With each passing day, online gaming is getting increasingly popular. Apart from the specifications of your PC, your internet connectivity is the one thing that has a major impact on your online gaming experience. So how fast does your internet have to be? That’s exactly what we are going to talk about in this article.
The minimum download and upload speed required to have a smooth experience will depend on the game that you are playing and the platform on which you are playing. However, it is safe to assume that a download speed of 4 Mbps, upload speed of 1 Mbps and a ping of under 150 ms is the bare minimum.
Before we discuss the ideal internet speed for gaming, it is necessary to clearly understand what are the things that affect the online gaming experience.
- Download speed: It is the rate at which data is retrieved from the server to your PC.
- Upload speed: It is the rate at which the data is sent to the server from your PC.
- Latency: At each point in a network, some amount of processing takes place. This processing requires a certain amount of time to complete. Latency is the measure of how fast or slow is the response of the server to your command. In short, it is the delay between the request and reception of a data packet.
Good upload speed for gaming
Take a look at the table, which shows the minimum speed requirements for various platforms.
|Download speed||Upload speed|
|Windows PC||3 – 6 Mbps||0.7 – 1 Mbps|
|Sony Playstation 4/5||3 Mbps||1 Mbps|
|Xbox Series One/X/S||3 Mbps||1 Mbps|
|Nintendo Switch||3 Mbps||1 Mbps|
|Live Streaming at 1080p 60 FPS on Facebook/YouTube/Twitch||—||13 Mbps|
|Cloud gaming (Google Stadia)||10 Mbps||—|
Note that all the speeds given in the table above are in Mbps (Megabits per second) and not in MBps (Megabytes per second). A lot of internet users get confused between the two. Internet speeds are usually provided in terms of Mbps, whereas the download speeds are provided in MBps. Always remember, 8 Bits = 1 Byte and 8 Mbps = 1 MBps.
From the table, one can easily conclude that a 10 Mbps connection is all that is required to enjoy all sorts of content on the internet. But that is far from reality. The speeds that we have mentioned in the table are for a single device only.
It is necessary to know the number of devices that access the internet simultaneously. Once you know that, simply add all the values together, and you will be able to determine how much bandwidth you really need. Just don’t forget that online gaming does not require a lot of data, but downloading games does.
How to reduce latency when playing games?
Latency can be a major contributing factor for the lag in online gaming. Here are some of the things that you can try out to reduce it when playing online games:
Go with a wired connection
If you are using a WiFi network, then ditch it for a wired connection. Connect the ethernet cable to your computer, at least when you’re playing games. You will notice a significant difference in latency if you switch from a wireless connection to a wired connection. If it is not possible for you to completely get rid of WiFi, then try moving closer to the router.
Playing on the nearest server
A lot of online multiplayer games let you pick the server that you would like to play on. Not picking the right server can lead to a severe lag in the gameplay. As a thumb rule, remember to pick the server that is in your country. If no servers are available in your country, at least pick the one that is nearest to you.
Disable background applications
There are several background applications and processes that keep running on computers. These processes not only put extra load on the computer but also take up a lot of bandwidth. For Windows users, the simplest solution is to turn on the Game mode which stops non-critical background processes like Windows update and telemetry.
Keep the firmware and drivers updated
The next most important thing to keep in mind is to regularly update the firmware. Hardware manufacturers keep pushing updates regularly to improve stability, fix bugs, and solve issues related to performance and security. That’s not all; sometimes updates bring in exciting features and UI designs.
Internet speed requirements for gaming on cloud
Cloud gaming is probably the next big thing in gaming. If you follow the latest trends in technology, you would be familiar with this one. Games that you play on your gaming rig look only as good as it processes it. But, if you play games on the cloud, the game runs on a remote server. These servers are very powerful gaming machines that can run all modern games at ultra settings. With a cloud gaming subscription and a fast internet connection, any computer or mobile device can run games at max settings.
Cloud gaming requires a stable 10 Mbps downlink, but ping is the most crucial parameter, and that alone is largely responsible for shaping the gaming experience. A ping of up to 40 ms can provide a smooth gaming experience.
How to pick the right internet plan and service provider?
Here are the four things that you should always keep in mind when picking the right internet plan and service provider:
- Speed and latency
- Quality of service
- Cost and validity of the plan
- Cap on data consumption and speed after the data usage limit is reached
If you are going to get yourself an internet connection, refer to this table that gives you a rough idea about the download speed required for various common tasks.
|0-5 Mbps||5-50 Mbps||50-100 Mbps||100+ Mbps||500+ Mbps|
|Good for basic tasks like streaming music and surfing the internet||Ideal for watching videos in HD or 4K, Video conferencing and playing games online||For watching videos on multiple devices at once and playing competitive online games||Can stream 4K content on multiple screens and download large files in no time||For those who want no compromise|
To sum everything up, we can say that 4 Mbps of download speed, 1 Mbps of upload speed and a ping of under 150 ms is good enough for playing games as long as you are the only one using the connection. If you are looking for a seamless experience, better to get at least a 20 Mbps plan.