Best Internet Speed for Gaming: Your Ultimate Guide

Best Internet Speed for Gaming: Your Ultimate Guide

You want to get the most out of your internet package and if you’re a regular gamer, finding the best internet speed for gaming is crucial to avoid lag and enjoy multiplayer video games. Whether you’re an avid gamer or a part-time enthusiast, here’s what you need to have the best gaming experience every time, plus some troubleshooting tips.

Best Internet Speed for Gaming — Overall

Though each game and console has different requirements, the three things that impact game lag most are download speed, upload speed, and latency. When you’re assessing how much bandwidth you need, you’ll want to know the rate of all three for the absolute best gaming experience.

Download speed: 3+ Mbps

Download speed is the speed at which information travels from the server to your console. If you use your phone to check your Instagram feed, for example, the download speed measures how long it takes for the information in your Instagram feed to travel from Instagram’s server to your phone.

The best internet download speed for most gaming sessions is at least 3 Mbps, but this can fluctuate depending on the number of people playing and the platform being used.

Upload speed: 1+ Mbps

Upload speed is the speed at which information is uploaded from your device to the server. Continuing with the Instagram example, say you’re posting an image to your feed. The upload speed is the time it takes for all the information within your post to travel from your device to Instagram’s server.

The best internet upload speeds for gaming are generally much higher than other activities since you’re continually sending information from your gaming device to the server as you play. When it comes to multiplayer gaming sessions, you’ll want an even faster upload speed to send large files or use video chat to communicate with team members, so be sure to have upload speeds of at least 1 Mbps.

Latency/Ping rate: <150 ms

While upload and download speeds are important for getting the most out of your gaming experience, the latency (or ping rate) is also crucial. What is latency? It’s the speed at which your device communicates with the internet server. Latency is measured in milliseconds (ms), so the higher the number the slower your game will be. Even if you have very fast internet, you could still experience interrupted gaming due to your server’s latency.

While a lower number closer to 20 ms is ideal, it may not always be possible. At the very least, keep your latency under 150 ms, or you’ll notice an obvious lag in game time. Want to test your internet’s latency? There are plenty of online tools out there to run a test and get the most out of your internet.

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Best Internet Speed for Gaming by System

Different systems and games have different internet requirements. That said, there are general guidelines that each company provides so that you can set yourself up for the best gaming experience. Here are the absolute minimum requirements for each console, so we advise that you stay above these guidelines to be safe. Also, remember to increase your estimated bandwidth for the number of players you’ll have.

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Computer internet speed requirements

  • Minimum download speeds: 3-6 Mbps

  • Minimum upload speeds: 1 Mbps

  • Maximum ping rate: 100 ms

Xbox internet speed requirements

  • Minimum download speeds: 3 Mbps

  • Minimum upload speeds: 1 Mbps

  • Maximum ping rate: 150 ms

PlayStation 4 internet speed requirements

  • Minimum download speeds: 3 Mbps

  • Minimum upload speeds: 1 Mbps

  • Maximum ping rate: 150 ms

Nintendo Switch internet speed requirements

  • Minimum download speeds: 3 Mbps

  • Minimum upload speeds: 1 Mbps

  • Maximum ping rate: 150 ms

Nintendo Wii U internet speed requirements

  • Minimum download speeds: 2 Mbps

  • Minimum download speeds HD: 5 Mbps

  • Minimum upload speeds: 1 Mbps

  • Maximum ping rate: 150 ms

Best Internet Speed for Multiplayer Gaming

As you can imagine, the more players you have using the same internet connection, the more speed you’ll need to keep everyone moving. As a general rule, take the number of players you have and multiply it by the internet speed requirement. For example, if your game needs 3 Mbps and you have four people playing it, you’re going to need at least 12 Mbps to play the game.

Two players best internet speed for gaming

Best Internet Service for Gaming

To most accurately define the best type of internet service for gaming, we should also identify the different services and how they work. Each one connects to the internet differently and offers varied speeds depending on your location. You may be limited by your region, so be sure to find the best service available in your area to make sure you can connect consistently.

Different internet services:

  • Fiber optic cable: The fastest internet service available but also the least common. If you can get fiber optic cable internet, you’ll be happy you did. Its ability to outpace other service types both in download and upload speeds makes this the absolute best internet service for gaming.

  • Coaxial cable: This internet service uses the same type of cables that cable companies use to provide cable TV, making it the second-fastest option and one of the best internet types for gaming in most households. Keep in mind, however, that if many people in your area are connected to the same server simultaneously, you can experience much slower internet speeds.

  • DSL: The original high-speed internet, DSL (or Digital Subscriber Line) is built on existing phone lines, making it highly accessible to many homes. The drawbacks? DSL is not always the most consistent. The further you get from the internet provider’s hub, the slower your service and beware, you could lose service in a storm.

  • Satellite: If you live in a rural area that doesn’t have cable or DSL set up, satellite service is your best internet option for gaming. Though you’ll connect to the web through your satellite dish, service might be spotty, slow, and expensive. If you can avoid satellite it’ll be worth it to get the best internet speed for gaming.

Best Internet Speed for Streaming Gaming

If you want to stream your game for others to see, you’re going to need faster internet speeds than standard gameplay. First, make sure you have hardwired internet service. Then check your upload and download speeds. For the best gaming experience, be sure to have upload speeds of at least 5 Mbps and download speeds of at least 50 Mbps.

How to Improve Your Internet Speed

Whether you find that you have the optimal internet speed for gaming, but you’re still experiencing game lag, or you need extra bandwidth, here are a few things you can do to improve your internet service:

  • Make sure your internet package provides enough bandwidth to support both gaming and all of your other devices. Are your roommates Netflix bingers? You may need to upgrade your internet plan to make way for all of these programs and devices.

  • If you’re trying to save on internet or upgrading plans isn’t an option, try disconnecting other programs or devices that connect to the internet and eat up bandwidth.

  • Use a hardwired connection. If possible, connect your gaming device directly to the router with an Ethernet cable. It may be less convenient than WiFi but will give you the best internet connection.

  • If you must be wireless, get as close to the router as you can.

  • Consider updating your router or modem if it’s over 5 years old. There are also routers specifically designed to optimize the gaming experience called “gaming routers”, so if you’re experiencing huge lag, an upgrade could be worth it.

Solo gamer best internet speed

How Data Affects Gaming

Do you regularly download games? If so, you may want to invest in an unlimited data plan. Some games need up to 89 GB of data to download. Even with your ideal internet speed for gaming, without enough data, you won’t be able to download the games. Also, if you’re sharing your data plan with an entire household, be sure to have 8-10 GB of data to play with each month.

With the best internet speed for gaming, enough data, and the right internet service, you can enjoy lag-free gaming every time. Now that you know what to do, it’s time to shop for the best internet package for a flawless gaming experience. Enjoy!

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