12 Sep 2023
What type of broadband is good for gaming?
When considering what internet speed you need for gaming, a good broadband speed is critical. To play online games seamlessly without disruption, a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps is recommended by experts. However, for the ideal gaming experience, broadband speeds of 100 Mbps or above will allow lag-free 4K gaming, support multiple connected devices, and enable smooth multiplayer experiences.
While basic 3 Mbps speeds may be enough for gaming consoles to function, faster speeds between 50-100 Mbps will optimize your gaming with quicker data transfers and reduced lag. If you have several household members gaming at once or many devices connected, Gigabit broadband with average download speeds of up to 1,130 Mbps provides ample bandwidth to prevent choppy connections or buffering.
It’s also important to factor in your full range of internet usage needs beyond gaming when choosing the right broadband deal. Considering the number of users and types of devices in your home will help you select a package with sufficient speed and data to power superfast gaming alongside streaming, surfing and more. Prioritising your broadband’s gaming speed will let you enjoy a smooth online gaming experience.
Key gaming terms you should know
Before you get further into the nitty gritty, let’s clear up some keywords and phrases...
Mbps stands for megabits per second, and defines how much data is flowing per second between you and the web service. The bigger the number, the greater your internet speed. This indicates how much you can download or upload at any one time. Learn more about bits vs bytes.
It’s like filling up a swimming pool with a hose. You’ll need a good-sized nozzle and enough water pressure to fill the pool quickly, otherwise you’ll be there all day. The faster your data flows, the better your online activities will run.
This refers to how many of those Mbps it takes to fill the pool, i.e. to transfer data from a server to your device, or between devices. You may be watching Netflix, listening to music on Spotify or streaming online games on Twitch. It doesn’t matter whether it’s video, audio, text or images – more Mbps equals faster downloads. Learn more about download speed in our helpful guide.
On the flipside, upload speed tells you how many Mbps it takes to empty the pool, i.e. to transfer data from your device to another device or server. Taking part in MMOs or live gaming tournaments demands fast upload speeds. Even emailing or video calling requires you to send data elsewhere. You can check your upload, and download speed using our Broadband Speed Test.
Ping is the time it takes for the signal sent out when a player types a command to get a response. The four keystrokes commonly used in video game movements are W and S to go forward and back, plus A and D to go left and right. So when you press A, having good ping means a quick move left for your character, and so on. A high ping ping signifies a delay after you press the key. Your character takes too long to move, and this may impact badly on your manoeuvring ability.
Many gamers get confused between ping and latency, as they’re both measured in milliseconds (ms) and only slightly different. Ping refers to the time taken by a signal sent in one direction from one device to another on the same network. Latency measures the time it takes for the ping also to come back to the originating device. So ping measures the one-way journey time of a signal, while latency measures the round trip. Your device is literally pinging the server, and measuring the response time.
Lower ms is always better for your response times. 15-45ms is optimal for ping, and 15-60ms for latency, but you can go up to 100ms on either without too much trouble. Higher than that? Games may become unplayable due to lag, and you could easily lose out in fast-paced action. Find out how to improve latency.
Lag is what happens if you have high ping or latency – i.e. your internet connection is slower or of a lower quality than you need to play effectively. The main effect of lag is that you’ll suffer delays in your gameplay, so when you press a command key there’s no immediate response. A delay of even a few seconds could lose you a critical position in the game, when your commands are not acted on instantly. Even worse, if lag builds up in the middle of a match it can cause huge problems. Your screen may suddenly freeze up, perhaps jumping back to your most recent play, or even ejecting you from the game altogether.
3 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload
3 Mbps download and 0.5 Mbps upload
3 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload
How can I improve my online gaming experience?
There are several steps you can take to get a reliably good internet speed for gaming. These should reduce latency and help you avoid game-crashing lag.
Get the right broadband
Choose an appropriate tier of broadband speed based on your household usage, especially if you want to use multiple devices at the same time. Our M125 superfast broadband is a good internet speed for daily activities and gaming, for up to 4 devices at the same time. For larger households you may find M500 Fibre ultrafast broadband a great option as it’s great for those with lots of people online at the same time.
Switch from Wi-Fi to Ethernet
Connect your device to your router using Ethernet cables wherever possible. A wired connection can really help you run gaming apps smoothly. If this isn’t possible, you can get a Wi-Fi booster plug to enhance your connection.
Reset your network devices
If lag is impacting your gaming, try the old reset trick on all your network devices. Switch everything off, unplug and wait at least 30 seconds before re-establishing connections.
Turn off your other devices
Don’t run other apps while you’re gaming, as this can significantly slow down your device and cause major lag. It also depends on how many users are connected to your network. Your household may be full of streamers, shoppers, TV watchers and people working from home. Other gamers will also slow everything down.
Check that you’re using the closest server. Geolocation does make a difference, and one of the biggest influences on latency is distance. Most games have instructions in their menu for changing servers. If you can find the closest one, this should improve the stability of your game.
Try to avoid peak hours
Unless you have a fast enough internet speed for gaming, you might need to schedule off-peak times for playing. This could help improve stability and the quality of your session.