Five Best Routers for Streaming

In our opinion, the following five routers are the best of the best when it comes to 4K streaming and gaming.

SpeedEthernet PortsAntennasRatingPriceDimensions/Weight
#1NETGEAR Nighthawk AC5300 5.3 Gbps643.7/5$$$$$11.6 x 13.8 x 4.6 inches/7.5 pounds
#2ASUS AC3100 Dual-Band Gigabit3.1 Gbps844.1/5$$$$6.5 x 30 x 18.8 inches/2.6 pounds
#3TRENDnet AC3200 Gigabit Tri-Band Wi-Fi3.2 Gbps464/5$$$13 x 3 x 13 inches/5.3 pounds
#4D-Link AC1900 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gigabit1.9 Gbps434.2/5$$$7.5 x 9.8 x 1.5 inches/1.4 pounds
#5TP-Link AC3150 Wireless Wi-Fi Gigabit3.1 Gbps443.9/5$$$10.4 x 7.8 x 1.5 inches/3.6 pounds
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC5300
Speed5.3 Gbps
Ethernet Ports6
Dimensions/Weight11.6 x 13.8 x 4.6 inches/7.5 pounds
ASUS AC3100 Dual-Band Gigabit
Speed3.1 Gbps
Ethernet Ports8
Dimensions/Weight6.5 x 30 x 18.8 inches/2.6 pounds
TRENDnet AC3200 Gigabit Tri-Band Wi-Fi
Speed3.2 Gbps
Ethernet Ports4
Dimensions/Weight13 x 3 x 13 inches/5.3 pounds
D-Link AC1900 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gigabit
Speed1.9 Gbps
Ethernet Ports4
Dimensions/Weight7.5 x 9.8 x 1.5 inches/1.4 pounds
TP-Link AC3150 Wireless Wi-Fi Gigabit
Speed3.1 Gbps
Ethernet Ports4
Dimensions/Weight10.4 x 7.8 x 1.5 inches/3.6 pounds

How to Choose the Best Router for Streaming

Routers allow multiple computers or other devices to join the same network and connect to the internet. Basic internet connection is now considered a standard utility, but many homeowners are hoping to get even more out of their home router.

In households with a love for 4K streaming and gaming, routers that support multiple players and rich video content are the new standard. For them, a basic router won’t get the job done. They need a router that facilitates intense games of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon or streaming the entire season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. These routers provide high speeds, reliable connections, and wireless traffic management.

Fortunately, several routers are designed for hardcore gamers and 4K aficionados. We include the best ones here and share considerations to keep in mind when shopping for a home router that supports your gaming and streaming activities.

Selecting the Best Gaming or 4K Streaming Router

First, find out how much speed you need by clicking the image below.

Click the box to use the speed tool


4K Streaming

First, find out how much speed you need by clicking the image below. Streaming—especially 4K streaming—eats bandwidth for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert, so you’ll need to purchase equipment and services that support it. The work begins with your internet and cable provider and continues through the router and other gadgets, such as gaming systems and DVR and streaming equipment. Many routers specify whether they support 4K streaming and gaming in their product descriptions.

Quality of Service

Some routers focus on providing service to gamers. These routers typically feature Quality of Service (QoS) settings. You use them to prioritize gaming traffic over other media content, which secures a smooth frame rate and game play. Routers for gaming purposes tend to look the part, too, often displaying glossy paint and sleek, sharp edges.


You might hear the word “processors” and think of computer specifications, but processors perform a role in the router world, too. The latest and greatest routers often possess dual processors, allowing them to process data and instructions faster.

Tri-Band, Dual-Band, or Single-Band

Routers employ one of two radio frequencies, or “bands”: either the older 2.4 GHz or the newer 5 GHz. A basic single-band router supports only one of those bands. Newer routers often feature dual-band capabilities, meaning they communicate with devices on two bands, one 2.4 GHz and one 5 GHz.

The most advanced routers have tri-band functionality. These routers use two 5 GHz bands and one 2.4 GHz band. The ability to use three bands increases download and upload speeds and often reduces the chances for signal interference.

Upload and Download Channels

Upload and download channels evolved from the DOCSIS standard, which describes and defines how data is to be transmitted over the network. The current standard, DOCSIS 3.0, combines multiple channels together to enhance performance, reliability, and speed. Some newer routers claim as many as thirty-two download channels and eight upload channels, well above the minimum standard of four.

Standards and Speeds

With home routers, you commonly see two standards: 802.11n and 802.11ac. The first is an older standard, delivering speeds up to 460 Mbps. The second is much faster, promising speeds around 1.3 Gbps. You could see decent quality with an 802.11n router, but you generally want to look for one using 802.11ac. It offers the speeds needed to stream 4K and play games on your Xbox or PS4.

Mesh Networks

Mesh networks create a grid of nodes that extend internet connectivity and reliable performance throughout a space—in this case, your home. These networks consist of two to three routers and continuously check bandwidth needs and current usage. The network then uses that information to automatically connect a device, such as your PS4 or tablet, to the nearest available router, thereby managing traffic flow.

Mesh networks work well in large homes or homes prone to dead zones, but they occasionally face technical difficulties. Downloading the latest PS4 update, for instance, could bog down the network. In addition, a mesh network system sometimes comes with a steep price tag. If you find the price worthwhile, a mesh network router requires minimal setup time and handles multiple devices with ease.

MU-MIMO and Beamforming

Many of the newer standalone routers employ technologies like MU-MIMO and beamforming. These technologies help extend Wi-Fi coverage across the home and support multiple users and devices. MU-MIMO stands for “multi-user multiple input and multiple output.” It keeps internet speeds steady when multiple users access the network by divvying up the bandwidth.

Beamforming typically accompanies MU-MIMO. It uses transmitters and receivers compatible with MU-MIMO to increase wireless throughput and range. The router (transmitter) “beams” the Wi-Fi signal to your devices’ internal antennas, “forming” a home network capable of supporting high-end gaming and streaming.


When it comes to hardcore gaming and 4K streaming, you can never have enough antennas. The antennas enable greater throughput, a marker for how much data can be transmitted from one spot in the home to another within a given time period. As the antenna number increases, so does the speed, from mere bits per second to megabits and even gigabits per second.


Ethernet and USB ports make for a more functional router. You certainly could go wireless for everything, but it sometimes makes sense to hardwire into a device. Plus, if you plan to use Wi-Fi extenders, you definitely want a router with a few free Ethernet ports. Many people make do with two ports, but some can’t get by without four.


If you purchase a standalone (or point-to-point) router, compatibility is a key consideration. That is, if you buy a NETGEAR router and want to extend its wireless coverage throughout the home, you will want to buy compatible extenders. Figuring out compatibility involves looking at the standards (802.11n or 802.11ac), as well as looking out for MU-MIMO and beamforming capabilities.

Other Features

Finally, some routers offer additional benefits. These won’t necessarily improve the 4K stream or game play, but they could make your life easier. The features range from parental controls to Cloud access, and from enhanced security settings to automatic backups. Some even include “airtime fairness,” a feature that extends bandwidth to 802.11ac-compatible devices, such as your 4K HDTV, before offering it to 802.11n devices.


Five Routers for 4K Streaming

The routers found here are listed by price, beginning with the most expensive. Each offers basic assurances for 4K streaming and gaming as well as notable features, both of which are detailed below.


NETGEAR Nighthawk AC5300 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router

(3.7 / 5)

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If you feel the need for speed, check out NETGEAR’s Nighthawk AC5300. This sleek beauty offers speeds up to 5.3 Gbps, ensuring everyone in the house can stream and game to their heart’s content.

Speed: 5.3 Gbps
Ethernet Ports: 6
USB Ports: 2
Antennas: 4
Dimensions: 11.6 x 13.8 x 4.6 inches
Weight: 7.5 pounds
Notable Features: Tri-band Wi-Fi, MU-MIMO technology, dynamic QoS settings, Smart Connect, NETGEAR Genie, and Open Source Support


ASUS AC3100 Dual-Band Gigabit Router

(4.1 / 5)

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The ASUS router might not claim top speeds, but it does take the top spot for available Ethernet ports. If you want to hardwire multiple gaming systems or streaming video gadgets, you should give this router a look.

Speed: 3.1 Gbps
Ethernet Ports: 8
USB Ports: 2
Antennas: 4
Dimensions: 6.5 x 30 x 18.8 inches
Weight: 2.6 pounds
Notable Features: Dual-core processor, dual-band Wi-Fi, Smart Connect, ASUS AiProtection from Trend Micro, MU-MIMO technology, and WTFast Gamers Private Network (GPN)


TRENDnet AC3200 Gigabit Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router

(4 / 5)

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If you want tri-band performance but don’t necessarily need the fastest speeds, you might want to give the TRENDnet router a try. Its lower speed comes in at a lower price point.

Speed: 3.2 Gbps
Ethernet Ports: 4
USB Ports: 2
Antennas: 6
Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 13 inches
Weight: 5.3 pounds
Notable Features: Tri-band Wi-Fi, dual-core processor and three integrated co-processors, Smart Connect, beamforming technology, and Open Source Support


D-Link AC1900 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Gigabit Router

(4.2 / 5)

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Weighing a mere 1.4 pounds, the D-Link router combines powerful performance with portability. While it clocks in at slower speeds than some of the other routers found here, this one offers good functionality at a relatively affordable price.

Speed: 1.9 Gbps
Ethernet Ports: 4
USB Ports: 2
Antennas: 3
Dimensions: 7.5 x 9.8 x 1.5 inches
Weight: 1.4 pounds
Notable Features: Dual-band Wi-Fi, dual-core processor, beamforming technology, advanced QoS settings, Smart Connect, and remote management capabilities


TP-Link AC3150 Wireless Wi-Fi Gigabit Router

(4.2 / 5)

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The TP-Link combines a budget-friendly price tag with customer-friendly features. If you’d like to experience fast speeds and smooth streaming at a cost-effective price point, this is the router to select.

Speed: 3.1 Gbps
Ethernet Ports: 4
USB Ports: 2
Antennas: 4
Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.8 x 1.5 inches
Weight: 3.6 pounds
Notable Features: Dual-band Wi-Fi, Smart Connect, dual-core processor, beamforming and MU-MIMO technology, and VPN access

It’s time to upgrade to faster feeds and speeds. Choose one of the high-end routers listed here, and you’ll be well on your way to enhanced 4K streaming and gaming.

Also See:

2017’s Best Long-Range Router

Is my Wi-Fi slow because of my router or my ISP?

2017’s Best Streaming Devices

2017’s Best Wi-Fi Extenders – How to Boost Your Wi-Fi