Picture the scene. You’re fully immersed in your favourite game, dominating the leaderboard, and smashing your opponents. Then it happens. Your excitement comes to an abrupt halt. The game has frozen, and ‘Network connection lost’. We’ve all experienced the dread of those three words ruining your evening gaming sesh. In the UK, it happens way more often than we’d like.
In this article, we’ll help you choose the best internet speeds for gaming. From differences in the quality of your connection to choosing the right package for your home, we’re here to help.
Why is internet speed important for gamers?
Gamers know that when it comes to beating opponents and reaching the top of the leaderboard, their broadband connection can matter as much as their trigger finger.
A sluggish broadband connection will undoubtedly slow you down, creating high latency and intermittent lag. Not only that. It can also mean updates for your favourite games can take ages to download.
In general, the faster your broadband connection, the smoother and all-around better experience you’ll have with online gaming.
What type of broadband should I choose for gaming?
If you’re a gamer, you’ll find higher-speed broadband is probably a wise and worthy investment. Full fibre connections, for example, offer greater bandwidth which can critically enhance your gaming experience. If you love playing online multiplayer games while other internet-enabled devices are running around your home, (think about all those laptops, smart TVs, mobiles and other gaming consoles) a faster broadband connection will certainly help your games run smoother. Besides, the entire house will be able to benefit from a more capable broadband connection, enabling faster downloads while avoiding high ping and buffering.
When searching for the perfect gaming broadband, you should always factor in the rest of your home’s internet usage. This includes the number of devices connected and what activities they do. For example, if you have more than one games console on the go, mobile phones and Netflix streaming in 4K on the TV – you’ll probably want a faster connection. Make sure all those devices can enjoy a smooth and responsive online experience.
Do I need fast download and upload speeds for gaming?
The short answer is yes, you will need good bandwidth for both your download and upload speeds. This is because, when playing online, your games console will send and receive large amounts of data which allows you to play in real-time.
Online gaming typically relies on a client-server model, where your device sends small amounts of data (such as your actions and commands) to the game server, while the server sends the game’s visual and audio data back to your device. The download speed is crucial for receiving this data in real time, while the upload speed is less critical since the amount of data being sent from your device is minimal.
The need for a fast download and upload speed really kicks into gear when playing multiplayer games. If you prefer to play solo or locally, the need for bigger bandwidth is less important. Although, if you want to download games and updates quickly then fast download speeds will be required.
What is the minimum download speed I need for gaming?
With so many gaming consoles out there, we have put together a table showing the recommended download and upload speed requirements for the most popular gaming consoles, including Nintendo Switch, Xbox, PlayStation and Steam.
|System||Min. download speed||Min. upload speed||Max latency|
|Nintendo Switch||3Mb/s*||1 Mb/s *||N/A|
|Xbox||3Mb/s †||0.5Mb/s †||150 ms†|
|PlayStation||2Mb/s ‡||2Mb/s ‡||N/A|
|Steam||6Mb/s §||1Mb/s §||N/A|
* Data provided by Nintendo Customer Support.
† Data provided by Xbox Support.
‡ Data provided by PlayStation Help & Support.
§ Based on suggestions made by Bungie for Destiny 2 on PC.
What internet speed do video games require?
Every video game is different, and the requirements will change depending on the game you are playing. Below, we have provided the minimum requirements for the most popular video games so you can ensure you meet the requirements.
|Video game||Min. download speed||Min. upload speed|
|Call of Duty: Warzone||3Mb/s||1Mb/s|
|League of Legends||2Mb/s||2Mb/s|
|World of Warcraft||1Mb/s||1Mb/s|
How do I improve my online gaming experience?
Choose the right broadband
Choosing the right broadband is key to ensuring an optimal online gaming experience. Our resident Giganerds recommend a connection of at least 150Mb/s and one that does not slow down during peak times.
Full fibre broadband is the perfect contender of choice, with the best reliability compared to alternative broadband options. Full fibre has a range of high-speed broadband packages available.
Use Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi
When using Wi-Fi, you risk intermittent drop-outs and slower speeds compared to using a wired ethernet connection. This can be a significant problem when losing connection for only a few seconds can result in disconnecting or being kicked from your online games.
Switch off other devices
Switching off other devices around your home can often greatly free up used bandwidth on your network. From a TV to Amazon Alexa taking note of your shopping list, all these devices use bandwidth which can reduce the performance and responsiveness of online gaming.
Utilising a VPN for many gamers is a no-brainer. However, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can significantly reduce your connection’s performance. This is because a VPN adds another location to which the data must travel before it reaches its destination. This works the other way when receiving data from a gaming server.
Close other applications that you’re not using
If you are using a PC to play video games, consider closing applications you are not using to increase the available bandwidth. For example, closing your web browser, social media and email applications can help save a substantial amount of bandwidth your PC has allocated to it.
Improve your hardware
Your games console or computer likely has a maximum bandwidth limit it can send and receive. This will be caused by the hardware installed within the machine including the networking card, motherboard and write speeds of your storage. Improving these will help increase the maximum send, receive and write limits.
Looking for gaming broadband?
We’ve got just the thing for you. At Giganet, our full fibre broadband is the perfect match for every gamer. Whether you’re looking to hang out with mates or compete in the toughest of competitions, our broadband will keep you online and gaming for longer. With a variety of speed choices available, our most popular 900Mb Full Fibre plan has become the package of choice for gamers.