The terms you need to know
Before you get further into the nitty gritty, let’s clear up some keywords and phrases...
Mbps stands for megabits per second. It's how you measure internet bandwidth or how much information flows to and from the web every second. The higher the number, the more you can either upload or download; enabling everyone in your household to get on with their lives online.
Say you are filling a swimming pool up with a hose. You’ll need a good nozzle and then also water pressure that is powerful enough to fill the pool, otherwise it will take forever. That’s Mbps, the better it flows, the better your time online.
This refers to how many of those megabits per second it takes to get data onto your device from a server elsewhere, in the format of images, text, video, files or audio. Listening to music on Spotify or watching shows on Netflix requires the downloading of data.
On the flipside, upload speed tells you how many Mbps you can send from your computer or mobile to another device or server on the web. Emailing, joining live gaming tournaments or massively multiplayer online games, even making video calls – to send data elsewhere you need fast upload speed. Excellent broadband helps.
This is how fast your gaming device sends data from your game’s server and then back again. A higher latency equals a slower response time.
Ping rate measures latency in milliseconds. So a lower ping will equal a faster response time and your moves will be more faithfully represented on screen.
So, what Mbps is good for gaming?
When it comes to download and upload speeds, one general mantra is ‘faster is better’ which is true from a certain point of view. To some people’s surprise online gaming actually isn’t the most bandwidth-busting activity you could be doing. Unlike online videos, which stream across your internet connection, video game images are rendered by the graphics engine in your PC or games console. The information that needs to go back and forth online is from the keys or joypad buttons you are pressing. All this means – even for modern games with pin-sharp 4K graphics – you'd only need a download speed of around 3Mbps to keep playing online.
As games are interactive, you do also need to think about upload speeds for your online gaming as well. The speed at which information hits a remote server when you’re playing is a factor. The upload speed you need is actually pretty slow, roughly 1Mbps to 2Mbps, which even a lesser connection will supply you with, so other factors may be more important in the long run.
Min. download speed
Min. upload speed
How can I improve my online gaming experience?
There will always be little issues along the way, best to try and avoid them and keep your scores and achievements rock solid. Here’s a few tips.
If your gaming experience is less than rock solid, reset all your network devices and re-established connections between your PC or console and your home router. Always the first step before technical interventions with your broadband provider.
If you are keen to make every gaming session count, one thing worth trying is to plug an Ethernet cable into your gaming machine. Especially if your broadband isn't as strong or as fast as it could be.
Perhaps you have a busy household full of web browsers, TV watchers and work-from-homers? So this may not be easy to do, but turn off some of your personal devices when gaming; this can help. Focus all that bandwidth on the task at hand.
Whether you are playing Among Us, Fortnite, Fifa or a different game of choice, you can follow the instructions in the game’s menu and change servers. With a bit of trial and error, you'll find the closest one and improve the stability of your game.
If you can stay away from your game during peak, after-work hours that could help improve stability and the quality of your session. But that’s when everyone wants to play. And if you are not a student, you may well have to work to fund your gaming life.