Consoles state the minimum speeds as 3 Mbit downstream and 1 Mbit upstream. However, the experience can vary from game to game, as some require more bandwidth than others. In the end, stability is more relevant for gaming than speed itself.
There are old-timers among us who 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 connected.
In stark contrast, we are always connected today – wired or wireless, be it on our computers, consoles, or phones. What’s more, most people have access to download speeds anywhere from 10 to 50 Mbits i.e. 1 to 5 MB/s, while some fiber optic networks can go as high as 1 Gbit – 125 MB/s!
Needless to say, that is an exponential increase, but how much of that do you really need, particularly for gaming? What download/upload speeds are required for a smooth and steady online gaming experience?
Read on and find out!
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 in order for most games to be playable. These are also the minimum required Internet speeds on PS4 and Xbox One.
These, of course, are just the minimum recommended speeds. You might need a faster connection based on a number of factors which will be discussed 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, although you will hardly be facing any problems with a wireless one if you are relatively close to the router and there are no walls separating you from it.
Type of Internet Connection
The majority of the world is connected 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 speeds tend to be much lower in practice, depending on the infrastructure quality.
- Coaxial cable – A coaxial cable is what we commonly refer to when talking 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 stable means of connection. Unfortunately, fiber optic coverage is not nearly as extensive as other connection types.
- Satellite – As the name implies, connection with the Internet is established via an orbiting satellite by using an antenna. The primary advantage of a satellite connection is that it is not limited by ground infrastructure, but it is also more expensive, has lower speeds, and tends to suffer from latency and stability issues.
- Mobile network – Another type of wireless connection, it allows the user access to the Internet via a mobile network, as the name implies. Unfortunately, these have a poor price-speed ratio and can also suffer from stability issues based on network coverage.
With all that said, it is highly recommended to go with either fiber optic, coaxial, or DSL if you want a stable and uninterrupted connection.
However, keep in mind that while coaxial is better than DSL, and fiber is better than either of them, that is merely “on paper”. In reality, a DSL ISP in your area could be offering a faster and more stable connection than their competitors 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 is, the better. However, it shouldn’t be higher than 150ms lest you and other players are bound to experience noticeable 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!