When it comes to gaming, internet speed is key. It’s the difference between a Victory Royale or hopping back on the party bus.
Rubber banding and high latency are a drag in more ways than one. So if you’re ready to level up in life, we’ve broken down the best internet speed for gaming and streaming in one guide.
What makes Fiber Internet the Fastest?
If you really want to maximize your internet speed for online gaming, the first step is knowing which types of connections are the fastest.
Between satellite internet, coaxial cables, fiber-optic, and DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), fiber is best known for its speed. Unlike its counterparts which rely on a satellite connection, telephone lines, or copper cables, fiber uses ultra-thin glass cables to harness the power of light and transmit data.
While most internet speeds are measured in Mbps (megabits per second), fiber is often measured in gigabits per second. For reference, one Gbps = 1,000 Mbps. The higher your Mbps or Gbps, the faster your internet.
The other major benefit of fiber internet is that it usually has symmetrical bandwidth (upload and download speeds are equal). If you’re gaming, this just means that the speed at which you send and receive data is the same. Even the slightest lag in one or the other could cost you a win—so the more bandwidth you have, the better.
For more information about the other types of internet and how they work, read this article.
Don’t be a N00b: Internet Gaming Terms You Should Know
If you really want to become an expert on all things internet speed and gaming, you have to speak the language.
- Lag – a slow response or delay between a game’s server and a player.
- Latency – how fast your gaming device sends data from your game’s server and back again. High latency = slower response time.
- Ping – measures latency in milliseconds. Lower ping = faster response time.
- Rubber Banding – jerky, random movements in a multiplayer game that occur as a result of high latency.
- Packet Loss – when packets of data drop before reaching a server (often due to network congestion); measured as a percentage. Packet loss greater than one or two percent causes problems in real-time gaming.
In twitch gameplay where response time is critical, low ping is vital. A number of factors influence ping—including your geographical location, distance from the server, your internet connection, your host’s network, firewalls, or inadequate bandwidth.
What is the Recommended Internet Speed for Gaming?
Determining a good internet speed for gaming depends on the game. For multiplayer, high-quality graphics, and first-person shooter games, you need to upload your actions and download the actions of other players in the same game as you in realtime. If you’re playing a turn-based game (like the card game Hearthstone), there’s a lot less going on and fast reaction time isn’t necessary.
No matter what you play, you’ll want low ping (no higher than 20 milliseconds), low latency, and low packet loss. The minimum internet speed for gaming is anywhere from three to six Mbps—and that’s only recommended for casual gaming with minimal reaction time. For more competitive gaming, you’ll want at least 25 Mbps.
According to Cody Packer, a Major League Gaming competitor, the best internet speeds for gaming depend largely on casual gaming or competitive. For casual, he recommends 20 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. For competitive gaming and tournaments, he says “50 download speed and 10 upload speed is good. If I want to game competitively and I live with a few other people that stream all the time, I want at least 100 down. 50 for them, 50 for me.”
For online streaming or live streaming, you’ll need faster upload speeds—at least “5.6-7.4 Mbps for 1080p video at 60 frames per second”. PC gaming with 200+ frames per second will require even more.
If your ping and latency are too high and your game is “laggy,” you can get booted from the game, or “lag out.” Different gaming consoles have unique minimum requirements, so you’ll want to keep tabs on those as well.
How Can I Make my Internet Faster?
Don’t let poor router placement or malware ruin your K/D. Even if you have the fastest internet available, an unsecure network or auto-updating programs could eat up all your bandwidth without you knowing.
If you haven’t already, make sure you disable network sharing. We also recommend you routinely scan for malware and viruses. Just one embedded link in an email or pop-up can slow down your system in minutes.
When in doubt, check out these five tips to improve your internet speed, or call an AT&T tech expert at 833-955-1567.