The world of video games has evolved dramatically over time. In video gaming, a vital role is played by elements like collaboration, agility, focus, and – most importantly – internet speed. Fast hand movements, muscle memory, and quick thinking will often win the day for you, but your overall gaming experience often depends a lot on your internet speed.
In this article, I have explained what a good internet speed for gaming is and how game performance is affected by internet speed.
Minimum Speed Recommendations Various
First-person shooters (FPS)
These are games that are played from the point of view of the protagonist. Usually, they feature the character's arms present near the lower half of the screen, wielding one or more weapons. Top FPS games like Doom Eternal, Overwatch, Call of Duty - demand faster ping rates for keeping players on pace with real-time action. The online FPS games demand for live chat/voice communications as well. Thus the internet speed must be on a higher side for better connectivity with the fellow players and better game performance.
- Ping rate – 16 ms
- Upload speed – 1 Mbps
- Download speed – 30 Mbps
Real-time strategy games
These are time-based games where players utilize various available resources to defend their base and beat an opponent having the same goals. Technically, you can play a real-time strategy game featuring a continuously evolving game state on a desktop PC. However, using a gaming console like the Xbox Series X or S will significantly boost slower ping rates and internet speeds.
- Ping rate – 64 ms or less
- Upload speed – 0.5 Mbps
- Download speed – 3 Mbps
Role-Playing Games (RPG)
In role-playing video games or RPGs, gamers take control of a fictional character and embark on a mission in a fantasy world, which drives the game's storyline. RPGs also tend to involve a menu-based combat system and certain states or levels which can be improved.
- Ping rate – 150 ms
- Upload speed – 1 Mbps
- Download speed – 1.5 Mbps
Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games
These games are set in a fictional world where a large number of gamers participate in a role-playing environment. Unlike regular RPGs, the goal here isn't to simply complete the game. Instead, you are supposed to build up a character's skills, resources, and experiences. Since in-game communication in these games involves the use of live chats and voice chats etc., these games demand much more bandwidth.
- Ping rate – 64 ms or less
- Upload speed – 10 Mbps
- Download speed – 30 Mbps
Note: Different gaming services and systems often suggest different minimum internet speed requirements for optimal performance, which are generally based on a single-player and largely serve as a useful starting point. If there are several gamers in your family, you must multiply these speeds by the number of users who will be using your internet connection.
What is the importance of internet speed in gaming?
The biggest problem faced due to slow internet speeds is lag or slow computer response. For an ideal gaming experience, there should be real-time action and movement between all the players involved. Lag causes you to experience a certain "buffering" effect during your gaming activity. Your fellow gamers might be involved in ferocious combat while you wait for your computer to load and finally discover that you have been injured or killed and the game has progressed without you.
A lot of resources offer a general speed recommendation for various kinds of gaming. However, it is the ping rate, upload speed, and download speed that contribute the most to game lag. Thus, you should always try to look at these factors closely in particular. It is important to test Internet speed whenever that's necessary. You can use a tool like SpeedCheck to test your Internet speed and if the results fall in the above ranges you can continue to play.
What are upload and download speeds?
After buying an internet plan, you will generally see an "advertised speed" that serves as the standard for your internet download speed. However, your gaming experience will be greatly affected by your upload and download speeds. Upload speed is the speed by which your gaming data uploads to the gaming server. On the other hand, download speed refers to the speed by which the information downloads from the gaming server to your gaming device.
The best download and upload speeds for you depend on the number of players who are online at that particular time and in that specific game action. That said, you should always go for the highest speeds for flexibility.
Also known as latency, ping rate is a prominent factor in your gaming performance. It is measured in milliseconds (ms) and is a measure of the speed with which your device communicates with the internet server. Even if your internet speeds are fast enough to back up your activities, higher ping rates result in a slower gaming experience.
Ideally, your ping rate should be around 20 ms, although higher ping rates of 50 to 100 ms are acceptable for gaming as well. Compared to other internet types, satellite internet generally possesses relatively higher ping rates. Thus, it is not recommended for real-time online gaming.
How to improve your online gaming connection
Have you been frustrated with your abysmally slow internet connection disrupting your gaming experience? If yes, then you are in just the right place. I will now put forth some reliable methods of improving your connection to get better speeds and lower ping rates. Whenever you are experiencing unusually lengthy load times or your game is lagging, you can try these hacks to get better gaming speeds.
Upgrade your internet service and associated equipment
Occasionally, it turns out that your internet connection is working just fine for what it is. For better performance, your only option is to get it upgraded. You can get a significant ping and speed boost by going for a faster internet plan. If you already have a high-speed plan, but the actual speed you are receiving is unusually slow, you should get your router upgraded to a superior one.
Use a wired connection.
If you use an Ethernet connection, you will likely get a much faster and more reliable internet connection with lower ping. You must select the right Ethernet cord for your internet service, and use it to connect to your gaming console or computer. In order to use the wired connection instead of Wi-Fi, you will likely have to reconfigure your internet settings.
Try gaming closer to the router or purchase Wi-Fi extenders
If you are gaming on a Wi-Fi device like a smartphone or tablet, or a wired connection is proving to be impractical for any reason, you will have to ensure close and unobstructed access to the Wi-Fi signals. For this purpose, you can invest in Wi-Fi extenders and use them to boost signal range. That will allow you to play your games in otherwise off-limit places in your home. Alternatively, you can try shifting to a position closer to the router for a better connection. You can also try increasing the strength of your Wi-Fi connection.
Reset your router or modem, and check connections
Since the internet is required almost constantly in our modern lifestyle, routers and modems usually run throughout the day and often at night as well. Understandably, they will require an occasional reset in order to keep running at optimal performance. If your game begins lagging abruptly or your internet starts going in, you should consider resetting your router and modem. If that does not fix the problem, ensure that all connections are secure and sufficient. By resetting your router before participating in any important gaming event, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free gaming experience.
Disconnect or close any pages or devices which are taking up bandwidth
While you are busy gaming on your mobile device or computer, certain applications or web pages could possibly be running simultaneously in the background and taking up some of the bandwidth available for gaming. A number of gaming consoles are configured to automatically download software and game updates as soon as they are available. A download that starts when you are playing an online game can suddenly and heavily interrupt your internet connection. As a result, your game could start lagging or be severely slowed down. Thus, before you start gaming online, you should look for any pending downloads and disconnect or close any apps which can take up bandwidth in the background.
Adjust your game's settings
In some games, you will be able to adjust resolution settings and frames per second (fps). It is obviously tempting to go for the highest resolution and achieve the most optimal image quality. However, that will also consume much more bandwidth and could lead to lagging and excessively long loading times. Thus, you should consider settling for a slightly lower resolution setting in order to control the lagging issues. If you are playing on game streaming services like Google Stadia and PlayStation Now, this tip could prove to be especially useful.
Get your Wi-Fi connection secured
If someone covertly gets unauthorized access to your Wi-Fi connection, it can get seriously slowed down even if you are using a fast Ethernet cable. Apart from this, such people can also use your connection to get access to your personal information stored on other devices owned by you. Thus, you should learn how to keep your Wi-Fi connection secured from unwanted users.
In this article, I have covered all the important details you need to know about internet speed and its relevance to online gaming. I hope it will help you analyze your requirements and things which possibly need to be fixed. You can then take the necessary steps to achieve optimal speed and have a great gaming experience.