Having an unstable internet connection can have a huge impact on any user’s gaming experience. There’s no fun in playing video games when they take forever to load, have large bouts of intermittent lag, or disconnect from the network or servers frequently. For this reason, gamers are always on the lookout for the most reliable ISP to provide quality internet service and super-fast speeds for smooth and seamless gaming.
This article should cover the specifics of Internet speeds in relation to online gaming, going over download speeds, upload speeds, and latency. As a whole, we will also go over what the ideal internet speed is for gaming and other high-intensity online activities.
The speed of an internet connection, measured in Mbps (megabits per second), is the amount of data being transferred from your computer or console to the server and vice versa. These are noted as download or upload speeds, depending on which direction the data is flowing.
Download speeds refer to the rate at which data moves from a server to your device, while upload speeds measure how quickly data is sent from your device to the internet. On average, much more data is downloaded from the internet than uploaded, so most internet plans have faster download speeds than upload speeds.
Regular internet users will usually only take into account download and upload speeds. But when it comes to gaming, your latency has to be taken into consideration as well. Latency, commonly known as ping rate, is the total time taken for a packet of data to move from your computer to the web server and back again. It is measured in milliseconds, and is affected by factors such as distance from your server in addition to the quality of your ISP service.
If your latency is high, it will take longer for you to get a response from game servers, causing lag, rubber banding, disconnections, and other connection-based issues in your game. Because of this, a low ping rate is almost mandatory to get the most seamless gaming experience. Ideally, gamers in a multiplayer session should also have similar ping rates, especially if they’re using a peer-to-peer connection.
As mentioned above, there are a number of factors that can potentially affect your latency, which has an indirect impact on your gaming experience as well. It’s also important to rule out any hardware or firmware-related issues that can be resolved with ease; check out our article about upgrading your WiFi here. Here are some of the main points to consider when assessing ways to stabilize your connection and minimize latency when gaming.
Almost all multiplayer games use regional servers because geolocation matters when it comes to connectivity and latency, regardless of whether a server is only a few states away.
This is because signals move through several hops as they travel between your connection point to the server and vice versa. The more hops your signal travels, the longer it takes to reach you, resulting in a higher latency.
Also, latency can increase significantly if there’s traffic congestion between you and the server, which tends to be more likely the farther the signal has to travel.
Different internet connection types have their separate latencies. For instance, satellite internet has the highest latency because its signals travel to space and back - taking a long time. The DSL connection features the lowest latency and as such, has the best internet speed for gaming.
Your internet speed for gaming is dependent on your console and the range of games you play online. For instance, the speed needed for playing games on a PC may differ from the speeds required for a console. Having these in mind will help in deciding what internet speed best suits you.
Here are some general standards to consider when looking for the best internet speed for gaming.
Ideally, the latency, which is most important in gaming, should not be more than 150 milliseconds (ms), as recommended by most modern game consoles like Xbox One and Playstation 5. Regardless of your internet speed, your game will lag if the ping rate is high. For good gaming, ensure your ping rate is very low - preferably about 50 milliseconds.
Most online games require a good download speed for gaming. Some people manage with speeds between 12to 25 Mbps. But for the most optimal gaming experience, you should aim forabout 200 Mbps - which is the best Mbps for gaming.
If you are wondering, “what is a good upload speed for gaming?”, 5 Mbps is suitable for most types of consoles and PCs. The minimum upload speed requirement for your game to run properly is around 1Mbps.
Note that live streaming games on YouTube or Twitch requires an even faster internet connection because, in addition to the regular internet speed for gaming, you’ll also need more upload speed for a steady bitrate. In this case, good upload speeds are crucial. You'll need a bitrate of at least 2.5 to 4 Mbps to stream comfortably at 720p and 30 frames per second.
If you have more devices connected to your network, you’ll also want higher internet speeds, since increased network usage and traffic along the same connection can be a reason for decreased performance.
So, what is the best internet speed for gaming? The answer to that question depends on a variety of factors. Your device and hardware are important considerations when it comes to gaming speeds.
Another key factor is latency; the time it takes your device to communicate with the game server. While internet connectivity and speed are important, they are not the only things that matter when it comes to playing games online.
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