Internet for gaming: What is a good internet speed?

13 July 2023


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Picture this – you’re in the final showdown of the century. Your fingers are blazing over the controls, your eyes are glued to the screen. Victory is so close you can almost taste the digital champagne. But then it happens. Your character starts moving like they’re wading through a pool of mud. You’re yelling at your screen, while the enemy is just… well, laughing.

We’ve all been there. That dreadful moment when a low internet speed turns your gaming glory into a pixelated pit of despair. But fear not. Here, we’ll arm you with everything you need to know about the ideal internet speed for gaming and offer some tips and tricks to tackle some common issues.

Why does internet speed matter in gaming?

Internet speed refers to how fast data or information travels from the World Wide Web to your device, measured in Megabits per second (Mbps). In the realm of online gaming, a higher internet speed means smoother gameplay, less lag and a more enjoyable gaming experience.

What does this mean in the real world? Here are some typical examples of how your internet speed can impact your gaming performance:

Example 1: You’re playing a fast-paced first-person shooter game that calls for quick reflexes. With a high-speed internet connection, your actions will be registered instantly, allowing you to respond swiftly and accurately. On the flip side, if you have a slow internet connection, there will be noticeable delays.

Example 2: In an online multiplayer game, you encounter opponents from different regions so if your internet speed is subpar, you may experience high ping and latency, leading to lag and poor synchronization with other players – a sure-fire way to ruin your gameplay experience.

What’s the difference between various internet speeds?

If you’re wondering then what is the right speed for gaming, this will greatly depend on the type of games you play and the type of gaming experience you hope to achieve. Take a look at these speed options and their features:

  • 50 Mbps: This is a solid choice for serious gaming and streaming. You’ll generally have a smooth gaming experience, lower ping and reduced latency, even with a few other devices using the same connection.
  • 100 Mbps and 200 Mbps: These speeds are great for heavy-duty gamers playing high-definition, fast-paced multiplayer games. Both are also ideal for faster downloads and updates, while they can support multiple devices without missing a beat.

Just remember that your actual speed can be affected by several factors, such as the type of internet connection, in other words, whether fibre, cable etc. and the number of devices connected to your Wi-Fi network. Generally speaking, fibre optic connections offer higher speeds and lower latency when compared to other types of connections. On the other hand, if multiple devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network and you’re all consuming bandwidth at the same time, this is bound to result in slower internet speeds.

Playing video games on mobile

How to tackle common gaming issues

Having issues with high ping and latency? These are common problems in the gaming world so consider the following tips:

Use a wired connection

While Wi-Fi provides convenience, a wired Ethernet connection typically offers more stable and reliable speeds, lower latency and reduced interference. Try connecting your gaming device directly to the router using an Ethernet cable for optimal performance.

Optimise network settings

You can adjust your router settings, such as enabling Quality of Service (QoS) to prioritize gaming traffic, which can help reduce latency and improve your gaming performance.

Reset network devices

If you’re experiencing persistent connectivity issues, resetting your network devices can often help. Start by turning off your modem and router and then unplug them from the power source. Wait for about 30 seconds before plugging them back in and turning them on. Doing so can clear any temporary glitches or conflicts and provide a fresh start for your network connection.

Avoid peak hours

During peak hours, internet traffic is generally higher, leading to increased congestion and potential slowdowns. If possible, try to schedule your gaming sessions during off-peak hours when fewer people are online.

Close background applications

Running multiple applications or downloads in the background can strain your internet connection. One way of solving this issue is to simply close any unnecessary applications or downloads.

Update firmware and drivers

Outdated firmware on your router or outdated drivers on your gaming device can sometimes cause compatibility issues or performance problems. Make sure you regularly check any firmware updates for your router and install the latest drivers for your gaming device.

Choose servers closer to your location

When playing online multiplayer games, try to select game servers that are geographically closer to your location. Doing so can improve response times as the data has a shorter distance to travel. Usually, many games offer server selection options.

Hardware used for online gaming

Bonus tip: Breaking Down the Jargon – Mbps, Ping and Latency

It goes without saying that in order to make informed decisions about the optimal internet speed for gaming, it’s important to understand these common technical terms.

  • Megabits Per Second (Mbps): This measures the speed at which data travels to and from your device. Think of it as the size of the pipe carrying information to your game console. The larger the pipe (the higher Mbps), the more data can flow through, leading to better gaming performance.
  • Ping: This measures the time it takes for a request from your device to reach its destination and back (in milliseconds). It’s like sending a letter – the quicker it reaches its destination and returns, the better.
  • Latency: This is essentially another word for delay. It’s the total time it takes for a signal to travel from your device to your game server and back. Lower latency means less delay, which is exactly what you want for seamless gaming.

If you’re looking to better understand the many complex terms and phrases that make up our digital world, here are 10 internet terms everyone should know.

Whether you’re a casual gamer enjoying laid-back sessions or a professional player in need of lightning-fast responsiveness, understanding your internet speed can make all the difference. It’s all about finding that sweet spot between high performance and practicality. So, it’s time to take charge, evaluate your current internet speed and make the necessary changes to elevate your gaming experience. Here’s to seamless, lag-free gaming sessions.

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