If you’re an online gamer, there are two basic things from your internet service provider: speed and reliability. Are you trying to find the best kind of internet for gaming? What you’re really looking for is internet with the fastest speeds and the most consistent service.
Why do I need fast speeds for gaming?
When you play online video games, you’re sending large amounts of data between your computer or gaming console and the servers containing the game data. Since there’s a lot of data to transfer, it can take some time.
internet speed consists of several different components when it comes to gaming: download speed, upload speed, latency and ping.
Download speed is the speed at which information travels from the internet to your computer or gaming console.
Upload speed is the speed at which information travels from your computer or gaming console to the internet.
Ping is a signal sent through the network to check the latency between your device and the device you’re trying to talk with.
Latency/Ping Rate is the time it takes, measured in milliseconds, for a request (ping) to get from your computer to the source and the requested info to get back to your computer. Low latency/ping rate is best for gaming.
Internet speed is important for all kinds of gaming, but especially for real-time, multiplayer games.
Fast upload and download speeds, low latency and low ping can help you game better, and of course have more fun.
But you don’t just need fast speeds. You also need fast, consistent speeds. You want an internet connection that’s consistently fast, especially when you want to game. Every gamer has had that one experience during a first-person shooter where you were killed by someone who didn’t seem to even be looking at you. This happens because that person’s connection allowed him to turn around and shoot you before your connection could even show you that he turned around. Frustrating, right?
Your internet can affect your gaming experience in many ways:
Internet Service Provider (ISP) – Your ISP offers you the roadways in which data can travel to and from your computer or game console and their network. Using their network, you can connect to servers and other networks to transfer data; therefore, your ISP must offer the proper speeds to transfer the amount of data that is required for gaming, otherwise you will experience lag.
Gaming Network – When you’re surfing the web, your ISP’s network connects directly to a server that hosts the information that you’re looking for and sends it back to your computer for viewing. When you’re gaming on a console, however, your ISP’s network isn’t connecting to a server – it’s connecting to another network such as PlayStation Network (PSN) or Xbox Live. This is why a speed test run on a game console gives very different results than one run on Google. If your ISP is offering you a 30 Mbps speed but your gaming network can only transfer data at 15 Mbps then the remaining 15 Mbps can be used for other devices you have in your home. However, if your ISP’s network speed is slower than the speed of your gaming network or the game servers requires more than what your gaming network can offer then you will experience lag.
Game Servers – Most major online games today have a server that hosts all of the game data. PSN or Xbox Live will connect to the game servers and as you are playing the game it will keep sending data back to your computer. Game servers send updates to your console at a rate called a “tickrate” measured in Hz (times/second). For example, if a game sends server updates at 30Hz then the game is sending your console updates 30 times per second. The higher the tickrate the better your gaming experience will be. Therefore, if your gaming console and screen frame rate can’t keep up with the servers tickrate you may need a new tv or monitor. Console games are designed for that specific console so you shouldn’t have a problem with a console not being able to keep up with servers. Currently, consoles can go up to 60Hz (60 frames per second).
Connection Sharing – Although the server updates at a consistent speed and does not change, the speed at which you have access to it can change. The number of people in your area using the same network as you will affect the transfer speed of the network. For example, if PSN has a transfer rate of 100 Tbps(Terabits per second) which is equal to 100,000 Mbps(Megabits per second) and there are 5,000 consoles connected to it at once then each console can transfer data at 20 Mbps as long as your ISP can match it. The same thing goes for your ISP. You’re sharing your ISP’s network with all the other customers of that company. Most cable companies even share your connection to the network with other customers nearby, unlike a telco company where you have a dedicated connection to the network.
What speed is best for gaming?
You know that fast internet is better for gaming. But what does that really mean?
We can’t control the speed of the gaming networks and game servers nor can we control the number of people we are sharing connections with outside of our own home, so let’s focus on what we can control. The speed you need depends on the kind of games you play. Real-time, multiplayer games operate best at the fastest speeds, while turn-based games may work fine on slower connections.
Different sources recommend different speeds: some say that 3 Mbps is the minimum speed required for gaming, while others recommend speeds closer to 6 Mbps. It really all depends on whether or not that number represents a shared connection to the network or a dedicated connection. If your ISP is offering you a dedicated connection, then 3 Mbps should do just fine, but if your ISP is offering you a shared connection, then you may need 6 Mbps.
Once you know what speed your console needs, then multiply that by the number of gaming devices that would be running at the same time within your home. For example, If you have a shared connection and two gaming consoles that would be playing at the same time, you may need 12 Mbps.
One thing is certain: faster speeds are better for gaming and you can get speeds fast enough for gaming from many different types of service providers.
Fiber-optic Internet, cable, and DSL have the best speeds for gaming – and they can all be used to easily create wireless networks, which is even better for smart gaming consoles. Satellite and dial-up internet can be used for strategy and turn-based games, but they won’t work well with multiplayer games online.
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