevents it from being as competitive as other routers in its band at the moment.
When it comes to administration options and all-around performance as a family router for a mid-range choice, though, it is an obvious winner. For this reason, it was included on the list because it is an excellent choice for integrating 802.11ac Wi-Fi into your house, as well as for the user-friendly features and settings available through the Linksys companion app. Just be certain that you will be able to utilize all of its features before making a purchase.
5. Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Dual-Band WiFi Gaming Router
The Linksys WRT32X communicates with Killer-enabled PCs in order to increase speed and connection between the two devices. It automatically identifies and optimizes gaming traffic based on the hardware being used. The total Wi-Fi speeds of this router are up to 3.2 Gbps, and the four ethernet ports are capable of gigabit rates. Another noteworthy feature is the FCC’s approval for Dynamic frequency selection (DFS), which allows the WRT32X to operate on channels that are otherwise inaccessible to other routers.
With the straightforward dashboard, it’s simple to keep track of your network traffic, speeds, and devices, and it also allows you to prioritize your streams for better performance. In addition, the WRT32X is compatible with MU-MIMO and Alexa. Overall, this is a wonderful router for streaming, but be sure to maintain the firmware up to current at all times.
6. NETGEAR Nighthawk 4-Stream AX4 Wifi 6 Router
The Netgear AX4 is far less expensive than the majority of the other routers on our list, while still providing excellent performance. This gadget features a dual-core CPU that provides seamless streaming to multiple devices, and it is also compatible with Wi-Fi 6. If you’re looking for speed, the AX4 provides up to three gigabits per second combined Wi-Fi speed and four gigabit ethernet connections.
The AX4’s major benefit is its capacity to broadcast four streams at the same time, which is quite convenient. For each stream to be as quick and efficient as possible, it is given its own dedicated bandwidth. OFDMA, beamforming, and Alexa compatibility are some of the other features offered by this router. The Netgear AX4 is an excellent choice if you are looking for excellent performance on a tight budget.
7. TP-Link AC4000 Smart WiFi Router
The TP-Link AC4000 is a fantastic choice for streaming multiple devices in 4K because it has a plethora of useful functions. It features a powerful 1.8GHz 64-bit CPU and is capable of transmitting data at up to 4000 Mbps over Wi-Fi. It also includes built-in Rangeboost technology, which allows it to operate on both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. The four LAN ports and the WAN port all enable gigabit speeds, which may be increased by up to double when using link aggregation.
In addition to the fact that it supports MU-MIMO, this router is also great for streamers due to its design. The ability to handle several streams at the same time eliminates the need to process user requests on a first-come, first-serve basis. When you’re playing and broadcasting at the same time, this is essential to remember. The AC4000 is additionally backed by a two-year guarantee and TP-24-hour Link’s customer support service.
8. NETGEAR Nighthawk R6900P
Due to the fact that online privacy is becoming increasingly crucial, NETGEAR’s Nighthawk R6900P’s VPN features come in very handy. The fact that it has significant features such as the ability to connect up to 30 devices and apply sophisticated parental controls makes it the finest router on the list.
This router’s sleek, stealthy appearance, decent range, outstanding speeds on the 5GHz band, as well as NAS capabilities, are just a few of the features that make the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6900P stand out among other wireless routers.
However, as essential as maintaining one’s anonymity is, the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6900P does not provide this capability. In contrast, there isn’t much to say about the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6900’s shortcomings, which aren’t very noteworthy.
With so many positive attributes to the NETGEAR Nighthawk R6900P and so few reasons as to why you shouldn’t even be using it, this router is a no-brainer for any family, whether you’re a typical TV streaming family or a mixed group of power users, hardcore gamers, and casual browsers who want to stay connected.
9. Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream
Its performance is a little less impressive than that of the other routers on our list, but it finds a fantastic mix between affordability and overall performance. This router can handle 4K streaming and everything else you do online, and its network management software allows you to prioritize particular devices in your network when you want to commit all of your bandwidth to your binge-watching session.
10. NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12
This router, which boasts maximum speeds up to 6 Gbps, a range of up to 3,500 square feet, and the ability to support more than 40 connected devices, definitely overkill. The Cisco Aironet is the router to choose if you want top-of-the-line technology that can handle all of your 4K streaming, gaming, and other internet activities without breaking a sweat.
WiFi router specs and features for Streaming
In order to keep up with 4K streaming, you’ll need to invest in the technology and services that can keep up with it all day, every day. You’ll want to start with an internet plan that offers enough bandwidth (and a high enough data cap) to accommodate your streaming habits while still providing a satisfactory experience for you and your family. A router that can manage the bandwidth and interact with numerous devices at the same time in order to prioritize traffic will be required.
Keep in mind that while the router provided by your ISP may be capable of supporting basic 4K streaming, it is unlikely to have the sophisticated capabilities that allow you to stream on many devices at the same time without experiencing problems. The time may have come for you to consider getting your own wireless router if you’re experiencing excessive buffering and stuttering when streaming video.
Quality of Service (QoS)
In addition, many high-end routers come equipped with quality of service (QoS) capabilities, which allow you to prioritize devices and traffic on your network so that the most essential data streams (in this example, Netflix) receive more bandwidth. Thus, video playing remains uninterrupted by any downloads, gaming, or other activities that may be taking place in your house at the same time that you are watching the streamed content. You should search for Quality of Service (QoS) features in your router if your home has high concurrent internet usage.
When you hear the word “processor,” you might immediately think of computer specs, but processors also play an important part in the realm of routers. Dual processors are frequently found in the latest and finest routers, allowing them to handle data and instructions at a quicker rate. As a consequence, the end-user will experience a more seamless connection with fewer stops and delays.
Whether it’s tri-band, dual-band, or single-band, the choice is yours.
Routers operate on one of two radio frequency bands, or “bands,” which are the older 2.4 GHz or the more recent 5 GHz band. A single-band router, which is the most basic configuration, supports just one of those bands. Newer routers frequently include dual-band capability, which means they can interact with devices operating on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands at the same time.
Tri-band capability is available on the most sophisticated routers. Most of these routers operate on two 5 GHz bands as well as one 2.4 GHz band. The ability to use three bands enhances download and upload speeds while also decreasing the likelihood of signal interference in many cases.
Standard names for wireless networks are evolving, although 802.11n, 802.11ac, and Wi-Fi 6 are among the most widely used names for wireless networks. At the present, these are the standards that are most widely used. Wi-Fi 6 is the most recent standard, and it is available in the latest generation of high-end routers. (Its name is simpler to remember because it was released after the name modifications were implemented.)
Even while an 802.11n router may provide acceptable streaming quality, you should seek one that supports 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 6, if at all feasible. These standards provide the necessary speeds to stream 4K video while playing a few games on your Xbox One or PlayStation 5. It’s typically obvious which wireless standard a router supports because the name of the router contains the information.
MU-MIMO and beamforming are two technologies that are being explored.
Multi-user, multiple input, and multiple output (MU-MIMO) is an abbreviation for this. Many of the newest standalone routers make use of technology such as MU-MIMO, which maintains consistent internet speeds even when numerous users connect to the network by dividing up the available bandwidth. Consider it to be the equivalent of enhanced multitasking for your router. You should search for this feature if your family frequently has numerous gadgets operating at the same time.
MU-MIMO is frequently used in conjunction with beamforming. Increased throughput and range are achieved through the use of transmitters and receivers that are compatible with MU-MIMO. The router (transmitter) essentially shoots the Wi-Fi signal to the internal antennae of your devices, resulting in a home network that is capable of supporting high-definition streaming multiple devices and other applications.
What is the final outcome? You’ll get a signal that’s stronger and has a greater range, and it’ll be able to manage numerous devices at the same time.
The number and power of your router’s antennas can have an impact on the range, dependability, and performance of your Wi-Fi signal, as well as the functionality of technologies such as MU-MIMO and beamforming.
That does not necessarily imply that the router with the most number of antennas is the most effective one. However, if you’re streaming 4K content via Wi-Fi, you’ll want the strongest signal with the most speed possible, which means using several antennae.
The addition of Ethernet and USB connections enhances the functionality of the router. You could, of course, use wireless technology for everything, but there are instances when hardwiring a gadget makes sense. Furthermore, if you intend to utilize Wi-Fi extenders, you will need a router that has a sufficient number of open Ethernet ports. Many people can get by with only two ports, while some people can’t function well without at least four.
When you place your router on your entertainment center and connect your streaming box or smart TV straight to it, the Ethernet ports on your router come in useful. This helps to guarantee that your main device has a strong connection while still leaving the Wi-Fi signal available for tablets and other devices.
In addition, features
Finally, certain routers provide extra features and advantages. They won’t necessarily increase the quality of a 4K stream, but they may make your life a little bit simpler. Parental controls, cloud access, increased security settings, and automated backups are just a few of the many features available. Even “airtime fairness” is included in certain routers, which is a function that prioritizes bandwidth for 802.11ac–compatible devices (such as your 4K HDTV) before providing it to 802.11n devices.