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What Is A Good Internet Speed For Gaming? Ultimate Guide

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What is a good internet speed for gaming? The answer can depend upon multiple factors; however, there are some general guidelines you can follow to improve gameplay. When trying to determine what is a good internet speed for gaming, understanding how internet speed, bandwidth, connection types, and hosting servers work together can help you to optimize your connection avoid lag and have a more pleasant gaming experience.

What Is A Good Internet Speed For Gaming?:
Minimizing Latency To Reduce Lag

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If you play online games, it is more than likely that at one time or another you have experienced lag. When you are playing an online game, if there is a perceptible difference between the time you initiate an action and the time the action is executed in the game, you are experiencing lag.

If you're playing an MMO (Massively Multi-player Online game), and the action is choppy and slow, you are experiencing lag. Not only is it distracting, but lag can affect the flow of the game. Even a small amount of lag can create a competitive disadvantage. Let's take a look at some of the contributing factors that can result in lag.

Lag And Latency

Lag is measured as latency. Latency, measured in milliseconds (ms), is the time it takes for data to be transferred from one point to another. While internet speed is the primary driver of data transfer rates, there are also physical, infrastructure and application-specific considerations that can also affect latency.

Internet Speed

Fast internet speeds are essential to online gaming. Minimum speeds of 4-8 Mbps are required to have an enjoyable experience; however speeds of 10-25 Mbps are recommended for a consistent quality experience. Another factor to consider when determining what is a good internet speed for gaming is how many devices are using the internet at the same time.

Most households today can have multiple devices sending data at the same time. Streaming movies and TV, tablets, smartphones, and other computers can require high internet speeds and have the potential to fill up bandwidth and result in high latency rates. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommends internet speeds of 12-25 Mbps for households that have multiple internet users.

For gaming applications, it is best to have a broadband (or fast) internet connection. The FCC defines a broadband connection as having a download speed of at least 25 Mbps and an upload speed of at least 3 Mbps. Check with your ISP (internet service provider) to determine what service packages are available to meet your needs.

Ping Rates

Internet speeds provide us with the potential of the network to transfer data. When determining what is a good internet speed for gaming, ping rates can provide information on how well your system is working. For latency issues, ping rates give us a snapshot of how our device is performing at the moment.

The ping rate is the measure of the time it takes for the data sent out by your device to receive a response. The lower the number here, the better. A reading of 20 milliseconds (m/s) or lower is best. While many games can function with ping rates as high as 100 m/s, gameplay could be affected. There are some game servers that will kick out at anything above 130 m/s.

How Can I Find My Ping Rate And Internet Speed?


To help you determine what is a good internet speed for gaming, there are several internet sites that will measure your internet speed (upload/download) and ping rates. Run the speed check if you are experiencing lag/latency issues to see if there is an internet data transfer problem, or if you just want to know how your device measures up.

Internet Connections


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How your device is physically connected to the internet can be a factor when trying to optimize performance and reduce lag for gaming. Although not everyone will be able to access all the different varieties of internet connections in all areas, it is a good idea to be familiar with them. The following is a list of the most common connections available:

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)

DSL connects through standard telephone lines. These lines have the potential to transmit at 100 Mbit, but depending upon the overall infrastructure, often fall short of that. The good news is that many gamers use DSL with no issues.

Coaxial Cable 

If you have ever had cable TV, you are familiar with these thick, unwieldy cables attached to your television or setbox. Coaxial connection can, however, provide a faster and more stable signal than DSL. Results may vary from ISP to ISP.

Fiber Optic Cable

Fiber optic cable provides the fastest and most stable transmission of the hard-wired options. The availability of fiber optic lines is limited at present, but expect that to change.

Satellite

Using an antenna, the device can connect directly with a satellite to access the internet. The advantage is that your connection is mobile. The disadvantage is that satellite connections can be subject to speed, stability, and latency issues. They are also more expensive. But if you want to play while you're camping, it's an option.

Mobile Network


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As you might guess, the mobile network is the same network as you use for your smartphone. The speed and stability depend upon how good a connection is available. Connecting to a WiFi network is best when playing games on a smartphone or tablet. Although these devices may have problems supporting more complex games, they do work, as attested to by the thousands of gaming apps available for smartphones.

Wired vs. Wireless

When trying to determine what is a good internet speed for gaming, wired connections will perform better and be faster than wireless. Looking at the internet connection list, it is easy to see that a physical connection is generally a better bet if you don't wish to experience lag or performance issues. A direct connection from the device to the modem is best. Whether it is a computer or a game system, it is best to connect them directly into the modem. Try to avoid using a USB hub as other devices will compete for resources with your game system/computer.

Game systems and computers can often connect to the modem wirelessly. The mobility and lack of wires to deal with can be a big plus when gaming. For most games and apps, the difference will be minimal. When playing online multi-player games, however, there are likely to be tradeoffs in performance.

Apps and Games

The type of game that you are playing can also affect latency and performance. How many participants are there? Is it just you in a first-person shooter? Are you playing a co-op adventure with a friend? Is the game a massively multi-player game set in an open world? The bigger the game, the more important a fast internet connection becomes. Let's take a quick look at some more complex game types and their requirements.

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FPS (First Person Shooter)

These weapon-based combat games depend on good game mechanics and the ability to fire your weapon quickly. A low ping ?rate ??will ensure that you can do your job. ?PVP (player vs. player) and groups will add to the resources being used and should you need to communicate with others, it will require more bandwidth.

?RPG (Role Playing Game)

?Like an FPS the RPG is often a fantasy world where your ability to cast spells and battle foes, as well as the game mechanics,  will depend upon a good ping rate. Often situated in open worlds, these games greatly benefit from high internet speeds.

MMO (Massive Multi-player Online games)

?These games involve large numbers of players interacting within the game simultaneously. They tend to require a high-speed connection with a large bandwidth for the best performance. Lag can often come from the server side when things get busy. It is best to have things in order on your end to help ensure a good gaming experience.

Final Thoughts


Answering the question; "What is a good internet speed for gaming?" is not exactly a simple one. Preventing lag when it matters most is really a question of one knowing the potential of the whole system. Having a good internet speed is the foundation. A good ISP with broadband will solve most problems. A quality computer or gaming system is essential as well. Know the capabilities of your device and, whenever possible, use direct connections by connecting to the device directly to the modem and avoiding sharing data lines with other hardware. If you are experiencing lag, check your ping rate and see if it meets the muster. Remember, if you're experiencing lag, a quick ping check may help to troubleshoot the problem. Keep in mind is that your experience will only be as good as the system and the system is only as good as its weakest link.

The world of online gaming has grown exponentially in the last decade and promises to continue as more advanced technologies and applications are developed. Unfortunately, problems will continue as well. Lag/latency has been an issue with digital systems from the time computers first appeared on the scene and it is not likely to go away. We can, however, reduce the chances of our characters suffering ignoble and undeserved fates because of lag.

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