Online gaming is one of the most exhilarating experiences, allowing users to delve into alternate worlds where they can be anybody they want. That said, there are a few factors that can affect the smoothness of your gaming experience, the first of which is usually the network speed.
That is why you need to get a package that delivers the best internet speed for gaming. This post covers the speeds necessary to enjoy your online gaming experience and the benefits of a strong internet connection.
What Is the Best Internet Speed for Gaming and Streaming Different Online Games?
Online games are diverse and don't share the same requirements in terms of internet speed. Nevertheless, you need to know the ideal internet speed range for the popular games people play online. So, let's consider the best internet speed for gaming below.
1. First Person Shooter (FPS) Games
FPS games are the most demanding online games and typically feature the highest internet speed requirements. They require a download speed of 30Mbps or higher if you want a smooth and lag-free gaming time. Additionally, they need a ping rate of 20 ms or less and an upload speed of 1Mbps or higher.
2. Real-Time Strategy Games
These games need a lower bandwidth than First Person Shooters, which translates to lower internet speed requirements. They need at least 3 Mbps download speed, 1Mbps upload speed, and a latency rate of 120ms or lower.
3. Role Playing Games
These have the lowest bandwidth requirements compared to most online games, which ensures they deliver a smooth gaming experience even with a low-speed internet connection. They only require a download speed of 2Mbps, an upload speed of 0.5Mbps, and a ping rate of 150ms.
4. Massively Multiplayer Online Games
This game type involves a large transfer of data which is why you'll want to ensure your internet package has no data caps if you want to play such games. Nevertheless, they don't need a lot, and a download speed of 3.5Mbps will suffice. Additionally, the upload speed can go as low as 0.5Mbps, and the ping rate can range anywhere between 150ms or below.
Factors Affecting Total Internet Speed for Online Gaming
1. Download Speed
Most people understand internet speed in the context of download speed. It is a measure of the time your computer takes to derive gaming data from an external server. In online gaming, download speeds should be much higher than upload speeds because you download more files than you are sending.
Megabits per second (Mbps) is a metric used to determine the rate at which you transfer information online. It assesses the number of megabits you can move from a source to a receiver in one second. As a rule of thumb, 8 megabits make up a megabyte.
So, if you are asking, "how much internet speed do I need for playing games online?" the internet speed you need should range somewhere between 3-10 Mbps. This is enough to deliver a smooth gaming experience.
2. Upload Speed
Upload speeds refer to the time required to move data from your PC or console to the external server. Sending information is a crucial part of playing online games, but the data you send over isn't as large as what you are downloading to your computer. As such, you'll notice that most internet packages offer faster download speeds than upload speeds.
The minimum upload speed for a smooth online game is 1 Mbps if you are the only person using the internet connection. If the number of people using the network increases, both download, and upload speeds can be affected.
3. Latency/Ping Rate
Latency, also referred to as ping rate, is thought to be just as essential as download speed since it measures your gaming accessibility on a particular network. To say it another way, it's the time your computer takes to communicate with an external server. This is usually measured in milliseconds, and it can make it harder or easier to transfer and receive data which affects the performance of your online game. Therefore, low latency is a characteristic of the best internet speed for gaming and streaming.
Generally, here's how latency can affect your gaming experience:
- 20ms or Less - This is the ideal ping rate for online gaming because it ensures there aren't any problems transferring data. Plus, at this latency, movements and images will appear vivid and crisp.
- 20ms - 50ms - It also offers a smooth gaming experience for most gamers and won't cause challenges as long as internet speeds are optimal.
- 50ms - 100ms - At this range, you can expect occasional lag, but most of your gaming experience will still be smooth.
- 100ms - 300ms - This ping rate is poor and is characterized by low responsiveness during gaming. While there are games designed to work well at this latency, most will have a disruptive effect or won't run at all.
- 300+ms - This is the highest latency rate and is bound to deliver an unbearable gaming experience.
4. Data Caps
Another factor that can affect internet speed when playing online games is the data caps. There is a limit on how much data you can transfer via the internet within a particular period which is what a data cap refers to.
Even with a high download speed, you cannot exceed the data cap set by your internet provider. Unfortunately, when you exceed a data cap, the speed of your internet connection will be severely reduced or cut off. To avoid such situations, it's better to go with an internet provider who offers no data caps on your internet use.
When gamers go beyond their data caps, the internet service providers can lower the bandwidth speed to a low rate that won't support online gaming. In such a scenario, the higher the number of people connected to the network, the worse the internet speed becomes.
If all the factors we've discussed above are well taken care of, the only other factor that could affect your gaming internet speed is the hardware you are using. Nowadays, most gamers prefer using wired connections rather than using Wi-Fi, and for a good reason, ethernet connections can deliver download and upload speeds that are ten times faster than Wi-Fi networks. If you are a gaming enthusiast, you know this could mean the difference between the ultimate gaming experience and a standard one.
How Can I Improve My Internet Speed for Gaming?
Before you implement the tips we provide, you'll want to perform an internet speed test to determine download and upload speeds. This will help you track whether the changes you effect will have a positive impact on your internet speed.
You can run the test online since there are free tools that can do it for you at no expense. Once you determine the specifics of your internet speed, you can go ahead and try the following fixes.
1. Restart Your Router
One of the easiest ways to fix your internet speed is to restart the router or modem. It could be the solution you need, and it doesn't cost you anything. As such, you'll want to try it out as the first fix before looking for more costly solutions.
2. Position Your Router in a Central Location
Another issue causing low internet speeds during online gaming is placing the router far from your PC or console. This is especially the case for people who live in large houses with several walls separating you from the router.
The shorter the distance between you and the device, the better the internet speed. So, you'll want to place your router in a location that ensures the Wi-Fi signal is as strong as it can be as you play games online. If you move the device closer, you should see better internet speeds.
3. Use a Wired Connection
Unfortunately, Wi-Fi networks aren't as stable and reliable as wired internet connections. As such, you should go for an ethernet cable as the first option if you can afford one. It's the only way to multiply the speed of your internet in an instant.
Also, you shouldn't go for a long ethernet cable because the longer the cable is, the slower the connection will become. Nevertheless, even a long ethernet cable will deliver faster internet than a Wi-Fi connection.
4. Upgrade Your Internet
Another possible solution for slow internet speed is upgrading your internet connection. Fiber optic internet is one of the fastest internet connections you can get for online gaming. Unfortunately, this upgrade is quite expensive and won't be convenient for all gamers.
5. Scan for Malware
Low internet speeds can also be caused by viruses. Malware can hijack your computer's resources and cause various problems in terms of performance and functionality. So, you'll want to ensure you have top-notch anti-virus software or a powerful security program for your operating system.
Viruses can add drag to your internet speeds which is why removing them can help you achieve good internet speed.
6. Turn Automatic Updates Off
When you set the drivers on your PC to automatically update, you can suffer from a slower internet connection. This is because most games require a strong network to work smoothly. When your computer diverts some of the signals to deal with updates, your game's download speed will be affected.
This means you should turn off the automatic updates while playing to ensure the internet is only being used to facilitate smooth gameplay.
7. Ensure Firmware is Up-To-Date
Your internet package will probably come with software from your internet provider. The software will allow you to keep track of internet use and other details that can prove useful as you game online. Unfortunately, this firmware will require updates every once in a while.
If you ignore the updates, the network might not work as smoothly as it should. So, you should ensure that you update the firmware to ensure there aren't any issues affecting your network.
8. Limit the Number of Users
The last fix you can try is to reduce the number of people sharing your internet connection. Professional gamers need a strong internet connection to ensure communication and other essentials take place in real-time. When there are several people using the connection, the bandwidth gets lower, which makes it harder to run smooth gameplay.
So, you can try to reduce the number of people connecting to your network to see whether it'll improve the speed of your internet.
Benefits of Good Internet Speed for Online Gaming
1. Downloading Games
You don't always have to stream your game online. With a good internet connection, you can download your favorite games to your console or PC for easier access. This will also eliminate the need to keep physical game disks which can get ruined by scratching. After downloading your games, you can play them online or offline, depending on your preference.
2. Better Gaming Communication
Some online games typically require some form of communication, especially in the case of multiplayer games. Without a stable internet connection, talking to the other players becomes difficult since there will be delays in transmitting your messages. This can affect your performance in those games. Fortunately, such issues can be avoided when you get the best internet speed for gaming.
3. Reduced Lag
Issues like lag and game freeze are evidence that your internet is not as fast as it should be. So, you'll want to get faster internet if you typically experience lag and freeze during your games. A good internet speed will enable you to enjoy smooth graphics during your games. You'll want to ensure that you avoid these issues since they can make the game more frustrating than exciting.
4. Smoother Streams
The last benefit of getting high-speed internet for your gaming needs is getting smoother game streams. There are some games that aren't available for download, which only leaves gamers with the option to stream them. In such cases, a strong network will be necessary to ensure you can compete with other players in real-time without losing clarity of the game.