Four Broadband Routers for Gaming
Review: We look at four routers to see which one is the best for multiplayer gaming. Exposing a multiplayer server out on the Internet can be risky. When it comes to protecting your data, not all routers are created equal.Multiplayer gaming is a blast. No doubt about it. Getting together with friends for a LAN party, popping a few cold ones and wreaking digital havoc is one of the best reasons to have a PC. But there are those who try to wreak a different kind of havoc that of trashed data and denial of service. Crackers, script kiddies and their ilk would love nothing more than to crash your game server and then trash as many machines on your network as they can. How do you keep out these digital neer-do-wells and still have some multiplayer fun? With a router, of course. Network Address Translation (NAT) routers have become de rigeur in broadband-connected homes, since they let multiple machines share a single broadband pipe and IP address.
Unfortunately, many online or multiplayer games that require several connections to your PC have difficulty working with NAT configurations. Thus many routers have added special features that open up selected ports for gaming use.
- Port Forwarding: This feature allows you to redirect traffic coming into a specific port or port address range to a specific IP address (the game servers).
- Port triggering: With this feature, a port is closed until a game running on one of your internal machines attempts to send traffic through it. When that happens, the router opens up the port, and leaves it open until the session terminates.
- DMZ: Any machine placed into a routers DMZ area is completely exposed to the Internet. This is typically a last-resort solution and shouldnt even be considered without a software firewall on the exposed machine.