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What internet speed do I need for gaming?

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Each person gaming online needs at least 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps download and 5 Mbps to 20 Mbps upload speeds. The game type, the number of players and devices involved, and internet latency will be your greatest concerns when selecting a speed.

For the best experience, we recommend Gigabit internet on a cable or fiber connection with a gaming router to prioritize network traffic.

 
In this article, we’ll look at the different speeds available to help you determine the best speed for your gaming needs.

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What is the best internet for gaming?

Your ISP’s internet connection type impacts your internet speeds and online experience. The following internet connections are available for gaming online:

1. Cable and fiber-powered

Cable and fiber are wired broadband technologies that provide fast, reliable and consistent internet speeds.

Cable uses cable infrastructure to transmit internet data, while fiber uses fiber optic cables to transmit data as light pulses. Both offer high-speed connections with faster download and upload speeds, lower latency and less data disruption, making them great choices for online gaming.

Plus, cable and fiber are widely available, as most suburban and urban regions have wired internet infrastructure.

2. 5G home internet

5G home internet is a wireless connection transmitted through high-frequency signals by 5G cell towers. It provides faster internet speeds and lower latency than the older 4G and 3G technologies.

While 5G home internet provides high speeds and will handle most gaming activities, its performance comes with some inconsistency and unreliability.

5G’s wireless signals introduce latency, significantly affecting online gameplay. These factors can have a significant impact on the quality of your gaming experience.

Other factors that can affect 5G’s speeds include:

    • Increased distance between devices and 5G cell towers.
    • Physical barriers between devices and cell towers.
    • Network congestion caused by a surge in users and devices.
    • Weather events like storms.
    • Data caps on 5G internet plans

In addition, 5G’s coverage is generally limited to cities and urban areas.

If you are a competitive gamer, consider broadband options like cable or fiber internet for a better gaming experience.

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Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) uses radio waves which are impacted by obstacles like buildings and trees, resulting in reduced reliability.

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3. Mobile hotspot

A mobile hotspot is a feature on your phone that lets you share your mobile data connection with other devices. Mobile hotspots are handy as they can be used as an internet backup when your WiFi is down, or when you need connectivity while on the move.

Like 5G home internet, a mobile hotspot can also introduce latency because they also rely on wireless signals to transmit data through cellular networks. Latency makes hotspots less ideal for highly competitive gaming sessions.

Other limitations when using mobile hotspots include:

    • Slower speeds than traditional wired connections.
    • Data caps that, once exceeded, can incur additional charges or throttle speeds.
    • Less reliability, as mobile signal strength depends on your location.
    • Battery drains on your phone, especially when multiple devices are connected.
    • Limitations on simultaneously connected devices.

 
While mobile hotspots may be  suitable for other online activities, they do not provide the ultra-low latency and high speeds required for the best gaming experience.

4. Satellite

Satellite internet is a viable internet option for people living in rural or remote areas where other high-speed internet connections like cable, fiber and 5G internet are not available.

While satellite internet speeds have improved over the years and are sufficient for gaming, they come with some limitations because of the technology.

These limitations include:

    • Higher latency than the other types of internet connections.
    • Data caps issued by ISPs limit the amount of data to be used.
    • Interruptions due to adverse weather conditions like heavy rain or snow.

 
Gamers can use satellite internet for casual gaming or RPGs, but because of its higher latency, it might not be the best option for fast-paced or competitive multiplayer games. However, it is still a viable internet connection for gamers in areas with limited broadband options.

5. ISP + Mobile carrier

Combining internet and mobile carrier services into one plan offers flexibility, convenience and cost savings for gamers who want the best of both worlds. A single plan provides reliable home internet for gaming and mobile connectivity to play while on the go.

Are you looking to save money on your internet connection? Astound Broadband’s fiber-powered internet and cell phone plans give you the reliable internet speeds you need with nationwide 5G coverage at an affordable price.

Furthermore, you can customize your plan to cater to your gaming needs.

What is a good download and upload speed for gaming?

Download and upload speeds and data usage are essential factors for online gaming. Let’s explore what each factor means and why it matters for gaming.

Download speed

Download speed is the rate at which your device receives data from the internet in megabits per second (Mbps).

Download speed is crucial for gaming because it determines how quickly your device can receive data from game servers. The higher the download speed, the faster you can download game files and updates and the quicker you can have access to gaming content.

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Upload speed

Upload speed is the rate at which data is transmitted from your device to the internet in megabits per second.

Upload speed is critical for online gaming, especially multiplayer and live-streaming activities. It influences how quickly your in-game actions or messages are communicated to the game server and other players.

Additionally, if you’re streaming your gameplay on platforms like Twitch or YouTube, a higher upload speed is required to broadcast high-quality videos.

You can use an internet speed test to determine whether your current download and upload speeds are enough for gaming.

Data

Data refers to the amount of information transferred over an internet connection. It is measured in megabytes (MB), Gigabytes (GB) and terabytes (TB).

It is essential to understand your data usage while gaming because 5G home internet and mobile hotspot plans have data caps and limits. Activities like downloading game files and updates and streaming gameplay consume a lot of data and can easily exceed the data limits. Desktops, laptops, and gaming consoles consume more bandwidth than mobile devices, so keeping track of your data usage is essential.

On the other hand, most ISPs offer wired internet connections with unlimited or higher data allowances than 5G or mobile hotspots. Fiber and cable connections provide consistent and reliable internet speeds that can facilitate smooth online gaming.

 
Learn more: What happens when you go over your data limit?

Find your speed

What speed do you need?

Maybe you just need the essentials—or maybe you need to unleash the ultimate internet speed. Explore your options to get the best experience for every device in your home.

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How many Mbps do I need for gaming?

The internet speeds ideal for your gaming needs depend on the type of game, the gaming platform and the gaming device used.

The minimum internet speeds for different gaming devices include:

    • Desktop gaming and laptop gaming: 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps
    • Console gaming like Xbox, PS5, Nintendo Switch: 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps
    • Mobile gaming: 5 Mbps to 10 Mbps
    • VR gaming: 225 Mbps to 400 Mbps

Remember, these are minimum speed requirements, and the needs of specific devices can vary based on the type of game.

To maximize internet speeds for the best gaming experience, connect your devices directly to the router using an Ethernet cable or, better yet, get a dedicated gaming router. When gaming on a mobile device, you can improve mobile data speeds to get the best mobile gaming experience.

 
Let’s break down what different internet speed ranges can help you achieve.

1500 Mbps - 1000 Mbps

This is a Gigabit internet speed range that is suitable for households with heavy internet usage and multiple users and devices connected.

For example, in a household with six users using WiFi simultaneously, a Gigabit connection provides enough speed and bandwidth to support tasks such as:

    • Users A and B are gaming online on separate consoles: 200 Mbps
    • User C is on VR gaming with an Oculus Quest 2: 400 Mbps
    • User D is streaming 4K gameplay content on a desktop: 100 Mbps
    • User E is gaming on a mobile device: 10 Mbps

Aside from gaming, other activities might be taking place in the background, such as:

    • Six devices are streaming content at 25 Mbps each: 150 Mbps
    • Users E and F are working online from home: 200 Mbps
    • Smart devices connected: 100 Mbps

In the scenario above, the total speed required to facilitate these tasks is around 1.16 Gbps. To account for unexpected guests, increased gaming demands, or other additional online activities, consider higher speeds like 1200 Mbps internet to handle these activities sufficiently.
 
Additionally, a wired connection, such as one from cable or fiber internet, will provide fast, reliable and consistent Gigabit speeds with lower latency to support these activities.

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600 Mbps - 300 Mbps

Speeds of 300 Mbps to 600 Mbps are enough to handle moderate gaming requirements.

For example, in a household of three to five users using the internet simultaneously, this range can support the following tasks:

    • User A playing on a gaming console: 100 Mbps
    • User B and C gaming on a separate desktop and laptop: 40 Mbps
    • User C live streaming 4K content to an audience: 100 Mbps

In the background, other activities using the internet may include:

    • User D working from home: 100 Mbps
    • Four devices streaming music and videos at 25 Mbps each: 100 Mbps
    • User E learning remotely: 25 Mbps
    • Smart devices connected: 100 Mbps

The total internet speed required for the tasks above is 565 Mbps. If you are concerned about multiple users, devices, or increased activities straining your internet, consider a wired internet plan that provides high-speed Gigabit internet to accommodate additional users or tasks when needed.

100 Mbps

A 100 Mbps internet connection can handle some gaming activities for one or two users in a household.

With 100 Mbps speeds, you can:

    • Download game files and updates.
    • Play games on mobile devices or moderate-paced online multiplayer and RPG games on PC and consoles.
    • Stream some gameplay content to audiences.

Consider higher speed plans if you’re a competitive gamer or professionally stream 4K and 8K gaming content to audiences. Higher speed plans will provide more speed and bandwidth to improve your gaming experience, as well as that of your audience.

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Gaming in an apartment vs a house

Deciding on which speed to select for your gaming requirements can differ if you live in an apartment or a house. Let’s look at the factors that impact your speed selection.

In an apartment

Choosing the best internet speed for your gaming needs in an apartment is dependent on a few factors, including:

    • Number of users and devices connected: If you are alone or have two people in an apartment, consider 100 Mbps to 300 Mbps for your gaming needs. Check out higher speed tiers if you have three to four users with multiple devices each.
    • Distance from the router: Place your WiFi setup centrally to ensure an even space from all your devices. Connect your gaming devices directly to your router with an Ethernet cable to provide a faster internet connection.
    • Network congestion: Apartments often share their internet infrastructure with other units. Shared infrastructure increases the probability of network congestion, leading to slower speeds during high usage periods. Consider upgrading your internet speed to provide a steady and consistent connection and bandwidth, particularly during peak usage times.

In a house

Houses generally hold more users and devices connected to the internet. Consider the following factors when selecting an ideal speed to game comfortably:

    • Number of users and devices connected: If your household contains multiple people gaming, working or learning online simultaneously, a high-speed Gigabit internet plan is required to handle all those tasks sufficiently.
    • Home size and layout: Large houses require higher speeds to ensure a strong signal throughout. Moreover, some areas of the house may have poor internet coverage. Consider introducing mesh WiFi routers to expand your WiFi coverage and optimize internet performance. If your game setup is far from the primary router, place a mesh router in your gaming space to extend WiFi coverage.

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Tiny, large, or somewhere in between; find WiFi coverage to fit any space. Blanket your entire home with a fast and ultra‑reliable connection.

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Best WiFi experience for gaming

Explore our recommendations below to help you optimize your WiFi and gaming setup for the best online gaming experience.

Nighthawk Pro Gaming Router

A gaming router like the Nighthawk Pro Gaming Router offers several advantages over regular routers for avid gamers.

These advantages include:

    • Prioritization of gaming traffic through Quality of Service (QoS) features.
    • Lower latency and reduced lag by prioritizing gaming data packets.
    • Customizable settings to fine-tune the network for specific game needs.
    • It has enhanced security features such as built-in VPN support and a traffic controller.
    • A graphical user interface (GUI) for non-technical users to edit the QoS settings.

 
Learn more: Gaming router vs normal router: which is better?
 

Keep in mind that the actual speeds you receive are determined by both the model of the gaming device (laptop, cell phone, tablet, or console) and the router’s throughput capabilities.

Ensure your devices support modern WiFi 6 standards and regularly update your router’s firmware. Consider pairing a gaming router with your gaming devices to maximize your gaming experience.

Configure your router for gaming

Configuring your router for gaming can improve your gaming experience significantly. Gaming routers offer multiple customizable options to optimize your experience.

Here are three features you can configure on your gaming router:

    • Quality of Service options (QoS)
      QoS settings allow you to prioritize specific types of network traffic. You can prioritize gaming data over other internet activities through bandwidth allocation and traffic prioritization. Prioritization ensures that gaming traffic takes the fastest possible route through your network, reducing lag and latency while playing.
    • Ping heat maps
      Ping heat maps are a visual representation of latency (ping) across different regions or game servers. They provide real-time data on the ping times between your gaming device and various gaming servers or locations worldwide. It helps you optimize your experience by allowing you to choose the best game servers with the lowest ping.
    • Port forwarding
      Port forwarding is required to ensure incoming and outgoing game data packets are routed to the correct gaming device. By configuring port forwarding rules, you can improve connectivity and reduce potential disconnections between your gaming device and game servers.

 
Consult your router’s user manual or access its web interface to make these configurations. Familiarize yourself with your router’s settings, as routers have different interfaces.

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Optimize your internet speed

Is WiFi interference slowing your internet speeds? Here are a few tips to optimize and maximize your home’s high speed internet performance.

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Optimize your wireless speeds

A slow internet speed can cause less responsive character movements or poor stream quality when gaming and streaming online. Fortunately, there are several ways you can optimize your WiFi speeds to improve your gaming experience.

Three ways to optimize your WiFi speeds include:

    • Position your router strategically
      Placing your router in the center of your home can improve WiFi coverage and reduce dead zones. If you live in a large house, consider putting mesh WiFi routers across the house to extend range and provide stronger WiFi signals that provide a consistent connection.

      However, consider a dedicated gaming router to provide the best gaming internet allocation experience for your game setup.

    • Upgrade to faster internet
      Upgrade to a faster hardwired cable or fiber internet connection when you experience laggy gameplay or slow download and upload times for game files. A hardwired internet connection can provide reliable and consistent Gigabit internet speeds with enough bandwidth and high upload speeds for high-quality streaming and reduced lag when playing.
    • Power cycle your internet equipment
      Power cycling your devices resets the connections between your devices and the network. Regular device and router restarting can reduce latency in the network and clear blocked channels that interfere with your WiFi performance.

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Advanced security doesn’t have to feel advanced. eero Plus provides:

    • Antivirus
    • Ad blocking
    • VPN protection
    • Password management
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Secure your home internet

Although online gaming can be a fun way to unwind, it also presents several security concerns. Competitive gaming can lead to extreme cases of people sabotaging their opponents to win, so you should take precautions to protect your home network.

Astound Broadband’s eero Plus home WiFi security offers several features that enhance home network security and provide a safer online gaming experience.

eero Plus offers features such as:

    • Secure VPN protection for safe online gaming sessions and preventing DDoS attacks.
    • Malware and virus scanning to prevent malicious software and viruses from infiltrating your gaming device.
    • A password manager to securely store passwords and gaming account credentials.
    • Ad block for distraction-free gaming.
    • Content filters that restrict inappropriate gaming content for younger players.

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Get the total gaming solution

How you game is up to you. One thing is clear–you need fast and ultra-reliable internet. Get fiber‑powered internet that delivers Gig speeds no matter what high-bandwidth activity you choose.

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Frequently asked questions

The minimum required speed for gaming is 25 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. However, this depends on the game type, the gaming platform and your preferences.

Yes, a Gigabit internet connection provides high download and upload speeds and sufficient bandwidth to facilitate online gaming. It can handle data-heavy tasks such as downloading large game files and streaming high-quality gameplay to audiences.

Yes, upload speeds are crucial for gaming, especially in online multiplayer games and live streaming, where your device needs to send data to the game server.

The amount of internet data required for online gaming depends on the type of game, how long you play, the gaming device and the gaming platform.

For the best performance, get an unlimited mobile data plan for multiplayer games, cloud gaming and streaming activities on PCs or consoles. Mobile gaming tends to use less data compared to PC or console gaming.

If you have an internet plan with data limits, monitor your data usage and adjust your gaming habits accordingly.

A gaming router and a normal router share the fundamental function of enabling internet access to devices. However, the difference between the two routers is that a gaming router is primarily designed to enhance the gaming experience. It provides additional benefits, such as:

  • Prioritization of gaming network traffic.
  • Lower latency and game packet prioritization.
  • Fast WiFi standards.
  • Customization of QoS settings.
  • Advanced security features.

Yes, WiFi 6 is good for gaming. WiFi 6 provides several advantages that can enhance your gaming experience. These advantages include:

  • Faster speeds.
  • Improved capacity to handle more devices.
  • Backward compatibility for older device models.
  • Lower latency and reduced ping.
  • Better WiFi coverage and range.

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Disclaimers

*Internet speeds may vary & are not guaranteed. Certain equipment may be required to reach advertised speeds. DOCSIS 3.1 modem with 2.5GE physical LAN port is required for 1 Gigabit speeds and higher. See astound.com/yourspeed for why speeds may vary. To view Astound’s FCC Network Management Disclosure see astound.com/policies-disclaimers. Modem required for Internet service. No contract required. Subject to availability. We substantiate that the cable modem equipment provided, and the configuration of such cable modem, meets the broadband speeds advertised when attached to a wired connection based on SamKnows testing procedures.

Not all services, speeds, packages, equipment, channels, tiers, pricing, streaming services, product offerings and product features are available in all areas. Offers valid only for new residential customers or previous customers with account in good standing who have not had our service within the last 60 days. All names, logos, images and service marks are property of their respective owners. Other restrictions may apply.

While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this site has been obtained from reliable sources, Astound Broadband is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this site is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Certain links in this site connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom Astound Broadband has no control. Astound Broadband makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other websites.

eero Plus is available for an additional $9.99/month and requires subscription to whole home WiFi powered by eero.