If you’re wondering what a good internet speed for gaming is, in this guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know in order to selected the best internet plan for gaming.
Internet speed is something we can all relate with. Your internet speed can determine how much work you get done in a day and at times, it can even determine your mood for the day. We’ve all experienced slow internet before and slow internet never fails to frustrate even the most patient of people.
But internet speed when it comes to gaming is even more important. In gaming, speed is everything. The margins for error are so small that how fast your computer is responding can be the difference between winning a match and losing a match. And, it doesn’t matter how powerful of a gaming computer you have, if your internet speed sucks, you’re in-game experience is going to suffer.
In this article, we’ll go over the different parts of internet speed you need to know about, the standard requirements for every console you want to use, and some terminology that will help in bettering your understanding of the internet world.
But before you can understand the full importance of internet speed, we have to start from the beginning. There are three things you need to know about: Mbps, connection, and latency.
A Run Down on Mbps (Megabits Per Second)
Mbps, otherwise known as megabits per second, is what determines how fast something can upload, download, and etc.. Therefore, the higher number a number for Mbps, the higher the internet speed you’ll be guaranteed.
For example, downloading a 1080p movie at 3 Mbps will take at least 9 hours while downloading this same 1080p movie at 50 Mbps will only take 34 minutes.
Do not confuse this with MBps! MBps stands for megabytes per second and this indicates the amount of data files transferred each second.
Different devices require different megabit speeds and therefore, you don’t need a set number. However, according to the FCC, an internet speed with at least 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads is considered “broadband.”
The Different Internet Connection Types
Before you can consider Mbps or latency, though, you need to find your perfect connection type. Right now, your two main options are wireless and wired.
Wireless is a great option, as long as you’re not too far away from the router and you don’t have objects, such as walls, messing with the connection.
Wired tends to be more reliable, though, since you have a physical connection and thus, won’t have to worry about the placement of the router.
Here are some types of connections you can choose from:
1. Fiber Optic Cable
Fiber optic cables have many advantages over traditional copper cables, but, most importantly, they offer significantly higher network bandwidths than copper cables can. This, of course, means faster internet speeds. If you can get a fiber optic-based internet plan in your area, that will be the best route to go. The problem is that since most cable/internet providers rely on copper wire connections that have already been laid down, not all areas have access to a fiber internet connection.
2. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
This connection is established through telephone lines, usually with copper cables. Theoretically, the DSL can reach up to 100 Mbit but in reality, this speed tends to be lower than that.
3. Coaxial Cable
The coaxial cable is your standard cable connection through a wire. You probably know it because you can use it for your television but the coaxial cable is also a perfect method of connection for network connections.
A satellite connection is great because you’re not limited by physical objects, such as outlets and walls (for wireless connections). However, due to its sheer distance, it suffers low speed and consistency.
What About Latency (Ping)? How Does It Impact My Experience?
You may know it as ping when it comes to gaming but latency is basically how fast the system can respond to an action that you input. Ping can be affected by a variety of things such as the server distance, your own connection, and even the host’s network.
The lower your ping, which is measured in milliseconds, the faster your response time. Naturally, this is true because if you have a ping of 20 ms compared to a ping of 150 ms, the ping of 20 ms will give you a faster response since it will take only 20 milliseconds compared to the latter’s 150 milliseconds.
The Best Internet Speed For You
For gaming, you want to look for a speed of at least under 150 ms when it comes to ping. Your connection, wireless or wired, does not play as big of a factor as long as you aren’t going for a satellite or mobile network connection.
A great ping when it comes to gaming is anything under 20 ms. Between 40-80 is also a great connection. 100-150 can be iffy sometimes but when the ping goes above 150 ms, you’re going to experience lag and if you’ve ever experienced lag before, you know that it’s not a pleasant experience.
What you may not know, though, is that each console has its own minimum requirements to use it. That means that you can’t game without meeting these requirements.
- Min. Download Speed: 3 Mbps
- Min. Upload Speed: 0.5 Mbps
- Max Ping Rate: 150 ms
- Min. Download Speed: Unknown
- Min. Upload Speed: Unknown
- Max Ping Rate: Unknown
The PlayStation 4 doesn’t give its minimums and maximum upload speeds, download speeds, and ping rates. However, when you consider the other consoles, it’s safe to say that they have around the same requirements.
- Min. Download Speed: 3 Mbps
- Min. Upload Speed: 1 Mbps
- Max Allowed Ping: Unknown
The Nintendo Switch doesn’t tell you much except if the download and upload speed for the Switch is at 3 Mbps and 1 Mbps respectively. As for the ping, while they don’t explicitly state the maximum ping allowed, a good reference is always at 150 ms since past that, you tend to experience lag, no matter what console you’re playing on.
Nintendo Wii U
- Min. Download Speed: 1.5 Mbps
- Min. Upload Speed: 1 Mbps
- Max Allowed Ping: Unknown (150 ms preferably)
Again, the Nintendo Wii U isn’t very specific on its technicalities. However, it does say that for video streaming purposes, standard definition downloads should be done at 1.5 Mbps minimum while high definition should be done at 3 Mbps minimum.
- Min. Download Speed: Anywhere from 3 to 6 Mbps
- Min. Upload Speed: Anywhere from 0.75 to 1 Mbps
- Max Allowed Ping: 100-150 ms
Because of the variety you have when it comes to choosing your own laptop, computer, or Mac, it’s hard to really pinpoint a specific minimum speed and maximum ping. After all, some computers are more suited for work-life while other devices are built more towards gaming.
In the end, it comes down to whichever PC/Mac you get and the version that you get. Usually, you can do some research online but the parameters above are good to follow for anything from recreational work to the occasional gaming session.
What Internet Speed Will Work Best for Gaming?
When you’re gaming, you’re probably not thinking about things such as Mbps and whether or not you have a fiber connection or a copper wire connection. Instead, you’re probably thinking about how to take down your opponent in League of Legends or score the last goal for your team in Rocket League.
Gaming may be the biggest priority when you’re playing, but if your internet speed isn’t up to par, you’re in-game performance is going to suffer. So, if you’re looking to upgrade your internet plan and you’re wondering what internet speed is best for gaming, the information in this guide should help you make a more informed decision. Ultimately, with better internet speed comes better response times and with better response times comes better performances.