5 tips to optimize connections for play, work from home and streaming

5 tips to optimize connections for play, work from home and streaming

5 tips to optimize connections for play

A fast internet line is just one of the elements necessary to be able to play, work from home or watch streaming content in a truly enjoyable way: the simple speed of the connection alone is not enough if, for example, it is combined with a poor quality router that struggles to manage the workload when there are many connected devices, which happens more and more frequently in modern homes where, including smartphones, PCs, tablets and smart speakers and so on, there are dozens of devices connected to the network at the same time.

For this reason, it is essential to combine your internet connection with a high quality router, perhaps a mesh system, which allows you to effectively cover the entire surface and bring Wi-Fi throughout the house, eliminating all shaded areas. But what if we told you that even this is not enough? Of course, a fast internet line and a good device to exploit it properly are essential, but the router must also be properly configured to avoid any kind of problem related to the high number of connected devices and more. For this reason, we want to give you 5 tips for optimizing your router for gaming, working from home and watching streaming, so you can get the most out of your home connection.

For the occasion, we decided to take advantage of an ASUS ZenWiFi Pro XT12 mesh system, a latest generation mesh system equipped with all the necessary features for the optimization work that we are going to do and more. First, ZenWiFi Pro XT12 supports Wi-Fi 6, which offers up to four times the range and up to twice the speed of Wi-Fi 5, and with 12 streams it offers more bandwidth, supporting a combined total speed of up to at 11000Mbps and allowing you to manage many devices at the same time without slowing down. ZenWiFi Pro XT12 has a sober design that goes well with any environment, is equipped with LEDs at the top that change color according to the status of the network and also guarantees excellent connectivity, guaranteed by two Gigabit LAN ports, one LAN 2, 5G and a 2.5G WAN, which also allows you to take advantage of the latest generation FTTH connections.

The various settings can be conveniently managed both from the web interface and from the dedicated application available for smartphones, so that they can be change in a moment and at any time; in this regard, the router also supports Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, for maximum simplicity in the management of some parameters. The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 system then guarantees a flexible backhaul, thanks to the possibility to choose between the second 5GHz band or the wired network for the backhaul between the nodes, and also allows you to easily add nodes to the mesh system, also thanks to AiMesh technology it is possible combine different models of ASUS routers, as long as they support the technology: for example, you can use ZenWiFi Pro XT12 to connect the main rooms of your home, and "recycle" your old router with AiMesh support for less fundamental environments, such as for example the tavern or the garage, in order to have internet connectivity in any environment.

1. Take advantage of the 5GHz frequency

The first advice we give you is to take advantage of the 5GHz frequency of your router, in order to maximize the data transmission speed. The 5GHz band has a lower coverage than the 2.4GHz one, but it is faster and allows you to make the most of the connection speed: for example, if you have a 1Gb FTTH line, by connecting to the 2.4GHz network you will navigate at the most at 300Mbps, while with 5GHz you can reach speeds even doubled.

Modern routers are able to automatically assign devices connected to the 5GHz or 2.4GHz band, but to be sure to connect to the fastest one and, in general, to have more control, our advice is to create two separate Wi-Fi networks, in order to connect the devices that need higher speed, such as PCs and consoles, to the one running on 5GHz, and reserve the 2.4GHz one for less fundamental devices, such as smart speakers, smart light bulbs, cameras and similar devices, which do not need particular speeds. Since the speed is more than enough for streaming, we advise you to connect the Smart TV to the 2.4GHz band if the network works on a free channel (we will see shortly how to check this), while if you have a large number of smart devices connected, connect it to the 5GHz network.

2. Set the best channel

Usually Wi-Fi routers are set to automatically select the network channel, but very often channels already occupied by other devices or your neighbors' routers. This leads to network congestion, which results in slowdowns, sudden increases in ping that spoil the gaming experience and buffering or drops in quality when streaming video. In general, for the 2.4GHz band we advise you never to use channel 6, which is very much used by routers that use the factory settings and usually quite crowded; the ideal is to use software such as inSSIDer or WiFi Analyzer, available for free on the Microsoft Store, in order to identify which channels are less crowded and set them up on the router. Usually, this option is found below the Wireless settings and the channel can be conveniently chosen from a drop-down menu, as you can see in the image below.

3. Enable QoS (Quality of Service)

The Quality of Service, usually abbreviated as QoS, is the tool that will allow us to optimize the router for gaming, work from home and streaming without having to change several parameters each time. In simple terms, it is a function that automatically assigns a priority to traffic based on our settings: in practice, simply select what we are doing (game, streaming, work from home, etc.) and the router, automatically, will prioritize those packets to give us the best possible experience.

Usually the QoS setting is very easy to find inside the router, since it is a dedicated menu. On the ASUS ZenWiFi Pro XT12 we are using as an example, once the service is enabled, you can choose whether to prioritize gaming, streaming, internet browsing, work from home or remote learning. It is also possible to create a custom profile, reordering the various items according to which ones you want to give more priority. Once you have chosen the profile, simply apply the settings for the changes to take effect, you do not need to restart the router and, consequently, you can make changes without incurring temporary disconnections.

4. Use integrated VPN

This is a feature present in most modern routers, including this ASUS ZenWiFi Pro XT12, and definitely important for teleworking and smart working. Usually it is possible to configure the device both as a VPN Server with support for PPTP, OpenVPN and IPSec VPN protocols, to connect to the home network at any time simply using a VPN client compatible with the configuration profile generated by the router, and as a VPN Client, in so you can, for example, access your corporate network with all the devices connected to the network, without having to run a client on each of these to connect.

AI Instant Guard is also available on ASUS routers, a application that can be downloaded on your devices and allows you to easily connect to your home network with just one click: just enable the service on the router to be able to take advantage of it and say goodbye to third-party VPNs.

5. Protect yourself with built-in security

In addition to VPN, many high-end routers have built-in security features that protect users from online threats and attacks. Each brand uses a different solution, but on the ASUS ZenWiFi Pro XT12 we find the AiProtection system developed by Trend Micro, a company with a wealth of experience in terms of security. Once enabled, AiProtection is able to block malicious sites, preventing access to sites present in the Trend Micro database and identified as dangerous and detect and block infected devices, i.e. isolate devices in which botnets are identified to prevent theft of data or attacks that originate from within the network. In addition to this, AiProtection is included for life with all future updates and offers a two-way Intrusion Prevention System, which prevents spam and DDoS attacks from compromising devices and blocks packages that are identified as Ransomware, Shellshocked, Heartbleed and Cryptominer, as well as also intercept suspicious outgoing packets, to prevent any infected device from communicating with the Botnet that controls it.

In addition to these advanced features, AiProtection also integrates an email notification system and a status scanner of the router, which evaluates the security of the router and reports any actions to be taken to increase it. For example, the system signals if WPS is enabled (and recommends disabling it, to avoid targeted attacks), or if the access credentials to the router are not sufficiently secure. To change one of the options marked as critical, just click on the notice in the screen you see above to be immediately taken to the dedicated page.

Which router to choose?

In this article we have you given 5 tips on how to optimize your router, but you may find yourself in the situation where, first of all, you need a new router to be able to take advantage of the connection. For this reason, we want to recommend some models, in addition to the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 we have already talked about, all Wi-Fi 6 but belonging to different price ranges, in order to meet the needs of a large slice of users. The models we have selected all support the features we have told you about, so that you can apply the 5 tips we have given you whatever device you buy.

That said, if you don't have to cover many square meters and so you can use only one device and your main focus is gaming, we recommend the ASUS TUG Gaming AX5400, which in addition to the features we talked about in this article, is equipped with a LAN port dedicated to gaming, i.e. capable of prioritize the connected gaming device for maximum performance, and is AiMesh compatible, so you can also add it to an existing network without difficulty. Another quality solution with modem router capabilities, more oriented towards those who make a general use of the PC and have no specific needs related to gaming, is the ASUS DSL-AX82U, also equipped with all the most modern technologies and software features. developed by the company and with a modern design. The gem? The presence of customizable RGB LEDs, which give a touch of personality that is hardly seen on routers.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a different solution and you want something more similar to the mesh system that we have described in this article , you could also evaluate the ASUS ZenWiFi XT8, a premium solution with a 2.5G LAN port, AiMesh support and the ability to cover up to 410 square meters, or the ASUS ZenWiFi XP4, a hybrid mesh + Powerline system that also uses the power grid to bring the connection in all rooms of the house. If, on the other hand, you want a modular solution, available in packages of 1 to 3 nodes and perhaps that takes up little space, we recommend that you opt for the ASUS ZenWiFi XD4 mesh system. What if by chance there was a need to network a PC that, for one reason or another, does not have a Wi-Fi connection? The ASUS USB-AX56 USB wireless adapter, compatible with the Wi-Fi 6 standard, is compact and completely plug and play.

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