Best Router for QoS – 5 Routers You Must Consider

Getting the maximum performance out of your internet connection requires using a great router. There are many options out there ranging from bargain basement models that generally leave much to be desired all the way up to high end routers that cost a small fortune. There are routers that are light on features and made for easy setup.

There are also routers that have tons of customization options that are only suitable for those with a good understanding of networking or a deep desire to learn. Learning basic networking by setting up your own router and using advanced features can be highly rewarding, but it is not for everyone. If you want to set it and forget it you will want to avoid the more advanced models. Fortunately there is a router for everyone, and no I don’t mean the crap the your ISP will rent you for $15 per month. You will still need a modem though, you can either purchase your own or rent it from your ISP.

Router QoS

Routers With The Best QoS Functionality

  1. Netgate 1100 (Best Value + Open Source)
  2. Ubiquiti Networks UniFi Dream Machine Pro (Best Ecosystem)
  3. SonicWall TZ270 (Best for Security)
  4. TP-Link AX6000 (Best for Simplicity)
  5. Netgear R6700AXS (Best Budget Option)
WiFi Router QoS

What is QoS on a Router

Quality of service (QoS) is a feature that many people are looking for on their router. Many others do not realize how much they need QoS on their router. Whether you are a gamer, content creator, work from home, run a business from home, or use VoIP / Wi-Fi calling, you need a router with good QoS if you do not want to experience connection issues.

QoS works by identifying certain types of traffic or certain sources of traffic, and then prioritizing certain traffic over others. A good analogy would be a traffic light that switches to green early if it detects an emergency vehicle approaching with its lights on. QoS can reduce latency in applications that rely on real time communication. This is useful for software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams where latency is paramount if you do not want your video conferences breaking up. Gaming is also particularly latency sensitive. If you want to game free from lag, and have other devices also connected to your network at the same time, you need a router with QoS enabled.

QoS will allow traffic such as gaming traffic or VoIP traffic to jump the line ahead of other traffic. It can also send certain latency insensitive traffic such as downloads to the back of the queue. This will make sure that real time communications work smoothly without having a noticeable negative impact on other traffic. In fact, sometimes QoS can actually make all of your traffic faster.

Think of an overloaded internet connection like a traffic jam on the interstate. Every additional car that gets on makes everything slower. It would actually be faster the not let any more cars onto the highway until the traffic starts flowing again. Then cars would be allowed on at a rate equal to the capacity of the highway with higher priority given to critical traffic. QoS works in the same way. Traffic waits its turn in an orderly fashion and the most time sensitive traffic gets to cut the line when possible.

QoS is available as a feature on most routers with the exception of the lowest end models. However, the effectiveness of the QoS function varies greatly from model to model and from manufacturer to manufacturer, Many of the routers marketed as “gaming routers” have decent QoS functionality. However for the technically inclined, there are other routers marketed primarily toward small businesses that will do QoS much better than the most expensive “gaming routers”.

In this product comparison we are going to focus heavily on the QoS functionality of each router. We will talk about other pros and cons as well, but the focus of this article is on the QoS functionality.

Netgate 1100 (Best Value + Most Customizible )

Best Router For QoS

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There are many routers on the market with great QoS features. If we had to pick an overall winner, this would be it. The Netgate 1100 is one of the official hardware devices running the popular pfSense software. pfSense is known for their open source firewall application that can run on a variety of devices. The Netgate line of products are the official hardware appliances for pfSense. The Netgate 1100 offers all of the features you could want in a router plus many extras. With the Netgate 1100 you can do advanced setups including VLANS and layer 7 application filtering.

QoS options on the Netgate 1100 are nearly limitless. You can do prioritization by device, IP address, traffic type, as well as several other more advanced options. If you want QoS settings that are highly configurable and customizable, the Netgate 1100 is you best choice.

If you are not very technically inclined, stay away from this choice as the number of settings can feel a bit overwhelming to many. The device is also not configured to do QoS out of the box. If you want something that just “works”, this is not the product for you. Skip to routers 4 + 5.

Pros:

  • Advanced QoS options.
  • Enhanced security features including layer 7 application filtering.
  • Runs pfSense a leader in the industry.
  • VLAN functionality for segmenting your network, creating separate guest or IoT networks.
  • Affordable price.

Cons:

  • Requires a fair bit of technical knowledge to set up properly.
  • Out of box configuration is not QoS enabled.
  • Requires purchase of a network switch and wireless access point.

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Ubiquiti Networks UniFi Dream Machine Pro (Best Ecosystem)

Unifi UDM Pro QoS

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The Unifi ecosystem is one of the most innovative things to come out of the networking world. The Unifi ecosystem allows you to manage everything on your network, plus home security cameras, all through an intuitive single pane of glass interface, Paired with cloud access, you can manage these settings from anywhere in the world. If you want a industry leading network ecosystem for you home network look no further.

QoS functionality is extremely basic yet highly effect on the Unifi UDM Pro. You simple enable smart queues and set you internet bandwidth. For best results set you bandwidth to about 90% of the speeds you actually get when you run a speed test. That is really all there is to configure for QoS on the Unifi Dream Machine (UDM) Pro. You just set it and it works. If you want more granular control of your QoS settings the Unifi UDM pro is probably not the best option for you.

The Unifi UDM pro will outperform virtually any “gaming” router on the market. You also get the ability to connect Unifi Protect security cameras directly to the Unifi UDM Pro. This makes the Unifi UDM Pro a great choice if you are thinking about the possibility of getting a security camera or two for your house. Additionally there are no licenses required and no monthly / yearly subscriptions to use the Unifi UDM Pro.

Pros:

  • QoS is super easy to set up.
  • Enhanced security features including advanced firewall capabilities.
  • Managed in Unifi controller with your Wi-Fi and home security camera, all in a single pane of glass.
  • VLAN functionality for segmenting your network, creating separate guest or IoT networks.
  • 8 port network switch built in.

Cons:

  • Requires a fair bit of technical knowledge to set up properly.
  • Less advanced features than the Netgate, but plenty for most applications.
  • Requires wireless access point. Purchase a Unifi access point for seamless integration.

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SonicWall TZ270 (Best for Security)

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SonicWall is an industry leader in the enterprise firewall market. They also make models that are smaller and less expensive aimed at the small business market. The SonicWall TZ270 is really targeted toward small businesses. That said it works equally well on a home network as long as you are technically inclined enough to set it up properly.

The SonicWall TZ270 is our top pick if security is your number 1 concern. The firewall features including advanced malware protection make the SonicWall TZ270 a top choice for security. You also get security features including layer 7 application filtering, geo-blocking, and deep packet inspection. These feature make the SonicWall TZ270 a fantastic value for anyone who is looking to up their security game.

The SonicWall TZ270 also features the ability to segmentate your network into multiple VLANs. There are many reasons you may wish to do this primarily relating to security. VLANs allow you to create virtual networks that operate over the same physical hardware. You can then either allow the VLANs or deny the VLANs the ability to talk to each other using firewall rules. The SonicWall TZ270 makes this setup process relatively straightforward and painless.

QoS options on the SonicWall TZ270 are numerous. The SonicWall TZ270 uses DSCP tags to classify and prioritize network traffic based on type. You can also prioritize traffic coming from certain IP addresses and use traffic shaping functions to manage your network traffic.

The SonicWall TZ270 is perhaps the most technically challenging to set up of the routers in this comparison. It is not recommended for someone who has no networking experience and no desire to lean networking. Though you could certainly watch a few YouTube videos and learn how to set this router up in an afternoon.

If you need QoS that works reliability and need the ability to prioritize traffic from certain applications such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The SonicWall TZ270 is a great choice.

Pros:

  • Many Advanced QoS options including the use of DSCP tags.
  • Enhanced security features including layer 7 application filtering, DPI scanning, and malware protection.
  • Runs SonicOS, an operating system used by many fortune 500 companies to protect their networks.
  • VLAN functionality for segmenting your network, creating separate guest or IoT networks.
  • Great value for the money.
  • Multiple ethernet ports built in for connecting your wired devices. A switch can be added if needed.

Cons:

  • Requires the most technical knowledge of any router in this comparison to set up properly.
  • More expensive than some other options targeted at home users.
  • Requires purchase of a wireless access point.

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TP-Link AX6000 (Best for Simplicity)

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The previous 3 routers that we have listed are all targeted at the small business market. This means that they have lots of advanced features and require some technical knowledge to set up properly. The TP-Link AX6000 is target toward the average home user. It works out of the box and requires minimal configuration to get everything working as desired.

QoS on the TP-Link AX6000 is either by traffic type or by device. The traffic types are predefined and there is limited configurability. This does make it simple to set up however. The QoS is however not nearly as effective as the commercial grade solutions listed above. This means that if you are a serious gamer or work from home and need an absolutely stable internet connection this not perform as well as the previous options.

The TP-Link AX6000 is aimed at the average consumer and has built in Wi-Fi. Unlike the previous choices you will not need to purchase a wireless access point to connect wireless devices to this router. This makes the overall cost lower and the setup process easier.

Pros:

  • Basic QoS options with easy setup process.
  • Basic firewall functionality that works out of the box with no configuration.
  • Built in Wi-Fi 6, no need to purchase a wireless access point to connect wireless devices.
  • Very easy to set up. Most people will be able to fully set up device in under an hour.
  • 8 gigabit ethernet ports built in for connecting your wired devices.

Cons:

  • QoS settings are far more limited than on the Netgate 1100 and the SonicWall TZ270.
  • QoS is not super effective, ping spikes still occur frequently when gaming.
  • Not the best value out there for what you get.
  • No VLAN functionality for segmenting your network, creating separate guest or IoT networks.

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Netgear R6700AXS (Best Budget Option)

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Much like the TP-Link AX6000 the Netgear R6700AXS is a consumer grade router. This means that it is designed to be simple to set up and to essentially work right out of the box. You do not need a lot of technical knowledge to be able to set up this router.

QoS is pretty much a hands off approach. You run the built in speed test and it sets up the QoS to match your internet speed automatically. This is good if you just want it to be simple and you needs are very vanilla in nature. If you want more configuration options this is not the router for you.

The effectiveness of the QoS was moderate. It does help when gaming to keep you latency under control. Zoom calls are hit or miss with this router. The lack of configuration options for the QoS makes this router kind of limited. You are not able to manually prioritize by traffic type. This is somewhat limiting but also makes the set up process a breeze.

Pros:

  • Basic QoS options with easy setup process.
  • Built in Wi-Fi 6, no need to purchase a wireless access point to connect wireless devices.
  • Relatively easy to set up including the QoS settings.
  • 4 gigabit ethernet ports built in for connecting your wired devices.
  • Low price make this router affordable on virtually any budget.

Cons:

  • QoS settings are super limited even compared to the TP-Link AX6000.
  • QoS is not that effective, Zoom calls can experience issues if others are streaming or downloading.
  • Not the best value out there for what you get.
  • No VLAN functionality for segmenting your network.
  • Firewall options are limited.
  • Wi-Fi coverage not as strong as the TP-Link AX6000 (good enough for a small apartment).

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Who Should Buy What

If you want the most flexibility at the best price go with the Netgate 1100. You will need some technical knowledge to set it up properly but there are plenty of quality tutorials on setting up pfSense. QoS performance is outstanding on the Netgate 1100 and customization options are endless. You will also need to buy a network switch and access point to connect your wireless devices.

Best Router For QoS

If you want an elegant system to manage all of your network devices, want to add security cameras, or just like a single pane of glass approach, go with the Unifi UDM Pro. The Unifi UDM Pro is also the only router on this list with built in NVR capabilities for recording from security camera. The Unifi UDM Pro is easier to set up than the Netgate 1100 or the SonicWall TZ270 but not as simple as a consumer grade router. The Unifi UDM Pro includes 8 built in ethernet ports, so most people will not need to add a switch. If you do need more ports, a Unifi switch will integrate into the same Unifi dashboard. You will need to buy an access point to connect your wireless devices.

Unifi UDM Pro QoS

If security is you top concern, go with the SonicWall TZ270. It has class leading security features and offers the most protection from malware and other intrusion attempts coming from the outside. QoS is highly effective on the SonicWall and there are plenty of customization options. The firewall functions of the SonicWall TZ 270 are above and beyond the competition. The router has enough ethernet ports built in for most people. If you need more a switch can easily be added. You will need to buy an access point to connect your wireless devices.

If you want a decent consumer grade router with built in Wi-Fi the TP-Link AX6000 is a great option. It includes 8 ethernet ports for connecting your wired devices, QoS features are somewhat limited and not as effective as on the business grade routers. However, setup is a breeze. If you are not that knowledgeable about networking and have no interest in learning, the TP-Link AX6000 is a good overall choice. You will not need to purchase a wireless access point since the router has Wi-Fi built in.

If you are on a tight budget the Netgear R6700AXS is a decent option. Performance is not as great as the TP-Link AX6000 but will be good enough for most people. QoS is quite limited. There are really no configuration options. You basically just turn it on and it works. It is quite effective for gaming but not super effective for Zoom calls and other real time audio / video communications. If your budget can stretch a little bit, the TP-Link AX6000 is a better choice. The Netgear R6700AXS includes 4 ethernet LAN ports for connecting wired devices. If you wish to connect more wired devices, a network switch will be needed. You will not need to purchase a wireless access point since the router has Wi-Fi built in.

FAQ

Should I use QoS on my router

Yes, Using QoS on your router is a good idea. This is especially true if you have a lot of people using the internet at the same time and a relatively slow internet connection. If you have a very fast internet connection and are the only person using it, QoS is not needed. Otherwise QoS is always a good idea.

Is router QoS good for gaming

Router QoS is good for gaming. How well QoS works really depends on what router you are using. Some routers perform QoS much more effectively than others. QoS works by allowing gaming traffic and other latency sensitive traffic to get through ahead of all other traffic. This is very helpful for gaming.

Does QoS slow down router

QoS will not slow down your router by any appreciable amount if it is set up properly. Improperly configured QoS can make your internet connection slower. You need to set the QoS bandwidth values to about 90% of the internet speeds you regularly get from your ISP. Setting it lower will slow down your internet, setting it higher will negate the benefits of using QoS.

Are mesh routers good for gaming

Mesh routers are not ideal for gaming. For gaming you want a hard wired ethernet connection into your router. If you are unable to run an ethernet cable to where you gaming device is, use a powerline adaptor. Mesh is great for expanding coverage, not so great for gaming performance.

Is Netgear QoS good

Netgear QoS is helpful for gaming and other real time communications. It is not the best QoS out there but it is better than nothing. QoS is recommended especially if you share your internet connection with multiple people. If you are gaming while someone is streaming video you will need QoS to avoid lag.

Which LAN port should I use for gaming

On most consumer routers it makes not difference what LAN port you use for gaming. All of the LAN ports are connected to the same switch chip built into the router. Use whichever port you would like. All of the ports are the same. On higher end routers it may make a difference, consult your routers manual or help file.

Which mesh WiFi is best for gaming

Mesh routers are not ideal for gaming. Just avoid mesh all together. For gaming you want a hard wired ethernet connection into your router. If you are unable to run an ethernet cable to where you gaming device is, use a powerline adaptor. Mesh is great for expanding coverage, not so great for gaming performance.

Do you need QoS with gigabit

Yes. Using QoS is always a best practice. It will ensure that latency sensitive data is always sent through first. QoS is recommended especially if you share your internet connection with multiple people. Even a gigabit internet connection can experience buffer bloat if QoS is not enabled.

Is Orbi a true mesh network

No, Orbi is not a true a mesh network. A true mesh network is a network where all devices can connect to each other. Orbi only allows the satellite units to communicate with the base router and not with each other. This is not true mesh.

Is Orbi AX6000 a modem

No Orbi AX6000 is not a modem. It is as mesh Wi-Fi system. You will need to connect your Orbi to your existing modem or purchase a modem to use with your Orbi. You also usually have the option of leasing your modem from your internet service provider (ISP). Generally purchasing your own modem will pay for itself within a year.

Does Eero support QoS

Eero has very basic QoS functionality. If you want advanced QoS there are much better products available than Eero. Mesh Wi-Fi performance is often times not as good as it is hyped up to be. The best way to increase your Wi-Fi coverage is to use wireless access points connected back to your main router using ethernet. Just pass on mesh if latency is important to you.