You are in the middle of a heated battle for control of the empire. Everything is going your way, and you are on the verge of victory. Wait, noooooo, your screen froze! Why is your guy not moving? Oh, there it is… uh-oh, you are doomed! Hours of preparation for this moment leads to disappointment. After the shock and anger subside, you resolve to improve your internet connection.
Gaming is a very popular pastime. From Apex Legends to Grand Theft Auto, hours can be spent escaping to another world. Whether you play on your personal computer or have an Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo system, hours of entertainment are waiting for you and your friends. Having a fast and reliable internet connection can make a big difference in whether you enjoy the game.
What is a Multi-Player Game?
When we speak of gaming, we are talking about multi-player games where you are playing fellow gamers from all over the world. Multi-player games usually require players to play on a single game system or use networking technology to play over vast distances. They tend to be complex in nature, with players working together or against opponents. There is interaction between the characters and gamers, sometimes involving strategy and teamwork.
How Much Speed Do You Need?
The amount of speed or bandwidth you need to play one of these games will depend on your game's complexity, your gaming system, and your patience level. General requirements on various systems say that if you have 3-6 Mbps upload speed, 1-2 Mbps download speed, and a ping rate under 150 ms, you should be covered for a single player in your household. If multiple users in your household are playing games, you want that speed for each person. The recommended minimum total household speed of your internet should be 25-60 Mbps depending on your gaming system.
If you connect to the game through your computer, lower ping rates and higher speeds are preferred. Other systems, like the Nintendo Wii U, require lower speeds. The other three popular gaming systems - Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch - are right at the recommended standards of 3 Mbps upload speed, 1 Mbps download speed, and less than 150 ms ping rate.
Ping or Latency
Ping is the time it takes for the information to reach the server and answer you back. It is measured in milliseconds (ms). The higher the ping, the slower your game will be. Ping and fast internet speed do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. The ideal time for ping in online gaming in 20 ms, but up to the recommended time of 150 ms will still provide you with a satisfying gaming experience.
What Are My Internet Options?
Depending on where you live, you may have different ways to connect to the internet. There are advantages and disadvantages to each when it comes to gaming.
- Fiber has the fastest internet speeds on the market. This is the ideal service for gaming because you won't have to worry about upload or download speeds, and you can have all of your friends over to enjoy the games together. The downside is that fiber isn't available everywhere, and it can be expensive.
- Cable is the second fastest option available. If you have internet bundled with your cable television provider, you are all set. It's pretty reliable and great for gaming. The only drawback is there may be slower internet speeds during peak times that could affect your experience.
- DSL is widely available and uses the telephone lines that come into your house. Speed depends on how close you are to the provider's hub. It's not the best for gaming, but you might be able to get by.
- Satellite is probably the least preferable option, but if you live in a rural area not serviced by other providers, it'll work. Satellite's drawbacks include high latency (or ping), spotty or slow service, and expense.
What About Your Data Plan?
It might be best to consider an unlimited data plan if you tend to download games regularly. Some games need up to 89 GB of data just to download. Factor in the 8-10 GB data you need while you're actually playing the game and data can get eaten up fast. Without an unlimited data plan, overages can be expensive.
What if I Can't Upgrade My Internet?
If upgrading your internet is not an option due to a lack of available services in your area or cost considerations, there are a few things you can do to improve your gaming speed. Disconnect all other programs or devices that connect to the internet and use up bandwidth, and clear your cache if you are on a computer. If your Wi-Fi is slow and a hardwired connection is available, try plugging in with an Ethernet cable. If you are wireless, sit as close as you can to the router. If your router is old, try getting a newer one. Some routers are designed specifically for gaming, and it might be worth checking them out.
If your internet speed is not keeping up with your gaming needs, explore your options. Whether you upgrade your service or are just aware of the best tips and tricks when gaming, you will be able to pass the time battling opponents online rather than your internet connection.