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How to set up your WiFi router
for gaming

How to set up your WiFi router

If you’re looking for better hit rates, lower latency, strong ping, and complete control over your network traffic and game, learning how to optimize your router for the best gaming settings will help get you there.

Select a gaming router

One of the goals of any gamer’s internet setup is to improve performance. The last thing you want is to lose a match due to a poor connection.

A gaming router can be worth it if you’re looking for cutting edge technology that will unlock the inner gamer you were always meant to be.

When compared to a regular router, a gaming router comes with features like the ability to prioritize bandwidth to specific applications based on traffic.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get a great experience when using a standard WiFi router

However, depending on your internet usage, swapping in the latest graphics card or processor won’t improve your performance if the bottleneck is your router.

How to set up a gaming router

While each router has its own set up and beneficial features, most routers have similar set-up procedures to get you gaming as quickly as possible.

Let’s walk through the initial, common set-up steps for the NETGEAR Nighthawk XR1000 gaming router with WiFi 6 capabilities using an Ethernet cable.

The Nighthawk app will give you access to the router’s features to optimize your settings, allowing you to manage and customize your network for your household’s  usage needs. 

Plus, it’s designed for out-of-the-box plug-and-play use with a quick start guide. 

Download the Nighthawk app at the App Store or Google Play.

Attach the four antennas to your router

Step 1: Attach the four antennas to your router

  • Each antenna is marked with a corresponding number to match a numbered antenna post on the router. Looking at the Rear of the unit:
    • One antenna marked Ant 1 for the antenna post on the Left
    • One antenna marked Ant 3 for the antenna post on the right
  • Two antennas are marked as Ant 2 that can be attached to either antenna post marked Ant 2 on the back of the panel facing you.
  • Align the four antennas vertically with each corresponding threaded antenna post.
Connect your router to power it up

Step 2: Connect your router to power it up

  • First disconnect any current Router or Computer from your modem.
  • Unplug your modem. Remove and reinsert the backup battery if it uses one. Then plug the modem back in.
  • Use the Ethernet cable to connect the modem to the yellow Internet port on the router. Note: If your internet connection does not require a modem, connect your main Ethernet cable to the yellow internet port on the router.
  • The rest of the Ethernet ports can go to a hardwired computer or hub for other connected devices.
  • Connect the power adapter to your router and connect the power adapter to a power outlet.
  • Press the Power On/Off button on the back router panel. The router’s Power LED lights are solid white when the router is ready.
Change the preset wireless settings to secure your personal network

Step 3: Change the preset wireless settings

  • Open a web browser and type 192.168.1.1 into the address bar, which is the standard, default IP address for most routers. Book marking this page will make it easy to get back to it.
  • The first time you access the router interface, a sign-in box will prompt you to enter a username and password. Use the information provided to you on the card that came with the router.
  • Once logged-in you’ll be able to access the DumaOS dashboard for your router.
Connect a hard drive or flash drive to your router

Step 4: (optional): Connect a hard drive or flash drive

  • Leverage the USB 3.0 port to use the router as a media server.
  • To create a backup for your computer or share files from any device within your home network, connect a hard drive. For more details, refer to the user manual for your hard drive.

Once you’ve powered up your router and connected to the internet successfully, it’s time to configure the optimal router settings for gaming.

Configuring your WiFi router settings for gaming

Taking the time to configure your router settings can significantly improve your game, especially for WiFi.

Consider the notion that your router is the switchboard for your gaming network.

It controls the network for all the home internet equipment associated with it.

The more devices on your home network and the wider the range, the harder your router has to work. 

There’s no doubt your router choice and the way it’s configured can impact how fast you play, either solo or with multiple players. 

One of the best things about investing in a gaming WiFi router is the robust customization options available.

In many cases, gaming routers are designed to be a “plug-and-play solution.” 

However, easy configuration options allow you to make adjustments so you can optimize your router settings for gaming.

For example, you can reduce latency and network traffic for better ping and increase your gaming speed.  

Consider the following benefits of gaming routers over standard routers:

Quality of Service (QoS)

Quality of Service (QoS)

QoS settings allow gamers to avoid lag, which can slow your response times. QoS empowers gamers to control congestion, allocate bandwidth, and prioritize traffic.

  • Congestion control reserves overflow bandwidth for gaming. If other devices overload your network, the router will tap into the bandwidth reserve to prioritize gaming traffic. 
  • Bandwidth allocation has an easy drag-and-drop setting to allocate bandwidth for specific applications. For example, you can specify download and upload speeds for your desired application, including live streaming, file sharing, messaging, VoIP or VPN. This allows you to optimize internet speeds specifically for your games.
  • Traffic prioritization allows gamers to classify games as higher priority when there is increased traffic. It lets you put your games at the front of the traffic queue so other devices and applications don’t suck up bandwidth first.

Setting up Quality of Service

In order to access QoS settings you will need to:

  • Launch a web browser from a computer or mobile device connected to the router network. 
  • Enter http://www.routerlogin.net for a login window to open. 
  • Enter the router admin user name and password to display the dashboard. 
    • The user name is admin.
    • The password is what you created the first time you logged in.
    • The user name and password are case-sensitive. 
  • Select QoS. 

Click the Congestion Control menu icon in the control pane to display the options pane. Here you can control your download and upload speeds. This setting allows the router to prevent network congestion and queuing delays from applications or devices consuming a lot of bandwidth.

While the bandwidth speeds are automatically populated if you use the automatic internet setup, you can redefine your rates manually for troubleshooting or advanced customization.  

Click the Bandwidth Allocation menu icon in the control pane to display the options pane. 

A drag-and-drop solution allows you to prioritize bandwidth for types of allocations or specific devices.  Since some applications need more bandwidth than others, such as gaming and streaming, you can allocate a certain percentage of the total bandwidth from the router to guarantee the appropriate bandwidth levels for your application and gaming needs. 

Click the Traffic Prioritization menu icon in the control pane to display the options pane.

While the router automatically prioritizes high-traffic applications for your games, you have the options of prioritizing traffic for a device or service in the traffic queue in case network congestion occurs.  This reduces network lag for both incoming and outgoing traffic on devices.

Geo Filter

Geo-filter

Geo-filter provides gamers with the ability to access top-performing servers around the world.

It’s an excellent feature to leverage when playing with multiple friends from around the globe or across the nation. 

Geo-Filter gives you access to the following:

  • Ping assist: You can also use a custom slider to identify and allow access to all the low ping servers available, even if it’s outside the Geo-Filter radius you set up.  
  • Ping filter: Taking it a step further, you can leverage the ping filter to only access servers with your specified ping criteria. 
  • Deny and allow game server capabilities:  This feature will enable gamers to block servers that don’t live up to their expectations and save trusted servers.  If you’ve taken the time to set up your filters and ping criteria, but the experience is different from what you hoped, don’t fret. You can avoid resetting your filters. Block the low-performing servers causing you the hassle. Meanwhile, you can safelist the servers of your gaming friends, even if they’re outside your Geo-Filters, giving you complete control over your external gaming network. 
Geo Filter Setup

Setting up geo-filter

To set up your router for multi-player global success, access Polygon Mode and ping filter.  

Under the Geo-Filter settings, you can quickly drill down to customize their ping criteria for access to the most optimized servers.  You also can deny and safelist game servers.

Select Geo-Filter to display a map and then click add device to display the device selected.

  • Select the game you’re playing.
  • Switch the filtering mode on, and the device will be added.
  • Set your home location.
  • Pin your location on the map.
  • Set the distance slider to cover the servers you want to access for top gaming performance.
Geo Filter Polygons

Setting up polygon mode

Set up your Polygon Mode by drawing the home area for your devices to access the hosts or servers you play on.  You can access multiple areas for multi-players.

Once you determine the best server to access, you can draw an area around the chosen server called Geo-Fencing.  Only the connections within the area that you draw are available to you.  The rest are blocked to mitigate speed and latency issues.

Setting up ping assist & ping filter

Access Ping Assist to identify low ping servers.  Set a custom slider to take advantage of ping assist with custom values.

We recommend 40ms ping on the slider.  This tells the software you want to look for servers with 40ms pings or lower.  To open up and expand your ping asset to any available server in the world, set your home location to the middle of the ocean and make the distance as small as possible.

Utilize the Ping filter to open your ping assist to any available server worldwide. Set your home location to the middle of the ocean and make the distance as small as possible.

Deny game servers allows you to allow or block connections with individual connections regardless of Geo-Filter or distance radius if a particular server is causing issues with your game.  However, you can’t block dedicated servers. 

  • Disable auto ping host.
  • Click on the icon you wish to deny or block.
  • Name the server, such as “bad server,” and select deny.  This will block you from connecting to that server even if it’s within your filter radius.
Ping Dashboard

Ping heat maps

Ping heat maps make it easy for gamers to see what servers have the lowest ping rates.

You can scroll over clusters of servers to see each server’s individual ping rate. You’ll always know where to locate the best servers for your specified games.

Setting up ping heat maps

Select the Ping Heat Map from the dashboard display to determine the optimal servers you want to connect to for specified games. 

  • Select your game from the drop-down menu, revealing available game servers and showing a ping indicator for each server.
  • Select services to correspond with the specific game you’re playing.
  • You can schedule regular pings on selected servers to establish a ping history so you can track pings over time to monitor server performance.
Network Monitoring

Real-time network monitoring

Real-time network monitoring gives gamers a snapshot of applications and devices currently running. You can explore traffic categories at a granular level and see upload and download rates. This allows you to identify bandwidth hogs to remove bandwidth usage or stop connectivity.

Setting up networking monitoring

Real-time network monitoring gives you access to traffic metering and the opportunity to manage and optimize your network traffic as needed. 

While you can see the traffic volume passing through your router, the traffic meter allows you to set traffic volume limits and receive live updates on traffic usage. 

To access the Traffic Meter page from the dashboard, go to: 

  • Settings > Monitoring > Traffic Meter Traffic Meter page.
  • Enable the Traffic Meter check box.

Advanced configuration

Advanced configuration features are also available such as Port forwarding, Port Triggering, VPN services, and UPnP allows. Xbox players are also able to utilize IPv6 for improved developments toward chat and gameplay.

Optimize Router

How to optimize any router for gaming

To take advantage of your router benefits, follow these tips to create the fastest and lowest latency gaming experience:

1. Create a connection benchmark

Perform internet speed tests to show upload and download times. You can find website speed services online.

Access the router’s web interface to schedule speed tests. Using the Nighthawk pro gaming router, you can benchmark performance over time with the Connection Benchmark feature. 

Conduct base ping tests to measure your network’s response time and check for packet loss. Packet loss happens when data packets don’t reach their intended destination causing latency issues.

Ping test under load to check how your network performs when you have multiple devices connected to your network.

These tests compare your network’s upload and download speeds from when it’s idle to when it’s congested, allowing you to make network adjustments as needed.

2. Power cycle your modem

Rebooting or power cycling your modem is the first step toward troubleshooting internet connectivity and wireless issues, and it can help improve slow connections.

3. Move your router

Make sure your WiFi router is centrally located in your home, off the floor if possible, in a space where the internet is frequently accessed.

Another option is to place the router in an area where your WiFi has the most expansive coverage area to increase your WiFi speeds.

Avoid placing the router behind physical barriers, confined spaces, and course materials. This can make it hard for the wireless signal to reach your devices, ultimately affecting WiFi speeds.  

4. Disconnect devices to free up bandwidth

You can boost your internet speeds by limiting the number of devices connected to your network.

Bandwidth is distributed to all the devices using the internet. More devices connected to the internet means less bandwidth is available for each device.

Too many devices connected to your router will affect WiFi performance.

5. Clean your devices for viruses

Most routers will slow down to the speed of your slowest device, so it’s essential to give your device a regular check-up to protect and boost your connection.

Related content: 5 internet security tips to keep you secure

Your smartphone, laptop, and tablet performance will slow down over time.

Wrapping up

If you utilize and implement this information to enable the most powerful router settings for your gaming, you’ll be well on the path to creating the ultimate gaming experience.  

Choose a router rich with beneficial features that are easy to configure and customize for your network and gaming needs.  You’ll be happy with the choice every time you win.

Create the perfect plan

Get the speed, WiFi, and TV that’s just right for you.

Disclaimers

*Internet download speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. Certain equipment may be required to receive advertised speeds. Observed speeds may vary based on device connection & other factors outside of Astound’s control. All advertised speeds are up to the stated speeds and are not guaranteed; speed may vary due to conditions outside of network control, including customer location, sites accessed, number of devices connected, customer usage, customer equipment and computer configuration, the level of overall traffic, and customer compliance with Astound usage policies set forth in the acceptable usage policy. See astound.com/yourspeed for why speeds may vary. Our FCC Network Management Disclosure makes available information regarding our network management practices and the performance and commercial terms of our Internet access services to enable you to make informed choices regarding the purchase and use of our services, in accordance with Part 8 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Modem required for internet service. We substantiate that the cable modem equipment provided, and the configuration of such cable modem, meets the broadband speeds advertised when attached to a wired connection based on SamKnows testing procedures.

Not all services, speeds, packages, equipment, channels, tiers, pricing, streaming services, product offerings and product features are available in all areas. Offers valid only for new residential customers or previous customers with account in good standing who have not had our service within the last 60 days. All names, logos, images and service marks are property of their respective owners. Other restrictions may apply.

Pro-Gaming: Activation and installation not included. $12.95 per month is an additional monthly fee and includes 1 Pro-gaming router. NETGEAR, the NETGEAR logo, NIGHTHAWK, the NIGHTHAWK logo, NIGHTHAWK PRO GAMING and the NIGHTHAWK PRO GAMING logo are trademarks of NETGEAR, Inc. DumaOS is a trademark of Netduma Software, Ltd. Any other trademarks in this communication are for reference purposes only. © 2023 NETGEAR, Inc. © 2023 NETGEAR, Inc. NETGEAR, the NETGEAR Logo, NETGEAR Armor and Nighthawk are trademarks of NETGEAR, Inc.

While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this site has been obtained from reliable sources, Astound Broadband is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this site is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Certain links in this site connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom Astound Broadband has no control. Astound Broadband makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other websites.

*Internet download speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. Certain equipment may be required to receive advertised speeds. Observed speeds may vary based on device connection & other factors outside of Astound’s control. All advertised speeds are up to the stated speeds and are not guaranteed; speed may vary due to conditions outside of network control, including customer location, sites accessed, number of devices connected, customer usage, customer equipment and computer configuration, the level of overall traffic, and customer compliance with Astound usage policies set forth in the acceptable usage policy. See astound.com/yourspeed for why speeds may vary. Our FCC Network Management Disclosure makes available information regarding our network management practices and the performance and commercial terms of our Internet access services to enable you to make informed choices regarding the purchase and use of our services, in accordance with Part 8 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Modem required for internet service. We substantiate that the cable modem equipment provided, and the configuration of such cable modem, meets the broadband speeds advertised when attached to a wired connection based on SamKnows testing procedures.

Not all services, speeds, packages, equipment, channels, tiers, pricing, streaming services, product offerings and product features are available in all areas. Offers valid only for new residential customers or previous customers with account in good standing who have not had our service within the last 60 days. All names, logos, images and service marks are property of their respective owners. Other restrictions may apply.

While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this site has been obtained from reliable sources, Astound Broadband is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this site is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Certain links in this site connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom Astound Broadband has no control. Astound Broadband makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other websites.