A good quality router is imperative for a seamless 4K streaming experience, however, finding the right one can be a difficult task. There are a few factors to consider to ensure optimal performance. Keeping everything in mind, we’ve prepared this list of the 10 best routers that’ll allow you to stream 4K content smoothly.
Do you like to enjoy the pleasure of an immersive experience at the comfort of your home theatre? Are you a hardcore gamer generating high-quality content for streaming on Twitch or YouTube gaming? Or if you are in a large household with multiple TVs streaming 4K content. It doesn’t matter what your needs are, you’ll be able to find the right equipment without any trouble.
If there is a dilemma about choosing WiFi 6 or WiFi 5 routers? Or if you are unsure about the important features to look for in a router or If you are looking for a budget router that supports 4K streaming, the article clarifies your doubts and helps you find the best router for your streaming requirements.
I narrowed down the important features indispensable for 4K streaming. If you are relying on wireless connectivity, OFDMA, MU-MIMO, and beamforming are vital for stability. An adequate selection of Ethernet ports, backed by powerful hardware (Dual-core or higher processor and RAM) remains crucial.
- 10 Best Routers for 4K Streaming in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: TP-Link AX6000
- 2. Best For Mesh Setup: ASUS ZenWiFi Mini
- 3. Best For Game Streaming: NETGEAR Nighthawk AX5 RAX43
- 4. Best With WiFi 6: ASUS RT-AX3000
- 5. Best For OTT Streaming: Linksys EA8100 AC2600
- 6. Best For Live TV Streaming: D-Link DIR-2640-US AC2600
- 7. Best Under 100: MOTOROLA AC2600 MR2600
- 8. Best For Professionals: TP-Link Archer AX1800
- 9. Best For Small Homes: NETGEAR Nighthawk XR300
- 10. Cheapest Option: TP-Link AC1750 Archer A7
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Verdict
10 Best Routers for 4K Streaming in 2021
After a comparative analysis of over 41 routers in the market space, I have shortlisted these 10 routers for 4K streaming, fitting for different scenarios one might come across. Starting at high-end workhorses that support multiple streaming and gaming, I transitioned into mid-range products.
I looked for products offering all-around utility with decent coverage and speeds that translate to gaming and streaming. The last part lists the best budget routers that support 4K streaming.
1. Best Overall: TP-Link AX6000
The TP-Link AX6000 is backed by powerful hardware, the latest 802.11ax standard, and a generous amount of ports to keep all your 4K streaming devices connected to wired high-speed internet.
An aggregate speed of 6000mbps remains the highlight of the Archer AX6000. Its support for 160Mhz channels brings the top speed of 1148mbps in 2.5GHz and 4804mbps on 5GHz frequency within its reach. It can cover large homes measuring 3000 sq ft.
At 3.50lbs, the router is a heavyweight in measure and performance. It sports an octagonal base with stripes and a beveled top. The sole LED light at the center is a rarity amongst router designs. Game and stream in 4K with the power of a 1.8GHz quad-core processor, a 1GB operating memory, and 128MB of storage.
There are 8 external antennas powered by OFDMA, and beamforming delivering high-quality signals. Archer throws in an ultrafast 2.5 Gbps WAN port and eight LAN ports, the right combination for multiple 4K streaming devices. Share hard drives/printers within the network, credit to the two USB ports.
The tether mobile interface and web GUI exemplifies simplicity. Install the router within a matter of minutes and take control over your router with the comprehensive web interface. Airtime fairness, SmartConnect and QoS ensure your streaming devices get the best bandwidth.
If you want to control your kid’s internet consumption, do it through parental and access controls. Filter content for multiple devices based on age-appropriate filters through keywords or through URL.
A real-time antivirus protection from TrendMicro, WPA 2 keeps your network safe from cyber attacks and unauthorized usage.
If you are in a household with a diverse crowd ranging from kids to working professionals and a bunch of smart gadgets, the TP-Link Archer AX6000 will be the right device for you. Couple it with high-end Google-Fiber plans, you will have blazing fast internet at home to stream multiple devices at 4K.
- WiFi 6
- Link Aggregation
- 1.8GHz Quad-core CPU
- Voice commands compatible
- 2.5Gbps WAN port
- Lack of comprehensive mobile app
- No support for WPA3
2. Best For Mesh Setup: ASUS ZenWiFi Mini
If you don’t want the complications of managing your network in a large household, ASUS ZenWiFi packs the latest networking, encryption standards, and the extended coverage of a three-pack mesh system. Stream multiple devices from every corner of your house.
With a total speed of 1800mbps and high speeds of 574mbps in 2.4GHz & 1201mbps on 5GHz, the Asus WiFi system can cover large surface areas of 4800 sq ft and support multiple devices simultaneously.
The rectangular WiFi 6 mesh routers weigh close to 0.65 lbs each The matte-black design with groovy edges holds a powerful 1.5GHz quad-core processor. The operating and storage memory of 256MB each brings 4K streaming possible.
The Asus WiFi system comes with only 2 internal antennas. If you don’t rely on wired connections, one Gigabit WAN port and one Gigabit LAN port per unit would be just sufficient.
You get the choice of wired/wireless to take care of the initial router setup. With one of the simplest interfaces in mobile, Asus brings a well-designed GUI to offer more control over the router.
Under the singlehood of AiProtection, the parents can limit internet access. Schedule the streaming hours on multiple devices and set priority. Users can protect their network from malicious sites, inappropriate usage, and the threat of virus-infected devices.
The Asus ZenWiFi throws in the latest standards for speed and encryption for keeping your large house dead zone free. Connect your Smart TV through the LAN port and enjoy 4K videos. If you are in one of the major cities, supplement your router with mid-range packages from ISP like AT&T and Xfinity.
- Remote monitoring and control
- WiFi 6
- QoS device priority
- No USB port
3. Best For Game Streaming: NETGEAR Nighthawk AX5 RAX43
If you are a content creator or an artist or twitch streamer requiring a powerful router to support multiple instances of 4K streaming, the RAX43 will be capable of handling it. Throw in DFS, VPN support, and the latest encryption standards to the mix, one gets their money’s worth.
With Netgear RAX43, you get an aggregated speed of 4200mbps. A high-speed connection can take it closer to 574mbps in 2.4GHz and 3603mbps in 5GHz bands. Medium households spanning 2000 sq ft with over 30 devices will find this router useful.
The sophisticated-looking device from Netgear weighs close to 1.25lbs. In a sleek-looking body, the LED indicators line up in the middle and the design leaves adequate ventilation at the rear.
A triple-core processor clocking at 1.5GHz and the combination of 512MB RAM and 256MB storage, gives the power to handle high-quality streaming.
The 4 external antennas deliver signals to your devices. OFDMA, beamforming, and MU-MIMO ensure minimal loss in quality. Be it your smart TV or gaming console, or workstation, connect them to the router via the 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Sharing drives becomes easier with a USB 3.0 port.
Nighthawk application makes the installation process simple. Find all the advanced settings in the web-interface to configure the way your home network works. You can set up Port Forwarding and other tweaks to improve communication with the streaming servers.
With Netgear’s parental controls, you can create profiles for multiple devices and control the internet schedules with your mobile. The Netgear Armor protects the devices at the home network from cyber threats.
Stream your games in Twitch or watch movies over Netflix, HBO, or Hulu in 4K/8K, RAX43 cruises through them, credit to powerful hardware and the latest technologies at its disposal. The mid-range 500mbps to Gigabit plans from Google fiber, AT&T or Verizon FiOS will power through multiple devices streaming in 4K.
- Netgear Armor
- 1.5GHz Triple-Core Processor
- 160Mhz support
- WiFi 6
- Premium price
4. Best With WiFi 6: ASUS RT-AX3000
The power of a 1.5GHz Tri-core processor, 512MB operating memory, 256MB of storage memory will ease you through the demands of 4K streaming and leave you an unhindered visual experience with Curiosity Stream or HBO, or National Geography.
The ASUS RT-AX3000 can reach high speeds of 575mbps on 2.5GHz and 2402mbps on 5GHz. The router will find its match in a household filled with over 30 devices requiring high-speed internet spread across an area of 3000 sq ft.
At 1.2 lbs, it’s a lightweight router with a powerhouse performance. It comes in a wedged black body with sufficient ventilation at the sides and the back.
Asus puts 4 external antennas, geared with OFDMA, MU-MIMO amongst the four Gig LAN ports, one Gig WAN port, and a USB 3.1 port on its backside. You can connect your gaming console and the streaming device through LAN and get the best out of your internet.
Asus mobile interface gives simpler management solutions to your home network. If you login into the web GUI and it allows you to control every aspect of the network. Pick your mode and get through the installation within minutes.
With parental controls, you get to limit access to websites and applications, based on pre-designed categories. Schedule your kid’s internet access at fixed hours. AiProtection gives you the requisite real-time protection from cyber threats and unauthorized usage.
If you are a gamer looking to monetize your exploits of gaming with high-quality streaming, ASUS RT-AX3000 gives excellent value for money with Wi-Fi 6 and the ability to expand it to a mesh system. The Gigabit connections from Google Fiber, Verizon FiOS gives the best ecosystem for your streaming experience.
- Wi-Fi 6
- Lifetime Internet protection
- Works with Alexa
- No port aggregation
5. Best For OTT Streaming: Linksys EA8100 AC2600
If you are living in a highly congested apartment with WiFi networks sharing the same space and that is affecting your WiFi performance, Linksys EA8100 might offer you the perfect solution for OTT streaming.
With an aggregated speed of 2600mbps and top speeds of 800mbps in 2.4GHz and 1733mbps on 5GHz, you get sufficient bandwidth to operate 4K streaming devices.
The device can cover surface areas up to 1800 sq ft and support up to 15 simultaneous connections, making it easier to stream web series on TV, PC and mobile devices.
The rectangular black casing weighs 1.23lbs and sports a simple perforated design. A dual-core processor clocking at 880MHz, RAM of 256MB, and flash memory of 128MB remain the power behind the Linksys machine.
With 4 external antennas designed to deliver signals, Linksys finds space for one WAN port, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and two USB ports, offering ample avenues for wired connections and shared printers/storage devices.
Download the Linksys WiFi app and within a few minutes, you can have your router up and running. Users can assign priority to applications and streaming devices from the comfort of the mobile and get improved performance.
If you need to control the child’s internet consumption, enable parental controls of devices, block access to websites, and limit access to the scheduled time frame. The interface allows you to set up firewalls, configure VPN and customize settings for port forwarding.
Supplement your gigabit-speed connections from ISP like Google Fiber, Xfinity with this value for money router from Linksys and get a seamless 4K experience in your jam-packed apartment, credit to technologies like MU-MIMO, DFS, and beamforming
- USB connectivity
- Parental controls
- Uninspiring design
6. Best For Live TV Streaming: D-Link DIR-2640-US AC2600
Need a router to stream educational content for your kids that can limit the user’s access when necessary, DIR 2640 will be a fit for your small/medium household with ample connectivity for TV, gaming console, Apple devices and desktop.
With a total speed of 2600mbps and higher speeds of 800mbps and 1733mbps in 2.4GHz and 5GHz, you get ample bandwidth for streaming 4K content through your TV. With optimized usage, the router can support up to 20 devices spread across 1500 sq ft.
At 1.35lbs, the D-Link router is a lightweight device with a simplistic design. It houses a dual-core processor and 256MB of operating memory and 128MB of storage memory to help with data-intensive TV streaming applications like YouTube Netflix, Hulu, Voot, and HBO.
4 huge external antennas attached to the rear half of the router act as reliable carriers of WiFi signals. Two USB ports ensure wireless access to shared printers/network drives within the network. You can rely on the stability of wired connectivity of one WAN port and four Gigabit Ethernet ports.
The D-link application offers an easy way of installation and remote control over the home network.You can allocate bandwidth and set priority through the QoS and prioritize the streaming device, create guest zones and protect the network from unauthorized devices.
Create a profile for every person using the network, link the devices to profiles, and have control over when they access the internet. Limit internet access to particular devices, if necessary. Enable port forwarding to improve the communication to OTT servers, configure VPN, firewalls with the extensive interface.
If you are looking for a router for a small/medium home, that offers profile-based parental controls, has an intelligent QoS to prioritize the 4K streaming device, and has mesh compatibility, the DIR-2640 works well with your 150-500mbps/mid-range connections from Xfinity, Cox, Spectrum and AT&T.
- User-friendly interface
- Mesh compatibility
- Parental controls
- Voice control compatible
- Awkward USB placement
7. Best Under 100: MOTOROLA AC2600 MR2600
You may not have the comfort of the mobile application to control the home network, but the MR2600 delivers high-speed internet with sufficient ports for your Streaming devices and a Smart QoS to prioritize your internet traffic.
A total of 2600mbps split into high-speeds of 800mbps on 2.5GHz, and 1733mbps on 5GHz. A perfect fit for your medium-sized home measuring 2000 sq ft, and over 20 devices operating simultaneously.
At 1.1 pounds, the lightweight Motorola router sports a simplistic chequered black chassis with a USB port placed awkwardly at the front. The dual-core processor, an operating memory of 128MB, and flash memory of 16MB find enough power for 4K streaming.
The 4 adjustable antennas aided by MU-MIMO and beamforming act as carriers of quality signals across your home. MR2600 leaves sufficient room for wired connections, shared network storage devices with four LAN ports, one WAN port, and one USB 3.0 port.
The MR2600 doesn’t have the comfort of mobile application. It takes away the possibility of remote monitoring for parents. Users can install and manage the router through the web-interface.
This sub-$100 wireless router doesn’t leave the parents completely dry. With customized filters, and internet schedules, they can still protect their children from undue exposure. You can set up guest networks, and protect your network from infected/unauthorized usage.
An affordable solution for homes with limited devices at the helm. Its wired connections can handle 4K streaming and still support multiple devices concurrently. The starting level plans from Google-Fiber at major cities would be a fit for people operating on a budget.
- Media sharing
- Dual-core processor
- No mobile application
8. Best For Professionals: TP-Link Archer AX1800
Power your gaming console and 4K TV with the latest standards of TP-Link Archer AX21, backed by OFDMA, MU-MIMO, and Beamforming.
The top speeds of 574mbps in 2.4GHz & 1200mbps on 5GHz should stream 4K quality content easily. With a large coverage area of 3000 sq ft, it fits perfectly for large homes with 30 devices running concurrently.
At 1.1lbs, this lightweight router sports a modern design with a beveled top and striped design. The black casing holds a powerful 1.5GHz quad-core processor. The combination of 256MB of RAM and 16MB of storage memory might be a limiting factor during multiple 4K Streaming.
The 4 external antennas are equipped with Beamforming MU-MIMO and OFDMA that ensure minimal loss of bandwidth. With one Gigabit WAN port, and four Gigabit LAN ports keep your gaming console and TV connected to the router. The USB 2.0 lets you share printers within the network.
The TP-link application remains the most simplistic and intuitive application on offer to manage your network. Set priority for devices and ensure the best bandwidth for your streaming device.
It allows you to filter URLs and restrict access to your kid’s devices with time control. With the latest encryption of WPA3, you can protect your network from unauthorized usage.
This model offers ample features like firewalls, access controls, VPN support to protect the network and devices connected to the home network.
If you want to future-proof your streaming device with WiFi 6, without considering scalability, TP-Link AX21 fits the bill perfectly at an affordable price. You can start with the budget plans of google-fiber and FiOS and upgrade the connection based on future requirements.
- WiFi 6
- 1.5GHz quad-core processor
- Target Wake Time
- No USB 3.0 port
9. Best For Small Homes: NETGEAR Nighthawk XR300
The NETGEAR XR300 is a budget-priced gaming router that brings the dedicated DumaOS dashboard, and the geo-filters to optimize your internet performance. A wallet-friendly version for gaming aficionados exploring the options of High-quality game streaming.
The XR300 delivers internet speeds of 450mbps in 2.4GHz and 1300mbps in 5GHz frequency. With a coverage area of 1800 sq ft and support for 30 devices, users can watch 4K videos on Netflix and play online games at the same time.
At 1.58 lbs, the Netgear XR300 sports a sleek black body that finds room for a powerful dual-core processor clocking at 1.0 GHz. The operating memory of 512MB and storage of 128MB keeps your data-intensive streaming seamless.
Beamforming+ and MU-MIMO make the 3 external antennas a stable carrier of internet signals. Connect your Xbox, Playstation, or TV to the router with 1 Gigabit WAN port and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports. File sharing at higher speeds becomes easier with a USB 3.0 port.
Netgear Nighthawk mobile application takes care of the initial setup and offers remote access/control to the network. With DumaOS, you get to prioritize the traffic for gaming and streaming devices and reduce latency/lag in gaming.
Use the web interface Netgear genie to make changes to your parental control settings. Configure your VPN, Firewalls and protect the privacy and security of the devices in your home network.
If you are a fan of Call of Duty, Fortnite, and PUBG, with XR300 one can play these games with improved efficiency and stream them to their Twitch server. The device is highly suitable for a 200mbps service package, depending on the number of devices.
- Geo-Filter for gaming servers
- VPN Support
- No Duma OS mobile application
10. Cheapest Option: TP-Link AC1750 Archer A7
The TP-Link Archer A7 isn’t your fancy router. It doesn’t come with MU-MIMO or Beamforming. You get all the basics right with an effective QoS, and parental controls, that can prioritize 4K streaming devices and power high-speed internet to multiple wired devices at the same time.
With a total speed of 1750mbps and speeds of up to 450mbps and 1300mbps in 2.4GHz & 5GHz, A7 provides sufficient bandwidth for high-quality streaming. The coverage area of 2500 sq ft, should cover medium-large homes and handle up to 50 devices (with optimized usage) simultaneously.
Amongst one of the lightest routers on market, the Archer A7 weighs 0.90 lbs. A glossy black casing divided by two thin grooves houses the 750MHz processor and RAM of 128MB and flash memory of 16MB.
The router has 3 tall antennas rising from the rear side. It has four Gig ethernet ports, one Gigabit WAN port, and a USB 2.0 port. Wire your streaming device to the ethernet port and get high-speed connectivity. You can share printers on the network or storage devices if you can handle the slower NAS performance.
Install the router within minutes and manage the basic settings from an intuitively designed Tether mobile application. Advanced QoS allows you to prioritize the streaming device and ensures an unhindered experience.
Families can put the parental controls to use by creating multiple profiles, create a customized blacklist for URLs, restrict certain devices, and pause the internet in line with a schedule., and protect the network from intrusions. Small households with limited gadgets can rely on the performance of the TP-Link Archer A7.
- QoS prioritization
- Mesh compatibility
- Works with Alexa
- Intuitive Application design
- Lack of USB 3.0
Frequently Asked Questions
Even the latest generation gaming consoles from Xbox like Xbox One X and Xbox One S don’t support WiFi 6. PlayStation 5 from Sony is the only gaming console supporting the latest WiFi standards. But the WiFi 6 routers are backward-compatible and support your Xbox One.
The utility of a WiFi 6 router depends on ISP and the streaming device. If you are looking to future-proof your routers to the latest standards, you can choose WiFi 6 routers. If you are operating within a budget, a WiFi 5 router will do just fine.
If you live in a household with multiple Smart TVs streaming in 4K quality, the mesh WiFi system gives the best chance for a seamless performance. Mesh systems come with extenders/multiple units with LAN ports equipped with smart routing capabilities to optimize your internet speed across multiple devices.
Features like MU-MIMO, OFDMA, Beamforming, QoS, and LAN ports are vital to delivering wireless/wired high-speed internet to important devices at home. A strong processor and adequate RAM decide the performance of the router in the instances of simultaneous streaming.
Finding the best router for 4K streaming depends on the total number of devices of the household, the size of the home, and the population density of the neighborhood.
- If you require a powerhouse of a router, offering support to gaming and has ample wired connectivity, go for Archer AX6000.
- Need to cover a large household close to 5000sq ft, go for the ZenWiFi MIni from ASUS.
- ASUS AX3000 offers all-around performance with its support to gaming, prioritization engine, and utility at an affordable price.
- The Archer A7 fits the bill for a household with a single high-quality streaming device and if you are constrained by budget.
Understanding the requirements clearly will lead to the router that complements your internet connection and offers sufficient bandwidth for your devices.