Internet speeds are something most users can relate to. Whether you're a gamer, streamer, browser, or just everyday writer (like me), at some point, internet speeds will affect what you are trying to do in a negative way.
For most people, internet speeds aren’t really a problem - as long as their favorite TV show streams at a watchable rate, they’re happy as Larry. That being said, there are still a ton of individuals who aren’t so nonchalant when it comes to their download and upload speeds - gamers in particular.
If you were unfortunate enough to come from the internet's dial-up era, you’ll understand the struggles that can arise when gaming with poor internet speed - it's infuriating. You’ve waited patiently for your enemy to come into range, and when he does, your internet freezes your game. There’s nothing you can do. When your game reloads, your player is dead and the rage sets in. Damn, I hated the old days…
However, despite internet speeds now being much quicker than they once were - and this issue occurring much less frequently - some unlucky individuals still experience these annoying internet issues to this very day.
For that reason, we’ll be taking a closer look at internet speeds in the following article. We’ll conclude with what speed you should be looking for when gaming and how certain elements can affect your gaming performance.
So, with that in mind, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it!
What Are Mbps?
So, one of the first things you need to consider when it comes to your internet connection is its Mbps. Mbps (Megabits per second) is the physical speed of your internet (how fast it can upload/download files) and can vary in speed and price dramatically. The higher your internet Mbps, the quicker it will be when it comes to downloads, uploads, streaming, and general browsing. All the good stuff.
Broadband speed can sometimes be shortened to MB, Mbits, p/s, and Mbps, but ultimately, all refer to the same thing.
Whilst you might think faster is always better, you must always consider the price ramifications of going for the fastest broadband in your area. What I mean is, yes, 100Mbps broadband is obviously better than 20Mbps broadband. That being said, if all you're doing on the internet is browsing and general-use, 100Mbps is going to be way more speed than you actually require - not to mention a lot more expensive.
Ultimately, finding the internet that is right for you is a balancing act between speed and price. Figuring out what speed you need and the budget you have to play with should be the first two things you decide before looking into broadband. We'll touch upon that in more detail shortly, though.
Which Is The Best Internet Connection Type?
Now that we have a slightly better understanding of broadband speed, it’s probably a good time to look at the different types of internet connection which are available to you. Whilst you might have to check your area for ‘superfast’ broadband connections, both of the following options should be readily available if you are planning to upgrade.
Fibre Optic is one of the latest arrivals in broadband connection, currently being installed all over the globe. Fibre Optic offers huge advantages over traditional copper cables as they provide significantly higher network bandwidth. What that means to you as a consumer is, much faster internet speeds.
Fibre is currently the fastest source of domestic internet you can get, with potential speeds reaching well over 1000Mbps (1Gbps) and destroying everything in terms of upload and download capabilities. That being said, it’s also the most expensive you can purchase, with rates exceeding 100s of dollars per month.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
The most commonly used connection right now is DSL. It’s a connection established through pre-existing telephone cables (copper cables) and provides adequate internet speeds for most people's needs.
In theory, DSL connections can reach up to 100Mbps - more than enough for gamers. However, in reality, the speeds are actually much lower, usually operating at around 10-20Mbps at best.
Whilst there are other connections available, these are the two most commonly used in today’s broadband services.
Wired Or Wireless
When it comes to gaming, the difference between a wired and wireless connection is pretty exponential - even more so if you’re into competitive esports titles.
Wireless connections obviously have their benefits, you can pretty much sit wherever you want in your house and don’t have to worry about annoying cables clogging up your work/game space. That said, the clutter-free approach also comes with an equal list of flaws too. Because the wireless signal has to travel through walls and other physical objects, the strength of the signal gets diluted by the time it reaches your laptop/computer. For gamers, this can have a huge knock-on effect with things like lag and latency - an area we'll touch upon shortly.
Going wired, users don’t experience anywhere near as much lag/latency problems. The connection is much more solid, with stability being the number one reason why gamers choose it over wireless.
For me, an avid gamer who plays a lot of competitive esports, I would always recommend a wired connection. That said, it can be a pain sometimes routing the cable around your house - especially if the router is in an awkward spot. However, regardless of annoyances, it's definitely the best way to go for gamers.
Should I Be Concerned About Latency?
That leads us nicely onto latency. Latency is sometimes referred to as ping and is a critical part of your game's performance. Latency is measured in milliseconds and theoretically tells us how fast your game can respond to the actions you input. Ping can be affected in a number of different ways, all leading to a lesser gaming experience at the end of the day. Having a wireless connection will increase ping, as will connecting to a server that isn’t in your region. Other people downloading, streaming, or gaming will also have a knock-on effect with your ping.
Ultimately, you want to receive the lowest ping possible when gaming. This will give you the best chance of winning and gives you a real advantage over your competition. Below, are rough guidelines to latency whilst in-game:
Good Ping: 0-30ms
Average Ping: 30-65ms
Bad ping: 70+ms
The Best Internet Speeds For You
So, with all that being said, what internet speed is best for your specific household? Well, that all comes down to what you actually use the internet for. If you're a household that uses a lot of devices and does plenty of streaming (on top of your gaming), you’re probably going to want faster speeds than say, a single woman who just looks at her emails.
Below, we’ve outlined some rough guidelines on the speeds you may need for not only gaming but other uses as well:
General gaming purposes: If you’re the kind of person that likes to play the occasional online game, browse the web, and do some light streaming, realistically, you shouldn't need any higher than 10Mbps per second. This internet speed should give you an excellent connection in most games, whilst providing you good multi-tasking capabilities too.
Lots of competitive gaming + TV streaming: For players who like to play a lot of competitive type esport games, alongside an active household that does plenty of TV and film streaming, we recommend 15-25Mbps. This is going to give you a solid, stable connection in-game, whilst allowing the rest of the house to watch movies and stream with little in the ways of buffering.
Professional gamers + Twitch streamers: For professional gamers and Twitch streamers, we recommend anything north of 30Mbps. When you’re at the top of your game, the slightest dip in connection can be the difference between winning and losing. Ensuring that you have a superfast, stable internet connection should be a must-have in your gaming arsenal. Similarly, Twitch streams who want to output the highest quality content should also consider purchasing 30+Mbps internet speeds. Having a smooth, buffer-free experience is the best way to treat your viewers.
Whilst internet speed is one way of increasing gaming performance, it's not the only way to do so! Below we have listed some of our most popular upgrade pages that will definitely give you gaming performance a boost:
- Best gaming GPU
- Best gaming CPU
- Best monitor for gaming
- Gaming graphics & optimization
- Overclocking your hardware
So, there you have it guys, our short roundup of what internet speeds you’ll need for gaming. We hope this article has made internet speeds a little easier to understand and helped you pinpoint any issues you may be having with latency or ping.
If you feel we’ve left anything out or you need to ask any further questions regarding internet speeds, why not drop us a message in the section below. Better still, why not head on over to our Community Hub where you can discuss everything gaming related with likeminded individuals.