How Fast Does My Internet Have to Be for Gaming?

When it comes to gaming there is this general misconception that you need to have a fast connection for the best possible experience. This logic does make sense (somewhat) since faster internet is always better, but when talking about gaming specifically your internet speed is not the most important aspect you should pay attention to.

Minimum Network Speeds

pingdom network test

Depending on what you want to do on your network the minimum requirements shift around quite a bit. For example, if you spend most of your time watching Netflix or YouTube in 1080P you will most likely need a 5-10 Mbps connection for smooth playback.

If you enjoy 4K content then you will need to bump up those speeds to 25-40 Mbps for smooth playback. The interesting fact is that for gaming you will most likely not need more than 5 Mbps because in reality games are not that taxing on your connection.

In fact, a lot of online multiplayer games can use less than 1 Mbps while gaming, making your network speed an irrelevant factor altogether. Nevertheless, if you do like playing competitive games we would recommend you to have a solid 25+ Mbps to ensure that no network throttling occurs during intense moments.

Latency

Compared to just raw speeds which as exemplified above are not crucial for gaming, your network ping or latency has a huge impact on your experience making it impossible to play at times.

network latency

Ping spikes and latency cause enemy models to skip around on your screen, your bullets not being registered, and you getting shot behind walls. If you would not be able to tell a difference between a 5 Mbps network and a 500 Mbps network in games, you will most surely be able to tell the difference between 5 ping and 500 ping.

The most common issue that results in bad ping is that you are using a WiFi connection which is simply not as stable as a wired connection resulting in packet loss and latency. No matter how much you try to optimize your WiFi network, currently, it simply cannot compete with a wired connection. By simply routing an ethernet cable to your PC or gaming console you will reduce the chances of your ping spiking randomly allowing for a smoother gaming experience.

Unfortunately, there are also ping-related issues that are outside of your reach like for example how far away geographically you are from the server you are connecting to. If you live in Europe and connect to an Asian server you will have 300+ ping resulting in an unplayable experience.

By using a wired connection and playing on servers that are close to your location, you will be able to minimize network latency which will, in turn, result in a better gaming experience.

Recommendations

In conclusion, if you would like to play games without a hitch you would need a 25+ Mbps network speed but most importantly you should make sure that you are using a wired connection, and in the game you are playing you are connecting to the closest server possible for lowest ping.

Having higher network speeds will not give you any advantages in gaming but having a lower and more stable ping will result in a vastly improved experience.

About The Author

Chris

Custom Windows ISO enjoyer, FPS optimizer, and aim improvement enthusiast. Will disassemble all of his peripherals (and sometimes PC parts) to mod them even if all of them work perfectly fine. Overall, Chris is a BIG nerd and he is absolutely proud of it! Follow him on Twitch.

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