What Is a Good Internet Speed for Gaming?

Last Updated: October 15, 2021

Jason

Jason

With the fastest internet speed for gaming, adequate bandwidth, and the ideal internet provider, you can experience lag-free gaming every time.
What is a Good Internet Speed for Gaming?
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The internet has virtually become a must in every home. People have phone data at the very least, which they utilize to play online games.

The world of online video games has been revolutionized, thanks to faster internet connections and advancements in gaming technology. Many of the top games available today are web-based.

However, any gamer would agree that the speed of the internet connection has a significant impact on how well you can play online games.

A high-speed internet connection is essential whether you’re competing in “Fortnite” for a Victory Royale or guarding your goal in “Rocket League.” But, what Internet speed do I require for gaming, you may wonder?

For gaming, speeds of 3 to 8 Mbps are deemed enough.

However, based on how many other people are using your connection and whether you’re calling or streaming while playing the games, this may not be sufficient. Your speed is deemed great if it reaches the 50 to 200 Mbps level.

Faster internet is certainly desirable, but you don’t want to spend too much for speeds you don’t actually require.

How do you decide what’s genuinely suggested and what internet speed will make gaming more enjoyable? Because speed is so vital in online gaming, it’s crucial to understand how much bandwidth you truly need.

This article will tell you all you need to know about internet speed for gaming, starting from what it actually is and how much speed you precisely require to have a seamless gaming experience. Keep reading!

Why Do I Need a Fast Internet Connection?

Consider how quicker, higher-bandwidth internet plans may dramatically improve your online experience.

If you like multiplayer gaming or video streaming and have many devices at home, a faster internet connection will make everything work more smoothly.

Everyone at your home will benefit from faster reaction times and be less likely to complain about missed calls or choppy meetings.

One strategy is to consider how you want to use the internet in the future months or years. Choose a package that gives you enough flexibility to meet your requirements.

How Internet Speed Impacts Gaming

 Internet Speed

The simple formula is that faster is always better. However, to some people’s astonishment, online gaming isn’t the most bandwidth-intensive activity available.

You might be wondering how much internet speed do you actually require for gaming? Let’s first see how it’s measured. 

Megabits per second (Mbps) is a data-rate statistic that is intended to quantify the speed at which data is transferred.

The number of megabits that may be sent from one destination to another in a single second is measured in Mbps.

The greater the Mbps, the faster users can upload and download data, which is critical for bandwidth-intensive operations, such as streaming and online gaming.

Typically, gaming requires a download speed of 3 to 4 Mbps as per the Federal Communications Commission.

Although 3 to 4 Mbps may not seem like a lot of internet speed, please note that this is only for one user.

It also doesn’t take into consideration any other devices or activities that are concurrently utilizing your bandwidth.

If you’re only using the connection for yourself or one other user, we suggest purchasing a plan with 25 to 50 Mbps for gaming. This should meet your gaming demands as well as your other internet pursuits.

Although every game and console has its unique set of specifications, download speed, upload speed, and latency are the three factors that have the most influence on game lag.

For a great gaming experience, you must know the speed of all three when determining how much bandwidth you’ll require.

Hence, let’s try to understand what these three terms mean, along with some other factors that impact your gaming experience. 

Download Speed and Upload Speed

The majority of the time when people talk about internet speed, they’re talking about download speed. The speed with which you can download information from an external source to your system is measured in download speed.

Because most internet activities include more downloading than receiving data, maximum download speeds are substantially greater than maximum upload speeds.

The majority of game producers suggest a download speed of 3 to 6 Mbps. On the other hand, upload speed is the reverse of download speed and indicates how quickly data can be sent from one system to an external source.

Although transmitting data is an important component of utilizing the Internet, most individuals do not send huge volumes of data, therefore upload rates are often far slower than download rates.

When it comes to online gaming, a minimum upload speed of 1 Mbps is deemed enough if you are the only one using the network.

Look Out for High Latency!

Interestingly, latency has a greater influence on gaming efficiency and reaction time than upload and download speeds.

Latency (sometimes known as “ping”), in simple words, is the time between when something happens in the game and when it appears on your screen.

For instance, if your latency rate is 25 milliseconds, your character will shoot in-game in 25 milliseconds once you hit the left mouse button.

Ping rates that are too high can make cooperation in any online game nearly impossible. If your latency is greater than another gamer’s, his or her moves may be registered first.

You want as minimal latency as possible in fast-paced gaming, particularly in fighting games or action games. 

While a delay of less than 20 milliseconds is desired, this may not always be achievable. Keep your latency under 150 milliseconds at the absolute least; otherwise, you’ll notice a lag in game time.

Do you want to check the latency of your internet? There are several online tools available to conduct a test and get the most out of your internet connection.

Ethernet Over Wi-Fi

Ethernet vs Wi-Fi

Wireless Fidelity, or Wi-Fi, is a technology that we all want. There is no longer any need to connect your system to an internet cable or router; everything is now wireless.

Although the bulk of internet users nowadays are tied to their phones through Wi-Fi, ethernet is still a viable alternative.

In certain situations, the physical connection provided by an ethernet cable gives superior communication.

Wi-Fi can be affected by signal interference, which might make your connection unreliable in some situations. Ethernet maintains a constant speed across the board.

The LAN has a more coherent and durable connection thanks to the hard connection provided by ethernet. We are, however, unavoidably heading toward a more wireless world.

Not a Dial-Up Connection

Dial-up connections are significantly slower than current internet connections (such as broadband), and their latency rates are far greater than what’s recommended for online gaming.

Very few contemporary games can be enjoyed on a dial-up connection since they demand faster internet connections.

Hardware

You may have a solid internet connection with high download and upload speeds, but if your router isn’t up to par, you may experience some glitches. Your internet is not a continual flow of data; rather, data is transmitted and retrieved in packets.

When your router gets these data packets, they aren’t processed right away. Rather, they are placed in a line.

The length of time a packet of data stays in the queue before being processed by the router is referred to as queuing time.

If your router isn’t strong enough to reduce that queue fast, it will build up, and the router will begin discarding incoming packets when it is packed.

As a result, your router will have to request the packet repeatedly, increasing latency and causing in-game delays.

Types of Connection

Your gaming experience is influenced by your broadband connection. Digital subscriber line (DSL), cable, and fiber optic are the 3 most prevalent forms.

DSL

DSL

DSL utilizes your phone connection to deliver high-speed internet, however, unlike dial-up, it uses separate frequencies for phone and internet, allowing you to use both simultaneously.

DSL is often the weakest of the three forms of broadband connections. Download speeds vary from 1 Mbps to 6 Mbps, allowing you to do things like browsing the web, sending emails, listening to music, and watching movies.

You may game with DSL, although your gaming will be hampered if other networked devices are accessing your connection.

Cable

Cable internet

To offer high-speed internet, cable internet employs cable lines rather than phone lines like DSL. Cable is generally speedier than DSL, with download rates ranging from 100 to 300 Mbps.

But, even with several devices connected, this is generally considerably quicker than most families require, thus lesser speed tiers (beginning at 15-25Mbps) are enough.

Fiber Optic

Fiber Optic

Fiber optic cable is the way of the future. Light and glass fibers are used to transfer data considerably more quickly and effectively than standard copper connections.

Fiber optic connections are the fastest out of the bunch, but they’re also the least common form of connection in the country.

However, if you reside in a place where Verizon FiOS or Google Fiber is available, you should check out your fiber alternatives.

Stability of Connection

For online gaming, the stability of your connection is typically more essential than the actual speed.

While few people address the stability of their connection, it is necessary to have a steady connection in order to have a pleasant gaming experience.

Most players favor wired broadband connections over mobile data or traditional satellite internet since the former is more reliable and less expensive.

Impact of Data Cap on Gaming

Data limits are a frequent feature of internet services. A data cap is a limitation on how much information you can send over a network in a particular length of time.

Some users, for instance, may have a high-speed Internet plan of 50 Mbps but a monthly usage cap of 150 GB.

If they exceed this cap, their Internet service provider (ISP) may terminate their service or restrict their connection.

When you exceed your data limits, you may be forced to pay extra for your connection or struggle with slowed speeds.

It is crucial to remember that downloading and upgrading games consumes a substantial quantity of data.

PS5 upgrades can be up to 500 MB in size. Your data use will be affected by both downloading and upgrading games, as well as multiplayer games.

Your provider should notify you through email or text when you hit your data cap so that you don’t exceed your limit without realizing it.

If you’re often over your monthly data cap, it might be time for an upgrade to a higher data plan or switch providers.

Speed Based on Console

Console

Gamers may be rather fanatical about their consoles, and there are numerous online arguments regarding the advantages and disadvantages of various consoles. You most certainly have a favorite console for yourself.

Take a minute to examine the specifications and see what the suggested minimum internet speed for your console is, whatever your choice may be.

  • Xbox One: 3 Mbps
  • PlayStation 5: 5 Mbps
  • Nintendo Switch: 3 Mbps
  • PC Gaming: 3 to 6 Mbps

Speed Based on Game Type

The sorts of games you like playing might have an impact on your internet speed needs. In a first-person shooting game, for instance, a fraction of a second can determine who wins.

If your connection slows for even a fraction of a second, the other gamer may be able to shoot you before you can get them.

It’s a good idea to go above the basic minimum internet plan needed for strategic games like these. Whatever console you choose, a download speed of at least 25 Mbps is required for gameplay.

Poor connectivity or lag periods might spoil your gaming experience. If you plan on playing online games, get a high-speed internet connection with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps.

How to Reduce Lag

If you’re frequently missing your opponents in online games due to lag, you’re undoubtedly irritated. However, there are a few things you may do to help.

Check your internet speed first to ensure that you have adequate Mbps.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Connect your PC or console to your network with an Ethernet cable: Wi-Fi does not provide the best connection for gaming. Wireless connections add to the amount of time it takes to complete a task. If you plug an ethernet cable straight into your router, you’ll have a quicker, more dynamic connection with less latency. If this isn’t feasible, make sure your gaming system is as close to your router as possible, and that the router is situated away from any walls or other objects that might interfere with your signal.
  • Use WiFi extender: If a wired connection isn’t possible, or you’re gaming on a Wi-Fi device like a smartphone or tablet, you’ll need easy access to those valuable Wi-Fi signals. Wi-Fi extenders can increase signal range, allowing you to game in more locations throughout the house.
  • Record the playthroughs offline: If you’re going to stream, make a backup of your play sessions and post them later. If you’re going to live stream, you’ll almost certainly need more Mbps.
  • Other devices should be disconnected to avoid hogging your bandwidth: You can also enhance your game experience by reducing interruptions from other devices. Stop any ongoing downloads and switch off any devices that may be vying for bandwidth with your console. Also, keep an eye out for in-game downloads that may be operating in the background, using data, and slowing down your gaming performance.
  • Download new games and huge upgrades at night to avoid having to wait: The amount of traffic in your area might cause cable internet speeds to slow down. This implies that during peak hours, download speeds may be substantially lower than usual, thereby increasing latency. It is recommended that you download games at night when the traffic is at its lowest.
  • Reset your router as well as your game consoles: It is occasionally possible to enhance the performance of your router and modem by resetting them. If your router or modem is more than five years old, you should consider replacing it. There are also “gaming routers,” which are routers particularly intended to enhance the gaming experience, so if you’re suffering a lot of latency, an update might be worth it.
  • Change the game’s settings: Beautiful graphics use up more data. If the game isn’t operating smoothly, turn down the visuals. Less visually demanding games, such as Minecraft and Roblox, should be unaffected.
  • Switch your Broadband Package: The best and most easy approach to decrease gaming latency and boost internet speed is to upgrade your broadband. Try upgrading your broadband plan to one that provides better gaming conditions. It’s possible that your specific region has inconsistent WiFi signals, in which case you should search for a different broadband provider that can give a better, more stable internet connection.
  • Go for a VPN: A VPN service will slow down your internet speed slightly. But, your ISP may throttle your connection based on your internet habits, which might include gaming sessions. This is referred to as bandwidth throttling. A VPN can avoid bandwidth throttling by concealing your internet activities from your Provider, preventing them from slowing you down on purpose.

Other Aspects to Consider

It’s not easy to figure exactly how many megabits per second you’ll need for online gaming. It is dependent on your household’s internet consumption.

If three members of your family are keen gamers who frequently play at the same time, your internet requirements will be multiplied by three.

Your latency will skyrocket if your family members stream films or download large files while you’re playing an online game.

Downloads might also put a burden on your internet connection. Online gaming will test the boundaries of your internet connection more than any other internet task.

However, it’s not the only way games may strain your connection. On your PC or console, many current games take up a lot of storage capacity.

As a result, downloading games from an online retailer like Steam or the Microsoft Store might be time-consuming. It can also quickly deplete monthly data allowances. 

If you broadcast your gaming on YouTube, your internet requirements get a little more difficult.

Streaming includes all of the criteria for a low-latency network for online gaming, plus the extra upload speed required to maintain a consistent bandwidth on your stream.

Gaming can be hampered by a variety of factors, not the least of which is a lack of bandwidth. Since players rarely implement basic cyber security precautions, they are attractive targets for fraudsters.

Hackers seize over player accounts, listen in on personal conversations, and duplicate login information to hack into other accounts or sell player information on the dark web.

Conclusion

Assume you’re in the thick of a thrilling game. Perhaps you’re in a combat and firing or slicing your weapon.

Perhaps it’s a sporting event. Imagine you’re just a few points away from winning whatever it is. You make the game-winning shot, but your game pauses for a few seconds, delaying your shot by a few seconds.

Then you find out your opponent made the first shot, and you’ve ended up losing because your game slowed down. Nobody wants that.

As we have already mentioned, connection speed and latency rate are important factors in having a seamless, undisturbed online gaming experience.

If you’re a frequent gamer who experiences a lot of latency or sluggish loading times, it could be time to change your Internet plan or improve your Internet speed.

When picking an internet package, choose the one with the lowest ping if online gaming is your main priority.

Bear in mind that other online activities such as downloading games or streaming live (not to forget things like viewing videos, working online, or doing homework) have their own set of needs that you must take into account.

With the fastest internet speed for gaming, adequate bandwidth, and the ideal internet provider, you can experience lag-free gaming every time.

Now that you know what to do, go out and get the finest internet plan for a smooth gaming experience. Enjoy!

Written by Jason

Hi! I’m the editor at EarthWeb. I have a deep interest in technology and business. I also enjoy testing products out. Contact me to be featured!