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Best MIMO Routers of 2020

Single-stream routers are the past of wireless technology as more data is transmitted over the Wireless Local Area Network which causes bandwidth to quickly be used up to slow down the network. Todays WLAN requires at least MIMO to improve on bandwidth performance. Find the best MIMO routers of 2020 in this review stating the best performance, best budget, and best gaming MIMO router including this top 3 list.

What is MIMO and Why is it Important?

Before getting into my top 3 best routers of 2020, we have to first look at the definition of what MIMO is and what makes it important in a router’s function.

MIMO or Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output multiplies the capacity of the wireless radio link using multiple streams and receiving antennas to achieve multi-path propagation in transferring more data at the same time.

In 1996, MIMO was implemented as a “prototype” wireless technology solution to use multi-path with multi-dimensional signal processing and multiplexing to transmit multiple lower-rated data streams from different antennas in the same frequency channel.

However, the early model of MIMO was not as successful as it is in today’s wireless LAN networks as the early models didn’t fix signal interference and degrades in signal performance as it did not fare as well with the signal bouncing from ceilings, walls, and throughout a multi-floor building.

In today’s WLAN networks, MIMO technology uses smart transmitters and receivers with an added spatial dimension that improves in the performance and range quality that allows the combination of data streams coming from different paths at different times.

On top of combining data streams, more antennas represented in MIMO supported routers would equal higher network wireless speeds.

As most modern technology from the latest routers to access points and cell phones have become advanced today with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11n and 802.11ac wireless standards, they are guaranteed to have MIMO support. It depends on the wireless device manufacturer if MIMO has been implemented to support it.

Best Budget MIMO Router – TP Link AC1900 Archer A9 Router

tp link ac1900 archer a9

Pictured is the TP-Link AC1900 Archer A9 router which supports Alexa integration

Currently the router I have installed in my gaming studio today, the TP Link AC1900 Archer A9 Router is one of the most affordable routers to pick up for less than a $100 bill that has many features that could make it easily seem like it would cost more than it’s worth.

The Archer A9 router provides 3 data streams as indicated with the 3 external and the single internal antennas used with this router that gives it a total data transfer rate of 1.9Gbps (1900Mbps) with 600 Mbps available on the 2.4 Ghz band while the 5 Ghz band is put at 1.3Gbps.

The most important benefit of the A9 router is that it uses the TP-Link Router Skills with the Alexa device integration meaning that when the Alexa Echo device is integrated to the Archer A9 router, a custom skill/command can be given through the Alexa voice service to manage basic settings on the router.

Some of the custom skills supported through the Archer A9 that Alexa can do is turn off the router’s LED lights, prioritize traffic to a “favorite” host device for a definite time, and turning on the guest Wi-Fi network if you’re too lazy to perform the manual configuration of each of these settings within the router back-end.

All that is needed to setup and tether an Alexa Voice Service device is registering through the TP-Link Cloud app to link the router first and then enabling the TP-Link Router Skill in the Alexa app…easy to configure if wanting to turn this router into a “Smart-style” Router.

As other features, the Archer A9 router has a Network Address Translation boosting/acceleration option that speeds up NAT traffic coming and going from the source to destination. However, it does have conflicts when being used with Quality of Service and Port Forwarding that is essential for achieving open NAT in online gaming…so it’s considered an optional feature that isn’t needed while gaming.

The Archer A9 router also has a built-in stateful packet inspection firewall (SPI) to validate all traffic with any protocol used coming and going from the router to add onto an extra layer of security that not many ISP provided routers have.

Best Performance Router: TP-Link AC4000 Archer A20 Router

tp link ac4000 archer a20

With 3 possible streams and dual 5Ghz Wi-Fi channels, the TP Link AC4000 Archer A20 is a suitable upgrade from the Archer A9 router

Our pick for best performance as part of our best MIMO routers of 2020 is in the TP-Link AC4000 Archer A20 Router is considered an “upgrade” option compared to the Archer A9 router mentioned above where the difference is moving from dual band to a Tri-band solution to support 3 data streams at once.

The Archer A20 router is additionally more sophisticated than the Archer A9 router as it has a powerful quad-core 1.8 Ghz 64-bit CPU that supports high quality, extremely heavy usage from 4k video streaming and gaming use.

From having a high quality CPU to another performance benefit, the Archer A20 router supports link aggregation on two of the four LAN ports. Link Aggregation on the 2 LAN ports doubles the connection speed a Gig to 2 Gigs which makes it a possibility of reaching maximum throughput supported through a typical ISP.

Just like the Archer A9 router, the Archer A20 router has built-in features with the only difference is that there is not only a built-in SPI firewall; but also built-in adaptive anti-virus that would replace the need of using other standalone anti-virus software…the best part is it’s free for life.

Best Gaming Router: ASUS RT-AX86U AX5700 Dual Band Router

asus ax5700 router 2020

The ASUS AX5700 Dual Band Router is also considered a best performance router not just because of its Wi-Fi 6 (802.1ax) capability

Not another TP-Link router…a different router brand takes the honors of best gaming router of 2020.

To cap off our best MIMO routers of 2020 list, the ASUS AX5700 Dual Band Router can not just be one of the best performance routers; but, also a qualified gaming router that supports heavy online gaming usage while performing other heavy bandwidth usage such as streaming in 4k.

One of the best features with the ASUS AX5700 router is that it supports Wi-Fi 6 capabilities which in turn supports the next-gen 802.11ax IEEE standard or what is considered Nitro-QAM 1024 that improves throughput rates by more than 25% on each of the 3 data streams supported in the case of this router.

Another next-gen feature not widely used yet in most home-grade MIMO routers used in the ASUS AX5700 router is WPA3 protocol which improves from the previous WPA2 protocol by using an improved “handshake” method through Device Provisioning Protocol (allows users to use QR codes to allow devices on the network) and upping the anty on brute force attack protection.

Lastly, the ASUS AX5700 has an additional 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN port that can be used if wanting to say install and connect a performance “hog” network device like a Network-Attached Storage device to store large libraries of gaming files and operating system backup data/image files from your gaming rig or other non-gaming PC

Review Summary


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      About The Author

      Chief, Author/Writer for TornadoTwistar Gaming. 15+ year gaming experience. Always a big fan of most first-person and third-person, action/adventure, and racing games from Forza Motorsports to Rainbow Six.
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