Consoles state that minimum speeds should be 3 Mbit downstream and 1 Mbit upstream. However, the experience can vary from game to game, since some require more bandwidth than others. In the end, when it comes to gaming, stability is more relevant than speed.
The old-timers among us will recall a time when the only way to connect to the Internet was via a 5 KB/s dial-up connection, which also blocked the phone line while running.
Today instead, we are always connected: wired or wireless, on our computers, consoles, or phones, connectivity is now part of our daily lives. Most people have access to download speeds anywhere from 10 to 50 Mbits or 1 to 5 MB/s, while some fiber optic networks can go as high as 1 Gbit – 125 MB/s.
This is an exponential increase, but how much of that do you really need for gaming? What download/upload speeds are required for a smooth and steady online gaming experience?
Read on and find out!
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Recommended Internet Speed For Gaming
Overall, the general rule of thumb is that you should have a download speed of at least 3 Mbits and an upload speed of at least 1 Mbit to play most of today’s games.
These are also the minimum required Internet speeds on PS4 and Xbox One, but in the majority of cases, they are just a recommendation. However, you might need a faster connection based on several factors which we will discuss below.
Wired vs Wireless
When it comes to the way that your computer communicates with your router, it could be either a wired or wireless connection.
A wired connection is generally more reliable and faster. However, you will hardly be facing any problems with a wireless one if you are relatively close to the router, and no walls separate you from it.
Type of Internet Connection
Most of the world connects to the Internet via one of the following technologies:
- DSL – Standing for “digital subscriber line.” This connection is established via a telephone line. These are usually copper cables with a theoretical maximum speed of 100 Mbit, but in practice, speeds tend to be much lower depending on the infrastructure quality.
- Coaxial cable – A coaxial cable is what we commonly refer to when we talk about “cable TV.” These usually offer much faster and more stable speeds than DSL connections, although the speeds and the quality of the service can vary from ISP to ISP.
- Fiber optic cable – These cables use light to transmit data, making them the fastest and most reliable means of connection. Unfortunately, fiber optic coverage is not as extensive as other connection types.
- Satellite – As the name implies, connection with the Internet is established via an orbiting satellite that uses an antenna. The primary advantage of a satellite connection is that it is not limited by ground infrastructure. Still, it is more expensive, has lower speeds, and tends to suffer from latency and stability issues.
- Mobile network – Another type of wireless connection allows the user to access the Internet via a mobile network. Unfortunately, these have a poor price-speed ratio and can also suffer from stability issues based on network coverage.
With all that said, we highly recommended you choose either fiber optic, coaxial, or DSL if you’re looking for a stable and uninterrupted connection.
However, keep in mind that while coaxial is better than DSL, and fiber is better than either of them, this is merely theoretical. In reality, a DSL ISP in your area could be offering a faster and more stable connection than their rivals relying on coaxial cables. As such, make sure to conduct some local research before making your choice.
Commonly referred to as “ping,” latency is measured in milliseconds (ms) and denotes how long it takes for your device to communicate with a certain server.
Naturally, the farther away the server is from you, the higher your latency will be. This can further be affected by the quality of the host’s connection, which can sometimes be a problem for peer-hosted multiplayer games.
All in all, the lower the latency, the better. However, it shouldn’t be higher than 150ms; otherwise, you and other players will experience a horrible lag.
The Final Word
And there you have it, all the relevant factors to ensure a smooth online gaming experience – speed, latency, and connection type.
Of course, there could be other things affecting your experience, such as a distant host, overloaded network, bad weather conditions etc. However, as long as your connection is sufficiently stable and meets the minimum speed requirements, you should have nothing to worry about.
Ready to see how your network performs? Head over to SpeedTest.net and find out today!