Review: Razer Sila

Gaming routers tend to offer a bit more technology, but ultimately are overpriced in comparison to what a player can get from their own ISP. Certain factors come into play that not everyone may experience. If a player is in a highly-congested area such as a college campus or an apartment complex, they may encounter issues with wireless gaming due to the available wireless channels in the area. There are also times where a large house or area needs coverage that can’t exactly hit all the spots. Razer is looking to cure these potential ailments with its new Sila gaming router. The Sila offers some handy technology that makes administering your network simple while providing lag-free gaming for players. Is this worth the price of admission in comparison to a router that can be bought by an ISP?

When opening the box, the presentation is tidy and the Sila is slick. The router is black with a matte finish across the top that includes a Razer logo that shows green, red or blue for its status. The lighting isn’t customizable, but it’s a nice touch as it remains the trademark Razer green when things are good. The unit comes with a power chord and an Ethernet chord to connect to the modem. The Sila allows for Bluetooth connectivity, which is also used for initial setup with the phone app. There’s a sync button on the app for doing this, along with two USB ports for hard drive connectivity. The only drawback of the design is that it only includes three LAN ports. The Sila is designed with wireless gaming in mind, but some people prefer a hard connection. Most people in the market for something like this, however, are aiming towards wireless gaming. One Razer Sila can cover up to 3000 square feet.

What the Sila does to get rid of any lag isn’t overcomplicated. Razer uses the terminology Fastlanes and Smartlanes as it routes traffic to devices. They have made it simple to manage this network with the use of the app on the phone. The Sila uses the network standards IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Known as Tri-band, the Sila features 2X2 antenna support for 2.4GHz, 2X2 for 5GHz High Band and 4X4 for 5GHz Low Band. The 2.4GHz maxes out at a rate of 400 Mbps while the 5GHz Low Band reaches 866Mbps and the High Band gets 1732Mbps. The device also includes nine internal antennas, which may be a bit overkill.


What the Sila does to get rid of any lag isn’t overcomplicated. Razer uses the terminology Fastlanes and Smartlanes as it routes traffic to devices. They’ve made it simple to manage this network with the use of the app on the phone. The Sila uses the network standards IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Known as Tri-band, the Sila features 2X2 antenna support for 2.4GHz, 2X2 for 5GHz High Band and 4X4 for 5GHz Low Band. The 2.4GHz maxes out at a rate of 400 Mbps while the 5GHz Low Band reaches 866Mbps and the High Band gets 1732Mbps. The device also includes nine internal antennas, which may be a bit overkill.

The FasTrack QoS allows for the app to manage and prioritize devices so you aren’t logging into your router and doing these things manually. To me, this is the biggest thing you are paying for with the Sila is the ease of access to change things around. The Sila uses non-traditional Wi-Fi channels that are less congested and the router constantly searches for the best available channel. The Sila also includes a Gaming Mode that automatically dedicated 30% of the bandwidth to gaming apps and devices that are marked in the gaming category.


The other major selling point for the Sila is the ability to make a mesh network with up to three units. Each device can support 250 devices a piece, meaning the mesh network can nab quite a few users. This would make for a solid setup for an eSports environment. Setting up the mesh network is all done through the app and is fairly easy. This allows to expand the range with just a few buttons if you’re in a large environment or large house. Razer recommends one Sila per floor, but this will vary on the build materials of the location. Concrete and brick will serve as the biggest deterrent. The router also allows for other advanced options such as PPPoE, parental controls and MAC filtering.

As for the app, it’s easy to appreciate the simplicity of everything. At its core, you can view the devices that are on the network rather it be current or history. Guest networks can easily be added and setup. One thing the router does that is a pain is that upon initial setup, it groups the 5GHz and 2.4GHz together. This needs to be separated in the router settings. Most likely if you have smart home equipment or possibly a Wi-Fi device that doesn’t support 5GHz, they won’t work until this is separated. The app also features a fairly deep list of popular gaming and streaming apps that you can go through and prioritize for bandwidth. Each actual device can be given a designated priority. One thing the Sila has helped with is my Spectrum TV app, which saw some much needed improvement. There are also more options when accessing the router through the web. It’s a plus to basically have the app manage my network for me.


The technology is there, but I do have my concerns with not only the Sila, but all gaming routers. Wireless gaming still isn’t as dependable as a hard connection, but there are people that may not have the choice to do this. Having only three LAN ports hurts this. I tested Battlefield 1, Gran Turismo Sport, OVERKILL’S The Walking Dead and Destiny 2 for an extended period of time along with matchmaking. These are games that are known for lagging and disconnection issues. From my point, I didn’t see any issues beyond my control for lag or disconnects. You are a part of a server when playing these games and while nothing was tested for a peer-to-peer game, the performance was no different than what I had from my ISP Netgear router.

The only major difference between the original ISP router and the Razer Sila was the download speed. I tried with two different Sila’s and while I was getting 200-210 Mbps down from my ISP setup, I never topped more than 160-180 using the Sila. Noting that I didn’t have any disconnects in these games where I might have before, the download speed and a competitive advantage are two things most consumers look for. I even disabled the FasTrack and I peaked at 180 on speedtest.net with no other devices on the Sila. Now, there may be a sacrifice in download speed to create a more stable connection for sharing bandwidth, but this hasn’t been noted anywhere. The Sila doesn’t offer a worse experience and it did help in some areas.


Closing Comments:

The Razer Sila is a nifty little box packed with some enhancing technology. It just depends on if it fits your personal needs. Gaming routers retail for over $200 and the Sila is no different, retailing for $250. The ability to use a mobile app to manage the network in a simple and easy-to-use setup is the biggest attraction. The other big attraction comes from the ability to add two more to expand your network in your home. For the right person, the Razer Sila can work. Otherwise, a slower peak download speed and not offering a competitive advantage over what your ISP may have to offer doesn’t justify the $250 price tag for the average user.

Summary
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Razer Sila