I currently have an old netgear 4 port hub which I use for connecting both my computer and my wife's computer to the internet over our cable modem. With this configuration we have no problem playing games over the internet. However I am considering changing to a router for two reasons.
1) I would like to try out XBox live, and from what I have read with my setup I would need a router.
2) I would no longer have to pay my ISP for 2 IPs as the router would take care of this.
3) I could then add a third PC to my lan with the ability to access the internet.
I have been reading a bit about this and it seems that routers are quite a bit more complicated to setup and maintain, and that there are often compatibility issues with routers and games. How much of an issue is this? What are some of the best routers for games? Is there a good site which compares routers and how easy/difficult they are to setup for games? Are routers generally slower or faster for game playing than hubs?
1) Yes youll need a router to use the Xbox or pay isp for 3rd ip address
Usually all you have to do to run some games is open up ports on the router. As far as maintenance I have hardly touched my linksys befsr41 for almost a year.
Routers/switches will usually be fast since they will only send info to the computer that needs it instead of sending it to all the computers.
The problem with port forwarding is that if he will only be able to play his games over the net on the computer that is having the correct ports forwarded to it. However I dont think port forwarding is really necessary for the newer games (I know BF1942 doesnt require it).
I would recommend a router with http management if you are unfamiliar with configuring routers/firewalls as these are more intuitive than telnet configurations. Also stay clear of Belkin routers, they are broken.