Imagine you and your best friends have been training for months on the newest and hottest video game, and you are finally in a groove, seconds away from claiming victory, when your buddies’ internet starts to lag or, even worse, goes down altogether. Imagine all the screaming and disappointment and potential controller throwing! Doesn’t this sound terrible? While we can’t guarantee you or your buddies’ internet will never go down, what we can do is give you advice on the best internet for gaming to help you avoid a gut-wrenching scenario like the one outlined above.
Obviously, for a top-notch gaming experience, you need a fast internet connection. For this, fiber-optic internet is the top choice. In fact, reviews.com called fiber “the king of gaming.”
If you are not familiar with fiber-optic internet, it uses cables made of fiber (hence the name) to move data using light signals. It is actually pretty incredible. It is currently the fastest and arguably the most reliable internet today. Fiber, although not readily available all over the country, is becoming more popular and more accessible. Most of the largest providers have fiber coverage that is constantly expanding, and smaller providers are joining the game and are starting to offer fiber to smaller communities. Check to see what is available in your area.
Upload and download speeds are imperative for a positive gaming experience. For reference, most manufacturers of gaming consoles recommend at least 0.5 Mbps of upload speed and 3 Mbps for downloading. Meanwhile, gaming on a Mac or PC probably requires a quicker speed for both downloading and uploading. The last speed-related factor to consider is the latency, which basically means the amount of delay between what you do on the controller and when it appears on screen. In the gaming community, it is often referred to simply as a “ping rate.” However, if you want to get really granular here: ping is technically the time it takes from your device to the server and back, whereas latency is the time to reach your device from a server. You can imagine the problems that would occur with a high ping rate if you’re playing with/against players with a lower rate; you are automatically at a disadvantage.
Let’s say that fiber is not available in your area. The second-best option for gaming is going to be cable internet. It is more widely available and has speeds that reach 1 Gbps. However, the biggest downfall of cable internet is that it is a shared connection with other devices that are not even in your home. For example, if you and your neighbor are gaming simultaneously, your connections will be slower. (Maybe invite your neighbor over, and you can both fight villains together… just an idea). The ping rate will likely fall around 20-50ms for cable internet.
It makes sense that it would be best not to have multiple uses for the line you are utilizing for gaming. If your phone, TV, and internet are all on one line, you are likely going to find yourself in some frustrating situations.
If you are serious about your gaming, please do not even bother with satellite internet. The lag can be enormous. Think about it; whatever you do in the game has to go all the way to space and back before your teammates can witness your move. It is not worth the headache and will drive you insane.
Lastly, if your internet plan comes with a data cap, just go ahead and get rid of that if you are serious about gaming. To give you an idea of how much data a video game consumes: an hour of Fortnite uses anywhere between 45-1000 MB/hr. Trust us; you do not want to have to be monitoring that.
If you are looking to improve your overall gaming performance, fiber optic will give you the best experience hands-down. If that is not an option for you, be sure to consider and research the speed and ping rates and data plan before purchasing.